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Old 02-12-2009, 17:12   #16
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Originally Posted by unbusted67 View Post
Anyone love or hate their hand held VHFs. I will be using one as a primary and so want something very reliable.
Theres only a few which are real 6 watts. Its illegal to buy them in some countries so there are some that say they are 6 ewatts but only programmable manuallly every time.

We got a Standard Horizon HX750S 6 watts. Floating. The 6 watt setting remains on by default

Its very good.


Don't get DSC as it may break transmition/reception when trying to find a GPS when you first turn it on.

We bought it as we can't hear the big VHF in the cockpit over the engine. Now we use the handheld all the time

The range is fine.

http://www.westmarine.com/boating-supplies/Electronics/Handheld-VHF/9457425.html
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Old 02-12-2009, 20:16   #17
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Some handhelds have a fixed antenna, while on others it simply unscrews and (with an adapter) you can screw on a "standard" VHF cable leading to a masthead antenna or elsewhere.

Christian, you forget that you aren't going to climb up the mast--or use the fixed VHF that was connected with a masthead antenna at all--when that "out of sight out of mind" masthead antenna has failed. From corrosion, from chafe on the cable, from a lightning strike, a bridge too low, or some other problem.

Yes, VHF gets greater range from greater antenna height and higher gain antennas. Assuming, that is, they are in working order.

I've been on more than one boat where I pulled my H/T out of a bag and it worked--when the permanent installed radio with the great masthead antenna simply wasn't working. At all.

And a proper masthead antenna installation, using top quality components and properly weather sealed, is a rare thing to find. Not to mention that the coax itself degrades over time, and many cables go way beyond the suggested 5-10 years before replacement.

And then again, if things REALLY go bad and the boat rolls...odds are that masthead antenna isn't going to stick around.

An H/T really isn't such a bad thing, even with its limited power and range. Forget the price of radios--what do you figure is the cost of having a masthead antenna properly installed these days? A good antenna, a premium cable, proper seals, and the cable secured properly every couple of feet down the mast, not just hanging in there?
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Old 02-12-2009, 20:38   #18
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What does H/T stand for?
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Old 02-12-2009, 20:42   #19
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H/T stands for "Handy talkie" which is what many radio operators and manufacturers call a handheld unit.

"Walkie Talkie" apparently is only used by old GIs and toy companies, go figure. (Might be that was a trademark issue.)
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Old 02-12-2009, 21:40   #20
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You would be hard pressed to find non DSC radios for sale in the US. IIRC, the FCC required they be manufactured with DSC some time last year.
They are still readily available (just checked online), and I bought a Standard Horizon H/T from Defender in the spring without DSC....
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Old 03-12-2009, 05:21   #21
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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
H/T stands for "Handy talkie" which is what many radio operators and manufacturers call a handheld unit.
"Walkie Talkie" apparently is only used by old GIs and toy companies, go figure. (Might be that was a trademark issue.)
Excerpted from ➥ Walkie-talkie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The first radio receiver/transmitter to be widely nick-named "Walkie-Talkie" was the backpacked Motorola SCR-300, created by an engineering team in 1940 at the Galvin Manufacturing Company (fore-runner of Motorola). The team consisted of Dan Noble, who conceived of the design using frequency modulation, Raymond Yoder, Henryk Magnuski who was the principal RF engineer, Marion Bond, Lloyd Morris, and Bill Vogel.
SCR-536 "handie talkie"

Motorola also produced the hand-held AM SCR-536 radio during World War II, and it was called the "Handie-Talkie" (HT). The terms are often confused today, but the original walkie talkie referred to the back mounted model, while the handie talkie was the device which could be held entirely in the hand (but had vastly reduced performance).
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:12   #22
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Gord,
I just love some of the stuff (info) that you find
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Old 03-12-2009, 08:49   #23
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yes you can put an antenna at the masthead and attach the other end to the handheld. I have all the goofy homebrew crossovers to take the antenna off of the mounted radio and attach the wire to the handheld. This help immensly with the range of the handheld. As was stated above, VHF is line of sight, so output wattage is not as big a deal as antenna height. Yes wattage helps but it is not everything.
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Old 04-12-2009, 01:08   #24
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I had an old standard Horizon handheld which lasted 20 years, but the one I bought last year died within 6 months. Gave it back to WMP and bought an Icom.

As mentioned above, handheld range is not really a problem, unless you want to talk to a marina from 20 miles away. The Coast Guard has some really great VHF radios/repeaters/antennas which will reach out a long way--we talked to them from 30 miles out when we lost the mast and masthead antenna.
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Old 04-12-2009, 09:11   #25
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As to DSC it was mandated by law back before Y2K that every "new" model VHF (non-portable) radio contain DSC starting in Y2K. Manufacturers could still produce "old" models without DSC, but as soon as they made a new model, DSC had to be included.
- - Using a handheld for primary is great or actually the only way in small sailboats without a DC power supply. On larger boats having a permanent mounted radio with masthead antenna is very good idea, unless you are never out of sight of land and do not do overnight'ers. Then a hand-held if fine and you have one less thing to get stolen from the boat.
- - The new VHF's can be had with a "ram-mike" as a secondary control. The radio can be mounted below decks and the "ram-mile" run up to the cockpit. Since anything electrical/electronic tends to fail now and then, having a hand-held VHF is only prudent. And a big plus when you want to monitor ch16 and ch 14/11/XX when transiting a major harbor. In all cases you want to have a VHF in the cockpit - when the USCG approaches you for inspection, etc. if they see anybody going below - like to use the radio - you will be boarded and thoroughly searched as they think that the person going below went down there to "flush the drugs" down the toilet.
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Old 04-12-2009, 19:16   #26
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If your boat can handle a stationary one, go for it. Handhelds do not have the range.

We have a SH (handheld) and it is very good. Clearer sound than from our stationary (ICOM). I also like the handheld Ray because it uses re-chargables and charges them from the cradle. Cool.

Still, if viable, get a stationary unit too. The new SH with AIS built-in looks very interesting - you can view the other boats via its built-in AIS functionality and then call them directly by their MSI number.

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Old 05-12-2009, 06:40   #27
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yeah, Standard Horizon seems to be at the "forefront" of full featured radio gear. Their Standard Horizon GX2100 and also the CPV 550 with VHF, AIS, Loudhailer and can interface with several brands of chart plotters.
- - All for about US$400 for the GX2100 and $1430 for the Chart plotter.
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Old 11-12-2009, 11:57   #28
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Icom makes some nice, rugged, reasonably priced, mil-spec handheld units. You can get adapters that replace the removable rubber-ducky antenna for an N-connector external antenna, effectively turning the handheld unit into a mini base station.
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:32   #29
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Practical Sailor reviews 4 handhelds in this months issue. Top rated were the SH HX8505 and HX 280S. Also recommended are ICOM M36 and Cobra HH325 VP. All were excellent or good in the electrical performance.

VHF radios are line of sight which means that range is more a function of height of the antenna rather than the amount of power. A typical handheld can transmit about 5 miles and a typical fixed base can transmit about 20 miles. Performance of the handheld can be improved by connecting to an external antenna.

Where I sail I have both the handheld (ICOM) and a fixed base on at the same time. I have never received a transmission on the fixed base that I did not also receive on the handheld. As for transmission I can't say, but very few of the distances here are more than 5 miles distant. I guess it depends on where you are sailing.

Handhelds also have a safety function. If the worse happens and you go into the water the fixed base radio is less helpful than the handheld attached to your belt.

BoatUS BoatTECH Guides: VHF Radios
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Old 11-12-2009, 14:56   #30
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In many cases, a handheld VHF is more expensive than a fixed mount 25 watt VHF. Standard Horizon's GX1000S Is $99 msrp, and needs only an antenna and mount which can be had for $50. Most HH's cost more.

5 watts goes further with a masthead antenna, but 25 watts go further still. You can easily wire a fixed mount VHF to a GPS to benefit from the Coast Guard's Rescue 21 system (DSC) but I know of no HH's that can accept a data connection to a separate GPS. I know of 4 HH's that have internal GPS and can do DSC, but they are well over the price of the GX1000S, which offers a very wide implementation of DSC considering it is really an SC101 unit rather than a class "D" radio.

Having said that, I would encourage you to get both. Keep the hand held charged, and keep the fixed mount in good working order. It is easy to forget about the masthead antenna, but it is not a universal failing!
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