Frank’s maritime radio suggestions

In response to my previous post, The Best Shortwave Receiver for Your Boat or Yacht, Frank (VK3JFH/VP8DNM) writes:

“I have all three of the portables mentioned, the Sony SW7600GR, the Sangean 909X, and the Tecsun PL-660. The latter is currently my portable of choice. Having just read this post re radios afloat I took the time to suck down a fax from Charleville, Queensland.

(Click to enlarge)

Frank’s Tecsun PL-660 and Macbook Pro decoding a weather fax with Cocoa Modem 2.0 (Click to enlarge)

Results shown..

This was with the Tecsun 660 attached directly to a (near) horizontal longwire at my home QTH, inserted directly into a Macbook Pro running CocoaModem 2.0 via the headphone socket on the Tecsun.
I have had similar results with the Sony and the Sangean

To all intents the result is as good as with my other radios ( K5000 etc.).

(Click to enlarge)

Screenshot of the weather fax image (Click to enlarge)

However if I was starting from scratch afloat I would get an Icom IC-718. Only $689.95 from Universal Radio. You may choose to simply use it as a receiver or as a Ham TX/RX. However it can also be ‘opened up’ with a simple diode snip to transmit on all the marine bands. Not strictly legal [nor is the IC-718 designed for those bands] but there are a lot of ‘opened’ 718s out there and in an emergency you can transmit a mayday on anything…. even a couple of jam tins and string although you may need a fair old length of string….

If you wish to transmit on your IC-718 you will need a tuner. I have an LDG IT-100 on mine.

Hooking up a consumer receiver to a marine antenna….? Simply make up a pigtail with a 3.5mm jack at one end and a BNC or SO -259 at the other.

Non-marine radios afloat…. ? I had an IC-735 aboard from Cyprus (1992) until Patagonia (2007). Since 2007 I have had an IC-706Mk2G afloat…. no problem with either one.”

Many thanks for your input, Frank!

Spread the radio love

5 thoughts on “Frank’s maritime radio suggestions

  1. Stormy

    I just ordered this due to your suggestion, the 660 but can’t figure out how to set up formweather fax, any help would be greatly appreciated

  2. David

    What software are you using on the Mac to receive weather fax transmissions ? Is it sensitive to the OSX version (what is the minimum version) ? Thanks …

  3. Roger Newell

    I wanted a simple SSB set-up for receiving NOAA voice forecasts and voice weather forecasts from weather guru Chris Parker ( on our third trip to the Bahamas in the Fall of 2015. This radio will supplement the NOAA text forecast from the Sirius XM weather package available by subscription on our Garmin GPS. This satellite footprint extends over the Bahamas and we have found it to work reliably on our two prior winter seasons in the Bahamas.

    I have just bought a Sony ICF-SW7600GR hand-held SSB capable radio. I tested the radio at our house located near Cambridge, Maryland (N 38 34; W 075 58 ) which is about half way up the Chesapeake Bay on the DELMARVA peninsula. This is near the westward edge of the projected reception zone of Chris Parker’s transmissions directed up the eastern seaboard of the USA. See his web site for a map of the transmission zones. I managed to EXTREMELY CLEARLY pick up his forecast on the 8.137 frequency with the Sony telescopic antennae fully extended though a window to the outside.

    I have linked this radio via cable to a low cost Olympus VN-7200 digital voice recorder so I can re-listen to all voice weather forecasts until I can understand the forecast completely. This ability of a direct hook-up to a voice recorder is a good feature of the Sony SSB radio.

  4. Frank Holden

    A small addendum. Even if you don’t ‘open up’ the 718 it still has a very good general coverage receiver for receiving marine band weatherfax, broadcast stations etc etc.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.