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Old 13-06-2011, 13:22   #1
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? "Low Power" VHF ?

Hello, first post from a soon-to-be first timer on ICW. I have learned from reviewing forum posts and reading in various ICW guides that when communicating w/another boat or a bridge that you should use the "low power" setting on your VHF. I understand WHY but have a question about what to do in my particular circumstance.

I am not using a large powerful bulkhead unit w/antenna but rather a hand held West Marine unit that has three settings. They are 1, 2.5 and 5 watt. Which should I use so that I don't contaminate airwaves w/irrelevant broadcasts yet am able to contact bridge or another ship about passing, etc.?

Thanks,
TheFish
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Old 13-06-2011, 13:32   #2
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Re: ? "Low Power" VHF ?

5 watt on a hand held is fine,you want to be heard for bridges, pluss you are not on ch16.
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Old 13-06-2011, 13:37   #3
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Re: ? "Low Power" VHF ?

Your antenna solution will matter more than your power out. With a rubber antenna, things will be "okay" with 5w (do not go any less than 5w under any circumstance), bith a decent antenna, things will be much better.
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Old 13-06-2011, 14:01   #4
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Re: ? "Low Power" VHF ?

Instead of thinking about it as watts, think of it as 1 mile, 2.5 mile, and 5 mile - that's about the range of VHF per watt. If you're trying to communicate with the boat directly next to you in a passing situation, 1 mile/1 watt setting will be fine. If you want to talk to a bridge a couple of miles ahead, the 5 mile/5 watt setting will be fine.
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Old 13-06-2011, 14:39   #5
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Re: ? "Low Power" VHF ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFish View Post
Hello, first post from a soon-to-be first timer on ICW. I have learned from reviewing forum posts and reading in various ICW guides that when communicating w/another boat or a bridge that you should use the "low power" setting on your VHF. I understand WHY but have a question about what to do in my particular circumstance.

I am not using a large powerful bulkhead unit w/antenna but rather a hand held West Marine unit that has three settings. They are 1, 2.5 and 5 watt. Which should I use so that I don't contaminate airwaves w/irrelevant broadcasts yet am able to contact bridge or another ship about passing, etc.?

Thanks,
TheFish
Many times on the ICW you will be within range of more then one bridge.

Of course you identify the bridge when you hail them.. but things can get confusing when there are multiple boats transiting multiple bridges.

It is good counsel to use low power to speak to the bridge. Even with your handheld, you are unlikely to be having the conversation much earlier then when you can see the bridge anyway.

If nothing else, it will aggravate the snot out of the rest of the tenders (they can get cranky) if you use High Power, and they have to talk over your conversation to operate the other bridges in range.

If you don't get a reply on 1w, then use a higher power setting.
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Old 13-06-2011, 15:53   #6
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Re: ? "Low Power" VHF ?

Welcome Aboard Cruisers Forum and enjoy the site....
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Old 14-06-2011, 07:37   #7
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Re: ? "Low Power" VHF ?

Thanks to all. Am very appreciative that all of you took time to respond. Will act accordingly. Hope that someday I will be able to return favor.

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Old 14-06-2011, 07:43   #8
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Re: ? "Low Power" VHF ?

Try the lowest power setting first if you are within one mile. There is already enough noise pollution on the VHF from people unnecessarily using the highest power settings.
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