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  1. #1
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    Dec 2007
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    Default Hand held VHF DSC or not

    The battery on our Cobra hand held VHF is starting to fade quite quickly, which is probably not bad after seven years. So I thought I would have a look around at new hand held vhf's and there are loads on the market.
    Came across two models from Standard Horizon and the difference (apart from price) seemed to be whether it had DSC or not. Most of the time we use the hand vhf to call into the mariina’s, however most of the time there is only the two of us on board and I got to thinking what if something went wrong. Its not going to have the longest range given it is 6W max and in an emergency would probably be used close to sea level, so is the additional cost worth the added safety?
    Sailing area Irish sea and into the Clyde from Whitehaven usually
    What does the panel think? I know the cheapest option is to replace the battery

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    285

    Default Go for DSC

    Personally, if I had the cash, I would go for the DSC option.

    The Standard Horizon radio has had some good reviews. Icom has also just launched a DSC handheld - the IC-M91D. May be worth a look.

    (remember if you go for the DSC handheld it must be licensed as a Ship Portable radio - it has its own MMSI)

  3. #3
    pvb's Avatar
    pvb is offline Registered User
    Location : UK East Coast
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mlthomas View Post
    Came across two models from Standard Horizon and the difference (apart from price) seemed to be whether it had DSC or not.........so is the additional cost worth the added safety?
    Difficult to put a price on safety but, for under £200, the SH HX851E is the one I'd buy. The new Icom is nearly twice the price.
    Last edited by pvb; 15-05-12 at 19:34.

  4. #4
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    Jul 2001
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    661

    Default

    I do not know which model of Cobra handheld VHF you have but the one I have uses stabndard AAA rechargeable batteries. If yours is similar you could buy a new set from Maplins for a few pounds and it should be as good as new.

    Personally, I would invest your budget in a fixed DSC VHF radio and aerial. It will have far better range that a handheld and will not depend on your remembering to keep its batteries charged.
    Dave Seager
    Weybridge UK

  5. #5
    Seajet's Avatar
    Seajet is offline Registered User
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    Default

    For fixed VHF sets, if I was buying again I'd go for the Standard Horizon model with AIS, it's a small screen but a lot better than nothing.

    Personally I think DSC is awful, and while my fixed set is so equipped I use it as old style.

    I'd be more concerned with making sure a handheld is waterproof, as it will be used in the tender or in emergency.

    One tip; don't get a Silva S12 handheld ! I bought it without trying it out, only to find it's the most user unfriendly bit of kit I've ever encountered.

    Also the squelch is in digital steps, at one level it's roaring static, one notch up the squelch is so high everything is cancelled out ! Useless.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    117

    Default

    I've read that unlike the Coastguard, ships rarely listen on Ch.16 these days, relying on DSC instead. If that's true and your portable might be used as a short range means of indicating distress - potentially out of range of the Coastguard - then DSC sounds like it might be worth some $.

    Of course, if you're paranoid, perhaps a EPIRB is a better idea.

    Or better still, put on your lifejacket and walk, carefully, to the nearest cemetery.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    Default DSC or not

    If you decide on a DSC model and you don't want to use DSC in the near future, don't program the VHF with the MMSI #

  8. #8
    pvb's Avatar
    pvb is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by LadyInBed View Post
    If you decide on a DSC model and you don't want to use DSC in the near future, don't program the VHF with the MMSI #
    Why would you have a DSC handheld without programming it with an MMSI? It's a bit like having an EPIRB without a battery.

  9. #9
    Robih is online now Registered User
    Location : Hampshire
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    I've gone for the SH dsc capable handheld because I see it as a useful addition to the MOB armoury. We have a rule that the on watch helm at night has a PLB and handheld Dsc VHF on their person. The ship VHF can then poll the handheld VHF for location if necessary and the Mob can initiate a plb alert. We also have the raymarine life tag system to wake the off watch crew that the on watch crew has gone overboard. Paranoid? Maybe, but I'll use every tool available to me in a mob situation.

  10. #10
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    May 2001
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    I've just bought a a Standard Horizon waterproof DSC handheld. I am often out in boats on my own and I keep it clipped onto my life jacket. I reckon it will improve my chances of being picked up if I go over the side.
    Warning - Internet forums may contain nuts

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