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post #1 of 42 Old 02-11-2007 Thread Starter
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Question VHF radios.

I need to replace the VHF radio on my boat (32 mirage sailboat)...really old and noisy...the radio...not the boat. I started to look around and was a little overwhelmed at the number of brands...price ranges and features. Most of the features are similar...dispite the price difference..however there are some which I find very interesting (ie: Wham Microphone to allow me to stay at the helm..hook up to a GPS sor that you can automatically send location during distress signal). Is there a location that rates / reviews these and provided some practical guidance in making a choice.
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post #2 of 42 Old 02-11-2007
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LadyHawke...West Marine has a pretty good overview on features and what is important here:
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...tofixedvhf.htm
The WestMarine individual product pages have some customer reviews on specific radios which can help decide between a couple of models.
Frankly, I don't think you can go too far wrong with any of the major brands but I kinda like the Icom stuff myself.

One thing you might consider rather than a Wham Mic....is mounting the radio on your pedestal. You can then get a basic one for "downstairs" and for less money than a Wham...you have two complete radios which is a lot better in terms of redundancy. They can be run off the same antenna with a T switch.
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post #3 of 42 Old 02-11-2007
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You definitely want your new VHF unit to have DSC capability and to tie it into the boat's GPS unit.

While Cam and I might not agree politically (even though most of what I say politically speaking is to get a rise out of him)... I think his suggestion of having two VHF units is a pretty good one, if you've got the room for two full installations. The one change I'd make is that I would have a second antenna installed for the second unit, and two switches, so that either unit could be switched to either antenna. I'd mount the second antenna on the cockput pulpit... which trades range for redundancy.

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post #4 of 42 Old 02-12-2007
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Excuse me, but my experience tells me connecting 2 VHF to one antenna isn't gonna help much if you had a lightning induced damage like mine. My antenna blew up (vapourised) along with rest of the boat Instruments, strangely the Simrad RT63 VHF is still working fine after replacing a new antenna. If I've to install a new VHF, I would fit an Icom (Ic-402) in the cabin, install a Command Mic at the pedestial and buy an Icom Handheld as backup (may even include a long portable antenna for the handheld).
What I don't like about the Simrad is, the insulation of the mic cable dis-integrated to pieces literally (perhaps due to the heat/mositure of environment - near Equator).
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post #5 of 42 Old 02-12-2007
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Practical Sailor

PS did a review on VHF units last year. They are very thorough. I believe you can order reprints. They can be found here:

http://www.practical-sailor.com/

I am looking to replace my VHF unit this year. I have decided on the Standard Horizon QUEST-X GX1500S. This unit is a class D DSC (has two receivers so it can monitor the DCS channel while receiving on another channel), supports a remote mic, and can also function as a repeater for speed, course, and location.

The price is reasonable - about $150 from a lot of on line places.

Good luck,
Barry

Barry Lenoble
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY

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post #6 of 42 Old 02-12-2007
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I agree about the two radios offering redundancy, but having ONE antenna seems to defeat the redundancy argument.

I would suggest that the "noisy" attribute that you mentioned when starting the post is probably due to a poor radio to antenna connection, or bad power (bad filter capacitor / loose / corroded wire). I suggest having someone reputable check over the installation of what you have FIRST. This may save you some headaches later.

I would suggest that you investigate purchasing a handheld unit as your second. Like camradarie, I like what I've learned about the Icom line, and am looking at an IC-M88 (~$250 USD) as a backup. (the West Marine brand of handheld radios are made by Uniden - BTW) This way, if ever the worst case scenario arises, and you have to leave the boat at sea, at least you can take a working radio with you.

Does anyone have any opinions / advice on the IC-M88 radio?

Ed
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post #7 of 42 Old 02-12-2007
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I use a Standard Horizon handheld. One reason I do like it is that it is one of the few that has very basic DSC capabilities, which most handhelds do not.

Trantor-

That's why I suggested mounting a secondary antenna elsewhere on the boat.

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post #8 of 42 Old 02-12-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
You definitely want your new VHF unit to have DSC capability and to tie it into the boat's GPS unit.

While Cam and I might not agree politically (even though most of what I say politically speaking is to get a rise out of him)... I think his suggestion of having two VHF units is a pretty good one, if you've got the room for two full installations. The one change I'd make is that I would have a second antenna installed for the second unit, and two switches, so that either unit could be switched to either antenna. I'd mount the second antenna on the cockput pulpit... which trades range for redundancy.
There are roll-up emergency VHF "ribbon" antennas with right-angled RG-58 connectors that I carry in case the mast comes off and I still want 25 watts instead of the max. 5 W the handheld will supply.
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post #9 of 42 Old 02-12-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy
Does anyone have any opinions / advice on the IC-M88 radio?Ed
I have both an IC-M88 and an IC-M72, and both are excellent handhelds with very long battery life between charges. The controls are slightly different, but I can't say that either is preferable to the other. When I bought the M-88, there was about a $70. rebate that made it more appealing, price-wise.
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post #10 of 42 Old 02-12-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
I use a Standard Horizon handheld. One reason I do like it is that it is one of the few that has very basic DSC capabilities, which most handhelds do not.

Trantor-

That's why I suggested mounting a secondary antenna elsewhere on the boat.
Sailingdog:
Is your hanheld your primary VHF radio or an extra backup? If it is back up what MMSI number would be assigned it, the same as your primary or would you use a secondary MMSI number? The reason I ask is that my MMSI number also carries with it all particulars of my boat and identification, now when I use my extra handheld it is usually when I go out in the dinghy and my dinghy discription does not match my boat discription. Although my handheld is not DSC capable if I did get one that was DSC I would face this dilema. The main radio I have is DSC with an extra WHAM set, love the WHAM.
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