Minimum Requirements Handheld VHF

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Esquire
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Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:18 am

Hi all

I’m looking at buying a handheld VHF. I don’t want to spend the earth; 99% of my fishing will be in cell range. I keep my phone in a waterproof case tethered to my PFD. The VHF will just be a back up safety device.

I mostly fish inshore around the Auckland region. There are so many different wattage ratings, with cheap models being around 2.5 Watts.

Can you guys give me some insights about what the minimum spec VHF I can get away with, while still being a quality safety device?

Cheers
Esq

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AndrewRawlingson
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Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:49 am

I think it's a "how long is a bit of string" question. I would go for the best you can afford. I went cheap first time, and replaced it with a more expensive model a few years down the line because I didn't have confidence that it would work when needed.
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Hairy Little Dwarf
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Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:11 pm

Firstly thanks for looking at developing your safety :y:
We recently had a boat up here with no VHF, and the emergency was relayed via cellphone (and their contact taking to Facebook asking who they should call |( )
Bear in mind though, in terms of safety, cellphones are the backup for your VHF, not the other way round.

Top of the line are Icom
below that, there's a whole host of choices.
Don't worry about a floating unit (it'll be tethered to your PFD)
Don't worry about weather alerts, or other USA-exclusive functions.
Look for an IPX7 or 8 rating, easy to read screen and big fat buttons to operate with cold, clumsy fingers.

For someone who stays in populated areas, I would say a 3W should probably suffice.
If you plan on venturing outside the paddock then I definitely recommend a 5W.

You need to work on the 1% of your fishing that isn't in cell range (and likely also sketchy radio) chances are that's when you'll need a rapid response.

Up north, there's a few remote patches where a 5W is sometimes not quite enough, especially if there's a big ground swell dropping you in a trough every 10-15 seconds.
If you are unfortunate enough to ever end up in the water for real, then you'll want that aerial proverbially glowing with energy.

I run a 1/5W Uniden...and a 3/5W with 6W boost as backup. Used for Nowcasting, Logging TRs, and advising Gas Gliders that there's a couple of kayaks in front of them as they come steaming out of the Bay at 20kts.
I take a cellphone for "I'll be late home , dear" convenience only
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.................... "Flying Mango".......... [Up for sale, $1400]

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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.

Esquire
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Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:08 pm

Thank you both for your responses.

HLD - legend, appreciate the insight. The device is for the 1%, I get that, so it’s important to get it right.

I guess I have become complacent fishing AK East Coast Bays, Whangaparoa, Orere Point etc. Honestly a VHF wil always play second fiddle to a cell in those areas, especially as I carry a power cell in a dry bag to charge a dead battery.

But now that I am developing as a yak angler, it makes sense to future proof. 5w minimum it is. The bank manager will be rapt :|

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Marc N
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Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:49 am

I'm curious about all this too.

Firstly, I don't want a VHF/UHF for safety/emergency, I'm not a long distance fellow, so I can generally swim easily to shore, from where I fish.

What I'm curious about, is when my wife and I are in the wilds and I am up a river trouting, or off on a lake, or on the sea, in the Kayak; are a couple of cheap radios, gonna let her, tell me, when I have to come back and light the camp fire?

I wont ever be, more than 1 or 2 Km from camp, but I thought I'd ask.

Also do I need to get licenses and such, or can I make like a teenager and just annoy everyone?

Being a cheapskate I found these - https://nz.adventurekings.com/oricom-uh ... f2190.html

Comments please, yes I know these are probably at the lower end, if viewing them from a safety perspective.

And these cheapos are prolly not the ones for me, I've just read the manual and they're not very water proof...
VALKOHAI

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SitDown
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Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:19 pm

Hairy Little Dwarf wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:11 pm

Don't worry about a floating unit (it'll be tethered to your PFD)
where would you get a tether if you didnt get one with your vhf ?

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Hairy Little Dwarf
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Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:21 pm

Marc N: I'd go for a couple of Uniden UHF's if you're going to basically be line of sight, or not far off, and just using them as a "I've done the salad, have you got those damn Trout yet?" comms.
Stick them in a cheapy 'waterproof' bag and it'd probably suit your purposes.
- In fact, PM me your postal and I'll send you a pair of UHF's (From memory they take 3x AAA's) which my wife and I used for that exact purpose. I bagged them using the vacuum packer (sans vacuum) for waterproofing. We stopped using them because the salad was always warm and wilted by the time I finally got a trout |(

Sitdown: Try old 'brick' cellphones at the OpShop, or failing that, just a loop of thin braided cord larks footed through the attachment point. Doesn't have to be mega strong, 1-1.5mm will do nicely.
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.................... "Flying Mango".......... [Up for sale, $1400]

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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MikeAqua
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Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:51 am

I echo HLD's comments.


The only thing I would add is that any IP67 VHF, I would put in a waterproof pouch (available at Burnsco, Marine Deals etc).

My last handheld VHF was IP67 and it failed. The last two fixed VHFs on my boat were IP67 and both failed within a few years of purchase. I don't believe IP67 copes with frequent splashing or being continually wet (spray, rain etc). IMO IP68 units are more resilient - I no longer buy IP67 VHFs.
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DocProfit
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Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:58 am

I couldn't find a VHF small enough to fit on my PFD without being a hassle.

I also 99% fish close to shore.

So I just got a standard VHF which I put in my reload tackle pod, and carry a cheap smart phone on my PFD (in a water proof bag), which is much smaller and lighter than any VHF.

You can pick up a basic smart phone for $100 or less, and I think in an emergency it would be better/just as easy to dial 111.

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Marc N
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Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:15 am

One last question on the regulatory thing. I know on larger boats and such - the use of VHF/UHF etc, is governed by licences and courses and such, using the cheapos do I need to be worried about the Navy turning up and wanting to inspect my documents?
VALKOHAI

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dedant
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Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:49 am

NOT just larger boats or fixed units but ALL operators of Marine VHF radios must be licensed. Unless in a strictly emergency situation.
The license is easy as to get you can apply and sit the test for it online.
The VHF is first, cellphone is backup usually.
Even 5-6 W units have a surprisingly limited range when we are sitting so low on in the water or when there is a decent ground swell blocking the line of sight signal.
Like most things to do with water activity, get the best you can afford ,look after it and hope it will work when you need it.
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Glass is Class.. dedant

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Marc N
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Sun Oct 07, 2018 1:21 pm

I know I'm being pedantic, but when does a UHF walky talky become 'Marine'?

So I guess, even if I only use them in the bush or on beaches, I should be licenced?
VALKOHAI

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dedant
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Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:07 am

UH radios are not Marine VHF . Different frequencies and criteria.
Some VHF channels have repeater stations, weather channels , established ship to shore channels etc.
UHF have line of sight and no (?) regs ?
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Glass is Class.. dedant

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Marc N
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Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:39 am

Thanks Dedant, and now I've done the proper research: and it's all bloody complex, as you'd expect for something like Radio, which is all we had until they learnt to shove TV signals through it.

Then it became more complex, so it goes some thing like this:

All the info is at this wonderfully complex and hard to parse, website - https://www.rsm.govt.nz/licensing/types ... o-licences

1: They have a big concern about equipment coming into NZ that's not been tested to the appropriate standard :: this is because other countries have different frequencies for various things and so they can't have the gear interfering with defence force or commercial channels etc etc. Also they want to be sure the equipment wont fry all the eggs if it's too near the chooks.

2: Because there a myriad of channels (defined frequencies) in the VHF and UHF bands, they licence people who want to use the ones that are reserved for various purposes, so that's like the emergency/defence/commercial/marine/etc, you have to get a licence for those.

3: You don't need a licence if: you use CB, Citizen Band frequencies, but generally the gear has had to be tested and passed (see 1 above), to be allowed to be used in NZ.

4: If citizen band sounds like too much palaver and another club to join and another hobby to fire up, you can get some of, and use with no licence, those nifty little Uniden type, walky talkies and use the PRS, Personal Radio Service, channels.

:: Make sure these walky talkies are sold here in NZ, as then, they should have passed the testing, (see 1 above). The ones on Ebay will assuredly not be compliant in NZ and I've seen all sorts of posts, asking how to get some Chinese made and sold ones, reprogrammed to work in NZ.

I don't know if these devices (from NZ) are restricted to the PRS channels automatically, in the device, or if you have to learn which channels are a no-go to use as PRS. See website above and spend a happy hour digesting it.

Example of Uniden walky talkies - https://www.noelleeming.co.nz/shop/phon ... 61439.html
VALKOHAI

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Fishing for every thing from Trout to Kingfish

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MikeAqua
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Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:30 pm

A UHF or CB aren't going to be very reliable for emergency communication. VHF is your best chance.

Anyone heading out kayak-fishing should have one, and have it attached to your PFD, not the kayak - in case you get separated from your kayak.
"No good story begins with a salad"
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gadgetm
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Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:33 pm

Marc N wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:39 am
Thanks Dedant, and now I've done the proper research: and it's all bloody complex, as you'd expect for something like Radio, which is all we had until they learnt to shove TV signals through it.

Then it became more complex, so it goes some thing like this:

All the info is at this wonderfully complex and hard to parse, website - https://www.rsm.govt.nz/licensing/types ... o-licences

1: They have a big concern about equipment coming into NZ that's not been tested to the appropriate standard :: this is because other countries have different frequencies for various things and so they can't have the gear interfering with defence force or commercial channels etc etc. Also they want to be sure the equipment wont fry all the eggs if it's too near the chooks.

2: Because there a myriad of channels (defined frequencies) in the VHF and UHF bands, they licence people who want to use the ones that are reserved for various purposes, so that's like the emergency/defence/commercial/marine/etc, you have to get a licence for those.

3: You don't need a licence if: you use CB, Citizen Band frequencies, but generally the gear has had to be tested and passed (see 1 above), to be allowed to be used in NZ.

4: If citizen band sounds like too much palaver and another club to join and another hobby to fire up, you can get some of, and use with no licence, those nifty little Uniden type, walky talkies and use the PRS, Personal Radio Service, channels.

:: Make sure these walky talkies are sold here in NZ, as then, they should have passed the testing, (see 1 above). The ones on Ebay will assuredly not be compliant in NZ and I've seen all sorts of posts, asking how to get some Chinese made and sold ones, reprogrammed to work in NZ.

I don't know if these devices (from NZ) are restricted to the PRS channels automatically, in the device, or if you have to learn which channels are a no-go to use as PRS. See website above and spend a happy hour digesting it.

Example of Uniden walky talkies - https://www.noelleeming.co.nz/shop/phon ... 61439.html
The old CB was AM and is pretty much dead now as it has been replaced by UHF/PRS. This new UHF/PRS system is generally called CB now. I still have a few of the old units and they have much greater range but lower sound quality. Both of these require no license as such. We use the same frequencies for UHF/PRS as Aus. There are some units that you can buy and program to the frequencies we use. None of the frequencies are set for any particular purpose here as opposed to overseas where they tend to have an emergency channel. This system is not monitored for emergency response here.

Marine VHS uses international channel frequencies with a channel monitored for emergencies from a control centre. Because it is monitored this should be used for emergencies and is what should be used on your yak. As mentioned earlier you do need a licence to use this other than for an emergency.

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Marc N
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Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:50 pm

Thank you for the clarification. :y: :y: :y:
VALKOHAI

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