The time to find out if your VHF radio is working is before you leave the dock. But sometimes you get out on the water, and for one reason or another, you find that you can't transmit or hear other boaters' transmissions. Here are some band-aid temporary cures in the event that this happens to you while away from the dock:
1. Bad-Mike Fix: If the radio doesn’t transmit or you get reports from nearby boaters that they can’t hear you or that you are cutting in and out, the microphone cable may be at fault. While listening on a handheld VHF (always have a backup handheld unit on board),stretch and manipulate the mike cable to see if you can pinpoint an intermittent wire in the cable. If found, twist or fold the cable to find a position where the microphone will work and then wrap electrical tape or a zip tie around the cable to maintain that position.
2. Antenna and Cable Cure: If you can make contact only with nearby boats, you may have an antenna or cable problem. Keep a backup antenna stowed on board as insurance. A short sailboat antenna will do with an appropriate length of coaxial cable. You can temporarily secure the antenna to a side rail with tape or an antenna rail mount to get you operational.
3. Voltage Recovery: Radio failure due to loss of voltage is common. Know where the in-line fuse is located and keep spare fuses handy. Loose connections and corrosion can cause radio failure. Cleaning and tightening the radio’s power cable connections can often restore normal operation.
A professional installation check is suggested once a year, which we can do free of charge. Call us today at (239)776-4253 to schedule a review of your vessel's electronic equipment today!