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Buying An HF Radio  
User currently offlineSanthosh From India, joined Sep 2001, 545 posts, RR: 1
Posted (9 years 11 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 8742 times:

I was thinking of buying an HF radio so that I can hear from aircraft a lot more far from me.Where is it possible to buy one and can anyone suggest me a good quality HR radio?And does it work similar to the ordinary radio Scanner?Thanx for expert openions.

Regards,
George




Happy Landing
22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineTimjohns From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 681 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (9 years 11 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 8682 times:

The best place is probably eBay, unless you want brand new equipment in which case to a search for a shop near you. Good websites to look at are Yeasu (http://www.yaesu.com/), Icom (http://www.icomamerica.com/) as well as others that escape me at the moment.

In some ways they are similar, but in other ways not. Generally you cannot 'scan' and the sound that you get wouldn't be as clear as VHF. You often have to play about to get the best signal. Antenna wise, you'll need something like a long wire (roughly 30m??).

Hope this helps.



A.Net Airlines - 2 million miles!
User currently offlineIakobos From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 3313 posts, RR: 34
Reply 2, posted (9 years 11 months 14 hours ago) and read 8588 times:

George,

A decent table top HF receiver has a price tag in the range 400-600$.
Second hand sets are available but they have a tendency to retain their value.
If you are only interested in air-ground HF communications it seems like a serious investment for not that much to listen to.

You can find a pretty good lost of available products, desk & portables, new and second hand at




User currently offlineSanthosh From India, joined Sep 2001, 545 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (9 years 11 months 13 hours ago) and read 8583 times:

Lakobos.. In your openion.Isn't it possible for me to hear a good set of communication between the Pilots and ATC?It has been quite some time since I have been hearing the same old ATC using my VHF scanner.So I thought buying and HF would make some shange as I can hear pilots who are very far away.

How is it possible to get HF frequencies of different ATC's Around the world and staying in India how far will I be able to hear if I buy an HF radio?Also is Sony ICF series good HF Radios?


Regards,
George



Happy Landing
User currently offlineTimjohns From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 681 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (9 years 11 months 12 hours ago) and read 8580 times:

HF tends to be for long routes over the sea (e.g. Atlantic) which means that pilots don't have to speak to ATC too often. Also, a lot of communications are done in digital modes - ACARS I think, so you need to get a decoded so see what is going on.

The range depends on atmospheric condtions, your location and antenna setup.



A.Net Airlines - 2 million miles!
User currently offlineIakobos From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 3313 posts, RR: 34
Reply 5, posted (9 years 11 months 6 hours ago) and read 8565 times:

The HF aeronautical mobile service is geographically divided between 14 MWARA (major world air routes areas, and about 60 RDARA (regional and domestic air routes areas).

The Indian subcontinent is included in the MID (Middle East) and EA (Eastern Asia) and INO (Indian Ocean) MWARAs and 4 different RDARAs.

A number of HF band segments (eg. 5450 to 5680KHz) are dedicated to the aeronautical service (worlwide), and in each of these a number of frequencies are allocated to the specific MWARA and RDARA. (eg. MID: 5658 and 5667KHz)

Each country has one or more ATCenters monitoring the frequencies in its particular MWARA and/or RDARA zones. (eg. Mumbai)

So, assuming you have a receiver with a sufficient "memory" bank (a "must"), you can store a large number of these frequencies for your own and other MWARA and RDARA, and consequently let your receiver scan them.

So far so good.
The problem starts when one realizes that the propagation of radio waves in the HF spectrum is subject to a lot of variable factors, and that each "part" or segment has its own specific behaviour.(eg: the 5MHz band behaves totally differently than the 13MHz band)
The said factors include: solar activity, season, time of day/night at yopur location and at the trasmitting station location, atmospheric phenomenons, geomagnetic particularities,...and a few others without forgetting your own receiver and antenna characteristics.

Though, in theory at least, at any particular time you might be able to listen to an ATC or aircraft on (at least) one of the allocated bands, even at your antipode (Mexico ?).
eg. in the (your) late evening, you will (typically) be able to pick up traffic from your own and contiguous MWARAs (Africa, SE Asia, N central Asia) in the 5, 6, 8, 10 and 11MHz bands. Around sunrise you might pick up signals from very far away on the 13 and 17MHz bands.

Seems fine, but remember that pilots' aim is to contact the relevant ATC, not necessarily to be heard by a radio enthusiast in India.
They will use a band which is appropriate according to their own distance to the ATC and time of day, if this corresponds to your own "window" you will hear them.

HF traffic between a/c and ATC is usually limited to a short "waypoint" or "position" report.

Drop me an e-mail if you wish to know more.



User currently offlineSanthosh From India, joined Sep 2001, 545 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 8543 times:

Iakobos

Sir Thanx very much for the detailed explanation.I do want to know a few more things on where to get these HF radios and which all brands are good and a rough approximation on the coast.

Thankfully,
George



Happy Landing
User currently offlineIakobos From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 3313 posts, RR: 34
Reply 7, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8528 times:

Hi George,

As I mentioned in an earlier post, HF (table top) receivers start from around 400$.
I realize now that my link for reviewing present day models did not work, here it is http://universal-radio.com

I suggest you check http://www.vigyanprasar.com/ham/KARL.htm and contact the club. I am quite sure they will be able to advise and possibly inform local sources (Kerala) for new and second hand equipment.


User currently offlineSanthosh From India, joined Sep 2001, 545 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (9 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 8479 times:

Hello lakobos,
Sorry for the delay in reply.Thanx very much for the information.I'll try both the site.

George



Happy Landing
User currently offlineRobK From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2004, 3947 posts, RR: 18
Reply 9, posted (9 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 8476 times:

Being an avid HF aviation listener myself I can contribute to the thread.

George, contrary to the many views about the down-sides to HF listening, if you know the right frequencies to listen to it is very rewarding. Given your location, you will undoubtably hear a lot of 'exotic' flights on HF.

$400-600 is very much exaggerated for a decent HF receiver. Something like the Sangean ATS813A will do the job perfectly (I used to have one) and you can buy them brand new for about £120 GBP. Others I can recommend are Lowe HF125 & 225, Yaesu FRG-100, Sony ICF2001D etc. I know for certain that the Sony has been discontinued for years but it was a quality radio in its day and I would have another one ANY TIME!, not sure if the others are still in production though.

I'd say your best bet is to visit your local amateur radio shop and they will probably have some second hand ones for sale. For aviation listening YOU MUST MAKE SURE THE RADIO IS CAPABLE OF RECEIVING SSB (single-side band - upper and lower) as aviation transmits on USB (upper-side band). Some of the older ones will have a BFO knob on them (beat frequency oscilator) which you twiddle to get upper and lower side band - easy-peasy.

To get good signals you need to have an outdoor antenna. I highly recommend a discone antenna mounted as high as possible - top of your chimney stack would be ideal - and then just route some low-loss co-ax down to your receiver and plug it in the EXT ANT socket on the back.

Once you get listening, you'll hear a lot of selcal codes being given. To tie these up to the aircraft registration, airline and aircraft type can I suggest a visit to my own website at http://www.selcalweb.co.uk where you will be able to search a selcal database of over 16,300 selcal code tie-ups.

Cheers,

Rob K  Smile


User currently offlineIakobos From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 3313 posts, RR: 34
Reply 10, posted (9 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 8473 times:

Rob,

We were talking about table top receivers.
The UK-made Lowe receivers (all decent) you mentioned were in the range 500$ (HF-125E) to 1,300$ (HF-250E), and anyway are no longer produced AFAIK.

Due to regulations there are extremely few ham shops in India (if any?), nothing comparable to Europe or the US.

Outdoor antenna of course, but certainly not a discone in HF.
This design (never bad though never good) caters for the people lacking space to throw a wire (10m or +) or erect a sizeable vertical (3m or +).


User currently offlineSolarix From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (9 years 10 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 8424 times:

Santhosh, you're in a great area for some exotic HF listening. 10018 KHz and 5658 KHz you will find lots of exotic flights talking to stations such as Kabul, Karachi, Mumbai, etc... Using a remote controlled receiver located in Europe I have picked up an Ariana flight taking to Kabul radio on those frequencies.

Another good one is 11300 KHz --- Tripoli, Nairobi, Sanaa, Khartoum, Mogadishu, and Addis among some of the stations. African ATC is about as exotic as you can get.

For HF I recommend the Icom IC-R75. I have one and its worth every penny!!


User currently offlineSanthosh From India, joined Sep 2001, 545 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 8394 times:

Solarix Thanx very much for the reply. Actually I use a VHF scanner. So I have heard the ATC over here asking the pilots to contact Colombo, Mumbai as well as other areas in HF. But I have never heard them over HF .So that is how I and idea came up to buy one HF. Any way thanx for the information. I will have a look for IC-R75.Well do you have any idea where in England its available and an approximate coast?

George



Happy Landing
User currently offlineIakobos From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 3313 posts, RR: 34
Reply 13, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 8374 times:

Santhosh,

The R-75 is discontinued and the present Icom R-8500 is listed at just under 2,500$.

The general trend among manufacturers has been to introduce "very wide coverage" receivers, meaning from 100KHz (or even lower) to 1GHz and higher. The result is that you may have more fun but obviously for a higher price tag.

Unless your tailor is rich, I suggest you look for popular second hand receivers of the previous generation (5 to 10 years) like
Icom R-70 or R-75
Yaesu FRG-8800 or FRG-100
Kenwood R-1000 or R-2000


User currently offlineIakobos From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 3313 posts, RR: 34
Reply 14, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 8363 times:

Did you try ebay uk ?

There is an offer for a Lowe HF-150 of very reasonable quality (made in UK) and the highest bid is still under 100$.


User currently offlineSanthosh From India, joined Sep 2001, 545 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 8322 times:

Is it possible to get HF traffic using the "Sony ICF-SW7600GR Shortwave Radio". Its frequency range is 150 to 29999kHz and has SSB.




Happy Landing
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29799 posts, RR: 58
Reply 16, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 8300 times:

Santhosh, is there there any sort of Amature Radio clubs in your area.

Over here those clubs often host swap meets once or twice a year.

Usually have some pretty good bargins on Used gear.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineSanthosh From India, joined Sep 2001, 545 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 8297 times:

L-188 Actually there is an HAM RAdio club 60 kms from my home. but I doubt if they have any knowledge about Avaition Wireless Traffic. There in US and Europe everything is availible and you have so many sources and choices but here there aren't even any choice at all.Atleast in the case of radio's.




Happy Landing
User currently offlineChrisEMA From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 45 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 8286 times:

Is it possible to get HF traffic using the "Sony ICF-SW7600GR Shortwave Radio". Its frequency range is 150 to 29999kHz and has SSB.


Santosh, I recently bought this model here in the UK for £120.

I am using the 'supplied' portable long-wire antenna hooked up in my loft and am having great results! So far, hearing Brisbane, Hong Kong etc at various times of the day and am very impressed. The fine tuning of the USB can be a bit tricky, but the sensitivity is very good.

Good luck in your quest!

Chris


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29799 posts, RR: 58
Reply 19, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 8279 times:

You might be surprised Santhosh.

HF is HF is HF.

Besides those folks no doubt are probably tuned in to sources of cheap radio gear.


Sorry about the pun....but seriously I would contact them.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineSanthosh From India, joined Sep 2001, 545 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 8278 times:

L-188 It has been quite some time since I have been using my VHF scanner. Because here we have very low traffic and since these aircraft come and go every day its becoming boarding that is the main reason I thought will switch to a HF. At least can hear more and different traffic each day.


Happy Landing
User currently offlineSanthosh From India, joined Sep 2001, 545 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 8279 times:

ChrisEMA Thanx very much for the information. But could you please tell me what sort of Ext Antenna do you use for the Radio and how clear can you get the signals from Places such as Hong Kong and Brisbane?


George



Happy Landing
User currently offlineChrisEMA From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 45 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 8293 times:

Hi Santosh!

I just replied to you via email. I'm just using the supplied -wound up' long wire antenna which was supplied with the set. This gives excellent results for me - I have just extended it upwards into my loft space along the trunking where I have my VHF cable and then stretched the end out as far as possible in a straight line.

I used to have about 150 feet of long wire stretched down the garden when I lived at home with my parents, but my wife doesn't want anything outside like that these days!! LOL

Also, these small 'portable' sets are made to be 'just that' and can be a little overloaded if you are not careful where the signal is concerned. I don't use an aerial tuner or anything like that, but am getting fabulous results.

Good luck!!

Chris


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