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Old 21-10-2012, 11:55   #1
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Question Icom IC-M801E with manual Tuner?

Hi Cruisers,
is there anybody who has experience using a manual tuner instead of the automatic one on a ICOM IC-M 801E marine radio?
We use the AT141 normaly but for some DX connections we like to use alternative antennas on our boat and tune them with a manual tuner.

Thanks for infos and best regards.
Maia
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Old 22-10-2012, 06:58   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maia
Hi Cruisers,
is there anybody who has experience using a manual tuner instead of the automatic one on a ICOM IC-M 801E marine radio?
We use the AT141 normaly but for some DX connections we like to use alternative antennas on our boat and tune them with a manual tuner.

Thanks for infos and best regards.
Maia
I used a manual tuner with my m802, and of course it works but is cumbersome. You really need an SWR meter to do it, the m802 doesnt give much in the way of SWR info to help you. Do the tune on low power. I cant remember if just keying the mic in CW or FSK mode will cause the M802to transmit a carrier - my Icom ham rig does this and it makes a manual tune a little easier but a tone or whistle into the mic in SSB mode should work too. I have a straight key that I can plug in for CW so that is what I used.

I dont know if the M801E will work any differently.

What kind of alternative antennas might you use?

Chip
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Old 22-10-2012, 07:31   #3
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Re: Icom IC-M801E with manual Tuner?

Hi Soonersailor,
thanks for the response!
When we use the manual tuner on the IC-M801E there is no TX power!
We have a MFJ 949E Tuner with SWR and Power meter on it.
Normaly we use our 23 ft whip with the Icom automatic tuner AT141 and it works great. But on some bands we like to use a Inverted-V feed by a balanced line wire. And for 8 Mhz we like to use a longer wire than 23 feet.
It looks like the TRX is protected to avoid transmitting without a Icom Automatic tuner.
Any more advice?
Best regards
Maia
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Old 22-10-2012, 07:51   #4
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The M801e might be a lot different from the m802. I would suggest trying these things:

Disconnect the control cable to the ATU so the m801e doesnt expect to see it. Cant remember if there is a setup menu entry for NO ATU. Try again.

Key the mic in CW and FSK modes to see if it transmits a carrier.

Last you might make up a cable per the m802 manual for a cw key, and try that.

You might also consider attaching your alternative antenna to your ATU. You could use a coax switch at the tuner output to switch between antenna feeds. The AT-141 would probably still tune to a balanced antenna feed, one leg to ATU output, the other to ATU ground.

Chip
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Old 22-10-2012, 08:11   #5
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Re: Icom IC-M801E with manual Tuner?

Thanks SoonerSailor,
thats possible we must disconnect the control cable!
will disconnect the wiring between trx and tuner and try again tomorrow.
But there is another problem: There is no low power. The trx transmits with 125watts on the higher frequenzies.

Maia
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Old 22-10-2012, 08:55   #6
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If nothing else works, and you dont want to run your auxiliary antennas to the ATU, it might be best just to add a ham rig to your installation for more flexibility. It sounds like the M801E is much more rigidly programmed than the M802.

Chip
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Old 22-10-2012, 15:16   #7
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Re: Icom IC-M801E with manual Tuner?

Maia,
Like Chip, I have also used my M-802 with other antennas / manual tuner...but not an M-801E...
I knew the M-801E had different firmware and different operating functions (such as 75w below 4mhz, and 125w above 4mhz, etc.) but was not aware that you could not reduce power, no low power....


But there is some good news...
1) I've used the MFJ tuner and have ~40 years experience in HF and antenna design/contruction...


2) I'm not sure I understand why you desire a horizontal antenna ("inverted-v") for DX contacts, as this is certainly not ideal....and your vertical whip would be better for the low-angle of radiation needed for good signals on longhaul dx paths...


3) Also, not sure I understand why a balanced-feeder inverted-v....a simple 1/2-wave vertical dipole (no tuner needed) for each band of interest would give you a very nice low-angle of radiation....

And, if you desire high-angles (for NVIS comms, below 8mhz), then a coax-fed inverted-v for the band of choice would be good....
(but, of course this does get to be difficult on 7-8mhz, where the antenna becomes 60-66' overall, which just fits as an inverted-v on a mid-sized crusing boat.....but unless you've got a BIG boat a full-size inverted-v for 3.6 - 4mhz, isn't going to happen!!!!)


4) I DO understand your desire for a greater antenna length (> 23' whip) on 8mhz and below!!!
And, here is where a long wire vertical monopole / Bill T's "alternative backstay antenna" / etc. become a VERY nice antenna!!!

I understand that many boats without a backstay end up with just a whip, but you can use any wire from the AT-141 output, strung up vertially by a halyard, etc. and have an excellent antenna...
A temporary approach is just use any copper wire you can find that is 40' - 65' long, with a few feet of rope at the ends, strung up with a halyard...attached to your At-141, and you're in great shape....(total cost is usually < $20...)
For a set-up that will withstand severe offshore work, you may have to spend as much as $100....


5) You should get a steady carrier when pressing the microphone PTT when in FSK mode....
And, you can wire up a cw key (as an ext transmit switch) and get a carrier in CW mode as well...

Try these WITH the AT-141 connected as specified, and with your whip antenna tuned, and verify that the M-801E does this...(the M-802 does this, and I believe the M-801E does as well...)
Once you've verified this, you at least have the ability to transmit a clean steady carrier....and you can then use this to peak / "touch-up" your tuner settings that you've gotten close by peaking on max. received noise....
And, after you've done this, you should WRITE DOWN these settings / make a "tuner settings card", and use this to set your tuner before your transmit, and as long as you've not changed your antenna much, you'll be all but done with the tuner!!!!


6) Without any test equipment, nor transmitting a signal, you can get your tuner settings pretty close, by tuning it for maximum received atmospheric noise first....
And, then use the transmitter to just "peak" the values, until the lowest swr is achieved....

Then you WRITE DOWN these settings, and make up a "tuner setings card" (similar to a compass deviation card), and you refer to this card when changing bands/freqs.....

The radio will reduce its power output when it senses high swr....and should also flash "SWR" on the display....and I believe even in a very high swr situation, it will still output 10 - 15 watts or so....

The M-802 WILL produce output without an Icom tuner attached, and I assume the M-801E will do so as well....doesn't make sense that it wouldn't, even if just for a "safety" / "emergency" feature...

So, I wonder if you DO in fact have some output (perhaps 10 watts PEP), but do not have your MFJ meter set on a low enough scale to see it??? And/or you are not generating a carrier that you can use (trying to do this with SSB voice is going to be prolematic!!!)????

When the radio attempts to tune the AT-140 tuner (as in when the TUNE button is pressed, etc.), it sends a 10 cw carrier, and if it doesn't get a response from the tuner (as in, the tuner is not getting this cw carrier and/or the tuner is not connected to the radio), the radio shuts off the transmitter very quickly....
(I believe this takes about 1/10 to 1/8 of a second or less....so you may in fact have a very brief time of output, but not enough to use a meter to read, let alone use to tune a tuner...)

This is why you will need to use a cw key (in cw mode) or the PTT (in FSK mode) in order to produce a carrier to peak your tuner....



7) Although I DO believe that most of the above info will solve your problem.....If not of, then your choice is now really down to 2 things (as I do not recommed trying to switch the high-voltage output of any long-wire tuner...):

a) Buy a "Tune Control Box" / "screwdriver antenna tuner box", which attaches to an Icom HF rig (the M-802 tuner interface is the same as the IC-706 tuner interface, but uses a different plug), and makes the radio send out it's 10 watt CW carrier when the "TUNE" button is pressed, and then ceases when you press it again....

The "706 Tune Control".... from The Better RF Company is a good unit....
The BetterRF Company: ICOM IC-706, IC-706MkII Tune Control and IC756PROII IC746PRO Remote Memory Control
The BetterRF Company: ICOM IC-706, IC-706MkII, IC-7000 Tune Control and IC756PROII IC746PRO Remote Memory Control

This allows you to get a 10 watt carrier to use for peaking your tuner, without switching modes....
These devices are designed for mobile operation, where the operator needs to adjust the antenna "on-the-fly" WHILE they are driving down the highway at 75mph.....
So, on a boat this is usually not needed, as switching to FSK and pressing the PTT is pretty easy, or rigging a cw key is also pretty easy.... but the devices are pretty cheap (< $40) so if you want one, go for it....

....Or....


b) Take Chips advice and add a ham rig (such as an Icom IC-718 or IC-7000) to your boat, and use that for the ham bands and antenna experimentng!!!


...Or....

c) Use my thoughts / advice above....(no need for a manual tuner with any of these approaches...)
---Rig a longer vertical wire monopole / "alternative backstay antenna" for long range dx contacts on the lower freqs (1.6 - 8mhz)
---Rig a coax-fed, horizontal / inverted-v antenna for "local" / NVIS contacts on 7 - 8 mhz....
---Rig a coax-fed 1/2-wave vertical diople for any band you feel the 23' whip isn't providing the results you desire on long range dx contacts (perhaps 8mhz - 12mhz???)



I do hope this helps...


Fair winds and good luck...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 22-10-2012, 18:06   #8
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Re: Icom IC-M801E with manual Tuner?

John,
thank you very much for your comprehensive explanations.
Will work on that project again the next couple of days and will follow your recommendations.
Also to install a ham rig comes closer to me now.
I have had very good success at home with my old Inverted-V on my former trx a Kenwood TS 50 and the MFJ manual tuner.
The inverted-V is easy to rig on our catamaran and we like to use it as a standby antenna or for experiment. We still have the MFJ 949E tuner and like to use it.
Thank you again and also many thanks to Chip.

Maia
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