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Old 21 August 2016, 16:57   #1
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Vhf hand held vs fixed.

Was thinking about the fact that most of the time when a person would really needs a VHF is in an emergency. So what happens if your boat gets swamped and electrics fried? Or say you get thrown from your boat in bad weather?

Would not a hand held be more ideal in emergency situations? Engine and battery failure would mean you need to make a call kinda hard to when the electricity ain't working?

Do you guys carry both or what?
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Old 21 August 2016, 18:09   #2
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Both is best, fixed transmits at a higher rate than handheld but as you point out if the boats sunk a handheld is better than nothing.
Fixed is 25w i think a handheld is 5w but maybe wrong on the handheld
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Old 21 August 2016, 18:11   #3
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Originally Posted by idsebby View Post
Was thinking about the fact that most of the time when a person would really needs a VHF is in an emergency. So what happens if your boat gets swamped and electrics fried? Or say you get thrown from your boat in bad weather?

Would not a hand held be more ideal in emergency situations? Engine and battery failure would mean you need to make a call kinda hard to when the electricity ain't working?

Do you guys carry both or what?
Both would be great, but bear in mind the reduced range of a handheld vhf. I have a fixed vhf in a sealed case with its own built in battery.
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Old 21 August 2016, 19:17   #4
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IMO, a handheld VHF is simultaneously an essential item and not much use as the only comms on a boat.

Basically, it comes down to range - a handheld is only 6w max and has a p1ss poor antenna and height above water is negligible - or non-existent if you take a dip. A fixed set is 25w and has a somewhat elevated antenna. The real world transmission ranges are worlds apart. I work with another boat that prefers to use a handheld (don't ask) and their comms are dreadful. Even with my "big ears" antennae, I lose their TX at around a mile - maybe 1.5m at best.

That said - I wear a handheld. In case I fall in and hopefully I'll be heard, or be able to hail a nearby craft. I don't have much faith in that happening in these waters. Handhelds have lots of uses though - especially ship to shore etc. Handy if transhipping PAX too.

I think you're using the wrong eventualities to make your decision. My personal flow chart is:

1. Stay in the boat (if you exit boat go to 5)
2. Use fixed VHF.
3. If fixed VHF fails stay in boat - use mobile phone/hand held VHF
4. If mobile phone/hand held VHF fails, use flares and/or PLB
If you have exited boat suddenly:
5. Use PLB and use Handheld VHF next. Tie PLB to self with antenna clear.

Anyway - I know you have a handheld - that's great, but get that Standard Horizon ordered before the sterling rises
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Old 22 August 2016, 04:03   #5
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IMO, a h

Anyway - I know you have a handheld - that's great, but get that Standard Horizon ordered before the sterling rises


Haha yeah I might do but I am heading to the states in two weeks for a wedding so might pick one up up there. I guess I was just wondering why such an important emergency device would probably fail in most common emergencies. Thought came to me when I was thinking of selling my handheld to buy a fixed. So pretty much have both and you will be a lot happier!

I like the idea of having one fixed with a sealed battery. But I will keep my handheld and hope to get a fixed very soon. Boat is heading to the shop so won't need it till I am done with that bill.
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Old 22 August 2016, 05:31   #6
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Haha yeah I might do but I am heading to the states in two weeks for a wedding so might pick one up up there.
Probably best not to - there are different configurations of some channels in the US / EU.
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I guess I was just wondering why such an important emergency device would probably fail in most common emergencies.
I'm not sure that total power failure is that common*. Even on your DT85 it should be possible to pull start it if you have right tools with you. Of course it won't be that easy in a big sea. Even if you don't have enough "juice" to fire up the engine you probably have enough to get a distress call out.

I believe the RNLI suggest the most common engine issues are fuel related - running out, blocked filters, broken pump, water in fuel...

You are right though if you are overboard, or the boat is on fire, or upside down, or you've managed to kill all power your will find a fixed VHF not much use. 99% of the other times you might need to call the CG though the extra power and height of a fixed VHF will be more reliable and might even save a problem progressing


* that said I did have a total power loss when I went to launch this weekend - after a lot of swearing and pulling things out I discovered that it was a broken cable/connector. I had diagnosed and improvised a repair in about 1/2 an hour.
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Old 22 August 2016, 05:35   #7
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I carry both, also we need to carry epirbs if we are more than 2 nm offshore.
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Old 22 August 2016, 06:45   #8
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West of Ireland nt a lot a help around if things go bad. I have a fixed VHF and a HH VHF and PLB on my person and a telephone as VHF comms not good in Clew bay and flares which I keep in date.


When you write it down it seems like a lot.


TSM
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Old 22 August 2016, 10:57   #9
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Fixed VHF in the console.
Hand held attached to me
Spare one in seat (great for passenger pick up)
Flares and PLB in BDU container under seat
Waterproof Phone in pocket usually

Sort of a running order really of what I'll use should the need arrise
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Old 22 August 2016, 11:24   #10
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Was thinking about the fact that most of the time when a person would really needs a VHF is in an emergency. So what happens if your boat gets swamped and electrics fried? Or say you get thrown from your boat in bad weather?
I'm all for planning for emergencies, but planning to cover every scenario is really expensive, and, in my experience, the best way to breed completely unforeseen problems (for which you're still not prepared.)

That said, a fixed VHF is more powerful, generally has a higher antenna (equating to more range), is handier (when in the right position on the boat), and can be easily amplified for noisy environments. Handheld will always be at hand (assuming you clip it to yourself or carry it in a pocket), at the expense of reduced range, the need to keep it charged (either plug-in or battery replacement), and goes wherever you go.

I think it comes down to what you view the odds of *needing* a specific type. I have had 2 handhelds die from wear and tear; replaced my fixed VHF due to some small problems that didn't really affect operation. I am currently handheld-less (but will also offer the caveat that I am usually out with other boats as well.) YMMV.

jky
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