[aprssig] HF APRS Transceiver

Ray Wells vk2tv at exemail.com.au
Fri Mar 7 19:51:57 EST 2008

We've long had manufacturers of HF mobile rigs in Australia. Alf Traeger 
was enormously responsible for HF communications in outback Australia. 
In conjunction with the Reverend John Flynn (Flynn of the Inland) Alf 
Traeger was responsible for the original Flying Doctor radio network 
that still serves remote Outback Australia. Alf Traeger manufactured the 
Traeger brand of HF mobile. My Tracker Lynx, although manufactured by 
another company, has Traeger branded PC boards. Both of those companies 
are now gone but companies such as Codan and Barrett are still 
manufacturing HF radios.

With distances between towns being so great, and the cost of installing 
VHF/UHF/mobile phone infrastructure being so high, there is still 
widespread use of HF mobiles by Police, Ambulance, Emergency Services, 
Mining Companies, Flying Doctor Network, 4WD tourists, etc, in 
Australia. The famous Birdsville Track which runs between Birdsville and 
Maree is nearly 500km of nothing (except bulldust - very fine, 
powder-like dust), and that's a short road compared with some. The 
Canning Stock Route in Western Australia is 1100km of nothing, and even 
the towns at each end are a long way from civilisation. It's easy to see 
why we still depend so much on HF communications.

Today's radios are synthesised but earlier models were crystal locked 
with, perhaps up to 15 channels. The upper operating frequency is around 
10MHz for some older models and around 16MHz for more recent. It may be 
that the synthesised units go from 2-30MHz. The older radios were 
physically large compared with a modern ham HF rig but they are usually 
particularly easy to work on. Most are rated to 100W PEP although I tend 
to peg mine back to around 35W.

As for availability, I don't know of any single supplier. Many two-way 
radio repair shops around the place have probably stumbled across the 
odd unit from time to time but given that many of these radios are used 
by government agencies that have a return to base policy, they are more 
likely disposed of in bulk at auction. You could try Ebay for second 
hand or take a look at the Codan and Barrett web sites for new. Codan 
has international outlets so they may have something in the US. Their 
web site lists overseas agents.

My Codan 6801 MkII uses numerous, epoxy sealed modules that I would not 
like to have to replace, if they're still available. A US purchaser 
would need to be wary of such models. However, the Codan 7727 and my 
Tracker Lynx use garden variety components throughout so that 
replacement wouldn't be an issue. PA devices are garden variety Motorola.

My Kemwood TS430 has been in use on packet for 6 or 7 years. It saw BBS 
service on 30m, went to 40m, saw 20m for a while and now it's on 30m 
APRS. I have the low-power plug fitted to reduce to about 50W PEP and I 
only drive it to about 35W. It seems to just plod away.

Ray vk2tv

Rich Garcia wrote:

>I always found that to be quite interesting. In the USA on occasion you can
>see a Motorola Micor I believe on HF but that is about it. I know that
>Harris has made commerical HF radios but never seen them up for sale
>How large and expensive are they over there? I wonder if it would be cost
>feasable to search long distance to purchase one if interested?
>I ran a HFGate for over 8 years on a Kenwood TS-850S/AT 24/7 365 and after 2
>trips to the repair station and the APRS-IS going on line I gave up. That
>was/is a great rig and should not be wasted on one specific frequency
>getting very little use.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: aprssig-bounces at lists.tapr.org
>[mailto:aprssig-bounces at lists.tapr.org]On Behalf Of Ray Wells
>Sent: Friday, March 07, 2008 5:05 PM
>To: TAPR APRS Mailing List
>Subject: Re: [aprssig] HF APRS Transceiver
>The use of ex-commercial SSB rigs for HF packet is not unusual over
>here. I have two such rigs here for packet, one on 40m and the other on
>20m, and their performance is more than acceptable. I only ever buy
>commercial spec crystals that are manufactured to the radio
>manufacturer's specifications for the radio. There's no such thing as a
>one size fits all when it comes to crystals, and the extra cost for the
>right crystal pays dividend.
>Ray vk2tv
>aprssig mailing list
>aprssig at lists.tapr.org
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>aprssig at lists.tapr.org

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