What to Look for in a VHF Radio? – The Ultimate Guide

Each boat should be equipped with a VHF radio for safety, just in case of an emergency at sea, while offshore fishing, or in case of a storm. The handheld VHF plays a prominent role in life-saving during a horrific storm. Whether it’s a built-in radio or a handheld, there are some things you need to know before you buy a VHF radio.

What to Look for in a VHF Radio?

Things To Consider Before Buying a VHF Radio

  • A VHF radio must be waterproof, not water resistant! Waterproof ask about the specs like ipx7, that’s a standard for waterproof.
  • Ensure the handheld radio you buy floats because if it doesn’t flow, the waterproof feature will not help you at the bottom of the bay.
  • When a handheld radio speaker gets wet, the speaker cone must be able to vibrate. Because if it doesn’t vibrate, you can’t hear other boaters trying to communicate with you. The voice will be garbled because the speaker is not vibrating with the cone.
  • VHF radio must have the float and flash function. So that, if the radio is wet, its backlight blink on and off. This feature will help you to find the radio in an emergency.
  • Another critical feature of a VHF radio, whether built-in or handheld, is a GPS receiver. The built-ins have the GPS receiver built right into the radio. You don’t even need an external antenna. And the handhelds have a GPS GLONASS, a navigation receiver built-in now. It provides several degrees of functionality. If your main ship’s GPS fails, you have a backup in your hand in your built-in VHF radio. Secondly, in an emergency, not only can you call for help, but by looking at the screen in front of you, you can give rescue agencies your exact position in latitude and longitude. With GPS-enabled radio, you can use DSC or digital selective calling.
  • A simple, free and easy thing you have to do to provide an enhanced safety level for your family and crew register is to register an MMSI number that’s a mobile marine service identification number. It’s free, and you’ll be able to take advantage of all the safety features of DSC.

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