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Old 15 January 2015, 00:40   #1
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2.5W radio ok for a few miles offshore?

Have a local deal on the uniden mhs050, its cheap and we rarely get more than 4km from land and usually 5m from other boats.

Will 2.5w suffice, clearly the 5w handhelds would be better?
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Old 15 January 2015, 01:32   #2
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I'd suggest that 5w might not be enough. 2.5w definitely won't cut it. It's safety gear-how much is your life worth?
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Old 15 January 2015, 01:58   #3
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Why do you think this?

Ive studied some research on US coastguard material so Id be interested to hear a UK perspective.
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Old 15 January 2015, 02:54   #4
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Sometimes I cannot communicate with another boat 2 or 3 NM away with a 5w handheld, where a 25w fixed set with a proper aerial will. I would not risk using a 2.5w radio as my main way of calling for help.
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Old 15 January 2015, 02:58   #5
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Are you using the handheld sideways like a cellphone or do you have the aerial upright at the correct height (I think its 12ft above water line) and using the speaker not like a phone?

There are so many variables, but most handhelds operate at switch 1-5w. Its not just about wattage supposedly.

Of course 2.5w is really an inshore device and I think thats how uniden promotes it, kayakers etc.
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Old 15 January 2015, 09:10   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpearRib View Post
......do you have the aerial upright at the correct height (I think its 12ft above water line)
....MAIB report: The casualty died from drowning after falling off the ladder on his RIB as he was calling his friends up on his handheld vhf.....
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Old 15 January 2015, 09:21   #7
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Just sit on the crews shoulders, much safer than a ladder
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Old 15 January 2015, 09:24   #8
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Probably OK if you can see another boat less a mile or so away. And you might get an elevated coastguard antenna receiving you a little further out. (Don't forget, it's not just power but line of sight as well.)
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Old 17 January 2015, 06:30   #9
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As I am sure you know, there are many factors that influence RF transmissions and VHF is no exception. The antenna quality and position is probably more relevant in this case, than your output power. Remember, VHF operates on "line if sight". The horizon for the average person, standing is 2.9 miles. Taking this into account, plus the fact that you are limited to 2.5 watts, I can say with confidence, it's not the tool for the job. Cheap it may be but adequate it is not.
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Old 17 January 2015, 10:38   #10
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Quote:
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uniden mhs050, cheap... Will 2.5w suffice,
Actually the 2.5W is probably the part of that which would worry me least! As others have said VHF range is determined by many factors, or which the transmit power is quite low down the list (all other factors being equal a 2.5W transmission will be received with 1/2 the strength of a 5W transmission so only in the most borderline cases will that make the difference between a message being received/understood and not. The reality is you probably have no other factors in your favour though (height, distance to receiving station, aerial gain etc.)!

Uniden are not a prevalent brand on here for VHFs. I don't believe there is anything fundamentally wrong with them, but like midland, cobra, etc they are marketed at a price point. For many users the functionality will be fine, e.g. a yacht tender talking to it's mothership, a group of kayaks talking amongst themselves, or for people calling a marina or bridge at close range and even for use in busy areas with lots of yachties (tall masts = good range!) such as the Solent in summer!

If its only 2.5W on a feature easy to market like "power" you can assume they've cut the spec on all the other components that are more subjective like antennae design etc. My experience with low cost handhelds (which seem to be repeated by others here) is that when you get really cheap the water proofing is a feature that is compromised. Even if it has a good warranty that will be of little use to your inheritants!
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