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Old 12-27-2009, 10:01 PM   #1
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Is a bullhorn worth having?

Curious as to whether or not I should consider buying a bullhorn/megaphone to keep on the boat. I don't have a PA on the radio (if it has it as an option, I don't know it as I type), but just thought it might be a useful (and inexpensive) tool/toy for talking to other boats, dockhands, or for the admiral to call me to supper. Was thinking of a decent 25W model or something more than a toy, but not a $150 model either.

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Old 12-28-2009, 04:15 AM   #2
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RE: Is a bullhorn worth having?

Just more junk to stow , find and put batteries in.

Were you going to drive with it in your lap?

The loud hailer is always THERE , ready for your missives to the world, at the touch of a button.
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Old 12-28-2009, 06:05 AM   #3
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RE: Is a bullhorn worth having?

Fair enough... They are pretty bulky.

/scratches it off list
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Old 12-28-2009, 10:24 AM   #4
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RE: Is a bullhorn worth having?

If your radio doesn't have a PA feature you can buy a stand-alone hailer/intercom. We put a Standard Horizon LH5 on our boat to replace a failed Cybernet unit. I see that Standard Horizon no longer makes this hailer but instead offers the VLH-3000. At 30w it has 10w more power than the LH5. Places like Amazon.com offer it for less than the sticker price. West Marine sells it for $269.
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:49 AM   #5
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RE: Is a bullhorn worth having?

Lots cheaper to read Practical Sailor and purchase a cheap backup VHF with the loud haiuler feature.

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Old 12-29-2009, 09:10 AM   #6
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RE: Is a bullhorn worth having?

I have to say that after cruising for over 17 years and more miles than I can recall we have never used a hailer or bullhorn. We do use wireless headsets to communicate around the boat to the helm and that has worked well for us for a long time. Chuck
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:13 AM   #7
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RE: Is a bullhorn worth having?

I was onboard a friends boat. He had the hailer rigged with a microphone and a speaker at the helm so he could talk and listen to whom ever was on the bow working the dock lines. I don't know how that was rigged seemed to work great.

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Old 12-29-2009, 04:19 PM   #8
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Is a bullhorn worth having?

Our boat is set up this way. There is a horn/speaker/mic mounted under the flying bridge overhang. There is also a speaker/mike on the flying bridge. The Standard Horizon LH5 is at the helm station with it's own hand-held mic. By selecting the bow horn, the person at the helm can hear what's being said on the foredeck (or foghorns on vessels out ahead) and by using the mike can talk to the person on the foredeck.* The person on the foredeck simply has to talk-- no need to pick up and key a mic. Both the listen and talk volumes are adjustable and at full volume the hailer is loud enough to talk to another boat underway nearby or the someone on a dock you're approaching.

We use ours every time we deploy or retrieve the anchor to communicate between the helm and the foredeck.

By selecting the flying bridge speaker/mic, the person at the helm can converse with people on the flying bridge.

The horn also functions as a fog horn, siren, and some other signals and various COLREG timings are built in. In fog we use the LH5's timed foghorn to blow our much louder dual air horns. This way we don't have to pay attention to any sort of clock or stopwatch to know when to sound tne air horns every two minutes.



-- Edited by Marin on Tuesday 29th of December 2009 05:25:27 PM
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:06 PM   #9
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RE: Is a bullhorn worth having?

It can't be more than 12 feet from your flybridge to your windlass (OK maybe 20). Do you really need a hailer system for that? Really?

I was just going to use it (the bullhorn) for yelling at friends (or a-holes) on other boats or at dockhands at unfamiliar marinas. That kinda thing.
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:02 AM   #10
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Is a bullhorn worth having?

The helmsman is in the pilothouse with two FL120s running immediately under her feet There is a VHF that may be squawking away. There are windows between her and me on the foredeck. I am on the foredeck with wind noise, water noise, etc. Unless we scream at each other, we cannot hear each other at all. We have basic hand signals for come ahead, neutral, and reverse, but if I want to know the depth at a particular moment or she needs to ask me something, the hailer is the only way to do it other than me walking back and sticking my head in the side door.

If we operated the boat from the flying bridge you would be correct, the hailer/intercom would not be needed.* But we never operate the boat from the flying bridge so one of us is always inside and the other is always outside. And we detest wearing those silly little headsets that invariably fall off when you're leaning over doing something or require adjusting of some sort right when you're busiest doing something important.* The people we've been around who have them seem to spend more time screwing with them than actually operating the boat. The hailer/intercom is the perfect solution. We keep the volume low for this, so the helmsman's voice on the foredeck is about the same volume as if she was out there talking to me.



-- Edited by Marin on Wednesday 30th of December 2009 12:05:51 PM
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:22 AM   #11
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Is a bullhorn worth having?

I suppose it is all a matter of preference, comfort levels and individual likes. We have used the hands free headsets for over 12 years and we don't have to fiddle with them, have never had them fall off, and they get used in every condition imaginable including midnight anchor drills in storm conditions where a loud hailer would be useless. We are on our second set in 12 years since the originals just stopped working and the new ones are very comfortable and lighter. Here is what we use http://www.cruisingsolutions.com/headsets . Chuck

-- Edited by Capn Chuck on Wednesday 30th of December 2009 12:23:13 PM
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:13 PM   #12
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RE: Is a bullhorn worth having?

A la Marin's, when on the foredeck, talking to the helmcrew without amplification is impossible. unlike Marin, when anchoring, I always drive from up top. Several reason's for this, but primarily visibility. The distance from the upper helm to the windlass is about 20 feet, but when First Mate is distracted by the stuff going on around her, no way could I get her attention without loud noises that would get the attention of all nearby spectators. Hence the benefit of the listening speaker when the loudhailer/foghorn is turned on. Now I confess, it is rarely turned on, so I often just wait till she gets around to looking my way. We use hand signals for such things as gear selection and throttle. Works for us.
I wouldn't go out and buy a hailer as a stand alone unit, as it wouldn't get much use, but having one as part of the foghorn (a necessary item in my view) I have found it useful. I tend to use it mainly to chat with other boaters we meet and draw alongside, as it saves shouting.
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:30 PM   #13
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RE: Is a bullhorn worth having?

While we have repeaters for the key instruments on the flying bridge, neither one of us like the sight picture from up there. I ran the GB36 we chartered from the flying bridge but now find it far easier to judge the position of the boat while docking or maneuvering close-in from the lower helm station than from the flying bridge. I don't feel at all "connected" to the boat up there. Plus in the event the helmsperson needs to lend a hand on deck in a hurry, it takes too long for them to have to climb down from up above. At the lower deck, one step and you're on deck.

We also like to hear exactly what the engines are doing and to be able to smell anything weird that might start happening. This once saved us from what could have become a major boat fire when a piece of electronics--- the original hailer ironically enough--- got so hot it melted the case and started smoking inside the instrument console. Had we been on the flying bridge we never would have smelled that "overheating electronics" smell and who knows what would have happened.

But it's a personal preference--- There are many people who have a hard time judging the boat's position in close-in maneuvering from the lower station and so prefer the upper helm. Or they prefer the wider field of view. This is one reason we both prefer a pilothouse design over what we have now. But since we never drive the boat from the flying bridge the hailer/intercom comes in very handy for us. It's also very useful in fog because it helps us hear horns on other boats that we might not hear over the engine noise in the cabin.
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Old 12-31-2009, 08:29 AM   #14
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RE: Is a bullhorn worth having?

like computers, hailers are manufactured with a small amount of smoke inside. Let it out and they stop working.
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Old 12-31-2009, 01:44 PM   #15
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RE: Is a bullhorn worth having?

That cracks me up
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Old 12-31-2009, 03:23 PM   #16
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Is a bullhorn worth having?

Quote:
koliver wrote:

like computers, hailers are manufactured with a small amount of smoke inside. Let it out and they stop working.
We who have British cars have a similar occasional problem. But there is a fix for for it. Perhaps there is a marine version (although it would of course be more expensive).

If you wish more info on this amazing product go to: http://www3.telus.net/bc_triumph_registry/smoke.htm


-- Edited by dwhatty on Thursday 31st of December 2009 04:30:33 PM

-- Edited by dwhatty on Thursday 31st of December 2009 04:32:02 PM
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:44 PM   #17
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RE: Is a bullhorn worth having?

* When I was in the USCG Aux, we needed to communicate with disabled boaters.* If the wind was up, they couldn't hear us.* Yelling through a cone helped alot.* The megaphone worked better.*

* As with any tool, it's nice to have if you need to communicate with people when it's windy.


** Sadley, there's always a kook with one making a big noise to show off.
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Old 01-04-2010, 04:41 AM   #18
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RE: Is a bullhorn worth having?

Sadley, there's always a kook with one making a big noise to show off.

You mean the geezers with new Harleys and megaphones?
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:07 PM   #19
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RE: Is a bullhorn worth having?

Definitely worth it.* We have needed a bull horn on more than one occasion.* Once, trying to communicate to a sailboat that had dragged anchor, was in danger of fetching up on the rocks and needed instruction on where to secure the line we passed to them to drag them.* Wind noise made communication almost impossible.* Second, finding a 70 year old man who had fallen off his son's boat into the water in the WA San Juans, was hanging onto the fender he fell off the boat trying to grab when it slipped out of his hand, and needed to be told to stop thrashing around, save his strength and wait for us to side thrust up to him for rescue.* Bull horns are one of those things you definitely don't need until you definitely need them.
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