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Thread: Vhf Radios

  1. #1
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    Default Vhf Radios

    A recent post regarding an incident made me stop and think about the importance it is for us to carry vhf radios. All too often if one does separate from ones yak and it's floating away faster than one could catch it having a whistle would do no good if no one else were around to hear it. Unless one carries their flares etc. in their PFD, which I doubt most do I know I don't, then they would be useless also in this situation as they would be floating away too. So to me a vhf is what I consider almost a must as a means to get help when needed.

    I've carried a rather inexpensive basic vhf radio for the past two years and it has been a great radio. It's helped me with marine weather updates, I have been able to call for help for other boaters and It is great to keep in contact with a group of friends while fishing together. So I definitely wouldn't be without one. Recently though I stopped to think the vast majority of the time I am out fishing alone on the bay and I got to thinking about the features I currently have on my vhf radio vs other features that are available. So I decided to upgrade mine to a Standard Horizon HX870, which will arrive today.

    Now this may be overkill to others but I think of my use and safety first. With this new radio I add the ability of programming in my MSSI number with the addition of DSC and GPS to my handheld radio. Using channel 16 is great but I got to thinking if I am out there in conditions that are dark or foggy, I'm in the water separated from my yak what means do I have to transmit my position to others. So with these features my new radio will transmit through my MSSI who I am, what my boat and color is. Then through DSC & GPS not only will I know my exact location by looking at my screen while in the water. it will auto transmit a distress signal with my exact location with a touch of a button through using the DSC. So with this new radio I will have additional potential life saving capabilities.

    I post this as food for thought when selecting a radio. More often then not a basic one will suffice but for those who want a little more security then these features may be worth paying more for. My old one I may sell or keep as a back up for someone I go out on the water that doesn't own one.
    Last edited by Oldbayrunner; 10-23-2017 at 10:38 AM.
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  2. #2
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    I've had that same radio now for 2 seasons and it's been great. One other thing to mention is the added range over simple cheaper options.


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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by silasvirus82 View Post
    I've had that same radio now for 2 seasons and it's been great. One other thing to mention is the added range over simple cheaper options.


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    My Standard Horizon has great range. That's good to stay in touch with your fishing companions when you separate beyond sight, but it can also be annoying when folks chatter a lot on Channel 68 and your radio picks them up. Yesterday on the Severn, the water taxi radio traffic from the Annapolis city dock was non-stop. I wondered what was going on then I realized I was fishing on a Sunday and the pleasure boaters were out in force looking for a ride from the taxi to Annapolis. I usually do not fish weekends so I wasn't used to Channel 68 being so busy.

    I actually wrote a chapter in my book about the importance of VHF radios for kayakers. I mentioned the safety features that Oldbayrunner has brought up in this thread and I also mentioned that you can glean helpful fishing information by listening to others talk, especially watermen and charter captains -- although their comments are often cryptic. Your radio is also good for immediate feedback from your fishing buddies who are on the water with you as to what the fish are hitting, how deep, etc.
    Mark

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  4. #4
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    Got it last night and have been setting it up this am. I've got to say I am really impressed with this radio. It's extremely user friendly and easy to set up.
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  5. #5
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    I have two ICOMM handhelds...M-32 and M-36...Gary and Big Mike tell me both radios distort my voice badly...so I will replace them this year...it is on my Christmas gift list for my wife...You know there should be a basic, entry level VHF that is superior to other entry level radios- I agree the HX870 is top of the line hand-held, but I don’t want to spend $200 on a premium radio I only use to chit-chat with my friends...Like buying a Shimano Stella for $700 and change...
    Last edited by ronaultmtd; 10-26-2017 at 07:57 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Good info Oldbayrunner. The feature to transmit you location sounds like a real life saver. Between last Friday and Saturday nights while I was out fishing there were Coast Guard broadcasts over the radio for 4 different distress calls. One was the aforementioned missing person off Parramore, another was a received vessel distress call in Delaware Bay, the third was a distress call from the South River, and the fourth was for a red flare somewhere I can't remember. Each instance the CG was asking any nearby vessels to keep a look out and report back the location of the distressed. That makes that location transmit feature look pretty important as it sounded like the CG was unsure of their whereabouts other than a broad, general area.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    I actually wrote a chapter in my book about the importance of VHF radios for kayakers. I mentioned the safety features that Oldbayrunner has brought up in this thread and I also mentioned that you can glean helpful fishing information by listening to others talk, especially watermen and charter captains -- although their comments are often cryptic. Your radio is also good for immediate feedback from your fishing buddies who are on the water with you as to what the fish are hitting, how deep, etc.
    Hopefully you and your buddies have some cryptic code too so that you aren't being gleaned by others

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slobber Bob View Post
    Hopefully you and your buddies have some cryptic code too so that you aren't being gleaned by others
    Usually, we have a general idea of where we each are fishing when we lose visual contact. So we'll try to avoid specific mention of the location when we announce the bite is on. But I've been guilty of slipping up and revealing too much info. A few choice words originate from my distant buddies when I do that. Sometimes I hear it on the radio, but most of the time they spare me the instant reprimand.
    Mark

    Slate Hobie Revolution 13
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    Author: The Simple Joys of Kayak Fishing (Tips and Tales From an Old Guy in His Plastic Boat)
    Available on Amazon.com

  8. #8
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    Jul 2014
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    Default Vhf Radios

    I received a DSC distress call in my boat Memorial Day week while I was down at Indian River Inlet. A neat feature of the electronics in my boat is the gps automatically plots you a course to a DSC message when received.

    A radio with DSC is nice but in a kayak that low to the water a vhf has very limited range. I bought a PLB I keep in my life jacket and when on sale is price competitive with a high end hand held vhf.


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    Last edited by willf650; 10-24-2017 at 10:18 PM.
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