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Old 12-05-2009, 08:49   #1
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VHF Troubleshooting - Help!

Hi Folks,

Last year, I didn't think the fixed VHF worked as well as it should, as I could pick up weather (although not well) on channel 2 of my new handheld, but heard nothing on the fixed radio.
I could, however, call Halifax Coast guard radio, and get a response, so I got through the year.

During the winter, I started troubleshooting the antenna wiring, which was bad, and then found the cable actually cut, a few feet from the radio!!! So ,I wasn't even using the masthead antenna. (new to me boat!!)

Fast forward... I have replace all antenna wiring with new RG8 and PL259 (soldered) connectors. Just got the boat in water, mast on.. Called Halifax Coast guard radio OK again, but still can't pick up Weather channel 2 - continous Maritime broadcast.

- the radio / boat came from New England, and I am in Eastern Canada - Nova Scotia... Is there any chance that channel 2 has a different frequency, etc??

- I have another cheap fixed VHF that I tried with the mast head antenna as well, but still the same - can't hear Weather channel 2, or much else, except 16. There are very few boats in the water yet, so traffic is mininal. I can hear Caost guard broad casts on 16, but assume that they likley use repeaters, etc. I have a spare whip, so I disconnected the wiring at the mast bottom, and tried the spare antenna there, with no better results.

Last year I could often hear one side of converations between other boats and the coast guard, for example.

Haven't tried metering the antenna (and wiring) but will do that this weekend. it is a Shakespeare whip, and I read on an other post that it should read a a short.

Advice would be appreciated..
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Old 12-05-2009, 09:41   #2
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You can only receive NOAA Weather broadcasts, if your radio is equipped with the WX feature (most are).

US NOAA Weather Chanel 2 (WX-2) transmits on 162.4 Mhz*.
NOAA Weather Radio

ROC(M): You may wish to take the Restricted Operator Certificate (Maritime) - course:
Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons

A after a channel indicates U.S. mode; B is International mode. Look for a switch on your VHF radio "International - U.S." and set it to "International" setting in Canada.

International VHF Marine Duplex Chanel 02 transmits on: Ship, 156.050, and Shore 160.650.

* These weather channels are only for receiving. You cannot transmit on them.

WX1 ➥ 162.550 MHz

WX2 ➥ 162.400

WX3 ➥ 162.475

WX4 ➥ 162.425

WX5 ➥ 162.450

WX6 ➥ 162.500

WX7 ➥ 162.525
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Old 12-05-2009, 09:45   #3
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Here's another helpful link re VHF

Gord's information is dead right on.
Don't forget your Restricted Operators Certificate.
link - Pat's Boating in Canada: VHF Marine Radio
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:14   #4
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Gord - Thanks for the great info. I will look for a switch on the radio(s).

I did take the basic boating course, from the Power and Sail Squadron, and was impressed with it. I do have intentions on taking other courses as well, so I will consider the course suggested.

Jim - Thanks as well, for the link!
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Old 12-05-2009, 14:18   #5
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After checking the settings, you may want to put a tester in the antenna line. I hope that when you put new cable in that a new antenna went with it? They dont last forever. Since the backup didn't work either the settings are most likely the problem.
Check the transmit power too , hi or low.
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Old 12-05-2009, 18:49   #6
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Correction: My antenna, and spare, are both Metz whip type, not Shakespeare, as mentioned earlier.

I did ue the old antenna, as I had a spare anyway, and doubted they would both be bad. I can always go uo the mast to chage it out.

Will look for a international setting switch first, however.

Thanks for the input!
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Old 12-05-2009, 20:07   #7
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If problems persist having changed ariel & cable over, and the VHF is set up properly, the problem is probably in the VHF unit or its connection socket. Assume nothing, but you could waste time up the mast.

I might continue with a simple check that can be done at ground level.

Best option might be to temporarily wire in a modern VHF (borrowed from friend or supplier) to check the mast mounted ariel & cable. If it works, you need a shiny, modern radio and have a small bill to pay.

If the problem did not go away when you switched ariels/cables, and the radio works, then both ariels/cables must be faulty. Unlikely (?) but I have experienced this, so double check your "spare whip", cable & connector by plugging it into a VHF that you know works well.

Only then start swapping different parts of mast-mounted ariel system?
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Old 13-05-2009, 06:59   #8
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Northeaster,

I had to look this up. Shakespear makes a tester that shows the power output of your radio and the efficiency of the antenna. Part# ART-3 or ART-2
it hooks right into the antenna line.
Of course a new radio is not much more.
Shakespeare ART-3 Antenna Tx and Rx Tester - Cable/Connectors
This site popped up, cannot say how good they are.
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Old 13-05-2009, 07:19   #9
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Thanks for the additional information. I will let you know how I make out.
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Old 13-05-2009, 14:50   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northeaster View Post
Last year I could often hear one side of converations between other boats and the coast guard, for example.
P.S. The above is quite normal. You are only hearing the transmitter within your radio horizon. E.g. the nearer vessel, or the ariel that is mounted highest (typically the CG side of the conversation.
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Old 13-05-2009, 15:33   #11
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The Coast Guard blocks the other party.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roger.waite View Post
P.S. The above is quite normal. You are only hearing the transmitter within your radio horizon. E.g. the nearer vessel, or the ariel that is mounted highest (typically the CG side of the conversation.
That's why you only hear the Coast Guard conversation on their working channels.
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Old 26-05-2009, 18:12   #12
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After resoldering the PL259's, (so they din't short out the center to outside of connector anymore), the radio is working fine. Get all my weather channels clearly, and did radio check to coast guard - loud and clear.

Thanks for all of the advice!!

Cheers!
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Old 26-05-2009, 19:25   #13
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Congrats on a job well done.

The right answer often seems so simple - but only after you have found it!
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