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Old 21-02-2019, 16:27   #31
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

cb-
Some VEC groups will allow you to take, retake, take advanced levels, all on the same $14(?). Others will require an additional check for each test taken--so you may need to bring two checks if you plan to take tech and general. Others, like the "Laurel" VEC group, conduct FREE testing.
Your mileage will vary. And, the ARRL.ORG web site does keep calendars of scheduled VEC exams all over the country.
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Old 21-02-2019, 17:06   #32
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
cburger,
Well, I sorta' skipped over your thread ………


Fair winds, and Good Luck on your exams!!

John
Great lot of information there John. I am sure many of us will find useful.
Thanks,
David
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Old 21-02-2019, 17:36   #33
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

Another option regarding wire antennas is to take a length of insulated multi-strand copper wire, seal the far end (adhesive-lined heatshrink), then take a length of double braid line, tie the inner core to your wire, and pull the wire through the outer braid.

At the far end, while you are splicing a soft or hard eye, you can trap the wire end to stop it slipping down the braid.
This gives you a sturdy antenna wire (due to the outer) with the advantages of proper copper wire for the actual antenna conductor.

I am not suggesting this be used for a backstay of course, but is great for a 'backstay antenna' (or anywhere else you want to run it from the mast-head down.

For me, the route is mast head down to the starboard side of our solar/comms arch on the stern, then to an Icom AT180, in the lazarette just under the arch, and the earthing to the boat grounding plate a metre of so from there. One of the jobs for this season I hope (the antenna was done a while back - too many other things getting in the way of finishing the job).

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Old 21-02-2019, 19:07   #34
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

I think most volunteer examiner groups will let you take the general exam right after you pass the technician exam on the same registration fee. And same for Extra if you then pass General. I haven’t heard of any charging a fee for each exam in the same session. Even if you don’t think you can pass General right after passing Technician, you should do it anyway. You just might pass.

Don’t waste your time with a vertical HF antenna on the masthead. There is no benefit to putting it up there even if you could practically install it.
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Old 22-02-2019, 06:03   #35
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

I installed an M802 Icom system and where I do not have a backstay so I have a Shakespeare whip. I haven't spent much tie getting used to the unit and to date have been disappointed in what I expected to find for traffic. Everything I have read references the ground for the antenna and I am using the Kiss Counterpoise connected to the autotuner with A GTO-15 high voltage RF feed which means that a single conductor is attached and therefore no physical ground. Is it just convention that considers the field of the counterpoise to be ground?
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Old 22-02-2019, 06:35   #36
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
. . . FWIW, some countries, Great Britain, require the Extra License if you are going international.

ALL CEPT countries, so most of the rest of the world.


That's why I did the Extra license, which is quite a bit more challenging than the General.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SoonerSailor View Post
I think most volunteer examiner groups will let you take the general exam right after you pass the technician exam on the same registration fee. And same for Extra if you then pass General. I haven’t heard of any charging a fee for each exam in the same session. Even if you don’t think you can pass General right after passing Technician, you should do it anyway. You just might pass.

I took all three exams in one sitting.




The examiners were kind of surprised when I asked to do so, but they checked and it's allowed.
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Old 22-02-2019, 17:25   #37
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

I've made a good living in the sat com industry, etc....but have also done my share of consulting in other areas (some times just for fun!), and this includes receiver design and transmit PA work, etc., for some ham (and broadcast) manufacturers / engineers....and also spent quite a bit of time on-the-air...so...

So, I freely admit that I'm somewhat of a purist when it comes to RF....I mean, why settle for crappy / mediocre, when "very good" usually only costs a few percent more?? The answer for many manufacturers is unfortunately laziness, which is most often covered-up by marketing BS....

Please don't call me an "expert".....'cuz in my industry, an "expert" is an "a**hole with a briefcase"...

And, before we delve into the weeds, please understand that when I sat down to write this, I reminded myself that (due to the nature of modern marketing, and of internet discussion boards, especially with many anonymous postings) while showing others the pluses / advantages of some radios / antennas / etc. isn't too controversial, attempting to point out the negatives of some radios/antennas, etc. can be fraught with difficulties and controversy....in years past we could have a long/involved technical discussion on-the-air, about antenna efficiencies / antenna patterns, radiowave propagation, transmit IMD, receiver/osc phase noise, the virtues of speech processing/compression (and some of its pitfalls), how-to design a great receiver, the importance of proper passive device choice, etc. etc....and even in the recent decade we can have some discussion of "interference" (RFI, etc.)....but, when attempting to do these things "on-line", most of what happens is argument and flexing of egos!

Over the years, I've taught seminars in antenna design / choice versus radiowave propagation; transmit interference; receiver design and proper adjustments, etc.; but, I haven't done so in years, mainly 'cuz so many think of themselves as "experts", they attend just to voice their opinions (the more sly individuals try to do this in the form of a question), and what is supposed to be a learning experience for everyone (myself included) actually causes confusion and controversy.... So, I haven't taught any in years....just too many of my fellow hams trying to show off their egos, and quoting specifications that, in addition to many times actually being moot, these same guys usually have no clue what those specs actually mean....

So, what to do?? Hmmm... Well, about 8 - 9 years ago, I decided to try to help some of my fellow sailors by making some videos and posting some facts / tips about HF radio communications...And, so far here on sailing websites and in my videos, although I have praised the Icom M-802 and cautioned against the use of ham radios on the maritime bands (VERY bad idea), I haven't been too critical of products or particular set-ups (except for my disdain for the KISS-Ground, which I showed how you can make you own that works better, for < $5...or even much better, just make a low-imp direct sea-water connection and be 10 times better!)...so, what to do when asked about a particular radio??

A few years back I was asked publicly about the old Icom IC-725, for on-board use (the guy bought a boat, it was already there)....which I had the unfortunate opportunity to use / work on, decades ago...and, I politely said that it was a rather poor performer (as opposed to it's bigger brother the IC-735, which to this day is still a nice radio!) and very much not a radio to install on your boat....and that the reason you do see them occasionally is 'cuz they were cheap, small, and had only a few knobs to worry about....(but, what I wanted to say was: It's a piece of crap! Run away, now! Don't even bother to try it! There are many, many other options that would be much better, for the same or similar $$$....but, no I was polite)....and I think the guy went on to try to use that 725....{btw, in a series of private messages that inquired about the M-802 vs. some "ham rigs" I have contrasted the M-802 versus the fancy/new Icom IC-7300 ham radio....and the gist is: go for the M-802 hands down....and leave the IC-7300, etc. at home (or at the least, keep it for playing around on the ham bands, when at anchor for a while)..}

So, now what do I do when someone asks about a particular radio?? Well, I've decided to not worry about some seeing this as ego flexing (which it isn't), nor some thinking it's their opportunity to argue (I won't be engaging in that), so....so here goes!

[FYI, the SEA 222 is a fairly old radio....and isn't the easiest to program new frequencies into, nor to use on the ham bands....and even for many of our "modern" uses of the marine bands, it's really not a great choice....if it were me, I'd sell it on ebay (should get you about $200 - $300....but try for $350-$400), and add that to the money you were thinking of spending on the FT-857D ($800), and buy an Icom M-802!]

Icom SSB Radio Kits & Components


For most hams (and all sailors) the FT-857 and FT-857D (and the newer FT-991's) are some of the worst choices of ham radio HF gear made in the past 20 years!!! The exception to this is, for "portable / mountaintop" operations with small / compromise antennas....or sitting on a remote beach operating from batteries and an antenna just stuck in the sand, etc....these are the exceptions because: a) you have small / compromise antennas that limit both the raw signal level you emit AND the signal levels that you receive. b) there are few (if any) other stations nearby that you can bother, nor they bother you. c) few (if any) nearby sources of RFI.


As for the specifics....the FT-857D (and the earlier FT-857, and the newer FT-991) has some of the worst transmit IMD of any HF ham radio made in the past 30 - 40 years!! The receiver has a fairly poor blocking dynamic range, as well as rather poor 2-signal interference dynamic range (2-tone rec IMD) And, they have rather poor / dirty main oscillators (high osc phase noise), making their receivers (and transmitters), overall rather poor...

Now, I could explain all of these things (and many others), but that's going to take a while!! And, I just don't have the time to write a treatise on HF radios, transmit PA's, oscillators, receiver design, let alone the intricacies of what happens inside active components / amplifiers when subjected to multiple signals, etc...so, please just accept that the FT-857 / 857D's transmitter pollutes the airwaves much worse than any other ham radio made in the past 30 - 40 years! (and, would make you a very unwelcome neighbor) This is very much worse / substantially worse than marine HF radios, such as the M-802!!

Also, the 857's receiver is fairly easy to "overload" (distortions appear, causing your received signals to suffer), making it not such a good radio for use in close proximity to others....

(fyi, a radio like the M-802, Drake TR-7, old Icom IC-781, etc., you can sit right next to each other, with their antennas only a few yards apart, and operate them just fine....although on the same band it would be best if you had the antennas about 100' - 200' separate, you actually can use 'em with antennas very close....but with radios like the 857, where they have a 30db to 40db disadvantage, you may find interference from another who is as far away as a couple miles, or even thousands of miles...)

For those that wish some transmit "numbers"...
The transmit IMD of the FT-857:
-25db / -40db / -50db / -52db

And, for the Yaesu FT-857D:
-21db / -32db (3rd and 5th order IMD was all that was reported)


The same transmit IMD numbers for the M-802 are:
-47db / -50db / -58db / -60db (at 150 watts) {3 to 6db better/lower at 100 watts}

If you wish to see these figures represented in an image, and lots of detailed discussion, have a look here:

https://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/i...c,97093.0.html

https://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/i...97093.105.html

Of course, with the 857, there is also "91 different menu system items and the 17 different multi-function options" that you are supposed to see / adjust on a screen smaller than that in an old flip-phone...and a multi-function microphone with > 20 buttons, and a "thumb-wheel", on it...all-in-all, the 857(D) just seems like one of the worst HF ham rigs for almost anyone other than a portable / mountain-top operation, and certainly a fairly bad choice for use on a sailboat...


I'm not a fan of radios that pack in many bands/features (that few actually ever use), but if for some reason someone had a need to have a "shack-in-the-box" radio (one that covers HF, VHF, and UHF, and multiple modes that you'll likely never use), I'd recommend the IC-7000 or even the older IC-706MkIIG, they both have detachable face plates / control heads, and are small/lightweight (of course they do NOT perform all that great, but are significantly better than the FT-857)....

But, if looking for a really good radio, a truly modern HF ham radio (at reasonable price) the Kenwood TS-590SG is tops these days!! (If you want to spend serious dollars, the TS-990S and TS890S, are darn nice too....but damn pricey!!) And, if you're looking for an SDR-type rig, that is more affordable than the 990 or 890, you can look at the IC-7300...(or if budget allows, the IC-7610) The big Yaesu FTdx-5000 series are nice radios, but you must operate them carefully (no ALC) in order to keep their transmitters working cleanly....

[now, if you wish to look at more of the budget end, a nice, clean (working) used IC-735 is a good choice, as are some of the older, larger Icom's like the 751, 761, 765...and while it ain't made to run on 12vdc, and is BIG and heavy, the older IC-781 is a very nice rig...and some JRC's too, and also the old venerable Drake TR-7 (whose "marine"/"commercial" version, the TR-77 / TR-4310, ran 24/7/365 at Monaco Radio HF maritime coast station, and others, for over a decade!) ]


But, fyi, none of these ham radios (with possible one or two old exceptions) have as clean of transmit signal as modern marine HF radios (like the M-802), and of course NO ham radio ever made has DSC capabilities!! And, of course NONE of these modern ham radios are legal to use on the marine bands/channels/freqs!!! So, this part of the discussion / these recommends are just for those looking for ham radios, and NOT using them for maritime comms...

The choice for ham gear is wide and varied....and while nobody can say "what is the best radio", there are some fairly solid facts that will point you in specific directions....

In general order of importance:
a) What is it's transmit IMD and spectral purity?? ('cuz on crowded ham bands, it's not our receivers that are the limiting factor now-a-days, but rather the trash coming out of our transmitters!) {Nothing comes close to the commercial standard and results of the modern HF maritime radios, such as the Icom M-802....but the Kenwood TS-590SG, TS-990S, and TS-890S, are all fairly good....and the ANAN 7000 and 8000 are really very good!!}

b) What are the radio's "overload" and "rec distortion" potential (blocking DR and phase-noise / RMDR)...{when you see low numbers and/or "noise limited" test results, that's a bad sign}

c) What audio characteristics does it have (transmit and rec)?? {note that the multi-thousand dollar K3 SUCKS in this area, and many never use it for SSB, and most either use an external audio amp / headphones / ext audio processor.....the newer K3s is better, but still crap, compared to most other modern HF rigs! And, note that the Kenwood TS-590SG (and its older brother the TS-480) excel in this area, as does the Icom M-802, and a few of the high-end Icom ham rigs, as well as some of the ANAN SDR rigs....}


d) What is it's rec 2-tone IMD DR?? (in the bandwidth / spacing that you're likely operating...remember that while a nice narrow-spaced IMD3 might look good for advertising, it doesn't mean crap if "b" and "c" are crappy....and even if they're good, this can be a moot point for those whose primary interest is SSB, PACTORIII/IV, or even just casual operating, as just about any rig these days can have an rec IMD3 spec that is "good enough" for SSB or other wider-bandwidth modes)

e) What other features do you desire?? {bandscope, computer control, direct-sampling/SDR-based, band/mode/freq "memories"/defaults, etc...}


f) You'll notice that I haven't mentioned what "modes" it has....that's 'cuz they will all have all the HF modes you'll need.....

And as for covering VHF and UHF??? It is unlikely that you'd ever need more than 2m FM (possibly 2m and 70cm, FM?), and while I do love VHF/UHF weak signal work on CW (Morse code) and SSB....from a cruising sailboat, it's unlikely that you'd ever need/desire that...so, if you want 2m FM, you can buy a nice powerful rig for $100 - $150, or even a handheld??

That's about it for "ham" radio criteria...


Hope this helps?

Fair winds...

John


P.S. As for antennas.....how much time do you have??

Seriously, on a sailboat....use the backstay....or rig a "rope-tenna" / "alternative backstay antenna"!!

There are a LOT of reasons for this....but luckily, they are already posted here (in the stickies, etc.)!! So, I don't have to rewrite everything here...


Once you study up more on antennas, radiowave propagation, etc....you'll understand better....but 'til then, just accept that it's a backstay antenna.....it's a fairly effective, 4-octave / multi-band, rugged, long-lasting, typically very efficient antenna (assuming it's base-fed with a remote tuner, against a sea-water ground, it's the best damned choice...)
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Old 22-02-2019, 17:51   #38
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

I believe that official agencies worldwide stopped monitoring SSB 2182 decades ago.
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Old 22-02-2019, 18:00   #39
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

USCG stopped monitoring 2182 in 2013. Don’t know about other country’s CGs.

It remains a calling and distress freq for GMDSS.
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Old 22-02-2019, 18:21   #40
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

I would suggest you keep the SEA222 radio for now. It is a decent if older rig, well suited for marine use. Connect tune to isolated backstay, ground to throughull and fire it off.
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Old 22-02-2019, 21:28   #41
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
I've made a good living in the sat com industry, etc....but have also done my share of consulting in other areas (some times just for fun!), and this includes receiver design and transmit PA work, etc., for some ham (and broadcast) manufacturers / engineers....and also spent quite a bit of time on-the-air...so...

So, I freely admit that I'm somewhat of a purist when it comes to RF....I mean, why settle for crappy / mediocre, when "very good" usually only costs a few percent more?? The answer for many manufacturers is unfortunately laziness, which is most often covered-up by marketing BS....

Please don't call me an "expert".....'cuz in my industry, an "expert" is an "a**hole with a briefcase"...

And, before we delve into the weeds, please understand that when I sat down to write this, I reminded myself that (due to the nature of modern marketing, and of internet discussion boards, especially with many anonymous postings) while showing others the pluses / advantages of some radios / antennas / etc. isn't too controversial, attempting to point out the negatives of some radios/antennas, etc. can be fraught with difficulties and controversy....in years past we could have a long/involved technical discussion on-the-air, about antenna efficiencies / antenna patterns, radiowave propagation, transmit IMD, receiver/osc phase noise, the virtues of speech processing/compression (and some of its pitfalls), how-to design a great receiver, the importance of proper passive device choice, etc. etc....and even in the recent decade we can have some discussion of "interference" (RFI, etc.)....but, when attempting to do these things "on-line", most of what happens is argument and flexing of egos!

Over the years, I've taught seminars in antenna design / choice versus radiowave propagation; transmit interference; receiver design and proper adjustments, etc.; but, I haven't done so in years, mainly 'cuz so many think of themselves as "experts", they attend just to voice their opinions (the more sly individuals try to do this in the form of a question), and what is supposed to be a learning experience for everyone (myself included) actually causes confusion and controversy.... So, I haven't taught any in years....just too many of my fellow hams trying to show off their egos, and quoting specifications that, in addition to many times actually being moot, these same guys usually have no clue what those specs actually mean....

So, what to do?? Hmmm... Well, about 8 - 9 years ago, I decided to try to help some of my fellow sailors by making some videos and posting some facts / tips about HF radio communications...And, so far here on sailing websites and in my videos, although I have praised the Icom M-802 and cautioned against the use of ham radios on the maritime bands (VERY bad idea), I haven't been too critical of products or particular set-ups (except for my disdain for the KISS-Ground, which I showed how you can make you own that works better, for < $5...or even much better, just make a low-imp direct sea-water connection and be 10 times better!)...so, what to do when asked about a particular radio??

A few years back I was asked publicly about the old Icom IC-725, for on-board use (the guy bought a boat, it was already there)....which I had the unfortunate opportunity to use / work on, decades ago...and, I politely said that it was a rather poor performer (as opposed to it's bigger brother the IC-735, which to this day is still a nice radio!) and very much not a radio to install on your boat....and that the reason you do see them occasionally is 'cuz they were cheap, small, and had only a few knobs to worry about....(but, what I wanted to say was: It's a piece of crap! Run away, now! Don't even bother to try it! There are many, many other options that would be much better, for the same or similar $$$....but, no I was polite)....and I think the guy went on to try to use that 725....{btw, in a series of private messages that inquired about the M-802 vs. some "ham rigs" I have contrasted the M-802 versus the fancy/new Icom IC-7300 ham radio....and the gist is: go for the M-802 hands down....and leave the IC-7300, etc. at home (or at the least, keep it for playing around on the ham bands, when at anchor for a while)..}

So, now what do I do when someone asks about a particular radio?? Well, I've decided to not worry about some seeing this as ego flexing (which it isn't), nor some thinking it's their opportunity to argue (I won't be engaging in that), so....so here goes!

[FYI, the SEA 222 is a fairly old radio....and isn't the easiest to program new frequencies into, nor to use on the ham bands....and even for many of our "modern" uses of the marine bands, it's really not a great choice....if it were me, I'd sell it on ebay (should get you about $200 - $300....but try for $350-$400), and add that to the money you were thinking of spending on the FT-857D ($800), and buy an Icom M-802!]

Icom SSB Radio Kits & Components


For most hams (and all sailors) the FT-857 and FT-857D (and the newer FT-991's) are some of the worst choices of ham radio HF gear made in the past 20 years!!! The exception to this is, for "portable / mountaintop" operations with small / compromise antennas....or sitting on a remote beach operating from batteries and an antenna just stuck in the sand, etc....these are the exceptions because: a) you have small / compromise antennas that limit both the raw signal level you emit AND the signal levels that you receive. b) there are few (if any) other stations nearby that you can bother, nor they bother you. c) few (if any) nearby sources of RFI.


As for the specifics....the FT-857D (and the earlier FT-857, and the newer FT-991) has some of the worst transmit IMD of any HF ham radio made in the past 30 - 40 years!! The receiver has a fairly poor blocking dynamic range, as well as rather poor 2-signal interference dynamic range (2-tone rec IMD) And, they have rather poor / dirty main oscillators (high osc phase noise), making their receivers (and transmitters), overall rather poor...

Now, I could explain all of these things (and many others), but that's going to take a while!! And, I just don't have the time to write a treatise on HF radios, transmit PA's, oscillators, receiver design, let alone the intricacies of what happens inside active components / amplifiers when subjected to multiple signals, etc...so, please just accept that the FT-857 / 857D's transmitter pollutes the airwaves much worse than any other ham radio made in the past 30 - 40 years! (and, would make you a very unwelcome neighbor) This is very much worse / substantially worse than marine HF radios, such as the M-802!!

Also, the 857's receiver is fairly easy to "overload" (distortions appear, causing your received signals to suffer), making it not such a good radio for use in close proximity to others....

(fyi, a radio like the M-802, Drake TR-7, old Icom IC-781, etc., you can sit right next to each other, with their antennas only a few yards apart, and operate them just fine....although on the same band it would be best if you had the antennas about 100' - 200' separate, you actually can use 'em with antennas very close....but with radios like the 857, where they have a 30db to 40db disadvantage, you may find interference from another who is as far away as a couple miles, or even thousands of miles...)

For those that wish some transmit "numbers"...
The transmit IMD of the FT-857:
-25db / -40db / -50db / -52db

And, for the Yaesu FT-857D:
-21db / -32db (3rd and 5th order IMD was all that was reported)


The same transmit IMD numbers for the M-802 are:
-47db / -50db / -58db / -60db (at 150 watts) {3 to 6db better/lower at 100 watts}

If you wish to see these figures represented in an image, and lots of detailed discussion, have a look here:

https://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/i...c,97093.0.html

https://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/i...97093.105.html

Of course, with the 857, there is also "91 different menu system items and the 17 different multi-function options" that you are supposed to see / adjust on a screen smaller than that in an old flip-phone...and a multi-function microphone with > 20 buttons, and a "thumb-wheel", on it...all-in-all, the 857(D) just seems like one of the worst HF ham rigs for almost anyone other than a portable / mountain-top operation, and certainly a fairly bad choice for use on a sailboat...


I'm not a fan of radios that pack in many bands/features (that few actually ever use), but if for some reason someone had a need to have a "shack-in-the-box" radio (one that covers HF, VHF, and UHF, and multiple modes that you'll likely never use), I'd recommend the IC-7000 or even the older IC-706MkIIG, they both have detachable face plates / control heads, and are small/lightweight (of course they do NOT perform all that great, but are significantly better than the FT-857)....

But, if looking for a really good radio, a truly modern HF ham radio (at reasonable price) the Kenwood TS-590SG is tops these days!! (If you want to spend serious dollars, the TS-990S and TS890S, are darn nice too....but damn pricey!!) And, if you're looking for an SDR-type rig, that is more affordable than the 990 or 890, you can look at the IC-7300...(or if budget allows, the IC-7610) The big Yaesu FTdx-5000 series are nice radios, but you must operate them carefully (no ALC) in order to keep their transmitters working cleanly....

[now, if you wish to look at more of the budget end, a nice, clean (working) used IC-735 is a good choice, as are some of the older, larger Icom's like the 751, 761, 765...and while it ain't made to run on 12vdc, and is BIG and heavy, the older IC-781 is a very nice rig...and some JRC's too, and also the old venerable Drake TR-7 (whose "marine"/"commercial" version, the TR-77 / TR-4310, ran 24/7/365 at Monaco Radio HF maritime coast station, and others, for over a decade!) ]


But, fyi, none of these ham radios (with possible one or two old exceptions) have as clean of transmit signal as modern marine HF radios (like the M-802), and of course NO ham radio ever made has DSC capabilities!! And, of course NONE of these modern ham radios are legal to use on the marine bands/channels/freqs!!! So, this part of the discussion / these recommends are just for those looking for ham radios, and NOT using them for maritime comms...

The choice for ham gear is wide and varied....and while nobody can say "what is the best radio", there are some fairly solid facts that will point you in specific directions....

In general order of importance:
a) What is it's transmit IMD and spectral purity?? ('cuz on crowded ham bands, it's not our receivers that are the limiting factor now-a-days, but rather the trash coming out of our transmitters!) {Nothing comes close to the commercial standard and results of the modern HF maritime radios, such as the Icom M-802....but the Kenwood TS-590SG, TS-990S, and TS-890S, are all fairly good....and the ANAN 7000 and 8000 are really very good!!}

b) What are the radio's "overload" and "rec distortion" potential (blocking DR and phase-noise / RMDR)...{when you see low numbers and/or "noise limited" test results, that's a bad sign}

c) What audio characteristics does it have (transmit and rec)?? {note that the multi-thousand dollar K3 SUCKS in this area, and many never use it for SSB, and most either use an external audio amp / headphones / ext audio processor.....the newer K3s is better, but still crap, compared to most other modern HF rigs! And, note that the Kenwood TS-590SG (and its older brother the TS-480) excel in this area, as does the Icom M-802, and a few of the high-end Icom ham rigs, as well as some of the ANAN SDR rigs....}


d) What is it's rec 2-tone IMD DR?? (in the bandwidth / spacing that you're likely operating...remember that while a nice narrow-spaced IMD3 might look good for advertising, it doesn't mean crap if "b" and "c" are crappy....and even if they're good, this can be a moot point for those whose primary interest is SSB, PACTORIII/IV, or even just casual operating, as just about any rig these days can have an rec IMD3 spec that is "good enough" for SSB or other wider-bandwidth modes)

e) What other features do you desire?? {bandscope, computer control, direct-sampling/SDR-based, band/mode/freq "memories"/defaults, etc...}


f) You'll notice that I haven't mentioned what "modes" it has....that's 'cuz they will all have all the HF modes you'll need.....

And as for covering VHF and UHF??? It is unlikely that you'd ever need more than 2m FM (possibly 2m and 70cm, FM?), and while I do love VHF/UHF weak signal work on CW (Morse code) and SSB....from a cruising sailboat, it's unlikely that you'd ever need/desire that...so, if you want 2m FM, you can buy a nice powerful rig for $100 - $150, or even a handheld??

That's about it for "ham" radio criteria...


Hope this helps?

Fair winds...

John


P.S. As for antennas.....how much time do you have??

Seriously, on a sailboat....use the backstay....or rig a "rope-tenna" / "alternative backstay antenna"!!

There are a LOT of reasons for this....but luckily, they are already posted here (in the stickies, etc.)!! So, I don't have to rewrite everything here...


Once you study up more on antennas, radiowave propagation, etc....you'll understand better....but 'til then, just accept that it's a backstay antenna.....it's a fairly effective, 4-octave / multi-band, rugged, long-lasting, typically very efficient antenna (assuming it's base-fed with a remote tuner, against a sea-water ground, it's the best damned choice...)
Great post, and info. Thanks

~W3AZH
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Old 23-02-2019, 05:50   #42
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

Thanks for your analysis, John. I will say that with regard to the Elecraft K3/K3S, it does have built-in independent receive and transmit audio multi-band equalizers for use in SSB, so it seems most are able to make it sound like they want.

I have used the M802 on the ham bands, but did not like it much for SSB, and hated it for CW. Great for Pactor, however, and for the channelized marine SSB bands it is fine.

I currently use an ICOM IC-7000 on the boat for ham radio purposes, because I already had one to install, and it uses a detachable control head. If I were buying new, I think I would choose the Kenwood TS-480HX since it too has a detachable control head, important on my boat. The IC-7100 might work OK too. If you have the room, the Icom IC-7300 is a lot of rig for the money, but no detachable control head. Your choice of ham rig will in the end depend a lot on how you want to use it. And if you are new to ham radio, you are likely to find that your first rig teaches you that there are others that suit your preferences better!

With almost any ham rig, if you want to operate it at its full rated output power, you need to be sure it has at least 13.8 Volts at the radio during full power transmit. This can be hard to achieve when the batteries aren't being actively charged at the same time, unless you install a voltage booster like the ones from MFJ or N8XJK. If you don't feed it with enough DC power, the transmit signal will be extremely dirty. You can usually avoid a dirty signal in this circumstance if you dial back radio power to half or less. The M-802 doesn't suffer from this to the same extent.

Like John says, an M-802 should be your first choice for a high seas boat or if you want to be able to participate in the marine band SSB nets. For your ham radio - pick your poison.

Chip
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Old 23-02-2019, 08:00   #43
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

1) Those of you looking for details of maritime HF comms, HF-DSC comms, etc., as well as info on antennas, ground systems, installation tips, etc...and also operating tips....please have a look at the "stickies" at the top of the Marine Electronics page, here on Cruiser's Forum, 'cuz all of that is there for you in those reference postings....

HF-SSB Radio, Proper Installation Tips/Techniques, etc.

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

And, if you have specific questions on any of that (or on anything), please start a new thread asking your specific questions....and I'm sure we'll be able to help...


Also, if you'd like to see how all of this actually works in the real-world, on-board a real offshore cruising boat (not in a class room, nor using laboratory simulations), please have a look at these videos....(please watch the videos in the playlists in order, skip-over/fast-forward thru some if you get bored, or skip past any repetition of videos, but try to watch 'em in order, that way it will all make better sense)...

{please remember these videos were done by me, with no script, no director, just my M-802, etc., my fingers, and my narration, LIVE, as-it-happens, at the dock open to boat traffic, etc....just like on-board your own boats... }

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


Maritime HF Comms (in general)
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y


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


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


And, just for fun....Offshore Sailing
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...KgTCj15iyl6qoY




2) 2182khz??

Well, the "facts" about 2182 and it being monitored (actually not monitored) really never get through to some....so, here goes...

New Zealand's Taupo Radio and Bermuda Harbour Radio still have a voice radio watch on 2182, but absolutely prefer a DSC call on one of the GMDSS DSC channels (4207.5khz DSC or even 2187.5khz DSC for Bermuda....and any of the six GMDSS DSC channels for Taupo Radio)....but if you have no DSC capability, Bermuda recommends you use 4125khz SSB....(and Taupo recommends 4125, 6215, 8291, 12290, or 16420)

USCG stopped any monitoring of 2182khz SSB (and 2187.5khz DSC) in 2013....

And, prior to this....with these exceptions above noted...monitoring of 2182 was ceased by all coast stations and all SOLAS vessels upon the full implementation of the GMDSS in Jan 1999 (20 years ago!)....

Also of note is that even prior to 1999, most "monitoring" of 2182 (again with the exceptions noted above) was only done for 3 minutes at the top and bottom of the hour, aside from that the "2182 watch receivers" were squelched and they were only listening for a "two-tone alarm" from a properly equipped maritime radio, at which time they would alert the crew on the bridge of the vessel (or the watchstanding crew of the coast station) that a call was coming in....

This was the standard "2182 monitoring procedure" that was done for 30 - 40 years....anyone without a 2182 alarm generator in their marine SSB radio (just about all pleasure boats) would need to be within 2182khz radio range (~ 100 - 200 miles) of a USCG station, Bermuda Radio, Taupo Radio, etc., or you'd need to be lucky enough to be in 2182khz radio range of some other station / merchant vessel right at the top or bottom of the hour, when you were having your Distress, in order to be heard by anyone!! (and that was the case, for "2182" for decades!!)

Now-a-days, since the 1992 start of the GMDSS, and certainly since it full implementation in Jan 1999, we have DSC....VHF-DSC (ch. 70); MF-DSC (2187.5khz); and HF-DSC (4207.5khz, 6312khz, 8414.5khz, 12577khz, and 16804.6khz)....

https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=cgcommsCall

And, remember there are >80 HF-DSC coast stations worldwide, and >450 MF-DSC coast stations....and 1000's of GMDSS-equipped SOLAS-grade vessels plying the oceans everyday.....all listening on DSC, not voice (with the exception of USCG, Aus AMSA, New Zealand NZMA, and Bermuda Harbour Radio...while all maintaining a DSC watch, also still maintain an SSB voice watch on certain channels...)



~~~~~~ Please note that all the above is in the stickies referenced above ~~~~~~~~~



3) Finally, I always caution to never buy a radio based on one (or two) specification, and certainly never make an a vs. b choice, if the differences are only minor....and I was hesitant to post some of these specs / test results, because it might seem like I'm encouraging the exact opposite of what I caution??
But, since I decided to post some numbers, I surprised myself when I saw that somehow I didn't actually get them all posted (copy n paste didn't work)...so when I wrote that the FT857 would have a 30 - 40db disadvantage, you all didn't see everything I was referring to...I posted the poor transmit specs, but, I accidentally left out the 857's rec blockingDR and IMD3 results...


The BlockingDR are 88 to 109db (and mostly noise-limited), with the 857D being about 10db better...(compared to something like the TS-590SG at 124 to 139db...and the old TR-7 at 146db and M-802 at about 142...)

And, the rec IMD3 numbers being 65 to 88db....the 857D at 67 to 88db....(compared to the TS-590SG at 98 to 106db...)



Again, I do not want to be negative about anything....but the 857 is really a bad choice for most...





Hope this helps..

Fair winds.

John
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Old 01-03-2019, 14:24   #44
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

I purchased a 857D Yaesu a few years ago, The're excellent radios.The problem was it could not transmit on HF marine bands , RX yes but Tx No
In order to open it up for marine bands also i needed to connect and disconnect a couple of small (read tiny)links inside the radio.
From then on I had a open Marine as well as a Ham radio in one. You'll need to google for the web link, as I forgot it. Good luck with the exam..
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Old 01-03-2019, 14:49   #45
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

Not to rain on anyone's parade, but don't ever get caught using an Amateur radio for Marine use, unless your boat is sinking and you are 700 miles off shore. I am sure you get my drift.
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