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Old 04-11-2013, 07:00   #1
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Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call

Hello to all,

After spending many an hour banging away at the keyboard, trying to help fellow sailors with radio and electronics issues, it dawned on me that while there are people you can hire to install these systems (and some of them may actually know what they are doing ), people you can hire to repair these systems (mostly just parts-changers, though), and of course no shortage of people who will sell you even more "stuff" / systems to put on-board....
And, of course on-line forums like this, where you can get plenty of advice (some good, some not so good...
But, unless you're like me (a "radio nut" and electronics professional), you probably haven't been trained in "how-to-use" these systems, and certainly many fellow sailors/cruisers/voyagers are not well versed enough in these matters to make optimal use of them...

(I hear/read people complain quite often, that this thing or the other "just doesn't work right" and "I should've saved my money", etc....and unfortunately for many of them, the only problem is lack of user knowledge/expertise to make the bloody stuff work right!!!)

So, I spent a couple hours, over a couple days, recording some videos of something that I'm not only very well educated and informed about, but also very experienced with....that is HF Radio Communications, and specifically here, maritime HF comms....
And even more precisely the use, operation, programming, etc. of the Icom M-802 Marine HF-SSB-DSC Transceiver, for Voice and DSC communication...

These videos (see links and details below), along with some SSCA Discussion Board threads, should allow anyone to understand how to properly use the Icom M-802...(and plenty of info on the Disc Boards on installation as well..)
SSCA Forum • View forum - Communications

And further reading of specific SSCA disc board threads will show many early M-802's suffered from the dreaded "clipping issue" (but since both of my M-802's have been back to Icom for the "clipping mod", I do not have any live examples of this in my videos...sorry about that... )
SSCA Forum • View topic - Icom M-802 "Clipping Issue" - Revisited....





For the amount of Icom M-802 radios out there, it's surprising that there aren't more "how-to" videos out there....although now there are mine..

Check out my Youtube Channel...
http://www.youtube.com/user/captainjohn49

Or, read the brief descriptions here, and click on the topics that interest you...


1) I started with just the basics....on, off, volume, channel knob, group knob, channel keypad, etc...as well as the front panel display features and an overall look at the radio...


2) Then, detail on the keypad's other functions, other buttons / controls, and details on all of the display features...as well as other radio features, RF Gain, NB, headphones, etc...



3) Details of the "VFO Mode", and the "RX/Clar" and "Freq/Ch" buttons....
(VERY important for ham radio users, as well as those desiring to program their radio for easier use / better effectiveness...)



4) Great detail explaining how to choose the correct channel / frequency for the distance you need to communicate, and variations with time-of-day, etc...(including layperson-friendly explanations)
Using real LIVE broadcasts from the USCG and public coast station WLO, and offshore or hi-seas weather forecasts....



5) Live, real-world examples and explanations of atmospheric radio noise...and other radio signals that many will find useful, including weather chart broadcasts (WeFax charts), ham radio communications, etc....



6) Live demonstration of Ship-to-Shore telephone calls....real, live phone call from my boat....and live video showing WLO Radio's broadcasts....


7) Live demonstration of M-802 User Channels, ITU Channels, User Channel Programming, etc....



8) DSC-Distress Signaling, LIVE Demonstration of DSC-Distress Calling ("digital MayDay"), and a real-world explanation of the facts that no vessels are required to maintain an HF "voice" radio watch (since 1999) but all SOLAS vessels ARE required to maintain a MF/HF DSC Radio Watch....
DSC (Digital Selective Calling) Functions.....showing a LIVE demonstration (and differences) of "simple" (single-freq) Distress Call vs. "regular" (six-freq) Distress Call, MMSI#, GPS input, etc.


9) Some Live examples of RFI / Noise that can effect your HF communications...especially man-made noise from shore, while at the dock or anchored close to shore...


10) Description of the GMDSS Voice communications channels (aka "Safety" Channels) and the EXTREME importance of using DSC-Distress signaling....and the proper use of the Voice Safety Channels of 8.291.0; 4.125.0; 12.290.0; 6.215.0; 16.420.0......(note that NOBODY is using/monitoring 2182!!!)







These videos are NOT sophisticated productions!!
It was just myself and an old analog video camera......then loaded the video into my laptop, and then uploaded to Youtube....(no graphics, fades, effects, etc....just my narration, and the front of the radio...)
I used NO script, nor outline, just my own narration on the fly, speaking extemporaneously ...
But, I think you'll find them to be VERY useful / helpful!!!


Please enjoy!!


Fair winds.

John, KA4WJA
s/v Annie Laurie, WDB6927
MMSI# 366933110

http://www.qrz.com/db/KA4WJA






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Old 04-11-2013, 08:21   #2
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Re: Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call

Nice work...I will review all these as I'm installing an M-802 early next year.
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:31   #3
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Re: Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call

What a wonderful thing to do ka4wja. Many thanks. I'll be getting into an install project over the next six months. Hope I won't need to pester CFers too much for help .
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:46   #4
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Re: Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call

Thank you! Just bought an M-802...
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:47   #5
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Re: Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call

Thanks for posting these. We have an Icom 710. Is the operation of the 710 close enough to the 802 for these videos to be helpful?
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:10   #6
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Re: Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call

Thanks for doing these videos, John. Much needed.

73,

Bill
WA6CCA
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Old 04-11-2013, 10:25   #7
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Re: Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call

You are all very welcome!!

Yes, there are many parts of the videos that would be helpful to owners of other HF radios, such as:
a) the videos explaining how to choose the correct channel / frequency (video #4)..discussing propagation and noise, etc..
b) the video showing/explaining atmospheric noise and some random radio signals (#5)...
c) the video demonstrating the ease of placing a ship-to-shore phone call thru WLO (#6)...(99cents/minute and they're standing by 24/7/365...and also transmit offshore / hi-seas weather 6 - 8 times a day..)
d) the video showing/explaining RFI (#9)...not as detailed as some postings here and on the SSCA boards, but I think it is very useful...

e) videos #3 and #7, are designed for M-802 users, but there are a few things in common with the M-710 that could be helpful....

AND...
f) And, especially for those without an M-802, video #10 explains the use of the GMDSS Voice Safety Channels....
8291.0; 4125.0; 6215.0; 12290.0; 16420.0

g) And, Video #8, which demonstrates the M-802's DSC-Distress Calling....there is plenty of narration there which adds to that in video #10, stressing the importance of understanding what GMDSS is, and how you may can signal for assistance..
(that is in addition to an EPIRB, and/or when assistance is needed, but abandoning ship is not desired nor required....and/or as a secondary/confirmation of an EPIRB alert, and/or in the event no EPIRB signal is received, and/or in the event that no SAR assets will be tasked until a confirmation is received)....




Videos #1 and #2 are M-802 specific and would probably not do much for owners of other radios...except for some nice scenes of my Nav Station!



Fair winds....

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:19   #8
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Re: Icom M-802 (and other HF Radio) Installation Tips / Guidelines

You are all very welcome....


For Mike, and anyone else planning an HF radio install on-board (whether M-802 or otherwise)...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
I'll be getting into an install project over the next six months. Hope I won't need to pester CFers too much for help .
...I have a few tips / pieces of advice for you all...

Here are a few of the most important things to do (and/or not do), that are often ignored by many doing their own installs....
Enjoy...

1) Power the radio (12vdc) directly from your main house battery bank, do NOT go thru a distribution panel / breaker panel....and I further recommend not even thru a vessel's DC buss bars, but directly to the batteries...

Do NOT use the entire length of DC power wire supplied with the radio, as it is designed for installations were there is a constant 13.8vdc available (not our nominal/typical 12.5vdc)....
I recommend using the last 12" - 18" max. of this supplied power cable, typically near where there will be fuse(s), and then use a much larger wire run direct to your batteries....(depending on length, I recommend 6ga - 2ga)

Although many self installers do not do so, ABYC rules state that you should have a fuse/breaker within 7" of the battery end of this wire....

(although running your 6ga - 2ga wire, to "battery side" of the main battery switch is acceptable in some cases...assuming the run from the main battery switch to the batteries is very short, < a couple feet, and is 00ga or larger...the approach I detail above is always what I recommend....and it doesn't cost you much, nor take much time...)

Some folks question the reason for this recommendation....and while I don't have the time for all the regular minutia...here's the gist of "why"...
-- Giving your radio "clean" power is always a good idea, and will always make it work better!!!
-- Having the radio draw directly from the batteries, NOT thru a dist panel / breaker panel, will prevent/reduce flashing and dimming of lights and voltage sags on other systems on-board...
--- Having the radio draw directly from the batteries, NOT thru a dist panel / breaker panel, will also prevent/reduce RF energy that may flow along the power wires, or that is being picked up by the power wires, from causing interference into other systems on-board...while you are transmitting...
-- Having the radio draw directly from the batteries, NOT thru a dist panel / breaker panel, will also prevent/reduce RFI (interference) FROM other systems on-board, causing problems with your receiving of signals...
-- Having the radio draw directly from the batteries, NOT thru a dist panel / breaker panel, will improve the voltage available to the radio (less voltage drop), and allow the radio to preform to its optimal capabilities...
-- Having the radio draw directly from the batteries, NOT thru a dist panel / breaker panel, will actually allow the radio to draw less power from your batteries (taking less A/H's from your batteries), as there will be less voltage drop and hence less current drawn....which means you'll be using less power, and means the radio will not be using as much power as it would otherwise...
-- The large house battery bank acts as a large "filter", reducing radiated RFI....

-- Using a larger sized wire is very important here as well....as the radios are designed to run on 13.6 - 13.8vdc (what everyone on land calls a "12 volt radio")....and on-board most will not have voltages like that available unless they are charging (solar, wind, water, genset, alternator, etc..)...so keeping the voltage that is supplied to the back of the radio WHEN TRANSMITTING (not on a panel meter!) as high as possible is VERY important!!!

[Note that MANY / MOST modern ham transceivers will NOT work correctly when voltages (at the radio) are below 12.5 volts...and MANY / MOST will have severe distortion and other issues when the voltage dips to near 12.0 volts....and MOST (all?) of them will quit transmitting, or cut-out intermittently when the voltage dips to near 11.5 volts (when transmitting)!!!
If you're batteries are at 12.2 - 12.3 volts (which is very plausible), even with a BIG guage wire, you're probably going to have problems, and if you have even as little as a 3% - 5% voltage drop, you're radio may become useless on transmit....

This is just one of the many reasons that a REAL marine transceiver (such as an M-802, M-710, etc.) is such an improvement....as they are not only "spec'd" to handle a wider range of input voltages, but they MUST meet their rated specs and meet (or exceed) the FCC / ITU specs for commercial marine service when operated AT their MINIMUM, MAXIMUM, and NOMINAL voltages....
Which in the case of the M-802, is from 11.5vdc to 15.6vdc (nominally 13.6vdc +/- 15%)....
That means it will still work to it max rated specs AND meet the FCC Part 80 spec (for commercial marine service), with a voltage (AT THE RADIO) of as low as 11.5 volts!!!
Some may then question why spend the $$ on bigger wire....my answer is, read all of the above!!!]





2) Do NOT worry extensively about your RF Ground / Antenna Ground / Counterpoise.....
Despite the arguments on-line, that seem to go on-and-on, it REALLY isn't that difficult of an issue!!!
(You do NOT need to spend days running 100 sq ft of copper mesh/foil thru your bilges!!! That is a waste of your time!!!)

Instead, find a good location for your remote antenna tuner (such as the AT-140, SGC, etc.), where you can get at it, and where you can run the wires to it....
Make sure it is within a few feet (< 3' - 5', but closer is better) of your antenna base (backstay, whip, alternative backstay, rope-tenna, etc.) and within a few feet (<5' - 8'....but closer is better) of an underwater metal thru hull or grounding plate (bronze thru-hull, or Dynaplate)....

Use GTO-15 antenna wire, to run from the tuner to your stay or whip, etc...and understand that this IS part of your antenna, and a VERY important part!!
Keeping this run of wire as short and as much in the clear, away from EVERYTHING else on-board is VERY important....do NOT place it near, nor run it along other wires, etc.. NEVER....

Use wide copper strapping NOT thin copper foil....I recommend at least 0.012" thick copper strapping, 3" wide....(I use 0.022" thick 6" wide, but I'm a fanatic!!)...and run this as short of a run as possible from the remote tuner's "grd" lug to your nearest underwater bronze thru-hul or grounding plate....
{You CAN do more for RF grounding / counterpoise, such as pushpits, pullpits, alum toerails, tuned-radials, additional grounding straps to a keel bolt, etc....but you run into the laws of diminishing returns....so do the above FIRST, and then see what else you may desire to do....unless you're doing a complete vessel re-fit, where you have her gutted anyway, then add in as much as you can...}

For the coaxial cable and power/control wires from the radio to the remote tuner, use a coaxial line isolator on the coax line (at the tuner end) and clip-on ferrites on the tuner power/control cable....
Line isolators and ferrites are available from DX Engineering and Radioworks...I've used both, and both work fine....(although, I prefer DX Eng...and they are really nice guys to do business with!!)
http://www.dxengineering.com/parts/dxe-fcc050-h05-a
http://www.dxengineering.com/search/...-ferrite-beads

T-4
Line Isolator System



Do NOT run any "ground strap" between the M-802 transceiver (radio) and the AT-140 tuner....NOR, from the M-802 transceiver to your RF Ground system, thru-hill, grounding plate, etc...NO matter what the manual says, do not do it...
This can cause ground loops and can cause RFI problems on-board...(read some of my other postings, the Sailmail primer, radioworks site, etc. for more details. if desired...)




3) Understand that much of the consumer electronics that surround us these days, even on-board our boats (and a surprising amount of the basic electrical devices on-board boats), can generate Radio Frequency Interference (RFI), and ridding your boat of devices that do this, and/or shielding/filtering this interference, and/or simply removing the electrical power from these devices while using the HF Radio, will make a substantial difference in your ease and success in using HF Radioon-board....
Here again video #9 (and #4, and #5, as well) on this thread will be of help...

Getting rid of on-board RFI, or at least being aware of exactly what is causing it and being able to switch off these systems/devices when needed, will go a long way to your successful use of an HF Radio...and using clip-on ferrites on all of your interfering systems' power and control wires, AND on all of your on-board electronics signal and power wires, etc. might seem like overkill, but it does work!!

The most common causes of RFI on-board are:
-- inverters of all types / sizes...
-- battery chargers, of all types/sizes (not just your big house bank charger, but also small cell phone chargers and battery drill chargers, etc..)
-- microprocessor controlled circuits / timers...
-- inferior LED lighting voltage regulators...
-- refrigeration/freezer compressors....(you'll mostly just learn to live with them
-- small, cheap electric motors, such as 12 volt fans...
-- digital panel meters, remote sensing devices, etc...

The list of potential RFI sources goes on-and-on....the easiest way to find them all is first get away from shore (1/2 mile or more is usually fine) and way from other boats to....(so that you will not mistake locally generated RFI, from shore or other boats, as coming from your boat!!)
And, then simply power down the whole boat, removing power from everything, switch off all breakers and battery switches, and remove all fuses, etc...
Then turn on you HF Radio and tune thru all your channels (or at least your most often used dozen or two), and listen and note any noises (including the signal strengths)....and then switch on the battery switch(es) and listen again...and then switch on one breaker at a time, and then turn on that one item/system (again, just ONE-AT-A-TIME), and listen again to each channel, noting the noises and signal strengths....
It will become quite apparent, quite quickly, when you find an interfering system/device....and then you'll need to filter/reduce the interference (ferrites, better wiring, move wiring, etc...) and/or accept and live with this interference...





4) Finally, the last of my installation tips, might seem less like an installation tip and more of an operating tip....and I suppose it really is...but it is VERY important, nonetheless!!

You should spend the time (a few hours at most) to LEARN about HF Radio Communications, HF Radiowave Propagation, and How-to-Use your radio!!!
This IS so very important, I cannot stress it enough!!!
ALL OF THE ABOVE "TIPS" ARE USELESS if you, the radio's user, is ignorant on how to properly use the radio!!!
Many sailors will spend hours/days/weeks/months learning sailing, anchoring, navigation, diesel mechanics, watermakers, scuba diving, etc etc..some will spend 1000's of $$$$ on classes/courses, some will desire to attain certifications and/or licenses (even a ham radio license), but never spend any more than 15 minutes reading a radio manual and never truly invest the time to LEARN how to use an HF Radio properly...
The information is out there (some of it right here in this thread and some in these videos, but there is a LOT more out there as well!), all the sailor needs to do is ask and be willing to learn!!!

Bottom line here is a VERY important (and indisputable) fact:
An experienced and well trained radio operator, can make excellent use of, and have great success with, even a poor to mediocre radio set-up/installation!!!
But, a inexperienced and poorly trained radio operator will have very poor results and NOT have much success at all (probably even none!), even with a perfect radio set-up/installation!!!
These are well-proven, long-established, FACTS....that somehow new/novice HF Radio users seem to discount/dismiss....
And, heck even some old-times seem to refuse to understand that learning is a life-long process!!!
If I had a dollar for every time I heard even long-time hams make obvious false statements, or seasoned hams propagating myths, etc. I'd be a VERY wealthy guy!!!
So, PLEASE accept the above facts about operator experience / training as actual facts....and spend some time learning about HF radio and radiowave propagation, and you'll be very happy that you did!!!






5) I do hope the above helps....and FYI, the above installation tips (#1 - #3) are NOT my sole original ideas!!!
These have been the accepted "good engineering practice" for decades and have been part of Sailmail's installation guidelines for > 10 years now...
Even if you are not planning on installing a PACTOR modem (I don't have one either), it makes good sense to follow Sailmail's installation guidelines!!!

a) Read the Sailmail Primer, and follow their guidelines...
SailMail Primer
SailMail

b) Use my installation tips (above)...

c) Read over the SSCA Discussion Boards, for a MUCH greater wealth of info on HF Radio and installation tips, problems, advice, etc...
http://www.ssca.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=5

d) Use my videos and postings to learn the basics of hot-to-use your radio....

Do all of these things and you should be very successful!!






Fair winds and good luck!!


John, KA4WJA
s/v Annie Laurie, WDB6927
MMSI# 366933110

http://www.qrz.com/db/KA4WJA

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Old 05-11-2013, 11:12   #9
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Re: Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call

Wow, what a fabulous project!!!

This deserves to be an essential resource.

Many kudos and thanks, John!
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:55   #10
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Re: Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call

Many thanks John. This is amazing. I've saved this in my SSB project file so I can refer to it when I start the build.
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Old 05-11-2013, 14:22   #11
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Re: Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Wow, what a fabulous project!!!

This deserves to be an essential resource.

Many kudos and thanks, John!

Perhaps should be stickied somewhere?
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Old 05-11-2013, 15:10   #12
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Re: Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call

Absolutely should be stickied.
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Old 05-11-2013, 15:11   #13
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Re: Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call

Quote:
Originally Posted by minaret View Post
Perhaps should be stickied somewhere?
+ 1

Many Thanks John...
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:16   #14
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Thanks for this work, very nice!
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Old 09-11-2013, 19:57   #15
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Re: Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call

Thanks for the compliments and again, you are all very welcome!!!

And yes, minaret, DeepFrz, and Andrew....I also think it should be a "sticky", but I have no control over that, perhaps one of you guys will recommend that to the moderators / sys admin???

Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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