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Old 20-01-2012, 17:09   #1
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Standard Horizon VHF Issues ?

This is my first post here and I'm a new user so be gentle...

Out of the blue, my mounted Standard Horizon VHF just quit working. It would turn on, but would not send or receive on any channel. I checked the connections and the antennae and everything seemed to be fine. I thought it was the radio itself, since it came with the boat and I'm not sure how old it is. I went out and bought a new Standard Horizon. It had exactly the same issues as the last.

I decided that maybe it was the antennae. I went up the mast and replaced the antennae with a new one. Radio still doesn't send or receive. Just to test it out, I put in a friend's old West Marine radio and it works perfectly, sends and receives on all channels and can communicate from Long Beach to Newport. Then, I hook up another friend's Standard Horizon that we know to be working and it also won't send or receive.

Am I missing something here? If one VHF works, shouldn't they all? The old Standard Horizon that quit working abruptly worked fine for the year and a half I've owned the boat and I installed the new one exactly as the instructions specified. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 20-01-2012, 19:09   #2
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Re: Standard Horizon VHF issues?

OK, well this is a strange one. Let see if I am understanding this correctly.
You have tried 3 Standard Horizon radios (1 new, 1 old but working & 1 old and unknown condition but probably OK).
None of them send or receive but all turn on.
You have tried 1 West Marine radio and it was OK.
Most likely problem is that your "installation" failed in someway that effects the SH model. By the way, you should try both your original and new SH radio in your friends boat just to prove the radios are OK.

I am not familiar with either radio but I presume they really only need positive and negative 12 Volt power and an antenna like most other VHF radios. This being so, perhaps the most likely cause is that you have a high resistance in your power supply and that the SH radio draws more current than the WM one when turned on which explains why the WM works and the SH doesn't.

Best way to check is to measure the voltage right at the back of the radio when it is turned on and especially when you try to transmit. Any voltage say lower than 11.5 volts would indicate you have a power supply problem in the boat wiring and especially if the volts drop significantly from when it is turned off to being turned on.

By the way, when you say the radio turns on, do you mean just the display lights up or can you also get noise (hash) out of the speaker when the squelch is opened (unmuted) and does the volume of this noise increase under the control of the volume knob.

If you can receive the background hash (receiver noise etc) then the power supply "should" be good enough to receive real transmissions if your antenna is working OK.

Let us know if what the voltage is doing when measured at the back of the radio.
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Old 20-01-2012, 19:13   #3
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Re: Standard Horizon VHF issues?

And oh, welcome aboard; lets the radio problem sorted an then you can enjoy everything else that CF has to offer!
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Old 20-01-2012, 19:29   #4
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Re: Standard Horizon VHF issues?

Thanks!

Yes you are correct. 3 Standard Horizon radios (1 new, 1 old but working & 1 old and unknown condition but probably OK). None of them send or receive but all turn on. On all radios, the display lights up AND you also get noise (hash) out of the speaker when the squelch is opened (unmuted) and the volume of this noise increases under the control of the volume knob. But even with the squelch opened the radios don't receive or send transmissions, even from 10 feet away.

You are also correct about the installation. One positive, one negative and an antennae. It's pretty straightforward.

I'm not sure if the Standard Horizons will work in my friend's boat, that should be the next thing I check. Ha! Should've tried that earlier, seems obvious.

Also, I'll report back with the voltage next time I make it down to the slip.
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Old 21-01-2012, 02:16   #5
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Re: Standard Horizon VHF issues?

Quote:
Originally Posted by davetastic View Post
.... On all radios, the display lights up AND you also get noise (hash) out of the speaker when the squelch is opened (unmuted) and the volume of this noise increases under the control of the volume knob. But even with the squelch opened the radios don't receive or send transmissions, even from 10 feet away........
Then you have an antenna problem of some sort. The hash tells us the receive audio part of the radio is OK but if you are not receiving any signals (on all 3 radios), you are NOT getting any RF signal into the receiver.

I assume you don't have any external coax switch or AIS or the like in your antenna system.

The radio should receive nearby stations (ie strong signals) with just a piece wire coat hangar stuck in the rear coax connector so stick a bit of wire say 2 feet long into the centre contact of the rear coax connector and see if your receive any nearby transmissions. BTW, don't try to transmit into this temporary antenna, it MIGHT harm the transmitter.

The fact that the WM radio worked could be a red herring, perhaps you have an intermittent coax or coax connector and it just worked the time you used the WM radio!

If you do receive nearby transmissions, start trouble shooting the antenna system. We can describe how to do this once we know we have to!
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Old 21-01-2012, 05:45   #6
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Re: Standard Horizon VHF issues?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, davetastic.
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Old 21-01-2012, 06:14   #7
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Re: Standard Horizon VHF issues?

Take a good look at the antenna connector...make sure there are no strands or solder past the manufactured tip...have seen where a dab will short out antennas occasionally and the different brand radio could be internally different in some way. If looks good...I'd just solder on a new connector and see what happens. Again it could be a fault inside the connector and the Standard radios are causing it to surface.

Sorry...not real technical but I have hooked up/troubleshot hundreds of radios.
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Old 21-01-2012, 06:15   #8
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Re: Standard Horizon VHF issues?

You have isolated it to the antenna system.... antenna or cable, or connections. Since the WM radio works, I'd start by replacing the connector that's exposed to weather (more likely to have a corrosion issue) then if that doesn't cure your problem change the connector at the radio end. Or just run a whole new test cable assembly external to the mast.

A few years back my VHF antenna was struck by lightning and I taped a temporary replacement cable to the standing rigging. Used it that way for 2 years before I got around to unstepping the mast and running it internally.
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Old 24-01-2012, 11:39   #9
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Re: Standard Horizon VHF Issues ?

Davetastic,

Please list the Model # of the Standard Horizon Radios?
You mentioned that the SH radio does not receive even from 10 feet away, can you receive the weather channels? What channel are you using to test transmit and receive? This will allow me to determine whether you are using a simplex or duplex channel. Simplex Channels like channel 16 (156.800 MHz) allow two radios to communicate directly (boat to boat), duplex channels like 25 use transmit (157.250MHZ) and receive (161.850MHz) on different frequencies IE Marine Operator calls.
Note that if you are using a duplex channels such as channel 25 the radios will send and receive on different frequencies and you will not hear your test call on the other radio.
Is the radio in USA, Canadian or International mode?


Often times when the radio can receive but cannot transmit there is an issue with the antenna. This occurs when there is a short in the antenna system. This can include a bad connector, a knick in the antenna cable, or a crack in an older antenna. The Standard Horizon Fixed Mount 25 Watt VHF radios are designed to shut down the amplifier and transmit at less than 1 watt if the antenna is not working properly.

If you have another antenna onboard, please try connecting this VHF radio to the other antenna to determine if the problem exists with your current antenna. If this is not a possibility, you might take your VHF radio and antenna to a local marine technician with an SWR meter. They can connect your radio and antenna to this meter and tell you if your antenna needs to be replaced or not. I personally use a Shakespeare Style ART-3 radio and antenna tester to check my antennas. The ART-3 is available at your local marine store.

If your radio still does not function with a known good antenna, I would suggest connecting the unit directly to the 12.5 volt battery with the engine off to ensure that you do not have a grounding issue or low current draw. If the radio still does not perform, please consider sending the radio to our facility for repair at:

Vertex Standard
Attn: Marine Repair
6125 Phyllis Dr.
Cypress CA 90630

Jason Kennedy
Executive Vice President
Standard Horizon
800-767-2450
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Old 24-01-2012, 11:58   #10
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Re: Standard Horizon VHF Issues ?

I had problems with poor reception and a crackling noise. In the end the solution was simply to replace the length of coax between the radio and the mast base (there's an inline connection there)

Used new Shakespeare coax and gold plated solderable connectors.

You could have an intermittent connection in a connector OR a failure inside the cable, and it's pure luck that the connection was OK when the WM radio was installed.
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Old 24-01-2012, 12:11   #11
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Re: Standard Horizon VHF Issues ?

C'mon people. Gotta give it up to Standard Horizon for the completely, totally above and beyond the call awesome tech support on an internet forum!!!!

Way to go guys, you just sold me a radio!
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Old 24-01-2012, 13:08   #12
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Re: Standard Horizon VHF Issues ?

I bought an emergency antenna like this which proved that my issue lay with the boat's installed antenna and cabling.

Shakespeare Antenna Specifications: Shakespeare Stowaway™ 5911 VHF Marine Band

It's a handy thing to have around anyway. About $40 over the interweb.
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Old 24-01-2012, 13:48   #13
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Re: Standard Horizon VHF Issues ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by xymotic View Post
C'mon people. Gotta give it up to Standard Horizon for the completely, totally above and beyond the call awesome tech support on an internet forum!!!!

Way to go guys, you just sold me a radio!
I have two Standard Horizon radios and a Standard Horizon GPS. As far as I am concerned Standard Horizon has customer service second to none. Every time I have called them, their tech support has been knowledgeable and extremely helpful.
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Old 24-01-2012, 13:55   #14
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Re: Standard Horizon VHF Issues ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by xymotic View Post
C'mon people. Gotta give it up to Standard Horizon for the completely, totally above and beyond the call awesome tech support on an internet forum!!!!

Way to go guys, you just sold me a radio!
Absolutely. SH has tech support and policies second to none I've ever dealt with. And Jason is a ham and head of their marine division...knowledgeable, helpful, and totally supportive.

And, maybe best of all, SH has a standard repair charge for their radios: $65. I recently had to avail myself of that due to a stupid error on my part which fried one of the circuits. They repaired it quickly and completely.

Two thumbs up for Standard Horizon!!

And, by the way, their radios are great....a cut above the competition!

Bill
WA6CCA
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Old 24-01-2012, 14:21   #15
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Re: Standard Horizon VHF Issues ?

dave, I'd say Mark has the simplest diagnostic and this is definitely an antenna or antenna cable problem. If you don't want to buy or make a proper emergency antenna, take a wire coat hangar or about 19" of copper wire, and stick it into the center of the antenna connector on the radio. And I'll bet the radio now receives and transmits just fine. (That wire should be safe for transmitting, for a short test. 19" is actually close to the proper length for a VHF antenna.)

If the radio(s) work with the 19" wire, then you know for sure the problem is in the antenna/cable and since you've just replaced the antenna, it is probably the cable. They do chafe, they do decay internally, they do get waterlogged, so any antenna cable five years old is probably due for replacement, unless someone used prime quality cable and installed it in a most unusually good manner.

While you don't need gold plated monster nonsense, don't cheap out on the new cable.
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