Q&A: Which Navtex Receiver Should I Buy?

Question: I’m planning to purchase a navtex receiver (NASA model, made in UK), so your comments about your experiences with navtex captured my attention. I wouldn’t want to purchase something that didn’t have a good track record where it counts. We considered the Furuno, but based on [magazine] reviews, the NASA model would suit us OK for size, power consumption, dual frequency, etc. Of course, if this is the brand that proved unsatisfactory for you, then I’d sure like to figure that experience into my purchase plans.

Answer: You are safe! It was not a NASA model navtex, but an ICS. We don’t have any information on the NASA, positive or negative, but would be interested in hearing your experience with it since we are often asked about navtex equipment.

While we are not sure of this, it is our guess that part of the secret of good navtex reception is in having an active (preamplifier in the antenna) antenna rather than passive, although the ICS did not work well with either for us

A potential drawback of magazine reviews is that the authors very rarely have real experience with the units offshore and so they tend to concentrate on features like where the buttons are and what they do, rather than actual functionality, as in does it get the information you need.

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Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

7 comments… add one
  • Erik Snel Oct 5, 2012, 9:10 am

    Just to give people some additional user information: I had a Nasa Navtex receiver that worked just fine on our old yacht. Offshore I received all messages that I needed to. The only times it did not do the job was when berthed in a harbour where the Navtex antenna was screened from open reception by the harbour walls and buildings. Being able to receive weather info through other channels, this was not much of a problem.
    In our new boat I had to buy a Navtex. Just as I was about to buy another Nasa, I stumbled upon a 2nd hand but basically new Furuno for a similar price as the Nasa, so I bought that instead. Because buying 2nd hand has its risks, I asked the unit to be fired up before buying. This happened in a house, where the Nasa Navtex certainly would not have received any messsages. The Furuno did. Now, after using itfor 2 years I can only say that reception is amazing, I have received messages from Iceland, North Norway and Israel(!) while sailing in and around the Netherlands. So at least 2000 miles. I am very satisfied with it. For coastal sailing however, the Nasa is still a very good alternative with a very moderate price.


    • John Oct 6, 2012, 2:10 pm

      Hi Erik,

      Great real world information, thanks very much.

  • Serge Paul Jan 30, 2013, 1:18 pm

    I sailed in the Med for the past 4 years and Alway’s be happy with my NASA.

    • John Jan 30, 2013, 7:15 pm

      Hi Serge,

      Thanks for the first hand report, always the best sort of information.

  • George Woodward Aug 1, 2014, 5:11 pm

    My Nasa Navtex has a power aerial which needs an earth. How can I achieve this without power leakage to earth on an aluminium boat (Ovni)

    • John Aug 5, 2014, 9:48 am

      Hi George,

      You will need to connect the ground (earth) to the hull via a capacitor. This is a device that passes AC, but does not pass DC. Said capacitor must be of the correct value to pass HF of the frequency used by Navtex. Unfortunately, I don’t know what that is. Can anyone else help with that?

      • George Woodward Aug 5, 2014, 9:57 am

        Hi John
        Thanks for that -Nasa say an earth is not needed! But I’ll try to get the frequency from them .

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