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Old 29 June 2017, 07:37   #1
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Which handheld VHF

Hi

I am going to buy a backup VHF to clip to my life jacket in case of any overboard situation while out with my family.

I already have a DSC radio on the RIB and my family have a basic understanding of it's use as covered in their PB2 course but I am the only one with a radio operators licence.

With that in mind I have an initial question of whether I should buy a DSC handheld given that the RIB already has one.

Secondly any recommendations for what to buy. We are based at Hamble point and travel as far as Pool/Swanage and Chichester Harbour as well as the usual IOW harbours.

So far I have identified the following DSC radios as possibilities:

Cobra HH600
Lowrance Link-2
Standard Horizon HX870E

Non DSC:

Cobra HH350
Standard Horizon HX300E

Any advice/opinions gratefully received.

Stefan
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Old 29 June 2017, 07:41   #2
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personally i would go DSC if you have the extra dosh standard horizon are good enough for me have no experience with the other two
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Old 29 June 2017, 07:44   #3
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Hi

Just bought a Cobra HH350 yesterday (£115). Not used it in anger yet but well impressed with the build quality and user interface.

I also have one of their super cheapies as well. Over ten years old and still works perfectly but not waterproof.
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Old 29 June 2017, 12:36   #4
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As noted, if you can chuck in £100 more than one of the cheapies the DSC std horizon you mention includes basic GPS plotting as well so is a bit of a no brainer, waterproof and should you go overboard the DSC emergency broadcast will include your position, what's not to like ;-)

I got mine from Port Solent...

https://www.marinesuperstore.com/mar...-vhf-radio-dsc
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Old 29 June 2017, 14:49   #5
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None DSC HX300E £100
http://www.cactusnav.com/standard-ho...n-p-12713.html

DSC HX870E £215
(That's good price)



Would be my choice,
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Old 29 June 2017, 15:36   #6
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That is a good price and I can see the temptation. Just one word of warning with hh dsc. check the battery life will meet your needs. If you are out for four hours and back to a charger every night you will be fine, if you do day long trips and are camping in between you might struggle (or have to leave switched off until needed which will make the gps take a few minutes to get a fix when you are desperately hoping to press the red button!).

Whilst that price would tempt even this mean Scotsman I would also be happy with the standard h/held and perhaps saving the money for a plb if I was doing stuff where I thought the risk justified it.
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Old 29 June 2017, 15:58   #7
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Thank you for all of the replies.

I think I will be heading to Port Solent tomorrow to pick up a HX870. It comes with a three year warranty and, to answer Poly's concerns, it has an interchangeable battery tray that accepts 5 AAA batteries. Looks like I will be keeping a slack handful of AAAs in the grab bag as well .

Great advice as ever.

Stefan
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Old 29 June 2017, 16:13   #8
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The battery tray is an optional extra? And limits it to 5w rather than 6w I think.

One of the reasons I like the hx300 is charing via USB means solar charging and power bank options great for long trips away from mains power

Solar panel charges power bank during the day and you can recharge radio each night perhaps more for kayakers than RIBs
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Old 29 June 2017, 16:24   #9
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The battery tray is an optional extra? And limits it to 5w rather than 6w I think.
It's only 1w actually, so not really what you want in an emergency.

Personally I'd go for an HX300 and put the extra money towards a PLB.
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Old 29 June 2017, 16:25   #10
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Stefan

I'm less convinced by the DSC HH, based on your use described.

If you go for a swim is your wife likely to stay on board. Provided she can press a red button for 5 seconds and the KCord works you should be sorted. Yes a DSC alert from your HH will allow her in theory to come back to you... ...but if its so rough that she can't see you she isn't gonna be wanting to try and navigate to a position using a plotter...

I'd be less worried about battery life in the use described than Poly. This is because you wont have the HH VHF on. Because you will get horrendous feedback if you transmit on the fixed set with the HH on. **BUT** you will then find the DSC will take a while to lock a position.

So the use I could see for DSC would be where the mother ship is no longer manned. Either coz you were single handed and went over, or you managed to put everyone in the drink... Either way - a PLB seems a possible requirement rather than the DSC? But it does depend on your cruising ground.
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Old 29 June 2017, 16:43   #11
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It's only 1w actually, so not really what you want in an emergency.

Personally I'd go for an HX300 and put the extra money towards a PLB.
Didn't realise that makes sense as unlike my older hx851 the battery tray takes 5 AAA states can't use 6w, the hx870 only takes 3 AAA in battery tray and only work at 1W.
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Old 30 June 2017, 09:25   #12
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Cobra HH600 DSC Handheld VHF | Force 4 Chandlery

10 hour life on 6w setting for 200 squid
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Old 30 June 2017, 09:44   #13
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Although I've heard that their latest radios are a big improvement over their previous efforts I'd personally still avoid Cobra and stick with Standard Horizon or Icom.

If you get one though please let us know how you get on. It looks like they're not a whole lot cheaper than the competition these days so maybe they've narrowed the gap on build quality too.
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Old 30 June 2017, 11:34   #14
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Hi

I went to marinesuperstore this morning and took a look at all of the options.

They had stock of the Cobra HH600 which arrived yesterday but I was really disappointed with build quality. It is a very well specified radio and, for £199, a bargain but I couldn't get past the plastic look and feel.

I purchased the Standard Horizon HX870. The 3 year warranty and better build quality more than justifies the extra £15 in my opinion.

Another question ...

Now that I am the proud owner of a DSC handheld, do I use the same MMSI as the radio on my RIB or register for its own number?

Thank you again for all of your advice, this really is a great forum.

Stefan
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Old 30 June 2017, 11:37   #15
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Hi

Now that I am the proud owner of a DSC handheld, do I use the same MMSI as the radio on my RIB or register for its own number?



Stefan
Need a MMSI for the handheld separately doable on the website.
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Old 01 July 2017, 01:08   #16
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You need a portable license which is free on the Ofcom website. It gives you a different MMSI.
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Old 01 July 2017, 04:34   #17
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As others have said it needs a different MMSI.

That is for good reason. You may take your HH on another boat. Say you decide to join some of the more extreme nuttersnetters from here on one of their boats (maybe you brought yours and had an issue so left it parked up) and they flip the boat, you press the red button. CG then thinks its looking for your boat. They discover your boat parked up on its trailer and stand down the search...
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Old 01 July 2017, 07:11   #18
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Thank you again.

New licence obtained and MMSI entered into the radio.

Initial impressions are that the radio is excellent. It will do all that I need and a lot more that I don't

Now I just need to work out how to connect it to me or my life jacket without getting in the way. I don't trust the belt clip especially withstanding the impact if I fall in to the drink.

How do you guys do it? Any suggestions?

Cheers,

Stefan
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Old 01 July 2017, 07:24   #19
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Just attach the secondary lanyard or an extended one to somewhere secure on the LJ.

As in posts #30 & #31 here... 100N lifejacket vs 70N PFD?
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Old 01 July 2017, 17:32   #20
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Many thanks Fenlander. I will take a look at the life jacket and see where I can attach a lanyard.

Regards

Stefan
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