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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | ICOM IC-M802 Help

Reviews Summary for ICOM IC-M802
ICOM IC-M802 Reviews: 8 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $2,300.00
Description: This is an all-purpose HF transceiver. Sold as a Marine Transceiver it is in fact approved by the FCC for amateur use. When "openned" by a licensed amateur, it can transmit contiguously from 1.6 through 30 MHZ.
Product is in production.
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K7MYR Rating: 3/5 Mar 17, 2019 21:49 Send this review to a friend
IC-M802 Owned for 16 years  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my IC-M802 new in 2003 with a new AT-140 coupler. "opening" it up and activating LSB transmit was a simple start-up key-press.

I would say it works "OK" on the ham bands, producing 150W PEP on all bands except 10m where it seems limited to about 75W. (measured with a BIRD 43, 250W slug + BIRD 500-WT-MN dummy load)

It is VERY sensitive to moderate VSWR, reducing the output to a very low level quickly, resulting in a "clipping" effect when either the coupler either de-tunes itself or other antennas don't provide a VERY low VSWR.

Unmodified, the transmitter average SSB output is not only quite low but the audio sounds sort of "thin". This can be remedied by using the CS-M802 software and an OPC-478 to program the internal (and "secret") signal processor -ON. Once you do that, the transmit audio actually sounds quite excellent and the average power output is increased significantly. (PEP output is unchanged)

One other downside is the supplied handheld microphone. The internal (PTT)micro-switch produces an audible and quite irritating (mechanical) "CLICK" when you let up on the switch.

I have never been able to get anyone to detect any difference in actual audio quality (processor ON vs OFF) . No one has ever told me that the "Processed" signal even sounds processed. So it appears to actually only increase transmit ALC action (and thus average power) instead of actually "Processing" the audio".

There's actually 2 ways to use the processor. One is programming it -ON and the other is to remove a couple of components on an internal board to activate it in the "SET" menu. There are several marine repair facilities around the country that will do it for about $100 or so. ICOM told me they would not program it ON nor would they activate the selection in the "SET" menu (presumably because of type acceptance issues when using digital modes) With the processor -ON, it works wonderfully on SSB.

The receiver works quite well and the squelch system is second to NONE on SSB. RECEIVE audio is VERY nice with the supplied speaker. There is a noise blanker but it works only marginally producing some distortion like others.

There were problems with the microphone cords due to the cord insulation disintegrating over time (less than a few years with some) . After time the insulation on the cords would begin to crack and literally fall off exposing the wires inside.

Several years ago, ICOM realized this problem could cause a failure on the "High Seas" and instituted a (free) mic cord replacement program. Even though I was VERY late (on the order of 5-7 years after the program officially ended) they STILL stepped up and replaced my microphone cord for no charge other than me shipping it to them.

Evidently there is a "FIX" for the VSWR sensitivity problem that entails ICOM or other repair facility to simply reduce the point at which the power "fold-back" occurs, and if you have a later model, that may have already been built in. All the early models seemed to have this problem. It does make the radio unusable if your antenna cannot be tuned correctly with whatever tuner you are using. According to the manual, the IC-M802 will operate with AT-120/E, -130/E, 140 and AH-3. Also, some have tried it with the AH-4 with good results.

I have tried it with the SGC-235 tuner and because of SWR (power) fold-back , it doesn't produce enough power to trigger tuning.


W0PRH Rating: 5/5 Dec 30, 2016 07:35 Send this review to a friend
Easy to setup and program  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had this rig for about a year now. It shares the bench with my Barrett 2050, Mobat, Codan, and TS-480SAT. It has a clear voice simple controls and coupled with the AT-140 tunes just about anything.

I control it via Microsoft PowerShell scripts using ICOM NMEA commands.

I have no gripes on the radio. But remember is a Marine rig so you have to be flexible, but that's what makes it FUN!..

F1AGS Rating: 5/5 Oct 14, 2016 09:53 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This transceiver is fantastic, surprising. I do not know how is treated the signal emission and reception with the DSP, but the results are worthy of a device of high quality. Listening is pleasant, even during hours. To test this transceiver is to adopt it, to keep with life!
KI6CZP Rating: 5/5 Dec 11, 2008 16:20 Send this review to a friend
Great Marine Radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Iíve owned this radio and have had it up and running for almost a year now. I really enjoy being able to have one radio do duel service.

Before I start, I must list one caveat with my review. This radio is a marine radio first, and doubles as a ham. Marine radios must be certified for use, and we all know what happens when the government gets in the way; the price goes up. So there are hf radios that are less money with more features then the ICOM M802. But if you have a boat and want a rig that can legally operate on the marine bands and also allows you to have fun with the hf bands, this radio is the one to get.

What I liked about this radio was the ease it installed and was ready to operate. From start to finish, I was able to install the radio, the AT-140 tuner, and an antenna in a weekend. The transceiver is separate from the control head. This makes installation in a nav station clean and easy. The bulky transceiver can be stowed away while the control head and speaker can neatly squeeze into a tight spot on the nav station. The dials are large, as is the display, making it easy to see even in low light at night. And trust me on the DSC receiver. Someone set off their DSC alarm one night and I think I woke up everyone on every boat around me. It is loud and will get your attention.

A couple of things I did not like. First, I wish ICOM would just package all the cables one would need into one box. If you forget to order the control cable that goes between the transceiver and the tuner, you are down for a week in your install. Most marine chandleries do not stock SSB equipment; it just does not sell. Secondly, you have to be careful with connecting your antenna and your DSC antenna, there are two separate antenna connections on the back of the transceiver and they are right next to each other. Last, there was a clipping problem on transmissions with some of the older units. ICOM fixed the problem, but if you buy a unit used, it may not have had the repair done.

All and all, a great radio that is a solid performer.
LA5ZO Rating: 5/5 Aug 2, 2008 01:44 Send this review to a friend
Spot on !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I wanted to operate HF ham radio in my sailboat.
As I already have a GOC (General Operators Certificate) to operate Maritime HF bands I went for the M802.
This radio has DSC (Digital Selective Call) which is the fastest and most reliable way of sending out a distress call on marine bands.
I have done several DSC Routine call functions test, and it works really well.

Others have written about the all-over performance.
I am also very pleased with the audio quality and I always get good reports on strength and audio.
I use the CS-802 software to customise the 160 User programmable channels.
Also used the same software to turn on the Compresion which increased the power during voice/mic use.
Brought up the average output from around 60-70W to 100 and up.

I am using an AT-130E to tune the insulated backstay. Earthing is done using coppermesh-sheets
in the aft end connected with copper ribbon that runs forward to be connected to one of the keel-bolts
via capacitors. The good earth provedes a good "take-off" on all bands and next to no RFI onboard.

The radio runs very well with a Pactor modem on WinLink.
The radio was purchased on ebay - brand new for less than 1600 USD.

73's Geir/LA5ZO - Sirdal, Norway
KC1QF Rating: 5/5 Feb 27, 2008 07:52 Send this review to a friend
Very good radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just received the M802 from Ham Radio outlet.
After using it for a while, I think it is a great super, 150W, DSP radio.
Although it doesn't offer all the bells and whistles associated with ham radios (and the many, many buttons, knobs and switches we are all accustomed to) it offers the basic features:
- excellent voice squelch which only opens when you have voice on a frequency (which means that if you can hear them adequately, you can work them);
- 150W of power output;
- Ham radio settings and memories;
- USB, LSB, CW, ANM, FSK and other modes given in the international J3E codes;
- Made for commercial use and thus very reliable;
- Large easy to read screen;
- Supplied with remote head, cables and accessories including speaker!;
- Excellent audio, both received and transmitted (as reported by worked stations);
- Also bought the AT-140 tuner and installed them on my Jeep Wrangler for effortless tuning while driving European roads;

On top of ham use, I can use it on my boat, thus it is a great all round radio.

Well worth the money (costs a little more than the IC-7000.

Peter, KC1QF/LX1QF
W4USA Rating: 4/5 Mar 8, 2007 20:24 Send this review to a friend
Nice Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Very Nice radio, Easy to operate. Wonderful receiver. The Voice Squelch is worth it all.
Transmitter is very lite. Very poor drive, I only get out 50 watts on SSB but 130+ of FSK.
Mic Connector is unique and hard to locate if you wish to chang Mic's. Meets and exceeds all NTIA requirements. Makes a very nice CAP or MARS unit.
Very stable of less than 10 HZ but sensitive to SWR.
WI7B Rating: 5/5 Oct 13, 2006 14:55 Send this review to a friend
Excellent!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I needed access to the Marine SSB bands, but didn't want a separate rig for just that purpose. Enter the M802. With its 150 Watts (PEP) output, multi-remote input and output interfaces, and all-mode capabilities, it totally rocks! Tuning and transmitting are continuous across the entire HF spectrum and it has worked well as a mobile rig. I was able to buy one from a Marine elecronics dealer for under $1800. Stability is exceptional at a GMDSS-required 10 Hz, and Icom's DSP is included.

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