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kb3

VHF Marine Radio

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kb3

I am looking at adding a VHF Marine two-way radio to the boat so that I can be in contact with our houseboat this summer. Does anyone have any suggestions or input on what radio I should look at?

How far do the handhelds transmit, several miles? only line of sight?

I am new to this arena so any input would be greatly appreciated.

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Sunset_Bob

If I remember right mine is Standard Horizon. And I use a 3ft stainless 3db gain whip antenna mounted on the hand rail behind the drivers seat. Depending on the terrain, about 1-2 mile boat to boat. Probably farther with no obstacles between them, thus less if there is.

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chadwick02

I do not know much about VHF, but it is my understanding that VHF is most commmon in oceans and large bodies of water. We use a type of UHF radio at our lake to communicate. UHF is a higher frequency than VHF and travels further, is clearer...etc. We actually started using FRS and GMRS radio's (like the cheep motorola units you can get at any electronics store), then as I did some research and investigation, found that GMRS and FRS radio's opperate on standard UHF frequencies. We have since bough high quality UHF radio's, and programed them to work on the GMRS frequencies. The benifit of doing this is that any of the "cheap" gmrs radio's can communicate with the UHF radio's, but the good UHF radio's have superior range and audio clarity and are very durable. It is well worth the few hundred bucks we spent. This is equipment similar to what police\fire agencies are using, and the sound quality awesome and the equipment is very reliable. I can get you lots of more info if you want to take this route. As a reference, these are simmilar to the radio's that I use now. Range is easily 6-7 miles direct sight, and less with large obstructions. This is all with a 12" or less antenna below the gunnel of the boat (out of sight). If you were to use a larger antenna and get it to a high spot (on top of the house boat?) range would be significantly better.

Handheld unit: http://cgi.ebay.com/ICOM-F-21-UHF-Transcei...1QQcmdZViewItem

unit mounted in the boat and in our house: http://cgi.ebay.com/KENWOOD-TK-805D-TK805D...1QQcmdZViewItem

I have had very good luck buying used UHF radio's off ebay. Ever few years police\fire upgrade their radio's and their old one's go on ebay. These units are usually in good condition and have been well cared for. As an added bonus, alot of ebay sellers will "program" the radio's for free, so they can work on GMRS \ FRS frequencies right out of the box.

Just a note: I love this system because it works on the common GMRS\RFS radio frequencies. This means anyone around the lake with a standard off the shelf GMRS radio can talk to us, there are 6 or 8 of us that communicate like this now and it works fantastic! The down side, is that any yahoo with a gmrs radio can come on and transmit on the same frequency, which could get annoying real quick in a busy area. We live on a fairly small lake in a secluded area, so this is hardly ever a problem, but if you will be using it in a fairly populated area, this might not work for you.

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SCOTTDOMINE
I am looking at adding a VHF Marine two-way radio to the boat so that I can be in contact with our houseboat this summer. Does anyone have any suggestions or input on what radio I should look at?

How far do the handhelds transmit, several miles? only line of sight?

I am new to this arena so any input would be greatly appreciated.

I have never had one in a boat, but I do know that this site can help you http://www.icomamerica.com/

Myself and several other buddies have used these very handheld and marine radios in our trucks for years (we use them for hunting). They have exceptional range and are the very best marine radios out there. Thumbup.gif

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dlb

I purchased this one from West Marine.

For my antenna I have a 3 foot whip mounted on the top of the tower with a pivot mount.

I really like the set up. We have used it when out with others or with a houseboat as our base.

Your range is limited by line of site. Over open water I can communicate for several miles.

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LS-One

Hand helds pretty much suck on our lakes. I have a $99.00 Uniden in the bu works like a champ. As far as antennas go there is a Motorola radio shop in Merced that made me a 19 inch VHF radio antenna for $30.00. I had it mounted on my Titan that transmited clearly from Reiman bay (Horseshoe Bend ) to Piney Creek roughly 7 miles. When I transferred the antenna to my Blade Tower my range has suffered dramaticlly. I know the reason why but I can't cure it. I lost my ground plane going from a stainless tower to a carbon fiber. You shouldn't have that problem with an Illusion, give me a call and I can explain in greater detail. My antenna is hardly noticeable.

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kb3

Thanks for all the replies and links. I will have to read more about both the UHF and VHF radios. We use high dollar Motorola VHF handhelds at work, but they only communicate about two miles to the base station.

The house boat and my father's boat both have VHF, so more than likely I am stuck going the VHF route.

Mark - I will call you Monday, plus we still need to make that meet at my office.

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winddawg
Thanks for all the replies and links. I will have to read more about both the UHF and VHF radios. We use high dollar Motorola VHF handhelds at work, but they only communicate about two miles to the base station.

You might want to take a look at the Standard Horizon HX 470s. The model number may have changed a number or two but never the less it is a hand held submersible unit. I carry it with me win I windsurf and snowboard. It has almost every band that you can imagine and it is very compact. No mounting required either.

-Dave

The house boat and my father's boat both have VHF, so more than likely I am stuck going the VHF route.

Mark - I will call you Monday, plus we still need to make that meet at my office.

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bigD

I have a hand held standard Horizon to communicate with the HB. At Pedro I've been in the south bay cove by the floating bathroom and talk with the HB on the buoy at Flemming. Also across middle bay it's work OK. From my experience at Pedro I'd say the hand held radios are good to about 3 Miles.

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skisamm

I have had the ICOM M72 Handheld VHF for a couple seasons now. I mainly keep it in the boat for safety, but have used it quite a bit at Lake Powell communicating with the houseboat. Handhelds are limited in the range, but I have been very happy with it.

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chadwick02

edit: posted in a totally wrong (and old) thread. I must be tired...

Edited by chadwick02

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