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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks,

Not having the years or decades of experience that many on this forum have, I don't have a lot of experience with various boaty things since I've moved from a small inland reservoir to the western end of Lake Erie a handful of years ago.

Recently I've tried to be conscientious about keeping my handheld VHF switched on in the cockpit and monitoring Channel 16, but it seems like it either spews static 100% of the time, or "chirps" static every few seconds. This is when no one is talking on Channel 16. There is a button on the side labeled "SQL" I think, and I thought pressing that would get rid of the static or chirping, but it doesn't. The unit I have is a Cobra MRHH125, a 1-3 watt radio. $43.50 on Amazon. Cheap, I know. I'm generally a believer in "you get what you pay for," and this unit has always worked well during my Wednesday night races on my little reservoir in central Ohio.

I need to get a new handheld now though, because I'm tired of lugging my cheap Cobra unit to and from Lake Erie all the time. So I thought I'd ask for a better one for my birthday or Christmas.

A couple I have my eye on are the Cobra MRHH350FLT ($87.66 on Amazon), and the Uniden MHS75 ($85.98 on Amazon). I'm trying to stay in that general price range because I don't want my sweetie to spend too much on me unnecessarily. So I'm wondering if these more expensive units will still spew static or chirp on Channel 16.

Anyone have any insight, suggestions, reasons why my cheapo Cobra chirps or is staticy?
 

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I googled your units operators manual. It seems to me that unit does not have a variable squelch setting. It's either squelch off or squelch on, depending in whether you are holding down the squelch button or not.

If I read this correctly, then yes, a more expensive radio with a variable squelch should solve your problem. But double check with your users manual.
 

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Could be a couple of things.

First, just pressing SQL (squelch) is not usually enough. I'm not familiar with your unit, but you would then need to increase the SQL until the background noise is gone. That is usually done by continually pressing the SQL button, or selecting with the SQL button and then changing the level with a knob or arrow.

It's also possible that you have rf interference coming from other electronics on your own boat. Suspect this, if you have to crank the SQL to near max.
 

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HANUMAN
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Some of the companies make decent radios in the upper price ranges and make marginal at best at the lower price ranges. I can't understand (and don't trust) how any company would produce a marginal VHF radio.

Someones life may depend on them...and you just know they are making more money on the cheapo-crappo models than they are on the state of the art models.

My first hand held was a cheap model. It lasted a year or two. My second was an expensive SH hand held. 18 years later it's still my back up hand held and I still use it now and again for bridge openings just to make sure it still works.

I think you should up your price point just a bit.
SH HX150
 

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Truth is, all handhelds are grossly inferior at transmitting. You have to be in the same harbor essentially. They are fine for listening to weather reports and monitoring ch16 broadcasts.

Rob's advice to test them once in a while is a really good idea. I had the opportunity this summer, when my cockpit remote wire broke. It was tough to hail the marina. Fixed the remote forthwith.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks so much folks! It didn't occur to me that the manual would be available online, I should have checked that first. Rob Gallagher, thanks for the recommendation on the SH HX150. I'll definitely check that out. :)
 

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Thanks so much folks! It didn't occur to me that the manual would be available online, I should have checked that first. Rob Gallagher, thanks for the recommendation on th a te SH HX150. I'll definitely check that out. :)
It is, I would have posted the link, but I'm out and about, so cell phone only.

Not having variable squelch in a place with a lot of radio traffic, like Lake Erie, would be a significant handi cap. Less of an issue in remote location or inland lakes.

I agree with Rob, the SH 150 is a major upgrade to your current unit. It has variable squelch, 5 Watt vs 3 Watt power setting and probably much better longevity.

I'm a Standard Horizon guy too, I only have a handheld (no fixed radio), so I use it quite a bit. Like was mentioned, reliable.
 

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I didn't realize you could still buy a VHF that didn't have a DSC built-in these days. That's an extra expense worth considering.

And the only reason that I replaced my Ancient And Venerable Standard Horizon (with a new one) was to finally add that feature. The old radio still works as well as it did back in the stone age, and SH is part of Vertex which is the commercial/professional side of Yaesu, a big Japanese radio company. IIRC. They're not just aimed at mass-market goods.
 

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I have two SH radios, one with and one without DSC. The one that has the feature is in the ditchbag. However, I've learned that the battery is not sufficiently capable of transmitting the DSC for very long. Not sure these are all they are cracked up to be.
 

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Well, the alkaline tray would keep Tinkerbelle lit for a good sixty seconds, although I'd hate to have to talk anyone over to my position with it.

The DSC shouldn't be an issue though. DSC is still just the normal 5-6W transmission, but it is a digital burst, which shouldn't consume very much power at all. More like a fast mayday call on voice, not using much power at all. And then of course, if you have a LiOn pack in there, there's plenty of power for that. But if you have the alkaline tray...Yeah, that's a cruel joke. A custom battery mod, or another LiOn pack, really is in order if Tinkerbelle doesn't make it.
 

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Anyone have any comments on the Uniden Atlantis 270 1-6 watt vhf handheld? It's relatively cheap but has the 6 watt power and appears to have good "reviews" . . .. would love any input . . .
 

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standard horizon floater type bought new in 2010, still works great , new one will include the gps/dcs option.
spend around 100$ and it will last, cheaper could be a few years of service before its toast.
Oh and make sure you get one that floats, my cheapy didnt and turned out to be more expensive then getting the floaty right off the hop.
my .02 worth
 

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Perfect, thanks folks! :)
I've bought a couple of Standard Horizon products and like them. They also have decent product support. The GPS Store (https://www.thegpsstore.com/VHF-Radios-C17.aspx) generally have the best prices around, I'm not associated with them, and I don't know how they undercut everyone else, but they do. There are a few SH units for under $100. iCom is also a well liked brand for marine use.

-- Bill
Belle Voile
PSC 34
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks again, everyone! :) I put a few models on my christmas list, so we'll see which one Santa puts under the tree. ;)
 
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