Marine HF Radios For Bluewater Sailing Yachts

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Approved Transceivers

Country of registration (flag state) regulations determine which model HF radio(s) you may install in your vessel and use on maritime HF frequencies.

ICOM Japan is the only manufacturer in the world producing marine HF radios targeting the recreational vessel market.

Whilst commercial HF radios from other vendors are available, they have a price tag 4-5 times that of an HF radio approved for recreational use, and are therefore not often considered.

Distress Calling

DSC (Digital Selective Calling) models are capable of alerting both commercial shipping and coast stations by pressing the "distress button".

Models without DSC, whilst can be used to make a voice distress call, should not be relied upon for emergency calling.

This is because NO ships listen for voice calls, and only a few remaining coast stations maintain a voice watch on distress and calling frequencies.

Approved ICOM Models

The following models are approved for new installations and upgrades:

Market Model DSC Capable
USA IC-M803 Yes
UK / EU / AU / NZ IC-M804 Yes

The IC-M710NZ and IC-M803 are 12 volt radios, whilst the IC-M804 is available in both 12 and 24 volt versions.

Previous approved models (only for existing installations) are the IC-M802 for the US market, and the IC-M801E for UK/EU/AU/NZ markets.

Installation Requires Specialist Skills

Not all ICOM dealers have the skills to install and setup a marine HF radio. I suggest you contact ICOM directly for a recommendation for a local dealer best suited for your requirements.

ICOM Distributor Map

If you require technical support for an existing installation, contact the ICOM service agent nearest to your vessel.

Operator Certification Required

Except in an emergency, everybody operating a marine HF radio is required to hold an operators certificate. The name of the certification varies from country to country, but they are essentially the same qualification.

Country Certificate
Australia Long Range Radio Operator Certificate Of Proficiency
New Zealand Maritime Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Certificate

Amateur (Ham) Radios Not Permitted

The installation and use of HF radios designed for the amateur radio service is not permitted on frequencies used in the maritime service.

Licensed amateur radio operators can use a marine transceiver (above) programmed to use amateur frequencies, thus avoiding the need to install two different HF radios.