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Old 01-19-2011
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Recommendations on VHF for sailing in Puget Sound?

Hello,
We've just upgraded our sailing boat to a Balboa 20 that we plan to sail on inland lakes in Montana and also for trips to the San Juans. We'd like to purchase a VHF radio and are a bit overwhelmed with the choices. I can't seem to find a good resource to explore the options, such as range needed for our use, handheld vs fixed, etc. Also, what price should we be expecting to pay? As always, we're on the budget side of things!

Thanks for any thoughts!

Last edited by katie_gaut; 01-19-2011 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 01-19-2011
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I would recommend:

Fixed with mast mounted antenna - more power, greater range
DSC class D equipped - ease of contacting you and other boats, plus GMDSS capable
Remote Mike in cockpit - ease of access and hearing
Dual Scan - monitor 16 plus one other channel, tri scan adds channel 9, not really useful
Loud hailer / foghorn - less reliance of cans of air


Probably do not need AIS capable
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Thanks!

Thanks for that advice. The other part I forgot to add was, 'What price should be be expecting to pay?"
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Old 01-19-2011
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If you're going to go on a trip to the San Juans in this boat, get a permanently installed VHF and add a mast-top antenna. Get one that supports DSC and has a dedicated DSC receiver and connect it to your GPS.

A good unit would be the Standard Horizon GX2150, which has both an integrated GPS and an AIS receiver. However, if you want to spend a bit less...the Standard Horizon Eclipse DSC+ unit would be a good choice and under $100, but you would have to purchase and connect a GPS unit to get the full benefit of DSC from it.

A command mic is a great idea, but adds to the cost.

The antenna I'd recommend is a 3' stainless steel Metz whip. They're pretty sensitive and bulletproof.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 01-19-2011 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 01-19-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Fixed with mast mounted antenna - more power, greater range
DSC class D equipped - ease of contacting you and other boats, plus GMDSS capable
Remote Mike in cockpit - ease of access and hearing
Dual Scan - monitor 16 plus one other channel, tri scan adds channel 9, not really useful
Loud hailer / foghorn - less reliance of cans of air


Probably do not need AIS capable
I certainly respect Jackdale's list, but, I think, maybe, it might be more than you need. A 20 foot boat on a lake or the San Jauns - probably all line of sight, all within close proximiny of shore - maybe less would be good enough.

The first five years in a Tanzer 22 we sailed with a really old original VHF with mast head antenna and a good handheld. We used the hand held all the time and not the fixed unit.

On our Irwin 34 we have all that Jackdale suggested and more - but then we are often out of sight of land in shipping lanes.

Something "like" (do your research) the SH HX850S (about $150.00) might do the trick.

That said, get the best you can afford.

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Old 01-19-2011
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Woah - San Jaun Islands - off Victorai and Vancouver BC, right???? If we are talking another San Jaun islands, ignore my post.

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Old 01-19-2011
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Yes!

Yes, the San Juans in the Puget Sound. I don't expect to be out of the sight of land....at least by choice! It's never foggy in that area right - ha!

If we could get in the under $200 area without compromising safety we would be really happy.
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Old 01-19-2011
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I am suggesting the mast antenna because of the topography of the San Juans. There is lots of it.
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Ok to get used?

Are these systems ok to get used? As it's essentially lifesaving equipment, I assume you would want it new? Any thoughts?
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Old 01-19-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katie_gaut View Post
Are these systems ok to get used? As it's essentially lifesaving equipment, I assume you would want it new? Any thoughts?
Actually, it is not really lifesaving equipment. Almost all of my VHF transmissions are with marinas. Most of my reception is weather.

I have never issued a Mayday.

New is good. There is likely a reason some one is selling it used.
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