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Old 04-10-2016, 11:23   #1
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Icom IC-M800

Hi folks,

Anyone out there familiar with the IC-M800?
It came with the boat when I bought it but I've never used it yet. My understanding is that this is a"marine" SSB, as opposed to a "ham" radio. While I'm typing this I have the user manual pdf downloading on my slow connection..

I don't have any of the ssb hf licences/permits yet, and at the moment my thoughts are that I would only use this for downloading weather maps and for emergency situation (hope not). I did find that the M800 can be modded so it can use all the ham frequencies as well.

This must be quite old, maybe 30 or even 40 years old? Someone would say vintage.. Has a separate control head and a BIG box for the rest stuff.. But my understanding is that if indeed this is a "marine" ssb then the build quality should be quite good and maybe its still usefull.. For something.. Apparently the cable from control head to the "big box" is a fibre optic one.

Soo.. I would especially like to hear from someone who knows this unit, if its any good and what could I use it for? Does it have some special properties? Is it lacking something useful?

I also have an unused IC-718 ham radio (which can be modded to work on marine ssb freqs) with a new tuner, both uninstalled.

PS. This is NOT a M802.
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Old 04-10-2016, 21:39   #2
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Output power 150 W and the panel says "HF Marine Transceiver" so I guess it is a "marine" unit, lol. Don't shoot me please I admit I am a noob with SSBs.

Manual can be found here:

Manual Downloads | Icom Inc


Still would appreciate comments..
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Old 04-10-2016, 21:59   #3
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Not familiar with them but from what I am reading it is an honest enough radio capable of being used on the marine bands without attracting the attention of the spectrum polis..... can also be opened up for ham. Only lacks DSC.

Found this .. ICOM IC-M800UK MF/HF Marine Transceiver | eBay

If you own both it and a 718 then set up 2 radio stations.... thats what I've done... 710 and 706mk2G.
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Old 05-10-2016, 06:46   #4
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
Not familiar with them but from what I am reading it is an honest enough radio capable of being used on the marine bands without attracting the attention of the spectrum polis..... can also be opened up for ham. Only lacks DSC.

Found this .. ICOM IC-M800UK MF/HF Marine Transceiver | eBay

If you own both it and a 718 then set up 2 radio stations.... thats what I've done... 710 and 706mk2G.
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?
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Old 05-10-2016, 13:25   #5
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Not obsolete just old.... as long as the lights go on and the smoke doesn't escape it should be fine.
I'm not sure but think that the 800 came between the 700 and the 710... the age suggests that. Plenty of people out there still using the (Ham) Icom 735 which is off the same vintage.
Yes, DSC is newer and $$$$$$. I won't get involved in the DSC debate... suffice to say I am happy with my 1994 non DSC 710.

No great advantage in two stations but if you have two radios...why not.

Both would probably sell second hand for the same or similar $$$$.
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Old 08-10-2016, 05:49   #6
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Thanks for your kind replies Pinguino.
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Old 11-10-2016, 18:36   #7
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Erik,
I had an M-800 on a old boat, years ago...and I've worked on one about 15 years ago...and while it's been that long since I've used/seen one, I am familiar with them...
It's probably about 25 years old, was a top-of-the-line Marine HF SSB radio, and yes was easily programmed to use on the ham radio bands, but not too convenient to use as a ham radio...

Their odd fiber optic connection is the most critical issue....once this is broken, etc., the radio is just an assortment of spare parts...

If it's working, that's a good thing....but unless you've got a local guy who is very familiar with the M-800 and is willing to do it cheap, if it's not working I'd not spend a lot of time/effort trying to get it working...

Also, not sure where you are sailing/cruising....but if in SE Asia, understand that while you can use the M-800 to receive WeFax charts, using the radio to hail others in an emergency will be almost impossible, as except for USCG, AMSA, and NZMSA, nobody is monitoring SSB Voice channels anymore!! (remember since the implementation of the GMDSS in the 1990's, it is MF/HF-DSC that is used to signal other vessels and the hundreds of coast stations worldwide....so, without DSC functions, the M-800 is not able to do so...)
Also, understand that the Icom IC-718 doesn't have any DSC capability either...
And, it's a ham radio, not a marine radio (and that controversy has been beaten to death, so no further discussion is needed here...


Not sure what else you wish to know....but whatever it is, please tell us where you're sailing/cruising, and exactly what your desired applications are, and we can be of more help...

Fair winds..

John
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Old 12-10-2016, 06:24   #8
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Hi John, and thank you for your kind reply.
Let me share a few details about my situation and my M800.
I bought this boat a few years ago and the two ICOM radios came with the boat, the M800 installed and the unused 718 (and new automatic tuner) uninstalled. I have powered on the M800 a few times, but it appears to suffer from the same "wait a moment -syndrome" as these ones here:

ICOM M800 asks me to "Wait a moment"

Well, it's no biggie, I reckon if it is the same resistor issue then I should be able to fix it by myself. Or at least I can give it a go. If it proves unfruitful I have the option to install the 718 instead. But the reason I started this thread was to learn about the M800, as it is totally unfamiliar to me; if it is any good. Well, as it doesn't have the DSC I know that right there leaves a lot to be hoped for.. But on the other hand, I'm so broke I can not afford to buy a new M802 with DSC for about 2K USD now, which would be my choice if I just had the money, just too many money pits on an old boat that need to be filled up..

You mentioned the M800 was "a top-of-the-line Marine HF SSB radio", so that gives me some motivation to try to repair it. Im not an electrician but I have learnt quite a lot during the recent years about fixing this and that, my lightning struck autopilot, 2 air cons, 3 fridges, microwave, 3 washing machines (please don't laugh hehe).. But yea, I'm not afraid to strip her and take a look inside with a DM. If that M800 indeed is a a top-of-the-line one, then I'd really like to get it going, as I understand the radios are not like computers so that they would become obsolete after a few years usage. Granted, no DSC, but I trust as a Marine HF SSB radio it might still do ok..

But is there an affordable way (say few hundred bucks) to add DSC to an old radio like this?

BTW, You would not happen to remember the new price of an M800 when it was still sold? Would just be something nice to know. 3k or 15k..?

My intended usage: Would be almost 100% downloading weather faxes with Pactor modem and laptop or Ipad. I'm currently in Langkawi, West Malaysia, and I'm considering returning to Europe across the Indian Ocean and via Red Sea and Suez Canal to the Med. I am not considering acquiring a satellite phone system for weather reports.

Which brings forward another question. I have been qooqleing just about everything about SSBs, marine HF, wefax, ham, etc during the last week or so, and I came across this article which says "There are no radio stations transmitting reliable weather fax for the huge area of the Indian Ocean", which sounds quite disappointing. I do realize the article is 16 years old, so is the situation still as described, anyone knows?

MARS 2000

If still accurate then one could not get WX with SSB and pactor modem while at west Indian ocean? Or is there a way..?

Cheers,
Erik
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Old 12-10-2016, 12:33   #9
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Re: Icom IC-M800

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....
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...

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

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


2) While in its day, the M-800 was Icom's top-of-the-line HF-SSB Radio, it has seen its day pass....If your was working, then great, use it to receive WeFax, etc....but....
But, if you can't get the M-800 to work, use your IC-718....we're 99% sure it's going to work, right out-of-the-box...


3) No, there is NO easy, nor cheap, way to "adapt" any older HF rig to "HF-DSC" functionality....
(yes, Furuno makes a 6-channel scanning DSC rec unit, with DSC-modem and controller built in, but it costs about the same as a M-802, actually costs more!! and yes, Icom did make a VERY limited quantity, < 10 -20, of their external DCS controllers for use with the M-710 M-700Pro, but that was 20 years ago, and I've never seen one!!! and, I believe JRC, Skanti, and SEA also had ext DSC controllers at some point, in the mid 90's, but never saw one....and I've never seen/heard anything for use with any other radios, ever....)
If you desire MF/HF-DSC, the only affordable way is with the Icom M-802....


4) The M-800 new, sold for about $2500....plus $400 for the tuner....that was the usual street price in the US....give or take a few hundred...


More later (especially about wefax, etc.)...I've got family matter that I need to attend to...

John
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Old 12-10-2016, 12:43   #10
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Gday Eric, some thoughts
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikFinn View Post
.................

But is there an affordable way (say few hundred bucks) to add DSC to an old radio like this? Simple answer... NO

BTW, You would not happen to remember the new price of an M800 when it was still sold? Would just be something nice to know. 3k or 15k..? Probably the lower number... I seem to recall paying about $2000 australian for my 710 in the early '90s

My intended usage: Would be almost 100% downloading weather faxes with Pactor modem and laptop or Ipad. I'm currently in Langkawi, West Malaysia, and I'm considering returning to Europe across the Indian Ocean and via Red Sea and Suez Canal to the Med. I am not considering acquiring a satellite phone system for weather reports.

Which brings forward another question. I have been qooqleing just about everything about SSBs, marine HF, wefax, ham, etc during the last week or so, and I came across this article which says "There are no radio stations transmitting reliable weather fax for the huge area of the Indian Ocean", which sounds quite disappointing. I do realize the article is 16 years old, so is the situation still as described, anyone knows?

MARS 2000

If still accurate then one could not get WX with SSB and pactor modem while at west Indian ocean? Or is there a way..?

Cheers,
Erik
Everything you want to know about wefax transmissions here.. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/marine/rfax.pdf
Australia ( WMV/WMC) does indian ocean.

Of course fax only only needs RX.. not TX...

If using sailmail with pactor there are a lot of weather products available apart from gribs.

I think I would be expending my energy installing the 718, opening it up for marine bands if not already done, subscribing to Sailmail,and selling the 800 for beer money..
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Old 12-10-2016, 13:18   #11
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Some more stuff....
Link to sailmail weather info here https://sailmail.com/category/weather/

And some pics of what you can get ( in addition to the gribs )
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 12-10-2016, 14:12   #12
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Erik,
1) Not sure I'd be planning a passage thru the northern and/or NW Indian Ocean, and onto the Red Sea???
(getting south of the equator asap and staying south is the preferred routing these days.....head for Cocos Keeling, stay south of Chagos and head for Reunion or just stay south of Madagascar and head for South Africa....or you just ship the boat to the Med...)
You do realize that even if piracy of large vessels has been reduced, small vessels (especially those slow moving, with low freeboard) are very nice targets for pirates....
And, while "horn of Africa" is the news media's focus, fact is these are quite sophisticated pirates who venture as far as 75*E to 80*E, as far south as 15*S to 20*S...
And, with piracy/crime in Maldives, etc....I just really wanted you to be aware of all the issues...

Sorry...
Not trying to sound paranoid....but just wanted you to be aware of the risks....


2) As for weather info....

WeFax charts for the Indian Ocean are not as plentiful as for the N. Atl or Pacific, but they are there!!

Please be sure to download and save this document...(just updated last month)
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/rfax.pdf
It shows all worldwide HF WeFax transmissions, schedules, times, freqs, powers, chart area coverages, etc...


HSW64, out of Bangkok, Thailand, should serve you well...assuming good nighttime propagation on 7395khz, their charts cover just about your whole passage...


And, WMC and VMW out of Australia, will serve you well for the eastern Indian Ocean....and you should have good results receiving them (they have 5 different freqs, so depending on where you are at, and time-of-day, you should be able to get them well...)


ZSJ out of Cape Naval, South Africa will serve you fairly well for the western Indian Ocean...and with 4 different freqs, you should be able to receive them well also...
{Yes, they have reduced the amount of weFax transmissions, buy they do cover the western Indian Ocean, from equator at 70*E to 60*S at 90* E, all the way into the S. Atlantic (equator at 20*W to 60*S at 50*W)...}


You may also find the charts out of Taipei, to be of use....and even JJC's service out of Singapore...


3) And, as I wrote above, NONE of these require any PACTOR modem at all....
A PACTOR modem is used for Sailmail (and other data services) for e-mail connectivity when at sea, in far remote locales, etc. (when away from cellular/3G/4G, and Wi-Fi systems)...
There is NO need for this expensive ($1600 to $2000) piece of gear at all, to receive these WeFax charts!!!

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)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikFinn View Post
My intended usage: Would be almost 100% downloading weather faxes with Pactor modem and laptop or Ipad. I'm currently in Langkawi, West Malaysia, and I'm considering returning to Europe across the Indian Ocean and via Red Sea and Suez Canal to the Med. I am not considering acquiring a satellite phone system for weather reports.

Which brings forward another question. I have been qooqleing just about everything about SSBs, marine HF, wefax, ham, etc during the last week or so, and I came across this article which says "There are no radio stations transmitting reliable weather fax for the huge area of the Indian Ocean", which sounds quite disappointing. I do realize the article is 16 years old, so is the situation still as described, anyone knows?

MARS 2000

If still accurate then one could not get WX with SSB and pactor modem while at west Indian ocean? Or is there a way..?

Cheers,
Erik
I hope the above helps....
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)

Fair winds...

John
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Old 13-10-2016, 11:45   #13
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Thanks guys, that's fantastic info. I'll get back in a day or two. thanks again.
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Old 13-10-2016, 21:03   #14
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Can any one help me with the programing sofware for Icom radio, model ic-f21s??? Please
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Old 13-10-2016, 21:19   #15
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Re: Icom IC-M800

Quote:
Originally Posted by gibran.rios View Post
Can any one help me with the programing sofware for Icom radio, model ic-f21s??? Please
Welcome to CF!

You might want to start your own thread on this subject. Your question is sort of lost here, and might not be seen by a knowledgeable person.

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