Marine FM and NOAA Weather Radio for less than $30

A forum for discussing topics relating to MacGregor Powersailor Sailboats

Moderators: kmclemore, beene, NiceAft, Catigale, Hamin' X

User avatar
Bilgemaster
First Officer
Posts: 466
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:03 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26X
Location: Woodbridge, Virginia--"Breakin' Wind" 2001 26X, Honda BF50A 50hp engine

Re: Marine FM and NOAA Weather Radio for less than $30

Post by Bilgemaster » Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:43 am

Catigale wrote:You show your level of concern by voting with your pocketbook.

It's that simple.
With respect, that is simply not true, nor is it truly that simple. If you read some of the features from that Google search above for "Why can Chinese ship for free?," you will quickly learn that your pocketbook had no vote in the matter. It's paying to subsidize Chinese shipping here in the States whether you or your pocketbook likes it or not. This may be a bit "off-topic," but it turns out that every time you mail a letter or a package here in the Land of the Free, whether domestically or to an address abroad, a good portion of that postage is actually going towards making sure that any of those Chinese "ePackets" that hit our shores get a free ride (well OK, 10¢ a pop now) from port to door. You got no choice, Sparky! You're already paying!--for others, if it it comes to that--but you are paying all the same. A little fancy footwork on the Chinese domestic carrier end to subsidize getting those "ePackets" onto that boat or plane to Long Beach or Seattle, and, Presto! There's your free shipping...or as close to it as must even be possible.

Like a gym membership you just can't shake free of, you can choose not to avail yourself of a service you're already paying for. Ed the owner of Eternal Grunts Gym is actually counting on it. But you will pay all the same, even if you were so unwise as to willingly choose to tangle with Snidley their Customer Service Death Squid to try to get the membership cancelled. Except...You never signed up for this "ePackets" treadmill. Go ahead and "vote" to use your wallet's contents to get the grill started. That's more of a choice than you ever had in this Chinese "ePackets" deal. It's all in the data...Look carefully at the data...

Image
Image

User avatar
Bilgemaster
First Officer
Posts: 466
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:03 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26X
Location: Woodbridge, Virginia--"Breakin' Wind" 2001 26X, Honda BF50A 50hp engine

Re: Marine FM and NOAA Weather Radio for less than $30

Post by Bilgemaster » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:06 am

Catigale wrote:(...snip!)

Remember, VHF on marine bands from shore is a no-no unless you have the shore license.

(snip!...)
Just as a quick followup on this issue of using handheld marine radios ashore, the recent April 2017 issue of "Sail" magazine has the following item in its "Ask Sail" section on page 68:

==============================================================================================

VHF PORTABLES ON LAND

Q. Our dockmaster tells us that portable marine VHF radios are now permitted for use on land. Does this mean I can use my hand-held on the ski slopes, or talk from the office with boats for weather reports? Don Hull, New York, NY

GORDON WEST REPLIES
Yes and no. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its August 2016 Report and Order amended the rule 80.115 (a)(1)-(4) to allow portable VHF radios to be used on shore "adjacent to a waterway" to talk with your own ship about ship's business. With this in mind, for pleasure craft you would use non-commercial channels and keep transmissions to a minimum practical time. However, this rule change does NOT allow ski slope operation. Nor does it allow you to gab with any and all ship stations--just shore to your own ship station, like calling from the dock for the kids to pick you up, or calling your ship from the shore-side marine hardware store to see if there are any other parts you need to bring back aboard. The FCC also makes it clear that this should not be interpreted as a free-for-all on using marine hand-helds ashore between each other. Again, the only permitted shore-to-ship calls will be to your "associated ship station," and not anyone or everyone to just "yak, yak, yak." DSC calling on channel 70 is also permitted to minimize channel 16 traffic.

================================================================================================

Those yearning to wade through the actual published regulatory amendments in the Federal Register may don their snorkels and water wingies, and dive in right here. They read as follows:

9. Section 80.115 is amended by revising paragraphs (a)(1) through (4)
to read as follows:


Sec. 80.115 Operational conditions for use of associated ship units.

(a) * * *
(1) It must only be operated on the safety and calling frequency
156.800 MHz or 156.525 MHz or on commercial or noncommercial VHF
intership frequencies appropriate to the class of ship station with
which it is associated.
(2) Except for safety purposes, it must only be used to communicate
with the ship station with which it is associated or with associated
ship units of the same ship station. Such associated ship units may be
used from shore only adjacent to the waterway (such as on a dock or
beach) where the ship is located. Communications from shore must relate
to the operational and business needs of the ship including the
transmission of safety information, and must be limited to the minimum
practicable transmission time.
(3) It must be equipped to transmit on the frequency 156.800 MHz or
156.525 MHz and at least one appropriate intership frequency.
(4) Calling must occur on the frequency 156.800 MHz or 156.525 MHz
unless calling and working on an intership frequency has been
prearranged.
* * * * *


So, it seems it'll be OK after all to radio the boat in order to inquire with the Admiral concerning the critically important ship's business of whether she wants that slaw on her crabcake roll or as a side...Maintenance of proper morale being critical to the efficient operation of the craft and all. Of course, when in doubt, just get it on the side. You can always plop it on easier than scraping it off. And don't you even think of coming back without that chocolate that you've thoughtfully jammed into that bulk ice reefer outside the marina shop to keep it from getting all melty on the way to the boat. Just make sure not to grab that other guy's little bait bag of flies and worms instead by mistake. The Admiral is unlikely to be amused by this.

As far as how all this affects Baofengs or their setup, it simply means that if your primary intended use for the unit like mine is as a cheapo marine transceiver and NOAA weather radio that also gets broadcast FM stations, and you just want to do a little ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship chatter, then you need not really bother about programming in additional MURS channels, like those used by little 1/2 watt type walkie-talkie sets, such as those previously mentioned pairs from Cobra. Of course, you could still easily program those added frequencies in if you like, but if you just wanted to really clarify that whole crabcake issue, you're already good to go...And don't forget that chocolate!

User avatar
Jim Bunnell
First Officer
Posts: 282
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2004 8:13 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Southfield, MI; Tohatsu TLDI 50, '03 26M hull # MACM 0019 C303
Contact:

Re: Marine FM and NOAA Weather Radio for less than $30

Post by Jim Bunnell » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:38 am

Bilgemaster, I realize this is an old thread, but I hadn't seen it before and thought "why not?" – so I went shopping. There seem to have been several updates to the radio, the latest I found being UV-6R, with several in between. Will the update program and file work on these, or should I make sure to get the 5+ for compatibility? Thanks for the through explanation you provided.

User avatar
Bilgemaster
First Officer
Posts: 466
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:03 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26X
Location: Woodbridge, Virginia--"Breakin' Wind" 2001 26X, Honda BF50A 50hp engine

Re: Marine FM and NOAA Weather Radio for less than $30

Post by Bilgemaster » Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:45 pm

Jim Bunnell wrote:Bilgemaster, I realize this is an old thread, but I hadn't seen it before and thought "why not?" – so I went shopping. There seem to have been several updates to the radio, the latest I found being UV-6R, with several in between. Will the update program and file work on these, or should I make sure to get the 5+ for compatibility? Thanks for the through explanation you provided.
I am afraid that I have no hands-on familiarity with any Baofeng model apart from the UV5RA+. For the very highest likelihood of everything I've described coming off without a hitch, that's clearly the exact model and submodel you'll want to get, followed in probability of instant joy by any other variant of the UV5R, including the UV5RA. Of course, there is still no shortage of UV5RA+ on eBay to choose from, and in a variety of colors.

The only guess I'll hazard concerning any other model of Baofeng is that the <BaofengMarineRadioSettings.img> CHIRP settings file I am offering at http://www.amphicar.net/Baofeng/ will almost surely still do the trick--though it might need a little "massaging." For example, my hunch is you may not be able to just upload it directly into a newer model UV-6R's as-is. You might be able to, sure, but I wouldn't bet on it. That model's quite possibly different firmware may just goob up the works. Rather, you would likely need to use the CHIRP program to cut-n-paste the settings from my CHIRP file over the original settings file downloaded from a different model Baofeng, like the UV-6R. Then again, I cannot even guarantee all will be perfectly well and as simple as that. For example, you may have to or want to fuss around with the power settings column in CHIRP should the UV-6R offer more variable options than just the UV5R's simple "High" and "Low"--But of course that's just a hunch.

User avatar
Jim Bunnell
First Officer
Posts: 282
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2004 8:13 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Southfield, MI; Tohatsu TLDI 50, '03 26M hull # MACM 0019 C303
Contact:

Re: Marine FM and NOAA Weather Radio for less than $30

Post by Jim Bunnell » Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:47 pm

Thanks - I'll just play it safe with the 5+ then.

User avatar
Bilgemaster
First Officer
Posts: 466
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:03 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26X
Location: Woodbridge, Virginia--"Breakin' Wind" 2001 26X, Honda BF50A 50hp engine

Re: Marine FM and NOAA Weather Radio for less than $30

Post by Bilgemaster » Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:32 pm

Jim Bunnell wrote:Thanks - I'll just play it safe with the 5+ then.
Image

User avatar
Bilgemaster
First Officer
Posts: 466
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:03 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26X
Location: Woodbridge, Virginia--"Breakin' Wind" 2001 26X, Honda BF50A 50hp engine

Re: Marine FM and NOAA Weather Radio for less than $30

Post by Bilgemaster » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:22 pm

While there are lots of little "proper" purpose-built marine handheld transceivers available out there for under $100, one nice feature I've since discovered out on the water about these little ultra-cheapo Baofeng UV5R units with the programming setup described in this thread, lacking from those more dedicated pricier units, is the ability to listen to one's favorite broadcast FM stations and still monitor that Channel 16, like you're supposed to. Just tune to Channel 16 on startup (select "016" in "channel mode"), then tap the orange call button to switch to "frequency mode," tune in to any broadcast FM radio channel you like (e.g., key in "88500" for 88.5 FM, our local NPR station here), and it'll play until someone broadcasts on Marine Channel 16, whereupon it'll break in. Nice. When you're done monitoring, just hit that call button to resume listening to "Car Talk." And should it all get a little too chatty or irrelevant on 16, just switch for a time to a less perky channel on the Marine band. Still, this ability to monitor that Channel 16 in the background while enjoying regular broadcast FM radio is such a pleasant and practical feature on board that one wonders why receiving regular broadcast FM channels isn't a feature offered in "real marine radios," as far as I can tell. Maybe it's in the FCC's type certification regs, but if so, those are some counterproductive regs, if they lead folks to not bother even turning their marine radios on until they need to send a message themselves. After all, the more ears the better.

On my little Com-Pac 16 "Foundling," where it's still the sole radio of any type on board so far, the Baofeng hangs rather handily and securely by its included lanyard from the top corner of either of the companionway hatch rails. In the Mac it clips nicely with the included belt clip onto a little cup-like thingee just to port of the companionway that otherwise holds the coiled roller furling line and/or winch crank. Amazing what 30 bucks'll get you nowadays, huh?

Post Reply