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Charles.Griffiths
Posts: 1


5/5/2018
Charles.Griffiths wrote:
John Franklin wrote:
Our 15 year old Pactor III modem aboard Al Shaheen has died. Does anyone know of a repair facility in the UK, or have experience of repairing a Pactor modem?


I will get the hang of this in a minute....Bob Smith - mail@yachtcom.co.uk - tel 44 1489 565100 is expert on this subject and guided me to my short wave cert.
Regards
Charles
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Bill Balme
Administrator
Posts: 190


4/19/2018
Bill Balme
Administrator
Posts: 190
I must be doing something wrong again! I tried the website www.sdr.hu while the OCC's Caribbean net was running on 6227. I logged onto the node in Virginia (K1RA/KW4VAA) and then changed the frequency to 6227 and the band to USB using the panel on the right - but all I could hear was static. I was expecting to hear the net... What am I missing?


(I could hear the net very well on the SSB...)





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Bill Balme
s/v Toodle-oo!
Outbound 44 #27
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Dick
Posts: 330


4/14/2018
Dick
Posts: 330
Hi John,
Firstly, I would inspect/test all connections/terminals etc. to ensure that the modem is the bad apple, especially if the unit has been sitting unused for a while. They are really pretty bulletproof if in a dry place. It sounds like the transceiver is working well.
It is possible to get Pactor Modems repaired. Farallon Electronics does so in the US as they are the distributor for the German based manufacturer (as I understand things). So, it might even be easier to get repaired in your part of the world. Make sure they install all the updates/upgrades at the same time as I found them complicated on my own with the limited internet the boat often has.
Thanks for the heads up on the SSB testing procedures.
Let us know how this unfolds.
My best, Dick

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Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
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John Franklin
Posts: 130


4/14/2018
John Franklin
Posts: 130
Our 15 year old Pactor III modem aboard Al Shaheen has died. Does anyone know of a repair facility in the UK, or have experience of repairing a Pactor modem?

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John Franklin
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John Franklin
Posts: 130


4/14/2018
John Franklin
Posts: 130
I was introduced to a useful facility yesterday by Bob Smith of YachtCom for testing SSB sets. You need to have a Windows computer connected to the internet. It involves the use of SDR (software determined radio). There are dozens of SDR "listening" stations around the world which a user can tune to a particular frequency and mode from a laptop. You can select a station location, tune it to a suitable frequency, then tune your SSB to the same frequency and transmit a test message whilst at the same time listening to your transmission being received by the remote station on your laptop.

Procedure:
1. select www.sdr.hu and review the stations available. Each one will show the number of users allowed (usually 3 or 4) and the number currently using the station
2. select a station within the distance you expect to be able to transmit
3. in the panel on the right side of the screen, enter the frequency on which you want to transmit (example 6227.0 kHz) and select the mode (example USB)
4. Tune you SSB to the same transmit frequency and mode (example 6227.0, USB)
5. Transmit a test message on your SSB and listen for the message being received via the SDR station on your laptop.

Yesterday we tested Al Shaheen's SSB very successfully on 6 and 8 Mhz bands talking to SDR stations in Switzerland, Holland and Sweden and hearing good reception on the laptop.

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John Franklin
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Simon Currin
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Posts: 774


4/7/2018
Simon Currin
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Posts: 774
I have ordered a replacement Mic from Hong Kong for £30 (ebay) so hoping it will work. I also came across a broken m-710 on eBay where the owner had replaced the Mic only to find that the output amplifier had failed but it's still worth the gamble.
Simon

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Simon Currin
S/V Shimshal simon@medex.org.uk
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Simon Currin
Administrator
Posts: 774


3/29/2018
Simon Currin
Administrator
Posts: 774
Dick
That just confirms the value of this Forum! A U.K. dealer says mics are no longer available but, as you say, they are all over eBay. And affordable too. I will get one ordered up and hope for the best. I’m now determined to get it working by hook or by crook.
Simon

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Simon Currin
S/V Shimshal simon@medex.org.uk
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Dick
Posts: 330


3/27/2018
Dick
Posts: 330
Hi Simon,
Mics (Hm 180) that are compatible for the 710 seem to be fairly easily available here in the US. Mics do break (actually, it is the wiring connections that usually give way: I always try to figure some sort of strain relief before the terminal connections, both to the transceiver and the mic), but with the amount of down time your unit has, I would still be betting on a corroded terminal or something similar.
Use google US for details on the Hm180 as the 710s are far less common in marine Europe. It will be the pin configuration that will be most important. ICOM is usually quite responsive to inquiries, so you might call them.
I know also people who are likely to have access to equipment. I could bring/leave a mic in Lewisporte and if we share an anchorage and we can do some trouble-shooting and some comm during the coming season.
And, yes, it would be great to get it working as SSB comm really solidifies the cruising community on this side of the pond and is far far more functionally useful than any maritime use of SSB in Northern Europe or the Med.
My best, Dick

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Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
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Simon Currin
Administrator
Posts: 774


3/27/2018
Simon Currin
Administrator
Posts: 774
Thanks both for you input and Dick thanks for your's off line. Interesting that there are previously repoorted failures of the Mic. I heard back today from Yacht.com who say they can no longer get replacement mics as the plug was more or less unique to that model and is obsolete. I think I need to be a bit more systematic in my fault finding next time I'm on the boat and see if I can check out the continuity of the various Mic connections and repair if required. I've got a meter for measuring aerial output too and, as Dick says, I need to check the ATU which I had actually forgotten all about! It would be great to get it working for N America and beyond! I will let you know how I get on.
Simon

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Simon Currin
S/V Shimshal simon@medex.org.uk
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Dick
Posts: 330


3/26/2018
Dick
Posts: 330
On second thought, 6 amps should make for about 150 watts at 24v. D

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Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
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Dick
Posts: 330


3/26/2018
Dick
Posts: 330
BTW Hasbun,
I would guess that 8a is about right for a 24v system as the max power draw for the M-710 is about 150 watts (as I believe all marine SSBs must have for max TX).
My best, Dick

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Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
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Dick
Posts: 330


3/26/2018
Dick
Posts: 330
Good advice, Hasbun,
Many battery monitoring systems are not up to the task of reading battery v with enough accuracy and, as you clarify, without averaging. I guess I was thinking of a good digital VOM for this job (and for the continuity/shorts inspections), although keying the mic with an analog meter should make it jump.
My best, Dick

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Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
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Hasbun
Posts: 52


3/26/2018
Hasbun
Posts: 52
On our 24v boat, full power transmission is evidenced by about an 8A draw. Should be more, but it is what it is.

Dick's advice regarding using power consumption as an indicator of transmission activity is true and tried, but look at this little anecdote: we have two battery monitoring systems. One old and original to the boat, and one the latest and greatest from Mastervolt. Very fancy. Well, the Mastervolt is nearly useless to determine SSB transmission consumption, because instead of giving an instant reading to the second, it seems to report a trend of power consumption over the past five seconds or so. So only the old and "obsolete" power meter is good for checking the radio.

The microphone on our M-710 was found to be broken in 2014. The little wire at the base of the microphone wore off, like a cheap microphone. Which it is! I think the replacement was only $25 or so. It's been fine since.

Cheers,
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Dick
Posts: 330


3/25/2018
Dick
Posts: 330
Hi Simon,
The M-710 is a fine SSB, almost bulletproof, but, of course, without the bells and whistles of modern technology, all of which, at my last review, I felt I could do without: hence, I still use my 710.
10 years is a long time, so a few hours spent checking and cleaning every connection and making sure of all continuity and ensuring no shorts will be well worth the effort. It takes very little to interfere with SSB operation.
How do you know you are not TXing? Were you trying it on the hard?
First, chk to see you should see if the 710 is set to TX on high power. If so, you should see a significant voltage drop when the PTT button is depressed on any reasonably sized cruising battery bank.
If not, the mic is likely still good and I would move next to the tuner cable. If you hear a click of the tuner (what tuner do you have) when you change frequencies (say 12 megs to an 8 meg channel) when you depress the PTT button, that is a good sign.
There is a start. I will think on more.
Good luck, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

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Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
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Simon Currin
Administrator
Posts: 774


3/25/2018
Simon Currin
Administrator
Posts: 774
We have a 19 year old icom m-710 which we haven’t used for ten years. Having now exited European waters we switched it on and it is receiving fine. The power supply is good but when we press the PTT button on the fist microphone nothing happens. I’m not sure if this is a problem with the mic or with the set and wondered if there is anyone able advise? Do fist mics fail? If it’s a set problem is there anything simple I can check?
Simon

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Simon Currin
S/V Shimshal simon@medex.org.uk
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Daria Blackwell
Administrator
Posts: 737


5/7/2017
Daria Blackwell
Administrator
Posts: 737
Here is the information on the KISS-SSB Ground / Counterpoise. http://www.kiss-ssb.com/ It sounds very good indeed. Thanks for the heads up, Bill.

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Daria Blackwell - Rear Commodore, PR Officer, Editor OCC Digital Comms & Port Officer, West of Ireland s/v Aleria http://www.coastalboating.net
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Victor.Bom
Posts: 3


5/5/2017
Victor.Bom
Posts: 3
Hi Stephen,
I agree fully with the comments already published. Only a few remarks:
I have an ICOM 801, the only mf/hf device apporved in the Netherlands. I am very happy with it. The story goes that it is equal to the 802 on the outside but that internally it is totally different, the 801 being the better device in terms of corrosion etc. There is a marked price difference in favor of the 802 though.
There is a lot of information on the internet about installation of mf/hf trancievers. Very usefull.
In addition to the radio and antenna you need also an antenna tuner. There are tuners that must be tuned manually, but an automatic one is much to be preferred.
If you want to send/receive Emails, weather forecasts (gribs), weather fax charts etc. you will want a modem. Pactor modems are very wide spread. It can be done using the sound chart of your PC, but I have no experience with that method, it seems a bit cumbersome.

Success,
Victor
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bwallace
Posts: 50


4/27/2017
bwallace
Posts: 50
Hi, I agree with what Bill has said, but would like to add from my experience. As an SSB user for over 10 years. It is a great bit of kit, and extremely useful on long ocean passages. Three weeks crossing an ocean. A radio net is wonderful company each morning find out what fellow cruisers are up to, what weather those ahead are getting, besides a social chat after all safety stuff has been gone through.
In regard to types of radio, I bought the Icom 802 in 2006. At that time you could not get an 802 which was UK type approved. Although the 802 had been about In the US for a whIle, so that is what I bought. Only the 702 was UK a Type approved, but the 802 seemed and was far more user friendly.
As a net controller for various nets in the Pacific, it became obvious during that 5 years that the vessels that generally had the best radios, i.e could pick up distant signals where many could not, where the vessels using the UK type approved 802. I know much is down to installation, but these are observations made by myself as a SSB user.
With this experience, and had they been around when I bought my 802 and having this experience now, It would be worth paying the extra for a UK type approved SSB.
Go for a good ground plate, and use a 100mm copper strip, keep the run to the tuner as short as possible. Can be a sod to install, but the results are well worth it. I know nothing about the Kiss, so can 't comment on that.
We also may be in Sicily this next winter.
Fair winds
Brian s/v Darramy
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Bill Balme
Administrator
Posts: 190


4/26/2017
Bill Balme
Administrator
Posts: 190
Hi Stephen,

Installing an SSB isn 't difficult, but getting it to work well can be downright impossible at times! The installation itself is relatively straightforward - but you 'll need an antenna solution and a ground plane solution...
The most common antenna solution would be your backstay - so if you don 't have isolators at top and bottom of the backstay, you 'd need to have them installed. I 'm guessing this could be expensive and something that should be done by a rigging expert. An alternative would be a long whip antenna, but I 'm not sure how well these work for SSB...
Everything else is in my opinion best done by yourself - because it 's YOU that 's going to have to fine tune the details in order to get best reception and transmission. The good news is that it 's relatively simple - but best to follow the instructions!
The Ground plane (counterpoise) solution used to require a load of copper foil and copper mesh all over the boat - not easy - but these days there 's a good (not perfect) solution - a KISS counterpoise which is extremely easy to install.
Most new SSB 's are Icom 801/802 - as far as I know they are the same - but I guess it 's possible that the UK version may come with fewer pre-programmed stations - but you should be able to program them all...
Once installed, the difficulties start - trying to improve upon the reception. You need to identify and isolate all the electrical noise generators in the boat... this can take time and patience!
Good luck with the installation!
Bill

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Bill Balme
s/v Toodle-oo!
Outbound 44 #27
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Stephen Foot
Posts: 4


4/24/2017
Stephen Foot
Posts: 4
We are in the early stages of planning a trip across the Pacific in 2019 and I think I ought to install an SSB radio in addition to the satellite phone we currently have on board. Our sailing tends to be very unsophisticated in terms of electronics: in many ways I would almost rather turn the whole lot off and get on with the real task in hand…

The boat is currently in Croatia and we are planning to winter this year in Sicily and I was going to get the yard to install it. If at all possible, I want to avoid putting any more holes in the hull. We currently have rod rigging (which is quite old) and a split backstay, but shows no sign of wear and so I am reluctant to replace it. We are just replacing the batteries on board and that will give us something like 500Ah and an alternator that throws out 130A – so that ought to be plenty of power.

I have heard all sorts of stories about what radio to buy (Is it true that ones bought in US have more channels?) and how to install. I wondered if someone might might be able to point me in the right direction – may be just about the ups and downs of SSB. and what I should and should not do!

I hope that there are members of the club who can help a raw novice in this field. many thanks

Stephen Foot
Water Music
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