Radio direction finder app? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 05-26-2013 Thread Starter
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Radio direction finder app?

I looked at one boat when we were boat shopping, had a rdf oldschool from the '70s on a custom built shelf. Are these ever used anymore as back up?
And is there an iPad app? The ippad has a radio receiver doesn't it? Or is there a frequency issue?
Just googled nothing came up.
Just wondering, thank for any ideas.
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post #2 of 16 Old 05-26-2013
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Re: Radio direction finder app?

Ipads aren't radios other than wifi or 3G or 4G- AM radio is an additional hardware item. wifi or 3G or 4G aren't available at sea without a satellite receiver. Unless you plan on going old school I doubt you'll be riding an AM radio beacon into port anytime soon. You'll use GPS and chart plotters like the rest of us.

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post #3 of 16 Old 05-26-2013
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Re: Radio direction finder app?

If it is for back up, bring another GPS. If for nostalgic reason, go for it and build one.


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post #4 of 16 Old 05-26-2013
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Re: Radio direction finder app?

RDF also requires a directional antenna, which the Ipad doesn't have.
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post #5 of 16 Old 05-26-2013
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Re: Radio direction finder app?

And while your at it make a set of SEMAPHORE FLAGS for backup to the VHF.
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post #6 of 16 Old 05-27-2013
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Re: Radio direction finder app?

RDF was dependant on a signal being transmitted non-stop from a location that was not only known but was marked on your chart.

A directional antenna on the receiver on your boat was then used to sweep the area where you more or less know that the source of the signal will have come from.

When you're pointing the directional antenna directly at the RDF transmitter, it would be at its loudest and then you could lay off a bearing on your chart and your position would be somewhere along that line.

But as far as I can recall, there is no way that you could tell how far away the source was by the signal itself and things like the depth under your keel would work quite well to get an approximate fix.

So that's how it worked. Note I said worked because AFAIK there are no such signals being transmitted today so your antique RDF has zero practical use because there is nothing to receive.


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post #7 of 16 Old 05-27-2013
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Re: Radio direction finder app?

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Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
So that's how it worked. Note I said worked because AFAIK there are no such signals being transmitted today so your antique RDF has zero practical use because there is nothing to receive.
Broadcast AM works fine. I used to use ZBVI on Tortola heading South.

You can still do it with the ferrite wound antenna in portable radios. The null is sharper than the peak.

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post #8 of 16 Old 05-27-2013
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Re: Radio direction finder app?

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Broadcast AM works fine. I used to use ZBVI on Tortola heading South.

You can still do it with the ferrite wound antenna in portable radios. The null is sharper than the peak.
Ahhh, you must be nearly as old as I am. I agree you could make something that would kind of work. The question is what for? Those AM transmitting antennas aren't in harbors.

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post #9 of 16 Old 05-27-2013
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Re: Radio direction finder app?

or you can buy vintage units on ebay for about $30 bucks!
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post #10 of 16 Old 05-27-2013
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Re: Radio direction finder app?

I'm probably wrong, but wasn't the null point indicating the direction of the AM broadcast station?
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