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Handheld VHF marine radio VS Fixed mount marine radio

Handheld VHF marine radio VS Fixed mount marine radio

Make sure you kit it out with the right gear. One piece of gear every vessel should have is reliable marine radio. These radios are available as both a portable handheld and a fixed mount solution.

First, what is a handheld VHF? A handheld VHF is as it sounds, a VHF radio that fits in your hand. These radios are a lightweight, compact solution that can go anywhere you do, even outside your vessel. The trade-off for having a portable solution is that it will have a decreased range when compared to its fixed mount counterparts, additionally, it will have a limited battery life that will require charging before heading out. There is a range of options available with different features including float and flash, DSC, and GPS.

A fixed mount VHF works the same as a handheld VHF but is permanently mounted in your vessel. It is separated into two separate parts, the radio itself and an antenna to broadcast the signal. It is a larger radio that in addition to a power source will also require space in your vessel to be installed.

A fixed mount VHF can either be a dash-mounted radio with a simple mic or hideaway unit that has all the controls on the handpiece, this allows you to choose a unit based on the space available for installation, and an appropriate antenna to suit both your vessel and its application. But with so many options how do you know which type should suit your vessel?

Jet ski: As jet skis have minimal space and with most users operating them close to shore the best option would be a handheld VHF radio that could be attached to the rider or stowed in the small storage compartment (if available).

Yacht (or any vessel that lives on a mooring): With yachts and other large vessels that spend their lives out on the water, often with no land in sight, it is a necessity to have reliable long-range communication. It is best to install a fixed mount VHF radio to achieve this. It is also recommended to have a handheld VHF radio for use on the tender/life rafts if they are to be used.

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