Using Handheld Radio as Alternative to Fixed Mount Radio with Antenna

VHF Marine Band radios, protocol, radio communication theory, practical advice; AIS; DSC; MMSI; EPIRB.
Slacky Mac
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Using Handheld Radio as Alternative to Fixed Mount Radio with Antenna

Postby Slacky Mac » Mon Aug 22, 2022 1:08 pm

I just purchased a 2014 190 Montauk. I am staring at the spot where the broken Shakespeare antenna used to reside [mounted at center console side panel].

My boat has a Bimini top. I live in Florida, therefore the Bimini top will most decidedly be up [thus limiting antenna height for console mounting]. Also, the windscreen grab rail would appear to potentially impede any extension with the diameter of a Shakespeare extension mast. The bracket could have a spacer fabricated, but that would only serve to increase the torque in the only area of the boat exhibiting light spider cracks.

Alas, I think I will have to compromise [and instead of a fixed mount radio get a handheld radio]. I can't envision a scenario for my usage on both lakes and on inland coastal water where a handheld with DSC would not suffice. If I am in a situation where my radio is needed to make a call, I would not want to be dependent on my boat having power. I'll take the reduced range, the portability, and the independent power, and I will be sure to have an EPIRB ready to be deployed. At least the boat won't sink.

{The radio and antenna location were] definitely an inelegant solution by Boston Whaler to make use of a fixed-mount radio in the console [of the 190 MONTAUK]. It looks good, but has limited effectiveness.

I'll probably replace the broken antenna with a new one to be broken again. But damn that hole in the dash where the old radio resides.

Jefecinco
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Re: Using Handheld Radio as Alternative to Fixed Mount Radio with Antenna

Postby Jefecinco » Tue Aug 23, 2022 10:23 am

I would consider a nice new VHF in the dash and connect it to a rail mounted three-foot whip attached to the hand rail as low as necessary on the console side mounted grab rail. I would get a VHF that includes an AIS receiver and connect it to the chart ploterS so it can show AIS targets on the map.

On our 190 Montauk we installed a Simrad VHF and GPS which performed very well. The antenna placement is not ideal but will probably perform only slightly less well than having an antenna perfectly located.

If you have excellent cell phone coverage in your boating area a good smart phone may be almost as useful as a VHF radio. Many later model phones are very water resistant and can display marine maps. If your boat is swamped and the batteries fail the smart phone can be a ueful backup.
Butch

Slacky Mac
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Re: Using Handheld Radio as Alternative to Fixed Mount Radio with Antenna

Postby Slacky Mac » Wed Aug 24, 2022 11:02 am

Jefecinco wrote:I would consider a nice new VHF in the dash and connect it to a rail mounted 3 foot whip attached to the hand rail as low as necessary on the console side mounted grab rail. I would get a VHF that includes an AIS receiver and connect it to the GPS so it can show AIS targets on the map. On our 190 Montauk we installed a Simrad VHF and GPS which performed very well. The antenna placement is not ideal but will probably perform only slightly less well than having an antenna perfectly located.

If you have excellent cell phone coverage in your boating area a good smart phone may be almost as useful as a VHF radio. Many later model phones are very water resistant and can display marine maps. If your boat is swamped and the batteries fail the smart phone can be a ueful backup.


Thanks Butch--and five kids?

Good practical advice helps me to mull over what is right for us. Simrad sure loves their AIS VHF radios, yikes. For us, the 190 Montauk will see saltwater only a few times a year as its home will be on a lake. I almost would rather see a cubby hole in that space instead of the existing Garmin 100 that is about to disintegrate.

Our cell coverage is fine, but I can't promise I won't drop a cell phone on a boat, heck I can barely hold onto it on dry land. A floating handheld still has my heart. And a secure place to put my wallet and keys would be nice.

jimh
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Re: Using Handheld Radio as Alternative to Fixed Mount Radio with Antenna

Postby jimh » Sun Aug 28, 2022 8:01 pm

On inland lakes the usefulness of a VHF Marine Band radio is often limited. Unless some rescue agency is maintaining a watch on CH-16 or has a DSC radio awaiting a DISTRESS ALERT BROADCAST, a VHF Marine band radio may not be the best form of emergency communication.

On the coastal waters of the United States, the U.S. Coast Guard RESCUE 21 radio system stands waiting to receive a signal from a 1-Watt radio with an antenna at 2-meter above the sea and a duration of 1-second. So a handheld radio will be quite suitable as a means of sending a distress alert, either via voice or via DSC.

More about the capabilities of RESCUE 21 at

https://continuouswave.com/whaler/reference/Rescue21Stations.html

ASIDE: I have heard the USCG ask a boater with whom they could not effectively communicate via simplex radio to please give the USCG their cellular telephone number so they could move to cellular telephones for communication.

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Phil T
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Re: Using Handheld Radio as Alternative to Fixed Mount Radio with Antenna

Postby Phil T » Mon Aug 29, 2022 8:06 am

A waterproof handheld VHF will suffice. Icom and Standard Horizon have several quality choices.

I am using a handheld instead of a fixed-mount.
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