How To Determine Wattage Needed For A Marine Handheld Radio

Boating and spending time on the water can be an exciting and fun experience. Many people prefer to get onto the water whenever possible, as it's a relaxing and pleasurable experience. However, it's necessary to communicate with other boaters and be safe during your trip, so you're safe and your beautiful day isn't ruined, which is why a marine handheld radio is a necessity.

Their Importance

These radios provide another way of open communication. While everyone has a cell phone, they may not work when you're far away from the port. Likewise, they aren't stable forms of communication during inclement weather, which is why radios are so important so you can communicate with other boats, get help from water rescue services and get information.

Why Have One?

VHF (very high frequency) radios are a standard option for boaters because they're monitored by the Coast Guard and are perfect for emergency situations. Many times, they can be mounted to make it easier to work hands-free, but can also be taken with you while you're in other areas of the boat.

How Many Watts?

When determining wattage for your marine handheld radio , there are a few things to consider. Most radios work using a line-of-sight principle, which means they can only send their signals using a straight line. It won't curve so it can't travel around obstacles. Because of this, they have shorter antennas and the watts do most of the work, which is why wattage is so important.

Because line-of-sight can interfere and be a problem, you'll need to determine your terrain or the expected terrain when you're on the water. Even if you have the maximum wattage possible, reception can still be affected. Therefore, the maximum wattage may not be necessary or even recommended.

As with terrain, the weather can affect reception, as well. If you can see it, it can affect your radios. Likewise, fog and other problems can become a serious issue. However, a marine handheld radio is waterproof, which means it won't be damaged by moisture or corrosion from salt water.

What You Need?

Now that you understand a bit more about radios, it can be easier to determine what wattage is necessary. Your radio's power is measured in watts. Higher watts mean you can get a better reception range. One watt gives you about one to two hundred yards and works well for harbor use or to talk to others on the boat. Six watts can give up to 20 miles of reception on clear days.