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Old 01-10-2007, 04:19   #1
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Icom 802 for Dummies

Is there a simple guide for the Icom 802? I've just finished installing mine and am having difficulty deciphering the Icom "manual". Right now I just want to tune in and "listen". I've not sent off the dollars for the SSB Liscence and I've not taken my ham test yet. Next Sat for the ham.

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Fair Winds
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Old 01-10-2007, 05:02   #2
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Getting Started in SW Listening - Part 2
Where, When, and How to Tune In
index

Getting Started in SW Listening - Part III
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Single-sideband radio guide:
SSB guide

Beginners Guide to Ham Radio
Ham Radio Blog - IW5EDI Beginners Guide to Ham Radio

Programming the Icom-M802 & the Hidden Dial Mode:
Icom M-802 Prgmng

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M802 Instruction Manual: Icom America - Knowledge Base Article 5CMC2666A1
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Old 27-05-2008, 11:13   #3
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I am considering an IC-M802 for my sail boat, but would like to know some more details on the DSC functions not found in the manual.

A normal secuence in a DSC routine call to a coast station goes like this:

1. A ship station sends a DSC call to a coast station on a DSC call channel (national/international) without suggesting traffic frequencies.
(Traffic frequencies are normally sent back in the reply/ack. from the coast station. Logic is that the coast station often has several traffic channels - covering different areas - which again might be busy - therefore the coast station is better qualified to decide which traffic channel to be used)

2. The coast station accknowledges the call by sending a reply on same channel - which contains the traffic channel to go to.

3. The ship stations accept is sent back to the coast station - and the ships station automatically changes to the traffic channel given by the coast station.

Can any of you M802 owners enlighten me on this ?

Geir in Sirdal, Norway
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Old 28-05-2008, 08:06   #4
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Just a reminder for all you 802 owners--I talked to a boat 2 days ago which was trying to check into Herb's weather net on 12.359 mhz at 2000 gmt. Herb was unable to hear the boat well enough to help them, but I was a lot closer. Their transmission was 'clipping', or cutting out as they spoke. I asked them if the radio was an Icom 802, and they replied that it was. I explained to them that the 802 has a history of the clipping problem and that there is a solution March 19, 2007

I thought the newer 802's had the problem solved, but you should definitely check out your transmissions BEFORE you go offshore.
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:42   #5
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Dave, I am in this same quandary, but just installing the M802. The Icom manual is intimidating, to say the least. I have passed the Amateur radio general license exam and found the ARRL books informative, but I don't know exactly how marine SSN differs from Ham. Like you, I would still like to find a resource that uses a cookbook approach to help understand some topics specific to my radio. My top questions are how to: set up/use DSC , enter my MMSI code (only 2 tries!!!!), unlock the ham channels, and set up a weatherfax connection to my laptop. GordMay's post seems very helpful though one of the links failed for me. Have you found a great resource not shown here? John
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:49   #6
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Some of the simple stuff is posted at Icom M802 Ham Information .
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:40   #7
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This is blaming a problem on the radio rather than a poorly designed or installed antenna which is the real cause of this problem. We have never had a problem with our 802 although I am aware of others who have and in every case, it was an SWR problem caused by the antenna resulting in activation of the self-protection cut-back power circuit in the transceiver. Fix antenna - problem goes away!
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:55   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkall View Post
Is there a simple guide for the Icom 802? I've just finished installing mine and am having difficulty deciphering the Icom "manual". Right now I just want to tune in and "listen"...
I agree with you about the manual--it's not well-written for those who are new to SSB operation. I don't know of any simple guides, but I found that you can figure it out by just spending some time playing around with it. The exception being "unlocking" the unit so that it can access the Ham bands. Gord posted a reference for that, above.

Just start using it for listening. Punch the buttons--you can't hurt it. Search the internet for active Nets. You'll soon figure out how to program in the freqs of the ones you want to go back to, and at some point you'll feel comfortable holding a conversation with someone (on a legal Marine band frequency, of course).
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:07   #9
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If you do have the premature clipping problem, you can send the radio to Icom (age doesn't matter) for a free modification that is allegedly incorporated in all the later versions. Cost is just the one way shipping to the factory. Also, a workaround that sometimes helps is to tune up first in low, then medium, then high power if you have an SGC230 tuner.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:12   #10
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As far as the "clipping" problem, it is both a radio problem and an swr problem. As a marine electronics service technician, I know all about this problem and have done the mod to several 802's myself. The clipping can occur when the swr is around 1.8 or greater. The tuner will tune to an swr of 2.0 or less. The automatic power control circuitry of the 802 was too aggressive in nature, causing the transmitter to completely shut off on voice peaks rather than just cutting the power back, thus the clipping. Icom finally addressed this problem and came up with a fix and all new 802's are shipped with the mod. Every boats antenna system is going to be a little different. The problem may never occur, or it may on a particular band or even on just certain frequencies of that band.

Eric
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:56   #11
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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 problem.

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.

Bill
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:03   #12
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I agree...but....

I agree with most of what Eric and Bill wrote.....except that I love my M-802.....(yeah I know it's not the best rig in the world, since I still LOVE my Drake TR-7's at home, etc....but I digress...)

I've had an M-802 on board for almost 6 years now.....(I actually have two.....the original is my spare, and a newer, 2007 model, is my primary unit...)
And, I know I'm a bit odd, but I've found the M802 to be easy to use and after Icom figured out the "clipping" problem and I had my original M802 modified, it's provideb me excellent preformance....
(although I did consider adding an SG-500 amp / SG-235 tuner years back, for some low-band dx'ing, I decided it wasn't worth the $$$$)

{And, yes, I realize that I'm in a very small minority of those who do like HF-DSC, and have actually used it....the Furuno FS-1570 is just too pricey, in my opinion....}


So, as I wrote above, I do agree with most of what's been written.....but just wanted to post a positive note about the M802, from someone that has 35+ years of HF (marine and ham) experience.....

Fair winds...

John
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:54   #13
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John,

Fair and balanced! Good job :-)

73,

Bill
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Old 06-03-2010, 14:16   #14
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There is a new book out: "The Icom M802 Radio Manual for "Idi-Yachts" by Capt. Marti Brown. Anyone know if Idi-Yacht books have useful content? I understand it doesn't help much for weatherfax hook-up.
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Old 06-03-2010, 14:29   #15
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I agree with John about the ease of operation of the 802. I don't see what the big deal is. The manual is poorly written but there's not a whole lot you can do with this rig as compared to some of my ham radio's which have many more functions available to the user. The 802 is a piece of cake compared to them. The clipping mod is difficult because of the extremely small size of components involved and the small dense area of the circuit board you are working in. I emailed Icom once asking how it is that they advertise the 802 as having DSP speech compression giving the radio more "talk power" but ship the radio's with that feature disabled. They replied that the compression option in the field programming software was in addition to the already built-in compression. Compare the 802 output to the 700 or 710 and you'll find that that is total BS. Dealer's are just the middle man between customer and manufacturer and simply don't do the level of service/repair that they used to, if they even have a true service department at all. Your not likely to find a dealer who is capable of actually doing the clipping modification and I doubt that Icom will turn the compression on for you. I do both for the Navy but don't know of anyone else in the Annapolis area who does either.

Eric
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