Talk me out of selling my HF Radio

Submitted: Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 12:59
ThreadID: 133761 Views:3784 Replies:12 FollowUps:16
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I love remote desert trips and the high country.

I have a HF radio, Sat Phone, PLB, good First Aid Kit, and reliable vehicle. I love my HF, it's a 9323 with 9360 option, Telcall, GPS, an Autotune and lots of other goodies.

It's great occasionally listening and calling into skeds, calling up for a weather report, listening and chatting to "close" travellers, it's also great for company, and would be good for 27Mhz ( if any of my travel partners had SSB 27mhz LOL).

All good, and in my mind, one day I'll be driving past a 4wd dealer as I hear a call for parts to be brought to the location I'm heading to. I'll deliver the part and we'll happily chat around the camp fire about how you couldn't do that with a sat phone.

BUT I have changed vehicles and I'm tossing up whether I should install it in the new 4wd or not. I have never used it in anger and it's more weight, more stuff on the dash, more wiring. I'm trying to minimise the number of bits on the car unless I really need them this time around.

Can anyone who has had a HF talk me out of getting rid of it?
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Reply By: Tony G15 - Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 13:23

Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 13:23
I sold mine when I changed vehicles. Worst thing I ever done. All the things you mention is a good reason to keep it.
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Reply By: Member - William B (The Shire) - Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 13:29

Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 13:29
Hi Boobook,

I wont talk you out of it, I love having mine with me on trips for the reasons you stated.
It is getting harder and harder to find space to put a HF radio in the modern motor vehicle.
Plus mounting the autotune is a bit of a pain.

What vehicle did you get?

William
Always planning the next trip. VKS-737 mobile 1619

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 13:40

Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 13:40
Thanks William.

I got another 200. Looked around, but for touring and towing a camper, I couldn't find anything that came close for letting those long kms slide by comfortably and quietly.

Only problem is starting again with the add on junk like the HF. etc etc etc
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 14:47

Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 14:47
In my view, it makes no sense to quit a long distance communications option that you already have (a little different possibly if you had to buy one at good $$....and the cost of membership and/or service plans is peanuts per week, compared to the $$ we spend on travel and hardware). If required, the HF can be installed without any mods to the car at all, leaving no trace if you decide later to take it out. I usually just envisage the potential worst case scenario (remote, with a total mechanical failure of some sort...or worse...serious illness for an expeditioner....having too many communications options doesn't enter the equation).
And IF you strike drama way outback, an HF Network volunteer can gets heaps of information off the web and do your ringing around for you to arrange service and/or recovery...the time and calls is free for paid up members (but in a dead set emergency, free to anyone). Numerous Satphone calls can add way up in the $$....and you have to have the phone numbers too, or work through an intermediary.
Legendary though the 9323 is (deserved of course) it now has a modest resale value anyway, seeing that the market now offers heaps of the latest hi-tech wizardry to attract new users.
For peace of mind (mainly on the health front) I choose to take the lot...my aging, yet first class Barrett 950 HF, an in-car UHF (plus 2W handhelds for trekking) the Satphone (good for treks too) and the mobile phone.
One hopes one has talked you out of it !
Cheers...Darian...VKS-737 mobile 0090.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 18:31

Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 18:31
Good points. Thanks
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 at 13:17

Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 at 13:17
Exceptional response Darian, except as stated further down by David that we won't transfer ours, that's because we have no new truck coming any time soon. I agree with David that for us, we wouldn't transfer it if we did though, but that's due to our personal circumstances differing to the OP.
Michelle Martin
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Reply By: Life Member - Fred B (ex-NT) - Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 15:52

Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 15:52
I am keeping my HF for all of the above... however, I am going to switch to a multi tap antenna as the auto tune is always in the road, too bulky, or about to get busted by a tree or something else... lol. It also minimises the installation process.
regards
Fred B
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Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 19:54

Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 19:54
Crikey, for me, going bush without mine would be like forgetting to put your pants on before heading out the front door in the morning...

HF for me went back to my flying days in remote areas, could never give up having a HF Radio nearby.

Nah. keep it, for all the reasons highlighted.

Cheers, Baz
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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 at 06:54

Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 at 06:54
Just to add, a couple of stories in the most recent VKS-737 magazine relating to the assistance provided to a motorcycle accident victim on the Birdsville Track earlier this year and the role the VKS-737 network played...

Cheers, Baz
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 at 11:10

Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 at 11:10
As it happens I rescued a rider on the Birdsville last year and did all the liaison with the satphone - checked my diagnosis with RFDS Port Augusta, discussed attendance at the Maree clinic and added the poor guy's mate's and emergency contact details. Probably cost $15 in call time.

It takes no space or installation, can be taken out of the car for walks and others can send me a text for nix without any special gear.
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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 at 14:46

Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 at 14:46
For sure, either communication device will work (or do) in an emergency - highlights both work satisfactorily.

I carry both...as neither one is exclusive over the other.

Cheers, Baz
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Reply By: Sigmund - Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 21:22

Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 21:22
Acid test: is there a spark of joy every time you see it?
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Reply By: Member - Roger K (NSW) - Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 22:41

Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 22:41
Boobook,
I happen to have the same radio as you. My wife and I generally travel alone and although the "brain-box" and associated wiring are all permanently mounted in the car, we only put on the antenna (and therefore use the radio) when we are in seriously isolated areas. It is a great companion around the late afternoon campfire, listening to fellow travellers and mentally ticking off the places they have been to etc., checking the weather or (if so inclined) listening to news bulletins from the ABC, BBC, Radio NZ and the like.
It is also a very handy bit of gear to have should an emergency arise, however unlikely that may be.
I can't think of one compelling reason why you would sell it, and the 3rd paragraph of your OP gives plenty of reasons why you should keep it!
It costs next to nothing to keep, and as Darian pointed out, you would get very little for it. Why not keep it in the shed until you have done a couple of trips without it, then make a decision? My bet is that you will put it in the new vehicle!
RLK
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Reply By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 23:28

Monday, Nov 14, 2016 at 23:28
I am different to the rest. I have mine installed and have had it for ever. But for the last 5 years I have not used it. In fact I need to check it works every now and then, only to find a connection problem, fuse blown, antenna issue or something else that needs servicing. I will not transfer mine and sometimes wonder why it is still installed but guess it looks cool to others. A sat phone/epirb/spot completely negates the need.

It is really up to you but as far as i am concerned you can have mine for free and I will not miss it.

David
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Reply By: HKB Electronics - Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 at 08:35

Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 at 08:35
Keep it!
On a recent trip I ended up having a argument with my partner after trying to show her how to use the radio and check in at a sched, she just tuned out, its to technical!

A couple of evenings later we sat and listened to VKS giving assistance to the wife of another traveler that sounded like her husband had had a heart at after parking their caravan for the night.

She knew enough to attach the mutli tap antenna and to push the button on the mike and that was about all, luckily the channel the radio was on was working.

VKS737 apart from providing medical assistance to her were going to help her try to reach an airstrip where medical help could get to but the danger was she might loose radio contact. VKS737 managed to contact a station near her station from memory and someone from a station travelled out to her and gave assistance.

Don't know how it all turned out as the channel they were on dropped out for us but it did convince my partner to learn how to use the radio:)

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Follow Up By: greybeard - Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 at 11:19

Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 at 11:19
All good, but that just sounds like a great argument for the partner to turn on and use a sat phone.
Find phone
turn on
dial
talk
sorted.

I've got a HF set in a box in the cupboard. Don't have a sat phone. I've been traveling through the outback for 40 odd years. Even back then it was pretty difficult to be anywhere in Australia where someone else didn't pass by within a few hours. These days it has become even more difficult to get anywhere away from other people. So help isn't that far away. Yes, it could be a life threatening situation, but if it is, a sat phone would be the communication device of choice as the technology is familiar to just about anyone.
HF, like it or not, isn't.
Having said that if you're interested in talking and listening on the HF as entertainment/hobby and a bonus coms device then, by all means, enjoy.
Not convinced that it is or should be justified as a primary means of obtaining emergency communications for everyone.
gb
aka Rod
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 at 14:58

Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 at 14:58
Boobook didn't write it is his primary means of communication.

In the circumstances above:

There were also others listening in though further away could have if required gone to her assistance, that's not going to happen with a sat phone.

On the same trip there was another stuck in a river crossing, again others in the area offered to provide assistance, not easy to achieve with a sat phone though I think VKS737 provide a similar service to sat phone users as they do for HF user but don't how that works if users aren't listening in to scheds.

Also Sat phones like HF can be temperamental and not work at times, always nice to have another option to fall back on, like Boobook I carry a HF, Sat phone and PLB, better to be safe than sorry.

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Reply By: Echucan Bob - Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 07:55

Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 07:55
Boobook, consider mounting antenna on van. Only thing up front would be control head and mike. Main box could be in back of vehicle or in van. Bob
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 12:48

Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 12:48
.
I started out with HF via VKS737 membership then later added a Satphone and a PLB.
It can be interesting listening to the Skeds but they are usually transmitted at inconvenient times for me. I also found that reception was often less than satisfactory and wondered if it would be adequate at the time of an emergency, hence the addition of the satphone and PLB. In technical terms I consider the HF radio to be superseded technology but a replacing Satphone needs to be carefully selected both by appliance and service provider to be fully reliable. Saving dollars on a life-saving service is not an acceptable option for my needs.
It is interesting to observe that the RFDS, Police and other emergency services are making increased use of satphones in preference to HF radio.

The HF radio has now been removed from my vehicle as part of my weight reduction agenda. However, VKS offers membership to satphone users and I have adopted that. Annual membership for Satphone is $100 with HF membership at $140. I appreciate that the 'broadcast' HF service has some benefits over Satphone but then so does the Satphone have some benefits over HF. Having both with VKS is the ultimate benefit but then that would currently require two memberships of $100 + $140.

The VKS website offers very little information about their satphone operating procedures but I gleaned some insight from an article in their newsletter a while back. In essence you are provided with a phone number to call their operator and the services are much as with HF except that they will not call you back when negotiating a service such as spares supply because of the call cost to them. Instead, you have to negotiate a time to re-call VKS to continue the conversation...... a little clumsy but not too bad maybe.

I do think that VKS should publish more web information regarding the use and procedures of their satphone service and I intend to approach them re this.
The following is the only information that they provide:

"VKS-737 Services for Satellite Telephone Users
The VKS-737 Radio Network can provide satellite telephone users with services similar to those provided to subscribers with HF radios – this is provided via a dedicated subscriber’s contact telephone number which connects their calls to the Network’s duty operators.
Subscribers to this service should be aware that all calls made to the VKS-737 Radio Network are charged by their service provider at normal call rates.
For further information on this service contact VKS-737 Head Office on (08) 7325 2600 during South Australian business hours."

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 14:06

Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 14:06
Ah, the VKS info that I referred to above "coming from a Newsletter" in fact came from a 2012 Media Release. "VKS-737 Services for Satphone users". View it here.
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Allan

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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Nov 29, 2016 at 10:41

Tuesday, Nov 29, 2016 at 10:41
.
Boobook, have you made a decision?
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, Nov 29, 2016 at 10:55

Tuesday, Nov 29, 2016 at 10:55
Yes Allan, 22 times. Yes, no yes no yes no.....

I have decided to leave it off for the moment. I did get a mount for the Autotune on the rear wheel carrier, but I am not really happy with the weight and leverage of the autotune on the carrier.

I'm happy with mounting the control unit and transceiver. I'm considering the whole issue including using a SCG autotuner. I do want an auto tune antenna as I have a Ham licence and would want the antenna capable of those bands.

I will get my bullbar first and see if that opens up mounting opportunities.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Nov 29, 2016 at 12:26

Tuesday, Nov 29, 2016 at 12:26
.
Boo, I have pulled mine out already and renewed my VKS membership as 'Satphone only'. VKS advised that it is not permitted to even possess a radio transmitter without a licence so will need to dispose of it soon.

Apart from VKS comms, the HF was useful for listening to the ABC and Radio Aust. but then I had an idea. I also have a compact Degen DE1103 all-band receiver and could become a covert listener to the VKS Skeds on that. I'll try it out this arvo.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Roger K (NSW) - Saturday, Dec 03, 2016 at 21:49

Saturday, Dec 03, 2016 at 21:49
Allan,
How did your experiment with the Degen turn-out? I have one, and have had a few goes at picking up VKS but gave up fairly quickly - it was too fiddly and I had no success (and less patience!).
Like the original OP, I have a HF radio (same model) and whilst I could not justify the cost of getting one if I was starting from scratch today, I am not prepared to part with it whilst ever I have my current 4WD because of its entertainment value and the excellent news services available on the ABC and RN etc. However, in this day and age I am not prepared to rely exclusively on it should an emergency arise, and for that reason I also carry an old sat phone. Coverage has never been an issue and there are no costs other than when I make calls (currently about $3.00/minute).
I subscribe to both VKS and the Bush Telegraph HF radio service. However, each year I find it harder to justify the ever increasing annual fee of the former and suspect that I will soon default to the latter where the annual fee has been fixed at $33.00 for a few years now - a very modest cost indeed. My radio would still be properly licenced, so can be used in earnest if required or simply as an entertainment device. Perhaps I should stress I have no association with either service provider other than as a subscriber and I am very happy with the level of service provided by both.
That aside, I look forward to hearing about the outcome of your experiment with the Degen!

Cheers,
RLK

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Saturday, Dec 03, 2016 at 23:36

Saturday, Dec 03, 2016 at 23:36
Hi Roger,
I haven't tried tuning the Degen to VKS skeds yet. I have been pretty busy of late and when I did have the opportunity I forgot!
But keep tuned, hopefully I'll get to it soon.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Dec 04, 2016 at 02:01

Sunday, Dec 04, 2016 at 02:01
RLK and Allan, i tried a similar setup with a few SSB capable radios. It only works with a long wire antenna. It turned out to be too much hassle.

I was going to get an extension speaker from the HF to place outside the car but never got around to it.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Monday, Dec 05, 2016 at 10:28

Monday, Dec 05, 2016 at 10:28
.
OK, tried it on the Skeds this morning. Ch2 (8022kHz) from Charters Towers.
Barely audible and totally indistinct. I'm not prepared to fuss with a long wire antenna.

Another good idea for the waste bin. Hell, that bin is overflowing!
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Dec 10, 2016 at 08:23

Saturday, Dec 10, 2016 at 08:23
Hell, I have a bin just like that Allan.

also another nail.

ABC stop short wave
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