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Old 01-29-2018, 06:18 PM   #1
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HF radio Do you have / use

Fellow TF peoples

I have a HF radio on board that requires a new antenna. While I have a MF and HF license I am wondering how many people still use them.

Do you have one?

Does it work?

Do you monitor it?

I understand the safety benefits over radio over phones, this thread is more of who has one and do you use it?
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:17 PM   #2
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Are you referring to Single Side Band, SSB, which I believe is in the HF frequency range?
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Old 01-30-2018, 01:01 AM   #3
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This link discribes the meaning better then me

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_frequency
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Old 01-30-2018, 01:59 AM   #4
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1980s and perhaps later Island Gypsy trawlers likely have a Wagner HF fitted.We also have an AWA(Amalgamated Wireless Australia,now defunct) 27mhz radio.Both almost certainly OEM and are still fitted. I added VHF which suits our needs, and removed the HF aerial, which looks about 20ft long and was a problem at the Spit Bridge.
There has been discussion in Afloat magazine published here whether or not the marine coastal radio operator, Marine Rescue, monitors HF. They say they do,some boats complain they do not. Yachts competing in the Sydney Hobart must call the organizers on radio,I think HF, before entering Bass Strait, on pain of disqualification.
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Old 01-30-2018, 03:29 AM   #5
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Currently, no I do not have one. On a previous boat a friend who is a ham operator put one in temporarily for our delivery from Seattle to LA. He had fun, I suppose, talking to people during the trip. Maybe if we were to have had trouble it would have been of value. We didnít have any trouble so it was just a toy. I would rely more on VHF and an EPIRB in an emergency due to the spotty working of the HF equipment. Maybe it was because it was a temp install, not sure.
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Old 01-30-2018, 08:39 AM   #6
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Where are you going to be cruising? State side, we listen to Chris Parker’s weather occasionally. When we’re in the Bahamas we listen to him almost daily (no Sunday broadcasts) plus VOA or BBC for news. When we were in Panama the morning net was on the HF radio. With cell/data plans, sat phones and satellite radio, cruisers aren’t depending on HF radios as in the past.
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Old 01-30-2018, 11:56 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
Currently, no I do not have one. On a previous boat a friend who is a ham operator put one in temporarily for our delivery from Seattle to LA. He had fun, I suppose, talking to people during the trip. Maybe if we were to have had trouble it would have been of value. We didn’t have any trouble so it was just a toy. I would rely more on VHF and an EPIRB in an emergency due to the spotty working of the HF equipment. Maybe it was because it was a temp install, not sure.
It is true that traffic on the Marine HF has reduced considerably with both the advent of Sat Com and the wholesale decommissioning of the High Seas HF radio telephone services. What you are left with in the "non-ham" space are still the USCG monitored channels, the USCG weather voice broadcast channels, quite a bit still of WeFax, SailMail, and the occasional shrimp dragger out of NOLA.
In the ham space of maritime HF, you still have a 24/7 monitor on 14.3MHz for maritime safety, various Nets including the cruisers net, the waterway net, the carribean net (I think), and likely some others of interest. And, email services too.

But, overall, HF is leaning more into the hobby space and less into the operational space.

For me, as a ham, I'll continue to have and use HF.
For non-hams, my advice is to use HF IF you don't have SatCom, you go out beyond VHF range (lets say >75 miles from shore), and you want some dialog with someone before you trip the EPIRB. I've heard some very interesting discussions with the USCG and boat operators involving abandoning ship (or not). You can't do that with SPOT or EPIRBS.
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Old 01-30-2018, 12:27 PM   #8
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Part of this is a practicality aspect; either in space for additional equipment beyond your VHF, or space and bridge clearance (air draft) for an HF antenna.
Since wavelength generally dictates antenna dimensions, HF antennas often come in 23-foot (7 meters) lengths or thereabouts.
If venturing further offshore, we would likely look to satellite before we would consider HF.
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Old 01-31-2018, 03:34 AM   #9
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I've got ssb on my boat from previous owner. They thought it did not work. I tried from the manual a few times and got nada. Got a bit more serious and dug deeper on the whole ssb thing and it works great. So the issue these days seems to be a steeper learning curve. Considering a pactor modem to do email mostly for kicks. Also a few spots i plan to hang out where vhs and cell might be out of range and with ssb i can still call an operator and place a call.
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:13 PM   #10
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Are there still hf high seas operators? I know there were some hf aviation ground stations still in existence.
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Hamrow View Post
Part of this is a practicality aspect; either in space for additional equipment beyond your VHF, or space and bridge clearance (air draft) for an HF antenna.
Since wavelength generally dictates antenna dimensions, HF antennas often come in 23-foot (7 meters) lengths or thereabouts.
If venturing further offshore, we would likely look to satellite before we would consider HF.


I was based in boynton beach and had to constantly unscrew the top section of the hf whip to pass under. Sometimes the seas were rough and getting it threaded back on was a pain.
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:26 PM   #12
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Are there still hf high seas operators? I know there were some hf aviation ground stations still in existence.
haven't reached out to them yet, but these guys offer it

http://www.shipcom.com/frequencies.html
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Old 01-31-2018, 09:39 PM   #13
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I'd like to just have a receiver. Lots of neat things to listen to. Might do some shopping.
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Old 01-31-2018, 11:30 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by diver dave View Post
I was based in boynton beach and had to constantly unscrew the top section of the hf whip to pass under. Sometimes the seas were rough and getting it threaded back on was a pain.


Yeah that's very impractical, I have a similar prob with VHFs, so this spring I'm getting better antennas and installing them on a ratchet mount so I never have to unscrew them.
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Old 02-01-2018, 12:23 AM   #15
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I will be doing a lap around Australia over the next couple of years. So being outside of VHF coverage will happen. Maybe it is a good thing to recommission. I did get my license (LROCP) to be able to transmit, and in Australia the system is still monitored by AMSA and local sea rescue groups. My better half has been a volunteer radio operator for over 20 years and the HF has only sparked up a couple of times but each time has been an assistance case.

Long Range Operator Certificate of Proficiency (LROCP) - Australian Maritime College - University of Tasmania, Australia

Understanding the freqs to use and times of day they work best is not simple but the technology is proven if guess commercially. Another project.
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Old 02-01-2018, 12:25 AM   #16
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Pictures of ICON unit and Antenna Tuning unit.
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Old 02-01-2018, 11:35 AM   #17
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Same as mine.
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Old 02-01-2018, 11:57 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diver dave View Post
I was based in boynton beach and had to constantly unscrew the top section of the hf whip to pass under. Sometimes the seas were rough and getting it threaded back on was a pain.
We lay ours back to just under the mast clearance height. The bottom swivels and on the upper bracket, you just have to loosen a wing nut.
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Old 02-01-2018, 01:44 PM   #19
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We lay ours back to just under the mast clearance height. The bottom swivels and on the upper bracket, you just have to loosen a wing nut.
I had exactly the same brackets. But, when operating from the tower, I had access to only the top part. Shakespeare also sold a 3 piece HF antenna, but that one self destructed pretty early in the game. Can't recomend that one. The other option is the 17' one. If you don't much in the 2 to 3MHz band, its a decent performer.
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Old 02-01-2018, 08:37 PM   #20
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I have same brackets but no wing nut, Is this something you modified? Or did it come like this.
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