HF radio - Is the price right???

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 15:22
ThreadID: 20180 Views:2698 Replies:9 FollowUps:3
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Still on the HF thing...this morning we looked at a Barrett 550 with multi-tap aerial. Is in full working order and tuned with all the VKS737 and RFDS frequencies plus others. Taps on aerial coincide with frequencies etc. Unit itself is an ex-exploration jobby and as such is pretty grubby. I reckon I can clean it up OK, hubby reckons I'll never get it clean. Price is $800.

Other unit we are looking at is a Codan 8528 with 8558 auto-tuning aerial. It is in full working order but can't be sure until I get a fax off the machine at work tomorrow whether it is already programmed with the VKS737 or RFDS channels. Won't actually sight the unit until later this week but owner tells me it is in good condition and no cracks etc in the antenna casing. Price is $1100.

Which is the better buy and are there any particular things we should know about either of these units?

:o) Melissa
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Reply By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 15:30

Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 15:30
tough call probably the codan is better value coz auto tunes are farly dear. Barrets are very reliable - when working with the survey 2 things stuck out as doing the job in extreme conditions without the need for regular replacement - Barret hf and engal fridges
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Reply By: Pilbara Wayne - Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 16:35

Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 16:35

If you want some information on the Codan unit you can have a look at


I've also got some other info on the Barrets and Codans that I've downloaded when I was looking for my HF. I ended up with a Codan 9323 and 9350 Auto Tune. I like the auto tune as you can change frequencies when you are in the car and retune the antenna. Comes in handy when you want to listen in on the VKS737 scheds and you're driving along.

Member message me with your email address if you want and I'll send through the info I have.




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Reply By: Peter 2 - Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 18:00

Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 18:00
I'd go with the Barrett, the 8558 Codan antenna while it is working is ok but when it stops (and they do) you'll be up for a new antenna.
I usually advise anyone buying an older Codan with the earlier autotunes that they are basically buying the radio only as the older autotunes are notorious for probs and no parts available.
A barrett autotune antenna is much more reliable than a codan autotune too as no moving parts to vibrate and break, they are also much lighter so don't need as physically strong mounting bracket.
I've had a few codans and currently have a barrett (which is a 550 and autotune antenna now nearly ten years old.
AnswerID: 96961

Reply By: The Explorer - Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 18:46

Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 18:46
While I have no knowledge of Barrets I would be heading that way if I was you. As mentioned auto tunes add addition reliabilty issues...especially older ones. I had an 8558 that wasnt working - manged to fix it (cracked plastic cylinder inside) following instrutions from ozradio website. Didnt investigate whether or not you can still get parts for these beasties. You may have to rely on salvaging bits from other broken ones? The 8528 is a good radio though...had one of them as well (now have 9323) Anyway IMHO auto tunes are overkill if you're just using VKS/RFDS channels..though good for scanning I suppose. Whip antennae will do the job.
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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AnswerID: 96969

Reply By: Member - Raymond - Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 19:01

Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 19:01
Hi Melissa
I would go with the Barrett and the tapped whip. To listen to the skeds you only have to have the radio on and the antenna plugged into the 8022 plug and you can listen to all the frequencies with very minimal loss, you just have to remember to only transmitt on the frequency that you have the antenna tuned to. Mate has a codan 8528 which works perfectly, but the auto antenna went crazy and Codan will not repair it as they do not have the parts, so he is up for a new antenna $1500.
I only use the auto antenna as I use my radio for Amateur bands as well so the tapped whip get a bit messy.
You will enjoy chatting on HF
Regards Ray
AnswerID: 96972

Reply By: Footloose - Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 19:46

Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 19:46
Be aware that although the Codan 8528 is a good set, parts are becoming scarce. The 8558 is not a recommended aerial as they break easily, and once again parts are difficult to find. The internals often become brittle with time.
The Codan 9323 with a 9350 autotune is a much more reliable setup. These are availiable at the moment for around $1700 s/h. Fully cleaned, reprogrammed and tested to factory specs etc More money but a whole lot more radio, including emergency telcall , GPS facilities etc
AnswerID: 96990

Reply By: Member - Luxoluk - Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 20:36

Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 20:36
Hi Melissa
I bought a 550 earlier this year with new whip for usual channels, spring base, rack and unit itself and paid more than $800...I can assure you!! If its also got selcall then I'd grab it and give the unit a good clean. If its all scratched up on the box then these panels can easily separated from the unit and spray painted. Piece of cake!! Auto tunes of both makes are problematic and a whip will provide a more reliable state of tune and therefore better transmission. Good luck with whatever choice you make. Cheers
Len Beadell

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Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 23:41

Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 23:41
Hi Luxoluk, thanks for your comments. As per my post below we've gone ahead and purchased the Barrett. The $800 price includes everything you mentioned including selcall so seems to me we've done OK.

:o) Melissa
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Reply By: Member - Melissa - Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 23:37

Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 23:37
Thanks everyone for your comments. Seems fairly unanimous that the Barrett is a better buy so we've gone ahead and made the deal to buy the Barrett 550. Will pick it up tomorrow. Now turning our thoughts to installation which is not a job we are looking forward to. We are however looking forward to joining the VKS737 network. And best of all, it's nice to know we'll still be in touch when out bush.

:o) Melissa
AnswerID: 97020

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 23:44

Sunday, Feb 06, 2005 at 23:44
Oh forgot to mention just in case anyone else is interested...the seller of our Barrett has a second unit exactly the same but not programmed. Asking price is $700 with whip antenna etc. Programming is about $100-125. Happy to pass on his contact details if anyone is interested.

:o) Melissa
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Follow Up By: Zita - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 16:53

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005 at 16:53
Hi Melissa,
Interested in the 550 radio could you steer me in the sellers direction. Sounds like a fairly good price.
Thanks Doug
FollowupID: 357092

Reply By: Ronnie - Monday, Feb 07, 2005 at 21:38

Monday, Feb 07, 2005 at 21:38
Hi Melissa the 550's are noted for dry solder joints it might pay you to get it checked out before you head off, had to have mine done while we were away last year.Also they are quite easy to program yourself.
Regards Ronnie
AnswerID: 97161

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