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Old 24-10-2020, 21:50   #1
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VHF Radio

No doubt there are earlier threads on marine radio but I'd prefer to get some latest thoughts

I'm considering VHF marine radio at this stage.

Should I go for handheld 3-5W or a base station around 25W? Is there any point considering something more powerful than 25W? What are the pros and cons of hand held vs base station? (I can put a hand held in the microwave during a thunderstorm!)

I note there are dual band VHF/UHF sets: is UHF useful at all?
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Old 24-10-2020, 22:10   #2
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Re: VHF Radio

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Originally Posted by coopec43 View Post
No doubt there are earlier threads on marine radio but I'd prefer to get some latest thoughts

I'm considering VHF marine radio at this stage.

Should I go for handheld 3-5W or a base station around 25W? Is there any point considering something more powerful than 25W? What are the pros and cons of hand held vs base station? (I can put a hand held in the microwave during a thunderstorm!)

I note there are dual band VHF/UHF sets: is UHF useful at all?
Depends on whether you are doing day sails, coastal cruising or ocean crossings.

A base station with masthead antenna will give vastly greater range. Height is crucial, power less so.
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Old 24-10-2020, 22:18   #3
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Re: VHF Radio

Until recently, my handheld was the main radio for use in the cockpit, but I recently upgraded to an icom with remote mic and, although very nice, for most coastal use it doesn't really make a lot of difference as far as I can tell so far.

I do like not having to worry about battery state of charge levels on the hand held now though.
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Old 24-10-2020, 22:34   #4
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Re: VHF Radio

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Originally Posted by lockie View Post
Depends on whether you are doing day sails, coastal cruising or ocean crossings.

A base station with masthead antenna will give vastly greater range. Height is crucial, power less so.

I wouldn't exclude ocean crossings but there would have to be a mix.

Would you use VHF much at all on an ocean crossing? Maybe to keep in touch with yachts in the vicinity or call up a cruising radio net?
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Old 25-10-2020, 01:10   #5
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Re: VHF Radio

VHF will only have a range of 10-15 nm in good conditions. Not much use for most of an ocean crossing.

Very useful at the start and finish (when near shore and/or other boats).

Really useful if there’s a ship nearby and you’re not sure what they’re doing.
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Old 25-10-2020, 02:15   #6
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Re: VHF Radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by coopec43 View Post
No doubt there are earlier threads on marine radio but I'd prefer to get some latest thoughts

I'm considering VHF marine radio at this stage.

Should I go for handheld 3-5W or a base station around 25W? Is there any point considering something more powerful than 25W? What are the pros and cons of hand held vs base station? (I can put a hand held in the microwave during a thunderstorm!)

I note there are dual band VHF/UHF sets: is UHF useful at all?
25W is the maximum legal limit for a marine shipboard VHF.

IMO, the fixed radio is a no brainer! Depending on the layout of the cockpit / helm, a remote "command mic" is a useful addition.

Handheld is a additional 'nice to have'.
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Old 25-10-2020, 02:36   #7
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Re: VHF Radio

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
25W is the maximum legal limit for a marine shipboard VHF.

IMO, the fixed radio is a no brainer! Depending on the layout of the cockpit / helm, a remote "command mic" is a useful addition.

Handheld is a additional 'nice to have'.

I'm a bit confused by your post.

If I got a fixed radio it would be installed at the chart table (down below) I assume from reading your post I can get a WiFi microphone?
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Old 25-10-2020, 02:46   #8
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Re: VHF Radio

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Originally Posted by coopec43 View Post
I'm a bit confused by your post.


If I got a fixed radio it would be installed at the chart table (down below) I assume from reading your post I can get a WiFi microphone?
Sorry for the confusion!

I dunno about a wifi mic, maybe there are remote wireless speaker/microphones but I don't have any knowledge of them.

What I was suggesting is a remote speaker/microphone that "controls" the radio. Usually wired to a connection point in the cockpit.

The radio works as normal at the chart table but all the functions can be controlled by the speaker/microphone at the remote site.

Here is one picked at random. https://au.directnine.com/products/i...SABEgLzWvD_BwE
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Old 25-10-2020, 03:16   #9
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Re: VHF Radio

I have a fixed vhf mounted down below. I found that, as we sail short-handed, I was using a small portable in the cockpit much more than the fixed one. Use is mainly over short distances so the portable works fine. But I recently installed a new VHF with a command mic in the cockpit for which I installed a cable and socket. I've hardly used the inside set since.
Considering the potential use of a VHF in an emergency, the much greater range of the fixed set must be a major advantage.
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Old 25-10-2020, 04:17   #10
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Re: VHF Radio

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Originally Posted by Yellowtulip View Post
Considering the potential use of a VHF in an emergency, the much greater range of the fixed set must be a major advantage.
Yes, I'm getting the picture now: I like the idea of a Command Mic but they are not cheap!

Maybe I will start with a hand held.
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Old 25-10-2020, 04:36   #11
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Re: VHF Radio

Get both. Each has its advantages. Nice to have a backup.
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Old 25-10-2020, 04:42   #12
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Re: VHF Radio

I installed an Icom 423G purchased at run-out price and married it up to a lightly used secondhand CommandMic I purchased on EBay all for about the RRP of the radio itself. These units have all the controls at the mic and automatically switch between the base unit and the remote mic as you activate the respective buttons.

I would say, the price of the CommandMic (if purchased new) is actually more expensive then a decent handheld unit (and the latter is more useful for use on other boats, like the dinghy). From a financial perspective, you're better off with the hand held if it works. I got lucky because I needed a new base station and I came in with my purchase at a price equal to just a decent base radio. Routing the cable from the nav station to the helm was also a major job and it is extremely easy to gobble up the 20 foot length of cable in an amazingly short distance as you feed it up hill and down dale. A lot of the the new Dual Station radios have wireless secondary mics, but, personally, I'm not sure I'd want to fall back on the need to recharge in anything other than a well protected helm where the radio could be kept on its charger.
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Old 25-10-2020, 05:03   #13
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Re: VHF Radio

New "professional" radios from Standard Horizon have such a wireless remote mic. A bit more expensive but it may be worth it if you do not have to run the cable.
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Old 25-10-2020, 05:14   #14
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Re: VHF Radio

A hand held is an addition, not a substitute, to a fixed 25W radio.
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Old 25-10-2020, 05:21   #15
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Re: VHF Radio

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Originally Posted by coopec43 View Post
I'm a bit confused by your post.

If I got a fixed radio it would be installed at the chart table (down below) I assume from reading your post I can get a WiFi microphone?
Why would your VHF be at the chart table?

My fixed VHF (Standard Horizon GX2200 25W VHF, GPS, AIS) is mounted at the companion so I can respond to ships, boats etc. if need be. The PO even installed a Mic holder on the exterior.

The AIS feeds the chart plotter I built. It actually feeds the Raspberry Pi Computer then to the Monitor/HDTV.

I also have two handhelds one that gives SOG, GPS and much more and the one that's just a VHF. Both are 5W I think an their TX range is very limited.

I used to check with the Sea Tow Auto Radio check station which is near my marina as I sailed away and my fixed VHF could reach it from 16 miles away while the handheld was very limited maybe 5-6 miles
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