Should I have a VHF?

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-Ginge-
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Should I have a VHF?

Postby -Ginge- » Mon May 09, 2011 7:57 pm

I am a river kayaker who wants to take a few other paddlers out for a circumnavigation of Puffin Island, North Wales. I guess it is advisable to take a VHF, but do I need a licence?

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Mark R
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby Mark R » Mon May 09, 2011 8:06 pm

Licence not obligatory any more.
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gary bb
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby gary bb » Mon May 09, 2011 8:24 pm

Do you still have to do a course though?

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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby Grahamd » Mon May 09, 2011 8:24 pm

Bit surprised you say that Mark, as that is not what the current Ofcom Website notes. When did things change?

http://licensing.ofcom.org.uk/radiocomm ... q/vhf-faq/

You should have a Ship Portable Licence, adminstered by Ofcom with no charge if done over the internet, for the Radio Set and hold at least the Short Range Certificate to use a hand held VHF and this is administered by the RYA.

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Mark R
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby Mark R » Mon May 09, 2011 9:08 pm

Oops sorry, I meant a licence to own/ carry one.
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ian johnston
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby ian johnston » Mon May 09, 2011 9:16 pm

Hi,

As Graham has posted, both set and operator should be licensed. The exception to the requirement for an Operator licence (whetherr the GOC or Short Range Certificate) is if using the set for distress working; when you don't require a licence.

It makes good sense if you're going to be on the sea regularly to get a VHF, particularly if you paddle in an area with lots of traffic. The RYA certainly run Short Range courses, but so do many other providers and institutions - it's not actually administered by the RYA but by the governing bodies for marine telecommunications.

Hope this helps

Ian

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Taran Tyla
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby Taran Tyla » Mon May 09, 2011 10:38 pm

Your unlikely to get in trouble for not having a SRC licence, from what I've heard Ofcom may check boats occasionally but I doubt they bother about kayaks.
That said, the course is cheap, easy & quite good fun with a bit of role play. It's eight hours in leanth but definately worth doing.
Check with the RYA for upcoming courses...

-Ginge-
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby -Ginge- » Mon May 09, 2011 11:23 pm

Thanks for the help. I might just jump on a course as I have recently had an urge to do more sea kayaking with the low river levels.

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Jim
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby Jim » Mon May 09, 2011 11:31 pm

As said you need a Ship portable radio license which is free, you fill it in online and print it off. In theory you should always carry this in the boat when you have a VHF on you, sometimes I remember to stick it in my extra maps bag, usually I forget.

The operators license or Short Range Certificate is entirely another issue. You are still required by law to have one (unless operating under the direction of someone who has one) but the Coastguard has stated that they will never prosecute an unlicensed operator using a set to make an emergency or safety related call (in fact if you are on a vessel in trouble they encourage anyone to make the call to allow for the fact that sometimes the casualty is the radio operator). For some people this creates a grey area but the advice is if in doubt call the coastguard, they would rather hear from you and help prevent a disaster than have a group disappear silently.
It is worth being aware that the coastguard are not the only authority listening on Channel 16, the Navy have been known to check out operators using bad protocol (how? the likes of us don't need to know) and will follow up if they find them unlicensed, but in busy areas unlicensed operators can potentially be a hindrance to port control or routine traffic if they don't know correct procedure.

I would therefore say, that if you don't bother to do a SRC, or want to carry a VHF before you have been able to arrange one, then at least read up on the protocol so you have a chance of getting it right - since it will probably be an RYA course you end up doing, their book on VHF is an obvious place to look for info. Also it may be worth making up a card as a reminder of the emergency protocols (Mayday and Panpan) to give yourself a fair chance of getting the essential information across.

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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby GEOFF S » Tue May 10, 2011 1:49 pm

Having just gone halves on a vhf radio, but having got no furhter yet than charging up the battery where is the best source of info on protocol ?

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maryinoxford
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby maryinoxford » Tue May 10, 2011 2:36 pm

Not in Oxford any more...

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TechnoEngineer
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby TechnoEngineer » Tue May 10, 2011 3:41 pm

maryinoxford wrote:http://www.amazon.co.uk/RYA-VHF-Radio-Including-GMDSS/dp/1906435200/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305034549&sr=1-1

Seconded. I've yet to do a course, and carry a VHF with a view to using it for distress calls only. The book tells you enough that you need to know; just make a point of routinely practising it.


Also the Pyranha waterproof notebook (pocket seamanship?) has the protocols on waterproof paper as an aide-memoire - highly recommended.
(sorry can't find a link to it ATM)
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby garya » Tue May 10, 2011 4:41 pm

Yes you need a radio

If you don't have a license you can't use it for routine calls and traffic. If you are in genuine trouble and call for help it will be ok and you are very unlikly to be prosecuted over not having an operator certificate. In fact the regulations allow for uncertified operators to use a set in an emergancy. They list VHF and not mobile as somthing everyone should have to help them out in an emergancy

The mayday and Pan-Pan callls format is very simple and most marina shops sell handy cards and stickers to help you. Even the most expirenced yacht skippers fluff it up under the stress of the situation, you should hear some of the routine traffic its shocking... :-0

The coastguard are very experinced and will lead you through all information they need.

Your call sign , location , what is wrong, what help you need, how many people involved.

The CG can triangulate your position very quickly ( sub 10 sec) from a VHF signal if you don't know where you are or are drifting on tide. ( A waterproof GPS is real handy for this too)

http://www.paddlinglight.com/pl/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/VHF-Radio-Cheat-Sheet-2.pdf

I use an ICOM-M71 which has been very reliable and easy to use. once you get the set you can switch it on and listen to routine tarffic if you are near the coast. You will soon get the hang of voice procedure from this before you go on your course. The call sign I use is "Kayak Archer " as my ears are tuned to hearing my surname and so pick out quicker from other traffic when called, it is also less likly to match other callsigns in range on the water

I bet it was the Scorpio the got you hooked, you could have took it for a spin if you wanted .... ;-)

All the best

Gary A

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MikeB
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby MikeB » Tue May 10, 2011 4:45 pm

garya wrote:The mayday and Pan-Pan callls format is very simple and most marina shops sell handy cards and stickers to help you.


Or, free, here.

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Taran Tyla
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby Taran Tyla » Tue May 10, 2011 5:34 pm

Probably should mention radios too, my waterproof pacific VHF got waterlogged? so definately get a waterproof cover as well.
I've just bought a Plastimo SX200 & I love it, small, light & intuative, waterproof & upto 5 watts of power & only a 100 notes.
Powers important, you can buy VHF's for £50 but they only have upto 3 watt output. More expensive ones have upto 7. The wattage affects the range of the signal.

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MikeB
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby MikeB » Tue May 10, 2011 5:46 pm

Taran Tyla wrote: - - so definately get a waterproof cover as well.


A decent waterproof set is a better option - waterproof cases are renowned for killing even waterproof sets, so a non-waterproof one will certainly suffer.

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Yakdiver
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby Yakdiver » Tue May 10, 2011 6:12 pm

I've been using my el-cheapo Midland in an Aquapak for the last 7 years without any harm, maybe I'm just lucky
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MikeB
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby MikeB » Tue May 10, 2011 6:24 pm

Yakdiver wrote:I've been using my el-cheapo Midland in an Aquapak for the last 7 years without any harm, maybe I'm just lucky


Maybe - they are also renowned for splitting / leaking. At least one major retailer doesn't sell them anymore as they found then so unreliable.

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Jim
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby Jim » Tue May 10, 2011 8:28 pm

You know, ever since destroying a GPS without an aquapac I have always kept mine in one. The key points seem to be to add a sachet of silica gel to absorb any moisture from the air which it seems can be pushed into electronics when the plastic bag gets hot enough, and to look after the bags and check and replace them much as you would any other item you really depend on.

My VHF though is properly built to withstand salt water immersion so I don't bag it, but didn't cost £50.
Read up on the battery issues with older ICOM units, the new ones don't have the 3rd terminal and don't seem to corrode as a result.

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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby Yakdiver » Wed May 11, 2011 5:05 pm

I do use the silica gel thing forgot to mention that for VHF and phone
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Stuart Yendle
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby Stuart Yendle » Wed May 11, 2011 7:31 pm

Even if it is water proof I would get an aquapac, I find if water gets into to the earpiece/microphone the volume is seriously lowered, although storing it in a BA pocket may protect it from splashes. At the end of the day it's there to save your life so look after it and it will do it's job.

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MikeB
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby MikeB » Wed May 11, 2011 7:41 pm

Jim wrote:Read up on the battery issues with older ICOM units, the new ones don't have the 3rd terminal and don't seem to corrode as a result.


There are serious problems with the charging terminals on the IC-M31, IC-M33, IC-M35 and also the earlier Euro MIV. The M71 seems to be ok.

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TechnoEngineer
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby TechnoEngineer » Thu May 12, 2011 7:18 pm

Stuart Yendle wrote:Even if it is water proof I would get an aquapac, I find if water gets into to the earpiece/microphone the volume is seriously lowered, although storing it in a BA pocket may protect it from splashes.

Bear in mind that the Aquapac attenuates (reduces) the sound, particularly the high frequencies (noticed this on radio test equipment). In other words, it sounds muffled at the receiver. I guess you could take it out of the Aquapac to make a distress call.
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby barrowmatt » Thu May 12, 2011 11:36 pm

Worth having for long distance trips. I have a hand held in a waterproof bag. You are supposed to have taken the training course/certificate but to be honest as a kayaker you will only use it for emergencies so I wouldn't worry about it.

I also have a 19ft yacht and I don't have the certificate and I don't know many that do. I don't chat on the radio, it's just a piece of emergency equipment.

As someone else mentioned above, go for at last 5W output. A handheld in a kayak is the worst combination of antenna efficiency and line of sight.

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MikeB
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby MikeB » Thu May 12, 2011 11:42 pm

barrowmatt wrote:Worth having for long distance trips. I have a hand held in a waterproof bag. You are supposed to have taken the training course/certificate but to be honest as a kayaker you will only use it for emergencies so I wouldn't worry about it.


I beg to differ - very useful for "in group" comms, not to mention checking in with CG as a routine. All of which helps familiarise yourself with using the thing. Mike.

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catweasel
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby catweasel » Sat May 14, 2011 11:51 am

I always carry a VHF radio with me at sea (I paddle solo) not only for emergency transmissions but also for routine communication with the coastguard when checking in and for safety when crossing busy shipping lanes, entering exiting harbours etc.

My current radio of choice is a Standard Horizon HX851E hand held which is a DSC class D signaling it also incorperates built in GPS more here: "http://www.standardhorizon.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=100018" I paid less than £200 for mine.

It is waterproof and submersible it's also slightly larger than many hand held units but in my opinion worth the carry.

These can now be licenced with OFCOM for use in British territorial waters only (though the frequencies can be set easily via the handset to US frequencies and no licence is required there).

To use a VHF Radio and espescially a DSC set I think it would be sensible and prudent to take the short range certificate, I certainly had a fun day doing so.

Regards to all and safe paddling.
Safe paddling, Andy.

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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby Andybhoy » Sat May 14, 2011 5:35 pm

MikeB wrote:
barrowmatt wrote:Worth having for long distance trips. I have a hand held in a waterproof bag. You are supposed to have taken the training course/certificate but to be honest as a kayaker you will only use it for emergencies so I wouldn't worry about it.


I beg to differ - very useful for "in group" comms, not to mention checking in with CG as a routine. All of which helps familiarise yourself with using the thing. Mike.


Agree Mike but you don't need the course or cert to do the above either. Personally I think a shorter and cheaper, kayak specifc course should be available.

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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby Chris Bolton » Sat May 14, 2011 6:52 pm

you don't need the course or cert to do the above either

Legally, you certainly do need the certificate, and I think you need to go on the course to get it. You can be fined something like £5000 for transmitting without a licence - I couldn't find the exemption for emergencies but it is accepted. Practically, if your technique is good and you don't cause the coastguard any trouble, you're very unlikely to be asked for your certificate.

Chris

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wideblueyonder
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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby wideblueyonder » Sat May 14, 2011 10:49 pm

On a recent training course, the topic of VHF licences came up and seem to recall the advice being that undertaking the course is recommended and a certificate required for general use (communicating with another VHF user, getting a weather report from Coastguard etc) however carrying a VHF and using it in an emergency situation without a certificate was not an issue.

That said, I'd like to do the course to be sure what I've picked up from reading through a couple of RYA VHF books is up to scratch and correct.

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Re: Should I have a VHF?

Postby silcockj » Sun May 15, 2011 10:59 am

being a bigtime sailor as well as kayaker, i've been surrounded by the use of VHF radios as well. Maybe its because of the surroundings i work in, but i have never been aware of any qualification to use a VHF, just like there is no qualification to drive a RIB or skipper a yacht. HOWEVER, there are important useage instructions and protocol that has to be adheared to when using a Radio. Notably for example, channel 16 is the emergency channel, its a bit like 999. If your a good person, you can keep your radio on that that channel whilst your out. just means that you can provide assistance if you can see a vessel in danger (less likely for a sea kayak...) If you however have a less urgent problem i think channel 9 is more useful...

Just found this on the internet.

http://www.coastalsailing.net/Cruising/ ... asics.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_VHF_radio

looks pretty useful and worth a read...


Id reccomend getting it as it will provide you with peace of mind you know how, when what to say when using a radio.


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