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Old 22-03-2014, 10:27   #16
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Re: HF Rig on a Sailboat - the Practicalities

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Originally Posted by JohnnyBoyRR View Post
...my understanding is that as long as I also have a Marine license, and I'm transmitting in the correct format for that part of the spectrum, then what can be illegal?
What can be illegal is that you are not allowed to transmit on the marine channels without a type certified radio (except, of course, in an emergency).
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Old 24-03-2014, 06:02   #17
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Re: HF Rig on a Sailboat - the Practicalities

Hi Orchidius,

feel free to contact me I have done a lot of installs and trials on my boat, am a HAM and can help you with advice and/or your install if you want to.
I am a fan of DIY solutions like the alternate backstay.
I also have a spare Yaesu FT897D that I have used for several years on the boat (just found an Icom IC7000 a few months ago).

My boat is in Zeebrugge, Westhinder marina.

Jan

Drop me a mail if you want to exchange ideas on janDOTdeDOTsmet8appestaartjetelenet.be
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Old 24-03-2014, 06:24   #18
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Re: HF Rig on a Sailboat - the Practicalities

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Originally Posted by JohnnyBoyRR View Post
I'm a bit puzzled. You (Dockhead) say that a HAM radio can't legally be used on marine bands... I don't understand. I'm a new HAM (Technician working on General) and my understanding is that as long as I also have a Marine license, and I'm transmitting in the correct format for that part of the spectrum, then what can be illegal? Still learning, hoping to set sail in the next year - appreciate any good advice.
To transmit on Marine SSB bands, you are required to:

1. Have appropriate station and operator's licenses. An amateur radio license is not acceptable.

2. Use only a type-certified marine SSB transceiver.

Marine SSB transceivers are subject to rigorous standards in terms of spectrum purity and frequency stability. They are required to operate with power supplies of much lower voltages than is typically possible with amateur transceivers (and this is important on boats which may have depleted battery banks in emergency situations). There is a lot of good information on here about all of this; see in particular various posts of KA4WJA on here. There are apparently no ham transceivers that come anywhere close to meeting the standards required for marine SSB transceivers.
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Old 24-03-2014, 06:42   #19
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Re: HF Rig on a Sailboat - the Practicalities

Orchidius,

do not worry...it all depends from your usage.

To download weatherfax (even Navtex) and emails via HAM HF frequencies, call into HAM nets, get in touch with HAM stations that accompany you on your journey (some do) you are fine with your HAM license and ham-type rig.

If you would call a MAYDAY in distress you are far more likley to get quick response on HAM bands.
You will not be persecuted to use a marine SSB frequency for a Mayday and if so what the heck....
What you cannot do is participate in nets on marine SSB frequencies but then again you will find loads of HAMs wanting to talk to you when you will be /Marine Mobile on the atlantic.

A few years ago I was in touch with a HAM from Brussels who took care of the european side of an atlantic crossing HAM net. have to look him up.

Here you will find some mor einfo on HAM marine nets:

Maritime Amateur Radio

Jan
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Old 24-03-2014, 07:36   #20
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Re: HF Rig on a Sailboat - the Practicalities

Orchidius,

Gerard Germonpré from Brussels manages the Italian/belgian maritime net on 14.2975 Mhz.
They can get in touch with you on a daily basis during your crossing.
If I remember well he used to be a military helicopter pilot or technician.

EU-MMSN - ON-Belgium

Jan
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Old 24-03-2014, 13:38   #21
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Re: HF Rig on a Sailboat - the Practicalities

Orchidius,
You've gotten some good advice here so far...

--- do not waste your money on the "rope-tenna", you can build your own in less than 30 minutes, for just a few dollars/euros...
Or, even better, build an "alternative backstay" antenna....

--- The GAM antenna is also a waste of money....and, it (like many "coupled" antennas, such as shunt-fed/slant-fed antennas) has sporadic results...
Also, many find that they cause significant on-board transmit RFI....

--- an economical alternative to backstay insulators, is to use an "alternative backstay" antenna... (use SS "lifeline" wire makes it a long-lived antenna)

--- attach remote auto-tuner's "grd" lug directly to your steel hull...(the recent Icom AT-130/AT-140 tuners and SGC-230 tuner, are DC isolated, so ne need for ext. capacitors)



But, perhaps I can add a few very important things...

--- Be sure to install a good quality remote auto-tuner (Icom AT-130/AT-140, SGC-230, SEA, etc.), NOT an LDG, nor an AT-180 (which is NOT a remote tuner).....compromising here is a mistake that some have made, and learned the hard way...

--- Be sure to install the remote tuner (AT-130/AT-140, SGC-230, etc.), below decks, AS CLOSE AS PSOOIBLE TO YOUR "alternative backstay" antenna, and run a short length of GTO-15 feed wire thru a large "thru-deck" plastic wiring clam, and be sure to keep this GTO-15 wire away from everything else, including away from bulkheads and deck, etc. (except of course where it passes thru the deck..)
Understand that the "antenna" starts right there AT the remote antenna tuner, and hence the GTO-15 wire IS PART OF YOUR ANTENNA, and actually an important part...
And, with a steel hull, you really want the antenna OUTSIDE...or at least as much of it as possible outside...

--- PLEASE consider marine HF radio vs. a ham HF radio...
Even if budget is a big concern, PLEASE consider a used marine HF radio vs. the Icom ham radio...
The transmit performance will be significantly better, as well as reliability...

There are many postings here dealing with all of this, and I'll just add some links here so you can read the details...(and these even specifically comment on the Icom IC-706 and IC-7000, vs. the Icom M-700Pro and M-802)

Each of these following ARE different posts, with different/further detail and information....(even if they show the same title here, they are different!!!)

Icom 725, switch to SSB

Icom 725, switch to SSB

Icom 725, switch to SSB

Icom 725, switch to SSB

Buy me an Icom ic-7000 instead of Yaesu FT897?


Buy me an Icom ic-7000 instead of Yaesu FT897?




And, since you're planning on crossing the Atlantic, I would like to stress my recommendation of using a marine HF radio vs. a ham HF radio....and particularly an HF-DSC-SSB radio (such as the Icom M-802....which will cost you about $1800 USD...)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchidius View Post
I've finally got my HAM license, so I can start planning out how I'm going to install a rig in the boat. The plan is to use it for email/weatherfax/communication on an Atlantic circuit starting and arriving in Belgium with the safe-season spent in the Caribbean.

Radio-wise I'd like to get an Icom 7000, but the financial aspect is pushing me towards an IC706mkII. Not too sure about ATU yet, perhaps one that comes with the second-hand tranceiver in a package deal..
Please do not scrimp (an American term for unnecessarily saving money at your detriment) on the HF radio and remote automatic antenna tuner...
These are not only pieces that you may use everyday for weather info (wefax'es, etc.) and routine communications, but also for safety/distress signaling and communications......where a easy-to-use and reliable radio is very important, AND....
AND, where HF-DSC is the ONLY way to signal/call other vessels in your area (beyond VHF-DSC range), for either "Distress", "Safety", or some "routine" reason / assistance (such as asking for weather info/forecasts, water, food, diesel, medical advice/assistance, etc...)
This situation has been the case for the past 15 years...
The exclusive DSC radio watch (versus the old Voice radio watch) has been required since Jan 1999.....so, installing only an HF ham radio (which do NOT have DSC signaling/calling capability) instead of an HF-DSC maritime radio (such as the Icom M-802), can significantly hamper your communications ability when out at sea!!!


BTW, the Icom M-802 works VERY well on the ham radio bands as well....
Please have a look at this tread here (and WATCH the videos), for a good deal of info on HF radio operations....(while it's original intention was to be M-802 specific, most of the videos are useful for everyone....especially videos #4, #5, #10, and #9...with video #3 showing the M-802 on the ham radio bands...)
But, if you only had time to watch a couple of them, I'd recommend Video #4 and Video #10, and than Video #8....

Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call



If you compare the costs of various systems on-board, and the difference between the $1800 USD (new) Icom M-802 vs. the $1100 USD (new) Icom IC-7000, isn't a that big of a difference...

Icom SSB Radio Kits & Components

ICOM IC-7000 | ALL MODE HF/ 6 METER + 2M + 70CM MOBILE TRANSCEIVER



Yes, there are lower prices being asked for used radios, especially the IC-706 series radios...some selling for $500 USD....

But for a long cruise, thru remote areas, Africa, etc. and an Atlantic crossing, etc....I cannot fathom trying to scrimp on a decent radio/tuner...
(this is just my opinion, but is also shared by many experienced ocean sailors...)




Also, please advise us here as to your need for e-mail while at sea....
As, the "need" for e-mail at sea is usually a "desire" rather than a "need"....and understanding that can save you a lot of money!!!
(understand that you can get excellent offshore weather info/forecasts without any e-mail access....)






I hope this helps...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 24-03-2014, 19:36   #22
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Re: HF Rig on a Sailboat - the Practicalities

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
What can be illegal is that you are not allowed to transmit on the marine channels without a type certified radio (except, of course, in an emergency).
Okay, I'm learnin' As I have found with further reading, the frequency specs are tighter on Marine Band, and a standard HAM rig would splatter that. So, is it okay if that Marine radio is opened up to work outside Marine Bands if you're licensed to operate in those bands?
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Old 24-03-2014, 21:21   #23
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Re: HF Rig on a Sailboat - the Practicalities

Johnnyboy,
Kudos to you for wanting to learn!!

Although I probably shouldn't be surprised that this is still be touted as "the big difference", and in reality it is a difference, but not the primary difference...
It's not just "frequency spec's" ("frequency stability") that are different, but even more importantly the transmit "spectral purity", "occupied bandwidth", and IMD products are vastly different!!
There are NO ham radio transceivers that even come close to meeting these specifications...
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyBoyRR View Post
Okay, I'm learnin' As I have found with further reading, the frequency specs are tighter on Marine Band, and a standard HAM rig would splatter that. So, is it okay if that Marine radio is opened up to work outside Marine Bands if you're licensed to operate in those bands?
The Amateur Radio Service is unique in that the amateur radio operators are responsible for their transmissions/transmitters, and as such there are no transmit certifications required...(aside from the Part 15 spec compliance for any internal microprocessor...but even many coffee makers need to meet those specs thesedays...

All other radio services have significant and stringent requirements....the maritime mobile radio service (for US-flagged vessels) come under FCC Part 80 rules...(aviation radios under part 87, and fixed/land mobile under part 90)

Sorry to be so brief....but I don't have too much time tonight for details...so, for more explanation, please read both the earlier referenced/liked posts ("Icom 725, switch to SSB") AND these other posts linked here...
(yes, they are all different, even if it looks like they have the same name...)


Ham Radio vs Marine SSB

Ham Radio vs Marine SSB

Ham Radio vs Marine SSB




And, yes it is perfectly legal to use a marine radio on the amateur radio bands/frequencies.....and many love the wonderful performance that they give, and rarely use anything else...

The Icom M-802 HF-DSC-SSB Maritime transceiver is a Part 80 certified marine radio that performs wonderfully on the ham radio bands, as well as serves the mariner at sea very well, giving you full MF/HF-DSC capability...

Have a look here and watch the videos for yourself...

Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call



I hope this helps you learn even more...


Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 27-03-2014, 03:41   #24
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Re: HF Rig on a Sailboat - the Practicalities

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Orchidius,
You've gotten some good advice here so far...


--- The GAM antenna is also a waste of money....and, it (like many "coupled" antennas, such as shunt-fed/slant-fed antennas) has sporadic results...
Also, many find that they cause significant on-board transmit RFI....


John
s/v Annie Laurie


Ok John is a lot smarter than i am and has forgotten more than i know
his videos are great and i had to ask him a question on them just to show that i respect his opinion
EXCEPT the above -- we have a GAM electronics antenna and could not be happier -- never an issue - in our crossing we constantly hit winlink stations in Canada and some in Fla -- we have constantly been complimented on how well our radio works and other folks have told us we had one of the best and most powerful radios in the carib when we were there

so as for GAM we have heard it all before and for us it works like a champ
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Old 27-03-2014, 04:26   #25
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Re: HF Rig on a Sailboat - the Practicalities

Chuckr,

GAM antenna...if it works for you, it works! Be happy!

Personally I would spend the $465 it costs on a good automatic tuner and build a simple sloping wire antenna...a few cheap isolators and some GTO15 for $ 25 total...

The original poster is looking for a budget install.

Jan
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Old 27-03-2014, 07:39   #26
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Re: HF Rig on a Sailboat - the Practicalities

I just bumped into a package deal for an Icom m710 with a AT-130 tuner for 850€. Still affordable, but "older" technology.

Is this still considered adequate today or is it to HAM what commodore64 is to computers?

Also, how is its operation on the normal HAM frequencies? I read online it lacks VFO and the 10m band but it can be reprogrammed to have both (rather then a regular MARS mod clipping a diode). Is this true?

Does anybody have this and what's your opinion on it?
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