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Author Topic:   VHF - Handheld or Fixed?
eportfolio posted 08-30-2007 02:59 PM ET (US)   Profile for eportfolio   Send Email to eportfolio  
I'm considering getting a VHF radio for my Montauk and am trying to decide if I should purchase a fixed unit to mount to my console or purchase a handheld that I can use anywhere.

Any suggestions?

My Montauk already has an old radio that I want to replace, so I already have an antenae mounted to the transom.

Are there any other advantages going one way or the other besides flexibility and perhaps power?

Is this akin to buying a tower or laptop computer? I prefer laptops...

madfinnhockey posted 08-30-2007 11:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for madfinnhockey  Send Email to madfinnhockey     
When i had an 18 footer all I had was the Uniden portable VHF connected to an 8 ft antenna and it worked great. The speaker in the radio is ok, but not great, so I also had a small portable speaker mounted on my console that I plugged into the radio. It was a nice setup because I could always take the radio with me if I needed it for something else.

I sold the 18 footer and now am in a 15 foot Rage, and now I just use the Uniden portable on its cradle, with its stock short antenna, and it works well.

You can pick this radio up for about $100. Its a nice radio, it comes with a 120 v charger, a battery pack that you can plug into a 12v outlet for charging, and it also comes with an empty battery pack that you can load with regular AA batteries.
The portable can run at 1 watt, or 5 watts (selectable by channel).
I think the range is pretty good, I usually head out of Newburyport Mass (near the NH border) and I pick up the coast guard in Boston and Maine.

jimh posted 08-31-2007 09:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
See my comments in

chopbuster posted 09-03-2007 03:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for chopbuster  Send Email to chopbuster     
Redundant safety devices are far better than one should one fail.

Get both.

aja posted 09-04-2007 09:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for aja  Send Email to aja     
I have a Garmin handheld which I have had for about 5 years. Both of our boats have fixed VHF's installed so this one very rarely gets used, but. It came with the NiCad battery and charging base as well as the housing for AA batteries as madfin mentions and has a few other options as well. From sitting around too much the NiCad battery went bad but the radio still works fine with the AA's (I might consider looking into a new NiCad if I used it more). It works great and is in basically new condition and I would be glad to get a few $$ for it if you were interested. If so, please drop me an e-mail. Thanks!
acassidy posted 09-05-2007 07:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for acassidy  Send Email to acassidy     
Get both
jenkinsph posted 09-06-2007 12:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for jenkinsph  Send Email to jenkinsph     
I have the fixed mount now but plan on adding a waterproof handheld soon. I agree it is best to have both, just remember to keep the handheld batteries charged up!


Henry posted 09-06-2007 09:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Henry  Send Email to Henry     
Check out the current issue of Florida Sportsman (September 2007). There is an article about the DSC (Digital Selective Calling) function built into new fixed mount VHF radios. Seems like a good reason to get a fixed mount radio. But I agree with everyone else: get both.
eportfolio posted 09-11-2007 08:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for eportfolio  Send Email to eportfolio     
Thanks for all of the input guys!

I'll probably start by upgrading my fixed unit and then in a couple of years get a handheld.

I really don't use the radio much now or really see much need for it now except as a safety device.

jimh posted 09-11-2007 10:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
For information on Digital Selective Calling, check out the many prior discussions on it here in the SMALL BOAT ELECTRICAL area, as well as a REFERENCE article:

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