Guide to handheld VHF's

Questions about water transportation and fishing on the island.

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johnhens
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Guide to handheld VHF's

Post by johnhens » Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:59 am

Thought I would post this guide to handheld VHF's for those who are considering buying one. Good info:

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/st ... eld-Radios

How to use VHF:
http://www.boatus.com/boattech/casey/vhf-basics.asp

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moss13
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Re: Guide to handheld VHF's

Post by moss13 » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:43 pm

Thanks John!
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brford
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Re: Guide to handheld VHF's

Post by brford » Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:42 pm

I bought a Cobra MR HH425LI VP very pleased with it weather VHF and some GMRS. I could get some weather reports on both sides of the Island.
Did not have to use the VHF so hopefully it works.


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Re: Guide to handheld VHF's

Post by bergman » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:55 am

I purchased from TheGPSStore.com a Standard Horizon HX280S (submersible) for $90 total. Purchase date aug2011. Did a bit of research on it, and also was not impressed w/ the Cobra models on display at Gander mountain. The VHF i bought is made by Vertex Standard Co. of Tokyo,Japan (of course the radio is mfg in China). No frills, just function, which is what u want when your life is on the line. Works great. VHF FM Marine Transceiver.

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Re: Guide to handheld VHF's

Post by Rafiki » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:02 am

In the article, it said most VHF handheld radios can only transmit within a 3-8 mile range and I am guessing with overcast and poor weather conditions range is closer to the low end. With how much VHF radios cost, do you believe the investment is really worth it for such short range?
4 Trips - 254 Miles Hiked: 2004 (3 Days), 2010 (11 Days), 2011 (13 Days), 2012 (8 Days)


darksideofoz
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Re: Guide to handheld VHF's

Post by darksideofoz » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:00 am

Rafiki wrote:In the article, it said most VHF handheld radios can only transmit within a 3-8 mile range and I am guessing with overcast and poor weather conditions range is closer to the low end. With how much VHF radios cost, do you believe the investment is really worth it for such short range?

do you think your or others rescue in an emergency situation in the middle of nowhere is worth the investment?

I did.
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MikeT
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Re: Guide to handheld VHF's

Post by MikeT » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:55 am

I also have the Standard Horizon, only the HX370S model. Not sure about the model number difference. I love mine! I would never paddle without it again. The main things is to be able to get marine forecasts. I have never had a problem getting a forecast anywhere along a Lake Superior shore campsite. I had to do a bit of moving around at Merritt, but was able to get it. It has saved us from having to head to shore due to bad conditions around a point or, in the late morning a couple of times. It is needed to know what is happening on the lake or, going to be happening.

As far as the limited transmission distance, there is a good chance of getting a ranger station, park boat or, private boat within the parameters. Especially during the busy season. Boats typically have stronger transmitters that can get the authorities if needed. This spring I was able to talk to Mott from Caribou no problem. You can also talk to the Voyageur when she is within distance.

In my opinion, it is a MUST HAVE if you paddle Lake Superior proper.
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Re: Guide to handheld VHF's

Post by drobarge » Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:40 pm

Rafiki,
You are realitively new to paddling, get a VHF. I have sailed the Great Lakes & on the Atlantic for a long time(plenty of exp) I would never venture out on the water without one. Get one and do some online reasearch on how to use it, learn what channels to use for certain things and learn how to talk on one. How to talk on a marine radio is important.... it is easy for people to dismiss you as a kid messing around if you don't speak correctly. It also gives you fairly accurate weather forecasts twice an hour.

If you really find yourself in a bind and are unable to get one let me know and I will borrow you one- you will still need to learn to use it on your own though.

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Re: Guide to handheld VHF's

Post by Rafiki » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:16 pm

Hey everyone. Thank you for speaking on the need of getting a VHF radio. Everyone seems to be on the boat of it being crucial to invest one and with everyone chiming in on the matter, I have come to the conclusion that I will definitely be buying on within the next week or two. The good news is that by the sounds of it I can also use it as a weather radio. With that noted, I initially was planning on also buying a weather radio, but by the sounds of it, the VHF can function as a tool to use in case of an emergency and as one to get weather report. I love hitting two birds with one stone.
If you really find yourself in a bind and are unable to get one let me know and I will borrow you one- you will still need to learn to use it on your own though.
Thanks Dro for being kind enough to the extent of being willing to let me borrow one in case I was in a pinch. it definitely makes up for the time that you told me that I should go to the Ranger station to the keys to unlock the locks on shelters :)

Being that I will have to learn how to talk on and operate one of these VHF radios in an appropriate manner to be respected by those on the other end that might be listening to me me, can anyone recommend a good VHF-101 website to get a novice like myself on the right track?

Also, I plan on posting a couple of models on here that I am considering buying, if you guys wouldn't mind chiming in on what you think of the models that I am considering to buy, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.

P.S. Just started typing out my trip report from 2012. Should be posting it soon. It is always a matter of just starting the process of typing it out. Once I get it rolling, there is no stopping me. Considering that it takes me almost two hours to type just one day of my report out, it can be overwhelming to know that I have twelves days that I need to write about. Please be patient. Little my little I hope to have it finished. Already knocked out two days of the report today. It will be worth the wait and I am sure you guys will enjoy it.
4 Trips - 254 Miles Hiked: 2004 (3 Days), 2010 (11 Days), 2011 (13 Days), 2012 (8 Days)


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Re: Guide to handheld VHF's

Post by Midwest Ed » Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:45 pm

There are units that do NOT come with NOAA weather band reception. Double check for this feature. Another feature that some units offer is self flotation. While all are water resistant and most claim water proof, there are different levels of submersible and many do not float.

I can't recommend any particular units as I haven't bought one in a long time. I'm sure some inexpensive ones are junk.
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Re: Guide to handheld VHF's

Post by Rafiki » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:33 pm

Before I dash off to bed, the ones that I were looking at were in the realm of $80. Will that get me something decent or should I be willing to pay more. Does anyone have any guidelines on what is the very least I should be considering to pay if I want to get something decent?
4 Trips - 254 Miles Hiked: 2004 (3 Days), 2010 (11 Days), 2011 (13 Days), 2012 (8 Days)


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Re: Guide to handheld VHF's

Post by johnhens » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:19 am

Rafiki wrote:Before I dash off to bed, the ones that I were looking at were in the realm of $80. Will that get me something decent or should I be willing to pay more. Does anyone have any guidelines on what is the very least I should be considering to pay if I want to get something decent?
The old saying: "you get what you pay for" is so true here. Icom and Standard Horizon are the most prevalent VHF radios and maybe Uniden. It comes down to this: in the event of an emergency (which is why you buy/carry a VHF along with NOAA reports), is it worth it to spend the extra $$$ for a good radio? I would say so.
I will share a story with you.
Years ago in another "life", I worked on Lake MI running the beaches and marine rescue for a IL city. I was at the lakefront office catching up on paper work one night when a lady started pounding on the door. I opened the door and a frantic mother told me her son had taken his motorboat out and was overdue. I called the USCG and tried reaching the boat on the VHF. I also called the Chicago marine units to inform them that we were begining a search for the boat. We eventually found the boat and boaters drifting 20 miles out in the lake. The boat was "new" used. It did not have a VHF when he bought it and got the cheapest radio available at the time. When he went to use it to get help, it did not work.

I hope that helps!!

Check West Marine, they should be having a 4th of July sale.

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Re: Guide to handheld VHF's

Post by Rafiki » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:45 am

I am debating between the following VHF radios, can anyone chime in and give me their advice or recommend one I have not listed? Also if you do not mind stating why you would recommend the one you have selected, I would appreciate it. Thanks.

http://www.amazon.com/Uniden-MHS75-Wate ... o+handheld

http://www.amazon.com/Icom-01-Floating- ... o+handheld

http://www.amazon.com/Icom-Handheld-Mar ... o+handheld
4 Trips - 254 Miles Hiked: 2004 (3 Days), 2010 (11 Days), 2011 (13 Days), 2012 (8 Days)

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Ernest T Bass
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Re: Guide to handheld VHF's

Post by Ernest T Bass » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:46 pm

Hey Rafiki,

Check your e-mail. I sent you some stuff on a VHF radio that I got earlier this spring.

EDIT: I would make the case for my Standard Horizon HX300 over the ones that you listed because I paid ~$118 for it, it flashes if dropped in the water (one of yours listed does), but the key to me is being able to purchase an adapter that allows you to run the radio on 3 AAA batteries. The last thing I want is to be on the island and my rechargeable battery craps out. The adaptor was about $20. This was the major selling point for me.

Cheers,

ETB
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Rafiki
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Re: Guide to handheld VHF's

Post by Rafiki » Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:52 am

SOLD!!! The HX300 seems like a great choice. I was about to consider the HX370S because it came with a bunch of accessories, one of them being the battery pack (all this model would use AA instead of AAA, which kind of stunk because the headlamps that Shelly and I use need 3 AAA batteries each, so we could always use those as backup instead of bringing extra AAs that would not be used for anything else) you spoke of that you purchased separately. The HX370S was factory programmed with all USA, Canadian, and International and NOAA Weather channels with Weather Alert. The battery life was twice as long as the HX300. The HX370S unit had a strobe light for being rescued. HOWEVER, upon closer review, it DID NOT float! If I am going to have a handheld VHF, I want it by my side. If it does not float, then I need to keep it in a dry bag. No thanks. I don't want to have to be digging in a bag in case of an emergency.

Upon further review, I found out that the HX300 (according to Amazon) is listed to have all USA, Canadian, and International and NOAA Weather channels, which even though I do not know much about any of this stuff, I thought it was a good idea that Canadian channels were included since Isle Royale is right next to Canada. It also said it had weather alert, whatever that is.

The only thing that concerns me about my purchase is that it is not scheduled to arrive until some time between 7/25-8/2. I purchased it off Amazon through Amazon, because I feel as though I have never had any problems with Amazon, and whenever small ones arise, they are always on top of the ball to correct matters swiftly. Unfortunately it cost me $146 for the VHF radio. While I debated to get it from the same company that you got yours from, I was not too familiar with the Marine Wholesale website and did not want to chance having any issues even if it was $10 less that Amazon's price. The shame of it is that Marine Wholesale probably would have been able to get my VHF to me sooner. This is important because I am leaving on 8/8 for the island. Oh well, I guess we'll see what happens. Hopefully there isn't any further major delays in getting me the unit.

On a side note, that FBA-44 battery pack was almost impossible to find at many online retailers and all the places I found it at were charging close to doubt digits to ship the unit out. So I bit the bullet and bought it from the same site you bought yours from. Again, I usually like buying from reputable websites instead of ones I never heard of before, but I really had no choice on the matter. Kind of like being choiceless when it came to having to spend $25 or more for my order to be processed. I really didn't need anything extra so I just threw some hose clamps in my cart so I could meet the minimum criteria of $25.

On a final note, being that you were kind of enough to give me a good recommendation on a VHF radio based off of your purchase, I sent you a surprise in your email that you might not have been aware of. Check out my email and let me know if you knew about what I sent you ;) Hope it helps. Speaking of help, now that you and I have the same VHF radios, hope you don't mind me asking you some questions about it if I become stumped about something and am crunched for time on the account of maybe not getting it until less than a week before my trip :) Anyways I gotta get to bed, its late as heck, but thank you for everything once again Ernest. Have a great 4th of July.
4 Trips - 254 Miles Hiked: 2004 (3 Days), 2010 (11 Days), 2011 (13 Days), 2012 (8 Days)

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