Jump to content

I need some information on VHF tranceivers


ThomasL

Recommended Posts

After a solo paddle in February, I, feeling VERY vulnerable decided that I needed a worst case option. So, I waited and purchased an ICOM vhf transceiver with DSC capability. I applied and received my MMSI number and attached it to the radio. Bill Lord mentioned to me that NSPN "communicates" on channel 14, and that is a channel I should include in my scan profile. Any suggestions or suggestions?

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Suggestions or suggestions" ! Should have avioded that last "drink"!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps things have changed recently, but 72 has been the NSPN channel for as long as I can remember. I wonder if someone might comment on my observation that more and more paddlers are keeping the VHF radios in the hatch rather than wearing them. Not quite sure what value they have there unless you are stranded on an island.

Al

Link to comment
Share on other sites

that NSPN "communicates" on channel 14, and that is a channel I should include in my scan profile. Any suggestions or suggestions?

I have never known anyone to use CH14 on a paddle and it would be technically inappropriate as that CH is for port operations. The four channels for non-commercial/recreational use are 68, 69, 71, and 72. On paddles where a channel is preselected for use at the beach briefing, it seems most of the time 72 is selected and since that is an intership channel it makes sense. For scanning selections my suggestions is to add 9, 13, and 16 as those are channels where traffic of interest will likely happen along with the strongest local NOAA station for weather alerts.

Using a preselected channel like 72 works most of the time, but runs the risk of what do you do if there is traffic on that channel? "Standard" procedure is to hail on 9 or 16 and then pick cl;ear channel.

As for how and when to wear the radio on the PFD, there are differing opinions, often strongly held opinions. Personally if I am solo or in fog or at night or in a heavy traffic setting then I want the radio close at hand and it is in PFD pocket. Otherwise it is in hatch.

Ed Lawson

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tend to keep mine in my knee hatch. I've come to believe that if I need to talk with other members of my trip by radio, things have already fallen apart. Notable exception being two pods hoping to connect later in the trip. That said, if I expect issues (weather alerts, visibility) I will turn it on and have it tucked in my PFD.

Phil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And back to Overhill's original thread, I have no direct knowledge of the DSC safety system, but one thing to try when your out for a paddle is a "radio check". You might be surprised how poorly folks can hear you with the antenna at normal operating hight for a kayak.

P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tend to keep mine in my knee hatch. I've come to believe that if I need to talk with other members of my trip by radio, things have already fallen apart. Notable exception being two pods hoping to connect later in the trip. That said, if I expect issues (weather alerts, visibility) I will turn it on and have it tucked in my PFD.

Phil

Just curious, Phil -- if you are OK keeping it tucked in your PFD some of the time, what's the downside of doing that all the time?

For the record, I keep my VHF mount permanently attached to a PFD strap. It's just part of my suiting up routine to slip the radio onto the mount, slip over it a bungee loop that also lives there and snap on a tether that is also permanently attached to the radio for more insurance. 10 seconds. I never have to think -- will I need this or not, check the forecast, etc. It's always there, like my tow belt, short tow line, sea snips (well, gotta replace those after they took a swim), etc.

BTW, many years ago, in about my third time out with the VHF, I used it thus... I went into a high-walled rock corral and got a bit stuck -- nothing serious, but it took me a minute to swing around and paddle out. Meanwhile I heard people outside the corral shouting -- where's David? Not being sure I could make myself accurately understood with a return shout (it might sound like a yell for help), I quickly pushed the transmit button and blasted a short message -- I'm OK, out in a second -- so nobody would feel a need to come after me. Worked perfectly!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For what it’s worth I agree with David 100%. Always keep your VHF ready to use.

Often times when power boats approach me in Florida, I scream something like this into VHF 16 "hey, look in front of you, you're heading towards me in a kayak near the Lake Worth Inlet.” It worked a few times.

I think storing your VHF in a storage hatch some of the time is analogous to wearing your seatbelts some of the time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think storing your VHF in a storage hatch some of the time is analogous to wearing your seatbelts some of the time.

I think that a VHF is much more like a winch on an off road truck, some times it can get you out of a bad situation. Other times it give you the feeling that you can do things that you shouldn't do. Other times you expect it to work and it just has too much water in it to do anything or the cable is to short.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that a VHF is much more like a winch on an off road truck, some times it can get you out of a bad situation. Other times it give you the feeling that you can do things that you shouldn't do. Other times you expect it to work and it just has too much water in it to do anything or the cable is to short.

Jason, I could say something similar about PFDs, flares, etc.:

For instance, sometimes a PFD can save your life, like when you’re in the water and unconscious. Other times it may give you a feeling that you can do things that you shouldn't do, like paddling in water that’s too rough for your skills. Other times it just slows you down as you try to swim to safety after a collision with a big stinkpot that has thrown you in the water.

Many things in life are risk/reward judgements. I think you should wear a PFD and carry a VHF, as well (especially if you paddle solo). There’s no logical reason that you should do risky things just because you carry self-rescue equipment.

Leon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that a VHF is much more like a winch on an off road truck,

Jason,:

Reminds me of a great story involving troopers who thought they could solve a problem by using the winch on a duece and half to recover another vehicle. Right. After they were done it took a tank retriever to extract both vehicles. Must be a lesson about safety gear in there somewhere.

Ed Lawson

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jason,:

Reminds me of a great story involving troopers who thought they could solve a problem by using the winch on a duece and half to recover another vehicle. Right. After they were done it took a tank retriever to extract both vehicles. Must be a lesson about safety gear in there somewhere.

Ed Lawson

So what's the moral, carry a VHF or not? I carry.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that a PFD is a great item, it allows your body to be recovered, and the search to end much sooner.

As for flares the only thing that they are good at IMO is removing fingers. I am sure someone knows where the Gordon Brown parachute flare test video is (where it launch out the bottom of the tube). New flares are allowed a 20% failure rate that just get's worse over time.

As for the VHF it's a useful device but I don't see it as 5% as good as air bags or seat belts. On bigger days I normally have one on my person and an 2nd on in the boat. I just know that I shouldn't plan on having it bail me out of the soup, if I need to use it I will hope that I can reach assistance. Big boats have issues reaching the CG with much bigger/taller antennas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that a PFD is a great item, it allows your body to be recovered, and the search to end much sooner.

As for flares the only thing that they are good at IMO is removing fingers. I am sure someone knows where the Gordon Brown parachute flare test video is (where it launch out the bottom of the tube). New flares are allowed a 20% failure rate that just get's worse over time.

As for the VHF it's a useful device but I don't see it as 5% as good as air bags or seat belts. On bigger days I normally have one on my person and an 2nd on in the boat. I just know that I shouldn't plan on having it bail me out of the soup, if I need to use it I will hope that I can reach assistance. Big boats have issues reaching the CG with much bigger/taller antennas.

Jason, for gawd’s sake, I used flares as an example, not as a piece of safety gear as important as a PFD! Feel free to insert whatever kayaking examples of safety equipment that you think is important.

By the way tell Keith and John that flares and VHFs are not that important. Read the story here:

http://www.nspn.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=3177&st=40

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just know that I shouldn't plan on having it <VHF> bail me out of the soup, if I need to use it I will hope that I can reach assistance. Big boats have issues reaching the CG with much bigger/taller antennas.

Yes, don't plan on it. However, coast guard towers are very tall and can hear Mayday calls from far away kayaks. I can listen to the coast guard in Boston when I’m at Plum Island. And, obviously they can receive my signal too with their better receivers. I proved it to myself once with a radio check.

Furthermore, many powerboats and sailboats are required to monitor channel 16. There's a good chance that at least one of them will receive your distress call.

Leon (who uses various safety devices but doesn't rely on any of them)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I very much acknowledge and value all the club input. My solo winter adventures obviously require more planning and thought. The digital "connection" to the Coast Guard is a plus, but not the answer to what is a risky proposition.....Still, it is SO nice to be out there with the birds and occasionally jumping(not the pacific flying type) fish without any distractions. I can not think of any condition/situation that puts my mind in a such positive state.

Tom

ps: The channel 14 comment is subject to the validity of my memory, and the influence of a drink or two.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After a solo paddle in February, I, feeling VERY vulnerable decided that I needed a worst case option. So, I waited and purchased an ICOM vhf transceiver with DSC capability. I applied and received my MMSI number and attached it to the radio. Bill Lord mentioned to me that NSPN "communicates" on channel 14, and that is a channel I should include in my scan profile. Any suggestions or suggestions?

Tom

Tom,

Lost in all this chatter is what did you buy? Is it the new Icom M92D? If so, can you do a "goto" a "waypoint" with it? Will it point to the heading direction you should be paddling along to get there? Is it much bigger than a regular VHF like the Icom M72?

But just having the DSC is worth it. It may save your life some day. DSC is much more reliable than speaking your location to the coast guard.

Leon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In theory, if your radio is out of range, the DSC system utilizes all other DSC radios within range as repeaters bouncing one's distress signal from craft to craft until a CG station receives the call and position of the "distressed" boat. Then the CG responds on 16 utilizing the same bounce route to determine the nature of the "emergency". According to the CG, the DSC system offers a much quicker response than the satellite EPRB system. Apparently satellite traffic sometimes causes up to an hour or more delay in getting the emergency signal to the CG.

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes Leong.

It is the M92D. Unfortunately home obligations(installing a hot tub!) have kept me off the water to test the system.

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that a VHF is much more like a winch on an off road truck, some times it can get you out of a bad situation. Other times it give you the feeling that you can do things that you shouldn't do. Other times you expect it to work and it just has too much water in it to do anything or the cable is to short.

Well, the most important piece of safety equipment by far is the one between your ears. If you leave that at home, then of course no other gear will keep or get you out of trouble. But that's not a reason to leave that other gear at home nor deploy it in the most intelligent way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, the most important piece of safety equipment by far is the one between your ears. If you leave that at home, then of course no other gear will keep or get you out of trouble. But that's not a reason to leave that other gear at home nor deploy it in the most intelligent way.

Hi David-

I like your last sentence, and it provides my answer to why I don't normally keep my radio on my PFD these days. First off, my PFD does't have a nice storage pocket for the radio like some (but it fits like a dream). I'm doing a fair amount of teaching and guiding beginners, and I find the radio gets much more abuse on my PFD than it does in the easy access mini-hatch between my knees. Being in and out of the water repeatedly teaching rescues, hauling boats around etc always seems to have the antenna ready to poke someones eye, or the radio itself get involved in the rescue process, so I leave it in the hatch. And I make sure to hold on to my boat. Now if I'm in conditions where I don't think I can hold on to my boat I tether it to the pfd and tuck it away where I can.

Best

Phil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now if I'm in conditions where I don't think I can hold on to my boat I tether it to the pfd and tuck it away where I can.

Best

Phil

Phil, check out Brian Nystrom's slideshow (?link anyone) re: attaching a VHF to your PFD. It doesn't require a special pocket on your PFD; it attaches to the shoulder strap. The "cradle" is always attached, but the radio needn't be for the good reasons you've outlined in your post.

gary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi David-

I like your last sentence, and it provides my answer to why I don't normally keep my radio on my PFD these days. First off, my PFD does't have a nice storage pocket for the radio like some (but it fits like a dream). I'm doing a fair amount of teaching and guiding beginners, and I find the radio gets much more abuse on my PFD than it does in the easy access mini-hatch between my knees. Being in and out of the water repeatedly teaching rescues, hauling boats around etc always seems to have the antenna ready to poke someones eye, or the radio itself get involved in the rescue process, so I leave it in the hatch. And I make sure to hold on to my boat. Now if I'm in conditions where I don't think I can hold on to my boat I tether it to the pfd and tuck it away where I can.

Best

Phil

Hey, Phil:

I'll show you my (Brian Nystrom-inspired) setup next time we paddle together -- when, oh when, will that be. I don't think you have the picture. (Too lazy to shoot a picture and upload it -- at least right now -- but check out Brian's at http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/63141273BimkGp).

As for cherry-picking sentences, you said -- "I find the radio gets much more abuse on my PFD than it does in the easy access mini-hatch between my knees." So the purpose of a radio is not to get abuse? Gee, it gets even less abuse home on the rack! ;-)))

And if you are guiding and teaching, then IMNSHO you have an even better reason (dare I say, responsibility?) to keep your radio very handy, despite any abuse it might take. Hey, it's tax deductible for you, right?

--David.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi David- It's only a tax deduction if you're making a profit. And it is handy, right between my knees. Having gone through 3 in a season on my PFD, having them get snagged on toggles and decklines doing/showing rescues and otherwise coming disconnected (I had a cord backup connection) in the water, I'm comfortable with it being in the boat most of the time. To each their own.

best

Phil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi David- It's only a tax deduction if you're making a profit. And it is handy, right between my knees. Having gone through 3 in a season on my PFD, having them get snagged on toggles and decklines doing/showing rescues and otherwise coming disconnected (I had a cord backup connection) in the water, I'm comfortable with it being in the boat most of the time. To each their own.

best

Phil

OK -- works for you -- works for me.

But do take a look at Brian's pictures. With good tough units, like ICOM, not Vertex or West marine, I haven't had much trouble with swims, reentries and rolls (when I had a reliable one) and keeping the radio working fine, with rinsing, etc. And though I have indeed snagged stuff, I can't recall that every happening with the VHF way up high on the PFD strap. The knife/snips, camera, yes. And again the question -- if some of the time, why not all of the time?

Re taxes -- Whatever income you have from kayak work you can (and should) offset by deductions so you show only a very small profit on Schedule C. Actually, you need not make a profit every year to take tax breaks on Schedule C, just once every few years. With this sort of thing I used to claim a lot of the deductions most years and show a small loss, and then every couple years, cut back on deductions to show a small profit. Plus, if you have any consulting income or the like, you can bundle that in with kayak income to make even more room for deductions. And with congress (mostly due to one party, which I shall not name) having underfunded the IRS for quite a while now, they do not spend much time on small fish like you and me. Remember, it's just a dumb computer picking audit targets. But keep those receipts just in case. That'll be $180 for the tax advice -- minimum billable time is 1/2 hour. Oh, wait, I'm not a CPA -- but I have beaten the IRS at their game a couple of times and gotten kudos from a real CPA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...