I’ve been looking at radios and was hoping for some advice on models/brands. It would seem a good VHF radio might be wise for any kind of emergency situation.

Thanks for any suggestions.

For a start, look for models that are submersible - JIS-7 or better - and not just water resistant.

There have been many posts here about radios. Icom seems to be a favorite brand, with West Marine and Standard Horizon also popular.

Standard Horizon & Icom are popular.

West Marine has a good selection. Make sure it is submersable. Don’t pay extra for a lot of extra features you won’t use.

My Standard Horizon is about 6 years old and is always in the pocket of my PFD. I roll a lot, so it is just left in the PFD when I hang it to dry.

I carry it only for emergencys, so it rarely gets used, but it alwaya ready to go.

I found that the batteries lose power when when used when paddling in the winter, so I replaced them with lithium batteries. These are not effected by cold. The VHF is the cheapest insurance you can buy.

near commercial boaters or coast guard?

– Last Updated: Jul-25-12 12:08 AM EST –

Are you paddling on places near commercial boaters of coast guard? Do you paddle with others who have radios? If you answer no to both of these, a radio may not be for you.

VHF radios are line of site radios. So they only go a few miles (except in those rare areas where the government has repeaters). If there isn't anyone around to receive the radio call, then it wouldn't provide a lot of protection.

Coast guards and larger marinas often have people who monitor channel 16 (the hailing and distress channel in the US). And commercial boats also are supposed to monitor this channel. Outside of this, few seem to. You might want to ask around at the places you paddle to see if others are using VHF radios.

If calling for emergency help is the main reason for you to have one, and you aren't in an area where others use VHF radios (so there wouldn't be anyone to call), then a Spot or similar may be appropriate.

One issue
that is often ignored is that the standards are not sequential. In other words, a higher number does not mean a device will be more waterproof than a device with a lower number in a given environment. Usually true, but not always. The tests for a given standard are quite different from others in terms of the environment the device is expected to perform in.

VHF radio’s
I like to have my VHF radio for the ability to check the weather in my area, from the national weather service.If you are in an area that will pick their channel up

Old Cellphones

– Last Updated: Aug-11-12 2:10 PM EST –

I have a VHF but it is of little use when paddling some local river/creeks. There is simply no one to call that would get the signal. But in these inland areas, I can usually get cell phone reception. In the bigger rivers and Coastal areas, my VHF is hard to beat. It has served me well. Used it once to call for help for another kayaker. A nice tool when needed.

If you have an old working cell phone,it can be used to call 911 in emergencies. Keep it charged and in a dry or ziplock bag till needed. Remember to keep it charged.

I have a waterproof smart phone that has served me well. I have apps that I can use to send GPS coordinates as well as call for help. But this is getting away from the topic. Plus bringing up cell phones will get you jumped by the Pnet sharks. They hate technology except when they are banging on their computers.

Just remember the right tool for the right job at the right spot. Have fun and paddle on.

My Icom was in my pocket
Now it’s in the bottom of a lake.

I now mount it’s replacement to my PFD using the belt clip and shock cord method. I use an M-72, which I’ve never had reason to complain about.

The OP says
"It would seem a good VHF radio might be wise for any kind of emergency situation."

I assume he means an on-the-water emergency. VHF isn’t supposed to be used on land.

Use Search for Lots of Info
I think you will have alot of luck if you search the forums. Alot of detailed posts regarding your question have been made.