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Old 05-14-2016, 10:09 PM   #1
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City: Punta Gorda, Florida
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Handheld VHF

Thinking about adding a handheld VHF to the list of equipment and looking around gets very confusing

We have a dinghy and primarily operate in Florida waters near shore - usually within site of land. The handheld would be used on the flybridge and on the dinghy, as well as be readily available for grabbing along with the ditch bag if needed.

Not trying to start an anchor type argument thread here, but... What makes/models do you use and how do you like them?

Thanks for the input.

John
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Old 05-14-2016, 11:02 PM   #2
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Standard Horizon HX 870. Floats, strobe, gps, dot matrix display.
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Old 05-14-2016, 11:09 PM   #3
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I have a Uniden that I've had for years & I keep it on the fly bridge for the same reasons you've already mentioned. It's so old & I can't remember the model number but it works extremely well! It charges from a 12volt receptacle and has never failed me.
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Old 05-15-2016, 01:13 AM   #4
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Standard Horizon HX870

We are on our second Standard Horizon handheld with GPS. Someone decided they needed the first one more than I did.

I have used many radios over the years, including SMC, Icom, Motorola, Uniden, and maybe others. I also have an Icom and Motorola at present. We really didn't need another radio, BUT...

We like having the safety of the GPS in case of distress. One touch and our position is transmitted with the DSC distress call. It's also easy to use. Standard Horizon was pleasant to deal with when we switched boats and needed to reprogram the MMSI...the service was free and they even shipped it back to me without charge.

There are likely other brands with the GPS embedded that are just as good. Please strongly consider this technology from a safety perspective before going without it.

Good Luck
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Old 05-15-2016, 05:41 AM   #5
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Standard Horizon HX851

Have had it for a few years now. I like having the built-in GPS capability as both a backup to my primary system as well as the ability to send coordinates in an emergency.

I believe it's been replaced by the HX870.
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Old 05-15-2016, 08:05 AM   #6
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Handheld VHF

Thanks for the info to all - on the HX870, any issues with battery life? Some of the reviews I read say battery life is awesome and some say it stinks. Such is the nature of reviews.

GPS sounds like a very good item to have in a device for potential use in a ditch bag.

Thanks again for the input.

John
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Old 05-15-2016, 09:05 AM   #7
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I personally prefer ICOM but whatever you choose ensure the battery is LiOn and not the older NiCd .
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Old 05-15-2016, 10:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
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any issues with battery life?
Last weekend mine fired right up as I grabbed it to take paddling. Before I turned it on, I was sure it would be toast as it sat a couple of weeks. The battery indicator was still up in the upper half.

That said, I don't talk on mine much - I just want it on in case I need help - and transmitting will use the battery the fastest.
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Old 05-15-2016, 10:32 AM   #9
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Last weekend mine fired right up as I grabbed it to take paddling. Before I turned it on, I was sure it would be toast as it sat a couple of weeks. The battery indicator was still up in the upper half.

That said, I don't talk on mine much - I just want it on in case I need help - and transmitting will use the battery the fastest.
My ICOMS can sit for months (maybe longer ) and not lose any noticeable charge on the meter.
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Old 05-15-2016, 11:29 AM   #10
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I do a radio check on mine every time we leave the dock, and also do a DSC test.

I also take mine when I go scuba diving. I built a PVC cannister that is watertight that I strap to my BCD. Inside I have my radio and also my PLB..... just in case there's no dive boat when I come back up
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Old 05-16-2016, 10:07 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mbevins View Post
My ICOMS can sit for months (maybe longer ) and not lose any noticeable charge on the meter.
What model ICOM do you have?

John
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Old 05-16-2016, 10:09 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by tcpip95 View Post
I do a radio check on mine every time we leave the dock, and also do a DSC test.

I also take mine when I go scuba diving. I built a PVC cannister that is watertight that I strap to my BCD. Inside I have my radio and also my PLB..... just in case there's no dive boat when I come back up
That is a great idea - I am always mindful of that when we dive. Want to share the details on your PVC canister construction and how deep you have been with it?

Thanks

John
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Old 05-18-2016, 08:12 PM   #13
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I personally prefer ICOM but whatever you choose ensure the battery is LiOn and not the older NiCd .

This is a MUST. LiOn will keep a full charge for over a year with radio kept in ditch bag. NiCd is just bad news.
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Old 05-18-2016, 10:10 PM   #14
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I am on only my second handheld in about 30 years. The first had NiCad batteries and I eventually tossed it to get the present one with Lithium Ion batteries (both Icom). I don't recall how old the present one is, but when I tried it about 3 weeks ago, when I returned to my boat after being away for almost 6 months, it was still charged.
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Old 05-18-2016, 10:37 PM   #15
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Standard Horizon HX 870. Floats, strobe, gps, dot matrix display.
I have the 871, which I think is the current designation, but includes DSC calling. We use it (actually, we like and use it so much, we have three of them) to communicate with our jet skis, dinghy, and (where legal) people on shore. Oftentimes the user has little familiarity with boats and radios, so the DSC feature makes it real easy to hail them -- no need for anyone to monitor 16.

Speaking of ditch bags, get a battery pack and seal up some alkaline batteries so you never have to worry about running out of juice in an emergency.
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Old 05-18-2016, 11:49 PM   #16
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That is a great idea - I am always mindful of that when we dive. Want to share the details on your PVC canister construction and how deep you have been with it?

Thanks

John
Sorry, been travelling. I built it out of 3" x 18" PVC pipe used in plumbing. Capped the one end with pipe glue, and the other end is threaded. I have a threaded end cap, and use teflon tape on the threads to seal it up. I put a channel locks in my BCD in the event I have to open it. To make it slightly positive buoyant I add 2 lbs of weight (bean bag) to the cannister. That way if I lose it, it's going to the surface. I painted it bright florescent orange to spot it easier on the surface if it did get loose. I bought two black nylon dog collars (one on each end of the housing) and I hook it on to my BCD alongside the tank. I've been down to 100' with it. I leave it sealed until the completion of the trip, then open it up at home until next trip.

When I get home I'll post some pictures of it.
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Old 05-19-2016, 05:15 AM   #17
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My battered old Standard Horizon HX-250, still on its original battery, is going on twenty-two years of intermittently hard use and thoughtless abuse. Been dropped, wet, baked in a closed car in the Florida sun for days, and schlepped between dozens of boats. Still holds a charge and works like new. That said, I don't think anyone could go wrong with either S.H. or ICOM, though the latter are more expensive.
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Old 05-19-2016, 06:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
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What model ICOM do you have?

John
I've got an IC-M1V it's a small thing.
I had it for about 6 years. Just to it off the shelf to check the model number. I think it's been about a year since I last charged it. Still full.
Gotta love it.
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Old 05-19-2016, 06:31 PM   #19
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Standard Horizon--had it 20 years and no battery problems.
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Old 05-19-2016, 06:45 PM   #20
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I have a Standard Horizoni bought for $99 at West Marine. Sorry I can't remember the model... I live in Canada and keep it at our condo in Florida for use when I go out on charters and occasional deliveries in Florida during the winter. It amazes me. I charge it, use for a couple of days, store it sometimes for 6 months, turned off, then use it again in and off for 10-12 days, store it again for a month or two... And on... and on... And for almost two years, I turn it on and it fully charged. I charge it when I head off on a delivery, or a longish trip, etc. But it usually doesn't need it. It is amazing!
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