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Old 27-12-2009, 10:06   #1
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Most Powerful Handheld VHF

OK, I am totally electronic illiterate (that is what men are for ). My eyes tend to glaze over when ya talk tech, but now I need a handheld and it is too cold to work ( actually, I am being lazy, its quite beautiful here in Texas) Anyways I am looking for a handheld VHF around 150-200 that has the most power / range, waterproof. I dont need anything fancy (I wont use it anyways). I would love something that can take AA batteries.

Thanks!
Erika

PS while researching I found one that has an "auto rewind" can someone explain what that is?

PSS sorry for the "that is what men are for" comment but you guys do seem to love this stuff
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Old 27-12-2009, 11:05   #2
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Standar Horizon HX471S

5W max transmit power, built in GPS and DSC capability. $212 at Defender. A little above your price range, but I think having built in DSC is worth it.
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Old 27-12-2009, 11:08   #3
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Hand held VHF's do not get over 6 watts....not that I have ever seen. Figure on them being good for about a mile for line of sight communication.

Yes, AA batteries are nice. Rechargeable batteries are expensive, still require a spare, don't store enough power and are a PITA in my opinion.
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Old 27-12-2009, 11:10   #4
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built in GPS
Sorry--I just checked and the GPS is not built in. May still be a good radio, but not as good as I thought.
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Old 27-12-2009, 11:14   #5
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None of the cheaper handheld vhf's meet your specifications.

Powerboat Reports gave their top rating to the
Standard HX350S

http://www.powerboat-reports.com/new...13-2-Guide.pdf

Standard HX350S Is Top-Rated Waterproof Handheld VHF Radio
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Old 27-12-2009, 11:15   #6
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HX850S Floating Handheld VHF

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Sorry--I just checked and the GPS is not built in. May still be a good radio, but not as good as I thought.
You want Standard Horizon HX860S with built in GPS and DSC, also same price from defender: HX850S Floating Handheld VHF
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Old 27-12-2009, 12:16   #7
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Standard horizon hx860s, I'll go check it out. I can go to 250 but since I want a basic HH it seems a bit high. So in order to get the higher watts I need the fancy gps model?
Thanks for your help and input,
Erika
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Old 27-12-2009, 12:34   #8
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If you don't want the GPS, you can get a basic 5W handheld like this: HX280S 5 Watt Submersible Handheld VHF ($89).

I think GPS & DSC are important safety features, worth a few bucks more.
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Old 27-12-2009, 12:59   #9
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thanks ziggy, this will be my dinghy and kayak vhf so the fancy shmancy gps and dsc is not needed. My onboard HH will have the fancy shmancy stuff to double as the ditch bag HH.
Thanks,
Erika
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Old 27-12-2009, 13:41   #10
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This one VHF RADIO HH 5W WATERPROF W/BELTCLIP NiMH&CHARGER 166514 is $10 less and a AA battery tray is included in the price

I've had good luck with Standard Horizon radios in the past--very reliable.
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Old 27-12-2009, 15:06   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean Girl View Post
OK, I am totally electronic illiterate (that is what men are for ). My eyes tend to glaze over when ya talk tech, .........
PS while researching I found one that has an "auto rewind" can someone explain what that is?

PSS sorry for the "that is what men are for" comment but you guys do seem to love this stuff
Auto rewind......never heard of it myself but some other man might know .
I am GUESSING that it records the last reception (say for the last minute or so) so you can replay it back to yourself. Makes it easier to understand a poor reception and/or you don't have to request a repeat from the sender - just guessing.

By the way, we (I?) love it when you know what we are good at
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Old 27-12-2009, 15:24   #12
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The major limiting factor in VHF range (handheld or fixed) is line of sight (a clear line from your antenna to theirs). You can greatly improve your handhelds VHF's range by simply climbing up the mast, or connecting her to a masthead antenna. That being said I think wattage (especially as reported by the manufacturer) should be a non-concern for you. I have no doubt some handhelds will outperform others, but I have my doubts that this revolves around their wattages, and has more to do with other aspects of their build. I think you should be more concerned in all the other bells and whistles and issues. Since it's for dinghy use I reccomend waterproof, and floating if possible, and small and convient to carry.
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Old 27-12-2009, 15:42   #13
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Ocenagirl... Ziggy is right on... There's no substitute for watts and the HX850 from Standard Horizons is the cats' meow.
I have one and it's everything they claim. Register the number with the CG and if you need to it can double as a distress beacon. EPIRB. with GPS signal transmitted to aid in your rescue. That alone is reason enough to step up to the pay window and drop 200$ on it. I love mine.
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Old 27-12-2009, 15:59   #14
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Erika - We have both the HX850 with all the bells and whistles, and a regular old Icom M34 (it is a little above your desired budget, but I really like that it floats and with my stumble-fingers, I've been glad of that a couple of times).

The HX850 is the night watch radio, since I figure if he/she should go over, then being able to radio back to the boat with coordinates is a good thing. It also has a feeble strobe on it that I guess is better than nothing, but I wouldn't pin my hopes on it.

The range of each radio is about the same. The battery life is significantly better on the M34. Both will also take AA instead of the rechargeables, but Icom says that the weight of the AA is such that the M34 might not float with them. The Icom is a bit lighter and smaller.

Both radios are reasonably durable -- neither of us are especially kind to them and they've held up well. I did have to return the first HX850, as there was a bad run of them when the cases would crack, but it was a recall and easy exchange.

ID
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Old 27-12-2009, 16:14   #15
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Thanks for the feedback I have an antenna already up my mast (looks like a metz from down here), I can tap into that? how? I have had good history with Standard and like the reasonable prices. Thanks guys, you all are the best
Erika

PS I have an antenna but no VHF (the "mounted" kind) that will be another project but one thing at a time, again totally electronically challenged, the HH is my baby step towards a mounted kind.
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