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Handheld VHF Radio

Old 07-02-2009, 10:21 PM
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Default Handheld VHF Radio

Hi folks,
Make some suggestions for handhelds that have good range, waterproof, tough, clear voice communication etc.... Anyone? I opted out of the built in VHF with the giant antenna b/c Im getting a folding T-top and the antenna would get in the way and probably get broken (based on past experience). I probably wont go more than 30 -50 miles offshore (in the area of oil rigs) so the big VHF is unnecessary IMO. Sorry for the excuses but that was my way of talking myself out of buying one.... We also do island hopping alot so two of them make for a good way to tell the beach goers to get back to the mother (fishing) ship!

Thanks!
Old 07-02-2009, 10:30 PM
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30-50 miles offshore with a handheld?

Handhelds are for marinas and harbors.

The rest of your post almost leads me to believe you are being sarcastic...

Hell, why even bother with a handheld VHF? You have a cell phone, don't you?
Old 07-02-2009, 10:58 PM
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Hey man, Im not being saracastic. You take you cell on the beach? You ever heard of sand and water in a cell phone and how well they work after (Now that was sarcastic)? It seemed to be a simple question to me, if you dont have an answer then please, carry on.... have a wonderful day. BTW, I notice you are from up north, here in Southern Louisiana, there are manned oil rigs for hundreds of miles offshore! So roll around laughing in your own little lakes!
Old 07-02-2009, 11:05 PM
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It doesn't matter where I'm from. Radio works the same, and I also happen to know a bit about radio...

Knock yourself out, though.

Lemme know how that 50 mile contact with an HT works though...
Old 07-02-2009, 11:15 PM
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You seem to be trying to start something for no reason?.?. If I am 100 miles offshore....and there is a manned oil rig within 10 miles of my location, which handheld vhf would you (Mr. radio man) use to contact that rig? That is all I am asking. Simple question. If you did know as much as you claim then you would understand. If you dont have an answer then please just go away! Simple.
Old 07-03-2009, 05:23 AM
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10 miles is ~really~ pushing it with a handheld radio. I would strongly recommend a fixed-mount VHF for safety offshore (anything more than a mile or two). Make sure it is connected to your GPS and properly programmed with your unique MMSI number too so the Coast Guard can look up your boat info and a contact phone number on shore.

If you still want to carry a handheld as a backup, for inshore communications or for talking from the boat to your shore crew, people here on THT seem to do well with either Standard Horizon or Icom handhelds.
Old 07-03-2009, 05:36 AM
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Fixed mount = 25w, hand-held = max of 6w.
The hand-held is not the recommended safety gear for the purposes you describe.

If you want a hand-held, ICOM and Standard Horizon are great brands.
Old 07-03-2009, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Aquarium4578 View Post
You seem to be trying to start something for no reason?.?. If I am 100 miles offshore....and there is a manned oil rig within 10 miles of my location, which handheld vhf would you (Mr. radio man) use to contact that rig? That is all I am asking. Simple question. If you did know as much as you claim then you would understand. If you dont have an answer then please just go away! Simple.
How about: 15 years as head radio tech/installer/programmer for Motorola? Is that enugh experience for you? Thought so.. now.. like buddy up there said, your NOT going to get anywhere near 10 miles from any handheld. And oil rigs dont monitor marine VHF channels.
Stop with the attitude and take some friendly adive when its given to you, just cause you dont like the answer doesnt mean you have to get lippy. Bottom line, handhelds are useless for ANYTHING but talking to your buddy a mile or less away, or contacting a marina when your pulling in for fuel etc. Besides, any fixed mount radio will have a low power switch.
Handhelds put out maybe 2-3 watts, mobiles, 20-35. The antenna is higher/longer too so your range is alot further.
Im wondering whens the last time ive seen a cell repeater out in the middle of a lake....;?
Radio
Old 07-03-2009, 10:56 AM
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Thank-You Mattunique and SeaTowEthan for the advice on both using them properly and which are good radios.

Hey Canadian Radio guy, oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico near the mouth of the MS River DO monitor VHF channels. I ask a simple question, which are good handheld VHF radio's? If you dont have an answer for the question then keep quiet. Other than that, I am a grown man, I do not need or ask for YOUR safety advice. There will be no antenna on this boat. Therefore there will be no installed VHF. Simple as that. Take that advice and learn from it. 15 years working for Motorola makes me definately question your advice. Being a cop for 17 years using motorola radios that did not work on land half the time cause me to totally write off your advice.
Old 07-03-2009, 12:40 PM
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Actually guys, lots of the oil rigs offshore Louisiana and Mississippi do monitor the marine VHF channels. Same old THT stuff (lately at least guys giving a whole lot of unasked (and probably unnecessary) "advice" and worst of all several being so anxious to preach that they fail to give an answer or suggestion to the question the guy asked.
(Not matt-unique and Seatow Ethan)

And when the OP (FOR A WELCOME CHANGE) instead of just lying down and taking all this crap calls you out on it (as IMO he should,) he gets called "lippy," one who won't take "friendly" [HAH] advice, speaking "almost sarcasm" etc.

"Useless at anything over a mile" is a little bit of a stretch, to say the least, radio_guy.
Old 07-03-2009, 12:42 PM
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Aquarium

I am high on the Standard-Horizon handhelds. They have a bunch with a number of different features. Best thing, take a look at their website, see which model matches up with features you need. Most if not all are waterproof. For your use, I'd definitely go for one of the newer models which have 6 watt transmit, rather than the older ones which were 5 watts.
Old 07-03-2009, 12:47 PM
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Having used a handheld for 2 weeks while my main radio was in for repair, I can confirm, the range on handhelds is pretty sad. I was using a $100 Uniden which I was not thrilled with (although a couple people here gave it good reviews) but my buddy's $350 uniden handheld with GPS seemed to receieve quite a bit better. With either handheld, I would guess the farthest transmission I heard was about 6-7 miles, and I almost never picked up a brige request when I was out in the ocean, and usually I'll hear a constant stream of those. Made me a real believer in a fixed radio.

So I have to agree with the above comments - if you're going more than 5-8 miles offshore a handheld is better than nothing, but just barely. 50 miles offshore, I'd want a fixed mount and at least a 4' antenna on the t-top. (I use a 4' now and am happy with it)
Old 07-03-2009, 01:11 PM
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The Standard HX370S is a great radio for 110 bucks, or step up to an ICOM M34, which floats, @ about 150. Since you are choosing not to have a fixed mount, get something like these with a big display.

That being said, it is easier to fold down an antenna on a ratchet mount than any folding T-Top I have ever seen; so frankly your reasoning doesn't make any sense to me. Why wimp out on perhaps the most important safety device on the boat next to your PFD? I think that's what got the preachers riled up. It's your thing, do what you wanna do...

George
Hatteras 56MY
Boston Whaler Sport 130
Old 07-03-2009, 01:36 PM
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I wasn't trying to start anything. I could have been a bit less sarcastic, I suppose, but I was trying to underscore the inadequacy of a handheld radio as a safety item so far offshore.

Of course the implication that because I live in MN this isn't the case didn't help things much.
Old 07-04-2009, 01:46 PM
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When I said a handheld is useless at anything over a mile, I mean being 100% dependable.
Watching my buddy key up on his handheld a few hundred feet away and hearin nothing but static confirmed my belief that handhelds are useless.
Old 07-04-2009, 09:37 PM
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After being out on the water all day with a handheld borrowed from a my neighbor, I believe the handheld will do just fine however the large antenna of a fixed mount would do much better, bridges and closer boats and rigs had NO problems hearing me. radio_guy, I will not bite on your hook as it is obvious you are trying to start an internet fight and I will not participate (as suggested before). BTW, thank most of you for the suggestions of the better of the handhelds.
Old 07-05-2009, 10:18 PM
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shrug.. ignorance is bliss
Old 07-06-2009, 04:33 AM
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I have a Uniden HH985. Not sure they make it anymore. I's been OK as a backup and as a scanner when sitting on the deck or beach or packed in a travel bag. The nice thing about it is the additional removable battery pack that takes AA batteries. (I've left it on by accident a couple of times and run the rechargable pack down.)

Still not a substitute for a fixed mount, but a nice handheld, I think.
Old 07-06-2009, 05:02 AM
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I have Standard Horizon HX750, floats, 6w (range seemed to be a good 5 miles consistently). I've seen em for around $125.
Old 07-06-2009, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by radio_guy View Post
shrug.. ignorance is bliss


All the handheld radios have the same maximum power output and the same antenna height. The only difference is features so buy the one that catches your eye or feels good in your hands.

As far as oil rigs monitoring the marine VHF channels, can you count on that? Will they come get you or just call someone? If you have a signal that gets out to other boaters, they will probably come to your rescue. Sometimes you need that help fast.

If you look around at other boats, especially ones boating in coastal waters or offshore, you'll see that most of them are sporting eight foot VHF antennas and we can assume, fixed mount VHF radios. Consider that they may be on to something.

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