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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 10:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:00 pm
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Location: Jacksonville, Florida
I was curious if any of the serious sailors out there (not newbies/part timers like myself) have a specific go-to brand of marine radio that they use, and why?

I imagine it MUST be a submersible model, right?

I am VERY interested in hearing from the Ultra Marathon/Everglades Challenge/Ultimate Florida Challenge veterans on this, but anyone's experience with this will be music to my newbie ears. I would like to enter the Ultra Marathon next year if I can get enough experience and training under my belt.

Anecdotes of said radio use in dire situations will be doubly welcome!

Thanks in advance.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:40 am 
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Location: South Florida
You should post your question on the WaterTribe forum: http://watertribe.org/forums/ Or, do a search there.

I've used a Uniden Voyager II for years--several in fact. They have been long discontinued, but I picked up my last ones off eBay. Absolutely must be "waterproof." Some people put them in dry bags (AquaPac, Drypak type.) I don't bag mine, but I carry it in a top pocket of my pfd. It is tethered to my pfd. If I do solo camp trips, I carry a backup. If camping with my wife, she has the 2nd one. I always carry 1-2 extra batteries. Again, these have been purchased on eBay. We are currently on our last pair--I'll have to pick up something different in a yr or 2.

For any WaterTribe event you are required to have a lot of safety equipment besides a VHF radio--you must have a PLB and SPOT, for example.

Keith

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I sail: Biscayne Bay, Everglades to Cape Romano, Ft Desoto, Cedar Key

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:05 am 
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Location: Maui, Hawaii
Whatever Radio you choose, I recommend one with a good waterproof rating. Then I place it in a waterproof radio bag like below and mount it to my PFD. No matter how well waterproofed electronics are, they mostly will die within 2-3 years of use in our wet salt water conditions (Island sailing) without additional protection. And in my opinion, the radio is useless if not in easy reach (mounted on you) and easy to use (one handed?) in an emergency.

My favorite radio, even though it has it's quirks, is a Cobra 425 Marine/GMRS/Weather radio http://www.amazon.com/Cobra-MR-HH425LI- ... colbra+425

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http://KayakingBob.com - - - - - Hobie Island Sailing since 2006 - - - - - 2011 & 2012 Hobie AIs and a 2012 TI


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:58 pm 
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Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Excellent advice. Thanks!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:22 pm 
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I have a Standard Horizon HX851. Waterproof, it floats, and it has a built in GPS for full DSC functionality.

I believe this radio is going for just over $200.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:28 pm 
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The DSC feature enables the user to press a button and send out a distress call with the radio's exact GPS coordinates. Often the coordinates given are subject to interpretation and this slows down the search while they are verified.

If you need help and may be bobbing in the water this feature is a must have. Available with Icom, Standard, Uniden VHF radios. Some models float which is as important as their being waterproof.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 4:33 pm 
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Location: High Point, NC
When my life depends on it - ICom, IC-M88. Best VHF radio I have ever owned, and I have several.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 7:55 pm 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
Wintersun wrote:
The DSC feature enables the user to press a button and send out a distress call with the radio's exact GPS coordinates. Often the coordinates given are subject to interpretation and this slows down the search while they are verified. SNIP.

I assume you mean "manually provided" coordinates given are subject to interpretation..

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Tony Stott
2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM"
www.scenefromabove.com.au


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:35 pm 
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Location: South Florida
I question the utility of a combo VHF and GPS-signaling device. Depending on where you sail, a vhf radio can be of very limited use, e.g., off coastal Everglades you may not see anyone for a day or two (or 3). VHF radios are line of sight w/ a limit of about 2 miles. Marine police may have stronger receivers and be able to pick up signals at greater distances and transmit over longer distances--but I wouldn't count on it.

I always carry a SPOT messaging device and on longer solo camping trips, I also carry a PLB (personal EPIRB)--these are tethered to my PFD. On solo trips, I carry my tethered VHF radio and a backup in a safe place.

VHF radios are great for communicating with fellow boaters, and they are required safety equipment, but I would not depend on one as my main rescue device. That said, the one time our flats boat sank in rough seas about 2 miles off Flamingo in Florida Bay, I used a VHF radio to summon help--it worked! That incident was before the advent of either SPOT or PLBs.

Keith

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I sail: Biscayne Bay, Everglades to Cape Romano, Ft Desoto, Cedar Key

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 5:01 am 
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Location: High Point, NC
The ICom radio I listed above works well out to about 3.5 miles. The key to any line of sight radio can be found in two areas - power and height of antenna.

You can generally figure .8 mile per watt of power and the higher you can get your antenna, the better. Of course, in a hand held you aren't going to be able to get it higher than where ever your head is. On larger boats the antennas are fixed to cabin tops, mast tops, etc., which can greatly extend their useful range.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:42 pm 
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Location: Kailua 96734
KayakingBob wrote:
My favorite radio, even though it has it's quirks, is a Cobra 425 Marine/GMRS/Weather radio http://www.amazon.com/Cobra-MR-HH425LI- ... colbra+425
Cobra has redesigned the models Bob and I have (I have the bluetooth version). https://www.cobra.com/products/handheld/mr-hh425-li-vp

Image

I've been through 3 of them in 2 years (under warranty) and I did NOT use a waterproof pouch, like Bob's. Let that be a lesson to me,.. :oops:


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:29 pm 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
Keith, I have to disahree with you about buying a VHF with inbuilt GPS. I bought one to provide additional redundancy to my personal locator beacon (with GPS), my FF/chart plotter, and my Navionics app on my smartphone.

Of course VHF has limited range, and I would never rely on it solely, but buying a radio with bonus GPS can't be a bad thing. I appreciate that SPOT is a requirement for the EC.

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Tony Stott
2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM"
www.scenefromabove.com.au


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:20 pm 
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Location: South Florida
No problem, Tony. As I said, your dependence on a VHF radio certainly is a function of the environment you sail, e.g., are there other boats around normally? I do have my doubts about the GPS locating signal via your VHF radio. Who is this going to? If there are other boats around, I question if they will have the functionality to zero in on the GPS locater signal. Also, it seems doubtful that you (the sailor in the water) would be separated from your boat--that could happen, but I would certainly try to stay with my AI/TI. Boaters in VHF range would come to the boat. It is some redundancy, but, again, I question the practical utility.

I always carry my SPOT sailing and traveling all over the US & some foreign countries. My SPOT has always been reliable for sending messages to family & friends. Therefore, my assumption is that it would also be successful sending out distress messages.

The requirements for the WaterTribe Everglades Challenge is 1 SPOT per boat AND 1 PLB (personal EPIRB) per each participant. Crews are 1 and 2 person. Of course, a "submersible, handheld VHF radio" (no mention if that is for each participant or per boat). There are many other non-electronic safety requirements--these requirements are greater for sit-on-top boats.

Keith

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I sail: Biscayne Bay, Everglades to Cape Romano, Ft Desoto, Cedar Key

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:48 pm 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
We are fortunate here in that the volunteer coast guard/marine rescue maintain powerful base stations linking up for coastal cover, so the prospects of their picking up a signal from a VHF radio are far greater than the normal vessel to vessel situation. My local marine rescue base has two rescue vessels, one of which is equipped with FLIR for 24/7 rescue capability.
Image
My local marine rescue tower.

SPOT sounds great though, but for my field of activity, it would be difficult to justify spending a further $US198 on a Gen3 GPS Messenger plus $US164.99 per annum for the minimum annual subscription.

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Tony Stott
2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM"
www.scenefromabove.com.au


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:38 am 
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Location: South Florida
SPOT 3 is often on sale. Currently, you can get it at any number of mail order stores, like West Marine, for US$149 and get a $50 rebate.

Also, you don't have to buy the full tracking subscription. You can get the basic messaging (I'm OK), SOS (need help), 911 (life-threatening situation), special message to friends and family for US$99/yr. This is a neat feature which gives your family a lot of peace of mind if you are off on a camping trip--especially a solo camp trip off coastal Everglades.

I still have my SPOT 1, which must be 4-5 yrs old.

Keith

_________________
I sail: Biscayne Bay, Everglades to Cape Romano, Ft Desoto, Cedar Key

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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