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Old 10-24-2011
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Sailing 23 FT American Spirit, need marine radio advice

I'm looking to keep costs low and the power draw down on my battery, I will be sailing Lake Pontchartrain, would a 5 Watt handheld radio be good enough for my needs?
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Old 10-24-2011
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I get by with a handheld here as the towers are on high ground on both sides of the sound and at this point in the game cell phone coverage is pretty close to 100%
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Old 10-24-2011
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Ditto here. Out in mid-lake a portable might not have the range, but otherwise you'd be okay.
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Old 10-25-2011
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Thomas, I would expect it has enough power. A good brand (Standard Horizon has outstanding customer service as well as top product) with a clip of fresh batteries available and a 12v power cord is a great start. If you want more range, put on a masthead 3db or 6db gain antenna and you can always connect the handheld to that for a fast range boost. Don't skimp on the antenna, cable, or actual installation (waterproofed joints, drip loops,proper tie-offs,etc.) either, it makes a difference.

If that doesn't work out well enough for you, consider that you can alway put in a higher power fixed radio later--with nothing else changed or lost, except you'll also have the handheld as a backup to take along to other boats, or to use in the dink.

I've used my antique SH many times when a ships radio was already shut down--and someone forgot to call the dink--or was below and we all need to be on deck--or when I was on someone else's boat and their radio was on the fritz. Built like a brick and valued even higher.(G)
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Old 10-25-2011
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Quote:
If you want more range, put on a masthead 3db or 6db gain antenna and you can always connect the handheld to that for a fast range boost. Don't skimp on the antenna, cable, or actual installation (waterproofed joints, drip loops,proper tie-offs,etc.) either, it makes a difference.
Exactly!!!

You get 'free' power with well tuned and efficient antennas. Antenna height above surrounding obstacles is another big hit. Mast mounted, moderate gain (3-6dB) tuned antenna and a proper installation will beat a poorly installed and utilized power hungry radio.

The best way to save power is to not transmit. Listen for the info you are looking for before asking for it and you save about ten to one on consumed electricity.
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Old 10-25-2011
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Thomas

1 - I think a handheld would be just fine.

2 - If you lived anywhere near me I would be happy to send you my old fixed-mount radio - in fact, I think I have two of them.

Rik
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