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Handheld VHF Radio - Best Option

Have been wanting to invest in a handheld VHF radio for the boat. Got a Cobra MR HH350 for Christmas. It's a 6 watt, floating, handheld VHF radio. Nothing super fancy but it got good reviews and was about $100. It does not have GPS or DSC functions.


I have a 16 foot flats boat and will be fishing inshore 99% of the time. Maybe at some point I would fish off the beach or take the boat to the keys but I will not be heading offshore very far if I ever do. So my questions are:

Is it stupid not to have a VHF with the GPS and DSC capabilities? Its about another hundred for these features.

Does anyone know if this particular radio is a good radio?

Are there any particular brands and or models you would recommend?

Since this is for emergency situations I want to do it right but also not spend an arm an a leg.

Thanks in advance!


  • TarpoonTarpoon Posts: 61 Deckhand
    I assume you are trailering to the keys? Most of that has cell coverage. Radio really only needed for the ENP. Use Sea Tows automated radio check to check your range if you are concerned.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,792 Captain
    A few small things to remember about VHF radios.... If your handheld transmits at 25 watts you're in business - and it's just as good as a fixed mount... The big difference is that the fixed mount radio has a much better antenna - and that's what gets you "heard"... Although the gps linkage and DSC is nice to have if you're in bluewater or at the limits of Coast Guard coverage... - inshore they're not that important since in an emergency all you need to do is contact the Coast Guard. If you can connect with them, and you're inshore, they'll know pretty much exactly where you are within about 30 seconds (triangulation between their various antenna locations....) whether you want them to know or not....

    If you already have a decent handheld your best bet is to add a fixed mount, waterproof, VHF (even if you're operating a microskiff) with an antenna that has a decent rating (for small skiffs I like the Metz whip -it's only three feet long....and you can store the s.s. whip until it's needed to transmit on skiffs that are fly fishing...). Hope this helps.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
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