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Author Topic: Ham rig for use on a sailboat that's >$1,500  (Read 12099 times)
KC0RDG
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« on: December 14, 2003, 11:06:26 AM »

What does everyone recommend for a ham radio rig on a sailboat?  I would like to keep the cost at $1,500 or below.  If you recommend a radio that is more than that, could you tell me why the radio is worth paying more for it, and what exactly would I get out of spending the extra money.

This would be used by a Extra class license (yes I know I'm only Tech but am going 'all the way').  I am looking to use it for WinLink email, possibly VHF for Coast Guard, etc., and ragchew.  I will be using the SCS Pactor IIPro with the Pactor III protocol.  This radio could include SSB (ie. a ham/ssb all-in-one-radio), but I am also looking at having 2 radios, one for each purpose.  I would be buying this radio within a month or two for use on land for 2-3 years, then moving it and myself fulltime to a sailboat.  Things to think about, use in a marine environment, power requirements, ability to interface with your computer and GPS, accessories, track record for being a good radio and of course the cost/what-you-get-for-your-$ ratio.

Thanks!

KC0RDG
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WA4MJF
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2003, 11:28:03 AM »

A good Used IC-700 or IC-710 would be good.

Also, SCG makes a nice Marine HF, number excapes me.

What you don't want is the standard Ham HF
radio as first, not comply with Part 87
(memory may fail but I think this Marine)
and it sure won't be weather proof.

Happy Holidaze,

Ronnie

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AA8LL
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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2003, 12:11:08 PM »

Hello Mr. Digital,
  You have given us not quite enough information to answer your question.  I am going to assume that since you're on a budget, you're not sailing off for the south China seas with a dozen paying passengers wanting to make ship-to shore phone calls.
  I would suggest that you get a dedicated VHF boat radio (not very expensive, take your choice) for when you are near land or other boats.  The dedicated marine h.f. radios are expensive and designed to be used by sailors who are not necessarialy "radio heads".  The marine h.f. band uses some odd duplex splits that are tricky to program.  So, I would get an inexpensive ham radio that is easily converted to use the marine h.f. frequencies in a pinch.  The Icom IC-706 MK2G is a good choice.  You can get an automatic tuner to tune up your backstay.  You have a couple of years to learn to use it for all those things you mention.  You will need to keep it dry and I hope your boat has a good cabin.  If you feel you "need" a real marine radio in a few years, you will know it.  I doubt you will.
73 and good sailing,
Wade  AA8LL
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W1TFM
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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2003, 12:28:24 PM »

Hello Elijah,
I would go with advice of Wade AA8LL
The Icom IC-706 MK2G and I would through the Yeasu FT-897 in with it for another choice.
Check the Product Reviews here at Eham.com on these two rigs. I am sure you will find either of them will be what you need.
The only thing with the two rigs is they do not have an automatic antenna tuner built in. You can buy them as an option. I would check out the SCG Smart Tuner's for your application. Information at this link: http://www.sgcworld.com/products/sg237/
Good Luck and Good Sailing.
73's
W1TFM
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W1TFM
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2003, 12:38:41 PM »

Post #2
Also,
Check out this link: http://www.eham.net/forums/Elmers/53150
It is for SCG Marine equipment.
73's
W1TFM
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KC0RDG
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2003, 03:35:47 PM »

What do you guys think about the Yaesu FT-857?  Would that be a good alternative to the IC-706MKIIG?  How do they differ?  Thanks for your help/input!

Elijah
KC0RDG
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AA8LL
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2003, 04:36:25 PM »

The reason I suggested the Icom 706MK2G is that I know it works well on frequencies outside the ham bands in the marine bands and has the nice AH-4 tuner available inexpensively.  The small Yaesu rigs seem to be good ham rigs but I have no "out of band" experience with the band pass filters, etc.  Someone else may have experience with them.

73, Wade  AA8LL
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WA4MJF
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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2003, 04:57:38 PM »

The reason I mentioned the IC-700 and IC-710 and
the SGC Marine Radio is that it is LEGAL and meets
the requirements for ocean going vessels.  They
will also work on the ham bands.  I should think that,
if boarded, the USGC would cite you for not
having a proper radio.  I doubt that the IC706*
is on their list of approved radios.

Happy Holidaze,

Ronnie

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AA8LL
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« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2003, 07:40:13 PM »

Hi Ronnie,
  I don't usually argue with policemen because you can't win but I'll give it a try.  He isn't required to have any marine h.f. radio unless he's so big, he's carrying passengers for hire.  He can use a ham rig on the ham bands, so that's not illegal.  If he has a true emergency, he can use a ham rig on the marine bands under the emergency provisions.  I would expect he'll be mostly on the 14.300 maritime net or using pactor to get his email.  
   I operated h.f. aeronautical mobile for a transatlantic crossing.  I could get a $12,000 aircraft certified radio (radio for dummies) or use the Icom.  My radio was inspected by the aeronautical authorities in Canada before the crossing.  The inspector said, "I would rather see a converted ham rig that the pilot is familiar with than a T.S.O. rig that the guy can't make work."  During the crossing, I relayed position reports for an airliner that couldn't make contact.
   I would like to hear about any first hand reports about being cited by the Coast Guard.  He could also be struck by lightning.

73, Wade  AA8LL
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W1TFM
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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2003, 07:42:31 PM »

Hi Elijah,
On my post #2 to you. I gave you an incorrect link.
The correct link is:
http://www.sgcworld.com/2020/index.htm
The link above will take you to an SCG website that has marine rigs etc.
73's
W1TFM
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KC0RDG
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2003, 12:51:14 AM »

Ok I need to clarify this.

All I'm asking is for a ham radio, for personal use only (ie. no charters, etc), for ragchew, DX, and pactor email.  I am totally willing to spend another $1,500 if needed on a SSB radio to be legal.  I want to be COMPLETELY legal with everything I do in reguards to the radio.  I don't want any questions asked by the Coast Guard, etc.  I don't want to have anything that will give them a reason to stop me or have me remove or change anything or prove that it's not modified, etc.

I am looking for a ham rig that is $1,500 or less that does the above.  IF it can do SSB LEGALLY, and has it built in or I can buy an accessory to add this, then it is something I would be willing to look at.

It seems to come down to the Yaesu FT-857, Yaesu FT-897 and the ICOM 706 Mark II G.  And from what I can tell from the eham.net product reviews, all of them seem to have pretty good reviews.  The 857 comes with a free DSP at the moment and a $175 rebate, whereas the Icom DSP comes included standard now but they are adding in free a mobile mount and bracket for the front panel and the remote mount cable and a $20 rebate.  The 897 isn't coming with anything extra but a $200 rebate.  What would be the best bang for my $?


Sorry to drag this on but I am really looking for some honest help.


Elijah
KC0RDG
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KC0RDG
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« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2003, 12:53:43 AM »

Oh I forgot to mention, the SG-2020 is NOT an option since it only does USB, LSB and CW and only covers 1.8-29.7 MHz - Full Frequency Coverage.  I would like a little more than that for coverage and modes.

I got that info above from here:

http://www.sgcworld.com/2020/adspspecs.htm

73
KC0RDG
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N6AJR
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« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2003, 01:10:47 AM »

ft 847 or a kenwood ts 200, work all from 160 to 10, 6 meters,2 meters, 440 and satalites, am, fm, ssb cw, all band all mode. and in your price range new
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KE4MOB
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« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2003, 01:36:39 AM »

Quite frankly, I don't think any of the radios you have chosen are ideal.

From what I've seen on the ergonomics of these, they leave a lot to be desired.  It's easy to push a F button, then select a menu item, then turn a knob to adjust, say, the mic gain when sitting at a desk in your basement.  But on a sailboat at sea?  Possibly in a storm?  While wearing, say foul weather gear and gloves?  No way.

You want a no frills, built like a brick outhouse HF rig that is easy to use and dependable (the Icom IC-718, Kenwood TS-430 and Yaesu FT-840 come to mind for SSB/CW work.)  I've owned a TS-450S for years now and it's an excellent rig for digital, CW, and SSB work, minus the receiver shortcomings.  

And yes, to transmit on at least Marine VHF the particular radio has to be type-accepted, so a HF/VHF radio with a "clip job" won't meet specs...so you will need a separate Marine VHF.  Besides...what happens if your HF/VHF rig goes south while at sea and then you have to contact the Coast Guard on Channel 16 coming into port?  Uh-oh...

I would also consult with John, KA4WJA.  He used to post here on the Elmers section, and is very knowledgeable about HF installation on sailboats.  His email is on his profile, and to check on some of his opinions, go to the forum main page and type "sailboat" into the search box.

Hope this gets you to thinking.

Steve, KE4MOB
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WA4MJF
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« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2003, 10:21:42 AM »

The radios I mentioned are within your
budget or just a bit more.  Used IC-700/710
are under a grand at HRO, AES, etc.

I'm not sure the cost of the SGC (NOT
the 2020).

Happy Holidaze,

Ronnie
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