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Old 28-08-2015, 05:05   #1
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iCOM IC-M700 any good

My boat came with an iCOM IC-M700 and AT-120 tuner. I've finally got around to learning how to use and an have attempted to call a friend.

Is this old radio any good? I'd much prefer to get by with this one than to spend the money to upgrade to an 802 considering how little I'll probably use it.

Also, can anyone explain the Mode switch? (A3J,A3A,A3H)
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Old 28-08-2015, 06:02   #2
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Re: iCOM IC-M700 any good

It has been awhile, the switch, I believe, chooses a mode like upper sideband and lower sideband. I had a m700, and it just worked well with voice communication, and to receive weather faxes through a modem. As technology changed, it was outdated compared to more current sets, but for voice communication, it was outstanding. I would get compliments how clear and strong my signal was. A lot of that had to do with the install thought. Keep it until you want more features.
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Old 28-08-2015, 06:04   #3
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Re: iCOM IC-M700 any good

The 120 tuner has mechanical relays so you hear a lot of clicking and banging, I think newer ones are electronic
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Old 28-08-2015, 07:01   #4
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Re: iCOM IC-M700 any good

Quote:
Originally Posted by MooGroc View Post
My boat came with an iCOM IC-M700 and AT-120 tuner. I've finally got around to learning how to use and an have attempted to call a friend.

Is this old radio any good? I'd much prefer to get by with this one than to spend the money to upgrade to an 802 considering how little I'll probably use it.

Also, can anyone explain the Mode switch? (A3J,A3A,A3H)
The M-700 is a very robust radio that, although lacking some of the 802 "Bells'n Whistles" is very serviceable. The AT-120 is an equally reliable, simple, antenna tuner. Our set has been on the boat since 1996 and I have yet to find a reason to replace it. The Mode Switch is a selector for transmission types although you will mostly want to use A3H for AM reception and A3J for SSB upper side-band. Turning the selector further counter clock wise gives you (an unmarked) SSB Lower Side Band. The owners manual for the radio can be found at http://www.thiecom.de/ftp/icom/icm700/ic-m700.pdf . The only change I made to our radio was the addition of a jack on the front panel that allows us to plug the radio into the microphone jack on our Lap Top for receiving Weather Fax transmissions (for that you'll need one of the simple weather fax programs that are available). Bill Trayfors, a member here, can give you much more info on the radio.

FWIW...
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Old 28-08-2015, 10:37   #5
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Re: iCOM IC-M700 any good

MooGroc,
Yes, although it's showing its age, as others have written, the old M-700 is a workable radio for casual ship-to-ship communications...
(and, assuming you're in the "Raritan Bay" off on NY / NJ, and sailing/cruising the US east coast, etc., where you're within HF Voice contact of both Shipcom/WLO and the USCG's NMN, NMG, etc., it is also still good for casual ship-to-shore comms, as well as signaling for assistance, etc.)

Here are the listings of Marine HF ("SSB") frequencies...
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=rtchansi
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=mtHighFrequency

http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=cgcommsCall

HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels

A good rule of thumb is to always use the highest frequency that will allow communications along the desired distance, and that particular time-of-day....

Quote:
Originally Posted by MooGroc View Post
My boat came with an iCOM IC-M700 and AT-120 tuner. I've finally got around to learning how to use and an have attempted to call a friend.

Is this old radio any good? I'd much prefer to get by with this one than to spend the money to upgrade to an 802 considering how little I'll probably use it.

Also, can anyone explain the Mode switch? (A3J,A3A,A3H)
1) Select A3J, and then leave the mode switch alone....(actually, many of the M-700's won't actually change mode, so no real worries...)

{FYI, A3J, was the old designator for suppressed-carrier SSB...A3A was "reduced-carrier SSB" (approx. 16db suppressed) transmitting a low-power "pilot-carrier" to allow older coast stations to automatically track a "drifting" transmitter on-board....A3H was know "AM-Equivalent" (full-carrier SSB)....}



2) FYI, almost all of the info you'll need is available thru the links in the "sticky" at the top of the Marine Electronics page...
Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, etc.)



3) I just got done discussing radiowave propagation and channel/freq choice on another thread, so won't delve deeply into that here...
But, I will direct you to some Youtube videos that will help, and well as some other recent threads...

Please have a look here:



Please have a look at this other thread:
Net frequencies

And, for some directly on-point info about using your M-700, etc. (for new comers):
Tips for using an HF-SSB Radio (mostly for newcomers)

And, for detailed info on frequency / channel choices:
HF Radio Freqs, summertime Atlantic crossing, offshore Net..



4) And, in brief, try 8294khz (8A) for most daytime ship-to-ship comms, from 0 to approx. 400 miles....and at nighttime, out to a few thousand miles...
And, daytime for longer ranges, try 12359khz, from 300 miles out to 5000+ miles....and 16528khz, from 750 miles out to 5000+ miles....



5) For lots of good info on HF ("SSB") communications and how-to effectively use your radio, please have a look at these videos...

Marine HF ("SSB") Communications
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y

HF-DSC Communications
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ga2zYuPozhUXZX

Offshore Weather
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY





I hope this helps...

fair winds..

John
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Old 28-08-2015, 10:39   #6
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Re: iCOM IC-M700 any good

I have had one for over twenty years on my last boat, and I have one on my current boat as well. I personally would not go to sea wiyhout one. A number of years ago we were able to save a woman who was having a miscarrage buy contacting the Coast Guard in the Cheasapeake Bay from the Bahamas and they coordinated the rescue. If you want to talk to someone close by, forget it, they are only good at long range, but the Coast Guard monitors them, or at least they did. KEEP IT BY ALL MEANS!
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Old 28-08-2015, 11:23   #7
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Re: iCOM IC-M700 any good

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
The M-700 is a very robust radio that, although lacking some of the 802 "Bells'n Whistles" is very serviceable. The AT-120 is an equally reliable, simple, antenna tuner. Our set has been on the boat since 1996 and I have yet to find a reason to replace it. The Mode Switch is a selector for transmission types although you will mostly want to use A3H for AM reception and A3J for SSB upper side-band. Turning the selector further counter clock wise gives you (an unmarked) SSB Lower Side Band. The owners manual for the radio can be found at http://www.thiecom.de/ftp/icom/icm700/ic-m700.pdf . The only change I made to our radio was the addition of a jack on the front panel that allows us to plug the radio into the microphone jack on our Lap Top for receiving Weather Fax transmissions (for that you'll need one of the simple weather fax programs that are available). Bill Trayfors, a member here, can give you much more info on the radio.

FWIW...
If I may ask, how did you add the front panel jack? Did you just tap directly into the output to the speaker or is there a special place to connect?
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Old 28-08-2015, 11:44   #8
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Re: iCOM IC-M700 any good

I have one in the shop as we speak. Got it for a very reasonable price, but it appears to be txing off frequency, which is a problem. Thought at first it was a misaligned PLL board, then possibly an oscillator and now the tech has decided it might be the sideband filter. I got it strictly for voice comm, so hope I can get it working!
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Old 28-08-2015, 12:04   #9
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Re: iCOM IC-M700 any good

Lester,
Not to sound like a "know-it-all", but this is just not true...
Quote:
Originally Posted by lesterbutch View Post
. If you want to talk to someone close by, forget it, they are only good at long range,
HF communications ("SSB") is actually more reliable (and predictable) at the shorter ranges, i.e. "close by", such as within a few hundred miles....this is typically via Near Vertical Incident Skywave, and is a fairly reliable and robust means of communications...

The most significant reasons why some on-board cruising boats seem to think otherwise are:
a) a misunderstanding of radiowave propagation
b) improper frequency/channel choice for the distance/range, and time-of-day...
c) vertical antenna's null overhead...

And, over the past few decades these first two ignorance's have grown to become the reason that some propagate the myth that "SSB don't work"...

If HF communications users learn just a little bit about radiowave propagation and correct channel/frequency choice (which takes only about 30 minutes, or so!), they will find it to be a wonderfully useful and reliable means of communications!!

Now, for those non-technical users, the GMDSS and HF-DSC established in 1992 (and mandatory for all SOLAS ships and SOLAS signatory nations, in Jan 1999), removes the need for knowledge of radiowave propagation and channel/frequency choice, by utilizing MF/HF-DSC signaling on multiple frequencies....
However, this requires a modern MF/HF-DSC-SSB Radiotelephone (such as the Icom M-802)...
But, of course, this doesn't apply to this discussion of an old M-700 (which is a non-DSC radio)..







Lester, if you read the links I referenced above, you'll see just what frequencies the USCG does monitor and their watch-keeping schedules (as well as their recommendations for how-to contact them, etc.)...also the frequencies monitored and used my Shipcom's WLO and KLB...
Quote:
Originally Posted by lesterbutch View Post
. but the Coast Guard monitors them, or at least they did. KEEP IT BY ALL MEANS!
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=cgcommsCall

HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels


So, for pleasure boats / cruising boats within HF SSB Voice radio range of the USCG (and/or Taupo Radio, NZ and/or AMSA's stations VMC and VMN), it is true that there is still some HF SSB Voice monitoring going on....
BUT, that is it!!

Nobody else, no ships, no other shore stations, etc. are monitoring SSB Voice channels....it is all done via MF/HF-DSC...and has been this way since Jan 1999!

If you're interested, please have a look at these videos for more info..
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ga2zYuPozhUXZX


Fair winds..

John
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Old 28-08-2015, 12:17   #10
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Re: iCOM IC-M700 any good

I forgot the link to the most recent thread....the one I was saying that I had just finished replying to!
Duh!


So, here it is:

OK, I am HF certified... now what?

Have a look, much of your questions are answered there..

Fair winds...

John
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Old 28-08-2015, 12:52   #11
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Re: iCOM IC-M700 any good

Thanks everyone for all the great responses - in particular for ka4wja's explanation of the mode switch. I do have the manual, but it doesn't
really explain this switch at all.

I had already watched most of ka4wja's videos and read most of these
threads, but there isn't much out there specifically about the m700.

I'm in the process of reprogramming the limited number of pre-programmed channels. I'm adding Wx, Coast Guard, hailing and other useful frequencies.

Based on the responses, it seems the m700 is a perfectly good radio for
occasional use even if it is light on features and missing DSC.
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Old 28-08-2015, 13:26   #12
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Re: iCOM IC-M700 any good

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
If I may ask, how did you add the front panel jack? Did you just tap directly into the output to the speaker or is there a special place to connect?
I took the radio in to our technician at Jaytron Electronics in Bradenton, Fla, and had him add an RCA jeck to the front panel. That merely involved drilling a small hole in the panel face on the lower right side (looking at the panel) and inserting the jack. He connected it to the loud-speaker leads and we were good-to-go. The system works pretty well for collecting weather fax transmissions via the sound board in our lap-top with a program such as JVComm32. (A small printer is helpful for reviewing images but not a necessity.) With this arrangement one can also receive NAVTEX.

FWIW...
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Old 21-12-2016, 15:39   #13
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Re: iCOM IC-M700 any good

Great info guys must get my isolator blocks out and have a play.... Boat came with the Icom and I bought an old AT130 but never got round to adding the rigging isolators!
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Old 21-12-2016, 15:44   #14
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Re: iCOM IC-M700 any good

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Originally Posted by Emmalina View Post
Great info guys must get my isolator blocks out and have a play.... Boat came with the Icom and I bought an old AT130 but never got round to adding the rigging isolators!
Look up 'alternative backstay antenna'

A ton cheaper and simpler. I did it and it works great.
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Old 21-12-2016, 16:04   #15
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Re: iCOM IC-M700 any good

Good info and discussion. As usual, John and others have provided excellent info.

However, I do object to two things:

1. The statements to the effect that the M700 is a good radio for "casual use" or for "occasional use". NO, NO, NO. The M700 is a good solid radio which is just as capable of voice communications as ANY OTHER MARINE RADIO, INCLUDING THE M802. True, it doesn't have DSC and it lacks a true VFO (which only one or two other marine radios have), but for net use and for communicating in fixed frequencies it's just as good as any other marine radio.

2. The implication that a marine HF transceiver lacking DSC capability isn't worth much these days because of GMDSS, SOLAS, etc. Again, NO NO NO. Not true. Depending on where you sail, it can be very useful to participate in established marine nets (and, if you have a ham license, in the many ham nets devoted to marine users). Also, the USCG HF network and the marine operator WLO and KLB on the Gulf and West costs have excellent coverage of ALL U.S. waters and far out into the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific oceans. None of this requires DSC. And, by the way, they don't just listen "sometimes": they listen 24/7 on multiple HF frequencies, and also broadcast WX and traffic lists on multiple frequencies which helps to guage propagation conditions.

John and I agree on almost everything technical involving HF radio, but we disagree deeply on the imperative of DSC. Yes, nice to have and maybe even crucial in some situations. But not having it does not render an HF Marine transceiver useless, nor does it affect ham SSB transceivers (NONE of which have DSC, by the way).

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