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Old 22-05-2013, 15:27   #1
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hf radio newb...

Looking for some intel from you guys on HF radios...

My boat has an Icom 735 rig with Pactor. I’m aware that I need a license to operate this radio, that it’s difficult to operate, not as robust, etc.

I see that since it’s not “type accepted”, you’re not allowed to transmit on the “marine bands”. Can anyone tell me what exactly the marine bands are? For the life of me, I have not been able to dig up any info on this. What am I missing out on by not technically being able to transmit on these bands?

Besides the above, what are the downsides to this radio versus a marine unit like a 710 or 802 for email and communication use offshore? Like everyone, i'm on a budget. Would be interested in your thoughts on the suitability of this radio or whether i should plan to upgrade.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 22-05-2013, 15:56   #2
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Re: hf radio newb...

Few general comments.

First marine bands cover more or less the same frequency bands as Ham bands but are restricted for marine use, require radios that are certified for marine band use which has stricter limits on interference than Ham bands. Marine radios "in general" are more forgiving as far as supply voltage and operating conditions.

In a true emergency you can transmit on marine bands. I have heard a rumor that a lot of sailors use Ham radios to transmit on marine bands and, if you have a better quality Ham radio probably won't interfere with other channels on the band but really not the right thing to do.

You can use the Ham to receive without a license but not transmit.

Also, Ham bands are limited to non-commercial messages. Marine bands you can use for business if you like.
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Old 22-05-2013, 16:12   #3
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Re: hf radio newb...

many of the Marine SSB bands transmit on one frequency and receive on another... called "duplex". So if listening in on a HF radio not programmed for such, you may only hear one side of the conversation.... Get your license and just use that radio. You are not supposed to talk business on the HF bands... strictly "amateur" talk.
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Old 22-05-2013, 16:35   #4
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Re: hf radio newb...

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Can anyone tell me what exactly the marine bands are?
A good overview of marine ssb...

Latitude 38 - Idiot's Guide to Marine SSB
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Old 22-05-2013, 16:37   #5
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Re: hf radio newb...

There is business and there is business. You can't conduct a business on the HAM bands. YOu can take care of personal issues if you don't mind the world listening. You can also order parts, get advice, etc from professionals, etc to keep the boat going.

You'll need a General Ham License to talk on your radio. You will first have to pass the Technician license test before you can take the General Examt. You can take the tests consecutively in the same day, even the extra license, if you are in a hurry. Google 'Ham Practice Tests' to get study material. Spending a couple of days going over the tests should enable you to pass the tests through General, maybe eve Expert if you have an aptitude for electronics. Tests actually have very little to do with electronics but mostly Ham rules, propagation, and proper operation of the radio. It's pretty much all practical knowledge that you'll need and use. If you want to get deeper into Ham radio, Gordon West has a series of prep books on the licenses and ARRL has a bunch of resources. Finding a local ham club is also a good source of hands on help. You'll need to find a Ham Club in any case as they administer the tests.

The Marine radios are channelized to transmit on specific frequencies. Just dial in a channel number and talk. Most can be set up to tune and transmit through all the HF frequency ranges including Ham. The Icom 802 does it with a menu change others may require greater mods. Most have some provision to survive in the marine environment but none are water proof. Ham radios like the Icom 7200 also have things like sealed front ends to keep water out. Believe the 735 is an older Ham Radio but still probably a good for what you want. My Icom 718, a good basic ham set, has survived for going on 5 years on the boat without any issues. The 718 and probably most other Ham radios can be opened up to transmit on any HF frequency though it's not 'legal' to do so except in an emergency. There is so little happening on the Marine Frequencies on the West Coast that haven't felt the need for a Marine HF. Some areas may be more heavily into Marine Bands, however.
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Old 23-05-2013, 10:20   #6
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Re: hf radio newb...

Thanks guys. I am still a bit befuddled as to what exactly the "marine bands" are, but i suppose i should just get my ham license.
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Old 23-05-2013, 10:25   #7
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Re: hf radio newb...

Think of it this way; the marine bands are like your TV.... they have a dedicated spot... like channel 4, 5, or 13. Your TV could be built with a big dial so you rotate it and the frequencies change as you do ... infinitely... not in steps. You would have to "tune in" to the appropriate spot carefully to get best reception. That would be more like a ham radio.a
The Marine SSB uses frequencies that are in the spectrum of the Ham frequencies... in Ham you can pick any freq you want (that arent legally reserved for other things) like 14350.5 and meet someone and talk there.
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Old 23-05-2013, 10:34   #8
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Re: hf radio newb...

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Originally Posted by five guys named View Post
Thanks guys. I am still a bit befuddled as to what exactly the "marine bands" are, but i suppose i should just get my ham license.
Think of the HF radio spectrum (3.0 to 30 mHz) as a standard yardstick.

The ham bands lie between 1.8 and 2.0 inches, between 3.3 and 4.0 inches, between 7.0 and 7.3 inches, between 10.0 and 10.15 inches, between 14.0 and 14.35 inches, etc., etc.

The marine bands lie between 2.0 and 2.8 inches, between 4.0 and 4.2 inches, between 6.6 and 6.8 inches, between 8.3 and 8.8 inches, between 12.3 and 12.4 inches, etc., etc.

As you can readily see, these bands are interspersed all along the yardstick.

Each of these is called a "Service". The ham bands are for the Amateur Radio Service. The marine bands are for the Maritime Radio Service.

Other bands along the yardstick are assigned to other Services, e.g., the Aviation Service, the Military Service, the Land Mobile Service, etc., etc.

You can imagine the chaos if some or all of these Services shared the same bands! That's why there is a specific band allocation for each Service.

There are also design, manufacture, and performance specifications for equipment, as well as licensing specifications for operators, which must be met for each specific Service.

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Old 23-05-2013, 10:41   #9
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Re: hf radio newb...

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.... in Ham you can pick any freq you want (that arent legally reserved for other things) like 14350.5 and meet someone and talk there.
If you do that, i.e., come up on 14350.5, you'll get a whole bunch of hams telling you you're "out of band". And, if you persist, the FCC will come a-calling :-)

Better go down 5kHz or so to 14345.5 kHz!

(The 20-meter Amateur Radio Service allocation is 14000.0 to 14350.0 kHz).

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Old 23-05-2013, 10:49   #10
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Re: hf radio newb...

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
If you do that, i.e., come up on 14350.5, you'll get a whole bunch of hams telling you you're "out of band". And, if you persist, the FCC will come a-calling :-)

Better go down 5kHz or so to 14345.5 kHz!

(The 20-meter Amateur Radio Service allocation is 14000.0 to 14350.0 kHz).

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yeah right, i just guessed at a number!
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Old 23-05-2013, 13:23   #11
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Re: hf radio newb...

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in Ham you can pick any freq you want (that arent legally reserved for other things) like 14350.5 and meet someone and talk there.
I know it's just an example, but you're 0.5 out of band there.
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Old 23-05-2013, 14:32   #12
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Re: hf radio newb...

Reeds Nautical Almanac has a very good communications section that lists the marine SSB frequencies, both simplex and duplex. It also lists many of the marine nets, IIRC.

Well worth getting.

Hope this helps

Best

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Old 23-05-2013, 18:26   #13
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Re: hf radio newb...

To answer your original question, here are the marine channels/frequencies: HF Single Sideband Maritime Radiotelephone Channels
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Old 23-05-2013, 19:25   #14
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Re: hf radio newb...

Others here have already described the differences, you can visit docksideradio.com for a list of nets on both HF amateur and marine SSB channel/frequencies for listening in. you can also monitor 14.300Mhz Maritime mobile net on your pc at 14300.net or mmsn.org lots of maritime mobile check-ins Good Luck.
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Old 23-05-2013, 19:34   #15
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Re: hf radio newb...

Bt...nice explanation of what bands are! Another possible explanation...the AM and FM bands on your radio...a band is a set of radio frequencies allocated by the FCC to public broadcasting, marine, aviation, HAM, etc. Mauritz
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