Legality: As btrayfors
said, any amateur gear
is only legal
to use by a licensed amateur radio operator (or control operator) on an amateur frequency using the correct mode.
Reality: Using ham gear
"out of band" is done all the time, and isn't a primary offense. Yes, amateur gear doesn't have bulletproof transmitters and receivers but they work just fine. If the FCC wants to go after you, watch out since they don't do much enforcement (due to financial reasons) unless it is a serious issue.
Would I use a 706 for this purpose if it was my boat? Sure would if I didn't have a maritime radio for it since the flexibility of the radio is so great.
Now, HF radio 101.
There are a few basic things to learn about an advanced application, never mind the radio itself.
We use a spectrum of oscillations, from what you might hear referred to as "DC to daylight". Your Marine uses fall between 2 mega-Hertz (mHz) up into 20 mHz, also known as shortwave, or High Frequency (HF) band. BTW, one Hertz is one cycle per second.
We use these Radio Frequencies (RF) to send information across it. This information could be things such as a voice, or tones for digital communications
such as fax or packet, etc. To send that information, it goes over a frequency.
On every frequency is a mode (emissions type) of conveying the information to other radios. For now, understand that the modes to be used on a certain frequency is determined by the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC). Some modes you are already familiar with are FM and AM.
FM (Frequency Modulation) can be found on your everyday car radio for that ride to and from work, or to and from the Marina, etc. So, listening to classic rock on 101.1 KGB or "Kicksy 96 Soft Favorites" on 96.5 KYXY is being heard using the method FM. The number you see is the frequency in mHz, 101.1 and 96.5 (KGB and KYXY are callsigns issued by the FCC).
In another part of that same radio, is the ability to receive AM (Amplitude Modulation) signals. Stations in your area are KOGO which is news on 600, or talk radio on KLSD 1360.
There is one difference in how these frequencies are expressed, which are in kHz (yes, the standard metric units- kilo, mega). 1360 is actually 1360 kHz (1.360 mHz), and 600 kHz (0.600 mHz). If you are following, that is 1,360,000 cycles per second, and 600,000 cycles per second.
So, you have learned about modes AM, FM, and frequencies in mHz, and kHz. To tie some of this together (and without getting into how each mode works), Single Side Band (SSB) is the mode you will communicate with on your boat.
There are two parts
, Upper Side Band (USB) and Lower Side Band (LSB) and there is a difference- one can not talk to the other and it sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher if you are using the wrong sideband. With all the time you have spent on your 706 I bet you have seen LSB and USB many times. So, if someone mentions Side Band or SSB, they are referring to either USB or LSB. I do believe USB is the mode of choice for Maritime operations.
AM, FM, USB and LSB are modes to use on frequencies. This could be thought of as a language.
Frequencies are the place in the spectrum where you use the modes. FM on 101.1(mHz) is an example. This could be thought of as an address.
So, if you happen to be at the same address using the same language, you will be able to communicate!
Now that you have a basic understanding of the methods used, lets go into the physical portion of your radio system. This is explained in the 706 users manual, so hopefully you unerstand a little about this already.
You have a microphone, and a radio, and I bet you understand how those work together.
You also need a feedline (coax) and a matched antenna system. The coax that would work is known as RG-58, and the antenna could be a number of choices.
A matched antenna system is one that appears to be a certain impedance to the radio or it will destroy the final amplifier in it. The correct impedance is 50 Ohms. You probably have a 8' or so fiberglass
antenna mounted somewhere on your boat. The antenna itself is matched at only one frequency, so when you change frequency the antenna would no longer be matched, and that's where an antenna tuner comes in. On page 12 of the owners manual, the AH-2B antenna is connected through a AH-3 antenna tuner.
For the last part of this segment, I want you make sure there is an antenna connected to your radio since this could be your whole problem. Page 9 of the 706 manual helps with this.
To do this, start at the back of the 706, and on the left side (viewed from the rear) are two antenna jacks. The top one is for antennas that cover HF (all frequencies below 54 mHz).
Follow that piece of coax to the other end. Hopefully it's connected to an antenna tuner. If so, find the other jack on the tuner, and follow that to the antenna. You could be looking for another coax connection, or there might simply be a stud with a single wire connected to it.
The tuner could be mounted somewhere near the antenna rather that at the radio itself so you might have to follow it for a bit. While you are there, do a visual inspection
of the connections. If any look corroded, rusty, etc, then they need to be cleaned since the marine environment
is not friendly to metals.
One last test, try tuning all the way down to the AM broadcast band (500-1800 kHz) and find a station. Try either 600 or 1360 since they are in your area. Remember this is AM mode, so press the mode button until you get to AM so you are listening to the right 'language'. Refer to page 19 for more info on changing modes.
If you post some pictures, that would be great so not only to see your radio setup, but to see your ship too!