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Old 22-07-2018, 13:46   #1
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SSB HELP for SABA 50

Hello Friends,

I am Old School, and a HAM, Maritime Mobile, looking at getting a Marine SSB for my Saba 50...

Ship to Ship, talkies, news, and Weather. I was planning on getting an ICOM 801E here for Australia. It will do all of that, with an Icom Auto Antennae tuner.

However, I am told (possibly wrong) that Commercial Ships no longer use SSB, they are on Sat Phones. I do not want to go that way. Do they still monitor SSB these days?? Or is Marine SSB a bit obsolete and I should just get a HAM rig and modify it for full band transmit...??

Your advice is appreciated..
Kind regards, Helia 44 now Blessed to be on a Saba 50...
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Old 23-07-2018, 05:10   #2
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Re: SSB HELP for SABA 50

Sorry H44, can't help with what commercial shipping currently use re marine radio comms, but as to the ICOM M801e, are you aware it is a case of Oz regulation gone mad? It is more water resistant, but so what?

Way more expensive than the IC M802, for no benefit? You can still get the M802 here.

The marine HF/SSB has DSC as a major safety benefit.


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Old 23-07-2018, 13:57   #3
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Re: SSB HELP for SABA 50

HELLO BIG BEAKIE!!

Nice to hear from you... I thought we were done with yachting, my wife is a bit crippled up, and the Helia could not carry the bench seat centre console type of big tender we needed... A Broker brought us an offer we could not refuse, when AVALON was not even for sale, so we sold out. Then out of the blue, a couple of months later, a Broker brought us the SABA 50 "Serenity".

It was owned by an eccentric Millionaire, we knew of it since it's Commission at Gold Coast City Marina in 2015. He had a couple of hundred thousand in exotic gear, and we just could not say no. I have a new thread running in the F.P. section if you are interested: Improvements in the Saba 50... It is a whole World for my Wife, about double the living and cargo room and buoyancy in the hulls for extras and so on...!!

Anyway, thank you for answering. I don't know how much more the 801E is than the 802, but I am told the 801E is more resistant to corrosion and salt air, and has a few more features. If there is not a lot of expense in the difference, it sounds like the 801E might last longer in the marine environment???

I was just wondering if I should go big HAM rig, or the Marine SSB, and now you have thrown in the 802 vrs 801E that I will have to investigate.. How much is a new 802? The 801E is about the same as a full featured big HAM rig at sort of $3600 plus the auto antennae tuner and the rest...

Nice to hear from you. I am in Roselyn Bay headed north today. Will make Pearl Bay and then head out Island Hopping up to Airlie Beach making my way north for about a week, where I have a slip... Three and a half months in the Whitsundays and north, doing the normal fishing, beach combing, snorkeling, all the good Lifestyle..!!!

Helia 44, now Blessed to be on the Saba 50 Serenity
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Old 23-07-2018, 15:14   #4
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Re: SSB HELP for SABA 50

FWIW:

On a vessel like yours, it is pretty easy to keep an HF rig dry and clean. IME, on such boats the dread corrosion etc of electronics is not too big a worry. For example, I've had an Icom 746 ham rig on board for nearly 25 years now, moving it from our previous boat on to this one in 2003 when we bought her. Still working fine, never a problem.

So, the alleged advantage of the 801e being more "marine quality" (if indeed true! ) is pretty slim.

I did the dirty deed and opened up the ham rig (with the high stability crystal oven) for emergency use, but have never used it in anger. I check that I can tune on the various marine bands, but don't find anything very interesting on them in this area and am not tempted to illegally use them routinely.

As a ham operator, you likely are familiar with the use of the more sophisticated controls that ham rigs offer. For me, the most important features are good stability and good noise suppression, for yachts can generate a lot of RFI, and if you want to operate from marinas, they are REALLY noisy as a rule.

Another feature of ham rigs is being able to vary the power output conveniently. I typically run only ~25-30 watts, and this both saves battery power and interferes less with nearby vessels in crowded anchorages. IIRC the 802 and its mates are either fixed or with only a couple of levels available, and that through a nested menu. Their standard 150 watt output is excessive for many situations.

One unique feature of the 802 series is DSC emergency calling. Some folks, especially KA4WJA here on CF, feel quite strongly that this is very important. I personally don't miss having it, but that is a decision each sailor must make for themselves. I tend to not obsess about calling for help... DSC VHF and an EPIRB plus the hams of the world are adequate to my needs.

Final comment: the 802 clan all use deeply nested menus to control things. I detest such arrangements, some like them better than the multiple knobs and switches on typical ham rigs. Yuck!

Hope that this rambling post is helpful...

Jim
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Old 23-07-2018, 15:41   #5
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Re: SSB HELP for SABA 50

Hello Jim,

That commentary is VERY useful to me. I have been out of HAM for about 40 years, back in the days of Kenwood 430 and then Kenwood 440, and I think I have a 20 year old Kenwood TS 50-S in a wooden storage box in the shed. I should have brought it.. I was planning on getting a new HF up in Abell Point Marina in the Whitsundays..

So, for weather, news, a HAM rig would be more useful? I mean talkies, info, and all the HAM rigs used to be made for full band transmit in a pinch with the clip of one diode.. Is that still the way it is?

What Ham rig leads the pack these days? Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu???? And can the 802 or 801E Icom be easily modded to talk on the Ham nets? If you are not some kind of a pest, these things are not that heavily regulated here Down Under. If the Icom SSB cannot go full band transmit, then maybe I should give up on the Marine SSB thing and go HAM. From your experience, and you sound well experienced, what rig??

Thank you again for your help. Old call signs KB6KFX, and N6NHK, never bothered to go MM, and I had an Australian one but I have forgotten my Outback Queensland Ham call sign. Some Q5 something or another... I will be a listener 99% of the time, and only want to be able to call the Royal Flying Doctors in an emergency, and get the coastal weather on the hour from the Red Centre in Charlieville... But it is nice to get the current news and chatter.. So maybe you are steering me back to HAM? And I like all the noise filters and graduated power and infinite adjustments...

Kind regards, on SV Serenity, on the lower part of the GBR (Great Barrier Reef) headed north for the season. Calm seas, light wind, motoring along on one engine at 7 knots at 0845 in the morning... Steven
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Old 23-07-2018, 16:17   #6
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Re: SSB HELP for SABA 50

G'day again, Steven,

The 802 clan of rigs can be opened up for the ham bands readily... IIRC the 802 by a simple key sequence and the 801e by a dealer operation (not too sure on that one), and they make quite adequate ham rigs and for GP listening,with the reservations listed before. I do not know if the modern ham rigs can be easily opened, but suspect that they can be... maybe not an easy DIY job unless you are a electronic tech used to working on tiny surface mount components.

I haven't purchased a new rig for a long time... as I mentioned, my 746 is around 20 years old... so I'm not a good source of info on the current crop of radios. I suspect that all the major firms make a range of sets, from entry level to very sophisticated, and with prices to match. They will all have some form of DSP noise reduction and be able to communicate with computers and pactor modems reasonably conveniently. The latter is important, for this gives you easy access to enhanced wx info and e-mail from remote places.

There is still some maritime activity on the ham bands. I've been involved for over twenty years with a daily m/m net on 40 meters (7.087 LSB at 2040 GMT) called the Comedy Net. An informal m/m oriented group, some active cruisers like us, some land based with maritime interests. On 20 meters there are the international service nets on 14.300 and Tony's net on 14.313 at 2100 GMT. I'm sure there are others in existence, but these are enough for me.

So, I guess that I am steering you towards the ham path. I don't know if you can resurrect one of your old licenses, but it would be a worthwhile endeavor IMO. I'm VK4GFT here in Oz, N9GFT back in the states (ex W9QQK years ago) and still enjoy the use of the radio, both socially and as in info source.

73 de Jim
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Old 23-07-2018, 17:47   #7
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Re: SSB HELP for SABA 50

I'm sure KA4WJA will show up soon with a ton of info. But some basics:

Commercial shipping monitors SSB DSC as part of their required GMDSS system. That means they have a marine SSB monitoring for DSC alerts, and you can pretty much count on every ship to have one running. Now, I doubt many or any are doing any active monitoring of SSB voice. So if you have a DSC radio, setting off the DSC alert will get their attention. Likewise, if you raise a rescue agency via DSC or voice (e.g. the USCG still monitors the 4 MHz and above distress voice frequencies) they will likely contact commercial vessels and get them talking with you via HF. But don't count on voice with shipping unless they're alerted via other means (including DSC).

There are still a number of active nets around the Pacific, mostly in the Ham 20 meter band but scattered around the other bands as well. There are a few active Mexico nets on marine SSB frequencies, but once beyond there it's mostly all in the Ham bands. The Pacific Puddle Jump (cruisers from the Americas to the Marquesas each spring) do some ad-hoc nets on marine SSB. There are active nets on both in the north Atlantic. The Indian ocean and the south Atlantic have little to nothing on Ham or SSB. See Pactor-II/III Radio Modem sales, FCC License filing, Marine SSB & HAM Radio Net schedules &amp frequencies. for up to date lists of active nets.

All modern Ham rigs I've seen can still be opened up pretty easily. I'm sure people will vote for their favorite, but really you can't go wrong with any of Icom, Kenwood, or Yaesu. I have an Icom 7300, which is a very recent direct sampling radio, and opening it up is still the same clip-a-diode or resistor type thing as they've always been.
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Old 24-07-2018, 05:04   #8
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Re: SSB HELP for SABA 50

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helia 44 View Post
I am Old School, and a HAM, Maritime Mobile, looking at getting a Marine SSB for my Saba 50...
Do it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Helia 44 View Post
However, I am told (possibly wrong) that Commercial Ships no longer use SSB, they are on Sat Phones. Do they still monitor SSB these days??
Commercial ships, I would have thought not, but there are coastal marine stations that monitor HF.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helia 44 View Post
Or is Marine SSB a bit obsolete and I should just get a HAM rig and modify it for full band transmit...??
Ham rig should work well, along with a little bit of LDMOS to hurry it along. Also have an old commercial marine radio there just for props, in case you get "inspected" - better make sure it transmits! It won't be hard to make a fan dipole antenna for 80 and 40m, that can be dragged up to the 4 and 8MHz bands with a little L-match, and maybe the 6MHz band as well. That will give you an amazing HF station.

Search youtube for "RS918" for a little but very capable HF transceiver which will drive an LDMOS amp to full output.
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Old 24-07-2018, 16:47   #9
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Re: SSB HELP for SABA 50

Thank you Steve for the help, but I am a little lost on some of the terms... LDMOS? btw My name is Steve as well.. Out of touch for a while on HF...

On my Helia 44, as stock original equipment, the Broker had a Codan HF on a four meter whip, and it was quite good, you had many presets and could also punch in specific frequencies. Hearing the weather from Charlieville in the red center of Australia was quite reassuring when you were out of Iphone range. I have Cel-Fi, a cell phone amp and 73' high top mast antennae, but like last night a Pearl Bay there was just NO service.

For my general purposes, possible Royal Flying Doctors call emergency, weather, and news, are you steering me towards a HAM rig?

Money is not my priority, and the recommended Icom 801E is about the same money as a full featured and high end HAM rig.

Can I dial in and listen to Ham frequencies on the Marine SSB Icom?? Like I am a happy listener for weather and Ham nets might be a bit of fun, can I do all that on the Icom 801E? I hear it is very salt fog resistant in this environment, where a Ham might not be as well protected... Maybe some are. Anyway, can I manually dial in the HAM nets with the 801E...

Thank you in advance...

Status, in route north:
SV Serenity, in route to the mid Great Barrier Reef area for a few months. I will anchor this afternoon the Percy Island Group, southern part of GBR.... Good beach combing already!! Two great floats to add to my collection around the house an dock!! Calm winds, flat seas, maybe 23 degrees C, running on one motor at about 7 knots, SABA 50, the ONLY one in Australia, I am Blessed to own her...
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Old 24-07-2018, 18:03   #10
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Re: SSB HELP for SABA 50

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LDMOS? btw My name is Steve as well.. Out of touch for a while on HF...
Hey buddy.

Pop any of these terms into google or youtube search and all will become clear. I will leave you to youtube search "LDMOS". Tell us what you find - I'm sure you will be intrigued. Times have changed...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helia 44 View Post
On my Helia 44, as stock original equipment, the Broker had a Codan HF on a four meter whip, and it was quite good, you had many presets and could also punch in specific frequencies.
Unfortunately, the transmit ability on those antennas is complete rubbish, especially below 15MHz where are the really useful bands are.

Quote:
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For my general purposes, possible Royal Flying Doctors call emergency, weather, and news, are you steering me towards a HAM rig?
Sure. All modern ham rigs will transmit there with aplomb. You will get frowned at during any sort of "inspection", if you care about that.

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Originally Posted by Helia 44 View Post
Can I dial in and listen to Ham frequencies on the Marine SSB Icom??
I understand this to be true. Also I read that many of them (even this model) can be put into manual mode so you can transmit also. You will need to wait for a concise reply (here) from someone who has done it, or else google it and see what you can find.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helia 44 View Post
Like I am a happy listener for weather and Ham nets might be a bit of fun, can I do all that on the Icom 801E? I hear it is very salt fog resistant in this environment, where a Ham might not be as well protected... Maybe some are. Anyway, can I manually dial in the HAM nets with the 801E...
Re: the 801E I do not know, I would suggest yes.

Ham Radio /MM should be very entertaining.. And then there are the VHF/UHF satellites too...
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Old 24-07-2018, 21:18   #11
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Re: SSB HELP for SABA 50

Hi Steve,

FYI I used radio.net.au for all my radio gear. Excellent service and advice by someone who really knows their stuff for boats.

At the time the M801E with AT141 tuner was about Oz$4,400 and I got the M802 with DSC with tuner from Paul for about $2,500. Plus alot of other gear at more than competitive prices. The advice alone was worth dealing with him. Alas, he is retiring soon, so call him soon to discuss.

From my understanding the only significant difference is the case on the 801E which is more water resistant. We are the only country in the world where the M802 is not good enough for Maritime Safety borecrats. Either the rest of the world is wrong, or.......?

The DSC facility and associated infrastructure worldwide is when the poo hits the fan and you just need to hit one button. Your Saba is a pretty heavy boat so a hull breach would be a serious event, if you were ever that unlucky.
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Old 24-07-2018, 21:42   #12
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Re: SSB HELP for SABA 50

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FYI I used radio.net.au for all my radio gear. Excellent service and advice by someone who really knows their stuff for boats.
....
From my understanding the only significant difference is the case on the 801E which is more water resistant. We are the only country in the world where the M802 is not good enough for Maritime Safety borecrats. Either the rest of the world is wrong, or.......?

The DSC facility and associated infrastructure worldwide is when the poo hits the fan and you just need to hit one button. Your Saba is a pretty heavy boat so a hull breach would be a serious event, if you were ever that unlucky.
Yeah Paul is a good guy. I spent about 8k with him so far (little fish..)

As long as you have some old Codan and a Radio Operators ticket, they probably can't touch you. For the rest of the gear, tell them "oh yeah, thats my ham radio"..
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Old 24-07-2018, 22:10   #13
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Re: SSB HELP for SABA 50

Having a valid ham ticket should allow you to have whatever radio gear you want on board... save possibly a GPS jammer or a cellphone receiver!

But surely you may have a marine SSB set, awaiting modification to be your ham rig!

Serious question: we've been in Oz much of the past 20+ years. I've never encountered a radio inspector or spoken to another yottie who had done so. Is there really enforcement without an active on air infraction?

Jim
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Old 25-07-2018, 00:52   #14
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Re: SSB HELP for SABA 50

Jim,

I searched for that info also before deciding against the M801E and could find nothing. I even spoke to the feds down in Canberra about it, and the rationale for the regulations stipulating the M801E. The reason was laughable, in fact I did laugh when I was on the phone with the person.

The reason for the waterproof case is for when a wave breaks the front window and to make sure the radio is still operational. I suggested perhaps a more elegant solution would be for the skipper to locate the radio away from forward facing windows in the first place?

If this isn't a prime example of nanny state borecrats gone amok, I don't know what is.


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Old 25-07-2018, 01:01   #15
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Re: SSB HELP for SABA 50

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I even spoke to the feds down in Canberra about it, and the rationale for the regulations stipulating the M801E.
Huh? What is this regulation? Where is it in the act?

edit: found it.

http://continuouswave.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1064
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