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VHF Marine Radios

Updated on July 24, 2015

VHF Marine Radios

This page provides information about VHF marine radios, antennas and accessories.

VHF Marine radios are considered to be essential safety equipment for boaters of all types.

photo credit: United States Coast Guard

Marine VHF Radio Basics

VHF marine radios are essential equipment on a boat. The usable range of a VHF radio system is dependant on several factors including the weather, the boat , the antenna and the health of the radio.

The most important part of the system is the antenna. Marine antennas should be mounted as high as practical. Another important quality of an antenna is it's gain.

Gain is rated in decibels or dB. Most experts recommend a quality antenna with a gain of 6 dB for powerboats under 50 ft. The antenna system can be tested by measuring the VSWR of the antenna. The VSWR should be as low as possible, typically 1.5 to 1 or lower on a healthy antenna.

Rescue 21 VHF Radio System

Rescue 21 is an electronic system which provides direction-finding capability and Digital Selective Calling, resulting in a more timely response to mariners in distress.

Currently, the system operating along much of North America's coastline. When complete, Rescue 21 will cover more than 95,000 miles of coastline, navigable rivers and waterways in the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

source: USCG press release

HF Radios

A United States Coast Guard study of the importance of their HF broadcasts states:

"The responding public collectively perceives that the USCG HF broadcasts are essential to their safety. There is no viable alternative to the USCG HF broadcasts because present alternatives are perceived by the public to be out of financial reach. Also, marine weather forecasts available through these alternative sources may not guarantee the same level of accuracy, timeliness, and/or sufficiency as provided by the USCG HF broadcasts."

VHF Radio Poll

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Marine Radio Feedback

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      Is there no one out there,that can give a board level diagram for a solara dsc.Its a uniden board #pd-866ab 1/3. Capacitor 176 bad the value is no problem. But resistor r-172 is.Colour code gone. Audio output section. Thanks in advance for any info.

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      Vemmie 9 years ago


      Could you please provide us some more information about USCG HF transmitters and also what are the uses of this transmitters apart from Coas Guard