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Old 22-05-2017, 12:38   #16
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Boat: Catalina 470
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Re: New ICOM M802 SSB won't transmit - urgent advice needed

Glad all is working out for you!!

FYI, I will be on the air in a couple minutes, if you're still on-board...

And, most importantly, you can enable the Ham bands easily....just put your M-802 into "open Mode" (the way they used to be shipped, the old default mode)
It's a simple as pressing a couple buttons...
Have a look here!!
Icom M-802 "Open Mode" (Open/Ham/Dial vs. Standard "marine mode")

Fair winds..


John, KA4WJA
s/v Annie Laurie, WDB6927
MMSI# 366933110
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Old 23-05-2017, 12:41   #17
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Re: New ICOM M802 SSB won't transmit - urgent advice needed

In just our messages back-n-forth you seem like a good guy, and shouldn't mind everyone using your experiences (and my observations, too) as a "teachable moment"??
Anyway, here goes...

1) As I've been saying for years (decades??) HF radio communications are actually quite easy and reliable, and fairly predictable, too....and while these words surprise many laypersons, once they learn about it, they usually see that these are truism's...

But, just like most things in life, we are not born with this knowledge / experience....we must learn it and do sailing itself!
As I continue to preach, you needed to learn how to sail, navigate, trim sails, flush the head (and repair it), etc. well as so many other things in life, like learning to walk, talk, read, math, etc....
Why do many think learning about radiowave propagation and HF radio comms would be any different??
They simply need to learn the basics, and use the radio!
I am still amazed that so many of my fellow sailors think/say that since they can't just tap on an App icon, and get what they want instantly, that "this stuff just doesn't work", or "it must be broken"...

In addition to my words above (and for many years) and my continued observations, please read what JR wrote here:
Originally Posted by jr_spyder View Post
Well I've got good news. I called my local marine electronics hop and they sent a technician over mid-day today. He enabled the compression feature very quickly and then checked everything out. He was a very skilled and dedicated HAM so he briefly opened the HAM channels and made a contact. He thought everything was working as it should. He disabled that HAM capability before he left. Maybe I'll get back to that someday.

Later I was able to reach WLO on 1212 with a reasonably good signal. I'm much happier now with the rig and feel more confident in it doing its job as I learn more.
You see....knowing just a little of what the radio does, somewhat how the radiowaves propagate, and some basic instructions on operating / talking on the radio...JR successfully made contact with a station about 1200 miles away, and feels confident that radio is doing its job (which it is doing well, now that the speech compressor is turned On)!!

Now, I would have insisted that this guy proof-of-performance-test the whole system, and provide JR with a chart showing power output, reflected power, VSWR, DC voltage/power to radio, etc. on each and every marine MF/HF band (as well as the ham bands), and an observation of how these exact power output measurements correlate to the radio's own power output display....and a list of various stations contacted on-the-air live, the times/freqs and their locations, as well as their signal strengths and the signal reports they gave your vessel...
Also this should include any observations of on-board RFI (both transmit and receive RFI), as well as any anomalous behaviors of the radio system, or any other system on-board while transmitting...

But, hey at least he has confirmed that it is working!!

Yes, he got professional help...but how many of you learned advanced mathematics without a teacher?? or even never watched a sailing video??
So, we ALL get help....we all learn stuff everyday, from everyone...
{As a teenager at a Mensa meeting, I was reminded that "Everyman is my teacher, in that I may learn from him."....but, as I got older I realized that not only does this go both ways, but also requires BOTH parties to be willing to learn and teach....
I know, I know....way WAY off topic! Sorry! }

My point here, to everyone, is:
Don't think everything in life is now done for you by some electronic microprocessor....don't forget to use your own "microprocessor" (your brain) and learn!

And, use the radio!!!
The more you use it, the better you be at using it!!
Yes, read the threads and watch the videos....they are good tools to help, but using the radio is where you will actually be putting this knowledge to work AND learning at the same time...
So, use the radio!!
[As I wrote earlier, the IMO (international Maritime Organization) and the GMDSS recommendations, clearly say that mariners should regularly use their HF/MF-DSC-SSB Radiotelephones, for routine signaling / messages, so that they will be familiar with the system in times of Distress and easily recognize radio system issues, before they fail at critical moments!!
And, these are for professional mariners, with specialized, pleasure-boat sailors with little to no professional maritime / communications training should take these recommendations as "requirements"....
Use the radio!! ]

2) As for the technical stuff...
I caught some flack for a recent comment "that anyone should be able to walk on-board, turn the HF radio on, spin the dial, and make contact with someone within 30 - 60 seconds"....
Some have called ******** on, allow me to clarify..

I stand behind my words, but need to add some qualifiers...
a) this assumes you're within a couple thousand miles of civilization
b) using ham and/or maritime freqs (especially ham for HF Voice comms and have Maritime HF-DSC capability)
c) have a working radio system on-board
d) have more than a basic understanding of radiowave propagation
e) have more than a basic understanding of who is listening where, what band/freq. what time-of-day, etc. etc.

3) As an about I eat some of my own words from a couple years ago...
Using my experience from yesterday afternoon (22 May 2017)...
{a couple sentences of background....for 25 years Herb Hilgenberg ran his weather net, primarily on 12.359mhz...and during his last few seasons, I was there on-the-air monitoring from my boat at the dock, and assisting with radio relays / radio issues....part of my routine was to check propagation (and sometimes I got bored, even during the Net, so would spin the dial to see what else was on-the-air)...and sometimes, some boats would be "off-frequency" a bit, and I'd tune around to see....and one afternoon I bumped into Australian Maritime Voice Weather Broadcasts on adjacent channels, 12D (12.362mhz) and 12E (12.365mhz), form 11,000 miles and 9600 miles away...sometimes I'd check 16.528mhz as well...
(Oh, and I also heard them at nighttime on 8.176mhz!!)}

So, I've occasionally commented that if you know about radiowave propagation, and have little (or no) RFI, (and a decent antenna system), you can communicate with stations a long ways away, without much trouble....
Schedules and Frequencies for HF Marine Radio Voice Services
Australia Marine Radio Broadcast Areas

Now, nobody would recommend trying to contact AMSA from Florida, especially on 12mhz...but, just the fact that I would hear and understand their weather broadcasts from 1000 watt transmitters 9000 - 11,000 miles away, is telling of my comments that you can make HF communications work, if you know the "when" / "where" / "how", etc...

So, here is where I must confess my own forgetfulness...

A few years have passed and the solar cycle has been declining steadily during that time, and we are headed further down for the next 2 years and another 2 years (maybe even 3 years) after that of the doldrums, before things start to, propagation has changed since I was hearing those Australian BoM / AMSA weather broadcasts so clearly...
And, with higher A-indices this month, etc., things have changed...
And, yesterday, when I tuned in to listen to them (as I was hoping to talk to JR on 12.359mhz, I tuned around to hear my Australian weather broadcasts), I found them weak and barely readable...(I forgot to check 16.528mhz, but suspect that I would've heard 'em there, too)

Now to be clear, VMC, in Charleville, AUS, is 9600mi (8350nm) from me, and VMW, in Wiluna, is 11,170mi (9700nm) from me....and I'm using just my 60' backstay, nobody would expect "perfect copy"....
But, things on the higher bands are getting tougher these days!


And, then...

4) And then, I was on 40m (7mhz) ham band just tuning around, waiting for the Doo Dah Net on 8.152mhz, and heard some stations quite a ways away....remember this was afternoon, about 3.5 - 4 hours before sunset, where D-layer absorption is still pretty high, and I made contact with stations in west Texas (1000nm away) and Connecticut (900nm away), on 7mhz, during the to certain these guys had great stations and their signals were stronger than everyone else's, but still these distances, at this time of day, on this band, was unheard of just 2 - 3 years ago...

So, here again, I'm reminded that things have changed...yes, they will change back...but for now and the coming 2 to 4 years, we can expect 12mhz to be useful less (and mostly for longer ranges) and 8mhz to be useful more....
Although NY Radio Volmet (13.270mhz) is still booming in here, as well as NMF WeFax on 12.750mhz, just be aware that one band lower is also working now for daytime use, well beyond NVIS range...

So, when watching my videos....any comments about "exactly" what freq/channel should be understood to be based on the solar cycle at that time, and know things do change a bit....
Still use the highest freq/channel's just that it might be one band lower than is shown in the videos, and in the coming 2 - 4 years, I will try to remind everyone!

5) One final caveat, reminded by my own observation yesterday...
Anything can happen!!
Yesterday afternoon, as usual I found USCG WeFax transmissions loud and clear from NMF (Boston) on both 12mhz and 9mhz (12 was stronger, of course), and from NMG (New Orleans) on both 12mhz and 8mhz (about the same, but slight edge to 8mhz, less fading...)
But, when tuning around, I found USCG WeFax transmissions on 13.089mhz (the coast station transmit freq of ITU channel 1205, assigned as an SSB Voice working channel to the USCG)!!

With all US Mainland USCG HF transmitters now being remotely controlled from CAMSLANT / NMN in Virginia....I assumed they accidently patched the WeFax input into the wrong transmitter (cuz NMF, NMG, and NMC were all on-the-air transmitting at the time....and I surmised that they simply / accidently switched the WeFax input to their NMN 13.089mhz transmitter...
I made a phone call to them (CAMSLANT / NMN) in Virginia and told 'em what was going on....after a few "hmm's" and "oh's", they said, "sorry, we must've gotten something switched wrong"...
After a few minutes of them discussing what to do, I said I had to go and said my goodbye....I assume they fixed the problem, but I really did need to go, so I didn't stick around on-the-air to see...

My point here is:
Anything can happen!!
Even the USCG screws-up communications sometimes....
Now, to be clear this was NOT their GMDSS transmitters, so nobody's safety was effected....and as soon as they needed to use that particular transmitter for something (they had a SSB Voice Offshore Waters Weather Broadcast coming up in an hour), they would've seen this error and I assume fixed it without incident....just saying...

Okay, enough of my ramblings....

To sum-up...
Most problems with HF systems on-board, if the sailors are new to HF comms, can be traced to lack of education regarding HF comms and not to equipment failures...
Secondarily, it is the installation / wiring / programming / commissioning / etc that makes the stuff work...

Fair winds to all...


John, KA4WJA
s/v Annie Laurie, WDB6927
MMSI# 366933110
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Old 23-05-2017, 22:20   #18
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Re: New ICOM M802 SSB won't transmit - urgent advice needed

Does anyone use or listen to marine ssb channels? No response doesn't really mean anything

Your best bet to to get on the ham nets. They are at certain times of the day, people will be talking. So you know they are listening at that time. And try to make contact.

Of course you need a ham license and open up the 802 for ham band. Both things you should have done anyways.

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icom, ssb

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