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Old 13-10-2016, 21:38   #16
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikFinn View Post
Yes that's the one. But I don't know what the "UK" in his model designator stands for.. My panel is exactly the same.
The manual I downloaded above is printed in 1991 so the model is about 25 years old. Would the old age make this one obsolete for use or are they still not too bad? The DSC is only available on the newer models? And thus very pricey? Whats the advantage in setting up 2 radio stations? Except redundancy?
DSC on an SSB seems of limited value. I am unaware of anyone ever using ssb dsc in anger and acrually being rescued because of it.

We have an icom ic-730? Ham unit and an Icom M710 with Pactor modem. Add in a Sailmail email account and we can send emails and get gribs anywhere.

If you have an older ham radio, a decent ground plane, auto tuner and a decent backstay antenna then you are in good shape

I'd advise you to get your ham licence or marine radio operators certificate and get on the air.

Don't do it illegally. It's very easy to trash useful spectrum and annoy others or even cause problems for someone requiring assistance..

Hams are good citizens and a great global community. Become one.

Note for an ssb the vessel and the operator require licencing. It's not expensive.

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Old 20-10-2016, 13:44   #17
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Leftbrain, et al,
It's no secret here-abouts, that I'm a proponent of HF-DSC....but, I believe I've been less intense about it in the past year and haven't mentioned it too much??
(and, haven't really mentioned it much in this thread...)
But...

But, statements like this??
Well, it just flies in the face of the facts!!
And, I think it's important to know the facts, not just what "some guy down the dock told me", nor "what some wiseass on-line (me) says"!
Quote:
Originally Posted by leftbrainstuff View Post
DSC on an SSB seems of limited value. I am unaware of anyone ever using ssb dsc in anger and acrually being rescued because of it.
Just because you might not be aware of it, it doesn't mean that it isn't true!
I've been trying to find the current stats, but with my new laptop some things are just not where they should be (damn windows10!)....
But, I did find some older stats, directly from the USCG...that you will now be aware of...

A few years ago, when the USCG was deciding on budgets, they did a study on the communications systems, and found their encouragement of use of HF comms and discouragement of use of MF comms had been very successful, and hence why they ceased operations a few years back on MF (2mhz), you know no more "2182 SSB" nor "2187.5khz DSC"...

And, during those studies, some stats cam out that you may find interesting...

During an 8 to 9 year period, from 2003 thru 2009, the study looked at reception by MF/HF Voice and DSC as well as satellite (Inmarsat and other), VHF, EPIRB, and phone. [a quote from the study: "The large number of phone 'notifications' is due to the RCC controller on duty recording the manner in which he was actually notified, and not necessarily the radio system the distressed vessel used".]
After discarding cases from outside U.S. SAR area and cases without lives saved or assisted, the RCC / USCG SAR was notified of distress a total of approx. 82,000K by phone; approx. 61,000 by VHF-FM and VHF-DSC;
19K by EPIRB; 2209 by MF/HF-DSC; and 1710 by Satellite (INMARSAT)

Now that 2209 notifications from MF/HF-DSC (mostly HF-DSC) might seem like a small number over an 8 to 9 year period....but that represents thousands of vessels that "used HF-DSC in anger", just in the US SAR areas, and thousands of lives saved or thousands of tragedies averted!

These stats are directly from the USCG study, and reported in the 2010 report from the national GMDSS implementation task force.

I'm sorry I don't have more up-to-date stats for you, but I suspect that in the last 6 - 7 years the numbers of HF-DSC calls has increased, and you now probably have double the number of vessels that have used "HF-DSC in anger", and thousands more lives saved...

To be clear here, it's possible that some/many of these "alerts" are not actually life-threatening, like many calls to 911....and with as much as 90% of EPIRB activations being false alarms, and I suspect that many of these "telephone notifications" are not legit life-threatening events, either...
But...

But, since actually activating a DSC Distress on an HF-DSC radio is rather entailed (making accidental activation rare), and with most using HF being offshore (rather than coastal or inland), I suspect that a rather high percentage of these MF/HF-DSC "notifications" to be legit...


So, for all the above reasons, I feel it is wrong to discount HF-DSC....
It, along with the entire GMDSS, might be a horse designed by committee....but, it does work, and is being used daily, by hundreds and thousands of vessels at sea...

Remember, HF-DSC is NOT new!
This has been with us now since 1992, and has been mandatory for all SOLAS vessels and all signatory nations to the IMO since Jan 1999!!
That's two decades ago!

How many of you are using a computer, tablet, phone, etc. that is 15 - 20 years old??
Heck, even if a sat phone or sat comm terminal, how many are using one that is 15 - 20 years old?? (IMARSAT-A is long gone, IMARSAT-M and Mini-M have just been decommissioned, and INMARSAT-B is to be shut down in December....old 1998 vintage Iridium handsets have long ago been decommissioned, etc.)
Heck, how about VHF Marine radios??? How many still use the same VHF radio that you've used since the 1990's???
(and let's not even talk about radar, chartplotters, instruments, GPS, etc..)

But, still we have many folks that say "nothing has changed", and "this DSC crap is just for big ships, or something like that", and "why do I need that, I've got a sat phone?"....etc. etc. etc...

I'm not trying to go off on a rant about how good HF-DSC is, not at all....(I've done that enough in the past!)
What I am trying to get at is this:

If you don't want it, that's fine...
If you cannot afford it, that's fine...

But, if you think it doesn't work, well that's plainly incorrect...
And, if you think nobody uses it, well that too is incorrect....


I hope this clears up any misconceptions, and shows that HF-DSC is being used (and "used in anger") by many mariners, worldwide and here in US waters, everyday!!

Fair winds...

John

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Old 21-10-2016, 05:29   #18
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Erik,
You're welcome!
1) First off, if I could clarify something...
Some will think it a distinction without a difference, but there is a big difference!
You can use just about any HF receiver with a BFO to receive HF WeFax signals....that means if it can receiver an HF Single-SideBand (SSB) signal it can receiver an HF WeFax signal...
But, there is no "downloading" going on at all...you are receiving a signal...the WeFax signal will be tones and warbles, that don't make sense to the human ear, so a decoder (or modem) of some type is used to decode the tones into an image....and either displayed on a screen or printed on paper...
Nowadays, most simply use free software on their laptop or tablet to decode and display the WeFax images....

Is there a de-facto free windows software that cruisers use the most to decode and display WeFax images?

It is all free and easy to do...
But, there is no "downloading", nor "requesting", etc....it's just that the tones and warbles need to be decoded into an image that the human eye can use...

Sorry about my bad terminology, I was referring to the exact process you describe ��

Erik, please understand that there is NO need at all for a PACTOR modem to get WeFax signals...
(if you've already got the PACTOR modem, and you wish to use it through Sailmail, etc. to send/rec e-mails, that's fine....but, you do not need a PACTOR modem to get wefax....
yes, you can use the PACTOR modem as a "demodulator" to decode the wefax signal and then run that to your laptop, but it is unnecessary....

Thank you for bringing this up as this has been and is unclear to me. I have a Pactor 2 modem (I believe, I will check once back in the boat). Please let me ask a few simple clarifying questions to fill the voids in my knowledge:
1) Would using a Pactor modem make it easier, more effective, or more error free to decode and display WeFaxes? Or is it just an unnecessary extra piece of hardware in this process?
2) Then, am I correct to presume the following:
a) Pactor modem is ONLY needed to receive and send emails by services such as "SailMail" and "Winlink"? There is no other use for a Pactor modem?
b) SailMail costs about 270 USD annually, and a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's permit and Ship station licence are required.
c) Winlink is free to use but a ham license is required (ahem, and a Ship station Licence?)
d) Grib files can only be received by using a Pactor modem and Winlink or SailMail?




and, yes you can use saildocs, and request a wefax chart be sent to you in email, thru sailmail, etc....)

What is "saildocs"?

Sorry about the rant...just wanted to be clear!

No rant, good education, thank you ��
I try to catch up with this ssb thing among other things.. Sorry about the delay. I inserted comments and questions in red.

Edit: some of it I think you already answered, but just to confirm..
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Old 21-10-2016, 06:01   #19
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Erik,
1) Not sure I'd be planning a passage thru the northern and/or NW Indian Ocean, and onto the Red Sea???

Thanks for your heads up and kind concern John, certainly valid comments, and war in Jemen and general unrest in the area.. I have been following this thread recently, seems not much trouble lately though:

SE Asia to the Med via Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea




If you have a PACTOR modem now, assuming it's a PACTOR-III modem (and it works), you can sell it for about $1000 USD....and pocket that cash, or sell the IC-718, as well, and buy a new M-802!!!
(keep the remote Icom auto-tuner, for use with the M-802)
But, please advise if you do have a PACTOR modem now, and what model / version (if it's an older P-II modem, you may need to look closely at its serial number and send an e-mail to inquire if it has been updated to PACTOR-III)

I think it's a Pactor II.. Will check.. I have two auto-tuners, one I believe AT-120, but not sure as the plastic sticker is destroyed by the UV.. Another one is unused new, uninstalled, for use with the 718.
The email re Pactor II/III would go to the scs-ptc factory in Germany? I could not say just by looking at it?


John
Again comment and Q in red bold..
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Old 21-10-2016, 06:23   #20
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Quote:
Originally Posted by leftbrainstuff View Post

I'd advise you to get your ham licence or marine radio operators certificate and get on the air.

Don't do it illegally. It's very easy to trash useful spectrum and annoy others or even cause problems for someone requiring assistance..

Hams are good citizens and a great global community. Become one.
No doubt you are correct.

I believe ham Licence is out of my reach at the moment as I'm on the other side of the planet from my home country.. I know one can study online but the exam can not be taken online, one has to physically go sit it at a location where the exam is offered. Would I pass if I sat in Malaysia? I don't know if they use the USA syllabus and test material.. 😅
However, I am a FAA licences commercial pilot and I should be able to get the RR limited by just applying with the FCC. That would cover the marine HF. Incidentally, my own country does not recognise the the airman Licence as a qualification for the RR; too much bureaucracy in the EU. (just ask the curved cucumbers what they think about the EU... )

Ship station Licence I should get by just applying from my own country. If unfruitful, don't worry, I won't be going trolling all over the air waves and ruining people's days.. I would just get the WeFaxes without ever transmitting.
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Old 21-10-2016, 11:03   #21
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Erik,
Here are the answers as best as I can configure them...

BTW, I didn't mean to imply that a PACTOR modem was "bad", it isn't...it is great piece of kit!
But, it is pricey! (about $1500 to $2000 USD)
And, for decoding WeFax, it isn't needed...
But, if you already have it, use it....or sell it to buy a new radio (or something else, if budget is tight...


You ask:
Is there a de-facto free windows software that cruisers use the most to decode and display WeFax images?

Answer:
Yes...
JVComm32 and GetFax are the two that are most common....combined the represent what >90% of cruisers use, with JVComm the most common...
(some may still use wefax2000 and some SeaRTTY)
With some tablet users using BlackCat...

JVComm32 - FAX SSTV RTTY SYNOP NAVTEX program

Airmail weather fax

HF Weather Fax Marine Radio Fascimile Decoder App



You ask:
Thank you for bringing this up as this has been and is unclear to me. I have a Pactor 2 modem (I believe, I will check once back in the boat). Please let me ask a few simple clarifying questions to fill the voids in my knowledge:

1) Would using a Pactor modem make it easier, more effective, or more error free to decode and display WeFaxes? Or is it just an unnecessary extra piece of hardware in this process?
Answer:
a) Yes....Some do report using the filters and demodulator in the PACTOR modem to produce a cleaner WeFax image (less noise), and if you have the modem already and it works fine, then by all means use it, it will be good!
b) Easier?? maybe, maybe about the same....(if you're using GetFax, which is part of the Airmail program, it should be about the same....not sure how much easier that is than JVComm...but neither will be difficult.)



2) Then, am I correct to presume the following:
a) Pactor modem is ONLY needed to receive and send emails by services such as "SailMail" and "Winlink"? There is no other use for a Pactor modem?
Answer:
While a PACTOR modem can do many functions, but except for e-mail connectivity thru Sailmail or Winlink, and its use as a WeFax demodulator, all other uses are primarily for ham radio enthusiasts / geeks / etc...
So...
So, while e-mail connectivity isn't the only thing it does (there are other functions that a PACTOR modem CAN do)....for most cruisers and certainly for non-hams, the Sailmail and Winlink e-mail connectivity (and WeFax demodulating) are the only function it is usually used for...


b) SailMail costs about 270 USD annually, and a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's permit and Ship station licence are required.
Answer:
Yes...

c) Winlink is free to use but a ham
license is required?
Answer:

Yes...

d) Grib files can only be received by using a Pactor modem and Winlink or SailMail?
Answer:
Yes....




What is "saildocs"?
Answer:
Saildocs is an email-based document-retrieval system for the delivery of text-based Internet documents either on request or by subscription. Saildocs can deliver web pages (including text weather forecasts, and provides subscriptions for automatic delivery

Home Page





Also, if you want to determine whether your PACTOR modem has been upgraded to PACTOR-III, have a look here...
https://sailmail.com/glossary-of-scs...model-numbers/


http://www.farallon.us/webstore/index1.html?17.html&1


Upgrade Pactor 2 to Pactor 3 ??









I hope this helps...

Fair winds...

John
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Old 21-10-2016, 12:02   #22
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Re: Icom IC-M800

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But is there an affordable way (say few hundred bucks) to add DSC to an old radio like this?
It is possible but no one wants to do it (small market, heavy regulation). If you look at the black cat systems DSC app, it can decode hf-dsc signals. Just as easily they could add functionality to transmit information: You select your DSC message from a drop down menu, dial one of the six frequencies, hit transmit, then go to a listening frequency for ack. You may need to repeat this six times but typically hams have a good idea about the best frequency to use. I have spoken to the company but they would not do it. The app would have to be type approved, etc.

I can see the benefit for cruisers though. You can have the radio in receive all the time and other fellow cruisers can just dial your ship via the app and the MMSI. May be we should pull resources together to develop an app.

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Old 23-10-2016, 10:22   #23
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Re: Icom IC-M800

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Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post

I hope this helps...

Fair winds...

John
Thank you for your kind help John. Everything most helpful. I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of this..
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