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Marine VHF Radios


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When we're on the lake, we typically boat with 1-4 other family boats.  We all do our thing and then meet up to switch kids around or tie up in an afternoon.  We typically use handheld VHF radios to communicate as cell reception is spotty.  I have 3 Uniden marine units that weren't cheap but they aren't $300+ either.  They have 1W and 6W capabilities but they are terrible on the larger lakes.  If we have a sightline they work ok but go around one bend and "radio silence."  We've just lived with them but I want something stronger so I've been looking at fixed mount VHF units that can fit in the open cubby to the driver's left on our VLX.  Most units have 25w capabilities and I'll wire a  cigarette adapter so no more worrying about charging them the night before and this allows me to pull it out easily and we could use it in the SxS when trail riding.   

Does anyone use these anymore and if so, which ones have you had luck with.  I see some for around $125-$199 and up.  I need to replace a handheld and figure for the small price difference, I'd rather get a fixed unit and I know two other owners that would follow suit.

Here are a few that I've eyed.  Don't really need GPS.  Just want basic two way communication that works within 1-2+ miles on the water.  



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58 minutes ago, formulaben said:

Which antenna are you going to use?

You bring up a great point.  I didn't realize that requirement.  I figured these would operate on 1/4 or 1/2 wave antenna on the back but I guess they don't so you may have just saved me a purchase/return.  

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Agreed.  I really wanted one (and still do) but couldn't get over having to run a wire up through the tower for an antenna and the associated aesthetics of it; it's not a bad look on a cabin cruise, but looks out of place on a wake boat.  A small antenna might not be so bad, but kinda defeats the purpose of having the 25 watt capability.

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Altitude above average terrain is your friend with a radio antenna.  So is a directed pattern toward the horizon in this case.  The long VHF antennas are usually several stacked 5/8 wave dipoles, which puts the RF in a pancake pattern along the horizontal. 

If nothing else, get an antenna that you can clip on your tower to use with your handheld radios.  Putting it up on a higher pole will also help a lot. 

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