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  • VHF with bells and whistles

    Looking into picking up a good VHF radio and am confused as to the bells and whistles I need (vs what the gadget guy in me wants).

    I know I want the DSC but am also thinking it would be nice to plug it into my sounder/gps. I've got a Lowrance 522 that has NMEA 0183 and 2000 and I see Lowrance has a radio (LVR-880) that seems to connect to it and do some funky things.

    Now this is probably more of a gadget than I need as I fish and play on Lake Okanagan and I don't think I've ever been outside of cell coverage. But the weather can turn quick (as we saw last year) and I am often out by myself.

    Can other, non-Lowrance radios connect to a Lowrance GPS? I'm assuming yes, as long as they use a NMEA feature.

    Cabellas sells it for under $200, but I'm not sure if that is a decent price or not. Given our dollar right now, that is going to be close to $300 Cdn (including taxes, shipping etc) and I am just wondering if a better deal is out there?
    1977 Starcraft 18' SS 1980 Evin 115

  • #2
    Re: VHF with bells and whistles

    Any VHF that accepts NMEA will communicate with the GPS. But if you start tethering your handheld into cables, you have just negated most of the benefits of a handheld, and may be a lot cheaper off just getting a console-type VHF instead of a handheld.

    Standard Horizon makes a handheld VHF that floats and has GPS built-in already. As I recall, it's well under $300.00 USD. Maybe that's more like what you want...
    Paul
    Certified Tohatsu TLDI Technician
    Buffalo NY USA

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    • #3
      Re: VHF with bells and whistles

      Not sure a handheld is what I want. The one I'm looking at is not handheld.

      http://www.lowrance.com/en/Products/...adios/LVR-880/

      I'd rather have it installed where I don't forget it. I won't use it on my smaller boats as no one uses VHF where I take them (small trout lakes) and am looking more for just my 18 ft boat on bigger lakes.
      1977 Starcraft 18' SS 1980 Evin 115

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      • #4
        Re: VHF with bells and whistles

        You should purchase a VHF Marine Band radio that has been certified as Class-D DSC; this is the U.S. Coast Guard recommendation, and most likely also the Canadian Coast Guard recommendation.

        A Class-D DSC radio is really more of a computer attached to a radio than the other way around. Digital selective calling allows many nice features.

        The most important feature for a DSC radio is to provide it with vessel position information for use in emergency DSC calls. This is done by connecting the radio to a source of position information using a NMEA interface. The typical configuration is to use a NMEA-0183 interface and to get the vessel position information from a GPS receiver.

        Because of the vagaries of the wiring, connectors, terminology, and so on, many boaters have difficulty in making a serial data connection between two devices, and who can blame them. It is tricky.

        NMEA-2000 is another vessel electronic communication standard which provides for simpler interfacing between devices. All devices connect to a NMEA-2000 vessel network backbone. This removes some of the difficulty in configuring communications between devices that often occurs when using NMEA-0183 wiring and protocols.

        The LOWRANCE LVR-880 radio is somewhat unique in that it has a NMEA-2000 interface. It can be connected to a NMEA-2000 vessel network backbone and communicate with other devices, such as a GPS receiver, that are also connected to the vessel network.

        If you already have a NMEA-2000 network backbone installed in your vessel, and you already have a GPS receiver on that network, then installing a LVR-880 will be a relatively simple way to get your VHF Marine Band radio communicating with your GPS receiver.

        In addition to the basic function of having a vessel position supplied to the radio for transmission in emergency DSC calls, you can also use other features of the digital selective calling function. You can call other vessels using their maritime mobile service identity. You can request other vessels give you their position. You can display the position of other vessels on your chart plotter (if your chart plotter provides that functionality). If you have a chart plotter with an NMEA-2000 network interface installed on your vessel, you will be able to establish communication between the DSC radio and the chart plotter for the purpose of displaying the position of vessels that have sent you their positions via digital selective calling functions.

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        • #5
          Re: VHF with bells and whistles

          As I said, some funky things

          I don't have the NMEA backbone yet, but plan on it for a few things, the radio being one of them. But it does sound like this radio will do what I'm wanting (more of a geek thing than a need thing).
          1977 Starcraft 18' SS 1980 Evin 115

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          • #6
            Re: VHF with bells and whistles

            Is there a good primer on VHF stuff I can read?
            1977 Starcraft 18' SS 1980 Evin 115

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            • #7
              http://www.boatus.com/husick/c_vhf.asp

              Not all DSC class D radios are created equal

              http://www.yachtingmagazine.com/article.jsp?ID=21014386
              ....

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              • #8
                Re: VHF with bells and whistles

                take the Power Squadron VHF course. you need to any way to get your operators licence which is manditory in Canada. the course is easy and the rcmp or the CG will slap your wrist and hand you a ticket if you dont have it
                motorsport is the most efficient method known to man of turning money into noise

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                • #9
                  Re: VHF with bells and whistles

                  Originally posted by dan t. View Post
                  take the Power Squadron VHF course. you need to any way to get your operators licence which is manditory in Canada. the course is easy and the rcmp or the CG will slap your wrist and hand you a ticket if you dont have it
                  I was looking into the need for a license, and from what I see it is no longer the case in Canada. As long as I only use it in Canada, I don't need one.
                  1977 Starcraft 18' SS 1980 Evin 115

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                  • #10
                    Re: VHF with bells and whistles

                    you dont need a station licence anymore, you still need an operators licence.call the coast gaurd and check if you dont believe me
                    motorsport is the most efficient method known to man of turning money into noise

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: VHF with bells and whistles

                      Originally posted by dan t. View Post
                      you dont need a station licence anymore, you still need an operators licence.call the coast gaurd and check if you dont believe me
                      Here is a quote from Industry Canada's web site;

                      <Licensing Requirements

                      Do I need a licence for the marine radio equipment on board my vessel?

                      You will not require a licence if you meet both of the following criteria:

                      the vessel is not operated in the sovereign waters of a country other than Canada.
                      the radio equipment on board the vessel is only capable of operating on frequencies that are allocated for maritime mobile communications or marine radio navigation. You can verify whether the frequencies you use are in the maritime mobile band by referring to Regulation by Reference RBR-2.
                      If you do not meet both of the above criteria, you will require a radio licence. You can contact your local Industry Canada office for more information. All of the Industry Canada offices can be found in RIC-66.

                      Does the licence exemption apply to everyone, including safety services and commercial operations?

                      Yes. As long as the exemption criteria is met, no radio licence is required. The exemption applies to all users who qualify, including government operations, safety services, and passenger ships or vessels.

                      Will compulsorily fitted vessels still require a radio licence?

                      As long as the exemption criteria is met, no radio licence is required.>
                      Mike Robinson

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                      • #12
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                        Re: VHF with bells and whistles

                        After further research it appears that the above quote from Industry Canada's web site refers to the station license and not the operator's license. I have also found that the Power Squadron's and Transport canada's web sites say they are required.
                        Mike Robinson

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