HF-80 Series, the replacement fixed site technology for the URG-II systems

Updated: 26 June 2023

This data has not been updated in several years but what is shown is valid

The Rockwell Collins HF-80 series is a late 1970 to early 1990 High Frequency radio system. The primary use of the HF-80 was in fixed sites and in military communication shelters. Similar to its earlier brother, the URG-II, it is based on a series of system elements.

Shown is Jim Stitzinger's excellant collection of HF-80 element lists and part numbers. The HF-80 was a popular replacement technology that was used by both the military users and the commercial HF markets. It was used extensivily around the world in the various aviation services.

The HF-80 series technology was often deployed in remote sites as the technology allowed for remote control over considerable distance. The sites could be configured as a composite site or as split sites with separate transmit and receive functions. The technology was originally used with ALE 1st Generation and later upgraded to support 2nd Generation.

Basic Specifications:

Frequency Range: 	2.00000 Mhz to 29.99999 MHz (100 or 10 Hz steps depending on version)
Channels: 		280,000 or 2,800,000 (see above)
Modes: 			AM/CW/SSB (LSB/USB plus A2 and B2), SSB channel is 2.85 KHz wide
			up to 4 channel ISB operation
Data capable:		Yes
Full duplex capable: 	Yes (separate transmit and receive capable)
Split site capable: 	Yes (this was a common event)

External freq. Std: 	Yes - 100 kHz, 1 MHz, and 5 MHz input (Not 10 MHz) (input or output)

Audio Interface: 	600 Ohm, 0 dBm balanced audio (4 wire)
Receiver RF: 		50 Ohm, BNC
Exciter RF: 		50 Ohn, BNC, 250 Milliwatt (nominal)

Power Requirement: 	100-240 VAC, 50-400 Hz

HF-8010 		Exciter, single channel (250 Milliwatt drive output)

HF-8012A 		Exciter  (250 Milliwatt drive output)
HF-8014 		Exciter, 4 channel ISB capable  (250 Milliwatt drive output) - Non DSS version.
HF-8014A		Exciter, 4 Channel ISB with DSS feature (there are six known variations of this DDS unit)
HF-8014A		Exciter, 4 channel ISB  (250 Milliwatt drive output)
			Note: There were many versions of the HF-8014A so read the left side panel for options
			Link to a site here for inside photos
			Note: We have a number of technical manuals related to the DDS versions.

HF-8020 		RF Amplifier, 1  KW output (Tubed), uses the HF-8030 Power Supply (late 1970's technology)

HF-8021			RF Amplifier, 3  KW Output (Tubed), internal AC supply Photos and comments
			The HF-8021 was the replacement technology for the 208U-3 and the 208U-3A.

HF-8022			RF Amplifier, 10 KW Output (Tubed), internal AC supply
			Front inside photo
			This was the replacement technology for the 208U-10 and the 208U-10A.

HF-8023 		RF Amplifier, 1  KW output, solid-state AM-7163/TSC-60(V) 622-3490-207, (early 1980's technology) 
		        It uses the HF-8031/32 Power Supply and the 8010/14 Exciter or the HF-8070 receiver-exciter
			Note there is a variation to use the 671 series receiver-exciter
			Product Specifications 
			(note this is a big download)

HF-8030 		Power Supply (Picture)
			 - Used with the HF-8020 1 KW Amplifier, 90 lbs (40 kg) 622-3383-001
			Note: This was a 3 phase unit

HF-8031 		Power supply for the HF-8023 Amplifier 622-3512-001 
			 - input power is 208-240V VAC Single Phase 50-60 Hz (see note)
HF-8032			Power supply for the HF-8023 Amplifier 622-3490-207 
			 - input power is: 208/220/230/240 VAC 57-400 Hz 3 0 input
			Note: 	The only difference is the type of power fed to it.
				The HF-8031 or 32 will take single or 3 phase power
				You need to check the strapping on the cable connector to
				allow for the correct voltage and phase wiring.
				The three HF-8032 units I have were all strapped for 220/single phase.

HF-8040A 		Antenna Tuner, 1 KW 622-3384-002
			Equipment  Manual (partial)

HF-8040M		Marine version - designed to load into the standard 35 foot (10.7 meter) high whip we think

CU-2040			Low Power version - 400 Watt PN 822-0752-001 (part of the "Spectrum" series")

CU-2041			High Power (1 KW) Version.  Part Number: 822-0779-001 
			See here

CU-2462/TSC-122		Collins Part number 622-9635-001 - Estimated to be a 150 Watt Coupler from photos we have seen

HF-8050			Basic Receiver (single channel)

HF-8050A		Basic Receiver - updated version

HF-8051 		Basic HF Receiver, one audio channel at a time 
			Receiver Picture

HF-8054 		Receiver, 2 or 4 channel ISB, full features
HF-8054A		Similar to the HF-8054 but often had the DDS frequency control system (1 Hz steps and 100 microsecond tuning).

HF-8060 		Pre-selector/Postselector 622-3386-001 (Early version - later replaced by the HF-8064 series)

HF-8060A		Pre-selector/Postselector - updated version of the HF-8060 version

HF-8061 		Transmit filter/line flattener 622-3497-202, can support up to 1 KW of output power
                        This unit was replaced later with the LF-2040 (a break in the numbering scheme)
                        See current version here

HF-8064B 		Agile HF preselector 622-3522-203 
			A picture
			Power: 100/115/215/230 V 47-63 Hz. 5.3x19x24, 32 lbs 
                        This unit was also replaced with a fully digital one - the PR-2025 (also a break in the numbering).
                        See current version here

HF-8070 		Transceiver (simplex only)
			Set of Front panel picture

HF-8090 		Used to control the HF-8010 Exciter

HF-8091 		Used to control the HF-8050 Receiver series

HF-8092 		Used to control the HF-8070 Transceiver

HF-8093 		Used to control the HF-8014 Exciter series (8014 and 8014A)

HF-8094 		Used to control the HF-8054 Receiver (documentation is available but BIG)

HF-8096 		Receiver-Exciter control system, has early first generation (1G) ALE capabilities 
			(ALE phase I?), plus HF squelch, this equipment is early 1980's design
			Here is a picture of the system controller
			Here is the operations (user) Manual for it
 			The Military manual number was TM 11-5820-1014-12-2 (01 APR 1983) 
			Here is one for sale (search for it)
			The replacement is here

VP-100 			Voice Privacy on HF bands - generally for Aviation industry
			An view of the older VP-100 system
			Its current replacement

Manuals we have for the HF80
Later Versions included: PA-2401 400 Watt PA with built in power supply (110-120 and 220-240 VAC, single phase) Note: does not directly interface to HF systems as it uses own special serial control

Sources and use of the HF-8xxx series Radios

Much more information is available at Paul Keyes site, Columbia Electronics where you can obtain these high quality systems. The pages on the actual Rockwell-Collins HF-80 series are here. This link is to a sales document that details each system element. Very useful to give an overview.

where more technical infomation is available on some of the above systems. This site has a number of pictures that provide useful information. There are limited technical documents available also.

You may wish to check the Hypertools web site for more information also. This site has a lot of "hands on" experience with this technology so he can really help you. My personal guess is that he works on "milspec" systems as his full time employment.

Also see Mike Murphy famous site in San Diego, California. His store has an extensive collection of Rockwell-Collins HF systems that are "milspec". He is an honest place to buy from. You will not go wrong there

In any case, while the HF-80 series are nice to own and operate, in general, you may need to have a good bank account as building a complete system may set you back you a few thousand US dollars. But, as they say, "you will not be unhappy with the results".

The Rockwell-Collins HF-80 technology lives on however. We recently found that some commercial marine networks are using the HF-80 to provide SITOR service. See article published by the shortwave radio club Worldwide Utility News. Interesting information.

Automatic Link Establishment (ALE)

For more information about ALE and how the HF-80 and later generation HF radios were to be controlled, please go to the NTIA Report on ALE technology. In summary, this site discusses the following:

"High frequency (HF) communications has been an essential part of worldwide information transmission 
since the advent of radio and has advanced nearly in step with information technology.  
Today, advanced thinkers in the field envision HF radio technology as embracing and supporting 
such technological advances as HF e-mail and compressed multimedia voice and data services.  
A guide has long been needed that brings together into one concise user's handbook all 
of the working knowledge of HF Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) radio technology.  
Many publications exist that deal with one or more aspects of this technology - sometimes in great detail.  
This guide, which is general in scope, provides a broad approach.  
It is a tutorial for explaining the basics of this HF ALE technology and for passing along 
working knowledge for hands-on operation of HF ALE systems.  
This guide is the product of many authors who have combined their considerable expertise."

Rockwell-Collins presentation on ALE evolution is here

And if you really need bed time reading material, try reading the MIL-STD document on ALE (188-141). MIL-STD-188-141B or the 188-110B document on HF modems.

To quote the document summary:

"This document contains technical standards and design objectives for medium and high-frequency radio systems. Included are: (1) the basic radio parameters to support both conventional and adaptive radio communications; and (2) technical parameters for automatic link establishment (ALE), linking protection, and other advanced adaptive features and functions."

And the ALE Operations manual for US Forces is here

More ALE data can be found here at the ARRL site at this link

Want to listen to ALE? Go here!

Have lots of spare money, buy one of these to solve your ALE needs: Rockwell-Collins ALE

Information on the early Rockwell Collins aircraft based 309L-3 system. Was very popular in the early days of ALE operation.

Paper on ALE Abstract: The Rockwell Collins SELSCAN adaptive high-frequency (HF) radio system, using an Air Force AN/ARC-190 transceiver, was operated over a 2615-km temperate latitude path for 24 hours. Propagation was monitored by an FMCW chirp oblique sounder. Voice and data transmissions were used to assess the quality of the selected channels. The SELSCAN always found a usable channel, and usually a very good one, even when propagation was limited to a small range of frequencies. A parallel effort to develop a test bed for experimentation with alternative probing waveforms is described. Results are incomplete because of difficulties with equipment and software. A theoretical analysis of probing waveforms for use with adaptive HF systems is presented. Finally, some recommendations are made for the application of adaptive HF. Keywords include: Adaptive High-Frequency Radio, HF Radio Communications, AHF, Oblique Ionograms, and SELSCAN.

The US Custom Department COTHEN ALE network.

Informal list of ALE users from Ominous-Valve or a backup copy is here. Other utility listening sites for ALE modes include:


Please also see the Harris section in this site as we some information on the RF-7210 series ALE system.

Message Applications for HF Radio


Another area that I like to learn more about is the area of using HF Radio systems to support E-Mail messaging. There are a number of issues that come up. One is on using TCP/IP over HF (bad idea). Thus, a lot of work has been done to resolve this issue. See this great study that has been done.

In specific, NATO create a Standard called: STANAG 5066 which is a variation of SMTP using pipelined SMTP called "HMTP". I will be posting a lot more on this area in the near future as I find out good sources of material.

Information on various HF modems is here here

Both Rockwell-Collins and Harris Radio has solutions for this requirement.

Hope this is all useful. I find HF is an interesting technology with still considerable promise as a global wireless technology. The key phase I use often is "use the right technology to solve the right problem".


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