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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can I pick your brains please. I do a fair bit of kayak lure fishing often in pretty remote areas of the tip of Cornwall mostly alone and often first or last light. Having done so always without a vhf radio. Which I know, is not the smartest thing to be doing . Can you recommend one that wont cost the earth yet is up to the job. Thanks in advance Mat..
 

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Hi Mat, Firstly I recommend you take RYA Marine Radio Operators/Short Range VHF Certification course. It's a very good way to spend the majority of Saturday, you'll learn a ton of useful information. It's required to get your RYA Short Range Certificate, as well as your OFCOM Call Sign. The course is based around the GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System), so the radios are all DSC capable (Digital Selective Calling). GPS is enabled on DSC radios. Personally, I own an Icom IC-M25 portable, it is not a DSC portable. A decent DSC portable will cost over £200.00 easily. I work in the trade so with my discount the IC-M25 was about £100.00. That radio is light weight and floats as required. I also want to add that useful range of a portable VHF radio from the platform of a kayak is relatively limited, perhaps 4 miles on a good day. Antenna height/gain and output power determine range in ideal conditions. Beyond that range if you're in trouble, the Coastguard might hear you, but you may not hear a reply. I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Mat, Firstly I recommend you take RYA Marine Radio Operators/Short Range VHF Certification course. It's a very good way to spend the majority of Saturday, you'll learn a ton of useful information. It's required to get your RYA Short Range Certificate, as well as your OFCOM Call Sign. The course is based around the GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System), so the radios are all DSC capable (Digital Selective Calling). GPS is enabled on DSC radios. Personally, I own an Icom IC-M25 portable, it is not a DSC portable. A decent DSC portable will cost over £200.00 easily. I work in the trade so with my discount the IC-M25 was about £100.00. That radio is light weight and floats as required. I also want to add that useful range of a portable VHF radio from the platform of a kayak is relatively limited, perhaps 4 miles on a good day. Antenna height/gain and output power determine range in ideal conditions. Beyond that range if you're in trouble, the Coastguard might hear you, but you may not hear a reply. I hope this helps.
That's a great reply Mike, thankyou. I'll have a look into the course, no doubt there'll be one close by.
 

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I took the course in Falmouth through Cornwall Council at the Adult Education Centre there on Tregenver Road. Cost of course was £50.00, then had to bring additional 50 quid or so for the exam (can't recall exact amount). I highly recommend it! FYI - It books up fast, I waited about 4 months to take mine.
 

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Echo Mike's response. using a VHF in the heat of the moment you need to know procedure and protocol. It will help you. It is also a legal requirement to use one other than in an emergency. Get used to calling the Coastguard just before you launch, with an idea of your area of operation (fill in CG66 form with a picture of your kayak and you in your gear). Falmouth will get used to your call ins (AND OUTS!!!). A launch position (Sennen?) and where you will be going roughly, so they can save time in a call out.

Believe it or not, it is still important if you are operating close inshore - more so. If you are 5 miles out to sea, clifftop dog walkers can't see you, but if you are 500 yards out, you wouldn't believe how many times the inshore boat is called out to a 'kayaker in distress' because they are anchored up and they must be in trouble because they are 'not going anywhere', called in by a well meaning walker or someone on the beach. ESPECIALLY IF FLY FISHING OR CASTING LURES - because they see you waving your arms, so you must be waving for assistance!

In this situation, if you have called in your launch, the CG will simply give you a shout on the VHF and say they have been told of a kayaker in your position in trouble, are you OK? You say yes...they will probably ask if there is another kayak within sight...so you can prevent an unecessary launch, which might actually be needed elsewhere while they are attending you otherwise.

IT IS IMPERATIVE you keep the CG updated with your ETA ashore. If you say in the morning you will be back at 15.00, but the fish are biting and you decide to stay out - call them and say you have changed your return to 17.00 (or whatever) - then when you arrive back ashore, give them a shout to say so. They can take you off the board then, knowing you are safe. The simple act of calling your launch in tells the CG that you have VHF. and can be communicated with - you are another pair of eyes on the water.

As for actual sets. Don't skimp. Buy once and buy better. I would also recommend ICOM, but I am not a fan of floating versions, they are much bulkier for thier output (they have to put the flotation foam somewhere!). I use an M71, which is a professional set with 6 watts output. Reception is also better and it has background noise cancelling filters. The build quality is far superior, even though it is more expensive. My ICOm M1EuroV is obsolete now, but they do keep some spares. I had mine 8 or 9 years and dropped it 30 feet onto a concrete pad (in my top pocket, bend down to sit with my legs over....) It landed with a sickening crunch, but after about a second, the 16 came back on the screen and was staring up at me! I climbed down and collected it. Nothing had broken, the case was intact, but the screen had an INTERNAL crack. I used it like that for another 3 years before the liquid diffused so badly I couldn't tell the numbers properly - I got a new screen installed for the princely sum of £4.78 including VAT. If I had known it would be that cheap, I would have done it straightaway. That set is still going strong up in Scotland and the battery still gives 14 hours on a full charge (original battery).

It it is worth paying the little extra - and don't think that just because it is rated to IPX8, that means you can dunk it at will. They are good, but the IPX ratings are only a one time test, it doesn't mean you can do it repeadedly, another reason I think the floating ones give people the wrong impression. Protect all contacts, even those inside the battery compartment protected by an O-ring. I use ACF50 or Corrosion-X, both of which are fine on any rubber or plastic and good for electrical contacts. Otherwise the old favourite, vaseline smeared over the contacts - but vaseline attracts grit and fine sand to create a grinding paste! ACF50 or Corrosion-X are fine liquids which bond to the metal and don't have a sticky residue. Corrosion-X is also perfect for lubing reel bearings, and wiping over anything to protect it from saltwater.

I am looking to be donw in August for the Penzance meet - but I might be working in America. I don't know the USA dates yet. Even so, I will be down this summer.
 
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