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Old 15 September 2015, 15:28   #1
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SIB: what handheld VHF

Hi,

I have an Aerotec 380 with a 25hp Tohatsu two stroke. We use the SIB at home (Netherlands) on inland waters and on holidays in coastal waters (southern France, Croatia).

For safety reasons I feel I need to have a VHF radio on board. What type of handheld would you advise ? (we go max 10nm off shore).
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Old 15 September 2015, 15:37   #2
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This is a well discussed subject & the consensus is always either Icom or Standard Horizon. Which model, depends on what model is current, your budget & needs (DSC?)
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Old 15 September 2015, 15:38   #3
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ICOM and Standard Horizon both make good waterproof VHFs. ICOM are a bit more expensive, but don't seem to be significantly better. You won't go far wrong with either make.

If you can afford to pay the extra cost, a radio with DSC will allow you to send a distress message that includes your position from the built in GPS. Definitely nice to have if you're doing more adventurous trips, but not necessarily vital.
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Old 15 September 2015, 17:36   #4
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Piotr, 10NM is pretty far for a handheld (if you are hoping to get shore contact) - bearing in mind that the nearest mast is unlikely to at the closest point on shore either.

If I've done my arithmetic right then a VHF at sitting height needs a receiving antennae 22m above sea level to expect to be in range. Now if you had some sort of "mast" that you could put an aerial 6ft up you'd be able to talk to masts as small as 10m at that range. In practice in swell bear in mind that radio can't go through water and so if the radio is in a trough it is in "silence".

I installed a fixed VHF on my wee boat and had to address this. After looking at lots of options I bought a stainless broom handle (can be found in most chandlers) and mounted an antennae on top and fitted this to a seat back (but it could have been the transom). I did consider using a telescopic pole so I could gain further height if I was in real problems.

Most handhelds can be attached to a fixed aerial if needed. An aerial with appropriate gain might enhance what you can achieve with 5W too.
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Old 15 September 2015, 22:54   #5
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As others have said icom/standard horizon are your brands of choice, but 10NM is at or beyond the normal operating range of purely hand-held kit. But it does to some extent depend who you are calling. A coast station with a mast 100m up on a cliff top will be reachable at distances that a handheld on the beach below it certainly wont. BUT I'd want to think about additional means of comms as well (PLB etc?)

I'm not 100% convinced by DSC on handhelds usually, but on a fixed station they can double the comms range. If they can do that on HH then at least the data part of your distress message with "distress" "callsign" and "location" might get through. Added to that DSC avoids any language issues which might crop up if you are in areas who speak different languages.

However, be aware that handheld DSC is relatively new, and the global rules aren't fully unified yet. You will be in 3 different territorial waters and you'll want to check how they handle it and MMSI allocation as last I heard the UK MMSI allocation was technically only for use in UK territorial waters. (Doubt anyone will have you arrested using it in distress in other waters - just don't know if there are any technical issues they need to consider)
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Old 16 September 2015, 02:50   #6
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As they said - answer is always Icom or Std Horizon but make sure it's a floater.
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Old 16 September 2015, 04:08   #7
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Thanks voor the advice. I meant 10KM, not NM.

I need to get a licence to (legally) operate the VHF radio. I have a few choices: basic certificate, Marcom or SRC. The first is a simple exam and it allows me to operate a "low power" VHF with DSC class C (??). So, no GMDSS. Would this be good enough in my situation ?
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Old 16 September 2015, 05:46   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piotr View Post
Thanks voor the advice. I meant 10KM, not NM.

I need to get a licence to (legally) operate the VHF radio. I have a few choices: basic certificate, Marcom or SRC. The first is a simple exam and it allows me to operate a "low power" VHF with DSC class C (??). So, no GMDSS. Would this be good enough in my situation ?
We only have one choice of VHF cert here in the UK:- SRC with DSC (gmdss) so can't comment on your other choices. Personally if I was going to the trouble/expense of doing a course/cert I might as well do it right & get the cert that covers all eventualities.
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Old 16 September 2015, 09:07   #9
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Vote for Standard Horizont HX851

It is floating (ones our SIB was grounded and I found radio 10 meters away from coast floating tn the Sea)

DSC allow you to be in touch with friend on SIB/RIB.

I love "where are you buddy" option which shows me his position (it can even navigate to it).

Plus you can call him via MMSI.

Is it possible to have on-line RYA course and pass the exam ?
When I did RYA SRC-DSC, RYA representative in Poland told me that it be such possibility.

On the end I have learned everything at home, went to exam and pass it.
Have received certificate from RYA UK.
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Old 16 September 2015, 13:29   #10
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Is it possible to have on-line RYA course and pass the exam ?
When I did RYA SRC-DSC, RYA representative in Poland told me that it be such possibility.

On the end I have learned everything at home, went to exam and pass it.
Have received certificate from RYA UK.
I may be wrong (it has happened on a couple of occassions) but I thought the RYA course was only "legal" for UK users. i.e. Craft with a UK callsign.

Even if it isn't there may be some local benefits from doing course locally. I guess ATIS may be something you want/need to be aware of in your part of the world. I'm not sure my instructor could have spelled ATIS! Likewise they are a good resource for how to licence etc. If you are a UK citizen/Registering your boat to allow you to fly a red ensign etc the RYA Course is fine. If you are flying a dutch ensign you may need to check if the RYA paperwork covers you. (You are more likely to be asked for that paperwork on the continent than the UK from what I understand).

Secondly while for "normal" human beings there is only 1 course - the RYA SRC (with GMDSS) course, that covers Cat D equipment, there is a course to use Cat A equipment. But thats only applicable in the commercial settings, and I think also covers long range use.

What do they mean low power? Is that 1W? Thats pointless. If its =<6W thats the maximum you'll get on a HH... so may be fine.
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