I've been thinking of doing some quick reviews here of some of the pieces of equipment that we value (or not). For example, of the new Telstra wireless broadband service at sea and our experience with Jabsco accumulator tanks.
Last year, we bought a Sangean radio so we could listen to weather broadcasts on HF if we were out of VHF range. A few people have asked me about how well it worked. Sangean's reputation is built on its shortwave band performance (see this review by Radio Nederland). It is popular with the diminishing number of shortwave listeners. Today, satellite television entertains most remote communities and the Internet keeps us in touch while we travel. And Radio Moscow is not as interesting as it was in the sixties.
HF has been a lifeline for yachties ever since solid state transceivers became affordable 30 years ago. it made it practical for individuals to venture out to remote locations. Today, satellite communications has been adopted by most commercial shipping and HF services are diminishing rapidly. So why buy a HF capable radio?
I bought the Sangean radio by way of insurance before we set off on our trip to the Whitsundays last year. I thought that we might occasionally be out of VHF radio range and consequently be without weather information. In practice, we had VHF coverage wherever we were and even mobile phone coverage was almost complete.
The Sangean needs an external aerial to get acceptable HF coverage and while I had been prepared to rig one up, it was never needed. We just used it to listen to AM/FM radio, which it does well, with better sensitivity and less interference than the radio which came with Te Moana.
So, our only use of the radio is to listen to our favourite radio programmes. Until Jake discovered it make a good dog pillow...