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Sales of Icom M802 SSB to Resume


Sales of Icom M802 SSB to Resume

by aa1gj » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:37 pm

Re: DA 17-960 - Per the copy of the Order reproduced below, the FCC has granted to Icom America permission to import and sell the M802 until 01 January 2020.

Congratulations and thank you to all the folks that worked to secure this waver!

Gary Jensen
DockSide Radio
s/v Spiritress

Before the
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of


Request for Waiver to Permit Manufacture, Importation, Sale, and Installation of Class E Digital Selective Calling Radio )

WT Docket No. 17-122


Adopted: September 29, 2017 Released: October 2, 2017

By the Deputy Chief, Mobility Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau:

1. Introduction. This Order addresses a request by Icom America Inc. (Icom) for a temporary waiver of sections 80.225(a)(4) and 80.1101(c)(4)(ii) of the Commission’s rules to permit the manufacture, importation, sale, and installation of its medium frequency/high frequency (MF/HF) Digital Selective Calling (DSC) radio Model IC-M802 (M802). For the reasons set forth below, we grant the waiver request.
2. Background. MF/HF DSC radios, which operate in the maritime mobile portions of the 1.6-27.5 MHz band, are used by ship stations to communicate with other ship stations or coast stations for safety, navigation, and weather information. The Commission’s rules require DSC radios to comply with certain international technical standards. The M802 complies with the standard that was incorporated into the Commission’s rules when equipment certification was granted for it in 2002. Over time, the rules were amended to incorporate subsequent revisions of this standard. In 2010, the Commission amended its rules to require compliance with technical standard ITU-R M.493-13 and, after a phase-out period, prohibited the manufacture, importation, sale, or installation of non-compliant equipment. The M802 does not comply with requirements in Appendix 4 of ITU-R M.493-13 regarding automated procedures initiated by sending a non-distress DSC message, so Icom removed the model from the United States market.
3. The M802 is a Class E DSC radio, which is intended to provide minimum functionality for MF/HF DSC distress, urgency, and safety communications as well as routine calling and reception, but does not comply fully with the requirements applicable to vessels that are required to carry an MF/HF DSC radio as part of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). GMDSS-compliant Class A equipment typically costs more than twice as much as Class E equipment, which is intended for use by vessels that are not subject to the GMDSS requirements.
4. Icom states that typical M802 users are cruising vessels, i.e., smaller ships used for recreation. It requests a temporary waiver to permit the manufacture, importation, sale, and installation of the M802 until 2020, by which time Icom expects to produce Class E DSC radios that meet the current standard. Icom asserts that the M802 was the only Class E DSC radio that general users could afford, and it argues that a waiver is in the public interest because it will enable cruising vessels to communicate and obtain safety and weather information better than non-DSC alternatives.
5. The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s Mobility Division sought comment on Icom’s request on May 19, 2017. Over 200 comments were filed, all but one in support of the waiver request.
6. Discussion. Section 1.925 of the Commission's rules provides that we may grant a waiver if it is shown that (a) the underlying purpose of the rule(s) would not be served or would be frustrated by application to the instant case, and grant of the requested waiver would be in the public interest; or (b) in light of unique or unusual circumstances, application of the rule(s) would be inequitable, unduly burdensome, or contrary to the public interest, or the applicant has no reasonable alternative. We conclude that under the circumstances presented, a temporary waiver of sections 80.225(a)(4) and 80.1101(c)(4)(ii) is in the public interest.
7. Most of the commenters are individual mariners, who assert that there is currently no affordable alternative that provides the same safety benefits as the M802, on which they rely for regular communications, weather and safety information, and distress alerts. They state that other countries let sale and installation of the M802 continue, with no adverse consequences arising from recreational vessels’ use of a DSC radio that does not meet the new requirements in ITU-R M.493-13. Many are concerned that the continued unavailability of an affordable MF/HF DSC radio for United States recreational vessels will lead to loss of life due to inferior communications during an emergency. The waiver request also is supported by the United States Sailing Association’s Safety at Sea Sucbcommittee and the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services, which reports that the M802 is the only known HF DSC radio designed for vessels not subject to the GMDSS requirements. Even the sole objector acknowledges the safety benefits offered by the M802 and recognizes that there is no practical alternative for cruising vessels, but argues that Icom should be required to comply with ITU-R M.493-13 and opines that it should not take until 2020 to develop a compliant radio.
8. Based on the record before us, we conclude that grant of the requested waiver is in the public interest. The record before us indicates that without the M802, there is no affordable MF/HF DSC radio for vessels not subject to the GMDSS requirements. Use of a DSC radio—even one that does not perform all of the parallel automated procedures required by ITU-R M.493-13—offers important advantages over non-DSC alternatives. For example, satellite radios communicate on a one-to-one basis, so distress calls will not be heard by surrounding vessels. Similarly, non-DSC distress calls likely will not be heard by DSC-equipped vessels, which are required to monitor only the DSC distress channel. Consequently, grant of a waiver will contribute to the safety of vessels in distress. Moreover, nothing in the record demonstrates that the requested waiver period is longer than reasonably necessary to bring a fully compliant radio to market. Consequently, we grant a temporary waiver of sections 80.225(a)(4) and 80.1101(c)(4)(ii) of the Commission’s rules to permit the manufacture, importation, sale, and installation of the M802 until January 1, 2020.
9. Conclusion and Ordering Clauses. We conclude that Icom America Inc. has shown good cause for waiver of 80.225(a) and 80.1101(c)(4)(ii) of the Commission's rules to permit the manufacture, importation, sale, and installation of its M802 HF/MF DSC radio. We grant the waiver until January 1, 2020. No extensions of this temporary waiver will be granted.
10. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to sections 4(i) and 303(i) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 303(i), and section 1.925 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR § 1.925, that the Request for Waiver filed by Icom America Inc. on February 21, 2017, IS GRANTED.

11. This action is taken under delegated authority pursuant to sections 0.131, and 0.331 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR §§ 0.131, 0.331.

Scot Stone
Deputy Chief, Mobility Division
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 3:04 pm
Location: Punta Gorda, FL
Vessel Name: Spiritress
Vessel Make and Model: Hans Christian 38T

Re: Sales of Icom M802 SSB to Resume

by Brian D » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:57 pm

Now if only we can convince Kenwood to produce a newer version of the TKM-707 we will have some competition again. Bring down the price of the Icom to an affordable level.
Brian D
S/V Takara
Brian D
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:18 pm
Vessel Name: Takara
Vessel Make and Model: Lancer 27 Power Sailer

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