Submitted: Thursday, Jan 06, 2005 at 20:28
ThreadID: 19126 Views:2312 Replies:6 FollowUps:6
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I have recently bought a s/hand barret 550 hf and am unsure whether it is working as it should. I have returned to the dealer,he has tested it and assures me it is ok.
Has anyone had experience with HF recently ? are hf conditions bad at present?
I am in Brisbane and cant reliably recieve or transmit to any hf base in Australia.
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Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Thursday, Jan 06, 2005 at 21:00

Thursday, Jan 06, 2005 at 21:00
Reception at this time of year is usually not very good. Also, in my experience, you can't get good reception at ANY time if you're in a built up area (eg: Brisbane or even country towns etc). I believe the reason for this is that there is too m uch interference from electricity supply, domestic radio & tv reception etc.
Good excuse to go for a drive into the country and tune into the skeds.....I'm assuming you're a member of VKS 737 or similar.
I have a 550 with auto-tune antenna and it works well in the right conditions.
Good luck and maybe we will talk via HF sometime..........my VKS737 call sign is Whiskey 622.
AnswerID: 91661

Follow Up By: mike - Thursday, Jan 06, 2005 at 21:28

Thursday, Jan 06, 2005 at 21:28
Thanks Roachie,
I am a member of VKS 737 my call sign is Quebec 9336. Look forward to talking to you some day.

Eighteen months ago I had the use of a Barrett 950. I used it in the same vehicle same place only in Winter and it worked perfectly OK.

Maybe its the HF conditions causing the trouble. I will borrow the same 950 and try it under the same conditions I have at present.

FollowupID: 350396

Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Thursday, Jan 06, 2005 at 21:33

Thursday, Jan 06, 2005 at 21:33
A few of the blokes in our 4x4 club have experimented a bit and found that channel 5 is best for short distance comms on HF. (say up to 150 klicks). Maybe you could arrange with your mate with the 950 to call each other at a pre-arranged time etc.
Good luck
FollowupID: 350404

Follow Up By: mike - Thursday, Jan 06, 2005 at 21:51

Thursday, Jan 06, 2005 at 21:51
Will do Roachie If I can Find him.
FollowupID: 350420

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Thursday, Jan 06, 2005 at 22:37

Thursday, Jan 06, 2005 at 22:37
Hi Mike,

I too have a Barrett 550 with self tune and it works well. But on a recent trip I had trouble getting good reception (was down SW of WA). I put it down to the HF conditions as I could get the various radio stations but only got the VKS skeds very scratchy, barely made them out and did not bother transmitting.


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FollowupID: 350445

Reply By: Footloose - Thursday, Jan 06, 2005 at 22:48

Thursday, Jan 06, 2005 at 22:48
If a member of 727, 2 ways to go about it. A beacon call or wait for a sked. If sked isn't audiable, wait for next base etc.
If not a member you can still listen. HF is notorious in summer, but do remember the higher the sun the higher the frequency. After dark 5455 is usually better than 8022.
If you only require local (<300K) station, you can select the lowest frequency and perhaps tie the whip portion of your aerial back so that it is slightly curved. This alters the angle of radiation.
AnswerID: 91686

Reply By: Topcat (WA) - Thursday, Jan 06, 2005 at 23:00

Thursday, Jan 06, 2005 at 23:00
Hi Mike, I also run a Barrett 550. Have you checked your SWR (Standing Wave Ratio)? This is the ratio of power that is transmitted to that of the power reflected back to the set. Ideally it should be 1 : 1. i.e your aerial is properly tuned to your set. This is indicated on your display window level when you press the 'Tune' key on your set. It can be set to manual or auto-tune depending as to whether you have an auto-tuned or multi-tapped whip aerial.
If this is OK then as Roachie mentioned it could be due to electrical interference or atmospheric conditions (Ionispheric conditions), the time of day & the frequency you are transmitting on. As a rule of thumb the higher the sun is in the sky the higher the transmit frequency. I assume that when you had the set checked out it was in the vehicle connected to the aerial you normally use. Otherwise I would check all your aerial coax leads & connections for faults.
My VKS-737 call sign is Whisky 7243 if you want to check it for really long range reception. At times I have talked to Charleville RFDS from my driveway south of Perth during daylight hours. Cheers
AnswerID: 91692

Reply By: hl - Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 07:59

Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 07:59

HF conditions are very variable at the moment. If your antenna is matched (as suggested in another reply) you should be able to talk to someone you can hear, provided their local noise level is ok.
You will find a frequency that worked perfectly yesterday will not work at all today, or even an hour later. Such is HF radio.
If your dealer has checked the power output and the antenna is ok... must be conditions.


AnswerID: 91717

Reply By: brian - Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 08:48

Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 08:48
Mike,have you called/listened to charters towers sked on 8022 in mornings, you should pick it up from brisbane,i picked it easily last week from fraser island with barrett 950 btw the 950 has a high/low power setting does the 550 could this help
do you have lots of stattic??? if so possibly check earth wires should go to chassis not car body
all the best
romeo 149
AnswerID: 91722

Reply By: Member - Banjo (SA) - Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 09:41

Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 09:41
Mike - VKS737 / Sierra 586 here - I usually operate the Adelaide base on Saturday nights year round and my guess is your 550 system has a snag - making contacts from the suburbs, though not ideal, should be ok in general (unless you have some high energy industrial enterprise next door). At this time of the year, 50% of the callers are in the 'burbs, testing their hardware ! As others have said, HF conditions vary year round due to various natural influences. On my sked, we commonly get calls out to about 2000km - at times more - at other times a lot less. I often talk to Q61 from his vehicle (Brian is a few hundred k north of you). If your 550 can't raise any bases, I'd guess something is up - was the radio tested IN vehicle by the dealer ? The whole setup might be iffy, while the unit might bench test happily. Its true that early in the day, late in the day are your best times - I'm sure (adverse conditions aside), the other base operators would agree that from Brisbane, using channel 2, you should get Charters (early session), The Alice (early session), Adelaide possibly (ref my contacts with Q61, north of you), St Mary's base (PM only), or Perth (PM session) - Perth is a long march of course, but a possibility at your 8pm slot (6pm for them). Swan Hill Base and Newcastle base often sit on the side of various skeds - if you don't get the main base, they might pick you up as a relay.Might cost a few quid, but the factory people in WA are very good at service - maybe have a talk with Anthony Benbow (HF electronics) first - could be the autotune needs a good overhaul - my 910 setup did (warranty, thankfully). Also, Steve Johnston at VKS head office is an HF techo - maybe check him out.
AnswerID: 91735

Follow Up By: mike - Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 23:29

Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 23:29
Thanks guys for all your advice. Inow have another 950 with me & will start swapping components tomorrow arvo (saturday) Maybe I will talk to you Banjo (seira 586) tomorrow night.
Regards Mike.
FollowupID: 350666

Follow Up By: Member - Banjo (SA) - Saturday, Jan 08, 2005 at 11:24

Saturday, Jan 08, 2005 at 11:24
I see you had a go on the Charters sked am Sat Mike - could you email me on darian@picknowl.com.au - had a thought yesterday - you might have the very same gremlin I had a couple of years back.
FollowupID: 350729

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