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VHF replacement

Old 10-03-2020, 07:58 PM
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Default VHF replacement

New vhf or just a handheld? Don’t go out past the 10-15 mile mark. Current radio is working ok but would like something new. Thinking just a handheld as a backup in case this one completely craps out. Also if anything happened something not relying on the battery would be good.

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10-03-2020, 08:10 PM
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Fixed mount with quality antenna and a handheld for a backup.
Old 10-03-2020, 08:10 PM
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Fixed mount with quality antenna and a handheld for a backup.
Old 10-03-2020, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Stickbo View Post
Fixed mount with quality antenna and a handheld for a backup.
This...and a handheld is not going to reach out 10-15 miles
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Old 10-03-2020, 08:18 PM
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Standard Horizon 1850 with GPS, you only live once.
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Old 10-03-2020, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by chuck34 View Post
This...and a handheld is not going to reach out 10-15 miles
I agree 100%.

I always think of a hand held VHF as a little bit more direct action then a prayer. Your ass is in the water or about to be and while praying, you hope a boat in the vicinity has 16 tuned and can hear you calling on that hh for HELP.

Absolutely not a substitute for a mounted, 12 volt powered unit with a quality antenna.

The automated radio check services are a perfect place to demonstrate the SIGNIFICANT difference in distance performance between a hh vhf and a mounted 12 volt powered unit with a fixed antenna.
Old 10-03-2020, 09:13 PM
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I use my boat often as a base for kayak fishing. My wife hangs out on the boat and I go off to fish in the kayak. I take thew HH VHF in case I cannot get her on the cell and need her. Our BW Nantucket has a simple VHF install with the little console mounted wire whip. We have been able to communicate up to several miles in good conditions. The limitation being the HH. Standing up verses being seated makes a difference I would guesstimate of about .25 mile. Seated in the kayak is only slightly more proud of the water than floating in the water in a life preserver. The point is that the range is pretty limited. I can hear the boat VHF even when she can no longer hear (or inaudible) my HH.
Old 10-03-2020, 09:58 PM
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If your current VHF is hooked up to GPS and has DSC functionality why replace it? If not then I’d get a fixed mount VHF with GPS just for the extra safety. I like to keep a hand held on board as a back up. I kept my old fixed mount and until a radio check revealed it was no longer transmitting! So do radio checks often! I had an SH Quest and replaced it with an SH Eclipse
Old 10-04-2020, 07:02 AM
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Antenna quality is also important. I see it all the time, people buy great radios and less expensive antennas. A good quality antenna, mounted as high as possible, is a necessity when traveling away from shore.

I can transmit 10-12 nautical miles with my setup. A friend with a similar boat, more expensive Icom VHF and less expensive antenna cannot.

I have a top of the line Standard Horizon hand held VHF with GPS and have had problems talking to a USCG Buoy Tender about 1/4 mile away from the bow of a 40’ Express. I could hear them great, but they could only hear me garbled. The handheld’s battery is the weak link. You have 5-6 watts at full charge and it goes down from there.

There is a need for a handheld VHF as a backup, but it should not be the primary unless you are always in crowded areas and very close to shore.
Old 10-04-2020, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by OilandWater View Post
Antenna quality is also important. I see it all the time, people buy great radios and less expensive antennas. A good quality antenna, mounted as high as possible, is a necessity when traveling away from shore.

I can transmit 10-12 nautical miles with my setup. A friend with a similar boat, more expensive Icom VHF and less expensive antenna cannot.

I have a top of the line Standard Horizon hand held VHF with GPS and have had problems talking to a USCG Buoy Tender about 1/4 mile away from the bow of a 40’ Express. I could hear them great, but they could only hear me garbled. The handheld’s battery is the weak link. You have 5-6 watts at full charge and it goes down from there.

There is a need for a handheld VHF as a backup, but it should not be the primary unless you are always in crowded areas and very close to shore.
not only is antenna quality important but the antenna wire and soldering the connectors on is too

also, higher the better. my antenna is only 4' but its 26 feet up so nearly 30' height from water line.

Last edited by mystery; 10-04-2020 at 12:25 PM.
Old 10-04-2020, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by OilandWater View Post
Antenna quality is also important. I see it all the time, people buy great radios and less expensive antennas. A good quality antenna, mounted as high as possible, is a necessity when traveling away from shore.

I can transmit 10-12 nautical miles with my setup. A friend with a similar boat, more expensive Icom VHF and less expensive antenna cannot.

I have a top of the line Standard Horizon hand held VHF with GPS and have had problems talking to a USCG Buoy Tender about 1/4 mile away from the bow of a 40’ Express. I could hear them great, but they could only hear me garbled. The handheld’s battery is the weak link. You have 5-6 watts at full charge and it goes down from there.

There is a need for a handheld VHF as a backup, but it should not be the primary unless you are always in crowded areas and very close to shore.

How low was your battery? I can easily reach at least 30 miles with my ham handheld, from indoors, even when I'm not on a fresh charge. (Of course, that repeater is on a small hill.)

I too suspect most VHF issues come down to issues with the antenna wiring and connections.
Old 10-04-2020, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by requiem View Post
How low was your battery? I can easily reach at least 30 miles with my ham handheld, from indoors, even when I'm not on a fresh charge. (Of course, that repeater is on a small hill.)

I too suspect most VHF issues come down to issues with the antenna wiring and connections.
Ham and VHF marine are two different animals. No way would a VHF handheld reach 30 miles. Heck, even a mounted unit with a very good antennae isn't going that far...maybe 1/2 that.
Handhelds are good for a mile or two at best.
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Old 10-04-2020, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by chuck34 View Post
Ham and VHF marine are two different animals. No way would a VHF handheld reach 30 miles. Heck, even a mounted unit with a very good antennae isn't going that far...maybe 1/2 that.
Handhelds are good for a mile or two at best.
Ham covers a wide range of capability, but in this case it's pretty apples-to-apples. (Fuji vs. honeycrisp, perhaps, but certainly not apples-to-oranges):

- Similar make (Standard Horizon is Yaesu)
- Similar band (marine VHF is also ~2 meters)
- Similar power (handhelds rated for 5 Watts)
- Similar antenna (stock rubber ducky)

Antenna height will play a much greater role than power; if I'm standing up on a small cruising boat my (handheld) radio horizon will be about 4 miles, and so I should be able to reach another boat out to at least 6-7 miles, more if their antenna is higher.
Old 10-04-2020, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Mpellet View Post
I agree 100%.

I always think of a hand held VHF as a little bit more direct action then a prayer. Your ass is in the water or about to be and while praying, you hope a boat in the vicinity has 16 tuned and can hear you calling on that hh for HELP.

Absolutely not a substitute for a mounted, 12 volt powered unit with a quality antenna.

The automated radio check services are a perfect place to demonstrate the SIGNIFICANT difference in distance performance between a hh vhf and a mounted 12 volt powered unit with a fixed antenna.
OK..Well, according to YOUR SCENARIO.... “your ass is in the water” and your “mounted, 12 volt powered unit with a quality antenna”.... is in the sinking hull.
How does THAT SCENARIO work better than the OP’s very good idea of having a handheld in addition to the mounted VHF he already has..??
Old 10-04-2020, 04:58 PM
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Nobody is saying not to have a HH VHF. But a HH is not a sub for a mounted unit. The OPs post was a bit hard to read.
Old 10-04-2020, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Fishinado View Post
OK..Well, according to YOUR SCENARIO.... “your ass is in the water” and your “mounted, 12 volt powered unit with a quality antenna”.... is in the sinking hull.
How does THAT SCENARIO work better than the OP’s very good idea of having a handheld in addition to the mounted VHF he already has..??

You’re looking for a fight that doesn’t exist.

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Old 10-04-2020, 06:50 PM
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Assuming the existing fixed is in good condition and you only want to buy 1 radio, I would go for a DSC hand held - IMO once a boat is large enough to carry a battery, there should be a fixed radio and a hand held clipped to the helmsman - there are situations where either could be a lifesaver and the other could be useless.
Old 10-04-2020, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by requiem View Post
How low was your battery? I can easily reach at least 30 miles with my ham handheld, from indoors, even when I'm not on a fresh charge. (Of course, that repeater is on a small hill.)

I too suspect most VHF issues come down to issues with the antenna wiring and connections.
repeater is the reason, 2 meter line of sight same as VHS

Old 10-04-2020, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Mpellet View Post
You’re looking for a fight that doesn’t exist.
I’m not looking for a fight. I was just pointing out what the OP was asking... He states he already has a mounted VHF which works fine... And your suggestion that a Handheld will be less useful than a mounted radio ignores the original post in which he HAS a mounted radio. I pointed that out so you could have a “gotcha” moment and reconsider your advice.
Old 10-05-2020, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Fishinado View Post
I’m not looking for a fight. I was just pointing out what the OP was asking... He states he already has a mounted VHF which works fine... And your suggestion that a Handheld will be less useful than a mounted radio ignores the original post in which he HAS a mounted radio. I pointed that out so you could have a “gotcha” moment and reconsider your advice.

You came across like you did want a fight claiming that I created some sort of “scenario” that a hh was unnecessary which I did not. In my post, I agreed with another member in his comparison that a hh was not a substitute for a fixed mounted vhf due to lack of range. I never said anything about a hh being unnecessary . I’ve carried a hh vhf in addition to fixed mounted vhf (2) and a plb for over a decade.

It you were not trying to be contentious then you should work on your reading comprehension and writing skills because that’s clearly the message you sent.

I’ve wasted enough time on you, go pester someone else.....

Last edited by Mpellet; 10-05-2020 at 04:51 AM.

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