VHF Question

Discussion in 'Electronics Q&A' started by Jeff Fabiani, Jan 22, 2020.

Tags:
  1. Jeff Fabiani

    Jeff Fabiani Member

    116
    Jul 30, 2018
    Tacoma, WA
    2002 Sundancer 260
    Mercruiser 5.7 Liter w/Bravo III Drive
    Hello,

    My boat has a Standard Horizon GX2200 series VHF radio in it. Being new to the boat as of this past summer. i havn't spent much time messing around with the radio, but with some travel plans set for this spring/summer, i want to ensure it is working properly. It seems i can receive traffic to the radio....i hear brief conversations from folks, i can tap into the weather channel to hear forecasts etc. However, when I attempt the automated radio check, i hear nothing. According to the Sea Tow website there is a radio check station only a few miles from my marina, so i assume this should work. I have changed the power from low to high with still no luck. When i press PPT, the screen of the VHF says "TX" so i know it is attempting to transmit. Is there something else i should be trying? At some point should i just hire someone who knows about this stuff to make sure it's working? Any advice would be appreciated, thanks.
     
  2. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 741, 742, 8212, 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    There are several things to explore here. That unit is capable of sending both an analog and a digital radio check. We should probably discuss both.

    I wouldn't focus too much on the automated replies. I had serious doubts about the digital capability of my radio, until I learned that digital checks very often fail even when there's nothing wrong with the setup and a station isn't far away.

    I'd start by hailing your own marina or someone in it at low power, and another marina or vessel further away at full power. If you have issues doing that, I'd suspect a fault in the radio or the antenna setup.

    If they can hear you, then it's time to look at the digital side of things. (DSC and AIS) If your equipment is functioning properly, we can definitely get you up to speed on configuring and operating it.
     
    Jeff Fabiani likes this.
  3. Jeff Fabiani

    Jeff Fabiani Member

    116
    Jul 30, 2018
    Tacoma, WA
    2002 Sundancer 260
    Mercruiser 5.7 Liter w/Bravo III Drive
    @RollerCoastr Thanks for the advice. Next time i'm at the boat i will ask if the marina can listen in for me on a channel. I will report back to this thread after i get some results.
     
  4. Sublimetime

    Sublimetime Active Member

    857
    Oct 22, 2007
    clifton nj
    420 da
    454
    Or even somebody with a handheld on the other side of marina or have them go a few blocks away once you establish that it does actually transmit.
     
  5. Bt Doctur

    Bt Doctur Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2010
    New Jersey
    Ex SRV 240 Weekender twin
    in between
    can also get hold of a swr meter to check transmitting power . only way to tell if the ant is even good. most radios will receive with a dead short and will show"TX" when you key the mic.
     
  6. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 741, 742, 8212, 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    We can discuss the digital side of things in the meantime. Is the VHF programmed with an MMSI number? If not, you'll need to apply for one. If it is, is it your # for this boat, or was it programmed by the P.O.? MMSI's stay with the boat, so if it's programmed with someone else's info he may be willing/able to release it to you for editing. If you can't reach him or he isn't willing or able to help, you'll have to ship the unit back to SH to delete his number.

    Is the unit connected to your MFD/plotter? It has built-in GPS, so it's possible the 2200 was chosen specifically to avoid needing that connection, but it's still worthwhile.
     
  7. Jeff Fabiani

    Jeff Fabiani Member

    116
    Jul 30, 2018
    Tacoma, WA
    2002 Sundancer 260
    Mercruiser 5.7 Liter w/Bravo III Drive
    @RollerCoastr It does have an MMSI number programmed in from one of the previous owners. I have contacted the guy i bought the boat from and it wasn't him who did it, and he no longer had the contact of the guy he bought it from. So long story short, it's not my MMSI and the owner of it is non-reachable.

    I believe the VHF is connected to my chart plotter. I have seen cables running between the devices, but never been sure how to tell, or what benefits that brings with it.
     
  8. bobeast

    bobeast Dance the Tide SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 22, 2017
    Isleton, CA
    2002 310DA
    350 MPI w/V-drives
    If connected to your chart-plotter, others boats transmitting a DSC packet should show up on your plotter. You can then respond to them by selecting their icon. That system also receives AIS messages and those should show up on your plotter as well. Finally if a nearby boat transmits a MOB (Man Overboard) message, you'll see their location on your plotter which will remain fixed in position even if the transmitting boat moves away.
     
  9. hottoddie

    hottoddie Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2012
    Boston/Cape Cod
    1986 Sea Ray 390 EC
    Garmin 4212 Chartplotter
    Garmin 24 HD Radar
    Garmin 546s Plotter
    454 Crusaders
    Sounds like your VHF may be original to the boat and have an obsolete MMSI number that can't change. It's performance is also in question. If it were my boat and expect to do some extended cruising I'd bite the bullet and replace both the radio and antenna. Cheap peach of mind.
     
  10. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 741, 742, 8212, 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    I've gone entire seasons without seeing a DSC position appear on my plotter, but if you boat in an area with larger boats or commercial vessels, AIS targets should be showing up all over the place. You can check the density of AIS targets using marinetraffic.com

    If there are AIS targets in your boating area, I'd put more effort into troubleshooting and configuring your 2200 - that's a feature-full unit. (to be fair, I have no idea what it costs to ship it back to wipe the MMSI)

    If AIS isn't broadcast in your area, then hottoddie has a point: new radios are cheap, particularly if you don't need built-in GPS or AIS.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  11. Jeff Fabiani

    Jeff Fabiani Member

    116
    Jul 30, 2018
    Tacoma, WA
    2002 Sundancer 260
    Mercruiser 5.7 Liter w/Bravo III Drive
    Thanks for all the input. On the VHF screen I can see boats in the radar screen, and when digging through the settings of AIS i can see their vessel names and options to call to them directly etc.

    I made it to the boat yesterday, only to find out the marina doesn't have a VHF for me to test with. I heard some conversation on channel 9 while i was on board, and attempted a radio check with them but they didn't respond.

    I am going to try to find a handheld VHF to test transmission. If that fails i guess i'll have to decide what path to take. I'll report back if i have any updates or more questions...thanks again...
     
  12. MiLoII

    MiLoII Member

    91
    Jul 14, 2017
    Southern Lake Michigan
    320 Sundancer 2005
    Previously 300 Doral 1999
    350 Mag MPI Inboard V Drives
    Good day. I had similar issues as you, meaning i could receive, but not successfully transmit. The wiring within the base of the antenna had become frayed. I bought and installed new antenna which solved the problem.
     
  13. Jeff Fabiani

    Jeff Fabiani Member

    116
    Jul 30, 2018
    Tacoma, WA
    2002 Sundancer 260
    Mercruiser 5.7 Liter w/Bravo III Drive
    @MiLoII Thanks for that input. Interesting you mention that, as i noticed something similar yesterday. The white coax going into the radio looks like it has been bent close to a 90 degree angle and the white sheething has began to tear, exposing the copper inside. It doesn't appear the copper itself is tearing, but it is definitely exposed. Where did you get a new antenna? and how difficult was the re-installation?
     
  14. Bt Doctur

    Bt Doctur Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2010
    New Jersey
    Ex SRV 240 Weekender twin
    in between
    typical coax below,click to enlarge. outer sheath, outer braid, poly insulation, inner core .only if the outer braid has separated does a ant fail.
    Best ant`s use copper elements.
    I personally tune all my ant with a swr meter and cutting the coax for the most transmitted power into the ant.
    ant coax length has no bearing on how good the ant works, only getting a low swr reading
    [​IMG]
     
  15. MiLoII

    MiLoII Member

    91
    Jul 14, 2017
    Southern Lake Michigan
    320 Sundancer 2005
    Previously 300 Doral 1999
    350 Mag MPI Inboard V Drives
    I got my antenna from West Marine 2 years ago i think on a 40% off sale so reasonable price. The actual install of the new antenna was relatively easy and straightforward. What i made more difficult for for myself is i presumed I would need to run new cable so i cut the connector end off of the existing cable so i could pull thru the run. Turns out after i actually accessed the run in the radar arch there was already a connection there i could have used without pulling new cable. So the minor challenge was pulling new cable, but the most difficult was correctly soldering a new connector on the new cable. Got it done though in one evening.
     
  16. Bt Doctur

    Bt Doctur Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2010
    New Jersey
    Ex SRV 240 Weekender twin
    in between
    Most mis-informed vhf installers believe they can just cut the coax willy nilly to any length. Coax need to be a multiple of the frequency http://www.onlineconversion.com/frequency_wavelength.htm
    so any multiple of 6.05 feet will always give you max power to the ant. The best way is to use a swr meter and get it to the lowest value possible to get the maximum power to the ant. Eg, at a swr of 3 will give you about 15 watts of transmitted power instead of your normal 25 watts.
    You can also replace the coax of any ant so even from the top of a tower to the main salon your radio will perform to its maximun legal output with the correct length of coax.
     
  17. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 741, 742, 8212, 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    My name is Rollercoastr, and I'm a mis-informed VHF installer.

    It works fine, but please don't inspect my soldering job or measure the coax. I'm not proud of it.
     
    Jeff Fabiani likes this.
  18. Jeff Fabiani

    Jeff Fabiani Member

    116
    Jul 30, 2018
    Tacoma, WA
    2002 Sundancer 260
    Mercruiser 5.7 Liter w/Bravo III Drive
    Update, a friend let me borrow a handheld radio so i could test my VHF in the boat. Good news is i could hear myself on the handheld from the boat VHF, loud and clear. With that said, i'm curious to know what the "range" means on the VHF radar (see image below, sorry it's sideways)? Mine says "Range0.5nm". As i've scoured the web for setup vides etc for this radio, most say "Range25nm" or something like that. Does that have anything to do with how far i'm broadcasting or si that something different entirely?
     

    Attached Files:

  19. b_arrington

    b_arrington Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Feb 21, 2007
    Setauket, NY
    AB Ventus 9VL
    Looking for next big ride
    2019 Mercury 15 OB
    Your radio is set to full power - 25W. Transmission range of the radio is largely dependent on the type of height if your antenna, and the receiver's antenna. Your radio can't really tell you how far you can transmit.

    The "RANGE 0.5" refers to displaying AIS targets on your screen. It's set to only show AIS targets within a half mile of your location. You can set a distance to expand or narrow the distance as which you can see AIS targets.

    From the manual:
    upload_2020-1-29_14-51-47.png
    This is a link to the manual: SH GX2200 Manual
     
  20. bobeast

    bobeast Dance the Tide SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 22, 2017
    Isleton, CA
    2002 310DA
    350 MPI w/V-drives
    I believe that's just an indication that your radio is set to display DSC or AIS targets within ½ NM of your location. There is likely a way to zoom that in or out to show you targets that are nearer or further away.

    The broadcast range is determined by the height of your antenna, and the power setting on your radio. Per that image, it is currently set at 25W which is the most power it can transmit. Actual range will be line-of-sight and again, based mostly on the respective heights of the transmitting and receiving antennas.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
    Jeff Fabiani likes this.

Share This Page

Show Sidebar