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which first? handheld vhf or epirb.....

Old 01-25-2003, 08:51 PM
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Default which first? handheld vhf or epirb.....

I've been planning on getting a handheld vhf for my ditch bag (and for leaving with the non-fishing family when they decide to sight see on an island or shore), and I've also been planning on upgrading my non 406 mhz EPIRB to a 406 model.

My question is which should I get first assuming I don't just break down and buy both?

I should note that I have 2 fixed mount VHF units on the boat already with seperate antennas and power feeds. I also have an ACR Mini B2 EPIRB. I won't be going terribly far offshore for a while (don't have the survival gear), but want something reliable in case I find mself bobbing around and wanting some help.

I'm thinking that given the limited range of a handheld vhf, the EPIRB is probably a better choice for getting help quickly. I'm also thinking that the help in that case could only come come from the cg since nobody else will be monitoring the 406 mhz xmit, while a vhf could be picked up by anyone.

So which is the better choice to get first? Or do I need both given I can probably get at least a working vhf off ebay for ~$100 (not the one I would buy new, but it would still work)?

Is winter over yet?

** sigh **
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Old 01-25-2003, 09:06 PM
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Default which first? handheld vhf or epirb.....

I would get the new EPIRB next. You have redundant VHF's already, so the new 406er will give you redundant EPRIRB's. I would get an EPIRB with internal GPS to make locating you faster. ANd don't throw away that "old" 121 EPIRB...it will still be useful for some time to come.
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Old 01-26-2003, 05:02 AM
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Default which first? handheld vhf or epirb.....

I gotta agree with Preoccupation on this one...then you'll have the full package. In that money is, no object, I would also get a waterproof handheld for the ditch bag. As an aside, have you looked at the Icom www.icomamerica.com FRS or GMRS/BRS for shore to boat use? I keep a pair in the car...as you are aware FCC frowns on the use of VHF on land, if you know what I mean. Their great for car to car, too. Preoccupation..., great name, I assume you're almost employed?

"Never enough time to do it right; ALWAYS enough time to do it over." Boston Whaler, "MUMBLER", 24' Outrage (1996), twin 175 HP Evinrude Ocean Pros.
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Old 01-26-2003, 06:43 AM
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Default which first? handheld vhf or epirb.....

How important is it that an EPIRB be a 406mhz unit. My wife gave me the ACR Magnum B (not a 406 mhz unit) for Christmas. The difference in price for a 406 unit was something like $500 to $700. What practical differnce does it make if you're fishing 50 to 65 nm offshore?

Hal
'Albemarlin'

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Old 01-26-2003, 08:37 AM
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Default which first? handheld vhf or epirb.....

I'm not an expert by any means, but looking at the specs alone tells you that the 121.5 units have an accuracy of 12 nm (well, mine does anyway) and the 406's have less than 1. Add to that a HIGH degree of false alarms on the 121.5 spectrum (why I wonder? - will the same thing begin to happen with the 406's?) and you begin to get the impression that you could be talking to the fishes much longer with the older style unit. One of the mag's tested them (non 406's) recently, and they had a large number of signals that were never detected from some locations. I wish I had the link to that for you, but I don't.

I've heard it said that either will get you rescued, but the 406's will get your signal located much quicker.

In 40 degree water, thats the difference between making it or not. I guess it depends on where you go and when and who's with you. If I were planning on canyon runs, it would be a hands down decision. I'm not (at least not yet), so my decision is more a brain-wallet knot than anything else.
I'll eventually have all the toys, but not all at once.

Oh, and good point mumbler. I do have a bunch of those frs units we use for hiking and skiing. I guess I should have connected the use of a handheld to being a groundstation. Scratch one use. Thanks

** sigh **
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Old 01-27-2003, 07:07 PM
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Default which first? handheld vhf or epirb.....

Quick comment on Gerg's first post...the 406Mhz units also broadcast 121.5Mhz for use as a homing signal. So it's not only satellites that can possibly notify the CG, it's also any aircraft in the area that might pick up the 121.5 signal.

Hal, as for practicability...For time to pick up the EPIRB signal, I've seen reports ranging from 2 minutes for a GPS-encoded 406 signal to an hour or more for a 121.5 signal. The difference is that the 121.5-type satellites have to receive the EPIRB signal AND be over a ground station to relay the signal to. They can't store the signal and wait to transmit it later like the 406-type satellites can.

As for time to rescue, a lot of factors come into play, the first of which is the time needed to pick up the distress signal (above). Since the time to deploy SAR and time in transit are the same, the next factor is the search area: 1.5nm radius accuracy (7 square nm) for the non-GPS 406 vs. 10nm radius (314 square nm) for the 121.5. Not to mention possibilities of false targets from other 121.5 sources...so your guess is as good as mine. Oh, one other plus with the 406 is that you register it with YOUR boat's description so that SAR knows what type of craft to look for. (Note to self: take own EPIRB next time on the Albemarlin' )

Mumblerone....nope, gainfully employed (thank goodness) for what seems like a lifetime...Preoccupation comes from me day dreamin' and thinking about boats and fishing too much. Also this part of my work life is "preoccupation" to what I really aspire to be...a certified beach bum!!!

p.s. here's a link I used to double-check some of my figures in case ya'll want to see the whole story...

http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/epirb.htm

[This message was edited by Preoccupation on 01-27-03 at 10:29 PM.]
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Old 01-28-2003, 04:28 AM
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Default which first? handheld vhf or epirb.....

Preoccupation...always like to here I was wrong...makes me try harder. Your right on with the 406, only way to go!

"Never enough time to do it right; ALWAYS enough time to do it over." Boston Whaler, "MUMBLER", 24' Outrage (1996), twin 175 HP Evinrude Ocean Pros.
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Old 01-28-2003, 06:29 AM
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Default which first? handheld vhf or epirb.....

gerg

I read you have 50/50 chance of lasting 50min in 50deg water without a survival/exposure suit.
1st would be: http://www.marsars.com/it110011.html

2nd (with a couple of hours) Did a handhield vhs, hopefully you're out with other boats. Like features of HX460

Liferaft next, prefer out of water waiting for S&R than in with a EPIRB of any type (will probably do a coastal 2 tube SY6)

A S&R guy in the office talks alot about high false alarm rate of 121.5 & burden that places on limited resources. The fastfind gps 406 cellphone size will be last item. http://www.equipped.com/plb_legal.htm

Alot of bucks for stuff I never want to use.
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Old 01-28-2003, 03:46 PM
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Default which first? handheld vhf or epirb.....

Looks like I need to take the EPIRBm back for a refund towards a 406mhz unit. Don't know that I can afford that right now since the bill for Holden Beach Marina is coming up soon.. Also want to get DSC radio too! It never ends!

Hal
'Albemarlin'
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Old 01-28-2003, 06:29 PM
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Default which first? handheld vhf or epirb.....

Hookman, thanks for the pointers. I am aware of the need or a liferaft, but I have to put that down the list quite a bit given the cost, size, and where I'll be this year. I did snag a couple of stearns gumby suits off of ebay, so that will be something anyway.

I think I'm going to opt for the 406, and I'll pick up the vhf if I see a good deal somewhere, but it doesn't feel urgent right now.

** sigh **
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Old 01-28-2003, 08:26 PM
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Default which first? handheld vhf or epirb.....

Greg,

ICOM IC-M1V $169.00 at Consumers Marine Electronics boat show price. Call them and they will ship it. Also Paines Wesses 406 GPS EPIRB around 860.00. Around 570.00 for a 406 w/o the GPS.

Both a liferaft and EPIRB are necessary if your heading offshore alone. You can float around for a really long time out there in a liferaft before anyone knows and even when they start looking, your very hard to find...

Good Luck and be safe,

Scott
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