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Old 07-07-2012, 19:33   #1
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SSB radios

Without getting too broad can folks recommend what radios work well for them. I had a furuno on our last boat and it was ok only reason I got it was it is the standard gmdss radio so I liked that. I have read the furuno icom thread as well. I have a lot of interest in ham radio outside of the nets as well, going to be working with my daughter to get her licensed as well. So calling all ham nerds, that's a compliment, what works? I have also considered a dedicated SSB for email and ships comm then putting in another for ham.

Thanks
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Old 07-07-2012, 20:34   #2
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Re: SSB radios

Have an opened up ICOM 718 with SGC 230 tuner feeding the backstay. Has worked fine for downloading gribs, email, Nets, and just talking with other boats and hams and all up cost about 2/3rds or an ICOM 802 radio alone. Like the simplicity and cost of the 718. If I was rich and famous might upgrade to the ICOM 7200

Still waiting for a reason to buy a marine SSB radio.
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Old 07-07-2012, 20:58   #3
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Re: SSB radios

I went the used route on ebay. Icom 706MkiiG and got it opened up, AH-4 tuner, long wire for both antenna and counterpoise. Easy and portable. Also picked up a pactor 3 modem used but had to be patient to find the one I wanted (usb).

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Old 08-07-2012, 05:08   #4
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Re: SSB radios

we got an Icom SSB with the boat we just bought. It's got an insulated backstay antenna, and an automatic tuner thingamabob down below. On our "shakedown cruise" from Jacksonville to the Turks and Caicos, I must have spent five or six hours total trying to get something useful from it. I tried tuning to the Chris Parker freqs in the morning, and except for one morning, I got nada. ON that one morning we could faintly hear someone talking on the radio, but it was too distorted to understand much of it.

I tried the scan function, thinking I would at least hear people communicating, but nothing came of that, either.

There's a "pactor" modem that came with it, previous owner said he never got the chance to hook it up but he left it on the boat for us.

Is there some way to find out how to use this thing? Do they publish a "SSB for Dummies" book?
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Old 08-07-2012, 06:11   #5
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Re: SSB radios

We use a Kenwood TS-480HX(200 watts) and SGC SG-230 tuner. For an antenna I pulled gto-15 wire into Samson’s double-braid.
Used pactor modem.
Works great.
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:40   #6
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Re: SSB radios

we have an icom 802 with 140 turner with a gam electronics antenna - i am a ham and spent a lot of time talking with other hams on it - we have never had a problem with it from maine to miami to colombia to jamaica and now to trinidad -
we have been a relay for c parker all over the carib as well as for various cruiser nets - we have a pactor modem and use it for emails to our kids and others when we have no internet as well as downloading grib data and wx faxes -
once you figure out how to use it it is easy to progam and use -

just our opinion and what works for us
chuck patty and svsoulmates
in trinidad for hurricane season
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:09   #7
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Re: SSB radios

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave View Post
I went the used route on ebay. Icom 706MkiiG and got it opened up, AH-4 tuner, long wire for both antenna and counterpoise. Easy and portable. Also picked up a pactor 3 modem used but had to be patient to find the one I wanted (usb).

Dave L38 #38
This is precisely the setup I have been running on the boat for years. Works great.

I highly recommend the PACTOR modems with the bluetooth option, or, use a bluetooth dongle to connect the modems to the PC. The elimination of the "hardwired" connection reduces chance of excessive RFI from the PC.
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:19   #8
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Re: SSB radios

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
we got an Icom SSB with the boat we just bought. It's got an insulated backstay antenna, and an automatic tuner thingamabob down below. On our "shakedown cruise" from Jacksonville to the Turks and Caicos, I must have spent five or six hours total trying to get something useful from it. I tried tuning to the Chris Parker freqs in the morning, and except for one morning, I got nada. ON that one morning we could faintly hear someone talking on the radio, but it was too distorted to understand much of it.

I tried the scan function, thinking I would at least hear people communicating, but nothing came of that, either.

There's a "pactor" modem that came with it, previous owner said he never got the chance to hook it up but he left it on the boat for us.

Is there some way to find out how to use this thing? Do they publish a "SSB for Dummies" book?
Not unusual for new-comers to HF. It can be frustrating, but once you get it, it's pretty straightforward.

Good website for newbie's :

Marine Radio for Dummies - Learning how to use marine radio on a cruising sailboat

Could be the setup, could be interferance, could operator error...

IMO A ham course is really the fast-track way to go. Otherwise, best to find someone in person who can show you the ropes and detect/correct issues.

Dave L38 #38 VA6DBR
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Old 08-07-2012, 14:38   #9
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Re: SSB radios

Anybody use Dockside Radio. They seem like pretty comprehensive packages. It sounds like if budget is not a issue and you don't get a older model the 802 has good reviews. Also is anyone using the kiss counterpoise? I really like the idea of this as I have a wood hull. I just dug out my old license Tech which I need to upgrade to General, my brain was not digging the morse when I tested before.
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:57   #10
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Re: SSB radios

Cruisingscotts,
I do hope I can help some....




Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingscotts View Post
Without getting too broad can folks recommend what radios work well for them.
1) I use an Icom M-802 (full Mf/HF-DSC-SSB maritime transceiver) on-board.....I own two of them (one primary and one spare)....
And, have been using the M-802 on-board now for 8 years, 12,000+ miles offshore, two Atlantic crossings, etc..including almost daily use for a few years straight, and providing many hours each day of "relaying" info for other vessels, etc...

I'm very happy with it, and wouldn't sail offshore without it!!!

{I have ~ 40 years experience in HF communications, designing, operating and installing HF systems, both on-board and on-shore....both marine and ham...}

To, be clear, it is not the best radio I've ever owned/used...but I place it the top 5.....

And, the M-802 is the ONLY reasonably-priced HF-DSC marine transceiver available.....(the comparable Furuno unit, the FS-1570, retails for about $6000 vs. ~ $1800 for the Icom M-802)
And, with MF/HF- DSC signaling such an important part of worldwide maritime comms (GMDSS), I would not recommend buying/installing an HF transceiver without this....



Prior to my current M-802, I used a Icom M-800 (which served me well for years), and 30+ years ago, I used an old SGC "Intercontinental One" (crystal-conctrolled) for years, and has very happy with that....
On-shore, I've used the M-802, but truly LOVE my old (35 year old) Drake TR-7's....and still use them regularly....







Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingscotts View Post
I had a furuno on our last boat and it was ok only reason I got it was it is the standard gmdss radio so I liked that.
2) If you had the Furuno FS-1570 (a GMDSS cert. MF/HF-DSC transceiver), then you either will buy another one for your new boat (pricey$$$), or will buy an Icom M-802....

I cannot see you actually downgrading and moving backwards in time and buying an "out-dated" radio.....it just would seem odd to me....

Perhaps you had an older Furuno model (such as the FS-1503), and just assumed it was a GMDSS radio (it isn't)?? The FS-1503 isn't/wasn't a very good rig at all....the old Icom M-700 and M-710 are MUCH better radios!!!

But, whatever the case...the cost difference between the M-802 (~ $1800) vs. the Furuno FS-1570 (~ $6000) is vast....so, if you want, buy two M-802's and you'll have $$$$ left over!!!







Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingscotts View Post
I have a lot of interest in ham radio outside of the nets as well, going to be working with my daughter to get her licensed as well. So calling all ham nerds, that's a compliment, what works?
3) The Icom M-802 is the most ham-friendly marine transceiver ever made....it work quite well on the ham bands, and I find it to be a easy radio to use (and very robust in both transmit and receiver)....
The M-802 is a similar design to the Icom IC-756ProII ham transceiver (with a completely different user-interface and transmit PA)....
Consequently it is a fairly modern, IF-DSP radio, with decent crystal-filters as well, and aside from the "clipping issue" in the earlier units, has stood the test of time, offshore sailing, and hard use in less-than-ideal conditions....

I have not used the M-802 in ham radio rag-chew "keyboard modes" such as PSK, etc. but I suspect that its superior transmit IMD specs and well-designed transmit path in general will make it shine in these modes as well as it does in SSB/CW...(and in PACTOR modes, as it does very well there for 1000's of sailmail and winlink users!!)









Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingscotts View Post
I have also considered a dedicated SSB for email and ships comm then putting in another for ham.
4) I persoanlly don't feel the need for both a dedicated marine rig and dedicated ham rig....but I do understand the desire....
So, if you have the $$$$ to spend on two rigs, my advise is two-fold...

a) If you want BOTH a dedicated maritime HF rig, AND a dedicated ham HF rig....then get either the Icom M-802 or the Furuno FS-1570 as your maritime rig (both are MF/HF-DSC-SSB radios).....and a Kenwood TS-480HX for your dedicated ham rig (it is a decent ham radio, with lots of "cool knobs and buttons", and has a decent 200 watt output)

...Or...

b) Simply buy two Icom M-802 transceivers.....either keeping one as a spare, or install both and use one for maritime and one for ham....


I hope this helps...

Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 10-07-2012, 13:25   #11
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Re: SSB radios

Crusingscotts,
Although I persoanlly have not done business with Gary at Dockside radio, he has an excellent reputation and has been helpful to many on discussion forums in the past....give 'em a call, and I think he'll take good care of you...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingscotts View Post
Anybody use Dockside Radio. They seem like pretty comprehensive packages.






Please have a look at a nice recent discussion of antenna counterpoises, etc...on the SSCA Discussion Board...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingscotts View Post
Also is anyone using the kiss counterpoise? I really like the idea of this as I have a wood hull.
You'll learn a lot about it all there.....
SSCA Forum • View topic - KISS-SSB Counterpoise

In a nutshell, you can do a LOT better than the KISS-Ground...



Fair winds...

s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 10-07-2012, 14:19   #12
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Re: SSB radios

If you are thinking about using an HF radio for ham activities beyond just talking on the ham band nets, e.g. CW/RTTY/Digital/Contesting/DXing you will be much happier with the flexibility of a rig intended for ham bands than you will be if you try to do it all with the M802. While the M802 is a fine radio for its intended purpose, and I do use one while on the boat, I wouldn't choose it for a hobby rig. There are many adjustments that make these other modes, and even SSB, more effective in challenging conditions - adjustments left off of the M802 to keep things a bit simpler and less likely to go awry. Interfacing the M802 to popular logging software and rig control software is in general not possible or at best limited and challenging.

Chip
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Old 10-07-2012, 16:08   #13
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Re: SSB radios

John Chip

Thanks for the replies, I killed my phone battery reading the related links. Part of the deal on our new boat was I get the man cave with a proper nav/radio station. Lots to think about. John the furuno we had was not the DSC model I think it was a 1503, just shows my ignorance on these things. I certainly have the room for 2 rigs, a dedicated marine SSB and a hobby station. I have a wood boat so setting up the counterpoise and or ground is a big concern for me. All of the boats wiring is and will be new and I will run shielded on all AC which is minumal, as it is cheap from work, all tinned dnv approved wire. Before looking at the Kiss system I was thinking about a copper strap to the rudder stock, rudder is a solid steel plate, and another copper strap to a dyno plate. Also looking at a dedicated ac ground plate on the hull, maybe the fuel tank as well they are all neighbors. I am not a bond the boat person, way to much in weird wood-metal eating potential going on.

Lots to think about.
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Old 10-07-2012, 16:34   #14
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Re: SSB radios

ka4wja , have you ever used a 707 ICOM ?? we are getting a working radio with our new to us boat ! Never had a radio of this number and don't know anything about it ! altho there is manuals aboard for it ! Is it worth keeping or would something else be a better choice ? we only wish to have ship to ship and net capabiltys,over long distance. e-mail would be nice but is not really nessary for us. would love some input on this older radio, thanks in advance if ya can help
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Old 10-07-2012, 18:14   #15
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The Icom IC-707 looks like a good basic HF ham rig, and seems to be well liked by owners. If it is working well it is worth keeping. You can also easily interface it to a Pactor modem with the proper cables for full HF email functionality.

A nice accessory for the boat!

Chip
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