Owning a boat is a great option for a family or group of friends to enjoy a fun adventure and cool down when the temperatures start to rise. Owning a boat may be more affordable than it seems, thanks to the great deals available, especially at the end of the model year. If you don’t have the money to buy a larger boat, an outboard motor will transform a rowboat to a vessel that your family can enjoy for many years. As any experienced boat owner will tell you, having the right equipment on board is essential for maritime safety.
What is VHF and why would I need it?
VHF radios are the cornerstone of any boat’s safety equipment. VHF is the abbreviation for Very High Frequency and the wavelength of signals that these radios emit. They are used primarily outdoors because their longer wavelengths can travel further than ultra-high frequency (UHF) signals. VHF radios are often used by security guards and grounds keeping crews who patrol outside arenas. These radios are also widely used on golf courses, in aviation and by boating.
A VHF radio will be your best choice in the event of an emergency at sea. Although federal boating laws do not include VHFs in their list of mandatory equipment, many insurers advise boaters to have a VHF on board and to know how to use it. They also recommend that boat owners check to make sure it’s working properly before launching the boat.
VHF radios can also be used to communicate with other boaters when there is no emergency. Your VHF radio will keep you in contact with other boat captains, whether you need to alert another boat of potentially hazardous conditions or ask about the local communities on shore.
Learn to Use Your VHF Radio
Knowing the components of your VHF is important for operating your boat safely and responsibly, whether you own a fishing boat, a pontoon or a powerboat. You’ll feel more confident using your radio if you know how it works. If it malfunctions, you will be better equipped to troubleshoot it.
You can have your VHF equipment either stationary with a radio attached and a hand-held mic, or portable with the radio, microphone and other components all contained in one compact handheld unit. A VHF communication system is made up of the following components:
The power source. Portable units run on batteries, while stationary units are hardwired into the boat’s power.
The radio unit contains a transmitter and receiver that allows you to send or receive signals. The radio has an LCD that shows the volume, channel and other information. The radio also features controls to allow you use it: you can adjust the volume, select the channel and switch between receiving or transmitting.
The antenna is what extends your receiver’s capability to receive signals. In the event that your main antenna becomes damaged, it is best to keep a backup on board.
A DSC Controller, which gives you a unique digital identity called MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity). DSC controllers also handle distress calls
Automatic identification system (present on more advanced units), which uses GPS receivers to transmit information like destination and MMSI.
This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at Becker Mining Communications! For over 15 years, Becker Communications has been the industry’s leader in underground radio communication systems and electrical mining communication systems. As they expanded into surface mining, railroads, and tunneling they added wireless communication systems, handheld radios, tagging, and tracking systems, as well as gas monitoring.