• We apologize for the somewhat convoluted sign-up process. Due to ever-more sophisticated attacks by chatbots, we had to increase our filtering in order to weed out AI while letting humans through. It's a nuisance, but a necessary one in order to keep the level of discourse on the forums authentic and useful. From the actual humans using WCP, thanks for your understanding!

How do you carry your handheld radio?

semdoug

Paddler
Joined
Jul 2, 2009
Messages
197
Just bought a new handheld vhf and unfortunately my PFD does not have an adequate pocket in which to carry it. Besides buying a new PFD with a radio pocket, does anyone have an alternate way of carrying a radio? I'm thinking about some sort of commercially available harness that I could attach to the PFD's shoulder strap but also open to other ideas. Thanks
 
I use a waterproof case (soft-sided) and clip it to my PFD shoulder strap.
I have had it attached to the deck, but decided I want to have it close at hand, just in case.
 
If you check with firefighter and police supply places you should be able to find one that will go over your pfd


RobP
 
I made sure when I bought my PFD that I had room for the VHF Radio. Didn't think I would need the radio, but glad I did buy a PFD with oversized pockets. I have a Standard Horizons HX851 and it is quite a large radio. It floats and is waterproof and comes with a belt clip.
If you clip it to your PFD I would put a tether on it!!!
 
If you have one of those little square attachment thingies on your pfd......I did kind of a double loop with some bungy on mine. I have it sit sideways so the antenna doesn't drive me crazy and I don't have to take it out to use it. I attach the lanyard by looping the vhf through, then slide the radio into the bungy loops, then reattach the antenna. It works great and it's cheap.
 
The problem with having the radio exposed on the outside of your PFD is water impact when a wave breaks over you (and it). The force exceeds the waterproofing specifications and can lead to water ingress (has happened to me). This is why my radio is always within a pocket (or I would have it in a waterproof cover) if no pocket.
 
Comoxpaddler said:
The force exceeds the waterproofing specifications and can lead to water ingress (has happened to me). This is why my radio is always within a pocket (or I would have it in a waterproof cover) if no pocket.

I had never considered the force of the water that way. Kind of a "DUH" moment for me.
Serendipitously, I have a handy VHF pocket on my PFD. If I didn't I would probably be on my second or third VHF and be wondering why.

Thanks.
 
Comoxpaddler said:
....The force exceeds the waterproofing specifications and can lead to water ingress....

How did you calculate that?

A radio rated for IPX7 (ie 1M depth for 30 minutes) must withstand quite a bit of force. The weight of 1 meter of water column above it. That would be a pretty big wave of solid water hitting the radio. And since they are rated to withstand that force for 30 minutes (IPX7 rating which is the lowest immersion rating) they can actually withstand substantially more force for lesser times.

Even a radio rated for the lesser standard of IPX6 (not suitable for immersion) should handle breaking waves ("Water projected in powerful jets (12.5mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects". "Water volume: 100 litres per minute. Pressure: 100 kN/m² at distance of 3m").

Related to this, I once tested 3 waterproof cameras in the kitchen sink. All rated to at least 3M or 10M depths. After 30 minutes two of the three leaked.

Based on that, I'd say more likely the radios just plain leaked and aren't really waterproof.
 
I have a watch that is supposed to be "water resistant to 30m". In the booklet it warns not to swim or snorkel with this watch as the dynamic pressures involved in swimming may exceed the rating; same story. I did use it snorkeling to about 7m with no problems though. Had it leaked it would have been 'my own fault'.

Question: if it is supposed to be 'water resistant' instead of "water proof", why do they post a depth rating as much as 30m on it? "Stuff-and-fluff" advertising?
 
Byron - I did not calculate, but estimated/assumed that it was the breaking wave that did the damage. Having been hit full on by a number of waves in my time I personally think that the force is quite considerable.

Given the relative ease of keeping a radio in either a pocket or a pouch I don't intend to retest my hypothesis! I find being radio-less a little unnerving.
 
I bought a PFD with a pocket for the VHF. But the PFD has a habit of riding up a bit with the result the aerial keeps poking my nose. :(
So I keep it in the day hatch on low risk days and otherwise under netting on the deck (with a safety strap). I keep my Spot in the PFD.
 
You can buy accessory pockets for some pfd's which will carry a vhf nicely. That what I did on mine (Kokatat).
 
Mine's in a dry bag behind the seat. Accessible if not immediately accessible.

The only time I use it is on the beach to RX weather forecasts.

Its also an emergency comms tool but emergencies don't come up that often.

I've only been in one situation where I needed to use a VHF radio for TX/RX and I wasn't on the water at the time.
 
Another VHF carrying option I've used is a radio harness. You can google "ski patrol radio harness" to get an idea of prices and styles - some may be awkward over a pfd. They aren't necessarily cheap and a pfd with an appropriate pocket may be a better solution once you start spending money. But a skillful person could likely make a harness, once the available styles have been examined.

Eventually we'll likely see small, powerful, gps-capable, user-friendly, waterPROOF vhf radios. Mine is big, powerful, with limited gps capabilities (e.g. no waypoint or tracking capabilities, just location coordinates). The ideal vhf will appear on the market in time for my friends to carry my ashes out to sea.
 
Thanks for the replies, not sure what I am going to do yet. A new pfd with dedicated radio pocket sounds pretty good though. Think I saw the Kokatat Outfit Tour and MisFit Tour may have a pocket that will fit a vhf, any others?
 
smeyn said:
I bought a PFD with a pocket for the VHF. But the PFD has a habit of riding up a bit with the result the aerial keeps poking my nose. :(

hmmm. Multi purpose antenna.

sorry. I'm in that kind of mood
 
semdoug said:
Thanks for the replies, not sure what I am going to do yet. A new pfd with dedicated radio pocket sounds pretty good though. Think I saw the Kokatat Outfit Tour and MisFit Tour may have a pocket that will fit a vhf, any others?

Here is a thought.

A lot of us have water bladders in pouches attached to the back of our pfd's. Use a long tether attached to both the radio and pfd harness and stuff the radio in the pouch with your water bladder. When you need radio, grab the tether pull out and use. It's easy enough to get back in the pouch and helps to prevent sinu-antenna syndrome noted above.
 
Bumping this again as I am now exploring the same situation and hoping other ideas have since come to light. I am a smaller framed paddler who does a lot of rough water paddling in addition to touring, use a rescue belt, and ideally would like easy access to using my radio in a variety of situations. Kokatat Guide, Ronin, and Maxiumus Prime, Astral Green and Sea Wolf are all too bulky to be comfortable for me. I carried my VHF in my sprayskirt pocket for quite some time, which worked okay until I forgot to both tie the tether and zip the pocket closed ( :oops: ) It wasn't the easiest to pull out in really dynamic conditions however, so I'd love to find a way to carry it that would allow me to use it with little or no fumbling. Anyone else figured this out or have some creative ideas? Or a good source for a minimalist radio harness?
 
When I am at Surge Narrows with a group, I leave my radio in a drybag in the day hatch due to the forces comoxpaddler mentions.
It has some padding to protect it from sudden inversions ;-)

If the group is small enough that I might need the radio, I cover it with saranwrap before it goes in my pfd pocket.
 
Comox (and others) concern about the pressure surge when the moving water in a breaking wave hits an exposed radio is legit. Far higher momentary pressures than what a unit experiences sitting a metre under water (only about 0.1 atm or 1.5 PSI; somebody else can convert to kilopascals or whatever). For ordinary use, enclosure in a PFD pocket may help a lot with the surges. The pocket I use keeps the antenna about 20 cm away from my nose and has never been an issue. In surf, though might be.

I agree the IPX7 standard is sketchy for our use of VHF's. Check the seal system on yours and compare it to what ICOM does, in which the battery is fully enclosed and separate from the body of the radio. The body itself is fully sealed, also. Dollars to doughnuts most leaks occur at the battery-body seal in other brands.

I am with Comox. I want that VHF on my person. Too many scenarios in which accessing a radio in a dry bag, especially under a hatch, is difficult while in the water, juggling boat, paddle, etc. Oh, yeah, I do practice self rescue with the VHF in that pocket. It is not in the way. Even if it gets loose, it is lanyarded to the PFD.
 
Back
Top