5 HF equipment essentials for humanitarian operations

5 HF equipment essentials for humanitarian operations

The work humanitarian groups perform in the field is both admirable and extremely challenging, especially when it comes to communications. Helping those in need often takes field workers to remote locations or areas where conventional communications infrastructure is compromised. In these conditions, how are charity groups supposed to exchange vital information?

HF radio. This reliable communications medium has been used by operators in field situations for nearly a century, with the same basic equipment working time after time.

Here’s a guide to five pieces of HF radio equipment essential in humanitarian operations.

1. Barrett 2090 HF Manpack Transceiver
Our 2090 HF Manpack is the perfect mobile comms solution. Ruggedised for field use and lightweight for portability, the 2090 HF transceiver is also equipped with an automatic antenna tuner linkable to a range of whips and static antennas to increase communication range. It boasts advanced features such as Digital Signal Processor noise reduction and Digital Voice, improving communication quality in even the most adverse HF conditions.

The 2090 Manpack can be equipped with a range of antenna, to boost communications even further.

2. HF Rapid Field Deployment System
The Rapid Field Deployment System (RFDS) is a total communications option, linking a number of devices (including HF and VHF/UHF transceivers) for interoperability. Field operational within minutes, the RFDS can be recharged through the AC Mains port or a 12V 33Ah battery, meaning you’ll never be stuck in the field. The system acts as a transportable base station and is vehicle deployable too.

The RFDS is the ultimate all-in-one radio communications solution.

3. Barrett 2062 Crossgate Device
The 2062 HF-VHF/UHF Crossgate is an affordable system that provides seamless communications between different radio networks. This makes it perfect for operators in the field who need to switch between line of sight communications through VHF/UHF transceivers to transmitting information over long distances through the HF radio network. The Barrett device’s compact size means it’s easily installable in vehicles too.

The 2062 HF-VHF/UHF Crossgate offers interconnection between the two radio networks for improved communications.

4. 2018 Mobile Magnetic Loop Antenna
Barrett’s Magnetic Loop Antenna is a step up from other whip-type vehicle antenna – it offers greater reliability, as well as improved transmit and receive performance. The 2018 Loop Antenna is designed with a unique sound-reducing feature which can be intergrated into a custom-designed roof rack suitable for any vehicle. The antenna radiation pattern has low angle nulls towards each side of the vehicle, reducing background noise from adjacent powerlines. This makes it vital for quality communication on the road.

Mounted on a vehicle's roof, the Barrett 2018 mobile magnetic loop HF antenna provides extra transmission power.

5. HF 4017 Auto Tuning Horizontal Dipole
In field situations, space can be at a premium – so how can humanitarians establish a reliable communications base, even with these limitations? The 4017 Auto Tuning Dipole is designed for such conditions. The device can be mounted as close to 6m to the ground, making installation easier. Additionally, the 4017 Dipole is even more compact in transit, with a packed length of just 2.1 metres.

The Dipole is compact to transport and easily deployable close to the ground.

Barrett’s support of humanitarian work
Barrett Communications has supported the work of humanitarian groups worldwide for decades, deploying HF solutions to aid charity workers in the field.

Take our recent work in Peru. A couple holidaying in the Andes had their van bogged down on a remote, muddy road. With no phone signal or internet coverage, the couple were in serious danger of being cut off. After two days, they eventually managed to send a message to friends.

From there, local search and rescue authorities were contacted, including local emergency radio operator group Unidad 4×4 de Ayuda. Using their knowledge of the highlands and Barrett 2050 HF base radio equipment, Unidad operator Aníbal Paredes was able to exchange messages and navigation information with the couple. The reliability of Barrett devices meant all the information was successfully transmitted to the couple, who were eventually towed to rescue on day three.

This is just one example of our commercial HF radio equipment being used to help those in need – for more examples of our work in the humanitarian sector, check out our blog. Or if you want to learn more about our HF radio equipment, contact the team today.

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