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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
VHF for 150 SPORT
|Author||Topic: VHF for 150 SPORT|
posted 08-03-2006 02:26 PM ET (US)
Hello. Now it's VHF time. Are there any handheld DSC units out there worth considering? Any suggestions for this or a fixed unit will be appreciated.
[What is] the status of DSC network in Central Florida?
Thanks All. Mark
posted 08-03-2006 03:31 PM ET (US)
I know I have posted this before, but I really like the Standard PS 1000. Works great and a very clean installation.
I fastened the black box to the side, just forward of the storage compartment, in the console.
The 4' antenna mounted to the side of console lays down inside the bow rail for transporting or covering the boat.
There are several previous discussions on DSC. When linked to your GPS, you can take full advantage of it. The 25 watt transmit of a fixed radio is a big advantage over a hand held.
Regardless of the current Coast Guard DCS status, virtually every new, fixted mount radio has it. Other boats will receive your position in an emergency, and can relay it if you are unable to.
posted 08-03-2006 04:32 PM ET (US)
posted 08-03-2006 04:38 PM ET (US)
I like the installation a lot. Can you think of any other alternative to driling the antenna mount into the gunnel?
My 150 has only side rails and the new Mills mooring cover arrived today. I need to get some decent rf gain and height and also be able the swing antenna down and out of the way..
posted 08-03-2006 05:14 PM ET (US)
You can get a tilting mount in either stainless or white plastic that will clamp to a 7/8" or 1" diameter rail. Here's one example of such a mount:
posted 08-03-2006 09:01 PM ET (US)
Mark--There is no "DSC Network". The Digital Selective Calling feature of a radio operates on a prescribed channel. There is no network provider or backbone. You transmit a DSC call and it is received by any nearby station that can pick it up. Your radio does not connect to or make use of any network. A DSC radio simply listens for and transmits on a particular channel, using a agreed-upon packet radio digital transmission.
If you are asking about the participation of the United States Coast Guard in monitoring DSC channel 70 for distress calls, this information is available from the United States Coast Guard. Try their website for the latest update. The RESCUE 21 system (as it is called) in primarily being implemented in coastal waters, and it is unlikely that it will be available for inland lakes, unless they happen to be close to the coastal areas or part of the "Western Rivers" or "Great Lakes" coverage. See:
posted 08-03-2006 09:12 PM ET (US)
I strongly recommend against selecting a handheld transceiver as a vessel's primary VHF Marine Band radio due to the limited range. Get a 25-watt radio and install a good antenna. Also, DSC transmission from a hand held will not have any position information unless you are connected to a GPS or the radio has a built-in GPS. I cannot see the wisdom in going to the expense of a fancy handheld. They will cost more than a decent fixed-mount full power radio.
posted 08-03-2006 09:22 PM ET (US)
if you like the looks of the PS1000, check out the PS2000 for an extra $50 or so (be sure it's one with the RAM+ microphone included). It's still cheaper than many mid-grade handhelds, and can always keep tabs on channel 70 (the DSC channel) while it scans the other ones... (look on the web, the bargains are out there)
I looked at the Standard Horizon HX460 (handheld) at the Miami International Boat Show in february. I liked the built in FM tuner, but using the DSC features required the use of the cradle which was NOT guaranteed waterproof under their 3 year no-water guarantee. At that point, I noted to the technicians that it was pointless to have DSC on a handheld if the cradle required for the function was not waterproof, and that I'd strongly consider getting a PS1000 or PS2000 rather than a handheld for that reason alone!
posted 08-03-2006 10:31 PM ET (US)
I had a lot of fun reading jimh's article on his antenna setup. Very impressive indeed.
I am more challanged for antenna setup due to the limited real estate on the 150 sport.
Am leaning toward a rear starboard installation on the railing..want to get best impedence and height.
Just looks like a bit of a challange to make it look and work well.
posted 08-04-2006 01:12 PM ET (US)
The antenna mount is not drilled into the gunnel, but bolted to the side of the console. Very easy and plenty of access from underneath.
As stated by others, you can clamp an antenna with a ratchet mount to the rail as well, but depending on the location (top of rail) it can chafe the cover.
It is clear you are concerned with range. I get 10 miles regularly. 15 mile is hit and miss with the 4' antenna.
I probably would have used an 8', but it is too long to lay down, inside the bow rail.
posted 08-06-2006 03:14 PM ET (US)
We use a stainless ratchet rail mount on the factory Whaler bimini frame above where the rear strut attaches to it. On it is a Digital brand, model 528-VW (w for white, b for black) 4' fiberglass antenna. The antenna cable is looped to provide some slack, then led down the bimini frame, secured with cable ties. From there, the cable is led in front of the seat, down under the control box, and forward to under console.
The antenna can be used whether the bimini is open, or folded back in its "radar arch" configuration. From it vertical position, the antenna can be rotated forward to align with the bimini frame, then the whole bimini folded forward for trailering. Even with the bimini folded down and forward for trailering, the antenna can be rotated to a vertical position for use.
Our 25W fixed mount VHF radio is mounted mostly face-up, over the max motor weight plate, under the steering wheel,, by drilling out the rivets on the plate and slightly elongating the holes in the VHF radio mounting bracket, using stainless machine screws. I kept the plate in place but covered it with 1/8" felt to protect it from the VHF radio bracket.
Both Icom and Standard Horizon are great radios. "We" chose Icom over SH simply because Icom's "white" is really a tan and matches the tan interior of the boat, while the SH is pure white. At the time, there was no PS1000 or 2000, nor a comparably priced SH model that provided DSC output, which our Icom 402S also does not.
We also keep a charged non-DSC Standard Horizon HX270S handheld, along with it's AA battery tray, in the emergency box for backup. I'll admit the SH user interface is a little nicer for those who don't want to read the manual. But the Icom isn't hard to use either.
Knowing what I do today, were I buying, I'd go for the hidden radio with all in one mike. One of our near-deaf sailing buddies showed me how he could use his RAM mike at the helm by putting it up to his ear to listen. In a small boat moving along quickly, this would be a big help with the wind and outboard noise, which can make our traditional unit hard to understand.
Hope this helps,
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