Totally OT question about Marine band radios for boats

Ill be fixing up my old sailboat in the next few months, so I can take
it on the local lake(s) and get some out on the water time...get the
dust and swarf cleaned out of my skull with some quality water time.
Radios...Ive never owned a VHF marine band two way radio. Do I need
one?
The chances of going out on the ocean are there..but not real high.
The guys that I used to hang with in the 90s who sailed all the time
had em, but is it something I really need? I want one of
course..."ohhh...lights, antennas, wires..cool shit!"
Most of my sailing will be on Californias inland lakes and reservoirs.
I dont even know if the State patrol boats on those lakes monitor
marine band. Same with CB..
Any hints, ideas, suggestions etc etc would be appreciated. Antenna
mountings, powering them from what sort of battery and Solar cell..etc
etc
Anyone have a used marine radio for swap/trade?
Best way to mount an antenna on a sailboat? Mast, railing, hull?
Does a mast make a groundplane? (sorry..stroke effect.... I just
found..cant remember shit about ground plane technicals)
Im ass deep in old CBs that still work, might stick one of those in
the boat..but the Marine radios are cheap enough on Ebay...so was
wondering. Handheld? Mobile 12vt mounted unit?
Help!
(Grin)
Gunner
Reply to
Gunner Asch
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Marine band walkee-talkee radios are widely used, and cheap. Real useful if you need help. Start small, and see if more is needed.
Joe Gwinn
Reply to
Joe Gwinn
Can't comment on fresh water boats but on the ocean a VHF is a good thing to have. Talk to the water cops, listen to weather reports, etc. Usually mount the antenna on the top of the mast - higher gives longer range - and powered by the ship's electrical system.... but of course you probably don't have an electrical system :-) so maybe a hand held with a spare charged battery and maybe a masthead antenna so that you can connect the hand held to a decent antenna would be the way to go.
Reply to
John B.
Are you still working on getting your amateur radio license? I am pretty sure you can get a Baofeng dual band walkie Taklie for about $40 on Ebay and use it on the amateur bands and the marine band. Plus it has a FM radio.
But you are probably good with your cell phone on most CA lakes.
Dan
Reply to
dcaster
Its on hold at the moment...little time to break away and go take the test.
But..but..der aint enough antennas and wires and Cool Stuff!.
But thanks for the idea! Ill definately check out the radios!
Pretty much what I figured..but to talk to another boat..you have to have their cell number, right?
Thanks for the Baofeng suggestion!
Gunner
Reply to
Gunner Asch
First -- do you have a license? If not, are you ready to go through the licensing process?
I just (yesterday) went through the process of getting tested for a ham license -- and passed all three, so I am now an Extra class amateur, but waiting for the FCC to put up my call sign on their web site.
How big is the sailboat? If you are moving it from lake to lake on a trailer, it is probably not large enough to provide a safe dry place for the radio, so a handheld might be the best bet there.
For a handheld -- bring along as many pre-charged replacement batteries as needed for your expected time out there, plus one. Assume that you will have it just listening most of the time, but if you have trouble, you may need to transmit a lot more than would normally be the case. Keep the handheld and the batteries in sealed ZipLoc baggies. This means a longer baggie for the radio with its antenna.
Sorry -- no.
By itself, no -- but with an antenna on the top and radials you might get a good enough one. Except that it will tilt every time the craft heels over. Not sure what effect this would have on the radiation pattern. But a handheld could be held to keep the antenna vertical under most circumstances. Unless the lakes are really big, the range of a 2 meter handheld should be sufficient. And I know that mine can *receive* outside the ham bands, though it is locked from transmitting there. (I suspect that this is a SMOP (Simple Matter Of Programming) to change what is allowed, but I have not dug into mine to see whether it can be done. Better to get one designed for the use.
Does anyone even listen to CB frequencies these days? The best transmitter in the world is no good if nobody is listening while you are having problems.
Size of craft? Handheld is my first suggestion, until I know whether there is enough space to mount it where it is protected from the water.
Are the stays (stainless) steel wire or something non-conductive? If non-conductive you might be able to do some creative wiring to make the mast (aluminum?) serve as the antenna -- though the effect of heeling over may be counterproctive.
Good Luck, DoN.
Reply to
DoN. Nichols
No, not at all. In fact, few inland waterways monitor VHF any more. Use a cell phone.
If you really want to sound and look nautical, get a hand-held VHF. All the cool kids have them.
Then learn proper marine radio procedures.
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Using it like a CB will probably get you boarded.
Reply to
Richard
No. Not for marine band.
Bravo!!
Its 21 feet long. Big enough to sleep 4.
Makes sense.
Some places CB never lost its popularity...or not much. Others..its gone.
21 foot.
True indeed. However I see the 8' antenna mounts being solid mounted.
Gunner
Reply to
Gunner Asch
No requirement for pleasure craft to have one but they can come in handy. No license required for them when used on a boat either.
Falls under the "who has the most toys" heading.
If you're out alone I would opt for a good portable, spare batteries or pack sealed in a pelican case and tether the radio to yourself. The best radio in the world isn't going to be any good if it's attached to the boat on the lake bed... I would also install a good mounted radio on the boat, mast mount the antenna and solar/wind to charge a AGM battery to power it.
Most marine antennas these days are vertical dipoles.
Reply to
Steve W.
t $40 on Ebay and use it on the amateur bands and the marine band. Plus it has a FM radio.
You can connect the walkie Talkie to a different antenna.
So if you get a Marine Band radio, you can only use it on the marine band. The Walkie Talkie can be used on the marine band immediately and when you get your license also on the ham bands and can be used to monitor the weat her station. I think you can also use it on the FRS and GMRS frequencies. It will not put out as much signal as a Marine Band radio, but will not req uire a big battery to use it.
Dan
Why buy a marine band radio that can only be used on the marine band.
Reply to
dcaster
Thanks guys for the heads up on the Baofeng radio! Ive just bid on one on ebay after doing considerable research on them. Seems like one hell of a radio! I already downloaded the PC programming software and have been checking it out as well.
Much obliged!
Gunner
Reply to
Gunner Asch
Just remember the buy it now with free shipping price is about $42. You might check with any hams in your area to see what a used one goes for.
Have you looked at Gixen? It lets you submit bids on multiple items and not bid on any more after you win one auction.
Dan
Reply to
dcaster
Before you go to take the test, it does not hurt to take the on-line practice exams. The two sites which I tried were:
aa9pw.com
and
eHam.net
The practice exams are made up from the same question pools used for the real exams, so they give you a pretty good idea how you will do. I first tried the Technician class test, figuring that I had a pretty good chance at that from my previous employment (except for the rules based things, of course). After a little while I decided to try the General test as well, and got pretty comfortable with that, so I went on up to the Extra class test, had to refresh my memory on various things. Learned things from the questions I got wrong earlier. (The practice tests show you what you got wrong, and what the proper answer should have been.) Once you are comfortable with them (you can get up to 9 wrong out of 35 on the first two tests, and up to 13 wrong out of 50 on the third one for Extra) you can take it feeling pretty confident, knowing that you will get some wrong, but that you are very likely to pass.
For me -- it worked simply taking the practice tests, and learning from them. For others, learing from books, and just an occasional practice test works better. It depends on how much electronic theory you have in your head, and how much about antenna theory. (And there are questions about various safety things, too.)
That was my feeling about a Marconi rigged sailboat after having learned on a Gaff rigged one. Not enough lines. :-)
Yes. Set up a blinker to exchange cell numbers, or sail close enough to shout. :-)
There are also citizens radio service handhelds which work up around 400+ MHz, and which are legal without a license for some of the chanels (limited power) and on other channels, you need an operator's license or a station license for the handheld (not a ham license).
Good Luck, DoN.
Reply to
DoN. Nichols
O.K. I had not looked at that band before.
FWIW, my call was posted this morning, I am KV4PH.
O.K. That should be sufficient to provide safe storage for a somewhat larger rig -- though the little handhelds you are looking at on eBay may be quite sufficient for the size of the lake.
And keeps the water splashes off. (More of a problem in salt water, of course.)
O.K. But is anyone using it on the water? An 18-wheeler on land won't be much help if you have problems on the lakes.
Enough room. I would be tempted (assuming a centerboard, so you would not be moving down the center belowdecks), mounting one of the bigger ones to the underside of the deck where the hatch cover slides over it. Of course, be careful that your mounting does not leak.
[ ... ]
Yes, an adjustable one would be an intersting thing to sell. (Not sure just how bad the fading from heeling might be.) Something operated by a pendulum inside below the base of the mast might work well. Probably add a damper of some sort for when the waves just happen to hit resonance. :-)
But -- with the handhelds you are looking at (other thread branch), you know where the horizon is, and can tilt it in your hand to keep the antenna pattern reasonable.
Good Luck, DoN.
Reply to
DoN. Nichols
Handhelds are used commonly in salt water here, by small boats. It all depends on how much distance you have to cover. If Gunner is going out to blue water in his little 21 footer (unlikely) then he'll need something more. Prayer would help, too.
If he's sailing coastwise or in bays in a populated area with lots of shore stations, probably not.
Call and ask.
Reply to
Ed Huntress

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