plb vs vhf

To discuss safety issues and their direct affects on kayaks and kayak fishing. Do it but do it safely!
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Smudger.aws
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:27 pm
Kayak Make: Hobie
Kayak Model: Revolution 16
Location: Te Hana, Northland

Hi all,
Had a bit of a mare on Saturday afternoon out in the Cavallis, long story short, capsized in really bad seas in the channel between the two eastern islands, couldn't get back in, too rough, had to wait till the wind and waves carried me and the kayak through the channel, nearly got swept into the breaking wash on the side of the island, managed to swim to get enough angle to only be swept onto and over rocks into slightly calmer water....then had to swim the upturned yak about 500m to a small beach to sort everything out.
All ok in the end, but there were a few moments of real concern!
When I got home and started sorting gear out properly, I found that my Cobra vhf had previously taken in water and was completely buggered, wouldn't have been any use to me at all! Lesson one....check it every time you go out, not once in a while!

So, I have to buy a new vhf.....or maybe a plb....similar cost, plb is simpler to use as a pure "come help me, I'm in the shit!" vhf gives the option of communicating with the coastguard before the event...which is probaly what I should have done on Saturday...call them up before going into the channel, explain I'm ok at the moment, but about to enter a danger area and if they don't hear from me in 30 minutes, I'm in trouble...

Thoughts?
TwoSpoons
Posts: 899
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 3:35 pm
Kayak Make: CLC boats
Kayak Model: Sea Island Sport
VHF Call Sign: ZMW5652
Location: Pukekohe

With the VHF you can also listen to the weather channel and the coastguard channel. So you will be forewarned if the midden is about to hit the windmill.
So I'd go VHF first, but if you are regularly going into tricky spots on your own get the PLB too.
Electronics : its still magic, even when you know how its done.
ZMW5652
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Hairy Little Dwarf
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Posts: 7148
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 9:39 am
Kayak Make: Phoenix
Kayak Model: Hornet
VHF Call Sign: Red Dwarf

VHF should be your goto both as a pre-emptive, and also as a means to talk the chopper/RIB in to your position if you take a longer swim than planned.
PLB is the last resort, and to be brutally honest from a SAR perspective, permits the response to continue when you have lost ability to use comms.

In saying that, if you are in an "Oooh, Feck!" situation, bang off the PLB. It starts the wheels turning (more critical when out in the wilds when the nearest response may be a couple of hours). No-one is going to have a go at you for setting it off if you manage to recover the situation.
Just remember to NOT turn it off until RCC or other agency has told you to - if a beacon stops transmitting, it just ramps up the anxiety several magnitudes at our end...

I carry two VHF's, one on me and one in my grab bag. PLB stays on my PFD shoulder strap 24/7.
My wife is fully aware that the PLB may ultimately be nothing more than a body recovery.

In my mind, cellphones should not be considered as emergency comms.
Phoenix Hornet - Specialty Assault Craft

Dad! Dad! Look at his fish! It's way bigger than anything you've EVER caught! - Nosey 7-8yo boy on opening my icebox to father strapping down his $XXX Stabicraft 759(?) - Gold. Pure Gold.
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AndrewRawlingson
Posts: 2675
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:03 pm
Location: Northland

I think you know the answer is to carry both. PLB is good value, it comes with me when I go fishing/tramping/diving/hunting.

My Cobra VHF also died. Not a fan!
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kingiFiddler
Posts: 621
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:42 pm
Kayak Make: Phoenix
Kayak Model: Hornet
Location: Mangawhai

Quality VHF group buy time? Count me in please :)

Also, who runs courses on marine radio and how to use a VHF properly please?

I hope to be getting wide next summer so better learn more and prepare better.

Cheers all
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kingiFiddler
Posts: 621
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:42 pm
Kayak Make: Phoenix
Kayak Model: Hornet
Location: Mangawhai

Is the ICOM M25 VHF any good? 5W output, which I guess is the bare minimum needed? Floats. Under $300
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Hairy Little Dwarf
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Posts: 7148
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 9:39 am
Kayak Make: Phoenix
Kayak Model: Hornet
VHF Call Sign: Red Dwarf

https://www.boatingeducation.org.nz/cou ... rtificate/

Icom is probably one of the best brands out there, and our flavour of choice in SAR.
Still need to do the usual salt water vs electronics maintenance.
Phoenix Hornet - Specialty Assault Craft

Dad! Dad! Look at his fish! It's way bigger than anything you've EVER caught! - Nosey 7-8yo boy on opening my icebox to father strapping down his $XXX Stabicraft 759(?) - Gold. Pure Gold.
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kingiFiddler
Posts: 621
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:42 pm
Kayak Make: Phoenix
Kayak Model: Hornet
Location: Mangawhai

Thanks HLD.

So, who's up for a group buy?

"Not many, if any"?
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AndrewRawlingson
Posts: 2675
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:03 pm
Location: Northland

Another vote for ICOM, but sorry kingiFiddler, I don't need another one.

I've written this before, but here goes. Having been the victim/offender in an offshore search and rescue, you will feel very silly if you didn't spend $500 on a PLB. Get one and a good VHF.
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kingiFiddler
Posts: 621
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:42 pm
Kayak Make: Phoenix
Kayak Model: Hornet
Location: Mangawhai

Cheers Andrew. Hoping to do some longer training paddles over Winter to get fit enough to get wide next Summer. Have the plb but need the vhf.

Marlin will fear me next Summer. Ha.
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Schecter
Posts: 773
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:37 pm
Kayak Make: Viking
Kayak Model: Profish EVO IV
VHF Call Sign: ZMW8098
Location: Auckland

Good to read you're safe and well Smudger.aws.

I carry both a vhf and plb. I carry the GME plb. It's a big unit and it's a tight fit inside my PDF pocket. The battery life according to the manufacturer is 8 years.

I also carry the Cobra HH350. This is my 2nd Cobra vhf radio. I can't make a comparison from Cobra to other vhf radios, as this is the only brand that I have purchased. But with my recent antenna issues with both of my Cobra radios, I won't be purchasing a Cobra again.
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Hairy Little Dwarf
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kingiFiddler wrote: Fri Mar 19, 2021 6:30 pm Cheers Andrew. Hoping to do some longer training paddles over Winter to get fit enough to get wide next Summer. Have the plb but need the vhf.

Marlin will fear me next Summer. Ha.
Rather than burning miles, drag a branch behind you. Paddle slow and focus on core technique.
I modded my Hornet (shortened the footrest track) so I could fit thigh straps, great for that extra thigh drive on the 30+km hauls. longhaul cruise speed goes from 5kph, to 8 with the straps.

After a very lazy and blubbery summer, I'm starting to crank it up again too.
Phoenix Hornet - Specialty Assault Craft

Dad! Dad! Look at his fish! It's way bigger than anything you've EVER caught! - Nosey 7-8yo boy on opening my icebox to father strapping down his $XXX Stabicraft 759(?) - Gold. Pure Gold.
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AndrewRawlingson
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Location: Northland

Better still, drag a deep diving bibbed lure behind you!
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kingiFiddler
Posts: 621
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:42 pm
Kayak Make: Phoenix
Kayak Model: Hornet
Location: Mangawhai

Thanks HLD. Do you have any pics of that mod please? I force myself to go play in the surf sometimes and had wondered if straps would be useful for that and never thought of them as a paddling aid.

If after a full winter training I can not be broken down by the mileage you are only just warmed up, it'll be a successful winter.

Regarding the sandbagging idea, worth a shot, thanks. Even just filling my livebait well, er, central hatch, with water slows me down noticeably. There is also the estuary mid-outgoing tides. Crawling across the bar on such tides is an interesting workout with the added bonus of keeping the boats entertained.

Thanks for that suggestion Andrew. I've been trying to get used to towing big kahawai around. Can feel them through the hull when they get spooked and just about to get eaten. They can drag the arse end sideways even on light drag. Fortunately I've yet to stay connected to the tax collectors that have been the only things to strike such a livebait. Well, except this one time with a mystery fish that tail slapped the braid. I wish I knew what that missile was.
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Nemesis
Posts: 179
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:04 pm
Kayak Make: Ocean Kayak
Kayak Model: Trident 15
Location: Auckland

Another brand of VHF to consider is Standard Horizon. I have an HX290 that's 7 years old and still going strong. I did have to replace the aerial after one of the dogs decided it was their toy, but it has been super reliable and well used.
That model isn't available in NZ any longer, but if had to replace it I'd go for the HX300, as it's more compact.
I agree with all other comments, carry both VHF and PLB, especially for solo missions.
A cell phone is just useful for taking photos.
You're aware that while it affords one the momentary illusion of satisfaction, the spewing of bile is never a permanent solution.
Smudger.aws
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:27 pm
Kayak Make: Hobie
Kayak Model: Revolution 16
Location: Te Hana, Northland

I've bought an Ocean Signal PLB1 from MD, tiny little thing...and a Standard Horizon hx210 from amazon ($100 less than NZ price)
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kingiFiddler
Posts: 621
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:42 pm
Kayak Make: Phoenix
Kayak Model: Hornet
Location: Mangawhai

For anyone interested, the KFNZ group buy of the ICOM M25 model has just been posted:

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=24305

$239 plus shipping :-) While stocks last.
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