Barrett 550 HF Radio

Submitted: Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 22:27
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Looking at purchasing one of these second hand. Has autotune antenna. Any thoughts or opinions.
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Reply By: Member-George (WA) - Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 22:42

Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 22:42
I have a 550, had it for 20 yrs. Excellent radio, still going strong. Would not swap it for anything else. Cheers
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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 07:18

Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 07:18
Same here, seems to be indestructible.
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 09:44

Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 09:44
Ditto - the 550 enjoys a good reputation (made in Oz - Barrett are still making HF's in Perth, and selling globally, but their technology has advanced a lot since the 550 days of course). Some of the earlier (simpler) HF's can have outstanding performance in voice quality and reach....especially so with a tapped whip antenna (but the popular, convenient autotune antenna is still good). If the radio checks out ok on a demo, it should be safe enough as a buy - they are designed for vehicle / field work and can go for ages without any attention at all. As for repair / servicing....might pay to just phone an HF dealer and check on parts availability, should something ever crop up. I bought a used 950 auto system about 15 years back and its been totally reliable and trouble free since. Although looking the same at a glance, the 550 would lack a feature or three compared to the 950 (I think....I'm not an HF tech).....the selcall / telcall functions can be very handy at times (and depending on the HF network you join to get licenced)....if this 550 has those built in, it might be a winner.
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Reply By: Peter C57 - Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 11:46

Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 11:46
From memory you can only program 1 selcall number in a 550 where you can put 2 in a 950. Having 2 can be an advantage if you are going to be part 2 networks. (eg VKS737 and Radtell)
I have had a 950 17 years and had very little trouble with it, and when I have Barrett were very help full in helping me fix it over the phone.

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Reply By: Member - Rob69 - Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 17:39

Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 17:39
Thanks everyone for informative and comprehensive responses - much appreciated.
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Reply By: Member - Charlie B2 - Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 16:38

Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 16:38
Hi Rob,

The radio itself is great. I did find the manual somewhat confusing, though, particularly with regard to making radio-telephone calls and I think my IQ is a little higher than 50 :-). Bushphone Plus provides a much clearer description of what you need to do to make that happen with the Barrett 550.

If the radio tests out OK, the only thing I think you'd need to consider is which housing it has for the autotune antenna.

The earliest versions, like mine, came with a white antenna housing which is known to fail, possibly through the manufacturer's unfortunate choice of a plastic that was less than optimally UV-stabilised.

The later autotunes with the grey housing are far more durable and I haven't heard of any issues with those.

You can (or could, anyway) get an updated grey housing if the one you're looking at has the older white housing, but it doesn't come cheap!

I'd buy another in a heartbeat, but I'd certainl;y make sure it had a grey autotune housing!


AnswerID: 601592

Reply By: skid - Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 17:23

Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 17:23
You can if your naughty enter your own send and recieve frequencies at 100 watts.
Not recomended but handy to know.
Had my unit fitted and bounced around oz in my troopy for 15yrs with no problems except for failed autotune after 10yrs.
AnswerID: 601594

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