Jochen Hofmann <jochen@...>
first of all I think the ICOM IC-M 802 is about the best of units you
can get these days, however, it might be illegal for a non-ham to fit
it - at least in germany it is not approved as a marine SSB (probably
because it is too easy to open it for the ham bands, and ICOM have
come out with a GMDSS equivalent of the 802 now that costs more but
cannot be opened to the ham bands).
In order to use the unit legally you will probably have to take a UK
ham license. Ham licenses are globally in a transition phase right now
since the ITU recommends to put away with Morse exams for SW ham
licenses. Some countries (like germany) have done so already in local
law, some others (like the U.S.) have not. I don't know the present
status in the UK. While the ham license (even without morse) is an
awful lot of learning, if you plan to go serious blue water cruising
it is definitely more than just worth the effort taking it. Just
consider all the cruisernets you'll find all over the world and the
invaluable weather information you can receive (and provide) in them.
Sailing ham associations like (www.)Intermar(-ev.de) really help you
stay connected to the world and keep your acquaintances ashore
up-to-date as far as your whereabouts and your well-being are
concerned. BTW, I myself only took my exam in lat 2004 and I am a
On our Maramu #143 Blue Song we have installed an IC-M 802 and we are
using insulated backstays (one for TX/RX and one for DSC RX - yes
you'll need two antennas if you want to make use of the full DSC
capabilities of the unit).
You will find about as many people who'll tell you the whip is better
as you will find people saying the backstay is better. In the end it
probably all depends on the quality of the installation and IN THE
QUALITY OF THE GROUNDING (see the ICOM manual). We are happy with the
backstay so far, but we've only been cruising in the med so far - will
see what it's like on the long passages (hopefully) coming up for us
this winter and thereafter.
Jochen Hofmann, DM2JH, Maramu #143 Blue Song