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Old 20-04-2009, 20:55   #1
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ICOM SSB and NMEA 0183 vs 2000

Hi All.

I'm about to purchase a 2006 boat which will need to be fitted/refitted with most of the electronics as it's set up for coastal cruising and I intend to do a circumnavigation.

Hence I'm looking at how to build a relatively future proof standardised system with the best kit possible. I don't want vendor lock via integration/communication protocols so that I can use the best of breed.

So I figure that I should start with an NMEA 2000 bus linking the cockpit, nav station, engine, mast head gear, GPS, sonar etc..

My research on the net leads me to believe that SSB wise, the ICOM-M802 seems to be the best on the market for quality, reliability and functionality whilst also being a favorite of serious blue water cruisers. So I'm looking at the spec and it's only NMEA 0183 compliant. I know that I can integrate it with a bridge, but that doesn't make my solution future proof or as easily integrated to the rest of the electronics.

The arguements for NMEA 2000 not being necessary for SSB seem to center around the lack of current integration requirements to support applications. That being said, I can easily see it would be much easier if I could have my SSB punching out data onto NMEA 2000 system like DSC received calls and position data, perhaps fax or weather data for display on a cockpit console etc.. I understand the limitation is the defined "sentence" and that it's not like TCP/IP where as long as it's IP, anything can be punched onto the wire leaving up to the applications to deciphyr. Also there are many applications yet to be defined, so the use of NMEA 2000 will likely only simplify my initial installation and not provide a lot of additional functionality.

Does anyone know what the rationale is for ICOM not bringing out a new version of the M802 other than that it's been sucessfully selling since 2004? Most other manufacturers are bringing devices out with NMEA 2000 and it's frustrating to not be able to buy a best of breed radio that also has simple integration.

Anyone aware of the roadmap from ICOM?
Anyone aware of a comparable product from another vendor that does offer NMEA 2K?

Appreciate your thoughts.

Cheers.

Ben.
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Old 20-04-2009, 22:23   #2
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Don't focus too much on the Icom radio's as there's always better and to be honest, I think the 802 and 710 are decent kit but I'm not overly impressed with them either. The Icom VHF (I have the 602) is disappointing even.

If I were in your shoes I would certainly look for as much NMEA2000 gear as possible and that includes the SSB. But you will need an NMAE0183 network too so if the radio you really want only has that, go for it.

Why the manufacturers are slow to upgrade? well, they are lazy and you're pulling out the wallet anyway and they will squeeze it dry happily for you ;-)

ciao!
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Old 20-04-2009, 22:43   #3
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Hi Nick.

Thanks for the advice.

Got any recommendations on equally good SSB to the 802?

I've looked and can't seem to find any side by side comparisons.

Cheers.

Ben.
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Old 21-04-2009, 01:45   #4
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NMEA 2000 is still new and seems to have a few teething problems with manufacturers not adhering properly to the protocols. I don't know of any NMEA 2000 SSB transceivers.
Although not ideal, linking up an NMEA 0183 radio with a chartplotter on a boat with an NMEA 2000 sytem is not be much of a problem and I would go with the radio you want rather than something less good, because its NMEA 2000.
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Old 21-04-2009, 06:50   #5
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Thanks Noelex77.

Your recommendation is pretty much the only option unless there is a decent N2K SSB out there. The annoying issue is that it's a damn expensive box to purchase and then in a years time find that the manufacturers have finally capitulated and decided to give us an up to date open standard on their new kit. I guess the other option is to go for a cheap as chips SSB and wait. That might kill the performance of any data solution such as SailMail though.

Cheers.

Ben.
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Old 21-04-2009, 09:01   #6
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Ben I don't think you will lose any functionality connecting the SSB with NMEA 0183 instead of 2000 it will just be slightly harder to connect. I think there is a conversion box available between 0183 and 2000 if you desperatly wanted, but even if available I dont think you would achieve much.
If you went for a tempoary cheap SSB you would have redo much of the instalation when the NMEA 2000 models eventually become available, and ICOM are normally conservative. I cannot see them producing a new SSB in the near future
Cheers John
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Old 21-04-2009, 12:18   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbhflts View Post
Thanks Noelex77.

Your recommendation is pretty much the only option unless there is a decent N2K SSB out there. The annoying issue is that it's a damn expensive box to purchase and then in a years time find that the manufacturers have finally capitulated and decided to give us an up to date open standard on their new kit. I guess the other option is to go for a cheap as chips SSB and wait. That might kill the performance of any data solution such as SailMail though.

Cheers.

Ben.
You'll have the same problem with your marine VHF radio. There are few, if any, which support NMEA 2000 natively.
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Old 21-04-2009, 12:42   #8
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The only think that the NEMA connector will get you with a SSB is the ability to input the GPS coordinates into a distress call.

Lowrance and Simrad both (same company) have VHF units with NMEA. I have the Lowrance radio, works fine, and interfaces with NMEA as advertised. It supposedly also will show you up to three "Buddies" on the Lowrance chartplotter, if they are using NMSI, and you have entered their ID #'s . I have not tried this.

I would say put a NMEA 2000 network on the boat, and when you get to the point of interfacing the SSB, either get a converter, or use the usually supplied NMEA 0183 output from the chartplotter to feed the SSB.

FYI - I have a NMEA 2000 network:

Lowrance chartplotter
Lowrance VHF
Lowrance GPS puck
Simrad Tillerpilot
Simrad depth/speed
Garmin GMI 10 display

Icom has come out with a Ham radio with USB connector. NMEA 2000 I bet will be awhile, as they have to pay big $$$ to get each SSB type certified (called another process now, but cannot remember what).

Chris
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Old 22-04-2009, 17:38   #9
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Hi Chris.

Fully agree with your comments, but still feel the need to vent on the propriatary vs open standard issue especially wrt to simrad, lowrance etc.

My view is that the foundation of the solution should be and interoperable protocol base. If a vendor comes up with a better performing protocol than the open standards as most vendors claim, then they should let the market decide and offer both whilst offering open interfaces to all their application products. I like most consumers hate vendor lockin on protocols, devices and applications. In old fashion terms, it should be along the lines that if you proclaim to be the man then you should act like a man and stand up to the test of the market. If the proprietary protocols are better including their vendor locks, then they will win. If not, the market will decide and onr innovation, performance and best of breed. Most of the time, propriatary loses out against open standard and that goes from a consumer sperpective as much as it does for a vendor. So why do we have to suffer from arrogant vendors that push for vendor lock?

Rant over.

Ben.
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Old 22-04-2009, 22:34   #10
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My Simrad Robertson autopilot has two busses: SimNet and RobNet. I must admit I get all confused with this but one of them is just NMEA 2000 with different connectors. I think it's the SimNet. The same compass unit is sold as NMEA2000 device too.

So, even though a bus might seem different, it can actually be compatible with NMEA2000.

On radio's: I checked the spec's of the top models SSB and VHF from Thrane (Sailor) and they have NMEA0183 only. I consider these top of the top and their price tags put them well out of range for most cruisers ;-)

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 24-04-2009, 08:09   #11
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Simnet is the same as NMEA 2000, but with a different connector. You can either buy an adapter cable, or make your own, as I did. It is not too difficult, but may be hard to weatherproof the connector if that is needed.

Ben, I hear you about interoperability, but I am not sure what you are saying about Simrad and Lowrance. Lowrance is 100% NMEA 2000. Some of their first units had different connectors, but they learned that was a bad idea fairly quickly, and so now they are 100% pin compliant. I have it all wired up and talking to one another - Simrad, Lowrance, and Garmin coexisting peacefully.

The Lowrance NMEA 2000 radio, the LVR-880, seems to be a good unit thusfar, and gets the GPS data from the network fine. The only grip, and for $180 I really should not complain, is that I wish the mic was replaceable and the cord extendable.


Chris
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Old 04-11-2016, 13:16   #12
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Re: ICOM SSB and NMEA 0183 vs 2000

Don't base your system choice around the nmea0183 on the SSB - it's only used for DSC and can easily be wired up to it's own GPS if needed very cheaply and simply. My chartplotter had an NMEA0183 output that wasn't being used so I just hooked it up directly to that.

I have an exclusively NMEA2000 network on mine because I was starting from scratch, so everything I bought I made sure was N2000 (radar, chartplotter, AIS, VHF etc)

Most of my stuff is simrad but even the stuff that isn't works great, thanks to simnet being N2000 with a different connector (easily changed)
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Old 04-11-2016, 16:35   #13
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Re: ICOM SSB and NMEA 0183 vs 2000

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbhflts View Post
]Fully agree with your comments, but still feel the need to vent on the propriatary vs open standard issue especially wrt to simrad, lowrance etc.
It's A LOT better than it used to be. It's almost the promised land compared to 10 years ago.

I think marketing departments are responsible for the slow adoption. They whine to the product development department that if everything is proprietary they can sell more bundles and "lock" customers into their product line. It used to work, but now the dam has broken and more and more manufacturers are NMEA 2000 compliant and ditching all their custom cables and interfaces. There are a few holdouts but they've no doubt read the writing on the wall and I suspect pretty much everyone's next generation will be compliant, more or less.
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Old 06-11-2016, 11:58   #14
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Re: ICOM SSB and NMEA 0183 vs 2000

Hello to all....
I just spent more than an hour typing out a long, detailed answer here....and then saw that this question was from 2009! (7.5 years ago!)
Ahrg!!
(first time I've ever replied to an old thread!)

So, now I can either just delete it all and watch some football with my 95 yr old Mom, or just click submit and watch football with my Mom...

So, while "Ben" is long gone....someone else may find the info useful....




Ben,
1) First off, as you've probably already gathered from the other answers here, the ONLY thing the "SSB" Radio (MF/HF-DSC-SSB-Radiotelephone) needs into it, is position / time data...
This is NMEA 0183 data (GGA or GNS or GLL or RMC, and possibly ZDA sentences)...

M802 HF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America

Icom SSB Radio Kits & Components

And, there is nothing that the radio receives, which could be outputted on NMEA (0183 or 2000), that any cruiser needs outputted from their HF radio....
{I suppose some would desire everything to be easy/compatible, and in their "perfect world" it would be nice if there was a WeFax decoder, PACTOR modem, etc. built-into the radios, and all that data was converted into NMEA 2000, etc. and outputted/inputted as such...but that would mean buying a new radio every year or two, as technology / protocols change, and/or making the radios a LOT more pricey (3 to 4 times the cost), so that they'd be compatible with changes and easily firmware upgradable....so, I prefer to keep any ancillary / accessory equipment external to the main comms radio...}


Ben, please allow me to offer you some unsolicited advice....from someone that not only has been there / done that, but also with > 40 years of HF comms experience (maritime and ham, at sea and on-shore)....
Install a simple, independent GPS receiver (such as a Garmin GPS 76 series unit), no need for external antenna unless you've got a steel hull and deck, and connect its 0183 output to BOTH of your DSC radios (M-802 and your VHF-DSC-FM radio)!!!
You do not need anything else NMEA connected to the M-802....
This will work, even when your other systems on-board aren't!!
It will cost you < $100....and will work for decades, future-proof!



2) Ben, some GMDSS Class A MF/HF-DSC-SSB-Radiotelephones, like the Furuno FS-1575/FS-2575/FS-5075 (and Sailor/Thrane 6350, etc.), are IEC 61162-1 compliant (have IEC 61162-1 input/output interfaces), and they can output DSC info (received DSC info) to their GMDSS consoles, printers (usually their NBDP printer in the GMDSS console), and/or sometimes into their other bridge equipment / ECDIS...
But, understand a few things here....

a) These GMDSS Class A MF/HF-DSC-SSB-Radiotelephones are very pricey!! (the 250-watt FS-2575 and/or Sailor 6320 lists for about $12,000 USD....the 150-watt versions, if you can find 'em, are only about $1000 less, and the 500-watt versions, a few thousand dollars more...)
Compare these with the M-802 price of about $1800...

b) These Class-A GMDSS compliant units, are all 110vac/230vac / 24vdc/32vdc, units....they do not run on 12vdc!!
{Note that the new GMDSS Class A Icom MF/HF-DSC-SSB-Radiotelephone (the GM-800), is also a 24vdc-32vdc radio....and although it has a fancy full-color display, and some cool firmware/features, it is essentially an Icom M-801e, with a new user interface.....that Icom has submitted for GMDSS compliance testing (but, as of last week, I haven't seen whether it has passed...) }




3) Ben, after answering your questions, I hope you don't mind some specifics...
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbhflts View Post
I'm about to purchase a 2006 boat which will need to be fitted/refitted with most of the electronics as it's set up for coastal cruising and I intend to do a circumnavigation.
Although you might think 10 year old electronics are some how "bad", and yes, upgrading is usually a good thing...please remember that no matter what units/systems you choose, it is the installation, wiring, programming, and commissioning of them that makes the difference between them working well and being reliable, versus them being a pain-in-the-**s!!
(and remembering that many 1000's of sailors have plied the oceans, crossed oceans, etc. for decades....before NMEA even existed, let alone a standard like NMEA2000, so NMEA2000 is hardly a necessity for a circimnav!


Hence I'm looking at how to build a relatively future proof standardised system with the best kit possible. I don't want vendor lock via integration/communication protocols so that I can use the best of breed.
When it comes to long-range comms / HF radio....the choice is:
Icom M-802...it's the ONLY affordable MF/HF-DSC-SSB Radiotelephone on the market....so your choice isn't really a choice...
(unless you've got a lot bigger budget that most of us.....then go for the Sailor 6350!!)
M802 HF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America

Icom SSB Radio Kits & Components


If I can boldly suggest that (from my own decades of experience as well as seeing / hearing from my fellow offshore sailors) for offshore passages / circumnav, you need less integration, not more!

Or, at the least, make sure that whatever electronics, comm, nav, systems you do integrate, that they ALL work perfectly fine separately / non-integrated, and even more importantly that you and your crew know how to use them independently/separately....(and most importantly, that you and your crew know how to live/sail without any of them at all....'cause there will be some failures, and because all of these things use electricity and you may not have enough at some point to run all of them, and/or will not have enough charging capacity to replenish the power that you're using...)
So, do not worry too much about "intergration"....

Remember, when offshore on a long passage you will not be using a chartplotter much, if at all...(there's not much out there, just make sure you plot around any islands or shallow spots, and you don't need a chartplotter when at sea)...so why worry about "integration" for a circumnav??



So I figure that I should start with an NMEA 2000 bus linking the cockpit, nav station, engine, mast head gear, GPS, sonar etc..
Your design seems fairly ambitious....do-able, yes....but...
But, pricey and prone to reliability issues....

I have nothing against NMEA2000 (well okay, I'm not a fan....but I'm not a detractor, either... ), and going with modern NMEA2000 compliant equipment is fine....just read my caveat above regarding "integration" and "linking" everything together...
{and, FYI..."sonar"?? If you're referring to "forward-looking-sonar", please understand its limitations and costs...if by "sonar" you mean "depth sounder", please understand that this is one item (along with you VHF-DSC-FM Radio) to make damn sure works independently / separately!! few electronic things on-board are more important than your depth sounder!!}


My research on the net leads me to believe that SSB wise, the ICOM-M802 seems to be the best on the market for quality, reliability and functionality whilst also being a favorite of serious blue water cruisers. So I'm looking at the spec and it's only NMEA 0183 compliant. I know that I can integrate it with a bridge, but that doesn't make my solution future proof or as easily integrated to the rest of the electronics.
As I implied above...."future-proof" doesn't really apply to HF comms....as so much of the "future" has been, and will be, in the ancillary equipment/services...meaning, as long as you've got a modern MF/HF-DSC-SSB Radio, it IS future-proof!!!
(and btw, nothing "future-proof" about NMEA2000! )
{I suppose some would desire everything to be easy/compatible, and in their "perfect world" it would be nice if there was a WeFax decoder, PACTOR modem, etc. built-into the radios, and all that data was converted into NMEA 2000, etc. and outputted/inputted as such...but that would mean buying a new radio every year or two, as technology / protocols change, and/or making the radios a LOT more pricey (3 to 4 times the cost), so that they'd be compatible with changes and easily firmware upgradable....so, I prefer to keep any ancillary / accessory equipment external to the main comms radio...}



The arguements for NMEA 2000 not being necessary for SSB seem to center around the lack of current integration requirements to support applications. That being said, I can easily see it would be much easier if I could have my SSB punching out data onto NMEA 2000 system like DSC received calls and position data,
You can certainly get this received DSC Call data onto your system now, but you need a rather pricey GMDSS Class A radio (think about $12,000) and if you have a NMEA2000 network, a NMEA0183 to NMEA2000 converter/bridge....
But, of course, you need the radio on to use any of these "applications" that you perceive....and you realize that that represents about 48 A/H per day (at 12vdc) of energy use, just to run the M-802 for a 24 hour day....(it draws about 2 amps in receive, squelched or volume down, not the 3 amps that the spec sheet shows), do you have enough energy on-board to run this radio (and everything else you desire) 24/7??



perhaps fax or weather data for display on a cockpit console etc.. I understand the limitation is the defined "sentence" and that it's not like TCP/IP where as long as it's IP, anything can be punched onto the wire leaving up to the applications to deciphyr. Also there are many applications yet to be defined, so the use of NMEA 2000 will likely only simplify my initial installation and not provide a lot of additional functionality.
You sound like an IT guy....
But, seriously....while the "future" is certainly "undefined", the applications are certainly well established and protocols well defined (and by international agreements, will not change quickly)

--- While we may see some changes in the GMDSS, I doubt there will be any DSC changes in the coming decade....

--- Understand that "fax" is the oldest form of image transmission (from the mid-1800's) and wireless/radio fax dating from the 1920's....and (except for some old Soviet-era transmissions) modern HF WeFax has been virtually unchanged for more than 40 years (as far back as my personal experience with WeFax goes....back in the day, I used to "8080" and "10865" US Navy WeFax, but I digress...)

--- Any other "protocols" are either well-established (FSK/HF-SITOR, which the radios have built-in already, and can easily interface I/O)....or proprietary (PACTOr-II, III, or IV) and therefore must use a the propriety modems, etc...

Bottom line here....as I wrote above NMEA 2000 is fine, but it isn't going to do you any good for HF comms, not now and not in the coming decade!!

{BTW, just curious....have you been getting this HF comm / NMEA 2000 info on this from some vendor?? The reason I ask is that if so, you may want to query the vendor what applications / necessity they see in a NMEA 2000 interface for HF comms (ask them to be specific), as I don't know of any....if they try to BS their way thru, you may want to find a different vendor!! }



Does anyone know what the rationale is for ICOM not bringing out a new version of the M802 other than that it's been sucessfully selling since 2004?
The rational is cost....or rather cost/benefit...
The non-SOLAS / non-GMDSS market for HF marine comms is small, and the "pleasure boat" HF comms market is really small!! (and pretty price sensitive!!)

Heck, even Icom's new GMDSS-Class-A-compliant MF/HF-DSC-SSB-Radiotelephone (the GM-800) is just the M-801e with new user-interface/firmware, submitted for GMDSS compliance....not a "new radio" at all....
And the really pricey Furuno and Sailor GMDSS Class-A complaint radios aren't NMEA 2000 either...(commercial world doesn't use NMEA2000)


Most other manufacturers are bringing devices out with NMEA 2000 and it's frustrating to not be able to buy a best of breed radio that also has simple integration.
I think you may not be aware of what HF comms do, what they are needed for???
As you are desiring some sort of "integration" via NMEA2000, when nothing that cruisers / sailors use HF comms for has any NMEA compatibility at all...(no, I don't have a crystal ball, and therefore cannot predict the future, but doubt anyone at NMEA is working on much to do with using NMEA2000 to decode WeFAx, etc...and I'm certain nobody at Furuno, Icom, Cohban, etc. are working on changing their radios so that someone with a NMEA2000 network could just connect their GPS to their radio...)

Ben, I think once you completely understand HF radio comms, and what they are used for on-board, you'll understand why there is no NMEA 2000 interface from an M-802....'cause there is nothing it would do for you...


Anyone aware of the roadmap from ICOM?
Roadmap???
Not sure what you're asking???
But, yes...I'm aware of what Icom has produced and is producing....as well as the other maritime HF radio manufacturers...(see details above)


Anyone aware of a comparable product from another vendor that does offer NMEA 2K?
No...
See above for details...


Appreciate your thoughts.

Cheers.

Ben.
Please have a look at the sticky, right at the top of the marine electronics page here....where you'll find links to just about anything you might want to know about long-range marine comms...

Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, etc.)


And, if you've got anything better than a dial-up internet connection, please have a look at these YouTube playlists....watch 'em the videos in them in order, and you'll learn a lot!


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


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



Maritime HF Comms
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y


Icom M-802 Instruction Videos
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...rC-8QKVyMb4tVr



Ben, I do hope this helps...
And, if you get overwhelmed with all the radio stuff...have a look at these Atlantic Crossing videos (no hi-tech stuff, just fun!)
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...KgTCj15iyl6qoY


fair winds...

John
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