hand held vs stationary mounted radio - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 17 Old 12-27-2015
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Re: hand held vs stationary mounted radio

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Originally Posted by Sailormon6 View Post
I've been thinking about adding a ram mike in the cockpit. Does it require any soldering or complicated installation?
I've installed remote mics on both of the boats I've owned. The radios (Icom and Standard Horizon) have RAM as a feature so nothing special in the wiring department. Depending on your installation routing the Mic wire from your radio to where you want the Mic to be might be troublesome.

Dale

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post #12 of 17 Old 12-27-2015
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Re: hand held vs stationary mounted radio

Also don't forget battery life. My handheld will last quite a while without charging if on low power, but on high power the battery doesn't last near as long. If you forget to charge it...you have no radio.

A mounted radio is usually powered by a much larger battery and if you are running two banks (house and starting) then you will usually always have power for your radio.

But, as already mentioned, if you can spring for both options go for it. If you get hit by lightning or abandon ship, that handheld will be your lifeline. Also, if you have a dinghy...bringing along the handheld is a no-brainer.
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post #13 of 17 Old 12-27-2015
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Re: hand held vs stationary mounted radio

Keep in mind that VHF communication is line of sight, therefore, with a hand-held the horizon is not very far away, while if that antenna is sitting atop a 50-foot mast, the communication distance improves dramatically. It's not the power as much as it is the height of the antenna. When I worked for NASA, out satellite transmitters were less than 1-watt, but the range was unlimited. The reason for the low power was that the satellite battery system only charged when the satellite was in the sun, which was 1/2 the orbit.

The best use I found for my handheld was when traveling down the ICW and being approached from aft by another boat that was overtaking me and needed to pass safely. They would call me, and the handheld, which was two feet from the helm was used to provide them information on which side the pass, and that I would slow down to idle speed so they could do so as quickly as possible.

Good luck,

Gary
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post #14 of 17 Old 12-28-2015
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Re: hand held vs stationary mounted radio

VHFs range is determined by sight-line, and fixed radios usually are wired to an antenna on the masthead. Being much higher, the range is much greater. But, you may or may not need that.
Contacting a distant marina to arrange for a mooring, you may want the range. If you have a radio with an AIS receiver, as some fixed Standard Horizons do, you can contact a container ship headed your way when its still 10 miles off. (AIS is a game-changer if there are big boats around, but it has to be able to talk to your GPS.)
I have both fixed and handheld and use them both.
Handheld is important when you don't want to leave the helm to use the radio, and has plenty of range for most boat-to-boat, boat-to-lock communication.
I'd start with a handheld and see how you use it. Even with a fixed radio, you'll be glad for a handheld.
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post #15 of 17 Old 01-01-2016
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Re: hand held vs stationary mounted radio

VHF range is also determined by your antenna. The rubber ducky type antennas on handhelds cannot be counted on to give you a good range.
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post #16 of 17 Old 01-01-2016
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Re: hand held vs stationary mounted radio

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Originally Posted by jhwelch View Post
VHF range is also determined by your antenna. The rubber ducky type antennas on handhelds cannot be counted on to give you a good range.
Actually, they do when mounted high upon a mast. Antennas are a fraction of the bandwidth, and with AM communications, there is a huge difference in range between a full wave antenna and a fractional wavelength antenna. However, with FM communications, all you have to do is look at the size of the antenna used for the Mars Rover that transmits video signals all the way to Earth. And, that transmitter is less than 1-watt.

All the best,

Gary
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post #17 of 17 Old 01-01-2016
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Re: hand held vs stationary mounted radio

I keep two Handhelds on board to compliment the base unit, for dinghy and Beach use, talking to marinas docking and the like. I had a choice between the waterproof one and the ones that float, I choose the floaters. Don't know if there is a difference but its a good joking point anyway. $79 or so for new Icoms on eBay.
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