The design and operation of a detunable shielded hybrid birdcage RF head coil optimized for human brain imaging at 170 MHz is presented. A high duty-cycle and rapid-switching decoupling scheme that allows uniform RF transmission with the head coil and reception with a surface coil within the volume of the head coil is also demonstrated. In addition, the circumscribing hybrid coil can be biased to operate as a conventional transmit/receive head coil. Our RF design allows the use of higher sensitivity surface coils or phased-array coils at very high magnetic fields where body RF resonators are not currently available or whose use is precluded by specific-absorption ratio restrictions. The design also allows the use of receive-only coils within head gradient inserts, which normally do not allow transmission with an RF body resonator at any field strength.