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Old 17-07-2016, 23:04   #1
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Ditchbag Handheld VHF

I am looking at the Standard Horizon HX870 because it has GPS and can use alkaline batteries. I know most handheld vhfs have very good rechargeable batteries, but I think it is safer to have alkaline in the ditch bag. I can always put a couple sets of spares in ziplocks.

The HX870 is about $216. You can buy an HX300 with additional alkaline battery tray for about $90 (but it doesn't have GPS). I see the benefits of redundancy for GPS (with EPIRB), but is this newer model handheld vhf worth it to stay (hopefully) unused in my ditch bag?

Thoughts? Any other models that can take alkaline batteries and float that perform well?
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Old 17-07-2016, 23:19   #2
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Re: Ditchbag Handheld VHF

It'd be worth throwing a solar battery charger in with your spare batteries. That way you have a way to rejuvinate them if/when they go flat.
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Old 17-07-2016, 23:49   #3
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Re: Ditchbag Handheld VHF

The important function of the HX870 is DSC. If you're stuck in a life raft and see a passing ship, this is better than flares for getting their attention. A DSC distress signal will set off alarms on the bridge of the ship, and you can then talk to them. The HX870 will do this; other SH radios will not.

You would probably never need it if you have an EPIRB, but distress signalling is something where you want to have backups to backups to backups if possible.

For whatever it's worth, this is what I carry:

PLBs (lanyarded in life vests)
Rocket flares (both inside the rafts and also in the grab bag)
AIS MOB beacons (in life vests)
Signal mirror
DSC handheld VHF with a good supply of batteries vacuum packed.


Likely overkill, but when you need this stuff, you REALLY need it.


Don't keep the radio in the grab bag; keep it in its charging base in a grab-able location, and put it on your grab list. If you ever need it, you want the normal battery to be fully charged. The radio only works on reduced power with the alkaline batteries. For the same reason, the solar charger is also a good idea, but obviously this will not work at night. You will need a spare charging base for this to work.

Handheld DSC radio is useful for purposes other than distress signalling. Good thing to have in the dinghy. Read the various threads on it in here.
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Old 17-07-2016, 23:50   #4
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Re: Ditchbag Handheld VHF

Having read what Dockhead had to say about the HX870 a few weeks ago I went ahead and bought one.
I'm impressed.
I won't be keeping it in the ditchbag ... it has a bulkhead mountable charging cradle which I plan to fit near the companionway. I'll use it as my primary VHF.
Not only does it have GPS it also , as you know, has Class D DSC.

I'll stick the old Raytheon handheld in the ditch bag just in case I forget to pick up this one on the way out the door.

Don't forget to pack a crib sheet for the radio and a pair of reading glasses with the spare alkalines......
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Old 18-07-2016, 15:08   #5
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Re: Ditchbag Handheld VHF

Where are you sailing?
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Old 18-07-2016, 15:12   #6
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Re: Ditchbag Handheld VHF

I have the lithium pack hand held that I put on charge avery couple of months but also bought a AA battery pack for it. And carry a dozen AAs along with the Li charged pack.

And hope to never need it!

Mike
S/V Vivo
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Old 18-07-2016, 16:45   #7
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Re: Ditchbag Handheld VHF

Quote:
Originally Posted by zedpassway View Post
Where are you sailing?
Me? Southern Chile.
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Old 18-07-2016, 18:19   #8
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Re: Ditchbag Handheld VHF

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
Me? Southern Chile.
No... the OP.
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Old 18-07-2016, 18:50   #9
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Re: Ditchbag Handheld VHF

dejavu anyone?

I think there is an almost identical thread some days ago!

Anyways, my take is that no matter which handheld you get, you may want to consider a DSC model. Like the SH one!

Ships are far more likely to react to a dsc call than to a voice one.

And BTW I think HS model with DSC/GPS is best thing from sliced bread. Definitely a thing to have if (wood touched) things ever go wrong.

We have an old SH handheld here - VERY good stuff - well built, reliable (nearing 15 years now) and GREAT sound quality.

Cheers,
b.
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