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Old 22-01-2009, 19:58   #1
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VHF Marine Radio question??

I am looking to replace my Marine radio for the simple reason that I would like to have radio contact while at the Helm. My current radio does work but is dated, so instead of purchasing a handheld, I'd like to get mounted radio with a optional mic for the cockpit. Currently looking at the uniden um625c vhf-dsc and the wham cordless mic. Does anybody know if the 2.4 ghz cordless misc works well or would I be better off to have a hard wired mic in the cockpit. I prefer not to use a power drill on my boat if it is not necessary.

Thanks Rob
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Old 22-01-2009, 20:12   #2
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I have friends with the Uniden and they like it. I use a RAM wired Mic. I use the Icom and neighbors use the Standard Horizon. They both work. Sure beats going below. The alternative is a hand held. They are great fro bridges and folks close and marinas. A Mic at the helm is nice.

Power drills are not dangerous it's the sailor on the other end you watch out for. Drilling is a nervous idea but you measure twice and drill once. With both you need to bring them in at night since they are both able to be stolen. No one has ever tried but they are easy to grab.
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Old 22-01-2009, 21:27   #3
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One option might be to mount a completely separate VHF in the cockpit, with it's own antenna on the pushpit. This gives complete redundancy and isn't much more expensive -- if any -- than the cost of a RAM mic, since VHF's are incredibly inexpensive these days.

Bill
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Old 23-01-2009, 00:45   #4
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The other option would be to get a handheld which could be used in the cockpit and has other uses. I replaced my old unit with one that has a ram mic for the cockpit. An that works quite well. If you find yourself traversing shipping lanes short handed having at least a speaker topside is a great idea. I ordered a handheld before seting off last summer. Unfortunataley it didn't arrive on time. There were a few occasions that it would have been really nice to have at least clear transmissions incoming in the cockpit.
Begore leaving last year there were 2 things that I ordered that had not arrived. Some replacemnet bulbs and that handheld. A box arrived at the house soon after departing. I instructed the misses who met up with us at block island to stick the one box that came in a duffle. She didn't. Every time I did a did a cockpit dive to hear the radio transmission end. I would mutter something about remembering. She would say what did you say I retort nice night wish I knew if that was the tug I just talked to. upon returning the box only had the light bulbs.
Please while you upgrade you capabilities remember ch16 here in the US is for emergency broadcast only channel 9 should be used for hailing. I hate the chatter on the radio but try to monitor 16 and 13.
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Old 23-01-2009, 05:33   #5
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Like my hand held

I know the original poster said he didn't want to go the handheld route and I appreciate that. They don't have the range of the fixed radios. My radio is in the cabin and not only is it impossible to hear at the helm but its just nuts thinking about runing back and forth if there were an emergency. So I got the hand held. BUT this year I am going to have a mic put on the pedestal or better yet get a microphone that fits into the remote plug thats sitting nearby on the cabin seat. Its number one on my list...right before the Duch Oven and forward water hose and...
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Old 23-01-2009, 06:37   #6
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There are a number of radios with remote mics. We use an Icom M-604 - rather spendy if you buy it at West, but check the web for dealers selling at better prices - try Star Marine Depot at $519 for the radio and $128 for the remote mic, for example.
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Old 23-01-2009, 09:38   #7
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I had an earlier model than the one you are looking at, and all I can say is go wired!
The boat I had it on was a 27' hunter. I mounted the WHAM module high on the salon roof as close to the cockpit as i could.
The volume was ok, but you would miss the first 1-2 seconds of every transmission. Also you had to key, count one second then talk or else you would not get your first words out. I swapped out the radio, the WHAM Module, and the WHAM mike. No changes!

I now have a wired unit, and find it fantastic! While I have problems when on a tack opposite of the mike as you have to wrap it around to reach it. A small price to pay to hear everything and be heard.
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Old 24-01-2009, 08:54   #8
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Sabray- I have always understood that 16 can be used for general hailing, and that once contact was established that we change to another channel to continue our communication. This is because not all boats that have a radio have other channels, but all have 16. To quote the Annapolis book (Rousmaniere) "Channel 16 is the distress channel continuously monitored by the Coast Guard and other agencies; it is also used to initiate communications, which are quickly switched to other channels."
I agree it is irritating to hear somebody chat on 16. Sometimes in Florida I had to hail on 16 because the marina was not listening to anywhere else. I am just always aware that everyone else is listening, and to hurry and get my business elsewhere.
Sorry to hijack the thread for a moment. Just consider it a commercial interruption.
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Old 24-01-2009, 09:31   #9
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Newt - you are correct

DISTRESS SAFETY AND CALLING - Use this channel to get the attention of another station (calling) or in emergencies (distress and safety). (16)

from:
http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/ind...=ship_stations

Of course with DSC, 16 should be freed up from some hailing calls.

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Old 24-01-2009, 10:31   #10
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VHF channel 16 is an international hailing and distress frequency - that's correct. However, in some areas, the Coast Guard has specifically called for (via Local Notices and other channels) the use of VHF channel 9 as the primary hailing channel and discourages the use of VHF channel 16 for all but the most important calls. This is the case in the Chesapeake Bay, for example. Granted it makes for confusion in a number of ways, but there it is.

As to DSC somehow easing the load, in all the years I've owned a DSC capable radio, I have yet to even hear an "all call" message, let alone a station specific call. In inshore waters, even the Coast Guard opts for cell phone comms over DSC, which, AFAIK, is far being completely installed on USCG facilities.
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Old 24-01-2009, 10:46   #11
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After having a VHF stolen from my boat, I installed its replacement inside, at the Nav station, and wired a RAM at the helm. I chose a telephone-like mic so I could dial in MMSI numbers easily, and unplug it to lock up inside when not in use. Standard Horizon is my choice of manufacturer, for price, quality, and support. You will see their Vice President for Marketing respond to technical issues from users at www.thehulltruth.com Wow!
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Old 24-01-2009, 10:47   #12
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Ocean Navigator reported in Jan/Feb 2007:

Quote:
The U.S. Coast Guard has asked wireless phone service providers to remove the key sequence *CG from their services and reroute the calls to any local 911 service.
The key sequence was introduced in the early 1990s. Originally, the service worked like dialing a 911 public safety answering point (PSAP), routing the call to the nearest PSAP location. By keying *CG, calls from mariners in distress would be routed to the Coast Guard.
Depending upon the area code of the phone initiating the call, however, the call might not be routed to the nearest Coast Guard Station. For example, by dialing from a phone with a 305 area code a mariner might reach the Coast Guard in Miami, despite the fact that he was in trouble in New York Harbor. This might result in serious delays in response time. Multiple cellular services and poor cellular coverage also contributed to the decision to discontinue *CG service. The only exception to this is Alaska, where the Coast Guard has a single routing number for *CG.
The Coast Guard recommends that mariners use VHF/DSC radios to broadcast distress calls, noting that many VHF radios allow the Coast Guard to track a distress call via GPS. Also, by broadcasting the distress call over VHF there is a chance that a nearby vessel could overhear and might be able to render immediate assistance.
Anyone know the current status of the request?



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Old 24-01-2009, 10:58   #13
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Why not have two radios? I like to monitor both channel 16 on one radio and channel 13 on the other. I dont like the scan feature because its frustrating trying to figure out who is on what channel and then having to stop the scan before you can talk. By having two radios on two different channels, you know by which radio is "talking" which radio somebody is on.

Also, quite frequently you will not be able to raise commercial traffic on 16. This is why I also monitor 13. Its often easier to bring up a ship or ferry or tug on 13 than 16.
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Old 26-01-2009, 22:45   #14
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RB- thanks for the tip about Chesapeake bay, I have sailed there but never realized that most hailing was going on on channel 9. Speaking of monitoring other channels (we might as well open another topic ) I was in an ASA class sailing up the Houston Ship Channel when a tug hailed us and told us in so many words that if we were in that bay we better be listening to Channel 11. I think the instructor was rather miffed at being called out, but with tankers behind us and tugs in front of us he had a point.
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Old 26-01-2009, 23:23   #15
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The business with VHF channel 11 is Houston has a Vessel Tracing Service (VTS) in place and VHF comms with VTS are on 11. So that means a listening watch on 16, 11, and I'd still include 13 (bridge to bridge comms). OTOH, no points for style to the tug for calling anyone out.

Most of the big guys are at least polite when called by us small fry. A few ships have been a tad grumpy, and, in my one contact with the QE2, the pilot was downright snotty. 'Course, calls like "freighter in the Chesapeake, freighter in the Chesapeake..." or "we're the white boat with the white sails" won't get too far.
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