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Author Topic:   VHF Marine Band Radio: Handheld or Fixed Mount
jcdawg83 posted 01-11-2013 01:51 PM ET (US)   Profile for jcdawg83  
I have a [1977] Montauk that does not have a VHF radio installed on the boat. My boating is inshore saltwater or on a lake near my home [90-percent of the time]. I may venture 5 to 10-miles offshore two or three times a year on a good day. Would I be just as well served with a good handheld VHF radio as a mounted radio? I really don't want to add any more clutter than absolutely necessary under the console. I already have a stereo mounted under the console plus my battery and battery switch. I have a good bit of room for storage under the console and it is nice to be able to keep tool bags, extinguisher, flares, etc out of sight and out of the way. Also, I don't want to go through mounting an antenna to my t-top and running the lead down to the radio.

I know the handheld would not have the same range, but would it be adequate? When I am on the lake, a cell phone is more than enough.

andrey320 posted 01-11-2013 02:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for andrey320  Send Email to andrey320     
I doubt you would have reliable signal strength 10 miles out. Get both.
jcdawg83 posted 01-11-2013 02:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for jcdawg83    
Thanks, I agree that I would probably not be able to call back to a marina from 10 miles out, but I think I would be able to contact other boats within a couple of miles, I think. I figure if I could see another boat, the radio would probably be able to reach it.

I only go offshore on absolutely perfect days and usually to wrecks or reefs that are frequented by other fishermen.

Jeff posted 01-11-2013 03:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jeff  Send Email to Jeff     
For me there should ALWAYS be a good VHF fix mount on the boat somewhere. #1 It will provide the best service for all incoming and outgoing transmissions. #2 It will never get dropped overboard, or accidentally left back on land.

When offshore / inshore there is still a place for handhelds and best place is clipped to the lifejacket you are wearing. That way if you ever end up separated from the boat you can still make calls.

jimh posted 01-11-2013 03:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
jimh posted 01-11-2013 03:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I recommend you install a fixed mount VHF Marine Band radio with Class-D DSC calling features, a good VHF Marine Band antenna, and completely integrate the VHF Marine Band radio to your boat's GPS receiver and chart plotter using NMEA-0183 or NMEA-2000 connections. Once you have reached this base level radio installation, you can get a hand-held VHF Marine Band radio for a back-up or auxiliary radio.
daveweight posted 01-12-2013 05:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for daveweight  Send Email to daveweight     
On the subject of clipping things to your pfd like a hand held, it is essential to know that you will be able to get to the device if your jacket inflates. I used to clip a knife to my pfd whilst running a safety boat during dinghy races but the Royal Yachting Association reported in the UK that a death had occurred because their knife was unreachable.
Dave Weight

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