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s/v Tiger Lily
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So our 35' has a vhf radio mounted in the cockpit and one inside the cabin. The one in the cockpit is in the way, and people run into it all the time. I might relocate it to a better position, but I'm also considering just removing it entirely ... just relying on the cabin radio and my handheld VHF.

Honestly, in the four seasons I've had this vessel, I've used it once in a non-emergency. Cell phones seem to be our primary means of communication now.

Is there really any argument (or requirement) for keeping the radio in the cockpit?
 

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On the MC I had a base unit in the cabin and used a handheld in the cockpit. This worked fine until I got a call from another boat that the base unit would pick up but my handheld did not have the range to reply. That made me think what happens if I need to call the CG etc. I single hand and in rough conditions can not leave the helm long enough to go below and make/answer a call. I have moved my base unit to the edge of the companionway and can now use it and stay at the helm. So I think it is important to have long range radio accessible from the cockpit unless you are always only a few miles from help. Dan S/V Marian Claire
 

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Unless your radio in the cabin is accessible from the cockpit, I would leave the one in the cockpit. Maybe you can relocate it or go to something more low profile like a ram mic.

There are many situations where having the ability to speak to someone without going below is extremely helpful. For example, if you are sailing in fog, the last thing that you want to do is go down below. Basically, any tight quarters sailing/motoring is probably a situation where going below doesn't make sense. Also, can you hear the VHF down below if you are motoring?

From a strictly safety standpoint, unless you have an EPIRB, the best way to call for help is with your VHF. There are plenty of situations where the unit may still be working but you don't want to go down below including sinking, fire, etc. I have read more than one report where the conclusion was that a distress call could have been made if the radio could have been operated from on deck.

I don't know what type of sailing you do and if you stay very close to your home marina and are in protected waters without much fog, then using a handheld in the cockpit is probably acceptable but a fixed mount as well as the handheld is always better.
 

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I suppose it's a judgement call.

I would consider where you sail (dangers/traffic) into the equation. I would also consider if you sail with crew regularly. If you have a crew/people to work with, they can make calls while you stay on the helm, for example. So ultimately I don't think it would be irresponsible to remove the cockpit VHF provide there are no aggravating factors which suggest you keep it to be responsible (and it doesn't sound like there are).
 

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Does your cabin VHF radio have the option of adding a remote mic? When I upgraded my VHF radio (to include DSC) on my last boat I made sure I purchased one with that option. I then mounted the remote mic right near the helm. It included all the controls to change channels, volume, make an emergency call etc. I'll probably do the same thing on my new boat.
 

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Does your cabin VHF radio have the option of adding a remote mic? When I upgraded my VHF radio (to include DSC) on my last boat I made sure I purchased one with that option. I then mounted the remote mic right near the helm. It included all the controls to change channels, volume, make an emergency call etc. I'll probably do the same thing on my new boat.
THIS is the solution!
 

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Like Jiminri, our radio--a Standard Horizon--is mounted in a nice safe spot at the Nav Table but is connected to a wired "RAM" Mic with full functionality in the cockpit (and we have a spare RAM Mic "just in case" as they're relatively cheap). These days, there are several VHF Radios available that allow the use of a wireless RAM Mic (several in some cases) which is an improvement over ours considering what a PITA running wiring to a cockpit might be. As a back-up and for close in comm's we also have a hand held that we keep tethered to the Binnacle or to the helmsman--so it doesn't take a dive over the side although it will float. (We also have small, waterproof, individual VHF's on each safety harness just in case a crew goes for an unexpected swim during foul weather.) I find the foregoing arrangement works very well.

FWIW...
 

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In our area Saint John River NB Canada we have to communicate with the cable ferries.
Our VHF is mounted inside at nav station (Beneteau 321) with a remote full function mic
in the cockpit.
 

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I just ordered a Standard Horizon gx1700. It has a GPS built into it, and can accept a remote mic (RAM3). Once I get it installed, I'll make the decision about getting the RAM3 mic for the cockpit. However, such a mic should have two advantages: it will essentially give me a 25W VHF in the cockpit; and it will also give me a new "handheld" GPS receiver, that basically has unlimited battery power and is always tethered to the boat (don't ask). Of course, this particular radio also has the advantage that the GPS is already wired into it, so it's automatically integrated with the DSC.
 
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If one does choose to mount a VHF in the cockpit, Where does one put it? I had thought of getting one of those smoked covers you put over a stereo in like a ski boat, but the mic wouldn't fit in there.
 

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If one does choose to mount a VHF in the cockpit, Where does one put it? I had thought of getting one of those smoked covers you put over a stereo in like a ski boat, but the mic wouldn't fit in there.
Traditionally, sailboats have had their radios in the cabin to keep them dry and safe. Nowadays, most new radios are "waterproof" (note the quotes), making it tempting to install the VHF in the cockpit. However, "waterproof" is a relative term, UV always takes its toll, and having electronics visible and somewhat accessible to every ne'er-do-well in the marina is tempting fate, IMHO.
 

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VHF extension speakers in the cockpit are worth having. As long as you can hear you're being called it's no big deal to go below to answer it.
 

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VHF extension speakers in the cockpit are worth having. As long as you can hear you're being called it's no big deal to go below to answer it.
I respectfully disagree. A narrow channel with cross wind or current, a congested area with a bunch of Saturday afternoon six-packers "buzzing" around, following seas where controlling the boat is a full time job. The last thing I want to do is leave the cockpit. Dan S/V Marian Claire
 

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If you mount a remote mic near the helm, make sure it doesn't interfere with your compass.
 

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These days, there are several VHF Radios available that allow the use of a wireless RAM Mic (several in some cases) which is an improvement over ours considering what a PITA running wiring to a cockpit might be. FWIW...
Thanks HyLyte! That's a great nugget of info...I've never heard of a wireless RAM Mic. I'm going to have to try to find one of those. What a great invention. Running cable is a pain but, even worse, I hate drilling holes in my boat. Nice to avoid both.
 

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I had the same problem of not having a fixed radio in the cockpit, but only a handheld. The cheapest solution was to buy an extension speaker, about $10 and wire it to the nav station VHF. The wire goes accross the floor and out into the cockpit, a bit messy but it also means I can take the speaker to wherever I am sleeping, normally the forward cabin.
 

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I moved my VHF to the companionway where it can be operated from inside or outside. Recently though, I've been re-thinking how I will use the radio.

I always monitor 16, because I think it's the right thing to do, but fortunately/unfortunately for me the previous owner did a great job with the antenna and wiring and I have a really long range. What that means is that in the summer I hear every Tom, Dick & Harry calling each other on the radio all day. I find that the constant radio chatter interferes with my wanting to be at one with nature, enjoy the peace and quite of sailing etc.

What I will try next summer is have my handheld attached to my PFD and use that to monitor 16. My thinking is that I can receive all the coast guard broadcasts on this (because their antennas are on the tops of mountains) and any boat that wants to call me, or is in distress but CLOSE enough for me to actually be able to help can also be received with this radio.

Basically, I don't want to receive any transmissions (except the coast guard) that originated, say, more than 15KM away. A boat hailing me would likely be line of site, and any mayday beyond that distance is 2-3hrs motor away and I would not likely be of any help. Besides, most maydays are re-broadcast by the coast guard anyway.

Hopefully this will reduce the unnecessary chatter, but still allow me to keep an effective radio watch. The main unit can be used for my own mayday call if needed.

MedSailor
 
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