HF Radio

Barrett 980 Marine
HF Radio Package

The Barrett 980 series of HF marine transceivers are state of the art, economical 100 Watt HF SSB transceivers designed for both GMDSS and non-GMDSS marine installations.

To satisfy this broad range of requirements, three versions of the Barrett 980 are available for maritime operations:-

The Barrett 980 DSC Class "E" transceiver
A stand-alone HF transceiver, the Barrett 980 DSC Class "E" transceiver P/N BC98007, with internal DSC, meets all the requirements for ITU 493-8 Class "E" DSC operations. Suitable for yachts and motor vessels that do not require compulsory fitting of Class A GMDSS equipment but want the safety coverage offered under the international GMDSS system.

$3890 from Telstat


Icom IC-M801E

MF/HF SSB Radio Telephone Long Range Communications

Built-in DSC (Digital Selective Calling) Class E
Icom Remote control head for easy install
Icom Australian Type Approved
Icom DSP (Digital Signal Processing) for improved sound quality
Icom Easy to use

* 4 x 8 inch remote controller Large
* LCD with dot-matrix characters

Icom Water resistant design
125W (PEP) of output power (4.725 MHz)

* Automatic Antenna Tuner (AT141)
* Heavy Duty stainless steel Mounting Bracket with quick release (MB108)

* Due to the special nature of HF Marine Radio's, Icom recommend the use of specialist marine dealers. Please contact Icom for a referral, 03 9549 7500 or sales@icom.net.au

$3,520.00 from OzGear


Catalogue from Amisales


Icom IC M802

All new digital SSB with
remoteable control head offers
the clearest reception ever.
Big dials, a large dot-matrix
LCD and well spaced buttons
make Icom’s newest SSB a
snap to operate, even in rough
seas. A full key pad, over 1300 channels, wide band RX, Ham band
TX (license required) and RX included, one-touch e-mail access (a
SSB first!) with no optional filters required, front panel headset jack
(to keep from waking up the crew), and many more thoughtful features
make this remoteable control head SSB Icom’s most advanced
Standard 4 × 8 remote controller
Large LCD with dot matrix characters
Easy to use in all conditions
Built-in digital selective calling
Digital signal processor advantage
150W (PEP) of powerful output
One-touch e-mail access
Automatic antenna tuner, AT-140
Wide band receive coverage (0.5 – 29.9999MHz)
VFO mode is available (depending on version)
Remote control mic allows you to select channels directly
Accessory RS-232C port allows connection of modem, etc.
GPS input, NMEA 0183 version 2.0 or later
A headphone jack in front of
the controller
*Appropriate HAM license required to
transmit on amateur radio frequencies.
AMI Code
IC-802 Marine SSB Radio



Moonraker antennae


Bureau of Meteorology HF Radio Marine Weather broadcasts

From World Cruising list

In order to test out our communication electronics we ran a "temporary" antenna up the mast.

We bought a $5 antenna kit from Radio Shack, cut the antenna to the proper length (1/4 wavelength I believe?) and connected the bare antenna to a coaxial cable which ran to the radio in the boat. I shimmied up the mast and placed a small pulley at an appropriate spot and looped small halyard (like a flag halyard) around it and back to the deck. We taped the copper antenna to the halyard every 2 feet or so and hoisted it up taking care that the antenna was away from the mast at the top and the antenna/coax junction was overhead at the deck. We simply tied off the bottom of the antenna halyard to the outer rail.

Well it worked so good (and we are so lazy) that is stayed there for over a year until we sold the boat. On our cat we did the same thing using a bungee for the last few feet to the outer toerail one one side. We thought the bungee would be useful to dampen any oscillations in high winds. So far it's worked just great for almost 8 months including some good blows. There have been some comments (I've posted this before and elsewhere) about how sturdy it is. I'd say it's as sturdy as your flag halyard and when was the last time that blew off?

I know this is an unorthodox lowtech solution but I just cringe when I hear of people paying thousands of dollars to turn their back stay into an antenna. As well as a sailor I am a mountaineer/climber and keeping equipment in perfect condition for original use only is critical. the thought of weakening the back stay by cutting it makes my skin crawl. (Not to mention paying someone thousands to do it.)

Give it a try on a temporary basis. It's only cost you some time, $5 for an antenna kit and some coax.


BY FAR, the least expensive way to go is the ICOM 718. It has everything you as a new ham or even some experienced hams would want.....even plug and play EMAIL.

For the email you need a TNC (Modem). If you can find a used PACTOR IIe..get it. Send it to Farallon Electronics in Sausilito, CA for updating.

For an antenna tuner there is only once choice (in my opinion). The SGC 239. It will handle up to 250 watts, is not "RIG" dependent like ICOM,Kenwod,Yaseu, etc. It will work great with any radio. If you change radios, you are not stuck with having to buy the same brand as your ant. tuner. SGC does MIL-SPEC Equipment. The SGC239 is only $182.00 and does not have a waterproof case. SO SGC recommends that you put the unit in a "Tupperware" type case...VOILA...water proof.

DO NOT CUT YOUR BACK STAY for an antenna...to do so is to create another failure point. Instead just run a wire from an insulator back aft up to the top of your mast. Make sure it is out of the way of the mainsail.

For a ground run strips of copper foil along the "tumblehome" of the bilges....go to a stained glass supply/hobby store. They sell 3/4" foil at about $9.00/ 40 yards. Run three strips on each side of the tumblehome....they are sticky backed. Solder them together...even run a couple strips up to the transceivers for a ground.

Susan W7KFI/MM
USSV Dharma


I have just been going through the question of whether to get SSB radio, and have received a lot of advice.

The closest I got was to:

1) Get 'Standard' Ham radio licence.

2) Options of:

a) Icom 706 MkIIG (Ron Bertrand)
b) Icom IC78 ( Marc Robinson)
c) Icom IC 718 ( Marc Robinson)
d) Icom M710 (Graeme Nolan)
e) Icom ICM 801E ( Marc Robinson)

3) AT130 tuner
4) Pactor III modem.
5) 18 foot antenna (2 if using HF DSC)
6) Ensure boat has complex ground plate and antennae are kept away from radio, computer etc.

But the final decision seems to be to abandon the whole HF project ("dying technology") and get an Iridium 9505a satphone with a RS232 data adapter. Use Internet cafes in port and the Iridium for free text messages, data downloads and important phone calls.
I've discussed this on the World Cruising list. One bloke who sounded well informed uses OCENS .
It looks likely to be a useful option.