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Old 27 June 2011, 14:56   #1
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VHF signal

I should have completed a radio check yesterday with the coastguard - but I had other things on my mind after destroying my wife's digital camera after it ended up in the bilge, and car problems. We were out at Cruden Bay (saw a couple of yachts and usual North Sea traffic in the distance). Switched on the radio - but no conversations on any of the channels. I did check the radio (ICOM M411) with a friend's hand-held and the signal came through loud and clear some weeks earlier. Admittedly it was a matter of some meters away, but I just wanted to check everything was working as it should. The antenna is Metz, and it's mounted on a handrail (adapter) on the console. The antenna cable plugs were soldered too. I just want to double-check. I assume the outer coaxial mesh (that's revealed when you cut it), simply folds back - as per a TV antenna and makes contact with the plug - and the centre plug is soldered into place. Any suggestions?
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Old 27 June 2011, 15:22   #2
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How long did you leave the Radio ON for? You should have performed a channel scan to see if there is any conversation other channels.

What I normally carry is a handheld radio. If I get suspicious about my main radio, I switch the handheld ON to make sure there is NOT really any signal!

I had a massive problem last month with my Radio, I could receive but not transmit and I realized nothing is wrong with my radio, or antenna, I was just simply in a bad location.
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Old 29 June 2011, 02:06   #3
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Thanks for that. Radio was on for around 5 minutes. I did a quick scan. I'm borrowing a handheld from a friend so I can test again.
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Old 29 June 2011, 11:45   #4
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Should be able to do a check with any vessel on something other than channel 16 (In the US, channel 9 is the non-emergency hailing freq; though not too many recreational boaters know that.) Local marinas and the like should be able to respond as well, assuming you know their working channel.

If I suspect my VHF is acting up, I try to find something to report to the Coast Guard, contact them, then change my mind, telling them it's not as important as it seemed when I initially made contact. Perhaps not exactly kosher, but it gets the job done without ruffling too many feathers.

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Old 29 June 2011, 12:02   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spartacus View Post
I assume the outer coaxial mesh (that's revealed when you cut it), simply folds back - as per a TV antenna and makes contact with the plug - and the centre plug is soldered into place. Any suggestions?
Sounds about right, though obviously corrosion can creep in and affect the contact after a while. Take care not to transmit if the aerial is not connected properly or at all as you can damage the radio.
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Old 29 June 2011, 15:22   #6
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Sounds about right, though obviously corrosion can creep in and affect the contact after a while. Take care not to transmit if the aerial is not connected properly or at all as you can damage the radio.
Everything is new, including the fixed ICOM 411 set, connectors, Metz antenna, cable, etc. Centre core is soldered in place.
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Old 29 June 2011, 15:23   #7
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Originally Posted by jyasaki View Post
Should be able to do a check with any vessel on something other than channel 16 (In the US, channel 9 is the non-emergency hailing freq; though not too many recreational boaters know that.) Local marinas and the like should be able to respond as well, assuming you know their working channel.
I know I'm not meant to do a radio check inland (25 miles from the coast with plenty hills) - but who's likely to hear? I was going to contact my wife on channel 69, while the boat is on the drive. I've borrowed an ICOM handheld for a couple of days for this purpose. Sound like a plan?
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Old 29 June 2011, 15:49   #8
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A few random thoughts - not casting any Nastursums...

A VHF set doesn't need an antenna to receive local traffic - the cable will be enough for RX/TX within a marina sized area.

Was the Volume on and the Squelch set properly during the first trial at sea?

If the antenna is not connected properly, the VHF set may show some kind of alert when you try to transmit - like "ANT" or whatever - no guarantees though.

The handheld test 25 miles from the coast is how I caught a broken antenna cable on my old rig. Don't expect to get much range when OK - maybe 3-4 miles at best in lumpy or wooded terrain.

As for the 69...

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Old 29 June 2011, 17:16   #9
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All was very quiet when I ran a correctly wired Rib Raider aerial. Swapped it for a 1.2m GRP whip, Ch16 burst into life. I reckon you have a twig issue.
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Old 30 June 2011, 04:48   #10
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A VHF set doesn't need an antenna to receive local traffic - the cable will be enough for RX/TX within a marina sized area.
:
Not sure if you are actually saying this but...

A transmitter must never be used without an antenae. (on TX) or you can fry the output stage.

My understanding is that if you are going to test reception then you need the other radio TX to be quite a way off as otherwise you get the bleeding effect onto the amp stage. i.e you are not really receiving but getting interference.

Gary
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