Best VHF radio and set up advice?

 Hey all

time to replace the VHF as the current model is old and getting a bit unreliable. 

Any recommendations on the best/ most powerful model available at present? I do a fair bit of long range/ far offshore fishing and know that a lot of getting the  best range will be depend on Set up type/ Ariel length etc, but I’m a bit of an elec type stuff numpty, so any recommendations both the unit and best ways to get the best reception range etc out of both the set up and components would be greatly appreciated

my current unit is an old GME so was looking at the GX700W so I could use most of the same connections/ running gear, but am happy to go a different brand and work backwards from there. Is this the best/ strongest GME there is and is there any other better/ stronger brands/ models out there?

price not really an issue unless it’s a crazy stupid difference from the GX700W.

woukd really appreciate people’s ideas/ suggestions 

 

cheers


sunshine's picture

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Date Joined: 03/03/09

Icom .....no question in my mind

Sun, 2017-11-05 10:28

 worth every cent. Antenna, as high on the boat as possible and not near other antennas as this causes nulls and directionality. Antenna length....again the longer the better.  Connections wise all radios use PL259 to connect to the antenna so you shouldn't need to change anything there UNLESS the existing cable is showing signs of damage or corrosion 

Quobbarockhopper's picture

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 Cheers mate. Much

Sun, 2017-11-05 11:53

 Cheers mate. Much appreciated. On the Icom- what model are u referring to and what’s the advantages? I had a quick look- don’t think the GPS position display and the NMEA connectivity isn’t suited/ required for my set up but would be interested to know (if your in the know about this type of thing) if it’s any more powerful/ better potential range than the GME?

thanks heaps 

gruntre69's picture

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 The power output on these

Sun, 2017-11-05 13:08

 The power output on these units is restricted and most good brands will have the max power allowed. I think it's 5 watts from memory. I don't think you could go far wrong with Icom or GME and I think Icom is a premium brand. If I were you though I would certainly replace the antenna wire and base if installing a new radio. Both the inner conductor and shielding do corrode over time and why would you take the chance with old gear on a new install. In fact I reckon start with the antenna and see how your existing unit performs.

sunshine's picture

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Date Joined: 03/03/09

Icom M323G

Sun, 2017-11-05 13:38

 Low power is 1watt and high power 25 watts.  I like the fact it has built in GPS however you can buy the non GPS version a little cheaper. Waterproof unit to a metre for half an hour which speaks a lot !

Posts: 64

Date Joined: 07/12/13

Antenna Length.

Sun, 2017-11-05 19:33

 Just a quick note on antenna length. I purchased a GME AE346V VHF Marine antenna 1.8m in length. I thought it would be better than the standard 600mm VHF whip already installed on the boat being a longer length.

Wrong. The first day out the join between the glass whip and metal base failed. (replaced under GME warranty) But I was truly surprised to find only a 600mm antenna inside the whip. 

I understand that the wave length determins the length of the antenna i.e. full wave 1/2 1/4 etc. I assumed being that the antenna was over double the length of the 600mm antenna it would be at least 1200mm giving better range for the radio.

I also took it to a radio technician who was also very surprised by the internal construction.

I questioned GME and the response was that the 1.8m and 2.4m whips are purely cosmetic. They all contain the same internal antenna. 

Just proves size isn't always better.

 

Steve

 

 

Posts: 4470

Date Joined: 17/06/10

I like the Icom make of VHF

Sun, 2017-11-05 21:30

I think that the icom unit is a better unit, they appear to me to be more study in construction and weather resistant.

Very surprised at what GME told you about their antennas I have never stripped one down but I thought that higher is best and that the 2.4 would have been a full wave length antenna. That's another piece of info to put away into the think tank next time I have to buy an antenna.

Posts: 64

Date Joined: 07/12/13

Email direct from GME

Mon, 2017-11-06 11:32

Good Morning Steve,

Apologies for the belated reply. I have had a new AE346V sent out to your address at no charge in a hope to rectify the situation.

As for the internal length of the antenna, the programmed pole is located at the lower end of the whip as the same whip is utilised over 3 different variants  that being VHF, 27Mhz and AM/FM each having different internal lengths and as the whip tapers to a smaller diameter at the top, the internals are installed at the lower end to allocate the required amount of space for inside the whip.

I hope this sheds some light on the reasoning behind our design choices and understand if they do not suit your needs.

If you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me again.

 

 

Regards

Aaron Wheeler
Sales & Service Support

 

 When the antenna came apart I took it to a radio technician believing that something was missing or had snapped off when the antenna parted. He also was very surprised to see the internal construction of the antenna and how it did not utilise the full length of the whip. I have a photo of the internals but not sure how to post it on this page. Can email it to you if you like.

 

 

 

backlash's picture

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Date Joined: 12/10/10

ZCG SCALAR ANTENNA

Sun, 2017-11-05 21:54

 With vhf the antenna is more crucial than with a uhf

i have a zcg scalar and icom on the Haines and its excellent

scubafish's picture

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vhf

Sun, 2017-11-05 22:07

I went with the same brand as my sounder gear and have used the gps and the vhf radio linked together for DSC.

https://ww2.lowrance.com/en-au/Products/VHF-AIS/

sunshine's picture

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With the Icom no need for linking with built in GPS

Sun, 2017-11-05 22:13

And if you can source a scalar antenna do so .....way better than GME  

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Date Joined: 29/03/13

 G'dayNo expert but a few

Mon, 2017-11-06 07:01

 G'day

No expert but a few thoughts.   My research indicated Icom are the premium brand.  For a number of reasons though I have installed Lowrance Lnk 5 units in my current and previous boats, they seem good value and quality.  The only issue I had was pairing the DSC function in current boat where I have garmin combo's and the 2 brands use different coloured wires, terminology and nmea language, eventually got there but was hard.

Antenna height as said makes a difference but if you google the formulae for working out transmit/receive distances it's not that far anyway, more important imo is whether there are repeater stations in the area you fish and knowing which channels are repeated 

Cheers

Rod

 

sunshine's picture

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Date Joined: 03/03/09

Dunno where you found that formula

Mon, 2017-11-06 08:36

But it is utter garbage.  As a retired ham radio operator (VK6XI) height and antenna quality are MORE important than the quality of the hardware you might be using.  As a novice amateur I only ran 5 watts output but the antenna was 70 feet up and was a six element cubicle quad......contacted over 200 countries on that set up.  A good antenna works both ways, better reception and transmission.  If you want to learn a little about antennas see if you can obtain a copy of the ARRL antenna handbook, brilliant publication but old as the hills 

carnarvonite's picture

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Any radio

Mon, 2017-11-06 08:46

Any good brand radio, Icom, Gme, Cobra etc as all have 25 watt output but the aerial is what matters, good quality and as long as possible with it set on the boat in the highest position possible

Have worked with Icom and Gme for years and found there s no difference in performance.

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Date Joined: 29/03/13

A little research can prevent

Mon, 2017-11-06 09:04

 
sunshine's picture

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Date Joined: 03/03/09

Dunno where you found that formula
Mon, 2017-11-06 08:36

 

But it is utter garbage.  As a retired ham radio operator (VK6XI) height and antenna quality are MORE important than the quality of the hardware you might be using.  As a novice amateur I only ran 5 watts output but the antenna was 70 feet up and was a six element cubicle quad......contacted over 200 countries on that set up.  A good antenna works both ways, better reception and transmission.  If you want to learn a little about antennas see if you can obtain a copy of the ARRL antenna handbook, brilliant publication but old as the hills 

 

 

 

Sunshine, unlike yourself I'm not an expert, but my research indicates that VHF is 'line of sight'

Cheers

Rod

sunshine's picture

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Date Joined: 03/03/09

Generally it is hence the higher the antenna

Mon, 2017-11-06 12:53

 The more coverage you will achieve.  Oddly however VHF can be heard way beyond line of sight due to a phenomena called tropospheric ducting often linked to a weather trough running down the coast.  I man the radio room of a VSR on a regular basis and, when a trough is lying off the west coast often clearly hear and can communicate with Geraldton ....some 400km as the crow flies ....and on rare occasions have even heard Acrim base at Denham though weakly.  I personally have removed the hf antenna from my boat and centrally positioned the longest antenna I could source on the roof of the hard top.  Coverage has been greatly enhanced by this !

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Date Joined: 17/06/10

Now I'm confused

Mon, 2017-11-06 13:04

Way back when I did my coxsun ticket and later on when I did a coastal nav ticket I can remember being told that VHF is line of sight.

I acknowledge your expertise in these matters rodfishsa and I'm not disputing it I'm just one old boy who is all at sea (excuse the pun) when it comes to) radio distances be it UHF, VHF or 27 meg.

Just had a look at what a radio site is saying and they say this

How Far Can I Communicate?

While Very High Frequency (VHF) communications offers plenty of positives: such as sound quality, smaller and low cost antennas, and is less subject to atmospheric interference. It does have one large drawback and that is its relatively short range.
The range of VHF radios is dependent on many factors, the most limiting of these is that VHF is basically line of sight radio. Simply put, the transmitting and receiving antennas must be able to see each other in order to establish communications.
Not wishing to start a great debate just wanting to find out what governs UHF reception, distance wise.

Posts: 60

Date Joined: 29/03/13

 Sorry for any confusion

Mon, 2017-11-06 13:20

 Sorry for any confusion meglodon, perhaps the copy and paste of another post added to the confusion,  I'll leave it to the expert

Cheers
Rod

Doc's picture

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Height is Might with antennas

Mon, 2017-11-06 14:48

Height is Might with antennas

Rob H's picture

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Date Joined: 18/01/12

 If replacing with GME just

Wed, 2017-11-08 14:48

 If replacing with GME just be certain that the source of your unreliability isn't the existing antennae/power supply.

Resulting in exactly the same issues

____________________________________________________________________________

 Give a man a mask, and he'll show you his true face...

 

 

The older you get the more you realize that no one has a f++king clue what they're doing.

Everyone's just winging it.

 

Quobbarockhopper's picture

Posts: 333

Date Joined: 28/05/10

 yep, cheers mate, am

Fri, 2017-11-10 07:30

 yep, cheers mate, am planning on doing a full refit, wiring and all

... somehow I think a new headset will fix my broken volume knob issues