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Old 01 January 2004, 13:46   #1
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VHF - Handheld or Console!

I'm looking to get a radio (VHF course organised for next month)
but am trying to decide between the 2 types - I'm not even going to mention DSC yet!

I have very limited space on board which favors the handheld but don't know what the range is like on the handhelds?

I'm only going to go a couple of miles offshore max & 90% within phone range!

Pete
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Old 01 January 2004, 13:56   #2
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In an ideal world then we should have both..a hand held waterproof in case you land in the drink. But if only one and given the limited range you travel i would say a good handheld.
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Old 01 January 2004, 14:05   #3
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I find my Garmen handheld has a typical range of 2-3 miles which is sufficient for most coastal trips. I used to find battery power a pain. Solved the problem by fitting a recharging unit inside the console.

As most RIBs have antenna mounted on A Frames you don't really gain a lot in terms of height of antenna with a fixed set. The difference is in power output. Most handhelds operate on 1 or 5 watts compared to 1 or 25 on a fixed set. The extra power gives you the range.

Phil
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Old 01 January 2004, 14:46   #4
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Hi Pete

No contest

Console mounted every time !!.

Would only go for a hand held as a main VHF only in their is zero change of mounting a fixed console VHF.

On the difference between A frame mounted and hand held aerials. Totally diasgree, with Phil. A A frame aerial will give you maybe 3dBi gain, zero at very worst, and is clear of most items which will detune the antenna. A hand held helical will be at best -3dBI maybe -6dBi and very detuned by you body. Also unless you can keep it vertical sloping at 45 deg will loose you a further -6dBi.

To make things easy you may be better with 1W through a good a frame mounted than 5W trhrough a hand held helical.

I have held good converations on the main VHF when you cant even hear the signal with the squelch truned down on the handheld.

If at all possible go fixed console VHF.


Regards Gary
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Old 01 January 2004, 16:13   #5
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Phone range

Forget about phone range as an option you cant talk to other vessels or aircraft or lifeboat with a phone in most cases, the system can go down , the cells for instance the phone could be out of credit etc etc, definately try to make space for a fixed set operating from the the boat power supply, the 25 watts will give you the range you need its safer gavin
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Old 01 January 2004, 16:32   #6
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VHF

I agree with last comment. Lifeboat can pick your vhf signal up on their finder and locate you. Icom do a nice compact fixed unit which is waterproof and has a high volume built in speaker.It can even be mounted outside (not flush mounted)and still be waterproof.Hand helds can be easily left in the car or forgotten to charge and unless waterproof have to be in one of those bags.choice is yours. but i would go for fixed,with hand held as back up at a later date,if funds tight.
Hope that helps
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Old 01 January 2004, 17:39   #7
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Sat and passed my VHF short-range course last Monday at my local inshore lifeboat rescue station at Stokes bay, Gosport.

I picked up loads of useful info not just radio related and from a lifeboat rescue station perspective, so here goes.

1. By all means carry a mobile phone but a radio should be compulsory.

2. Handheld’s are useful but where will it be during an emergency! Under a seat, in a bag or just plain forgotten!

3. What do your crew do if you get tossed overboard? I personally like the ease that someone with little experience can operate the DSC system especially if it's connected to GPS! Get some really basic instructions down on a flip card or something just in case.

4. If you do decide to go miles off shore then you will need a fixed set with the higher power to give you the extra range.

Hope some of these things help you decide on which set to buy, I personally have my eye on the Silva S10DSC and at £200 is pretty competitively priced (next to Icom 401 which hasn't got DSC).

Andy

PS. Good luck with your course, and wait untill after the course till you buy, you might get some useful info from your instructor.
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Old 04 January 2004, 19:24   #8
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Thanks guys,

Well I've gone for a handheld ICOM.


There are 3 reasons for this - in order.

1. Cost - not much money left as just spent most of my funds at Christmas & also only just got this toy.

2. Space or lack of! - I do not want to fit this on the side of my console & as I may upgrade in 6 months I don't want to drill out a big space in it. Also nowhere yet to easily fit an antenna (no A Frame).

3. Waterproof - This I can fit around my neck on a leash or in a backpack (that I wear). As I normally wear a drysuit, I'm more concerned if I come out of the boat"!" so this will be on the checklist.

I do intend to get a console mounted VHF but this will suffice for my present needs.

Pete
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Old 04 January 2004, 19:41   #9
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Good for you Pete! Hope you pass your Exam with no probs.

Andy
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Old 06 January 2004, 03:56   #10
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backpack

Sorry to sound like a right smart alek but please be very careful about how much floatation that backpack gives if you wear it afloat. It is possible it could stop the automatic righting / or delay it on the lifejacket.

like I say don't want to seem smart but have seen one case down here last year where the backpack really caused probs for wearer when he went over, luckily his mate pulled him onto the boat.

have fun
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