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Old 23-03-2023, 08:21   #1
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How to go about SSB Troubleshooting

I've got this (presumedly very expensive) SSB radio Allie Rose.

I don't believe that the back stay has ever been used as the antena, and haven't taken the time to start tracing wires to see what may have been used alternatively.

Anyway - I don't think it's more than five years old, and the old owner told me that the owner before him once had it working. No clue what to think or believe.

I'd like to trouble shoot this system to see if I can't get it to work, but don't know what steps to take. I presume that the first step would be to trace the wiring that delivers power to the unit, to see if I can get it to turn on? After that, I likely should trace all the wires that come from it to see where they go? Should I just remove the system in its entirety and start from scratch?

Further, there's all kinds of copper mesh and 4" wide copper strips underneath the floor of the vessel and within the lockers. Most of it is in fairly rough shape, and either oxidized heavily or rusted. I've come to understand that this is a grounding system for the boat, likely overbuilt for the purpose of ensuring there is good grounding for the SSB.

I presume, but don't know for sure, that replacing all of the wire mesh and strips with new (likely not too expensive) would be beneficial REGARDLESS if I'm able to get the SSB to work? Is there a "best method" for installing an entirely new ground system like this, in order to ensure that it could be used for purposes of SSB communication?

Posting some photos of the SSB to start. I'll upload more once the project continues to evolve with the help of you all.

SV Allie Rose
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Old 23-03-2023, 11:12   #2
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Re: How to go about SSB Troubleshooting

No need to replace the mesh counterpoise. A solid connection to any thruhull is almost as effective.
Without knowing how and how well it is connected to power, antenna and ground and then whether there is any signal on receive and whether it produces rated output power, we can’t really help. Advice on an undefined problem is futile.
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Old 23-03-2023, 11:17   #3
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Re: How to go about SSB Troubleshooting

What I'm trying to do is define the problem
I'm just not sure to go about trouble shooting to find the problem to begin with. I presume that I should try to get power to the unit first, and then from there, trace the wires. That's my current game plan, and I'll post photos and report back! If you have any other suggestions while I'm tearing apart the boat, I'd love to hear them!
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Old 23-03-2023, 11:18   #4
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Re: How to go about SSB Troubleshooting

Find a local ham radio club and ask for help.
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Old 23-03-2023, 11:19   #5
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Re: How to go about SSB Troubleshooting

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Originally Posted by SV Allie Rose View Post
What I'm trying to do is define the problem
I'm just not sure to go about trouble shooting to find the problem to begin with. I presume that I should try to get power to the unit first, and then from there, trace the wires. That's my current game plan, and I'll post photos and report back! If you have any other suggestions while I'm tearing apart the boat, I'd love to hear them!
Thatís the only logical first step. And the easiest. Just test the power wires to measure voltage. All other connections then become important.
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Old 23-03-2023, 11:54   #6
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Re: How to go about SSB Troubleshooting

Almost the only thing you can check without a license is that it powers up. Testing the tuner, antenna, and ground require you to transmit, which you cannot legally do unless you have the appropriate license.

If you contact a local HAM club someone will have the knowledge, a HAM license authorizing them to operate and test it, and can give you guidance to get a HAM license. Undoubtedly you would also want a Maritime/Ship Station license.

Prior to them looking at it, it would be helpful for you to create a drawing of the connections/wires, and know where they are, so you don't spend to much time on that when the HAM is there.

So, I'd start with that drawing. I would not even attempt to power it unless i knew it was connected to an antenna.
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Old 23-03-2023, 11:56   #7
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Re: How to go about SSB Troubleshooting

Also, special equipment is needed to really test it, and a ham club will have that.
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Old 23-03-2023, 12:13   #8
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Re: How to go about SSB Troubleshooting

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Almost the only thing you can check without a license is that it powers up. Testing the tuner, antenna, and ground require you to transmit, which you cannot legally do unless you have the appropriate license.

If you contact a local HAM club someone will have the knowledge, a HAM license authorizing them to operate and test it, and can give you guidance to get a HAM license. Undoubtedly you would also want a Maritime/Ship Station license.

Prior to them looking at it, it would be helpful for you to create a drawing of the connections/wires, and know where they are, so you don't spend to much time on that when the HAM is there.

So, I'd start with that drawing. I would not even attempt to power it unless i knew it was connected to an antenna.
A ham license has nothing to do with this IC 802 marine radio. Unless of course itís being operated on the ham bands but not the case here.
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Old 23-03-2023, 12:35   #9
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Re: How to go about SSB Troubleshooting

Start by downloading the manual and reading it cover to cover.
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Old 23-03-2023, 12:57   #10
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Re: How to go about SSB Troubleshooting

Looks like a modem below. But a tuner needs to be part of this install. Connected ultimately to the mesh.
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Old 23-03-2023, 14:05   #11
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Re: How to go about SSB Troubleshooting

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
A ham license has nothing to do with this IC 802 marine radio. Unless of course itís being operated on the ham bands but not the case here.


It could certainly be tested to work by a licensed ham on the ham bands. If it works there, chances are good it can also be made to work on marine HF bands.
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Old 23-03-2023, 16:37   #12
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Re: How to go about SSB Troubleshooting

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It could certainly be tested to work by a licensed ham on the ham bands. If it works there, chances are good it can also be made to work on marine HF bands.
Sure but I was responding to a different comment. Any experienced ham could diagnose the issue(s) pretty quickly.
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Old 23-03-2023, 16:50   #13
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Re: How to go about SSB Troubleshooting

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A ham license has nothing to do with this IC 802 marine radio. Unless of course itís being operated on the ham bands but not the case here.
A person with a HAM license can most certainly test it on HAM frequencies. That would confirm the RF system and radio are in good shape, and get some idea of performance on 40M or 20M. I also stated that the OP would want to get a Ship Station License. No issues there. More than likely, if the OP keeps the radio, they will need both a HAM and Ship Station License. Unless the plan is to not participate in Nets that are on the HAM bands. I can't imagine a cruiser having one and not the other.

And finding a HAM operator is going the be the easiest, fastest, and cheapest way to get someone with the test equipment and expertise to evaluate the radio.
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Old 23-03-2023, 18:08   #14
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Re: How to go about SSB Troubleshooting

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Originally Posted by wholybee View Post
Almost the only thing you can check without a license is that it powers up. Testing the tuner, antenna, and ground require you to transmit, which you cannot legally do unless you have the appropriate license.

If you contact a local HAM club someone will have the knowledge, a HAM license authorizing them to operate and test it, and can give you guidance to get a HAM license. Undoubtedly you would also want a Maritime/Ship Station license.

Prior to them looking at it, it would be helpful for you to create a drawing of the connections/wires, and know where they are, so you don't spend to much time on that when the HAM is there.

So, I'd start with that drawing. I would not even attempt to power it unless i knew it was connected to an antenna.
This is great advice - thank you very much! Gave the local HAM club a call and they're allegedly coming out to help sometime next week. I'll keep everyone posted!
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Old 23-03-2023, 23:54   #15
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Re: How to go about SSB Troubleshooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
A ham license has nothing to do with this IC 802 marine radio. Unless of course itís being operated on the ham bands but not the case here.
Agreed. An 802 fresh from the factory cannot use the HAM bands so no license is necessary to operate the radio. If the special magical transformation has been applied by a previous owner to unlock the HAM bands, presumably a new operator would not be responsible for the unauthorized use of these bands.

However, I do agree with the advice regarding ensuring that an antenna is connected prior to powering up the radio. If the mike transmit key is depressed and there is no antenna, Icom indicates that this is a very bad thing and should be avoided.
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