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Old 12-12-2016, 11:29 AM   #1
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One Radio or Two?

The ancient VHF that came with our boat must be replaced. The cable that connects the RAM mike on the flybridge is not compatible with any currently available radio.

Running a new cable through the very crowded conduit between the helm stations is going to be difficult. There is already a mount for a second VHF antenna and it would be quicker and simpler, and probably not much more expensive, to just have a radio at each helm station. Good from the redundancy standpoint.

But....

The radio on the sailboat I used to have was inside and I used a handheld when I needed to talk to bridges or other craft while steering. The problem was when I forgot to turn off the main radio and switched to the same channel. There would be loud squealing and feedback and I couldn't use the handheld until I reached in and turned off the main radio. This would be a much bigger deal on the powerboat if I forgot to turn off a radio when switching helm stations.

Question: Is this likely to be a problem with separate inside and flybridge radios? Any opinions as to which would be preferable, the RAM mike or dual radio setup?
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Old 12-12-2016, 11:41 AM   #2
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It *could* be a problem, but anecdotally in my experience, it seems higher quality radios don't have that problem.

I updated my radios last year and am extremely pleased with the new Icom 506 and 195 RAM mic, but there's nothing wrong with 2 radios either.

Ken
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Old 12-12-2016, 11:45 AM   #3
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I went with two iCom radios. I found it more of a convenience, but also a backup. I would run one radio on Ch 16 or VTS channel and then the other radio on ch 9 or 68 when I was cruising with friends.


Having a backup in my cruise area was great to have.
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Old 12-12-2016, 11:51 AM   #4
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Roger, your thought about the benefits of redundancy is right. Two radios are better than one. In recent years, cell phones have become important backup on-board communications devices, at least for those boating on inland or near-coastal waters. Still, I always carry a fully-charged handheld VHF even on boats equipped with hard-mounted (and higher-powered) radios. There have been lots of times when the second radio came in handy, even when the main radio was working okay.

As to feedback between radios, I have had occasion to use two units (hard-mount and handheld) in the same pilothouse, on the same frequency, and can't recall ever having an issue. Maybe the squelch needs to be turned up a little, or the speaker volume down, or a bit more separation maintained between speaker and mike.
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Old 12-12-2016, 12:03 PM   #5
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Good point on cell phones, however in the PNW and inside passage a cell phone is useless with the exception for "Drag Queen"..... shameless plug....
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Old 12-12-2016, 12:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Long View Post
The ancient VHF that came with our boat must be replaced. The cable that connects the RAM mike on the flybridge is not compatible with any currently available radio.
9 pin (?) RAM setup?

I have dual RAM mikes at the upper and lower station running through a single, dual input Standard Horizon transciever. Apparently, at some point the dual unit (PS2000) was installed. I have a single input transciever (PS1000) that looks to have never been used if you want to maintain your RAM Mic set-up. These are pretty rare. It's a Phantom series PS1000 transciever (Put in the new units box shown below. Apparently no DSC on the 1000 model). I'll sell it cheap. Make me an offer!



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Old 12-12-2016, 12:45 PM   #7
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I use two mounted VHF + a handheld.
Great for tracking two channels when travelling with other boats and monitoring commercial traffic channels.

The new radio has provision for a RAM mic. but I have not seen a need for it yet. I will admit i only use the lower steering station and once in a while i get a blip when I forget to turn one down. But to me the two are worthwhile.

For many years though I used just the handheld as the second radio along with a set of earphones. This would be set to the "other" stations.

I could tell immediately which radio was yacking.
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Old 12-12-2016, 01:04 PM   #8
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I like multiple radios. I don't use the scan features because a priority channel
can interrupt what the conversation I am having on a lesser channel.

On this boat I have 3 mounted VHFs monitoring 3 channels.
This is a down sizing from when I was commercial fishing when I also had 2 CB
radios.

No, I don't plan to add more radios. I am simplifying.(at least in that department).

Possible sign of old age???

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Old 12-12-2016, 01:18 PM   #9
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I had a problem with the RAM mike on the Flying bridge I added a separate radio and antenna on the FB it has worked out fine.
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Old 12-12-2016, 03:34 PM   #10
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I would definitely install two radios. And then add two wireless handsets to work with the radios. I like having two radios on 16 and ?. The wireless handsets are handy to move around the boat and still work with the radio. I have Simrad RS90 and a Simrad RS35, with the HS35 handsets.

The portable VHF are useful when a third or forth channel is in play, and for the dinghy.
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Old 12-12-2016, 05:21 PM   #11
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Local electrics manufacturer GME make a VHF with a "slave" unit, which I have on the FB. Works fine, and doubles as an intercom.
We carry a handheld Uniden VHF as backup.
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Old 12-12-2016, 09:29 PM   #12
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Another vote for two units. We have one at pilot and another at co pilot stations. For all the reasons mentioned above.
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