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BobT

marine radio?

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Been considering outfitting my boat with a VHF marine radio. Any suggestions toward brands, models, etc?

Don't know much about them. I would need to be able to have Canadian channel compatability as well as US. Also would like NOAA channels.

Thanks for the help.

Bob

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I just got a hand held for Father's Day that was only around $60. Nice little unit. The one Shack was recommending. If you go in either the equipment or catfish forums you will find all kinds of info on them.

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Icom is a great brand, most of the others you see are pretty good too. What's important is to have an antenna that will do you some good. A decent 8' antenna is needed if you want any reach at all. Handheld units or small antenna's are fine if you want to go boat to boat over a 1/2 mile or less. But if you want to reach shore when you're in trouble then go with an 8' antenna and a fairly decent radio.

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I'd vote for icom, I bought a new vhf 3 years ago and did a lot of research on them. Icom rated very well in the mid and high priced radio categories. Features that were important to me were waterproofness, high quality speaker, large display, and channel up/down buttons on the mic.

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I had a Ray 45 with a 5' Shakespeare fiberglass antenna on my previous boat. Worked great on Sakakawea and Mille Lacs.

I liked the scan feature where you could select which channels to scan instead of scanning all of them, in which you could miss someone calling for you while the scan was coming back around. That way I could keep tabs on Ch 16 as well as the channel a buddy and I would chat on throughout day.

The weather channels were very nice to have as well.

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Thanks for the info. What has your experience been with regard to communication distance? Using a mounted unit with an 8' antenna, how far do you feel you could expect to communicate with reasonable confidence? They advertise up to 25 miles with the 25w output but my experience with radios is they tend to exaggerate based on single perfect conditions.

Bob

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Icom is a great brand, most of the others you see are pretty good too. What's important is to have an antenna that will do you some good. A decent 8' antenna is needed if you want any reach at all. Handheld units or small antenna's are fine if you want to go boat to boat over a 1/2 mile or less. But if you want to reach shore when you're in trouble then go with an 8' antenna and a fairly decent radio.

I have a hand held in the boat for back-up and I have done radio checks at 6 miles out on Superior with no problems. Your radio must have been low qaulity. With my 8' foot antenna I can hear guys on Lake Michigan on really good days.

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I've got over 20 miles on Erie with my icom and 8 foot antenna, with the Bass Islands and Kelley Island between us. To get that distance both radios and antennas need to be working well, a bad radio or bad antenna is a real range killer.

I've never got 20 miles on Mille Lacs, but 12-15 miles for sure. I've also used radios a lot on Lac Seul, but it gets tricky up there with all the rocks and trees and islands ..... in some spots it works great, in other spots it seems like a dead zone.

I took some extra care in installing my radio, such as wiring direct to the battery with 12 gauge wire, being careful in how I routed the antenna cable and power cables to avoid interference, and using a SWR meter to test my components and installation. I also solder my connections. It's one of those things where the "little things" can really make a difference in how much range you get.

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I just got a hand held for Father's Day that was only around $60. Nice little unit. The one Shack was recommending. If you go in either the equipment or catfish forums you will find all kinds of info on them.

Shane,

That is a great unit for the price. Glad to hear you got one. It should work out great on the Croix for ya.

It may be just a starting point, but a great way to learn. For a cheap hand held, it picks up stuff for many miles on ML and I am pretty impressed with how much it picks up on the river. Down side, it does not have an automatic shut off for charger. You have to remember to unplug it.

I think it is cheap insurance for any MN boater to have a marine band radio on board. On both ends I might add. From an emergency situation on your part and for monitoring others in an emergency situation. Plus it is pretty neat to properly communicate with barge's and bridge operators.

One of these units could save your life or someone else’s at one point.

Midland Nautico1 Handheld Marine Radio

0004601430002_500X500.jpg

Features & Specifications

Midland Nautico1 Handheld Marine Radio:

All 88 US and International channels

10 NOAA weather channels

12-mile range on 5 watts RF power

1-watt low power setting

Water-resistant

Auto-squelch, roger beep

Channel scan

Battery level indicator

Call alert with 3 call tones

3-year warranty

Can use 4 "AA" batteries (not included)

Includes:

Rechargeable NiMH battery pack

AC adapter

Charger cradle

Waterproof carrying bag

Model No.: NT1VP

Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.4

Product in Inches (L x W x H): 10.5 x 8.5 x 2.5

Origin of Components

Added note, it does come with a cig. lighter charger also.

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I bought an Appelco ten years ago and it is still working great. I have friends with Cobras, Humminbirds and Raytheons. All great units. The 8' antenna is imprtant for range as marine radios are "Line of sight" radios. I believe that all will work in Canada as well as the U.S. An important feature are the ability to monitor channel 16, the NOAA weather broadcast in the area and one additional channel of your choice. The whole set up should cost either side of $200.00.

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Perch jerker got it right--all the little things make a big difference on range. Icom is the cadillac of radios and so is appelco but they are more expensive. My life depends on these radios more than most--no coast guard here--but everybody monitors channel 79. I don't know what good canadian channels are no body uses them hereabouts.

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I have the Icon with a 8' antenna and had to use it last week and got 45 miles out of it and that's land miles, I couldn't believe it.

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