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  1. #1
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    Default Handheld VHF - 3 Watt or 5/6Watt?

    Can anyone give me an idea of the differences in range between the cheaper 3 Watt and the 5/6 Watt handheld VHF's?

    The Cobra MR-HH125 is attractively priced at c50 but how useful would it be for coastal cruising?

  2. #2
    GrumpyOldGit is offline Registered User
    Location : Brightlingsea, jewel of the East Coast
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    In my humble opinion, buy the best you can afford, Icom m71 at 6w output can communicate across Mersea to Brightlingsea ( 7-8nm ) in reasonable conditions !

    Smaller will clearly not punch out so far, no doubt expert opinion will tell you more reasons but the little 50 Cobra will not have anything like the range. Good luck anyway. Ps. there was an icom m71 on ebay the other day for about 35. might be worth a look !!!

  3. #3
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    Second GoG's comment.

    Buy a good one. Not only better range, but also survive the knocks better.

    I had a cheap Cobra one as a temporary, and it didn't take much abuse before it started to struggle.

  4. #4
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    pvb is offline Registered User
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    OK, there's a reason the Cobra's cheap - not waterproof, low output power, NiMH battery.

    Spend a bit more and get a proper radio. For 99 you can get a Standard Horizon HX280E, which has 5W output, is submersible, and has a large-capacity Li-Ion battery.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Rascal View Post
    Can anyone give me an idea of the differences in range between the cheaper 3 Watt and the 5/6 Watt handheld VHF's?

    The Cobra MR-HH125 is attractively priced at c50 but how useful would it be for coastal cruising?
    I don't think the range will actually be that much different, but I don't think the cheap Cobra has the M1/M2 channels, used by quite a few clubs and marinas. I have two of the next model up Cobras (HH300 and HH325) at under 90 each - one six years old one one year old, and am very pleased with them.

    In my experience if you don't get through at 1 watt going to 5 watts doesn't usually help.

  6. #6
    davidej is offline Registered User
    Location : West Mersea. north Essex
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    Simple physics suggests that a 6w transmitter will have 1.4X the range of a 3w one - square law.
    davidej

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidej View Post
    Simple physics suggests that a 6w transmitter will have 1.4X the range of a 3w one - square law.
    Not quite that simple. VHF Range is usually limited by the VHF horizon not transmission power. A Handheld at 3m above sea level has an horizon of 6Km or so. So for handheld to handleld more power wont help (much) beyond that.

    However, if you are talking to the coastguard via a 100m mast to your handheld then your potential range is much greater. Absolute power (!) though, is seldom the range limiting factor.
    Last edited by Sea_Spray; 09-03-12 at 15:19.
    Proudly supporting our troops. http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/

  8. #8
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    I too would second the sentiments that you should buy the best you can afford. I'd worry less about the absolute power tho.
    Proudly supporting our troops. http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pvb View Post
    For 99 you can get a Standard Horizon HX280E.
    +1 http://www.worldseafishing.com/revie...on_hx280e.html and Standard Horizon as a company are well regarded.

  10. #10

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    We were dismasted off Christchurch and I used my handheld to call in the pan pan.

    After being towed in to Yarmouth, we popped into the pub that the lifeboat crew frequent and were told that my transmission came in loud and clear for them which was most unusual - they usually only hear the coast guard's side of the conversation.

    Icom IC-M71 6W waterproof. Excellent.
    It's later than you think.

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