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Old 18-11-2016, 10:32   #1
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Thumbs down Beware of sinking submersible VHF!

If you have a Entel submersible portable VHF radio or consider buying one, be aware that these radio sink like rocks. Read on to learn from my own experience …

When walking a marina dock in the Canaries recently, my VHF felt in the water.
Being advertised as submersible, I did not panic. When the radio disappeared from the surface, sinking like a rock, I quickly got a scuba tank and dove to get the radio back. With less than 15 minutes of submersion in just 15 feet of water, I expected the radio to be fine. But when I recovered it, I saw the blank screen (the radio was on when it felt) and I had a bad feeling.
I rinsed the radio with fresh water, dried it and took the battery out. Only the battery did survive somehow! The radio itself had water inside and the tiny screws had a very unusual head so I could not take it apart. So I contacted the manufacturer via chat online and spoke with a company customer service representative. She contacted the technical dpt who said that there was nothing I could do myself and that the radio was ‘toast’. I asked about their warranty but then after they checked the serial number, it happened that the radio was just over 2 years old so no guaranty would apply … I asked if they could sell me a re-furbished radio (since the battery, belt holder and antennas were fine … NO …. Would the company offer me any solution other than buying another radio at full value??? “Write us an email and we’ll see” This was over 1 month ago and 2 emails later, I have received no reply. Would I ever buy another ENGEL radio?? I don’t think so and my next VHF will be a FLOATING WATERPROOF not a SINKING SUBMERSIBLE!
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Old 18-11-2016, 10:58   #2
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Re: Beware of sinking submersible VHF!

Well, no offense, but "submersible" does not mean that it will float. In fact, I always thought it was pretty well understood that a "submersible" radio will sink. If you want a radio that floats then you have to buy one that floats. And the specifications on the radio clearly state that it is submersible to a depth of 2 meters. Yours went to a depth more than twice that. So there is no evidence that the radio does not (did not) perform exactly as it is supposed to.

Yes, I suppose that it is important to remember that "submersible" and "floating" are two very different words, with two very different meanings. I suppose it is also important to remember that a two-year warranty expires after two years. Still, I see nothing in your post that would indicate that Entel did anything other than what I would expect a responsible company to do. It would be nice if they were willing to go above and beyond the call, but that would, of course, be above and beyond the call--not something that should just be expected as a matter of course.

I'm sorry that this happened to you, but I guess it is a lesson learned. Better luck in the future.
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Old 18-11-2016, 12:01   #3
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Re: Beware of sinking submersible VHF!

I am not accusing them of not honoring their promises ... just that after my experience, I realized (albeit a little late) that a sinking submersible radio will only survive if it falls in a puddle (less than 6ft you say?) not anywhere in a lake or ocean environment.
If on the other hand, one has just a plain waterproof radio that float, no harm would be done. I have a regular VHF in an inexpensive waterproof bag and that one would have survived easily ... also not making necessary for me to dive in cold water to get it .. all for nothing anyway.

So my post is just food for thought! I learned from this experience that a floating waterproof radio would better resist this kind of mishap ... alas to common around water.

Now... you make me wonder.... in what circumstances would you think any sinking submersible radio would have the advantage over a waterproof floating one?

Again, I am not bashing the manufacturer here ... just trying to have others beware of what they get when they get this type of radio .. that's all!

And, btw, any business that value customer satisfaction would have offered some simple and win-win solution to my problem In that case, I would still use a similar radio but I would attach a float to it ... now, I am going to buy a radio from their competitors.
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Old 18-11-2016, 12:28   #4
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Re: Beware of sinking submersible VHF!

Yes, there is a difference between 'floating waterproof' handhelds and 'waterproof' handhelds. I actually bought a sinker because it was smaller.

Also, just because it says waterproof doesn't mean it really is. IPX7 means up submerged up to 3 ft, and IPX8 means over 3 ft, but a lot of this is marketing because they figure that very few customers are going diving.
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Old 18-11-2016, 12:35   #5
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Re: Beware of sinking submersible VHF!

Yes, we too often fall for marketing hype ...
And perfect products rarely exist
And with that said, I now sign off
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Old 18-11-2016, 12:47   #6
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Re: Beware of sinking submersible VHF!

I doubt very seriously that you can buy a radio that is waterproof.
Several years ago I bought a rather expensive Luminox dive watch, I wore it on my 12 yr old Daughters check out dive to 60' if I remember right, upon returning to the surface I found it had flooded.
Upon contacting Luminox I found out that it was water resistant to 200 meters, but not water proof.
I guess it resisted and lost? A few hundred dollars later repair job and it now resides in my dresser.
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Old 18-11-2016, 14:38   #7
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Re: Beware of sinking submersible VHF!

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I doubt very seriously that you can buy a radio that is waterproof.
Several years ago I bought a rather expensive Luminox dive watch, I wore it on my 12 yr old Daughters check out dive to 60' if I remember right, upon returning to the surface I found it had flooded.
Upon contacting Luminox I found out that it was water resistant to 200 meters, but not water proof.
I guess it resisted and lost? A few hundred dollars later repair job and it now resides in my dresser.
Watch "depth ratings" are for static pressure. As soon as you start waving your arm around in the water, the pressure can far exceed the "depth pressure".

Was your Luminox actually marked "Divers Watch 200m" IAW ISO 6425?
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Old 18-11-2016, 14:44   #8
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Re: Beware of sinking submersible VHF!

When purchasing a hand held vhf radio I found the floating models typically were larger due to the flotation. Presumed the submersible aspect would protect against splashing or casual water not submersion.
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Old 18-11-2016, 14:47   #9
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Re: Beware of sinking submersible VHF!

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Originally Posted by lucseawalker View Post
Now... you make me wonder.... in what circumstances would you think any sinking submersible radio would have the advantage over a waterproof floating one?
I've got a couple of nice compact radios that are waterproof but not floating. They are much more convenient to carry around than a big bulky floating one.

I don't plan on them going over the side unaccompanied. I don't leave them lying around where they are likely to go over the side, they have a good holster/belt clip and are secure unless actually being talked into.

The waterproofing is in case of them getting wet while in a dinghy, shipping a big wave or if the wearer goes over the side - in which case, he/she provided the buoyancy.
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Old 18-11-2016, 14:49   #10
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Re: Beware of sinking submersible VHF!

Needs a "VFD"...VHF Floatation Device. 😉
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Old 19-11-2016, 10:52   #11
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Re: Beware of sinking submersible VHF!

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Needs a "VFD"...VHF Floatation Device. 😉
My now-elderly Res-Q-Fix PLB has a "float jacket" for this very reason. Of course, it works best with the antenna in the air.
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Old 19-11-2016, 11:01   #12
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Re: Beware of sinking submersible VHF!

Yeah, Ive had float jackets for GPSs and SPOTs have one. Bound to be some for VHFs...or just have some one sew up a neoprene sleeve.
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Old 19-11-2016, 11:12   #13
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Re: Beware of sinking submersible VHF!

They're designed to be drenched so you can truly rely on them on deck at the helm or if you are transferring to another boat or raft.

Probably okay to put in a bucket of water. But can't expect them to be okay in depth. It's a radio. Not an anchor.
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Old 19-11-2016, 11:21   #14
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Re: Beware of sinking submersible VHF!

I use a tiny gadget the size of a throwaway cigarette lighter. If it lands in the water it blows up an orange baloon. Or at least that is what is suppose to happen. Have not tried it since it is a single use. Www.water-buoy.com
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Old 19-11-2016, 11:43   #15
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Re: Beware of sinking submersible VHF!

Check out Standard Horizon Hand Held VHF's- most float and 3 year guarantee on waterproofness.
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