Two separate VHF radios would be great, but how in the world would you manage the two antennae? This would add a very large degree of complication and expense.
You could put a spare antenna
on a spreader or better, on the pushpit (so as to survive a dismasting), but you won't get the range from that one.
I suppose you could connect the nav table radio to the masthead antenna (long range comms to be done from there) and connect a pushpit antenna to the cockpit
radio, but that's also messy -- I can imagine that not every radio call from the helm
will necessarily be short range.
You could put in a Bird switch to switch them over, but egads -- still more complication, on top of complication.
Seems too much trouble to me.
I have one VHF radio (an Icom
M604) with the Command Mike remote station for the helm.
I have one really good VHF antenna at the masthead which is really well installed with fat RG213 coax. A well installed good antenna is quite a hell of lot of expense and trouble to install, if you pay for the labor (or value your own) it's more expensive than a top of the line radio like the M604. I just can't imagine doing two of them.
I have a second VHF antenna on the first spreader (about 10 meters or 33 feet above the water). This serves primarily for AIS
, but can be switched over for VHF/UHF ham radio work
. The VHF/UHF ham radio will be opened up for marine
bands, so can be used (legally in a distress
situation) as a backup to the main VHF radio and antenna.
I could easily switch the ham radio to the main masthead antenna, if I had a failure of my Icom
M604 at sea. The ham radio puts out 50 watts (instead of a regular marine
VHF's 25 watts) so would be ideal for emergency
purposes, except that it doesn't, obviously, have DSC
That's about as much redundancy as I think I can afford. I am screwed if I am dismasted, however, and will probably add some kind of emergency
VHF antenna to my arsenal for such an (unlikely) case.
One more advantage of using remote mikes instead of separate radios: You get an intercom between helm and nav station, which is extremely useful unless your boat
is small enough to shout between those places (mine is not). Besides that, you can operate loudhailer and foghorn from either position.