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Old 25-11-2013, 12:51   #31
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Re: Hand held VHF range

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Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
Thanks, I thought maybe they had a mile high antenna in Prescott.

In skip conditions I've talked to boats in Rochester from Toronto.
One regularly hears Lake Erie USCG alerts if some Hobie's gone AOT off Cleveland, so I will wager they've got some lofty repeaters, as well. I've done boat-to-boat at 30 miles, and heard a lot farther under the same "skippy" conditions, but you can only count on line-of-sight, and under certain conditions where the warm is layered over the cold or vice-versa during a sunspot outbreak...it's hard to raise the CBC on the stereo!

The end result is that I always estimate VHF range on the low side, and plan accordingly. I was just sailing in France and despite their still being a lot of boats out in November, I found the VHF usage is a lot less than here in North America, and is invariably professional-sounding on both ends, like it was before they did away with the station licences and you had to have a clue about radio etiquette.

Of course, licensing is expensive there and you don't want to screw up when tout le monde est ecoute (can't be bothered with the accents!)
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Old 25-11-2013, 13:01   #32
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Re: Hand held VHF range

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This radio is a 6W transmitter instead of the normal 5W. Maybe that makes a bit of difference? I'm now thinking of Spinal Tap's amplifier that goes to 11Ö

Mark
Maybe, but I prefer to think it just delivers a clearer signal over the same range. I took radio courses in school, so maybe it's just my attempts at clear diction and not "swallowing the mike" and being aware of wind noise across the mic and so on, but I generally am understood on my SH HX850 and I use it about 90% compared to the base unit below. I hang it off a cleat and monitor ch. 16 and local WX with it. I also chose it because the antenna unscrews and you can put in one of those emergency roll-up antennas for the base unit. That boots up the range a bit.
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Old 25-11-2013, 15:31   #33
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Re: Hand held VHF range

i've had this standard horizon hx850 for a couple of years now and use it almost exclusively as opposed to the hard wired vhf.

in fact this is my third standard horizon in about twenty years. they seem to hold on forever until the battery goes, and then it's so expensive to replace the battery that i just buy a new handheld....
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Old 25-11-2013, 17:56   #34
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Re: Hand held VHF range

The folks at SH actually apologized to me when I said the replacement battery packs were terribly overpriced, and since they were the old 600mA cells not the newer 1800-2000mA cells that were available, they were damned expensive AND uncompetitive.

But they did apologize for not having better options, and I ent the pack out to a battery rebuilder (there are several with great reps) and simply replaced the old cells with newer stronger NiMh ones. Which seem intent on lasting forever.

Rebuilding battery packs is definitely worth considering, and SH's quality and service are both admirable.

I hate to try counting how many times I've been on someone else's boat and they couldn't reach the launch or whoever on the "big" radio, and my little SH got through like it was hard-wired.
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Old 25-11-2013, 19:36   #35
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Re: Hand held VHF range

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I ent the pack out to a battery rebuilder (there are several with great reps)
Would you mind listing a few?

Thanks,
Jim
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Old 26-11-2013, 09:32   #36
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Re: Hand held VHF range

Jim-
There is (or was, haven't checked)
The NiCad Lady in California and
Bulldog Battery vaguely in Wisconsin or Illinois.

They do ham radio, public service radios, all sorts of h/t's and other packs. Not every pack can be rebuilt, but they deal with you one-on-one and you can pretty much choose how you want it rebuilt, i.e. same as what is in it, or something better and newer.

In theory, you can't replace NiCad with NiMh, but in practice? If you are using "overnight" chargers, you certainly can. The technical differences won't affect packs with long charge times like that.

Bear in mind, if you triple the battery capacity, it will of course take 3x as long to fully recharge the new batteries, unless you also get a higher amperage charger/wallwart. And "overnight" will charge them to the same power that "overnight" did to the old ones, so there's everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Those two companies use first-tier suppliers, i.e. Panasonic, not the anonymous cells from China, but you'd also want to confirm that with anyone who is rebuilding for you. Sometimes they can expedite a 48-hour turnaround but two weeks is more likely.
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Old 26-11-2013, 09:53   #37
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Re: Hand held VHF range

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Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
i've had this standard horizon hx850 for a couple of years now and use it almost exclusively as opposed to the hard wired vhf.

in fact this is my third standard horizon in about twenty years. they seem to hold on forever until the battery goes, and then it's so expensive to replace the battery that i just buy a new handheld....
Yes, I have a battered HX 260 that's nearly unable to charge now, but I could do surgery on the NiCad pack and bring it back. No DSC, though.
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Old 26-11-2013, 12:28   #38
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Re: Hand held VHF range

The SH battery packs tend to be very tightly built, with extra protection diode inside and just enough wiring to reach. Meticulous work will be required, fwiw. Given that and battery prices, might be simpler and cheaper to just send it out.
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Old 26-11-2013, 14:39   #39
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Re: Hand held VHF range

i did take my old standard horizon battery pack to a rebuilder a few years ago and though he gave it a try he said he couldn't do it.

the rebuilder is a chain store called 'battery plus' (or maybe 'batteries plus). they were able to rebuild the battery pack for my 12 volt dewalt drill and my old dremel battery powered tool. i'm pretty sure they're all over the country so you may just want to google them.
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Old 26-11-2013, 14:50   #40
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Re: Hand held VHF range

Some of the battery franchises (afaik they are franchises not chains, all you need is money to open one) are funny. Yes, they have inventory. Last time I went to one I said, nicely, you want $45, home depot wants $35, and I can buy it online with delivery for $25 if I want to wait for it. Can we do anything about the $45 and make a sale here today? And they simply said no.

So I wouldn't expect them to have the electronics technical skills to rebuild a pack, either. I don't think the franchise puts them through expert training for that.
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Old 03-12-2013, 00:25   #41
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Re: Hand held VHF range

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
This radio is a 6W transmitter instead of the normal 5W. Maybe that makes a bit of difference?
There are the two factors:
- power
- line of sight
I use the formula for calculating the radio horizont as:
Radio horizont (in nm)= 2,5 Sqare root out of atenna hig (in meter)
The antenna of Tenerife Trafic is apr. 2.500 high on top of a mountain,
so the radio horizont is 2,5 x 50 nm = 125 nm.
When we aproached Isla Salvage, thats a small island 125 miles north of Tenerife,
we called the ranger station on that island several times.
Tenerife Traffic was calling us, and the quality was quite noisy.
So the power of 25 Watt can reach up to 125 miles when you have line of sight.
The comparison of 5 or 6 Watt of emitting power will show no difference.
Greetings, Wilhelm
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Old 03-12-2013, 00:30   #42
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Re: Hand held VHF range

using an icom handheld, i have a logged qso between bombay and dubai ... sea level locations on both ends ... approx. 2,000 kms ...

but this is rare and subject to weather ...
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Old 03-12-2013, 13:35   #43
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Re: Hand held VHF range

The International Space Station is 205 miles up in orbit, and amateur radio operators routinely contact it with 5 watt handhelds that are extremely close to the marine VHF frequencies.

So, 25 watts for 125 miles? That's overkill. All you need is 5 watts for 205 miles, when the conditions and the line of sight are right. <G>
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Old 03-12-2013, 20:03   #44
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Re: Hand held VHF range

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The International Space Station is 205 miles up in orbit, and amateur radio operators routinely contact it with 5 watt handhelds
actually 5W is an overkill ...

0.5W is plenty ...
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Old 03-12-2013, 23:01   #45
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Re: Hand held VHF range

You are right,
the influence of power is overestimated, its mainly line of sight.
but the orbit station has a better antenna gain than a omnidirecional radial antenna of a sailing boat.
In any case I would recomend to buy an adaptor for the handheld radio that connects the SMA connector (BNC of old radios) to a PL male.
Then you use bedide the normal comunication of the handheld radio:
- you can change the radio and isolate the problem e.g. to a defect cable / antenna or radio.
- you can use the handhald radio as a spare part, if the fixed radio has a defekt
Greetings, Wilhelm
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