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Old 11-30-2017, 10:20 PM   #1
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Loudest Horn

I currently have an AFI dual horn with one of those tiny compressors but its older and acting up. I figure if Im going to replace the system go for something really loud. Has anyone else put a louder ships horn on their boat? I was thinking about a compressor attached to a small stainless air tank then the horn. Are there systems like that or has anyone built one?

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AC
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Old 11-30-2017, 10:30 PM   #2
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Marine Signaling | Industrial Signaling | Mass Notification | Kahlenberg
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Old 11-30-2017, 10:35 PM   #3
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This past season I replaced our pathetic electric horn with a Grover air horn off of a semi. It's paired with a small "hot dog" comp from HF. I used leftover Rapid Air tubing from a shop project along with a 12v solenoid purchased online.
It may not be as loud as you're looking for but it's nice having a real horn!
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Old 11-30-2017, 11:16 PM   #4
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I have a Kahlenberg D-1, no longer produced but very similar to the D-2. It is plenty loud as one doesn't want to stand in front of it while it sounds. It has twice the range (four times louder) than the typical small-boat horn. Suggest you contact Kahlenberg for their recommendation for compressor and air tank.
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Old 11-30-2017, 11:28 PM   #5
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Stebel Nautilus

We upgraded our horn during "phase 1" of our electronics upgrade this year. We chose the Stebel Nautilus Compact Tuning Marine Horn. So far, we are very satisfied. It came with a relay as the power draw is not insignificant. It is very loud and it is the proper frequency for our (little) vessel per the Navigation Rules/COLREGS. We installed it under the radar and above the arch so that it has nearly unobstructed projection.

There was a period where we had no loud hailer with automatic fog horn installed this season. The Stebel got a serious work out in the fog on two occasions, with no degraded performance experienced. I would select it again.

https://www.stebel-usa.com/product/3...g_Marine_Horn/

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Old 12-01-2017, 12:46 AM   #6
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Nothing sounds like real air horns. Kahlenberg or Buel, you can't go wrong.
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Old 12-01-2017, 06:13 AM   #7
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Our boat regulations require us to have a "sounding signal device". I installed a brass bell.

We don't get fog, or much boat traffic, but I use it to make kids smile as we pass through the lock.

It also is a safety device. It rings on its own when I heel more than about 25-30 degrees reminding me that it is time to think about reefing the mainsail.
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Old 12-01-2017, 06:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthurc View Post
I currently have an AFI dual horn with one of those tiny compressors but its older and acting up. I figure if Im going to replace the system go for something really loud. Has anyone else put a louder ships horn on their boat? I was thinking about a compressor attached to a small stainless air tank then the horn. Are there systems like that or has anyone built one?

Thanks
AC
Arthur, I had the same issue this year, ended up doing what you are thinking c/w 1 gal. tank etc. You will need a tank, about 90 psi or less press. switch, check valve, small relay and a air solenoid. Stuff is cheap and on ebay / amazon etc. and the lot is waay cheaper than some of the exotic horns out there that may OR may not work directly from a compressor. There is a bit of dicking around assembling and wiring this thing but you end up with a LOT of instant air. When I go up to check on the boat in next 2 weeks, I will take a photo and post it.

Frank B.
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Old 12-01-2017, 07:34 AM   #9
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Thanks all! I’m going to pull the old horn system apart this weekend, luckily I have lots of space under the fly bridge so hoping I can have a compressor/tank solution I can use to blow up rafts/fenders/etc with as well.

I know it was mentioned there are specific regs for ship sizes, are those all about having a loud enough horn or could I get in trouble if I sound like a freighter?
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Old 12-01-2017, 07:38 AM   #10
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" could I get in trouble if I sound like a freighter?"

Yes there are rules about the horns frequency and vessel size , but to sound like an aircraft carrier would cost about $50K , and require a second generator set of about 75 HP.

Go as loud as you can afford ,
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Old 12-01-2017, 07:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
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" could I get in trouble if I sound like a freighter?"

Yes there are rules about the horns frequency and vessel size , but to sound like an aircraft carrier would cost about $50K , and require a second generator set of about 75 HP.

Go as loud as you can afford ,


... and as loud as your ears can afford. I am not sure you want a cruise ship horn to blow 5 feet away from your ears on your flybridge

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Old 12-01-2017, 07:44 AM   #12
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I bought an old road tractor air horn off ebay for like 40 bucks. Still in original box with the air valve. Pancake compressor in engine room and 1/4" poly tubing up to bridge. Air valve has a cord on lever with a loop near helm. Pull the cord to honk.

Nice thing about the valve is you can feather the pull to get a mild honk. Then if no effect on the party of interest, pull it HARD.

Thing is LOUD. Only thing I would do different is to get a two-tone, or dual horn. Much nicer sound.

No way would I pay the $$$ for a marine specific horn. I think most are junk unless you go $$$$$$$. The road tractor stuff is in the same environment (sun, rain, hot, cold, road salt) and truckers do not put up with BS marine pricing!!!
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:08 AM   #13
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I tried a marine dual electric horn and it was a maintenance nightmare. I never knew if doth trumpets would sound, one or neither. Cleaning and adjusting would fix it for a while but I got fed up with it.

I bought a marine dual horn with the little compressor like the OP talks about. I think it's an Italian brand but commonly sold in the USA. I have the compressor just a couple feet from the horn and it's plenty loud for my purposes. You are supposed to oil the compressor from time to time. It was about $225.

I also have a $15 canned air horn for when I want to direct a warning in a particular direction.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:21 AM   #14
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I found a Kahlenberg S-0A horn at a swap meet for 20 bucks, found a 12v compressor, biscuit air tank and valve on Craigslist for a 100 bucks. Compressor is mounted in the helm, tank is mounted in the engine room and valve is mounted in the overhead with a pull chain.

I run it at 120 psi and it is very loud with a nice tone. Kind of fun to watch people look around to see where the sound is coming from.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:31 AM   #15
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I've had these by FIAMM. Very satisfying loud and pleasant two-tone sound. Not very expensive.

https://www.defender.com/product.jsp...127&id=3042740

Original came with boat, lasted 8-10 years. Would have lasted longer if it had been properly mounted pointing somewhat downward. Got second one new on eBay for about $130.

Uses a relay operated by the button, and then heavier wiring (#10?) to the compressor. Works great, but not quite in the Kahlenberg league.
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Old 12-01-2017, 12:16 PM   #16
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Train Chimes (horns)!!


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Old 12-01-2017, 02:13 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AusCan View Post
Our boat regulations require us to have a "sounding signal device". I installed a brass bell.
I read the Colregs saying that boats over 12 meters in length must have a "whistle" with a range of half a mile if under 20 meters in length. The regs differentiate between bells and whistles. That is, they aren't the same. ... My own definition of "loud" on a small boat is a horn/whistle with a range of 1 mile, sufficient for a boat less than 75 meters in length.
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Old 12-01-2017, 02:50 PM   #18
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There are regulations on the frequency of the horns vs. the length of the boat and if you carry a book of regulations you will find them there but for the most part, what will be practical to put on your boat will meet these regulations.

To me, what's important is to have a horn loud enough to be heard by someone with loud engines and blasting his sound system at full power. Most factory boat horns are useless at best in an emergency situation.
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Old 12-01-2017, 05:13 PM   #19
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Kahlenberg are top end. I have a set of D-0's, they're loud! I originally purchased K-380's, a smaller horn, smaller compressor. I did not like them. Plenty loud, but sounded like a car horn. A friend stopped by and of course had to blow them. "Hm", he says, "sounds just like a car horn".
Kahlenberg took them back, gave me full credit, and a special discount on the D-0 kit which required a different compressor. Dealing with them was a real pleasure. A year or two later, one of the trumpets started to discolor, I called and asked what I could do with it, guy on the phone says "oh, they shouldn't do that, I'll send you a replacement, just ship the old one back when you get it." No charge, no shipping on the replacement, I was happy to pay the return shipping.

They are top quality, not cheap, but they work. I made the mistake of blowing it when my wife was on the foredeck. She's jumpy to start with, I got a withering glare and a real earful when she came back in. I won't repeat that misstep. They are LOUD.

A guy who owned a Florida Bay Coaster had a full size ship's horn on the pilothouse roof, couldn't see it from the water. It was the ultimate attention grabber, the reactions were priceless!

For less $$, I think the truck horns are a great alternative. I really wanted to put a pull chain on mine, but the mounting wasn't practical. Solenoid works just fine. I had electrics before, what a maintenance PITA.
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Old 12-01-2017, 05:39 PM   #20
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I use a Zollner-Makrofon ships air horn bought on ebay from scrappers in India. Probably from a small ship. Definitely LOUD. Paid about $75. Similar ones are usually always for sale. I have compressed air for my shifting and throttles, so no problem powering it.
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