Marine Radio - Handheld and Fixed

Marine Radio

When we start thinking in terms of either more fully utilising the inland waterways, or taking a boat to sea, it is incumbent on us to guard the safety of ourselves and others sharing the water.

One way of doing this by being able to stay in touch with other waterways users. Many people use mobile phones for inshore and river / canal cruising. This is all very well if you are phoning ahead to a lock or similar, but completely useless if you do not have a number to ring.

With a working marine radio tuned to channel 16 you can listen for contacts with other vessels within a few miles range of your own boat and be prepared for possible close encounters with vessels possibly many times the size of your own boat. I have first hand experience of this. On a trip from Goole in Yorkshire to Castleford on a winding stretch of canal meeting commercial vessels upward of 200 feet long on what are effectively blind bends.

It has to be mentioned that by law a member of your crew should be licensed to use the equipment. In practical terms, in an emergency, use of the equipment without a licensed person aboard would probably be acceptable, particularly if someone on board used the equipment in a professional manner. This is not an endorsement of illegal use by the way.

In very broad terms marine radio is either fixed or handheld. Handheld radios transmit at lower power than fixed units, typically in the 5 to 6 watt range, though some are offered with the ability to lower transmission power for close work. The reason for this is to protect the user from antennae radiation. A fixed unit will have an external antennae and will transmit in the 25 watt range, where a hand held will typically transmit at a very low level because of antennae proximity. The main difference noticed is going to be transmission range. This is far more important out at sea than on the inland waterways. A handheld unit transmitting at 6 watts will have a usable range of between 3 and 8 miles. The 25 watt fixed unit will have a general range of 15 to 20 miles.

Marine radio operates on a line of sight basis, so the signal can be blocked by line of sight obstructions. This is where an antennae at high level, at the top of a mast for example, is always going to out perform an antennae at deck level.

To finish this section here are my two Amazon links followed by the Ebay.co.uk carousel. Don't forget that all of the ebay listings are straight from the appropriate live ebay listing

Marine Radio Link from Amazon.co.uk

Our Marine Radio Link From Amazon.com