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Author Topic:   Low Cost VHF Marine Band Radio, Antenna
cindalyn posted 11-21-2007 11:23 PM ET (US)   Profile for cindalyn   Send Email to cindalyn  
[Seeks recommendation for a low cost VHF Marine Band radio]. I'll be using it primarily in the South Carolina and North Carolina coastal area. I would not expect to be going more than 10 miles offshore and would be using it on the intracoastal water way which is mostly surrounded by trees. My primary use would be for weather and emergency contact. What kind of an antenna would you recommend?


Chuck Tribolet posted 11-22-2007 10:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
When you say FM radio, I think of the broadcast band that the
radio in my car picks up. I think what you mean is VHF Marine
Band radio, which does use FM transmission, but is rarely if
ever referred to as FM.


Jefecinco posted 11-22-2007 10:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
There are several good, reasonably priced VHF Marine radios on the market. ICOM and Standard Horizon are amongst the brands that are well respected and each have entry level (less expensive) models without some of the bells and whistles of the costlier models.

Probably more important than the radio is the antenna. You can probably buy a decent radio for the cost of a good antenna. But even if you buy the most expensive radio available if your antenna is not a good one properly installed you will have wasted your money.

There is an excellent thread on the antenna subject in the forum. Read it, do what it says, install a decent VHF Marine radio and you'll be set up for the uses you mention.


jimh posted 11-22-2007 01:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I use a Standard Horizon VHF Marine Band transceiver which is rated as a Class-D Digital Selective Calling (DSC) radio under the General Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) system. That is the minimum recommended VHF Marine Band radio for use in recreational boats in the United States.

The Standard-Horizon GX1500S is generally available for under $150.

Antenna selection depends on the boat. Give some details about your boat.

cindalyn posted 11-22-2007 02:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for cindalyn  Send Email to cindalyn     
Thanks to all for the reply and the clarification on the "VHF Marine Band". I'm new to this and trying to do it right.

I haven't purchased it yet but I'm seriously considering a 1986 17-foot Montauk with a 1991 Yamaha 2-stroke. It doesn't have a bimini but I suspect I may be adding one later.

I did read the thread on the radios and antennas but as a novice some of the information doesn't sink in right away. I anticipated a potential problem locating the antenna but for the time being I think I'd attach it to the center console unless I could be convinced otherwise.

To be honest, at some point I'd like to upgrade to an 18/19' Outrage but I'm going to try out the Montauk for a while until I get a larger towing vehicle.

Thanks again

jimh posted 11-23-2007 10:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The only factor of a radio which is a consideration for a particular boat is perhaps the physical size of the radio and where it can be installed. VHF Marine Band radios vary quite a bit in size, and on smaller boats some of the larger radios would not be a good fit.

Many small boat owners choose a radio which is operated entirely by its microphone, that is, the radio is just a black box mounted below deck, and the control head is incorporated into the microphone. This saves space at the helm console.

Choice of an antenna and where to install it is very dependent on the particular boat, but one universal aspect is that the antenna ought to be separated from the radio by at least three feet. In some cases on a small center console boat this can be hard to accomplish in the horizontal plane and instead you have to separate the devices in the vertical plane.

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