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Old 08-10-2015, 09:41 AM   #1
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VHF- fixed mount or hand held?

Our VVF radio, 21 years old, receives but we can't send out. Have to replace it. Can we get by safely with hand held radios or do we need to have a fixed mount one and thus probably a new antenna too? We are on Lake Michigan.
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Old 08-10-2015, 09:49 AM   #2
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Depends on how you use it. DSC is an integral part of our safety plan so we have a fixed mount. Dinghy use requires (for us) a convenient and necessary means of communication with the mother ship and as a backup to the fixed mount, so we have both.
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Old 08-10-2015, 09:59 AM   #3
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Depends on how you use it. DSC is an integral part of our safety plan so we have a fixed mount. Dinghy use requires (for us) a convenient and necessary means of communication with the mother ship and as a backup to the fixed mount, so we have both.
A good hand held is pretty cheap. Even a good fixed mount is not that expensive.

If your antenna is working, why replace it? If it's starting to look it's age you can lightly sand and paint it.
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Old 08-10-2015, 10:01 AM   #4
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Yep, agree with dimer and Larry 100%. How far out on the lake do you go?
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Old 08-10-2015, 10:21 AM   #5
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Handhelds transmit at 5 watts, fixed units at 25 watts.
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Old 08-10-2015, 10:29 AM   #6
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fixed are not expensive and give much better range.


How much is your life worth?
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Old 08-10-2015, 10:34 AM   #7
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fixed are not expensive and give much better range.


How much is your life worth?

Exactly. So depends on your type of boating. Fixed mount is difficult to get into a grab bag....
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Old 08-10-2015, 10:37 AM   #8
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As others have indicated fixed mount will give better range due to better/higher antenna and more power.

You can also get a handheld with DSC transmit capability.

We just replaced our old dead handheld with a DSC capable handheld made by uniden.
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Old 08-10-2015, 12:48 PM   #9
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You can also hook up a handheld to a fixed high gain antenna.

Some are easier and better than others....so a possibility.

The better antenna makes the handheld much more like a fixed...but you can separate, put the rubber du KY antenna back on for flexibility.
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:17 PM   #10
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If your antenna is anywhere near as old as the radio, I'd replace both at the same time.
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:23 PM   #11
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If your antenna is anywhere near as old as the radio, I'd replace both at the same time.
Bill: If all indications are the antenna is working fine, why replace it?
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:43 PM   #12
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Fixed mounts typically perform better than handhelds. Handhelds bring mobility to VHFs.

Basic fixed mounts cost about $100-150.

Handhelds cost about $100-150.

What's more important, mobility or performance? I prefer both and redundancy so I have 2 fixed mounts and one handheld for the dink or cockpit use.
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:48 PM   #13
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Bill: If all indications are the antenna is working fine, why replace it?
Because if it's anywhere as old as the radio it could crap out the day after he installs the radio.

One of the common failure points is where the antenna wire leaves the antenna and goes into the side of the boat. That sits out in the sun for years and the insulation breaks down allowing water into the coax.
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:52 PM   #14
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Because if it's anywhere as old as the radio it could crap out the day after he installs the radio.
So could I....
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:56 PM   #15
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Fixed mount on the boat with a hand held for backup. Neither is expensive, so get both.

One thing not mentioned is that hand helds have limited transmit capability due to battery limitations. It would be very annoying to have your hand held battery go flat in the middle of calling for help from the coast guard.

Ideally you should have a separate battery for your critical electronics that need to keep working in an emergency. That battery should be mounted as high as possible to keep it from being submerged should the boat take on water. Fixed mount VHFs draw about 4.5 amps when transmitting at 25 watts. A grp 24 deep cycle battery should be good for 15 hours or so of transmitting at 25 watts before it goes flat..
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Old 08-10-2015, 02:35 PM   #16
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A hand held will be battery operated you probably be tempted to turn it off at times to "save battery" you may miss some important calls. I'd say both is the best option.
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Old 08-10-2015, 03:07 PM   #17
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A hand held will be battery operated you probably be tempted to turn it off at times to "save battery" you may miss some important calls. I'd say both is the best option.
Mine could sit in a charger on the dash....

Again..hooking up a handheld to a decent antenna is not such a great loss in ability.

Sure fixed mounts have more power and features...but for the basics....and careful thought will give you something that is still viable.

Now...my on the water experiences says the average trawler with flybridge needs at least a fixed and handheld..next step wold be a secondition good antenna wit an adapper for the handheld. Shortly followed by the second fixed mount. That is in addition to the already purchased PLB or EPIRB.
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Old 08-10-2015, 03:30 PM   #18
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Why not both? I have a fixed mount at each helm and a single hand held I also use. I scan channels on the fixed mount to monitor 16, 22, 10, 12, 13 and 14, the last 4 are lock, helper boat and bridge channels this helps along with AIS in knowing where the tows are and if they are locking. I keep the handheld on 68 for communication with other boats while traveling.


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Old 08-10-2015, 05:04 PM   #19
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I got 2 fixed mounts, a handheld, and a SSB.

Ante up.

A thing to ponder, when you need the range chances are It's at the time when you wont have time to hook that handheld up to the big antenna.
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Old 08-10-2015, 05:54 PM   #20
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...and a handheld tethered to an antenna cable can be awkward to operate. It's so much easier to handle and use a small microphone on a flexible coil cord.
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