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New VHF Driving Me Crazy!

posted Sep 11, 2011, 6:33 PM by Christopher Hubbell
Standard Horizon VHF
Disclaimer:  I am to blame for not reading the instructions and knowing my electronics.  But I'm still going to whine because it makes for good reading.

Every time we go out for a cruise, I dutifully put the VHF on channel 16 to monitor for emergencies.  About 5 minutes out, the VHF begins a shrill alert to let me know that it is not receiving GPS data.  Well, of course not!  It's not installed yet.  Just be silent, please.

Next, my Metz antenna combined with this stellar Standard Horizon radio is able to pull in signals from the moon and everywhere else.  As a result, I almost never make it out with another shrill DCS All Stations Broadcast alarm which again requires me to leave the helm, run down to the cabin, and hit buttons to silence the beast.

Today we had quite an adventure as a 26 foot sailboat about two hours from us has washed onto some rocks and become disabled.  There were no less than 5 DCS alerts which shot out ear piercing sirens that required our acknowledgment in the form of a button press.

We were trying to enjoy our afternoon cruise, and our son's play in his raft.  At one point my wife was even trying to relax and nap in the cabin but, you guessed it, someone on the moon needed assistance and the great DSC siren interrupted our relaxation.

I love the idea of DSC, and I'm happy that my equipment has the reach it does.  But I have to say that ever since I replaced my antenna wire and got the VHF working it has been a major source of irritation for me.  I want to be a responsible member of the boating community, and would gladly assist in anything I could.  But, there has to be a middle ground which allows me to enjoy an afternoon of sailing without having to listen to those awful piercing alarms until I have a safe moment to duck into the cabin.

Don't tell me about a remote mike.  Of course, I could do that.  But I shouldn't have to just to keep sane.  I want one, but I wanted it for convenience, not sanity.

Ok, I'm done whining now.  One of my goals for vacation week is to actually read the instruction manual and see if I can make this thing a bit less demanding.  If I really get crazy I may even get the wires run through the pedestal and hook up the chart plotter and auto-pilot.  That's awfully ambitious though!