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Old 06-13-2013, 07:48 AM   #1
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What kind of a horn do you have or need

For whatever reason our boat does not have a permanent horn and we rely on the air can horn, which is very loud especially when blown in the cabin as my better half found out last weekend. We don't get much fog here but I still worry that a can or two of air would not last if you did get into fog for a prolonged period. I think "real" horns also have an esthetic value. Would or do you have high or low tone horns, air or electric. Just looking for thoughts of what works, looks good, loud enough and most of all keeps us safe.
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Old 06-13-2013, 07:53 AM   #2
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LaBomba, I love the Bomba.
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Old 06-13-2013, 07:54 AM   #3
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I spent my money on a good quality loud hailer and a cheap no moving parts horn to pass inspection. I have had nice horn but never seem to last more then a few years before they break. I like the ability to tell someone my action over a hailer plus that can't cover fog signal if the need every comes up.
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Old 06-13-2013, 07:59 AM   #4
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I dont have one. I don't think its a local requirement, but I'm not sure.
Down here no one would hear you anyway.
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:06 AM   #5
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:08 AM   #6
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Okay, a more serious answer. I always carried a Plastimo air horn onboard because in Europe we need to carry a "Fog Horn" Never used it (don't know if there is still compressed air in the bottle), after 12+ years still in its original plastic sealed bag. Also I never intend to use a Horn. Enough noice makers already on the waters. My 2 Centavos.

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Old 06-13-2013, 08:16 AM   #7
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Mine's an air horn, with a small hose from the horn to a truck air horn compressor mounted under the flybridge. It's pretty loud, and the air supply is inexhaustible as long as there's battery power.
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:53 AM   #8
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WE use 2 horns , a dinky electric for tooting bridges and locks or defining passing situations .

And a big air horn with DC compressor and an old propane bottle as accumulator, manual pull valve to operate..

Some bridge tenders are watching TV and never hear a dinky horn or a VHF call.

The air horn is considered less aggressive than the starting cannon needed at times.
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:43 AM   #9
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We have a Khalenberg whistle tied to a small compressor and 2.5 gallon air tank. When we bought the boat, the electric horn wasn't working, so we replaced it with an Ongaro electric dual trumpet. It is much louder than the old AFI and should last longer as it is all stainless. Considered an air horn since we already have the compressor, but the Admiral was adamant that we didn't need a louder horn (there was a comment about refusing to be on deck as we enter and exit port if I got a louder horn). Also figured that it is a better backup in the event the compressor ever goes out. We also cary an air can horn, which travels with us in the dinghy. We do use our horn and whistle as appropriate. All this said, on our sailboat we only ever had the aircan and it served us very well. As much as I like the whistle, it is more a novelty on our Tug than anything else. Probably wouldn't have put the money into it had it not come wiht the boat.
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Old 06-13-2013, 11:25 AM   #10
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The boat horn is electric single trumpet, not very loud but passes USCG inspection and stays dry so it has lasted. It might be original to the boat. I also have an automatic electric horn built into my VHF and this is what I use while underway in the fog.
I also have a canister type as a back up located below at the helm.
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Old 06-13-2013, 11:46 AM   #11
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We have an air horn but rarely use it as no one understands sound signals anyway. All you would get back from the other vessel would be the middle finger salute.
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Old 06-13-2013, 11:52 AM   #12
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We have two double horns. A quieter electric horn and a VERY LOUD Buell double air horn. The air horn is connected to an automatic sounder so that it goes off every 2 minutes in fog. We fitted the air horn and a radar reflector after being nearly run down by a fishing boat in thick fog in New England. Sounds very manly!!!
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Old 06-13-2013, 01:42 PM   #13
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I had Kahlenberg D-2 horns installed on my Coot instead of the builder's standard electric horn.




Hear it here:

Model D-2 Chimetone Air Horn | Kahlenberg

It's loud enough that it's wise not to be on the foredeck.
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Old 06-13-2013, 03:10 PM   #14
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Blue Sky came with a Kahlenberg air horn that is very loud and pleasant to the ears.
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:28 PM   #15
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We have triple Buel air horns tied to a pancake compressor with fittings for air hoses for tools. We have a loud electric horn. We have a very loud hailer horn tied into the automated hailer sequences hailer/radio.
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Old 06-13-2013, 07:31 PM   #16
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I have canned air horns....and both of my Standard Horizon VHF's have built in Loud Hailers as well as horns...mostly pre-programmed...and they are pretty loud.
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:35 PM   #17
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My boat came with twin electric horns which work fine for their intended purpose. But I do admit to having serious horn envy when around guys like markpierce who have very manly horns. I like that his horn exaggerates his boat's presence much like a small dog with a HUGE bark. (...and I mean that in the nicest way!) It definitely gets your attention which, after all, is what a horn is supposed to do.

I added a PA speaker wired through the VHF radio and a FogMate horn controller which sounds my horn at 2 minute intervals during fog. I use them both, but wish my radio/PA would allow me to listen to a crewmember on the foredeck or dock hand, using the PA speaker as a microphone in a receive mode. My next radio will have that function.
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:56 PM   #18
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Presume the air compressor occupies the space where a genset would otherwise be on the Coot.

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Old 06-13-2013, 09:03 PM   #19
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I've been shopping for horns today, was on the water yesterday and less than impressed with my current trumpets. Thanks for the link Mark as it has been quite helpful.

Model K-380 seems to meet my Admirals idea of acceptable.
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Old 06-13-2013, 09:28 PM   #20
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Good choice, Craig. Sounds great.

Model K-380 Chrome | Kahlenberg
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