Yes, it's both a radio problem and an SWR problem, as Eric says.
In the past year I've installed and/or troubleshot nearly a dozen 802 installations, managing in most cases to quickly resolve the problem(s). Yes, very often it's "problems" not "problem".
From a user's perspective, the 802 is perhaps the most non-intuitive HF radio
I've run across in more than 40 years of radio experience. This includes ham radios, land-mobile radios, marine radios, aircraft radios and military radios. I have a house/shop full of them...usually at least 25 different radios on hand.
In addition to being non-intuitive, the manual stinks. There's no other word for it. Marty Brown, author of the "Idi-Yacht" series, was working last year on a new manual for the 802. Not sure where her effort now lies, but a clear manual is very much needed. Consider this: the DSC portion only takes up 30-some pages in the manual. Even if you ARE able to decipher all that, and commit some of it to memory, what's going to happen when you're knee-deep in water
and really need it? Think you'll remember how to use it?
The radio itself isn't too bad. It's well built like all Icom radios and, when properly set up and operated, it does a good job. On older 802's there are two things which may need doing and can only be done by dealers or Icom: (1) the SWR problem; and (2) the speech compression
HF radios for the past 25 years or so have all incorporated a feature which protects the output transistors: when high SWR is detected, power is cut back significantly. Icom, in its wisdom, decided that this tried and proven system could be "improved upon" and incorporated a different kind of sensing, and the response was different, too. That resulted in the "clipping" problem and worse.
Worse? Yes. This morning on the air I ran some tests with a boat which requested I compare signals from an onboard 802 and an Icom 706MKIIG. The tuner was a SG-230. The 706 was solid and strong....S8-9 on the 40-meter band. The 802, when it could be heard, was S6 for a bit, then cut back until it was entirely unreadable. We tried both ways, using the SG-230's SmartLock to retain the tuner settings when using each radio in turn, and also having the SG-230 retune with each radio. Same result.
What was happening? Well, my guess is that the 802 was exhibiting BOTH known problems: the SWR clipping and power reduction problem and the speech compression
AKA "low talk power" phenomenon described by Gordon West, et. al.
This 802 will have to go either to a dealer -- who may be able to fix both problems -- or to Icom which will fix the SWR problem but will probably not turn on speech compression (because the radio will then no longer meet the Federal standards for spurious emissions).
By the way, after making contact with the 706 it took the ham operator I was doing the tests with a couple of minutes to dial in and come up on the frequency we had chosen for testing. Yes, the 802 can be used on the ham bands. No, it's not slam dunk easy as they like to promote. But, hey, most ANY marine radio can also be used on the ham bands. And, some of them are every bit as easy or easier than the 802.
It may sound like I'm an 802-hater. I'm not. But, I think it's only prudent to point out to those who believe the 802 to be the latest and greatest marine SSB that it's not so great. Unless you need and want HF-DSC, of course, in which case you're stuck with the 802 or a much, much more expensive commercial
radio. Personally, I believe HF-DSC for most of us is nearly useless.
If the 802 isn't the be-all, end-all of marine SSBs, then, what are the other choices?
Amongst the new radios there are several, and two of them are Icoms. Both the Icom 710 and the Icom 700Pro are solid, excellent radios. The 700Pro has the edge in user friendliness, especially if you want to do both ham and marine SSB.
Amongst the used radios there are a bunch. Those frequently appearing on the used market include the Icom M700
, the Icom M600, several of the SEA series. Less frequently seen but excellent radios include the Kenwood TKM-707 (my personal favorite), the Yaesu System 600 (I have one on my boat), the Raytheon
Ray-152 (made by JRC and identical to the JSB-176), and others.
Sorry to ramble on so long.