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Old 04-06-2020, 19:24   #1
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CB VS VHF

Up here in Canada we have a license requirement for anyone using VHF, and I went through the course and completed the test a couple of months ago. I then discovered the radio on my boat is a CB radio. Listening to channel 16 was a waste of time, completely different, and no license required, but it is also not going to do me much good in a mayday situation, so it has to go.


VHF antenna is not the same as CB either, different frequency range, so that also needed to be replaced. Found one at Bass Pro today.


Wondering about the wiring now. Can I keep the old wiring from CB since it is already running through boat, or does that need to be replaced as well? I could attach new wiring to old and pull it through, so maybe swapping it would be simple, and maybe not, but do I even need to bother?
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Old 04-06-2020, 21:17   #2
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Re: CB VS VHF

If the CB is in good shape, I’d keep it and add a VHF.
Everybody used to use CB, but not so much anymore, so if you want more private conversations, CB is often the ticket.
A surprising number of skippers I know routinely monitor calls that are none of their business!
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Old 04-06-2020, 21:47   #3
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Re: CB VS VHF

The cable between the CB radio and the CB antenna can be used for the VHF. As you know, replace the CB with a VHF radio and antenna and you should be good to go. However, please inspect the RF cable for corrosion and water incursion. That will kill the cable. RG8X or LMR240 are suitable replacements.
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Old 05-06-2020, 01:20   #4
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Re: CB VS VHF

Rec boaters don’t need a radio licence in Canada.
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Old 05-06-2020, 05:29   #5
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Re: CB VS VHF

Bugsy,
Yes, replace the cable!
(just don't "attach new wiring to old and pull it through"...this can damage your new cabling and most probably damage the cable-to-connector attachment....there are proper ways to do this....and just tying it on and yanking it through is not the way to do it!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BugzyCan View Post
I could attach new wiring to old and pull it through, so maybe swapping it would be simple, and maybe not, but do I even need to bother?
Now, the good news, Bugsy,

1) First off, go on you for asking these questions!

And, yes....replacing the "CB" with a modern Marine VHF-DSC-FM radio, is a good thing!




2) Next, whether you need/needed a license to use VHF radio in Canada, or not....this is a very good thing! I assume you got a maritime mobile service station license (your boat's "ship's station license") as well??


The reason I ask (assume) is that this should be how/where (at least here in US, and in many other countries), you get your MMSI #....

https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=mtmmsi


http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst...g/sf01032.html


And of course, your MMSI # needs to be programmed into your radio, in order send a DSC call / alert....(and you should also have your GPS connected to your VHF, in order for your position to be sent with all DSC calls....Distress, Urgency, Safety, Routine...)



And of course, sending a DSC Distress Call is the modern/proper way, since 1999, to signal a "Mayday"...


Please have a look here, for some helpful info on VHF Radio usage / procedures:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...J6QugtO2epizxF


And, these two posts:

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ml#post3148929

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ml#post3148958


Here is some more USCG info on radios, DSC, etc:

https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=AboutDSC

https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=mtmmsi

https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=DSCDistress

https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=mtBoater

https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=mtVhf

I assume Canada has similar sites, with Canada-specific info?





3) As for adding a VHF antenna...not sure which one you bought....but for most small boat / small sailboat applications, as long as you stick with the popular name brands (like Shakespeare, GAM, etc.), and you use good coax (new) and proper connector assembly, you should be good...

5215 Classic AIS Squatty Body® Antenna | Shakespeare Marine Antennas

https://www.defender.com/product.jsp?id=1143635



6396-AIS-R Phase III AIS Antenna | Shakespeare Marine Antennas

6400-R Phase III VHF Antenna | Shakespeare Marine Antennas

https://www.defender.com/product.jsp...060&id=3019820




4) As for replacing the "CB coax", versus using it for your marine VHF antenna?
Please replace it!


You have no idea what type/size of cable it is...you no idea what quality the cable is....you have no idea how old the cable is.....and most importantly, you have no idea how the connectors were installed / if they are actually making any good connection at all!!!

Please replace it!!


Also, since those MacGregors haven't been made in years.....even if we knew the cable was "working" with the CB radio, we can assume it is still old and suspect....and needs to be replaced!!



Heck, you'd only need about 40' - 50' of RG-8x coax (assuming your VHF antenna is masthead mounted?)....and a pre-made assembly (with connectors professionally installed) is only going to set you back about $40...(have a look here, and you can find the length you need, WITH connectors already professionally assembled)

https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/dxe-8xdx050


https://www.rfparts.com/cable-assemb...8xumum-50.html

[Please stay away from fancy "low-loss"/LMR cables....for a 26' boat and most probably used in inland waters / lakes / rivers / coastal waters, please just use "regular", high-quality, coax!]



I hope this helps you out...and hopefully didn't confuse things?


Fair winds.


John
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Old 05-06-2020, 06:17   #6
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Re: CB VS VHF

Quote:
Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
Rec boaters don’t need a radio licence in Canada.
https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafet...-faqs-1489.htm

3. Do I need a radio operator's certificate? Marine radiotelephones fitted onboard Canadian vessels, must be operated by a person holding a Radio Operator's Certificate (ROC-M). Commercial vessels required to fit Digital Selective Calling or a satellite ship earth station must employ radio operators holding a Radio Operator's Certificate - Maritime Commercial (ROC-MC).
Industry Canada has delegated the ROC-M to the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons (CPS) and courses are available in many areas. Further information can be found on the CPS website.

You cannot even turn on your VHF radio without this certificate.
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Old 05-06-2020, 06:40   #7
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Re: CB VS VHF

Bugsy,
In addition to what I posted above (please read all of that, and watch the videos), I do hope you're kidding here??
'Cuz, you do understand that you can turn on your VHF radio without a license!!
You do realize that he term "must be operated" describes transmitting?? Not turning it on / receiving...

Any way....back to the serious stuff....
Please read my posting above and watch the videos....



Oh, and I forgot to add the Canadian DSC info above...oppss.
So, here it is:

https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafet...002-04-eng.htm

Where you'll see that VHF-DSC-FM radios have been required on most vessels in Canada, over 8 meters, since 2003...


Fair winds

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Old 05-06-2020, 07:50   #8
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Re: CB VS VHF

Thanks everyone, lots of great info here.
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Old 05-06-2020, 08:18   #9
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Re: CB VS VHF

Sorry, but according to the ROCM training that I just completed, turning on the VHF is not allowed unless you have an ROCM certificate. There are significant fines attributed to this, so if coast guard pulls up to your boat for an inspection, and hears your VHF radio on, and you do not have a certificate to show them, you will be fined. Those are the rules. Read up on it.
I was kind of shocked to read that too, but its there in B&W.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Bugsy,
In addition to what I posted above (please read all of that, and watch the videos), I do hope you're kidding here??
'Cuz, you do understand that you can turn on your VHF radio without a license!!
You do realize that he term "must be operated" describes transmitting?? Not turning it on / receiving...

Any way....back to the serious stuff....
Please read my posting above and watch the videos....



Oh, and I forgot to add the Canadian DSC info above...oppss.
So, here it is:

https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafet...002-04-eng.htm

Where you'll see that VHF-DSC-FM radios have been required on most vessels in Canada, over 8 meters, since 2003...


Fair winds

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Old 05-06-2020, 08:38   #10
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Re: CB VS VHF

Bugzy,
Well, I'll be....
I freely admit I was wrong!
(but, ya' know, it's good to be wrong....'cuz it does give me a chance to learn!)

Assuming that's actually Industry Canada's Rules & Regs (and not just the private company's literature....so they can get you to take their class), it appears Canada is more like an old Warsaw Pact Country than a free libertarian democracy.
And, I'm truly sorry about that....(actually, I'm stunned!)



You know, us loud-mouth Americans wouldn't stand for a law like that...
So, while I know many of you up there are happy to not be a part of the insane asylum down here that we call USA....but, at least we allow you to listen to the radio without a license... LOL


Fair winds up there!

John
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Old 06-06-2020, 20:14   #11
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Re: CB VS VHF

Quote:
Originally Posted by kapnd View Post
If the CB is in good shape, I’d keep it and add a VHF.
Everybody used to use CB, but not so much anymore, so if you want more private conversations, CB is often the ticket.
I took this advice and added the VHF next to the CB, and attached the VHF antenna next to the CB antenna with the intention of using one or the other, never both at the same time. Not sure if it would matter, but just in case.
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Old 06-06-2020, 20:24   #12
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Re: CB VS VHF

Great links thank you. I have book marked them. For this trip, I have installed the VHF on the stern rail next to the CB antenna. Not supposed to be that close when transmitting, but the radio is inside the cabin, so will be well away when transmitting, so it should be fine. I may add an extension to raise it up a bit higher. Didn't want to put it on top of mast as this is a trailer sailor, although I could install it with a folding mount, the wiring would be a problem, and my trip departs in two weeks, but something for next year maybe.
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Old 07-06-2020, 13:09   #13
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Re: CB VS VHF

Bugzy,
1) You write that you're taking a trip?
Please tell us where? For how long? etc?
Quote:
Originally Posted by BugzyCan View Post
For this trip, I have installed the VHF on the stern rail next to the CB antenna.
So, if I were you, I'd spend some time learning about VHF Marine Radio, and VHF-DSC.

Please reread my post above (post #5)

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ml#post3156511

And, as I wrote earlier....Especially watch these videos....
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...J6QugtO2epizxF



And, please read these posts (#10 and #12):
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ml#post3148929

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ml#post3148958

Someone that knows how to use their marine radio is going to get a lot more out of it....it does take a bit of learning, but not much....(it's different than a smartphone, but easier!)




2) I'm not totally clear on what you're writing here?
But, in brief, as long as they're about a foot apart (or more), it should be okay...
Quote:
Originally Posted by BugzyCan View Post
I have installed the VHF on the stern rail next to the CB antenna. Not supposed to be that close when transmitting, but the radio is inside the cabin, so will be well away when transmitting, so it should be fine.
In detail:
As for the antennas being too close?
a) Being that "CB" is at 27mhz, and VHF Marine is at 156mhz, there is little chance that there will any interference between the two, even if the antennas were just a foot apart....so, no issues with interference, nor damage to the other radio....
Hint: keep 'em a foot (or more) away from each other, and you should be fine.
(fyi, it makes no difference if the radio is turned on or not, if there was enough RF power at close enough frequency, to cause any damage to the other radio, it would not matter if the other radio was On or Off...just an fyi...)


b) As for the antennas being too close to each other, and causing directionality in their patterns...and/or if just inches apart, "coupling" to each other? Yes, this could be an issue...fairly impossible for me to know for sure, as I don't know how close they are, nor what other conductors are nearby....but, as stated above since these antennas are resonant quite aways away from each other in terms of octaves, the actual coupling / directionality should be minor....again, unless they are a mere couple inches apart....
(hint: keep 'em at least a foot away from each other, and you should be fine...)


c) As for antennas being too close to you (the humans), that shouldn't be much of an issue....RF exposure is all about frequency of the radio waves, duration of exposure, and power density (which is all about: frequency (156mhz) / duration (a couple minutes per day, at most) / transmitter power minus cable loss (~ 15 watts / antenna gain (3dbi) / distance from you (a couple feet?)

In most consumer applications (at least thru VHF), the fact is that most consumer devices / systems usually don't generate enough power to be dangerous once you're more than a few feet away...so, darn few even know about this issue...

In the case of VHF Marine...at 156mhz, with 25 watts of transmitter power minus 2db to 3db of cable loss (giving you ~ 12 to 16 watts at the antenna...let's just say a round 15 watts), plus typically a 3dbi antenna....RF exposure is fine for all (uncontrolled environment) at distances of 3.6 feet or more....and for you, the user (called a "controlled environment", as you control the use of the radio), you're fine at distances of about 1.6' or more...

So, not much to be concerned about here...




3) Higher is always better!!!
And, yes, I understand now....you're a trailer sailor, so antennas, etc. are different...no worries...
Quote:
Originally Posted by BugzyCan View Post
I may add an extension to raise it up a bit higher. Didn't want to put it on top of mast as this is a trailer sailor, although I could install it with a folding mount, the wiring would be a problem, and my trip departs in two weeks, but something for next year maybe.
Again, before you depart (wherever you're going?), please spend some time familiarizing yourself with VHF marine radio....operating / procedures, as well as how your particular radio works....and how DSC works, etc...

Not sure where you're going (please tell us where / how long, etc...'cuz it does help in answering your questions!), but it might make your trip easier! (certainly safer!)






Fair winds.

John
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Old 07-06-2020, 16:11   #14
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Re: CB VS VHF

Hi John.

Departing Vancouver for Princess Louisa Inlet in a couple of weeks, and then further North to explore around the many islands North of Powell River BC.

In my original post, I mentioned that I had completed the ROCM course and then discovered my radio was a CB, not a VHF, so I am very familiar with VHF communications, and in fact I aced my test, which was kind of cool. Although I am sure I will forget parts of all of that, and hopefully from lack of use, but the protocol will need some practice.

Waiting for my MMSI number to plug into radio and then I can listen to see if everything is working. I got the last of the antenna wiring connected today.

Was working on adding the solar panel to stern rail, need a couple of battery crimp spade connectors to hook power to my A/B switch and then it will be complete.. pending some testing and validation.

Need to pull the battery from the car to install on boat for this trip. Not wanting to buy a second battery for a 3 week trip, and I suspect the car battery will do fine since the first battery is also lead/acid. Again more testing needed there.

Battery(s) will charge from outboard on position A, and from Solar on position B on that switch, and there is an A&B option, but not sure how safe that would be. Maybe you can answer that question?

Is it safe to be charging batteries from motor, while the solar panel is also charging batteries? Will that A/B switch isolate power inputs so the motor is not running high power into solar panels and visa versa? Perhaps that is a question for another forum.

Really excited to be going on this trip. A few more details to work out, like my roller furling cable that needs replacement. Taking it in this coming week to have a new one made and then I can reassemble furler and mainsail. Not expecting any issues with this.

Then there is food and water to buy, and a few small things like a camp stove lighter and little things like that.

Should I get cans of food, or just stick with dry stuff, like power bars, and maybe cook some rice once in a while?

FYI, I have spent the last 8 years going on long motorcycle trips, so I am used to being alone, eating powerbars all the time, and being away from home for many weeks at a time, this is just a new way to do it, and I sure have a lot of room to store things now. I can actually bring enough clothing for a few weeks instead of a few days, and food too.

Hopefully I don't ram the first rock I come near and sink the boat.
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Old 09-06-2020, 13:44   #15
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Re: CB VS VHF

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Assuming that's actually Industry Canada's Rules & Regs (and not just the private company's literature....so they can get you to take their class), it appears Canada is more like an old Warsaw Pact Country than a free libertarian democracy.
And, I'm truly sorry about that....(actually, I'm stunned!)
I was surprised at this too, so I emailed Industry Canada for clarification ... and I've just had a call from the Coastguard legal people...

In short ... they require certification to "operate" a marine radio, and they interpret "operate" to include just turning it on, because in the absence of training an "operator" might not know that deliberately or accidentally holding the mic button down can cause all kinds of problems. Asking about receive only channels like the weather channels, the response was the same ... the ch16 button could also be pressed accidentally etc. He did however have no problems with listening in to marine band radio using a receive only device if there were no possibility of transmitting. Internationally the wording of the rules are basically the same, but different jurisdictions may interpret "operate" differently and/or waive licencing requirements.

But yes it turns out ... In Canada, it is technically illegal to even turn on your marine VHF transceiver and listen to the weather forecast without an ROC-M.
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