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Old 11-24-2005, 03:55 PM   #1
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Default icom ic-m78 ssb radio

I am looking at purchasing an SSB radio for cruising and wondered if anyone has or has experience with the Icom IC-M78 100 watt radio. This set is very simular to the Icom 718 amature radio and about half the price of the Icom 802. It it a worthwhile radio?
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Old 11-24-2005, 07:43 PM   #2
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MF, you may want to post your query on the SSCA board as well, where there are many experienced HF radio users: http://sssa.org/sscabb/index.php

FWIW I think the 'best value' SSB radio to have aboard a boat for cruising purposes remains the Icom 706, primarily intended for amateur use but easily opened up to serve as an all-band transceiver. 100W, very small package with standard removable face plate, a stable design and readily available, either new or used, for a relatively reasonable price. Just to offer you another option...

Jack
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Old 11-25-2005, 04:24 PM   #3
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Thanks for that Jack. I do know of an Icom 706 second hand for $1,000.00 NZ but will still need a tuner which is either $2-300.00 manual or 5-600.00 auto that brings me to say $1,500.00 I can buy the new Icom m78 for just over $2,000.00 which makes it very attractive comparitively.I will post on the site you suggest and see if anyoune has the m-78 model and see what a 706 costs new.

regards Gavin
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Old 11-25-2005, 04:33 PM   #4
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Gavin, you might consider timing your purchase with one of the large 'hamfests' that are held over here in the U.S., which is when package deals and low prices are offered by many of the larger stores. If you visit www.aesham.com (a reliable vendor with good folks), you may find special pricing offered at these times - e.g. the Orlando, Florida hamfest is in late Jan/early Feb and the AES Orlando store may be offering good pricing at that time. E.g. last year I saw them selling new 706's along with add'l accessories for $900 USD.

Also, perhaps you would be willing to consider an on-line vendor of used gear like eBay, altho' buying used ham gear may not be inviting to you. FWIW I purchased a used 706 as a back-up radio since we're full-time cruising and depend on Winlink for many services, and it cost me $500 USD.

Good luck on the search.

Jack
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Old 11-26-2005, 02:41 AM   #5
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Hi Jack

My pricing for buying is in NZ $ which is about 65ct US. Icom are having a pre Christmas special at the moment with the 78 unit being $975.00 US ex tuner. I posted a thread on another site about this and got a reply from Icom UK advising against ham sets on boats saying they are not build for that.I know someone who has had a Yaesu onboard for 5 yrs.Obviously the MARINE radio's carry that Marine price tag. How long have you had your set onboard and has it given any problems ie corosion due to salt. I will check out your sites.

Regards

Gavin
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Old 11-26-2005, 05:36 PM   #6
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Gavin, it is very, very common for firms like Icom and also retail vendors to counsel boat owners to put marine SSB sets aboard their boats vs. ham radios. They of course are financially incented to do this, and they also really don't have another alternative - advising you differently would subject them to formal criticism and regulatory problems.

OTOH out in the real world, ham radios have been on boats for at least 40 years that I know of. In our own case, we took a 3-yr old Kenwood, used it aboard our last boat for 5 years (partly while cruising down to the Caribbean from USA and return) and it was working fine when we sold the boat. We bought and installed our 706 aboard WHOOSH in 1998 and have been cruising full time in the Caribbean and now Europe since 2000, also without any problems. This is pretty typical. However, it is in a protected place and we have sewn up a cover for it, should that prove necessary. Tuners are typically sealed units and installed under the aft deck, so unless you have a leak back there, they too will survive indefinitely.

You are in a bit of a quandry because, while in NZ and subject to NZ regulatory controls, you are presented with one set of choices. The minute the boat leaves NZ, you will find virtually every boat with a ham radio has had their ham radio 'opened up' so that it can perform on both ham and marine bands (made into an all-band TRANSceiver) because this is a very functional choice when out cruising. To what extent you take your guidance from your national regulatory agency vs. adopt a more 'universal' approach - and/or opt for radios that are known in your home waters and for which there is local support available vs. what broader choices lie further afield - are dilemmas that unfortunately all of us face.

It would be my guess that the Icom 78 will not operate successfully long-term with a pactor modem; I see no indication in the Sailmail/Winlink documentation that acknowledges that radio for that use.

Good luck to you and please don't overlook those CCA resources on using HF radio at sea that I mentioned on the SSCA BB.

Jack

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Old 11-27-2005, 02:59 PM   #7
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Hi Jack. Thanks for that. I am not too concerned with the regulations as much as just getting the best deal ie value and quality for money,which may still be a more expensive set. From what I have learnt in the last few days on various forums the amature radios will be fine as long as they are inside. Most ham opperators praise there radios above the marine type but I did get a reply from another thread saying that the new ham lower cost sets created a lot of spatter and were not as stable on the frequencies.Does your 706 wander off the frequencies to an extent that it a nuisance to use or to other users on that freq? Lots to learn as with all things you start looking at the cheapist then start understanding and want more (no you want it all) and then go back to a comfortable level that you can afford. I will do more research and look into a ham licience.

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Gavin
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Old 11-28-2005, 05:38 PM   #8
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Most ham radios offer options for equipping the radio to improve its performance. In our case, we purchased a 100 Hz filter and a high stability crystal, both of which improve the ability of the radio significantly. To what extent you choose to do this will depend on your intended use and pocketbook, and will also be determined by the model/brand you select.

I too saw the negative comment from Bill (SSCA B on the 706, which frankly surprised me; I do think he's very knowledgeable on this kind of topic. I must say I've seen more Icom 706 radios on boats than any other single model from Icom (or Kenwood or Yaseu), and as a group my impression is that we are very satisfied in the radio's performance for value; I surely am.

Jack
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Old 12-01-2005, 03:22 PM   #9
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Hi Guys

Decision has been made. I have purchased the ICm78 with at130 auto tuner. I should get it all next week. Thanks for all the help to date. Next step is to sort out the antena so I will start checking out the existing listed discusions and also start looking at learning more about radios.

Regards

Gavin
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Old 12-03-2005, 05:28 PM   #10
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Placing your Antenna will be very critical as to how your Radio Operates. Almost all SSB HF Yacht antenna are either a form of a Marconi (long wire) or possible an Inverted V. Both system has it's pro's and cons the former tends to produce high voltages and requires an excellent Grounding. Check which Marine bands and frrequencies you just have and optimise your antenna system for that - anything else you can use the tuner for - but it will always be a compropise.

I would suggest that you pay special annension to other antennas that you may have AIS, GPS, and VHF - and I recently fried my NASA AIS Engine but putting too much power out - without dicsonnecting the AIS receiver. Your GPS may also not appreciate 150W burning down it's coax cable. Ditto NAVTEX etc.
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Old 12-04-2005, 02:58 PM   #11
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I will be using the mizzen backstay as antena.I was thinking around 36 ft long. My VHF antena is at the top of the mizzen mast IE VHF antena will be above the upper end of SSB antena.My GPS antena is on my raised coach roof so is about 4-5 meters from SSB antena.Grounding should be good as I have a steel boat and will ground to hull. When I get the radio I will thoroughly read through the section on Antenas..Thanks for the advise

Gavin
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