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Old 10-29-2004
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Those lil dinky VHF handhelds

I''m just wondering about the performance of those ''cell phone size'' VHF handhelds (vs the more standard sized ones).

While 5w might be 5w other factors impact range/clarity/etc. (battery ''oomph'', antenna, speaker size, etc.). Just wondering if they perform as well as their larger cousins.

Anyone have any comparative experience they''d like to share?
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Old 10-30-2004
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Those lil dinky VHF handhelds


I bought one of the super cheap Cobra models. It came in a two pack, with rechargeable batteries, two chargers, waterproof baggies, for $150 or so. It is not 5W, it is 2W.

Anyway, the radio is not high quality, but it does work OK for hailing a marina to ask about the fuel dock, launch, tie-up, etc.

I would not rely on it to broadcast a may day if I were 10 miles off shore, but it''s great to keep in the cockpit so I can monitor ch 16.

My boat came with a ''real'' radio mounted in the cabin, but that doesn''t help when I''m in the cockpit.

I guess my point is that I would not want this as my only radio if I were going to be "out there" but it''s great for a backup.

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Old 11-01-2004
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Those lil dinky VHF handhelds

The best of the small hand helds do very well. The cheapies may be only good enough for bridge hailing and such. The better ones will have the features you see on the big brothers and should receive all day with some transmisiions. Transmissions are what eats the batteries.

VHF is however line of sight transmission so nothing beats a tall mast mounted antenna for transmission distance. No hand held has that much range nor will they ever have it. They also don''t have as much true transmission power but the best ones do have a good long hour battery with a fast charger.
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Old 11-02-2004
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Those lil dinky VHF handhelds

Get one like an Icom and you''ll find that you use it most of the time--which is hailing marinas and boats that are nearby. The range is limited but if you unscrew that stubby antenna and connect the lead with a cable to the mast antenna, the range isn''t that bad: still limited by transmit power and battery life.
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