Second hand HF radios

Submitted: Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
ThreadID: 1784 Views:4538 Replies:19 FollowUps:19
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Hi all. Could you please advise whether second hand radios (codan) are a good option (cant afford new) and if so how old can you go?
Also if you get a HF, do you still need a UHF? I understand HF is long distance and UHF is short, but can you use HF for short vehicle-vehicle contact etc?

Thanks

Brendan
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Reply By: Ray - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
Hi Brendon
2nd hand Codans or Barretts are fine as long as you have them check before purchasing. One site is http://www.web-counting.com/cgi-bin/outbacker for secondhand radios. You should still have a UHF radio for convoys or communicating with other vehicles such as truck caravans etc
Ray
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Follow Up By: Brendan - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks Ray

Is it right that the HF wont work short distance (a fellow told me they wont work within at least 20km) - presumably that is why you need a uhf as well

Also i know there has been some changes with access to HF channels - i want to be able to use the Vks popular 4wd channels and RFDS etc - can i use all these with older units or cant you program the older units into them?

THanks again
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Follow Up By: Brendan - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks Ray

Is it right that the HF wont work short distance (a fellow told me they wont work within at least 20km) - presumably that is why you need a uhf as well

Also i know there has been some changes with access to HF channels - i want to be able to use the Vks popular 4wd channels and RFDS etc - can i use all these with older units or cant you program the older units into them?

THanks again
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Reply By: Member - Nigel - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
A looked after codan will outlast your vehicle, so secondhand ones can be quite good, but best to get it checked out by a tech. A mate of mine has some 20 year old ones that still work fine.

Codan's will work over short distances by using the ground wave, but best to stick to the lowest frequencies so that you don't tie up a channel that others need for long distance comms. Of course the people you are in convoy with would also need a HF, and it wouldn't be as clear as UHF, and you wouldn't be able to talk to passing travellers that only had UHF.
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Follow Up By: Brendan - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks for that Nigel.

I am having trouble convincing someone to go to the trouble of letting a tech check them out - particularly given most people selling them live in regional locations. At a pinch is it a reasonable test if you can see it working and it can pick up the major channels (not that i know what they are yet)? Is there anything in particular you should look for to determine if it is on last legs?
thanks again



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Reply By: Guy - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
Brendon. Most of the answers are close to the mark. But if you reall want to understand what HF and UHF is just look at the governement websites . The IPS web site 1)
http://www.ips.gov.au/Main.php?CatID=6 then look at some HF tools http://www.ips.gov.au/Main.php?CatID=6&SecID=6&SecName=Online%20Tools&SubSecID=1&SubSecName=Prediction%20Tools thne
try to predict your Australian propagation on different frequencies http://www.ips.gov.au/Category/HF%20Systems/Online%20Tools/Prediction%20Tools/HAP/HAP.php?CatID=6&SecID=6&SecName=Online%20Tools&SubSecID=1&SubSecName=Prediction%20Tools&LinkName=HAP
and after all that go to the Australian Communication Authority website and see the technical pamphlets about UHF. In my view if is very important to understand how HF works and why you do or do not receive/transmit signals depending on time/dtate/T-Index/Locations. See my previous posting on the subkect
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Reply By: Member - Nigel - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
If you can't get it to a tech, ask the owner he can demonstrate it working (both transmitting and receiving) over a reasonable distance.

The really old radios use crystal locked frequencies and I'd get a quote on getting the radio changed to the freqs you want before you buy it.

Newer programmable radios will cost between $50-$80 to get reprogrammed if they don't already have the desired freqs.
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Reply By: John- Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
Hi Brendan,
Go tohttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/codan_outback_radio/ for all the info on codans you could ever want...some very good info there.
cheers
John
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Follow Up By: Brendan - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
thanks guys - very helpful information from all. Can anyone provide any specific comment on a Codan 8525B?
Thanks
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Follow Up By: Brendan - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
thanks guys - very helpful information from all. Can anyone provide any specific comment on a Codan 8525B?
Thanks
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Follow Up By: Brendan - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
thanks guys - very helpful information from all. Can anyone provide any specific comment on a Codan 8525B?
Thanks
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Follow Up By: Brendan - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
thanks guys - very helpful information from all. Can anyone provide any specific comment on a Codan 8525B?
Thanks
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Reply By: JohnH - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
From memory I think the 8525B is 99 Channels....but if you use an 2528 head that upgrades it to 400 channels....follow the linkhttp://ozradio.wireless.org.au/ this is the best site for all your codan downloads ie Manuals, programing software etc etc......
Cheers John
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Reply By: JohnH - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
From memory I think the 8525B is 99 Channels....but if you use an 8528 head that upgrades it to 400 channels....follow the linkhttp://ozradio.wireless.org.au/ this is the best site for all your codan downloads ie Manuals, programing software etc etc......
Cheers John
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Follow Up By: Brendan - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
John
Why do I need that many channels - if i just want it to contact RFDS and a few other popular frequencies, do you need that many - or am i revealing my ignorance by this question?
Thanks
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Reply By: Member - Nigel - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
I have 360 channels in my Codan 9323, and regularly use maybe 12. If you want VKS737 and all the RFDS freqs then you'd need about 20, but it's nice to have the extra capacity so you can listen to all sorts of interesting things. Back in the good/bad old days, a heap of channels would have been assigned for using telstra radphone, but that's gone now. Most of the current radphone providers only have 7-10 channels.

The 8525B is quite a good radio. It isn't crystal locked so it's not too expensive to get programmed (I think it's programmed by burning an EPROM, but as mentioned above all the details are on the ozradio website).
AnswerID: 5931

Reply By: JohnH - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
I agree with Nigel,
Probably only really need a dozen or so, but its nice to have all the services programed in, even the ones you are not signed up to, not to use, but rather as a saftey thing just in case of an emergency ( when it really doesn't matter if your signed up or not if a life is at stake).
But I'm sure that you will like the rest of us fill all the memory positions up very fast.
They do program via an Eprom so programing is relitively easy.
Codans of almost any model are a good choice.

John
Codan 9323
Codan 8528
AnswerID: 5933

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
John, your greedy :) I can only afford one Codan, but I've got a mate who has three now: a 9323 and two X2's (one of which is mounted in his tinny).
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Reply By: JohnH - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
To Many Vehicles I think Nigel :)

John
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Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00
I knew one of the anti-HF brigade would eventually have to come along and tell us how HF doesn't really work, and we must all buy satellite phones so that we can pay to talk to each other.
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Reply By: Gordon - Friday, Aug 23, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, Aug 23, 2002 at 00:00
Brendan, My advice to you is don't rush. I started looking for an HF in January and it was ready to go in May before our trip in June. It was only because I had the luxury of time that I was able to get a bargain on the HF unit. I bought a 2nd hand Codan 8528 for $1100 from Kyle Communications (Gympie Rd, Wilston, Brisbane) and a 2nd hand auto tuning aerial (Codan 9528) from my b-in-law, Geoff. I mounted it all myself and got the frequencies burned by Kyle's who were excellent throughout. The aerial was a bit of a story. Codan (Adelaide) sold Geoff a new aerial after they said his old one was beyond repair. He bought a new one for $1500 and I took his old one to Kyle's who worked out what was wrong and ordered a new circuit board from Codan (Adelaide). Codan took about 6 weeks to supply the part but the repair job cost only $250 for parts and labour so I got a $1500 aerial for $650. We took the HF to the Kimberley and it didn't miss a beat - even managed to talk to St Mary's base in Tasmania. I'm wrapped! I carry 3 radios: HF; UHF and 27 MHz. That way, we can talk to anyone. I usually only put the HF whip on when we want to call someone (usually VKS 737) then I don't have to worry about wiping out the whip when driving around in the scrub. Good luck.
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Reply By: Peter - Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00
Brendan you may wish to look at a second hand satelite mobile service ( a friend picked up and old brief case version at auction in Canberra for $100 ) if you realy need long distant communications as HF is unreliable and often does not work efectively all over Northern Australia. A Large company I used to work for used HF for many years with some success but it was not reliable and a couple of years back sold off all the HF units and switched to mobile Sat phones for Occupational health reasons ( greater reliability and clearer conversations). HF was affected by Sunspots interference from other overseas users and with vehicle mounted arials would cease to work as the vehicle arial changed angle on hilly terrain. I had a latest Codan HF unit in my vehicle for a number of years and often it would not work unless I drove to different site or waited for the weather or time of day to change. Lastley HF was more than usesless on a number of occasions when trying to contact a vehicle a couple of Klm in front when we broke down or they missed a turn off. UHF is great for short distant vehicle comms and a must if driving arround road trains or caravaners. Lastly the phone companies have hand held sat phones with digital capability available at a reasonable rate when you compare cost of buying HF unit and fitting
AnswerID: 5998

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks for that peter, I'll rush out and sell all my Hf gear (which works fine for me in northern australia - where I live) and buy a satellite phone.

Yeah right - and who's gonna pay for my regular hour long chat's to friends who are travelling australia?

Yeah I agree that every channel won't work all the time coz of solar activity. That's why there is a wide range of frequencies. In future please don't bag something just coz you don't understand it. And as for old satellite phones - I wouldn't use reliable in the same sentence. Sure the new Iridium phones are great, but some of the old phones were expensive junk.
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Follow Up By: Bob - Sunday, Aug 25, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Aug 25, 2002 at 00:00
You sound a bit sensitive on this topic Nigel! Sound like a bloke who has spent a lot of money and is not too sure that it was well spent!!
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Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Sunday, Aug 25, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Aug 25, 2002 at 00:00
Bob, you sound like a bloke who can't think of anything factual to say, so just jumps to conclusions.
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Follow Up By: Bob - Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 00:00
I just read the "facts" Nige and form conclusions. Often my conclusions cast severe doubts on the reliability of "facts" espoused by some people.
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Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 00:00
Bob do you have an actual argument, opinion or point of view to put forward? Or do you really expect everyone on this forum to believe that everything I have said is wrong simply because you said so?
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Reply By: Member - Nigel - Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00
I wonder if Peter would be prepared to pay the diffence in total costs (purchase and ongoing) for you if you followed his advice.

Why must people assume something is unreliable just because they don't understand it? I agree satellite phones are great if you want a phone that works (almost) everywhere, but they don't allow you to do what a HF radio will, such as:

Talk long distances for free
Be heard by many people at once


In fact satellite phones are for exactly the opposite, which is paying for calls for the priviledge of have a clear and private conversation with another person.
AnswerID: 6000

Reply By: Cruiser - Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00
Go Nigel!!! Brendan, everything Nigel says is true. I use an old (10-channel) Codan and a year-old iridium satphone - for totally different purposes. It's horses for courses really and the HF will be much cheaper in the long run. Desert Access in Adelaide frequently have old Codans for around $750, complete with aerial and enough VKS 737 (www.VKS737.on.net/ for lots of good info) and Flying Doctor frequencies to get you in contact virtually anywhere in Australia. Don't be put off by horror stories: HF works well most of the time and even when there is sunspot activity or poor reception, it's only a few hours before you can be on air again. If you can't survive a few hours why leave civilisation in the first place? Oh, and yes, get a UHF for vehicle-to-vehicle comms. Cheers, Cruiser.
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Reply By: JohnH - Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00
Bottom line is this,

I have never heard of anyone Dying If they had a properly setup and working HF.......And that part is up to you......even sat phones if not looked after will fail, and probly more so than HF's.
I have all Communications that are currently available, and I must say the Sat phone is by no means the be all and end all of comms. In fact is is worrying that so many people place total trust in them.
I have found that the HF provides the best all round comms available in the outback....mobile or stationary.
Sat phones are very average when mobile, unless you are in the dessert with a high quality external antenna.
The other major advantage is of course that the help you require might be in the form of another HF equiped 4x4 just down the road.....
I found it funny to hear of an instance where a guy phoned the dealer to get a part air dropped at huge cost to only find that another traveller 2 hours behind him had the part he needed. If the call was made on the HF, he may have found out before sending in for cavilary (most travellers scan the available channels).
I don't say don't buy one....Just that its not superior to HF...Just a more private form of mobile comms.
I also carry an emergency becon just in case I'm upside down in the ditch somewhere.....Hf or phone not much good then.....Just set off the becon and throw it out the window into an open space, even if I can't Free myself.

cheers
John
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Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00
Good point - maybe I should secure the beacon somewhere within reach.
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Follow Up By: Bob - Sunday, Aug 25, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Aug 25, 2002 at 00:00
Better still stay away from ditches and become a whole lot more self reliant John. You sound as though you spend your life getting people to help you when you get into trouble!!
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Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Tuesday, Aug 27, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2002 at 00:00
Bob you've made the (incorrect) assumption that people only use long distance communication when they are in trouble. That may be the case with satphones where every call has to be paid for, but HF users tend to be a friendly bunch who will lift the mic just to say g'day or have a chat with fellow travellers.
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Reply By: Member - Jim - Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00
Brendan
Its HF mate, Nigel has explained it well.
It gets that way that once you use VKS737 for a trip you listen in to the sked at home from time to time just to hear who is out there and where they are, me I have a 9323 in the car and a 8525 remote in the garage, both with auto tune aerials.
Eat your hearts out.....regards
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Reply By: JohnH - Sunday, Aug 25, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Aug 25, 2002 at 00:00
Actually Bob,
I have never once in 1.5 million Km's (Third Landcruiser) had to rely on any one at all, I have never, not once had to call for help for myself.
The problem is there are a lot of people out there that are a lot less well set up that have been lucky I've come along with comms , Parts , first aid etc etc....
I really don't mind helping out at all, but it just supprises me how many people can put their lives on the line buy venturing into the unkown without the proper setup or relying totally on what the salesman told them.
John
AnswerID: 6023

Reply By: brendan - Tuesday, Aug 27, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2002 at 00:00
WOW - what a great debate. Thanks everyone who has been contributing - it is clear that there is a LOT of knowledge out there waiting to be tapped into. I will persevere and try to find a good second hand HF radio (if anyone comes across one please let me know!). With the help you have given me it will be a lot easier. I like the sound of the versatility and community aspect to the HF. It is good to get feedback from people who use the gear and can give genuine feedback.

While i have got you, I do have another question - my mother lives on a boat and i think they all use VHF. How does that fit in and can i communicate with her on the HF? I suppose she would need a HF?

By way of update I have now purchased a GME TX3200 UHF.

Thanks




AnswerID: 6072

Reply By: Member - Nigel - Tuesday, Aug 27, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2002 at 00:00
Good choice of UHF.

Marine VHF is a different frequency range again from UHF and HF. Radios on different frequencies can't talk to each other, so she'd also need a HF if you wanted to communication via radio.

So as to not offend anyone I guess I should also point out that you could also use mobile or satellite phones to talk to each other as long as your happy to pay for the calls, although I get the distinct impression that that's exactly what your trying to avoid.

As long as your aware of the benefits and limitations of HF and are aware that your communications aren't private, then HF can be a great tool and a great money saver.
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Follow Up By: Brendan - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2002 at 00:00
thanks mate
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