VHF Radio Effects / Headaches

Here’s a funny qt. Ever get headaches from having a handheld VHF radio strapped to your PFD? Last year I provided kayak support for the NY City Ederle Swim (Manhattan Island, NYC to Sandy Hook, NJ - about 18 miles 6 - 8 hours swim) I got a bad headack half way through, same thing this year. Both times I had a VHF radio on my PFD. No other time in the past 7 years have I gotten such a bad headache while paddling! And I’ve paddled all day in ocean conditions as well.

Anyone have any/heard of similar things?


Will / NJ

Red Looksha IV

Wear an aluminum foil beanie
If you are not actively transmitting there are essentially no death rays of any type coming out of a VHF radio.

The power levels in a VHF in stand-by/receive mode are minuscule. I guarantee you are exposed to far stronger EM fields while watching TV or using your computer than you are in the middle of open water with a VHF on your vest.

I would suspect dehydration.

Cool weather, slow pace associated with swim support.

The thirst triggers associated with hot weather or fast pace paddling don’t get pulled, so you probably don’t drink as much as you would under other conditions.

If you’re trying to hear with marginal reception, and trying to filter out important stuff from the static and other traffic, it can be tiring.

Might you have held your head differently when you were listening, resulting in a tight neck?

No connection
Unless you’ve got the volume painfully loud, there’s no way a VHF radio is going to cause a headache.

Ear Piece
Could be you’re getting a “strain” from trying to hear what’s being said. Try using turning the volume down and using an ear piece.

I would hazard a guess that you are looking around at a different angle like more downward, or looking around more, or something different when you are providing support for the swimmers than in your usual paddling. Have you done this before the last two years, or is there a one-to-one ratio between your providing support for a swimming event and getting a headache?

Gotta REALLY disagree with that

– Last Updated: Oct-30-08 11:39 AM EST –

VHF radios can cause headaches! **wink**
Spend a few minutes in my job listening to the traffic that's received by all 10 of my VHF radio hi-sites, day and night. There are more dumbasses yapping on Channel 16 than there are fish in the sea. I often go home and turn on the police scanner just so I can hear some sort of professionalism and normalcy. A margarita usually makes the headaches go away. :) I love helping folks, but sometimes...ya can't fix stupid. ;P

I hear ya…
…and them, too. It’s amazing how many idiots treat a VHF like a friggin’ cell phone. However, any headaches this causes have nothing to do with where the radio is carried.

How does your neck feel.
Chronic headaches that I thought were caused by my blood pressure medicine are now gone after several visits to my chiropracter for another issue. He noticed I had neck problems as well. I used to take 4 advil every morning and now I don’t. Apparently even slight problems like a pulled muscle or pinched nerve in your neck can give you a headache.

Aliens? VF