Getting out on the water is (usually) a pure joy. Anyone who owns a boat usually spends most of their time on land dreaming about getting back out. Of course, there are risks associated with moving off solid ground, but they are dramatically reduced by having the right radio gear – and the marine antenna to make it work its best.
Radios May Be Either One-Way or Two-Way
The simplest division of radio types is whether you can transmit and receive or just receive. A standard radio, such as the built-in radio in your car, only receives a signal. An example of a land-based radio that is two-way is the CB radio truckers use. Both types have their uses for boating, but the most important is usually the two-way radio.
Half and Full Duplex
A two-way radio can either allow both parties to communicate at the same time or only allow you to either listen or talk. Half duplex radios are by far the most common. They are usually “push to talk,” meaning you push a button when you want to transmit. A full duplex works like a telephone, using two frequencies to allow all parties to send and receive continuously.
A VHF Radio Is Crucial for Marine Use
The most basic two-way radio found in boating is the VHF radio. It’s considered indispensable for all boats except small watercraft such as outboards and is legally required for larger boats or any that have paid passengers.
Through this radio, you can receive information about hazards, weather or other general communications from the Coast Guard, port authorities and other boaters. You can also ask any questions for clarification and request help if necessary. With nothing more than a basic VHF rig and a good antenna, your safety on the water will skyrocket.
Having a two-way radio is one key to safe boating, but no radio is going to work without an antenna. VHF radio only works when nothing (such as the curvature of the Earth) is blocking the transmission. Therefore, for the best reception, you need a high-quality marine antenna to take advantage of this life-saving device.