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Old 14 January 2014, 07:28   #1
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Marine radio. What do I need ??

Hi, I'm new to this and recently bought a RIB. I'm taking it to Italy on Lake Garda in the summer and am wondering if I need, or should buy a radio in case of emergency.
Any advice on models/types and if I need one or not ????
Many thanks in advance. Jed.
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Old 14 January 2014, 08:03   #2
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first thing you need will be your ICC, or you may not be allowed to launch on Lake Garda. and its a long way to troll the boat if you cant get it wet.

ICC = International Certificate of Competence, you get it from RYA after you do your appropriate power boat course, i suggest PB2, then do you VHF course.

Steve
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Old 14 January 2014, 08:40   #3
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Can you speak Italian ?

Im just wondering if any radio operator in Italy can / will respond should you use your radio while there.

As for which one, I recently spent some time looking for mine. In the end I could see no real difference between Icom and Standard Horizon.

Both did the same things and seemed of the same quality. They have a range to suit needs and pockets.

But dont forget, not all aerials are the same. I did as much research on that as I did radios. In the end your radio is only as good as the aerial. I used this chap for advice and aerials : Salty John: fine boat and yacht chandlery products.

You will need to do a VHF course to use a radio as well.
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Old 14 January 2014, 16:24   #4
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We have a mix of icom and standard horizon handhelds (all the entry level floating models)
A downside of the standard horizon is that if you drop it the screen sticks out further than anything else and it smashes.
A new body from yuasa is only about £23 delivered but it doesn't happen with the icoms.
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Old 14 January 2014, 17:20   #5
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Oh and since you are going to foreign climes with no doubt some beaurocratic paper pusher you'll want your VHF licensed with Ofcom too. (Free)
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Old 15 January 2014, 07:48   #6
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Thanks for the info gents.

So when I look on the net and see a "Cobra" vhf radio for instance, I then need to buy an aerial too ??

I will have an ICC certificate by then as doing a powerboat level 2 course shortly so can then apply for the ICC, but thanks Steco1958.
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Old 15 January 2014, 09:28   #7
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The best makes of vfh are icom or standard horizon. Some of the cheaper brands are often false economy.
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Old 15 January 2014, 09:35   #8
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Thanks Chris, so would you suggest a hand held or a mountable one. If you have any model numbers you'd recommend please advise.
Cheers pal, Jed.
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Old 15 January 2014, 09:48   #9
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Mountable ones will be more powerfull as they will be powered by the boat battery.

Handhelds will have a smaller battery and therefore be lower powered.

If you have the space, get one fixed in the boat to get more power.
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Old 15 January 2014, 09:58   #10
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Thanks Trimix, so a mountable one needs a separate arial ??
Any ideas??
Jed
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Old 15 January 2014, 10:23   #11
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Fixed vhfs usually transmit at 25w on high and have a big aerial mounted as high as poss. Handhelds are usually 5w on high, with a short stubby aerial and the aerial is not as high above sea level

So a fixed vhf will receive and transmit over greater distances.

But a handheld is not reliant on the vessels electrics working and can be worn so is with you if you become a man overboard.

Both have their place and if you can afford it have both.
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Old 15 January 2014, 18:30   #12
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Both have their place and if you can afford it have both.
Controversial(?) question Chris and evryone...

Lets say you had £250 to spend... would you -buy one really good set or two less good...

(a) Buy a fixed icom M323 £180 /SH GX1700E* ** and aerial (£50)

(b) Buy a handheld icom/SH - possibly the M91D (£230) or the SH851 (£200)

(c) Buy a Cobra Fixed £110** + Aerial (£50) Plus Cobra Handheld HH350 (£90).

* 1700E has inbuilt GPS if he has no GPS to interface
**although I think you could get a SH GX1100 for £100 from GaelForce right now, and an aerial packaged cheap too.

So Jed44 couple of things you need to think about:

1. Who are you calling for help? Where are they? Do they have a listening watch on CH16 or something similar or will they need a call by DSC (a digital text message to start them listening).
- Aerial > 5 miles away from you then you probably need 25W transmitter.
- No listening watch you need DSC (if its a fixed set it has to be DSC)

2. If they aren't great English speakers would DSC be helpful so that in an emergency your distress and position are sent in a similar way to a text message which they would understand.

3. Are you boating alone or with others?
- If alone and you were to not be in the boat (like you go overboard) a HandHeld in your oil skins would be useful!
- If in company and you go overboard and are unconscious a briefing to your crew to hold down the red button for 5 seconds is quite simple but no good if the only radio is in your pocket and they can't get to you

4. What alternative kit will you carry for summoning help?
- PLB in pocket achieves similar to the DSC in pocket. No range issues. But slower to get help and if all you need is to shout to Bobby 100m away it doesn't...
- Flares etc?

5. Do you have a GPS on the boat. DSC needs it to be properly useful.
- If not you either need a GPS: three choices: Plotter (?£300+), GPS (screen position in Long Lat but no map)(£100+), GPS dongle (black box no screen, sends data via NMEA) (£30+)
- Or a set with a GPS built in - fixed or HHeld.

6. If you are abroad how will you charge a HHeld? You can get car chargers etc but need to check if supplied.

7. If a HHeld does it have the capability to use AA batteries so that you can carry spares...

8. Not really a choice - on a RIB it all needs to be at least IPX7 waterproof. And ideally float (or be secured to you +/- have a float on it...)
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Old 15 January 2014, 19:04   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShinyShoe View Post
Controversial(?) question Chris and evryone...

Lets say you had £250 to spend... would you -buy one really good set or two less good...
Its not a controversial question but its not a sensible one to seek consensus on. There are so many disparities between usage that it would not make sense to think there was a universally correct answer (size of boat - aframe or not etc, normal usage - inc. weather/daylight, area of use - poor signal or busy, no of people typically on board, other kit (e.g. PLB), cruise in company v's solo adventures, upgrade plans (for radio and boat!), other boats you sometimes use etc).

For many people a days fuel is more than the cost of an entry level handheld.
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Old 15 January 2014, 19:10   #14
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1. Who are you calling for help? Where are they? Do they have a listening watch on CH16 or something similar or will they need a call by DSC (a digital text message to start them listening).
- Aerial > 5 miles away from you then you probably need 25W transmitter.
- No listening watch you need DSC (if its a fixed set it has to be DSC)

5. Do you have a GPS on the boat. DSC needs it to be properly useful.
- If not you either need a GPS: three choices: Plotter (?£300+), GPS (screen position in Long Lat but no map)(£100+), GPS dongle (black box no screen, sends data via NMEA) (£30+)
- Or a set with a GPS built in - fixed or HHeld.
Unless things have changed significantly since I was in Garda (c. 10yrs ago) then I'd think VHF is far from standard on all vessels never mind DSC. The little red button could give a false sense of security if nobody is set up to receive it!
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Old 16 January 2014, 03:01   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShinyShoe View Post
Controversial(?) question Chris and evryone...

Lets say you had £250 to spend... would you -buy one really good set or two less good......)
If on a limited budget I personally would buy Icom or standard horizon and have one radio, rather than a cheap fixed and handheld from other manufacturers. Then at a later date you could add the other radio when funds allowed.

I have owned cheap radios from other manufacturers and it's false economy; the batteries gain a charge memory and become useless, they are not as waterproof, they seem to have a lesser range, or they break.

Decide which is most important for your type of boating, fixed or handheld, and get that one first. Add the other later if needed.
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Old 16 January 2014, 04:13   #16
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Can you speak Italian ?

Im just wondering if any radio operator in Italy can / will respond should you use your radio while there.

As for which one, I recently spent some time looking for mine. In the end I could see no real difference between Icom and Standard Horizon.

Both did the same things and seemed of the same quality. They have a range to suit needs and pockets.

But dont forget, not all aerials are the same. I did as much research on that as I did radios. In the end your radio is only as good as the aerial. I used this chap for advice and aerials : Salty John: fine boat and yacht chandlery products.

You will need to do a VHF course to use a radio as well.
Out of interest which aerial did you go for ?
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Old 16 January 2014, 08:21   #17
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This one: Salty John: AlphaOne marine vhf antenna for radio or AIS and other fine boat and yacht chandlery products.

I also spoke to the chap, who was very helpfull. His website is full of great stuff.

(its connected to a standard horizon radio, one with DSC)
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Old 16 January 2014, 10:48   #18
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Both have their place and if you can afford it have both.
+1
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