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Old 02-21-2016, 04:04 PM   #1
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Default Need Radio Advice.

I think my radio is broken and looking into getting new one. I am sort of a stay in site of the shore fishing guy so don't need super strong (or expensive) radio. I have antenna that is broken so need to get new antenna also (I guess). Maybe if I fix up antenna my radio might get better. Just dont want to invest in antenna if I go with handheld that does not need antenna.

Thinking of going to hand held (that I could share with friend that needs one also), but might just stick to mounted one like I have on my boat?

Any advice on hand helds greatly appreciated, or radios in general. Have seen them as cheap as $50-100. Do you need to get antenna that you hook them to? As mentioned I doubt I would ever be further out then 3 miles, so almost thinking my cell is good enough?

If anyone is upgrading to some fancy one, and wants to sell their old one I might be interested.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-21-2016, 04:42 PM   #2
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Cell phones usually work up to 9 miles offshore. ICOM is a good choice for VHF radios.
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Last edited by sealark; 02-21-2016 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 02-21-2016, 05:01 PM   #3
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Thanks
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Old 02-21-2016, 05:59 PM   #4
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Default VHF is "Line of Sight"

So are cell phones. Tower height and your antenna height make the range.

The USCG are always monitoring VHF 16 and no one may be available when you use the cell phone....?

I always have my cell phone, but when I am in my boat I make sure my VHF is on and operating. Hand held VHF's are okay for a few miles out. The sum of the square roots of the height of antenna towers is the normal range. So, if the USCG tower is 100' = 10 +your hand held is 2', your range in "perfect" conditions will be 12 miles, however since most hand helds are 3 - 5 watts output, maybe 3 miles.

ICOM are the best.

Sea Tow has an automated test for your VHF.

Keep the dry side up.

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Old 02-21-2016, 06:18 PM   #5
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Great info. Thanks
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Old 03-23-2016, 11:22 PM   #6
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Standard Horizon makes a handheld with built-in GPS, so your position is transmitted to the responders. It is pretty reasonable (I got one for my grandson to use in the Jon boat last year for $200), and it works very well. Waterproof, floats, big enough numbers to read, and the batteries hold a charge very well. We carry it in the bay boat and offshore as a back-up to the built-in VHFs.
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Old 03-25-2016, 09:57 AM   #7
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I got the Standard Horizon HX 870 for my bay boat/ditch bag. It floats, has an easy recharge, built in GPS, etc. ... good signal and based on my radio checks, has a good transmission distance. Being able to jump on 16 when you need help or when assisting USGC is a lot better than a cell phone.
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Old 03-25-2016, 10:58 AM   #8
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You would be amazed at what a $20 antenna will do to a radio. What I mean is Replace your Ant. with a new one and see what happens. Antennas will go bad long before a radio will. It may only be the wiring or connector but why bother over $15 and time.

Just looked them up. Guess they are $40 now!!!!

Last edited by Deeplines; 03-25-2016 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 03-26-2016, 12:54 AM   #9
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I'm sure "Fishing Kerry" got his radio issue taken care of by now (?) but thought I'd use this opportunity to touch on some common radio knowelege y'all may or may not know?? The choice of "which radio do I need" will be determined by your fishing / boating preferences.
Just touching on the handhelds- they are only about 5-6 watts (transmitting power), which may cover 2-5 miles depending on terrain and your height (on the deck or in a tower- yes, line of sight), and that may be good for our inshore and local traffic.... but may not be real useful trying to call for help if you are 20 miles in the everglades or 30 miles offshore. However, we do keep one in our ditch bag for emergency situations (it's better than having nothing).
Most mounted / wired radios transmit at 25 watts and have a DSC distress alert feature with either an internal GPS, or NEMA connection to link with your GPS / FishFinder (MMSI registration required)- and a good choice for offshore boating / fishing (up to about 20 miles, depending your antenna height and the intended recievers antennas height- again, this operates according to "line of sight"). Paired with a quality 8-14 ft 8db antenna- it can be an invaluable tool for convienient communication and emergency hailing covering about 15-20 miles.
There are other variables in the distance you can call - depending on weather and atmospheric conditions, orientation the antenna is mounted (preferrably 90 to the horizon), etc.
Anyone regularly traveling 20 or more miles offshore, we recommend the use of an Epirb or other satellite based communication device for distress calling and safety!
Hope this was helpful to someone!
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Last edited by badonskybuccaneers; 03-26-2016 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 07-30-2016, 03:12 PM   #10
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I just installed a Standard Horizon GX1700 with the built-in GPS. It works great.

Having a cell phone is a good idea, but suppose you want to communicate with someone nearby if you needed something or to check on them. What number would you call? I recently called a passing Coast Guard RIB on my VHF to advise them of a navigation hazard. They turned around and came back to investigate and discuss it with me.

You need that VHF radio with DSC to boot.
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