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Author Topic: Purchase a M802(Marine SSB) or 706MKIIG ???  (Read 1305 times)
KA4WJA
Member

Posts: 704




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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2006, 03:49:19 PM »

Sailor_Man,
I've owned an Icom M-802 for over a year and a half (I installed at my Nav station, June 2004)....and I've used an IC-706mkIIG a few times (at a friend's house and at field day, etc...)

My name is John, my call is KA4WJA, my boat is a 47' sloop designed for long distance/offshore sailing....


The guts of the Icom M-802 is a "Marine Softwared" Icom IC-756ProII, with a "non-technical operator" user interface/front panel.....this is as close to a direct quote as I can remeber, from an Icom engineer I spent some time talking to about 2 years ago......

Many hams are unaware of this fact but the basic design of the rigs are VERY close....the DDS, the IF DSP, etc....
The final power amp is Different (rated at 150w out FSK/CW/SSB Continuous).....as is the speaker amp, mic circuit, etc.....
But the "guts" of the m802 is like the guts of the 756proII.....

While I won't say the 802's receiver is as good as my TR-7's.....it might be......
But in anycase the M-802 is a MUCH better HF rig, BOTH Transmit and Receive, than the IC-706mkIIG.....
No, question about that!!!!


I've been on boats since I was a baby, and been ocean sailing since I was about 10 years old......and I've been using marine and ham HF since the mid 1970's at about the age of 13-14 (a few years before I was a licensed ham.....yes I DID use a bootleg call on 21.400 when sailing.....but soon got licensed and have had a great time as a ham for the last 25 years or so.....)  
My first Atlantic crossing was as a teenager, and
I assisted in my first HF Marine install as a teenager as well..... my major in college was physics and I've owned and operated my own electronics company (NOT marine electronics) for over 20 years.....and I've taught seminars on antennas, operating techniques, etc. at hamfests for years.....

Sorry about the "resume" above, but thought I'd preface my answers with some background, so that you'll know where I'm coming from....

There are many reasons for choosing the M-802.....
Some have been mentioned by other posters here, but in my opinion, the #1 reason is what you yourself mentioned:    DSC.....

DSC (and GMDSS) is not something that most hams have knowledge of so I think that you're a fairly astute and informed ham....
Using DSC, a "Non-Technical" person / non-ham, etc. can make a DSC "test call" to the USCG (or any station they choose) and get a rapid response, as well as calling on SSB (voice) to check propagation (as well as rig/ant, etc..)
  Having the ability to press the "Distress" button (for 5 seconds) and know that all ships over 300 tons within range of you on 2mhz, 4mhz, 6mhz, 12mhz, and 16mhz, AND many shore stations (USCG, UK SAR, etc.) will get that distress call (with your GPS coordinates) and continue to forward your distress message until a responsible safety organization (USCG, etc.) receives your distress message AND replies to it......having that ability alone is worth the $$$....

But if other reasons are sought....here are a few more....
2)  Although the 802 is thought of (mostly by those who have never used it) as a "channelized" rig......
for ham use, you can think of it as a "memorized" rig...
It's kind of hard to explain here, but there IS a very easy-to-use vfo (tunes in 100hz steps)

3) It's a much better rig than the Ic-706mkIIG....
since it's an IC-756ProII in disguise.....

4) EASY to read, BIG Display, with BIG Numbers on it!!!   Simple Black on Amber LCD with adjustable contrast and brightenss make reading the disply a cinch!! (try that with the 706!!!)
You CAN read the display with wearing polarized sunglasses!!!! Which is a BIG plus!!!!

5) BIG Knobs / buttons that are all easy to use.....and most are easy to use for non-technical people......

6) Having another rig for vhf/uhf ham operations is a cheap alternative...

7) Although the "one-button-email" feature on the M-802 does what it's supposed to do, you do need to have your computer booted up with the Winlink software......
it's a fairly trouble-free and user-friendly way to send/receive e-mail, but it does take more than just one button....

Cool No need to buy a "narrow" filter (500hz) for E-Mail use (FSK) nor for CW......nor a "wide" filter for listening to SW Broadcasts (BBC, Radio Canada, VOA, AFRS, etc....and listening to the BBC or Radio Canada doesn't just happen when well offshore.....I regularly listen when in the Bahamas.....)
{unlike other rigs, including some marine hf rigs...}
Since the IF DSP of the M-802 sets the proper filter bandwidth for the mode selected.....while allowing you to change settings manually if you wish....

9) I've gotten great (unsolicited) reports (audio quality and signal strength) from  many stations.....
(not as many as I got from my home station with my TR-7, Big loop antennas, etc....But, some reports from guys that I work regularly, say the audio is better than any other maritime mobile they've heard....)

10) The M-802 is a very robust and well built rig, that is in fact designed to be used in the harsh salt-air enviroment.....and its control head and mic are indeed splashproof, but NOT submersible.....
And its microphone is VERY heavy duty, with some nice functions.....(call me for more info)

11) Getting the most out of a M-802, will depend on one of two things.....
a) who you buy it from....and/or
b) how much time YOU put into customizing it for use on a typically cruising sailboat......
{Go to www.hfradio.com  and see what Don does to make things easier......}

There really are many more things to consider, but I'll just list one last reason for you:

#12) Although it is not advertised, you can use a remote mic CABLE (sold with the Icom Marine VHF remote mics), to allow you to move the mic about 20' away from the control head.......this allows you to use the rig from the cockpit (with headphones on a 20' long cord).....
You CANNOT use the "remote mic" for their marine VHF radios.....
You MUST use the M-802 original mic.....but you can use a remote mic CABLE (not sure of the part number at the moment...) allowing you to use the original mic in the cockpit, etc....
The "up / down" buttons on the mic will allow you to change freq (when you're using the vfo) or change channel (when using "channels").....
The "function" button on the mic can be programmed to do ONE of six functions such as squelch, etc.....
This does NOT give you much in the way of control, but if you want to ragchew with some friends for a few hours, or want to work some dx, etc. all the while on watch.....it does work.....I've done it!!!

Sailor_Man, this is a long message, with a lot of info / opinion, so I do hope it helps you out.....

Since you're a new ham, you're learning new things....
Please don't be discouraged......
The more you know, the more you'll know how much you don't know....
I learn something new everyday, and sometimes I think "Duh, how stupid was I years ago....", so don't be disuaded, just keep reading and asking questions....

Fair Winds and 73,
John,    KA4WJA
s/v Annie Laurie,  WDB 6927


P.S. If you want to know more about the M-802, give me a call.....
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KC2OOS
Member

Posts: 37




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« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2006, 11:34:13 AM »

I'd say, if you can afford it, get the M802/M602 combination, PLUS the 706 or 7000 (or other Amateur Set).

The M802 and M602 are designed for marine usage. The M802 also has the additional bonus of being able to be used legally on the Amateur bands (with the appropriate modification). The M602 will cover your marine VHF needs, and looks real nice next to the M802!

The 706 and 7000, on the other hand do have great features for strictly Amateur usage, and make nice VHF/UHF/HF rigs while in port. The only difficulty in using them on a boat is that they're not waterproofed--and the last thing you want is to have a waterlogged radio a couple of thousand miles out of port in an emergency. If you keep them in a waterproff case until you need to use them, they'll be fine...and anyway, how much would you really use VHF/UHF out on the open water, aside from marine bands?

I've even heard of people using the M802 as an Amateur base station because of it's much better construction and 100% duty cycle rating. I'm considering getting one myself to use at home as an HF base until I get a boat.
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