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Old 12-06-2013, 00:13   #1
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Thrane & Thrane Opinions

We're preparing to replace HF and VHF radios on our S&S Yawl and are looking seriously at Thrane & Thrane which are widely used in naval and aerospace applications and are wondering if anyone has any direct experience with their Sailor marque VHF and SSB radios.

Specifically we're looking at the 6249 VHF and the 6350 500w MF/HF

Thanks in advance for any feedback.
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Old 12-06-2013, 10:39   #2
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Re: Thrane & Thrane opinions

I had their Sailor Iridium phone, and thought it was great quality.
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Old 12-06-2013, 10:45   #3
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Re: Thrane & Thrane opinions

Outstanding, I was also curious about that as it's something we plan to add next year. Still curious about their radios, in particular the high wattage HF radios.
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Old 14-06-2013, 09:14   #4
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Re: Thrane & Thrane opinions

Joe,
Thrane & Thrane / Sailor makes excellent equipment and the 6350 radio is one of their best!!
If you can afford it, have the room for it, and have the electrical system for it, etc....I envy you!!

Top-of-the-line performance and lots of great features, including multiple control units, etc. (in years past, the big Sailor MF/HF rigs were standard equipment on the big Swans..)
And, in addition to all the nice features, it has one really cool feature (one that they premiered years ago, on their VHF radios), the "Sailor Replay" feature that records and plays back the last 240 seconds (4 minutes) of what you received.....which allows you to always be able to get an "instant replay" of what was said!!!


BUT....
But, understand that the 6350 is usually sold as part of a commercial GMDSS console, and as such it is designed more for the professional / commercial operator....
And, some things which you may find "inconvenient":
a) It is VERY expensive....figure about $15,000 to $20,000 USD
b) In addition to the ITU channels it has 199 "user-programmable channels", but I'm not sure if there is any "vfo-function", so ham radio operations would not be the easiest....(yes, ham radio is do-able, but not the most fun with a "channelized unit")
c) It only operates on 24vdc (and/or 110vac - 240vac, with external power supply), and NOT on 12vdc!!!
And, it draws about 60 watts (~ 2.5 amps@24vdc) on receive only...
d) It is NOT rated for the high-power on continuous duty-cycle modes, only for SSB.....and as such reduces power to approx. half power, when using 100% duty-cycle modes...



As I wrote above, it is a GREAT radio.....
But, for the money, many sailors/voyagers would be better off:
a) installing TWO Icom M-802's, giving you HF radio redundancy...
b) install an effective and efficient antenna system (and rf ground/counterpoise)...giving you "gain" over a poorly designed system with an expensive radio...
c) spend some time and effort learning about radiowave propagation....(giving you LOTS of "gain" over others!
d) make sure the M-802's "speech compression" is turned-on...(150 watts PEP with good "talk-power")

Even buying TWO M-802's you'd be saving over $10,000 USD, compared to the Sailor 6350!!!


I hope this helps..

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 14-06-2013, 12:41   #5
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Re: Thrane & Thrane opinions

John,

Thank you for your input. You've convinced me on the VHF, I was not aware of the cost of the 6350. This brings me back to the SAILOR 6310 or 6311 MF/HF DSC Class A. This may be far more suitable for our installation.

Have you had any experience with this unit?

J
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Old 14-06-2013, 13:13   #6
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Re: Thrane & Thrane opinions

Hi, Ive used some Sailor gear , including teh 6215 VHF( I think) and the 6310 HF (150 W) , seems good , works well, The HF is certainly put together better then then ICOM 801/802 , but its around 6,500 so it should be.

Hard to say if its worth the money, if youre in that league of budget, have a look at Furuno MF/HF as well.

Also have a look at JRC Radio, long established brand in this business JRC America Pages( they also do a full duplex VHF)

I didnt own the sets, merely was crewing on the vessel at the time.

IN my view given how little use marine HF/MF gets used these days , I wont spend a fortune on such sets,
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Old 15-06-2013, 05:56   #7
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Re: Thrane & Thrane opinions

Joe,
Sorry I didn't give you more specifics....I assumed you had them already and were just looking for some first-hand details...

1) The Sailor 6300 series MF/HF radios are all great units....they all use the same control heads and interfaces, and the same basic transceivers/exciters with slightly different xmit PA's (150watt, 250watt, or 500watt), etc...and they are 24-28vdc radios (or 110 - 240vac, with external power supply)...

http://www.cobham.com/about-cobham/a...-brochure.aspx

Cobham plc :: Aerospace and Security, SATCOM, Lyngby, SAILOR 6311 MF/HF DSC Class A 150 W FCC

They are designed and marketed for commercial maritime use, and while they're really nice, they are all very expensive....
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeFish View Post
I was not aware of the cost of the 6350. This brings me back to the SAILOR 6310 or 6311 MF/HF DSC Class A. This may be far more suitable for our installation.
The 6311 is about $7000 USD (including the remote ant. tuner), which is almost 3 times the cost of the M-802/AT-140 (~ $2400 - $2500 USD), and other than a lower power output than the 6350, it will work exactly the same!
Understand that are GREAT radios, with wonderful features....different display colors and lighting might seem frivolous, but it does show that they are very well designed and "thought-out" radios!!!
But, they are so expensive, they are usually only installed in commercial vessels...

Note that the Furuno FS-1570 (150 watt MF/HF-DSC-SSB) is also about the same price as the Sailors...but, in my opinion, not as good of radios...and JRC also makes very nice MF/HF-DSC-SSB radios, comparable to the Furuno's, etc...
But, I like the Thrane / Sailors the best....
But, take note that while I've used the Sailors, I own TWO Icom M-802's...I do NOT own a Thrane / Sailor as they are WAY over my budget!!! (and I have a 12vdc boat!!)





2) As for Sailor VHF's...(I didn't mention them earlier...sorry..)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeFish View Post
You've convinced me on the VHF,
The Sailor 6215 is a fairly basic / mid-level unit, with no keyboard entry, etc. ....It's a good heavy-duty radio, but not my choice... and (in my opinion) way over-priced (~ $600 - $700 USD)
http://www.cobham.com/about-cobham/aerospace-and-security/about-us/satcom/lyngby/products/satcom-communication-and-safety-systems-for-seafarers/sailor-6215-vhf-dsc-class-d/sailor-6210-and-6215-vhf-class-d-product-sheet.aspx
(for the same or less money, you could have a full-featured Icom M-604, Standard, etc...)


The top-of-the-line Sailor 6222 VHF is a GREAT radio, but is VERY expensive (over $1500).... http://www.cobham.com/about-cobham/a...uct-sheet.aspx



3) Like Dave mentioned, we have no idea of your budget....
So, if you wish further recommendations, please advise your budget...
Here is the Thrane / Sailor radio page....
Cobham plc :: Aerospace and Security, SATCOM, Lyngby, SATCOM Communication and Safety Systems for Seafarers

Nor do we know what boat you have (other than an "S & S yawl"), what size,
how much room you have on-board and at the Nav Station....
(I assume it's a BIG boat, and probably will be used for commercial/charter service, as you're asking about Thrane / Sailor commercial gear, but if you provide some more details and clarifications, we can be more specific...)

And, most importantly is your boat a 24vdc boat???
As, the Sailor 6300 series MF/HF radios are 24-28vdc radios....(Sailor used to make a 150 watt 12vdc MF/HF-SSB radio, I don't think they make one anymore....), I assume you do have a 24vdc boat, or a dual-voltage 24vdc and 12vdc boat???




I hope the above helps....please advise us of the further details (vessel size, Nav Station space, planned vessel use, vessel electrical systems, etc. etc.), and we can give you some better recommendations...

Fair winds..

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 17-06-2013, 11:40   #8
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Re: Thrane & Thrane opinions

John,

Yes, it's a 40' restored S&S yawl.

We are just preparing to rewire the boat now and the systems are fairly basic as I still navigate largely on paper, and will invest most of our electronics budget on radios and very high quality emergency beacons (epirb/sart) as our primary cruising grounds are the isolated BC coast and SE Alaska.

24v is attractive in many ways, but I'm not decided yet.

Our electronics will consist of an NKE HR system with an updated Gyropilot to replace the old one of the same marque. That includes a very good compass w/accelerometers, rate gyros, a high resolution masthead, 10Hz GPS receicver (with handheld differential backups (2)), etc. This provides temp, sea temp, and all the necessary wind data for the pilot, the instruments interface to the laptop (as a luxury) which has both Adrena and iExpedition installed. I navigate on a number of programs for various ocean races so I've invested in both and use them for routing and planning when I cruise. I'll also install our older Furuno weatherfax receiver.

That's about it. I have no use for an electronics shop full of gear in my nav station and prefer to keep things simple. We may cave in and finally put a radar unit in, but I've gotten by for 15 years without one so...

We have enough charts to sink a small ship and I maintain a very large library of digital raster charts I print full size for each cruising area as needed (all are up to date). We carry both my sextant and enough paper charts to cover 200+ miles beyond our planned cruising area typically. In all honesty, my most important instrument is my Ritchie Globemaster.

All that said, I am very fond of rugged, commercial gear. Considering our primary cruising ground a little extra money spent on gear we can absolutely count on is a good investment as we often go days without seeing another yacht.
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Old 17-06-2013, 12:30   #9
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One quick comment

If you have the room (we did) install both a marine MF/HF and a ham rig
The ham rig makes /mm work a joy compared to any type cert marine radio
Just my opinion
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Old 17-06-2013, 12:36   #10
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Re: Thrane & Thrane opinions

Unfortunately we don't have room for a ham setup. It's not the radio itself, it's the head units that we are space constrained for. The radios themselves are in a locker and that's not a practical place to be operating from.
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Old 17-06-2013, 14:08   #11
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Re: Thrane & Thrane opinions

I have used T&T twice and found them not user friendly and with poor ergonomics. We had problem to get a replacement cable in one of major EU commercial harbours. Let alone the ticket but that wasn't MY problem.

Best HF I have ever used was an ICOM (their most recent unit). Best VHF I used was a SH.

Other than personal likes/dislikes, there are many good makes around I think. Budget no issue, I would opt for gear from one of mainstream makes: Furuno, Simrad, Raymarine, ICOM, etc.. Easier to buy, easier to set up, easier to get serviced.

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Old 18-06-2013, 10:03   #12
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Re: Thrane & Thrane opinions

Joe,
Now that I've got some more details, I can give you some better info....
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeFish View Post
it's a 40' restored S&S yawl.

We are just preparing to rewire the boat now and the systems are fairly basic as I still navigate largely on paper, and will invest most of our electronics budget on radios and very high quality emergency beacons (epirb/sart) as our primary cruising grounds are the isolated BC coast and SE Alaska.

24v is attractive in many ways, but I'm not decided yet.

I have no use for an electronics shop full of gear in my nav station and prefer to keep things simple.

All that said, I am very fond of rugged, commercial gear. Considering our primary cruising ground a little extra money spent on gear we can absolutely count on is a good investment as we often go days without seeing another yacht.
You have an older/restored 40' S & S yawl, almost certainly with a 12vdc electrical system, without too much room at the Nav Station, coastal sailing along British Columbia and ES Alaska...

1) An Icom M-802 MF/HF-DSC-SSB (and AT-140 remote auto-tuner) running on 12vdc, installed properly, will work great for you!!!

This will cost you about $2400 (plus misc installation costs, which depend on what work you do yourself, and on what antenna and ground/counterpoise system you choose)....
Icom SSB Radio Kits & Components

I cannot fathom you needing anything else for marine HF comms....as this radio serves vessels much bigger and sailing in even harsher environs than you....

The M-802 is a good radio, meets Part 80 specs for maritime use, has 160 user-programmable channels (with selectable alpha-numeric names, as well), as well as all ITU channels, etc...and if you enable the DSP-based "speech compression" it does put out a nice punchy (but clean and clear) signal....

And while it does not have all the bells and whistles of many ham rigs, it does have many useful and easy to use features, such as turn one knob to change "bands", and then press one button to enable that knob to be the vfo, and then tune around that band....(and an RF gain control, Noise Blanker, Squelch, and speaker-on/off, power output control, display dimmer, AGC, etc. etc. all just one item deep in one simple menu...)

{"Properly installed", will include a direct (fused) low-voltage-drop / hi-current, connection directly to your 12vdc house battery bank, using minimum 6ga wire.....as well as a decent antenna ground / counterpoise....and making sure that you know how the system works and at least a fair understanding of radiowave propagation....}


And, if you want a belt and suspenders approach....buy a second M-802....that's what I did....(I own two of 'em...)





2) Scott's point about having another radio / a ham rig, next to your marine HF rig, is a good point if....
a) If you are a serious ham operator and/or operate on the ham bands quite often...
b) If you have the room on-board....
If either (or both) of these apply, then add a ham rig to the mix, and switch between the two....an older Icom IC-735 is a nice rig and would only cost you about $400...or a Kenwood TS-480HX, is also a nice rig, and is more modern.....(if you desire a newer rig, be aware of many newer ham rigs really poor transmit IMD products, and especially the "leading edge ALC spikes" from many of the modern Icom's and Yaesu's...including radios 2 - 3 times the price of an M-802!! but that's a whole 'nother discussion...)




3) I'm sorry I wasted your time with the Thrane/Sailor 6300 series....as these are certainly not what is needed for a 40-footer coastal sailing BC and SE Alaska....




4) In addition to USCG station, NMC, out of Pt. Reyes, CA voice weather broadcasts on 4, 8, and 12mhz....
USCG HF Voice

You have Shipcom's KLB out of Seattle, WA (on 4, 8, 12, and 16mhz) for excellent voice weather and telephone interconnect....
ShipCom LLC :: Marine HF Radiotelephone and HF Single SideBand Email
HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels

And, of course you have the wefax transmissions from USCG....NMC and NOJ....
Pt Reyes Radiofax Schedule with Links
Kodiak Radiofax Schedule with Links



5) While I have two Ritchie 4 1/2" Navigators and plenty of paper charts, which are my primary navigation tools (along with GPS , might I suggest you look into AIS???

For your locale, an AIS transponder might give you additional navigational information / collision avoidance help....
Check out Vesper Marine...there is NOBODY that understands AIS (and specifically AIS on smaller vessels) better than the guys at Vesper Marine...
Vesper Marine: WatchMate AIS Transponders - Dedicated Marine Collision Warning System

Small, compact, low-power consumption...BUT the MOST versatile AIS displays available!!!


Have a look at my Nav Station, AIS, cockpit displays, etc....(and take note of my new Furuno wefax...)
Nav Station
AIS Transponder
E120/Cockpit
Nav Station




6) I have no personal experience with the NKE gyropilots, but they do look nice.....
I wish you good luck with them!!


Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 18-06-2013, 12:27   #13
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Re: Thrane & Thrane opinions

BTW (perhaps off the base too) - @OP: it may be worth it to look at a satellite comm (Inmarsat or Iridium) system as an alternative to a HF radio.

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Old 20-06-2013, 12:59   #14
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Re: Thrane & Thrane Opinions

Hi "Joefish"
I worked with Thrane & Thrane Inc in Va Beach, Va. up to Jan 2012 as Global Support for this exact equipment. I also supported their 2000/4000 and 5000 MFHF and VHF's along with Iridium and some Satcom, specifically the Inmarsat-C transciever.
I left Thrane on good terms and only because of a great opportunity that presented itself to me.
What I can tell you about the 6000 versions of any of their radios is that the installations are much simpler than 5000 and you can't even compare the VHF installs to any of the older models, I found all the 6000 versions are extremely user friendly and have very intuitive controls and menus, similar menu structures in the VHF and MFHF's. I would strongly recommend looking into the various version/classes as you will want one that fulfills your needs and there are several to choose from ie. various combinationstandard radios, with or without DSC, with or without keypads, and some that support remote hand held units, printer options and capabilities... just depends on what your needs are.
If you have any questions regarding a specific Thrane radios I can look into my files and can offer you my honest opinion, as for the other manufacturers, I can not say anything negative as I have no experience with their equipment.
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Old 22-06-2013, 04:49   #15
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Re: Thrane & Thrane Opinions

12VDC:

JRC America Products

This beast has 4 2SC2782 as Power transistors (150Watts per device) and sold as a 150Watt radio. Very robust.
Speech Processor is best on market, merely enable.

For the non GMDSS option (up to 30MHz):

JRC America Products

This beast has 2 2SC2782 Power transistors (150Watts per device)
Operation frequency (TX + RX): 1.6 - 30MHz

Both models are fully compatible with modems for PACTOR. I use the JSB-196 + NFC-196 for hamradio. The matching NFC-196 tuner allows the opportunity to obtain tuning solution using 1/2 lengths of wire, I use 21m of wire attached (with minimal ground*) to operate on 40-10m. The JSB-196 is sadly not too hamradio friendly (scan steps tiny, no VFO)

*: AA5TB - The End Fed Half Wave Antenna - explains quite simply cointerpoise options I find practical.

24VDC:

JRC America Products

This beast allows separate controller from main body, allowing the controller to be located topside somewhere
2 2SC2510 for Power transistors (150Watts per device)
Sadly no one has figured how to connect this lettle gem to a PACTOR modem yet.

VHF (24VDC):

JRC America Products

This gem has an option to program own channels with an voice Encrypt option (Both users must be using JHS-770S or JHS-780D).
Used in conjunction with JRC AIS transponder (JHS-182) you can hail vessel from AIS directly.

The JSB-196 is very affordable option. Does not use ALC in PA circuit, thus does not suffer from RF output overshoot like other models currently en vogue. Speech Processor is also clearly superior.
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