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LETTERS characterize the problem before shipping it back to Icom. Here's a copy of the letter that I sent to them: "This radio (IC-M802, serial number 01864) has an intermittent transmit power problem. With a power meter attached to the antenna port, I observed that the output power often starts at full (approximately 150 watts), then drops after a few seconds to about 5 to 10 watts, then randomly cycles up and down every few seconds. Sometimes the transmit power will stay at full for up to a minute, but more often it drops out after just a few seconds. This happens on low, medium and high power settings, and all across the frequency band. I have checked the radio’s installation carefully, and also tested the radio in another M802-equipped boat, with the exact same test results." Icom repaired the radio under warranty, although the oneyear warranty period had expired several years before. They told me the problem was caused by dirty connectors between circuit boards that was caused by "smoke contamination." I never had any smoke on the boat, so that made no sense. The radio worked fine after the repair for two years, at which time I sold the boat. It sounds like this is a common failure mode for the M802. Lou Dietz Ace, Passport 42 Mountain View, CA


man Fortarina M

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• April, 2007

⇑⇓SAME PROBLEM WITH OUR 802 Our new Icom 802 has also exhibited some of the signal clipping problems that you've experienced. We have been in contact with the Icom service department, and they are very aware of the problem. They are fairly confident they have come up with a fix. We are currently in La Cruz on Banderas Bay, and just shipped our unit to Washington for the fix. This way we'll have a properly functioning radio for our crossing to Hawaii in April. Our plan is to return to Berkeley in July. David Masters of the La Paz-based Endeavor has been working most closely with Icom's engineers on the problem. Here's a copy of an email I received from him in February: "Good news on the M802. The guys from Icom were down for another three days, and it looks like the problem with the M802 is pretty well cornered. We tested a number of antennas, several tuners, and even installed a 710-RT to compare performance. We got consistent performance through a wide range of frequencies. The mod-2, in which they replaced a very small resistor and capacitor on one of the boards in the 802, seems to fix a very large portion of the clipping problem. Icom tells me they can fix all the clipping, but the radio would work exactly like the 710. I prefer what I have with my 802, and will soon explain my take on it. Initially, it looked like there was still a small residual problem on Endeavor in the 8MHz range. We tested all kinds of things over a two-day period to try and iron it out, but just couldn’t find the problem — although it seemed clear that it was something outside the radio. Swapping tuners, swapping cables, and swapping the 802 for a 710 didn’t make any difference. Everyone was very frustrated. The Icom guys left, we moved Endeavor to the other end of La Paz and — magically — the clipping problem was much reduced. We are currently thinking that there was something either in one of the other boats at that end of town, or in the surrounding area, that was causing our headache. SWR — standing wave ratio — for 8MHz in our two days of frustrating testing was between 1.7 and 2.5 — which is very high. SWR for 8MHz at this end of town has consistently been

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Latitude 38 April 2007  

The April 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 April 2007  

The April 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.