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Old 15-04-2013, 15:25   #1
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HFRadio

We are going to SE Asia and South Pacific on our boat starting in about 4 months. I am putting on sat phone complete with email and Internet. I have been advised a HF Radio is also necessary. Everywhere I read it seams like this technology is getting put on the back burner. Do other international cruisers feel it is a necessity??? I look forward to hearing from others in my same situation.
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Old 15-04-2013, 16:11   #2
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HF radio is not necessary. Sat phone is plenty. For significant crossings use a weather routing service you can call or text. Otherwise coastal 3G Internet is available.

Many cruisers have no need to yak yak on the nets.
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Old 15-04-2013, 16:18   #3
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Re: HFRadio

HF radio is not essential, but it is awfully convenient to have at times, and not all that expensive. I mostly look upon it as insurance.

John
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Old 15-04-2013, 16:30   #4
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Re: HFRadio

Not necessary but desireable, I think. Your HF radio can do other tricks besides just allow you to chatter away with other sailors, or call for help. I like just listening to shortwave broadcasts, sometimes. With the right radio, a ham license opens up a lot of possibilities. I suggest finding someone who has an HF station on his boat, and getting him to let you twiddle some dials and listen around, and get him to demonstrate various non-voice functions and usage. Then decide. It's not cheap. A basic used radio is gonna cost you at least $500, an automatic tuner about the same, (you can use a manual tuner but a newbie will have much better results with an autotuner, and you can more easily mount an autotuner at your antenna feedpoint) and you will need an antenna. A whip works okay, and that's what most ships use, now, but an HF whip is HYOOOGE compared to a VHF antler, so most sailboat folks use their backstay, which requires re-rigging the backstay with insulators. Then you need a good RF ground. Coax feedline, and 4 conductor cable from radio to tuner, and a high current DC connection. Plus peripherals like modem, morse key, microphone, etc. Basically, it is really hard to set up for HF for much less than about $1600, and a normal installation with new gear will be more like $3500 when it is all said and done. If you want a separate transciever for ham use, there's several hundred to a couple thousand more. So while I am in the process of installing an HF station and I do think there are plenty of advantages, it might or might not be worth it to you. Find a station you can fiddle around with a bit, and then decide.
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Old 15-04-2013, 16:53   #5
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Re: HFRadio

Um, I would probably disagree slightly about the cost. Certainly a lot of money can be spent for a state-of-the-art station with all the bells and whistles. But used rigs are cheap, a wire and a (manual) tuner are just fine for listening, and a dipole can be jury rigged for that rare occasion that you just really, really have to transmit.

John
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Old 15-04-2013, 17:24   #6
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Re: HFRadio

The arguments for hf are put strongly here Brunei Bay Radio - HF/SSB radio email for isolated locations in SE Asia, the North West Pacific and Indian Oceans. The low-cost and reliable alternative to satellite email for isloated or remote locations, islands, communities, tourism, conservation,
in particular, check out the yacht cruising section on that page.

The principal of bruneibay radio, Allan Riches, recently emailed out a series of pdf documents on the desirability of hf, installation, etc. I can't see how to include them here, but if you wish to pm me your email address I will forward his email to you.

Riches has a bit of a vested interest in his message, but nevertheless the points he makes are all relevant. He is an aussie and sails a swanson 36, so he can't be all bad .... lol

Lee
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