Notices
Marine Electronics Forum
Like Tree1Likes
  • 1 Post By Fine Lion

New boat VHF

Old 10-10-2019, 03:32 PM
  #1  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Dagsboro, Delaware
Posts: 24
Default New boat VHF

I just purchased a new boat that is not equipped with a VHF radio, looking at the cost and labor to install one I came across the handheld radios as an option. Anyone have any experience with the handheld VHF radios?
Hotstuff is offline  
Old 10-10-2019, 03:44 PM
  #2  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Virginia
Posts: 302
Default

How far out do you plan to go ? Vhf transmission is based on line of sight. Line of sight for a handheld radio is pretty low to the horizon and won’t transmit far. So you have that issue to deal with. Most fixed radios have an antenna mounted higher and larger for the extra gain that you want.
anthem-00 is offline  
Old 10-10-2019, 03:48 PM
  #3  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 1,110
Default

Bigger issue than antennas or anything else is that fixed VHF radios output 25W; most handhelds are limited to 5W.
andosan is offline  
Old 10-10-2019, 03:50 PM
  #4  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Pittsford, NY & Oak Island, NC
Posts: 605
Default

Depending upon the boating you do a handheld is an option, but will not get nearly the range of an installed radio for two key reasons:
  1. Power- Handheld is a maximum of 6 watts transmit power, while an installed radio has a maximum of 25 watts transmit power with the exception of channel 13 which only 1 watt.
  2. Antenna Height - VHF communication is strictly line of sight your maximum range of communication is dependent upon the height of the antennas of the two stations attempting communications. Therefore, an installed radio even when power is equal will transmit further, if the antenna is mounted higher than the antenna of handheld unit.
  3. So a radio of 25 watts with an antenna say 12 to twenty feet off the water will transmit and receive further than a handheld unit of 6 watts and only 6 feet off the water.
As a rule of thumb a 25 watt VHF fixed mount radio with an antenna which is 16 feet off the water will at best be able to communicate with a base station unit with an antenna mounted say 150 feet above the water a maximum of about 20 to 25 miles dependent on weather and sea conditions. A handheld maximum range would be no better than say 10 - 15 miles at very best.

Most people employ handhelds as a backup or if they only boat in bays and backwaters.
Bison is offline  
Old 10-10-2019, 06:14 PM
  #5  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 3,057
Default

as a boater you need both.

unless it's a 10' dingy
smac999 is offline  
Old 10-10-2019, 09:01 PM
  #6  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Posts: 290
Default

Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
as a boater you need both.

unless it's a 10' dingy
Agree, especially needed for big water.
Goose77 is offline  
Old 10-10-2019, 09:04 PM
  #7  
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 98
Default

Congrats on the ne whist and its great that you are thinking about safety.

Help us help you. What kind of boat and where will you use it?
Yobub is offline  
Old 10-11-2019, 06:16 AM
  #8  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Dagsboro, Delaware
Posts: 24
Default

Thanks for all your responses, I had no idea that handhelds had such a low transmit power. I bought a 2020 Key West 263FS,and plan to use it in Indian River (DE) bay and Atlantic ocean.I will be installing a fixed mount UHF.
Hotstuff is offline  
Old 10-11-2019, 06:20 AM
  #9  
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Florida
Posts: 45
Default

That's a good idea. Plus, Delaware Bay has a lot of commercial traffic. That means AIS might be a good idea. You can get a fixed VHF with built in AIS. Something to look at since you're going to buy a new unit.
ocnslr likes this.
Fine Lion is offline  
Old 10-11-2019, 07:09 AM
  #10  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: S. FL then Erie Canal, NY, next NE FL
Posts: 1,720
Default

The S-H GX1800G is a great buy right now. AIS Rx/GPS/VHF for a little over $200.
diver dave is offline  
Old 10-11-2019, 07:19 AM
  #11  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Pittsford, NY & Oak Island, NC
Posts: 605
Default

Standard Horizon, S-H, VHF radios are excellent units with great customer service. But if you plan to also install a chartplotter/fishfinder you may which to ensure both plotter and the VHF can and do communicate with each other, so that the AIS data can be displayed on the plotter, as well as DSC data from the radio.

Personally, love S-H and have a HX 890 handheld as the backup VHF, but went with all Garmin for fixed radio and charplotter/fishfinder to ensure two units would communicate and the connection would be simple. I am not saying the S-H products would not work, just check with your vendor as to systems compatibility.
Bison is offline  
Old 10-11-2019, 09:09 AM
  #12  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: S. FL then Erie Canal, NY, next NE FL
Posts: 1,720
Default

Not a lot of AIS traffic in Pittsford though. I live there also.
diver dave is offline  
Old 10-14-2019, 11:21 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location:
Posts: 755
Default

AIS is an option to consider, although AIS radios will cost more. Personally I don't think AIS is worth it. But I would strongly recommend a VHF radio with built in GPS. I have had Standard Horizon and Icom radios on multiple boats, they are both good but I find the icom radios easier to use. I recently replaced an old VHF with a new ICOM IC-M330G. It is compact but full featured, built in GPS (with external antenna); I really like it.
71Outrage is offline  
Old 10-14-2019, 03:32 PM
  #14  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location:
Posts: 3,571
Default

Here is a link to show range of a 1 watt hand held VHF in the Coast Guard Rescue 21 VHF/DSC system.
https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=mtNds

The Rescue 21 is designed to work with a hand held VHF with one watt of power at 2 meters above the water level out to 20 nautical miles. Most have no idea hand held VHF radios will work this well out on the water.
Now for your vessel going out in the blue water get a fixed mount VHF for reliability and good DC power from the vessel battery. but also suggested have a handheld just in case. For a tender going to and from shore a handheld is all you need.

For vessel to vessel range vhf will have limited range. VHF is line of sight. To calculate range you add the center of radiation of both antennas and look up on a VHF line of sight chart you can find on google. Here is a simple one you can use buy entering the two antenna heights and see the radio horizon from both sides and the VHF range between the two antennas.
https://www.qsl.net/kd4sai/distance.html

So with two antenna 6 feet above the water you can talk up to 6 miles. But if one side is a Coast Guard tower at 150 feet tall your handheld can talk back 20 miles. Adding power with a fixed mount does little for range. at most a 10% improvement if a noisy channel. It is all about line of sight on the water with VHF.

Jim

jfwireless is offline  
Old 10-15-2019, 12:00 PM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Southeast Michigan
Posts: 2,715
Default

In comparing a handheld radio to a fixed mount radio for the VHF Marine Band, there are some significant differences:

--a handheld radio typical operates from its own battery. The battery life will be limited to perhaps 2-Ampere-hours. In contrast, a fixed mount radio typically operates from the ship's 12-Volt battery, which is generally always being recharged and has a capacity of 50-Ampere-hours or more.

--a handheld radio typical transmits and receives using its own shortened antenna. Short antennas have very low efficiency and no gain. In contrast, a fixed mount radio typically operates into a full-size antenna, usually mounted at the highest point of the boat, and the antenna has very good efficiency and likely some gain.

--a handheld radio transmits at about 5-Watts maximum. In contrast a fixed mount radio transmits at 25-Watts.

A VHF Marine Band radio should be considered as a primary safety device for communication. Using a fixed mount radio will provide better communication than a handheld radio.
jhebert is offline  
Old 10-15-2019, 04:45 PM
  #16  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 140
Default

I just bought a Standard Horizon GX600 for a bit more than $400.00. It has DSC and is an AIS receiver. I could have gotten something similar for less but I also wanted the NMEA2000 interface.
IMHO a fixed mount radio is much preferred due to the transmission distance factor.
bakerjw is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread