who here uses or carries a VHF?

yes, yes, and yes
When on the Great Lakes, and pretty much any other place I paddle, I carry a VHS (ICOM M88), GPS (Garmin GPSMap 76CSx), and Personal Locator Beacon (ACR Electronics Terrafix 406 GPS I/O).

The VHS gets used the most monitoring ch16 and Weather. The GPS is used infrequently, turning it on to confirm navigation accuracy. The PLB is there for the Extreme Life-Threatening Emergency only, never to be used as a substitute for wilderness survival and backcountry medical skills.

Be aware that activating that PLB can easily result in you being billed for ten’s of thousands of dollars in re-imbursements for the emergency Search and Rescue costs.