Re: Amel54 SSB installation
Last year I installed an Icom M801E on my Santorin. The M801 is a great device and a true marine (M = Marine) transceiver class E (E = class E).
Benefits: long range voice and data communications to multiple users, DSC for emergencies, etc. The device can even be "unlocked" and be turned in a true HAM station, what opens up the universe of HAM users all over the world. Lost in sea you can always talk to someone... :-)
Installation: I would check what preinstallations are available on your boat: direct battery connection, security switch, grounding plates for grounding, mounting for a wip antenna, etc. Then decide what else is necessary and make an installation plan. Position for the transceiver: on my boat I had it first inside the navigation table, now it below the navigation table, to get more space.
Antennas: The M801E has 2 receivers built in: one is for transmitting and receiving voice or data; the second constantly monitors the DSC frequencies. I installed a whip antenna for transmitting and receiving and use the triatric stay for the DSC watch, as this antenna is for receiving only. AMEL recommends the whip antenna for several reasons. However, there are advantages and disadvantages with each type of installation.
Legal stuff: HF radio users need a LRC (long range certificate) and need to pass an exam in most countries to get it; as a HAM user you would have also to pass an even more elaborated exam. Check the legal situation in your country.
Support and shopping: www.yachtcom.uk or www.yachtfunk.com
Options: Adding a Pactor modem enables you to send and receive emails and weather data. And become a member of www.sailmail.com
Iridium: Again, each system has its advantages and disadvantes. Experienced sailors recommend to get both, if you can afford it.
Good luck - Daniel