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Join Date: Apr 2006
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"I assume that the antenna on the mast is fine"
Actually, not. Antennas and antenna cables tend to take water damage, get stretched out, decay. If it is even 5 years old that's time to either test it or replace it and if you do, use premium cable properly secured and waterproofed.
I use a handlheld more often than the fixed radio, but a handheld can be dropped overboard, or on the deck, or run down the battery. A fixed radio just doesn't have those weaknesses. (Instead, it has the antenna-up-the-mast issues.)
If you do buy a handheld, either as your primary radio or backup, also buy a 12-volt power cord for it, so you can plug into the main battery power to recharge it. They're not expensive.
Chart plotting in LIS? Eh, you can usually rely on piloting in LIS, there are plenty of landmarks easily recognized. The bouys tend to be in the same place year after year, and there are lots of them, although of course some are pulled or disappear from time to time. I'd make the radio(s) the priority, and add a pair of 7x50 binocs with a compass in them, to make the piloting easier.
There's a lot of deep unobstructed water and well-marked channels, unless you plan to go rock-hopping LIS is pretty easy to navigate.