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Buying a New VHF Radio this Spring?

March 23rd, 2007 by Doug Dawson 

A relatively new feature to consider before you just buy another VHF radio is to consider getting one with a remote microphone (all the features of the radio are located on the microphone including a readout). These models of radio have a hard wired microphone that can be located convenient to your helm with the main unit mounted somewhere out of the way.

Sailboats, small power boats and flybridges

This concept works especially well on sailboats and small power boats with limited access and on flybridges. The remote mic is fully functional as were the old style of radio with all the functions on the main unit. The main advantage to the remote mic is that the unit and the controls are where you are, rather than mounted down in the cabin or under the dash out of the weather. These new remote mics are weatherproof so they can be left out from week to week.

Handheld VHF radios with their limited coverage are no substitute for a remote mic with the full power of the main radio attached a good antenna-approximately 5 miles versus approximately 30 miles.

VHF With Remote

I would highly recommend the new remote type of VHF so that you can drive and talk at the same time especially in bad weather conditions or in the event of a rescue effort. You don’t have to take your eyes off the waterway ahead to change channels or leave the helm to go down below to answer a question from the Coast Guard.

Some of the recent VHF’s are capable of being hardwired to the new remote mic. Ask you marine dealer if your current radio is new enough to just add a mic to it as opposed to buying a whole new radio with a remote mic.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Doug Dawson has personally done over 12,000 boat evaluations and has been a Boating Insider since his youth. He is also author of the popular "How To Buy A Boat With Confidence".

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