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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > VHF recommendation.... again...
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Thread: VHF recommendation.... again... Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-11-2010 09:34 AM
futureshock999
Quote:
Originally Posted by puddinlegs View Post
... Per usual, in our rush to do good, we all want to recommend gear capable of safely crossing oceans, but might be overkill for the needs of his/her venue.
Nope, if he was crossing oceans, I would have recommended a hydrostatically released EPIRB. If he was coastal cruising I would have recommended an EPIRB or at least a PLB, both in addition to my VHF recommendations.

Safety in sailing begins and ends with the skills of the skipper and crew, and their preparedness. However, the oceans are a lot more crowded and a lot more dangerous than they were in Chichester's day (growlers, lost shipping containers, and pirates, to say the least!), so that preparedness should include being able to call for help...

To the poster above, the height of the antenna IS all important. When I took my VHF class last year they showed us the diagrammes and the formula for calculating the coverage. I don't remember the numbers off the top of my head, but the masthead antenna had a much, much greater range.
06-11-2010 09:25 AM
jcalvinmarks
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryL View Post
Hello,

I am just curious, why do you need a VHF on a small lake (I think the great lakes are big lakes)?
I kinda have to agree with this sentiment. I sail on a small lake (50,000 acres) in Virginia. My boat came with a fixed VHF, so I wired it up. But aside from receiving NOAA weather broadcasts (which are only marginally useful since they span such a large area), I have received exactly one radio message, which was a call to the marina operator 6 miles away that someone was coming in for fuel.

For the comfort factor of having the radio there "just in case," it's nice to have, even though I'm not entirely sure that anyone would hear me if I ever did call. And if you plan on doing any coastal sailing later, you should definitely have it. But for small inland lakes, I wouldn't go for anything more than an inexpensive handheld.
06-11-2010 09:11 AM
calden
Thanks

Hey all:

Thanks for the quick responses and helpful advice.

Yes, it's an inland lake. I know it's not a Great Lake, but it's large, surrounded by very steep cliffs and mountains, fairly isolated, and storms come up suddenly. It's a great lake!



It's also in an area with spotty cell phone service.

The boat I'm buying has a VHF bracket in the cabin, so I'm thinking a fixed mount unit. Why not? There is an antennae on the masthead. It's probable that if I were to need sudden help a handheld would be fine, but it's possible that the only person to help me would be more than 5 miles or more away on the water. I'm thus thinking range might be important.

I've sailed for the last six years and never felt the need for a VHF radio, but often thought about buying one. Now that I've just moved up to a bigger boat, a radio is on my list.

Carlos
06-11-2010 06:42 AM
SEMIJim
Quote:
Originally Posted by puddinlegs View Post
The OP's sailing on a relatively small inland lake,
The OP specifically stated a range of 10 miles (didn't say statute or nautical) was desirable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by puddinlegs View Post
Per usual, in our rush to do good, we all want to recommend gear capable of safely crossing oceans,...
No VHF gear is much good for crossing oceans

Quote:
Originally Posted by puddinlegs View Post
... but might be overkill for the needs of his/her venue. ... Standard horizon has a nice floating model that does 6 watts.
With VHF, antenna height is more important than watts.

Example, from personal experience: Our antenna is mounted on the transom. Oft times, when a powerboat is having a conversation with the local Coast Guard station, we can hear only the CG side of the conversation. But when a sailboat is talking to them (much less frequent, btw ), we can usually hear both sides. The difference, of course, is that powerboat antennas are usually just a few feet off the water, like ours is, while sailboat antennas are usually 30', 40' or more off the water.

I also have long experience with VHF and UHF from my Ham Radio days.

Trust me on this one: With VHF: Height is king. Some day I'm going to get an antenna at the masthead. It's just a question of time and money

Jim
06-11-2010 01:53 AM
puddinlegs The OP's sailing on a relatively small inland lake, probably with good cell phone coverage. 25' boat... Per usual, in our rush to do good, we all want to recommend gear capable of safely crossing oceans, but might be overkill for the needs of his/her venue. For lake sailing as described by the OP, sure, do a permanent one if you can. It shouldn't be too hard to find something reasonable or even free if you have friends who are upgrading, but a handheld can be perfectly suitable for what might actually be needed. Standard horizon has a nice floating model that does 6 watts.
06-10-2010 04:04 PM
futureshock999
Icom or Standard Horizon

Title informs my brand advice.

A fixed radio with DSC is a must in my opinion, and should be integrated to your boat's GPS. This only takes a single cable, so don't be put off.

One other thing to consider is you need to ensure _reliable_ power to your fixed VHF - make sure that the power leads to it are as water tight as possible (imagine your boat rolling - would the water gained short out your power leads?). My VHF has many, many layers of waterproof tape on all powerline junctions and terminal strips that feed power. And still I think about hot gluing them, or providing a secondary, 12V battery for emergency power.

I also highly recommend a portable. I have an Icom M71 that is totally waterproof but not floatable. The floatables are larger (for buoyancy), and I would rather make sure that I have it secured to me. I also have a remote mic for it, so I can wear it in a foul gear pocket and not have to take it out. You can conceivably go cheaper on the portable (it's a backup for most people) - Plastimo does a handheld that gets good user reviews and is cheap. I tend to use my handheld entering harbours to talk to the harbour master and to listen to large boat traffic (I do sail on the Solent), so I actually use it more than the fixed...

Last, but not least, get an emergency VHF antenna for your fixed radio - they look like a small tube with rubber end caps. Just in case you DO roll your boat, or lose your rig, and lose the masthead antenna. The best VHF radio in the world doesn't do much without an antenna, and an emergency antenna is cheap insurance.
06-10-2010 02:26 PM
fixxxer0
Quote:
Originally Posted by southshoreS24 View Post
go with a fixed if possible. keep in mind if you lose all power for some reason you lose all vhf also. get a handheld as a back up, preferably one with an extra battery pack that you can use AA batteries in, keep a set in a waterproof bag/container for emergencies. for $100 you can get a fixed one but will need the antenna, mount, cable, and cable ends, for $150 you can get a nice handheld.


I agree with the hand held as a back up, I got a uniden waterproof model (not floatable though). two things i made a priority was lithium ion battery back and AA battery option. the reason for Li battery is they have a much better life span, self discharge rate, and dont suffer from issues like memory effect. On an item that will be a back up and not used frequently (and have an off season up to 6 months) the battery will last much longer without any headaches.
06-10-2010 02:15 PM
southshoreS24 go with a fixed if possible. keep in mind if you lose all power for some reason you lose all vhf also. get a handheld as a back up, preferably one with an extra battery pack that you can use AA batteries in, keep a set in a waterproof bag/container for emergencies. for $100 you can get a fixed one but will need the antenna, mount, cable, and cable ends, for $150 you can get a nice handheld.
06-10-2010 01:11 PM
75R20 Unless there is no way to do a fixed VHF (hobie cat) then there is no reason to go with a portable. You are asking for a reccomdation based on a percieved safety concern... go with a fixed unit, and if you feel the need have a portable for a back-up.
Can't go wrong with a name brand. I like ICom, but any name brand is probably good.
Best of luck
Kary
S/V Mariah
#49080
06-10-2010 12:58 PM
fixxxer0
Standard Horizon Quest-X GX1500S

I purchased a Standard Horizon Quest-X GX1500S 2 years ago and have no complaints.


I research everything ad nauseum before i buy it, and shop around for the best price (online mainly). I beleive I paid close to $150.


Regardless, not to pat myself on the back too much, but if I ended up purchasing it, it was for a reason - even if i cant remember those reasons now lol.


Good news is I have no regrets.
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