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Author Topic:   Icom IC-M502 VHF; Raymarine Ray 55
PeteB88 posted 07-28-2014 01:31 PM ET (US)   Profile for PeteB88   Send Email to PeteB88  
I have had a Raymarine Ray55 VHF on my 1995 Outrage 17 for several years. It seems to work fine, had one repair (took to dealer, replaced circuit board, no charge, fast return time). I have it mounted in the compartment at top of my console. One complaint is display is rather small, there are numerous menus to plod through to get it to scan or display what I want and a few other annoyances. I am not in love with it.

Recently, I was nearly handed a brand new Icom IC-502, never used. Yesterday I hooked it up to a 12 Volt battery, plugged in a whip antenna and it worked great. More significant is display seems better and controls are simple (or simpler for my limiting factors)

[Seek advice and reviews from readers with] experience with either the ICOM or Raymarine.

Thanks in advance.

jimh posted 07-28-2014 02:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The ICOM IC-M502 may not be completely legal as a VHF Marine Band radio in the USA at this time. The FCC rules require that any VHF Marine Band radio imported, sold, or installed in the USA at this time must be qualified to digital selective calling CLASS-D rating. If the ICOM IC-M502 is not a CLASS-D rated DSC radio, it is technically a violation of the commission's rules to install it. If it were already installed, you can keep using it, but it cannot be installed--if that makes any sense.

The ICOM IC-M502 looks like a very nice radio. It probably was a premium radio in the ICOM line at one time. It should be a very good radio, but it is just a darn shame that the rules of the FCC prohibit it being installed in a boat in the USA now if it is not CLASS-D rated.

I looked through the instruction manual of the ICOM IC-M502 radio to see if there were a listing in the specifications for the exact qualification of the radio with regard to its digital selective calling features. I did not find anything authoritative. My guess, based on the notion that ICOM only released CLASS-D radios rather recently, is that the ICOM IC-M502 might not be a CLASS-D radio.

I recommend you contact ICOM technical support to get a clarification on the IC-M502 rating. If it is not a CLASS-D radio, it would be a shame to have to abandon it, unless, that is, it were already installed in your boat so you did not have to install it.

PeteB88 posted 07-28-2014 03:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
All I know is it is somewhere on the boat at this particular time.
David Pendleton posted 07-28-2014 07:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Go ahead and install it, just not as your primary VHF.

Rip the tag off your mattress while you're at it.

PeteB88 posted 07-29-2014 12:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Just had a terrific call with iCOM tech support. I like great customer service. Plus learned a few things about the handheld I supplied to our Mississippi River Guinness record team (they didn't break it - long story there). Team was concerned the transmitter wasn't strong enough or working correctly. I was concerned that barge captains were just blowing them off and not responding which is likely. However, lock masters did reply as I recall. Part of the reason they missed the record was water level was lower than expected, they did not get the "push" or surge from Missouri and Ohio rivers thus they had to navigate closer to barge traffic and at night it became flat out dangerous. They lost advantage and had to scuttle night paddling. They were very close to record pace the entire time.
jimh posted 07-29-2014 01:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Did you learn the DSC rating of the Icom IC-M502?
PeteB88 posted 07-29-2014 11:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
PeteB88 posted 07-29-2014 11:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Well, I learned why there are DSC ratings and why perfectly good VHF radios that have the capability have certain qualification issues. And how regs change a lot but not exactly why regs change a lot specific to perfectly capable VHF marine radios.
jimh posted 07-30-2014 01:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Pete--It is great that you learned all of that from your conversation, but it seems critically important that you establish if the Icom IC-M502 is a DSC CLASS-D radio. If it is not, installing it will violate the commission's rules. I know, it seems rather crazy, but those are the rules. If you install a radio on a boat at this time, it must be a DSC CLASS-D radio. It doesn't matter to the FCC if the current on the Mississippi was lower than normal and the kids you were helping did not set a record. It doesn't matter what you learned from talking on the telephone to the Icom service representative. What really matters here with regard to installing a radio on a boat in 2014 is the qualification of the radio with regard to its digital selective calling features. The radio must be a CLASS-D radio. You have to call Icom back on the telephone and find out what sort of radio the Icom IC-M502 really is. Pete--your government is trying to help you. It is trying to save your life. It is trying to make boating safer for you. Please let your government help you become a safer boater.
fno posted 07-30-2014 09:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for fno  Send Email to fno     
Pete, if I were you,I would remove the offending radio from your boat and send it to JimH as quickly as possible under an assumed name. Wrap it in brown paper, if you can find any these days. JimH neighbors and the Feds will just thinks it's another of his Frederick's of Hollywood deliveries. Then, and do not waste time, make a string of garlic and hang it around your neck. Don't forget to put some aluminum foil under your hat too. This should keep the Feds off your tail for a while as long as you did not spend too much time transmitting on that Federal violation of a radio.

JimH, I suggest that you destroy Pete's Federally unsuitable radio and send the pieces to the FCC along with a video of the destruction (with faces removed of course). I suspect, and all the armchair lawyers here can better advise both of you, that you both will get a light sentence and not have to do any time in Colorado at that Supermax prison. And don't forget that if they can't find anything to charge you with, they will come up with conspiracy to do something (usually homeland security related)That might land you both in Guantanamo. Nice place for boating if they let you....

P.S. Both of you watch out for drones!!! Don't waste any efforts looking for black helicopters, that was the 80's. And let's thank someone that the FCC is just a commission and not the FCA (Federal Communications Administration)because then there would be someone with a stupid salary looking for the both of you for some inane violation of the Federal Code.....

jimh posted 07-31-2014 01:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
FNO--I appreciate your suggestion, but I already have a collection of perfectly good VHF Marine Band radios that are not quite qualified to DSC CLASS-D rating. They are all fine radios and work very well, but it is now against the rules of the Federal Communication Commission for these radios to be installed on a boat in the USA. If they are already installed, it is legal to use the, but you cannot install one any more.

I am trying to find an outlet for them. Perhaps someone in Australia could act as a re-seller, and all of these perfectly good radios that cannot be installed in the USA could be sent out to the hinterlands, and put to good use. Until then they are just piling up in the ContinousWave radio research laboratory, taking up valuable shelf space.

Hoosier posted 07-31-2014 10:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
How about selling them on eBay in Canada, what are their rules? It's a lot closer.
jimh posted 07-31-2014 03:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Pete--There may be a way for you to use the Icom IC-M502 radio, even it was not already installed on your boat. In a clarification, the FCC said:

Therefore, after March 25, 2011, radios built to RTCM Standard SC-101 can no longer be manufactured, imported, sold or installed; however, previously-installed radios meeting the older standard may continue to be used.


As I read that, if the radios were "previously installed" at any time on any boat, you can continue to use them. Perhaps you could infer that means you can re-install them, that is, continue to use them. Does it have to be on the same boat? I don't know. The guidance is ambiguous on that.

Of course, the radio you have is "new in the box" so it may not have been previously installed. Gosh, these FCC rules about radios are complicated.

PeteB88 posted 08-03-2014 11:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Frank - Ellen misses you.

Frank - I don't know where to find brown paper.

To the central scrutinizers, drone pilots and NSA: as I recall the conversation the 502 that is stashed in an undisclosed location, possibly mounted to a watercraft, has all the capabilities now required including the ability to be connected to GPS devices. However, the software that predates the USCG regulation change or amendment does not include the warnings and disclaimers that flash across the displays of devices manufactured after the regs went into effect. Now, I have been know to have a foggy memory at times and/or to miss a detail. I am not going to lose sleep over this and it is indeed a fine radio that has a purpose.

Jimh - I do sincerely appreciate your concern and cautions about safety, seriously and mean it when I say thanks.

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