A Handy Guide: Marine VHF Radio with GPS

Article about A Handy Guide: Marine VHF Radio with GPS

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Nov 10, 2021

Marine VHF radio with GPS is a two-way radio system used for bidirectional voice communication from one ship to another ship and another shore. It is mainly installed on large ships, but it is also used in small crafts. The frequency ranges between 156 MHz to 174 MHz. The transmitter power is limited to 25 watts. It is used to give out a call for rescue in case of an emergency. The set can either be fixed or portable.

The fixed set has advantages like:

• It has a reliable power source

• It has higher transmit power

• It is a more extensive and more effective antenna

• It has a more prominent display and buttons

Advantages of portable set:

• Easy to carry

• Convenient in the case of emergency

• Own power source

• Waterproof

Types of equipment:

Voice only: it is a piece of traditional equipment that depends on the human voice for calling and communicating. For example, low-price handheld units are voice only.

Digital selective calling: this feature provides all the functions of voice-only equipment and other features such as calling another watercraft using a unique identifier, distress button, which automatically sends a distress signal that identifies the calling vessel and the nature of the emergency and a built-in GPS receiver.

Automatic identification system: AIS data is carried on dedicated VHF channels 87B and 88B at the rate of 9,600bit/s.

Text messaging: it is similar to the trend of SMS, which is sending and receiving text messages.

Regulation of marine VHF radio:

In the United Kingdom, if you want to use a marine VHF radio, then you should have a short-range certificate which you will get after doing a course for two days and passing the exam. If you want to use the marine VHF radio, you need a license. Every sailor or even paddleboater needs a marine radio as it is a safety tool and helps you contact other sailors in an emergency.

Importance of Marine VHF

Marine VHF radio provides a medium to communicate with other watercraft. The inland waterways have become busier because of commercial traffic. In addition, new boaters may not know the traditional means of communication like sound signals. These factors led to a situation where marine VHF radio has become such an integral part of the equipment for every sailor. As a result, most commercial users and consumers have been advised to use marine VHF radio as a safety tool to aid communication and navigation. A marine VHF radio permits a sailor to listen to broadcast messages and call other ships in case of urgency.

After you install marine VHF radio, it requires a radio license. You get this through the Office of Communications website. In the UK, the ship's radio license has been free of charge since 2006. It is checked after every ten years.

Types of marine VHF radios:

Handheld VHF: these are small, portable, and suitable for small boats. They don't have their battery source. They work as an emergency backup for fixed radios or as personal radios for the crew.

Fixed panel-mount radios: these are permanent, fixed, and ideal as the main radio. They offer high range than a handheld because of their extra power.

Which one is better?

A handheld marine VHF radio is easier to use under pressure because of shortcuts and simplicity. It also has a decent battery.

What features should you consider in a marine VHF radio:

• Easy to use, it is essential to keep in mind that one should use a radio that is easy to operate and control in an emergency.

• Corrosion protection

• Buoyancy, by chance, if you drop the radio by accident, it will come to the surface so you can retrieve it; this is called buoyancy. Handheld sets have strobe lighting; this helps to see in the water.

• ATIS programmable, needed when you go abroad.

• Timely weather alerts

• Power can be used to improve the signal's quality and overcome some obstacles. More power out means more power in which gives shorter battery life for handhelds or non-recharging batteries.

• Active noise cancellation technology, if you have to operate in loud surroundings, the radio should have active noise cancellation.

• Check the warranty and support for peace of mind.

Is marine VHF radio illegal on land?

• Marine radios can function on land, but because they are used by vessels in distress, maritime issues, personal communication, and business needs, it is not legal for a person to use a marine radio.


Drop-in chargers: this makes it easier to keep the radio powered up, so it is ready when you need to use it. There are two types of drop-in chargers: slow chargers and rapid chargers. Rapid chargers have voltage regulation and sensing circuits.

Alkaline battery packs: they let you use nonexpensive, storage-life disposable batteries.

Antenna adapters: these connect your handheld to the ship's antenna. This feature extends the range of the handheld dramatically and is an important safety feature.

Benefits of GPS:

• GPS feature allows you to see your exact position on the water, which can help you access assistance and help others locate you. In addition, destinations you regularly visit are excellent if you have a favorite secret fishing spot that you'd like to visit again.

VHF Radio Etiquettes:

VHF Radio calls should start by repeating the name of the boat that is calling and the name of the owned boat three times. After that, you have to say 'over' after the conversation is over. It is better if you have an idea about the working channels for the nearby area.

Best Vhf Marine Radio Manufacturers & Suppliers

• VHF Marine Radio that is Waterproof and has buoyancy. 5W Output Power

• New Arrival VITAI VT-35M VHF Maine Radio that is Waterproof with Output Power 5W

• 156-163MHz IPX7 that is waterproof VHF Marine Radio

• Puxing UHF VHF marine PMR radio PMR 446 that acts as a walkie talkie

Articles authored by Wesly Rider