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Old 27 August 2014, 16:59   #21
John Kennett's Avatar
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If suggest getting a basic Standard Horizon handheld to start with. It will cost you about £100 and of necessary you'll be able to use it in an emergency without any training (a bit of reading up first would be a good idea though).

You may decide in due course that you want to have a bit of training, get certificated, and but a more sophisticated DSC radio. I would recommend that you do all of these.

Then you'll have your original radio as a spare that you can tuck away in a grab bag as backup
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Old 27 August 2014, 17:41   #22
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Originally Posted by Poly View Post
DSC will also mean he has a bigger battery drain and therefore a risk that late on a long day he has no means to call for help.
That begs the question of who leaves their handheld turned on all day?

Even before I had a mounted unit, I never turned my handheld on as I couldn't hear it anyway with the motor running. I still carry a small DSC equipped radio on my person, either in my drysuit pocket or in a jacket pocket if I am wearing street clothes.

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Old 27 August 2014, 18:54   #23
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far be it from me to fly in the face of such public condemnation....but
after I lost my Entel Handheld on the way to the Round Ireland last year,
I had to buy the only thing available in the chandlers at Neyland,
which just happened to be a Cobra MR HH325.
Its got no bells and whistles, no DSC, but it surprised me with how it felt
when I picked it up. It's quite a solid weighty unit that gives
the impression its well put together.
It did sterling service in some not great conditions,
and hasnt missed a beat since. Its loud, clear, does the job.
Of course it's been relegated to the back of the locker by the arrival of
an all singing all dancing Icom 91, but a year later the Cobra is still working fine.
(Maybe I got the one off the production line on a good day!)
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Old 28 August 2014, 01:04   #24
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Cobra: the originals were sh1t. Not helped by marketing as waterproof when Nos4r thinking about pi$$ing on one would break it. The newer ones have upped their game. But they also upped the ££££ so they aren't noticeably cheaper than the two brand leaders, but the customer service from the brand leaders is good... Not that that helps if ur radio breaks 10miles off shore ;-)

Licences: as usual there is confusion re licences. You really should have 2 pieces of paper. A ship radio licence or transportable ship radio licence. That is free, requires no exam and while I challenge you to find someone who's been asked for it in UK waters since it is free you have no reason not to get one.

The second licence is the certificate of competence. You are perfectly legal to own and have on board the radio without this. Half the WAFI world don't have it and they like collecting bits of paper! You can only LEGALLY transmit without it in an emergency. I am of the opinion that if you know that you may delay calling someone about a problem until it is a proper emergency, so I think people should do the course.

Listening watch on HH: so the question was who leaves their HH on. There is a requirement to listen to CH 16 while underway if you have a radio. Yes its next to impossible to hear over the engine. If you have a fixed set you wouldn't usually put the HH on. I don't think the OP has a fixed set. I rely on someone else on the water hearing
My cries for help. So I expect people to have their radio on. If you have DSC I'd expect the alert mode to at least attract your attention.

In my experience the branded stuff with Li batteries do very well on listening. And I'm told the DSC ones don't guzzle that much juice either...
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Old 28 August 2014, 01:14   #25
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I can't believe I am being slammed for this one.

First of all it is an offence to use a marine VHF without a licence, secondly, it's pretty pointless having a VHF on a boat when you don't have a clue how to use it, what it can do or what channels to use, you could end up sending the emergency services out on a wild goose chase because your mate said 'what does this button do’ - or what happens when someone thinks they’ve called for help and they haven’t?

If you feel use need to use a VHF to be safe on your boat then don’t go out until you’ve done the course, there are enough numpties out who don’t have a clue how to use their radios without Ribnet encouraging people not to get a licence.
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Old 28 August 2014, 02:09   #26
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No-one is slamming you or encouraging anyone to go out and use a VHF without a licence.

It's a question of degrees of stupidity. You'd be pretty stupid to go out and risk using a VHF without a licence-for the reasons detailed in many many threads as well as this one.

However, you'd be utterly moronic to go out without a means of shouting for help.
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Old 28 August 2014, 02:15   #27
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People make choices... Those choices are rarely not to boat coz they don't have a VHF licence. Instead they choose not to take VHF with them coz you scared them that its illegal when as clearly stated by JK and myself it is not illegal in an emergency.

Then an emergency happens and their mobile phone that they decided to take instead doesn't work.

While many on here have fairly high incomes and can afford to do course and buy the highest spec DSC VHF there are some who can't. So you have £100 do u spend it on course or radio? Course gives you a piece of paper that I guess you could set fire too to attract attention. Radio will work without the piece of paper.

I'd like some evidence that (a) there has ever been a fine for not having the right certificates without at least a verbal warning first (b) someone died because they didn't manage to send a meaningful distress message despite carrying VHF but they didn't have a licence (c) that you can't give a handheld VHF to a completely untrained person and them get a response to a distress type message from the CG in about 1 minute...

So you need to work out how to switch it on. Out the box it will go to CH16. You need to press something to talk.. ..find me someone over the age of 5 who hasn't worked that out. Then talk. Say "please can someone help me I'm sinking" I don't think the CG response will be... "Could the station reporting they are sinking please use formal VHF protocol and have your licence document ready for inspection by the rescue services"
It will be "Vessel reporting it is sinking please confirm your vessel name and location..." Once that is known and they have enough to believe its sinking not just someone forgot the bung they will make it into a Mayday for the caller.

Yes its not ideal. Yes its not perfect. Yes it would get a more efficient response from 'Mayday mayday mayday this is SumBoat SumBoat SumBoat callsign GC123Y MMSI 123456789, Mayday SumBoat Possition 1 mile east of SumPoint, x degrees W, y degrees N. Sinking, 3 persons on board, all wearing lifejackets. Immediate assistance requested from any vessel. Over.'

But probably still better than a 112/999 call that may be routed to the wrong service and even when routed to the right service means the RibNobber half a mile away knows nothing is wrong. That ribnobber is 1 minute away and has his VHF cert so could be on scene to at the very least support comms...
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Old 28 August 2014, 02:33   #28
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Theres an advert on TV at the moment for VW. Guy goes into a shop to buy a parachute He can buy the up to date full tested and trusted branded one, or the cheapo thing in the bargain bin. Which one would you rather have ?

If all you wanted the radio for was to get a berth in Cowes for lunch, it wouldnt really matter, but you want it for safety, as essential as a lifejacket or anchor.

Buy a Garmin or an Icom, if you get in trouble you will be glad you did.
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Old 28 August 2014, 03:17   #29
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Please James, do get a decent radio and learn how to use it... And all the more reason now to get a decent one as the weather is changing. The ability to give a precise position in a few seconds with a DSC unit in an emergency is worth its weight in gold when you are needing to do other things to avoid danger at the same time.

Apart from keeping yourself and loved ones safe, listening on ch16 whenever you can may help you save someone else's life too. Works both ways :o)

Take care

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Old 28 August 2014, 03:26   #30
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Originally Posted by thomas View Post
I can't believe I am being slammed for this one.
As NOS said, you're hardly being slammed?! All of your post was factually correct and I agreed with you, expect the bit where you told him not to use a VHF until he had done the SRC*. If I should take paying passengers to sea, I am required by law to show at least one of them the VHF installation and the displayed instructions for summoning help, should the crew (me) be incapacitated. No mention there by the D.O.T. about training...

*The OP has a tiny budget at this time. He won't be doing a SRC course with it before the winter. Better to get a reliable handheld now (no DSC) and do the course next spring, upgrading to a DSC handheld in the future.

Handheld - on/off? If I'm handheld only, I keep it on and scanning local CG/buddy channels all the time I'm on the water. Off if I have a fixed set available.

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