How do you carry your handheld radio?

Discussion in 'Gear Talk' started by semdoug, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    About that VHF in the hatch: Deep Trouble has a detailed description of what went wrong just off the east side of Orcas Island in the San Juans when three people, two newbies in a double, IIRC, and the guide solo when they missed the tide window and tried to fight their way upcurrent through some rough water off a major point. Naturally, the double went over. So did the guide, while he was scratching around inside the open rear hatch to get his VHF out to call in a Mayday. Nobody died, but the incident comvinced me the VHF was never gonna be hard to get to, easy conditions or hard. Why have it along if it will be difficult to get to, or expose a major bulkheaded compartment to flooding in rough conditions, which is when you will need to get to it? Day hatch, maybe, but not as good as on the PFD.
     
  2. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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    Assuming Dave's post is addressed to me:

    Surge Narrows is a very localized play area. There is a big circulating eddy just downstream & to the side of the standing wave. If you can get into that eddy, you have lots of time to do an assisted rescue or whatever. If however, you stay in the main current flow, 500 meters later you are into the north end of Hoskyn Channel, where the water is relatively calm.

    I suspect the only need for a radio at Surge would be a medical emergency, or if a lone paddler got separated from their boat.
     
  3. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Nootka,

    Not picking on you. Yours is in a day hatch and you certainly know your area.

    The folks in the incident described were caught in a large field tide rip, with significant seas running against the current, once flushed out. The guide had his VHF inside the rear main hatch. When that flooded, his boat went bow up and dumped him, leaving three people clinging to a swamped double and no VHF.
     
  4. VanIslePaddler

    VanIslePaddler Paddler

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    I always carry my PFD on my person, strapped somewhere on my chest. It is often on... (I like listening to radio chatter, gives one hints of weather conditions or wildlife sightings!)

    My current PFD has a pocket designed for a radio (Kokatat Guide PFD).

    I have also gone through several other PFD without a designed radio pocket. In those instances I either tucked it into the built in accessory pocket (IE: where you stick your chap stick), or simply wedged it between my chest and PFD.

    My radio is always teathered to my PFD.

    My radios have always been submersable, (and sometimes they float!), but I often back them up by keeping them inside a waterproof radio bag, which helps mitigate sand / water abuse.
     
  5. VanIslePaddler

    VanIslePaddler Paddler

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    Re: Radio storage when 'Playing' (Surf or Tidal Rapids)

    When deliberatly 'playing' in surf or tidal rapids, this is the one occasion where my radio might not be strapped to my person.... BUT...

    When 'playing' I may store my radio out of direct water impact (a wave crashing over my head while surfing can impact with enough force to damage submersable radios).

    When Playing SOLO: I often still stow my radio somewhere on my person, even if slightly difficult to get to... but if separated from my boat, I still have it.

    When playing in GROUPS: Leaders or a safety individual is identifed and at least one (or two depending on group size) person will keep a radio on their person. If I am not the 'leader' I still bring my radio, but store it somewhere in the boat. This is pretty easy to do...


    When 'playing' it is good practice to keep your radio tuned to channel 16. You may be having a great time, but there have been many reported emergencies for individuals who have not required assistance because of 'good samaritans' on shore...
     
  6. paddler

    paddler Paddler

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    There are times and places when it is appropriate to have the radio stuffed in a hatch. And there are times and places where having it attached to one's self is the more appropriate option. Sticking to the idea that I want to have the radio on my body at least some of the time, none of the PFDs that fit me well have a radio pocket, and the accessory pocket would have a hard time holding chapstick, let alone any portion of a radio. I've tried stuffing it between me and the PFD, tethered, but I find it very awkward and uncomfortable, and prone to slipping out in the impact zone - not really something I want flapping around me. All of which is why I moved to the sprayskirt pocket. Sprayskirt pocket works, when I'm not having an extraordinarily dumb day, I've just found that the extra fumbling of pulling the radio out to use it causes a noticeable delay in use. Admittedly, the times when this minor delay is an issue are pretty rare, but I'm aware of it and thus have been keeping an eye open for another option. The radio harnesses I've looked at are all pretty clunky for use with a pfd. My search continues...
     
  7. Tsunami

    Tsunami Paddler

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    I recently discovered "Paracord" so I bought some hundreds of feet of the stuff. First off I got some luminous reflective green to replace the rope on my lime green kayak not knowing paracord is 1/8" and not 1/4". But being 1/8" its good for all sorts of other things (including bracelets).
    So point being I believe someone with knot tying experience could weave up some kind of nice customised holder to mount anywhere their is a loop or D-ring on their pfd.
    Just a thought to mull over, for those with the aptitude. I myself a mere beginner have not the experience a Sailor would have to wield up the proper approach to the procedure.
    It would serve a double safety device though as 20' or more could be used to construct such a personalised carry pouch.

    On a side note to some other comments regarding wave impact vs water pressure at depth.
    I also had a "water resistant" Timex watch, I wore it doing dishes and that's the last time it worked.
    And as for the force of the impact of a wave on the ocean upon a waterproof casing; One day whilst on the beach in knee deep water in Cali, A wave the size of over my head came crashing down and relieved me of the air mattress I was so life longingly clinging to and impacted me to the ground and drug me over 100 yards out to sea. My factory seals were breached with salt water and sand. :oops:
    So without doing the math I still can attest to the force of the impact of a crashing wave is far more substantial than the water pressure of merely floating about three feet below the surface of the water. Thus I can believe with ease that repeated wave impact can and will be a consideration for leakage when wearing a radio unprotected on the outside of a pfd.
    Just sayin...
    Tiger Tsunami.
     
  8. M2G

    M2G Paddler

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    I guess I've been carrying a radio for frequent use and dealing with the hassle of having 1 or even 2 of them attached to me for about 24 years. 21 years in the military and the rest of the time (some overlapping) as part of a very active search and rescue team. There are a lot of people who absolutely must keep radios on them always, in many kinds of situations and thus, there are a multitude of radio holsters/pouches out there. Tactical applications, rescue, security/law enforcement, etc. There *is* a way to attach one of these holsters/pouches to a PFD that fits you. Just find the right holster/pouch and create your own carry solution.
     
  9. M2G

    M2G Paddler

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    http://www.copsplus.com/radio-pagerholders-page2.php That site will give an idea of some of the variety to be found. Depending on the holster, there would be a couple of likely approaches to attaching it to your PFD, depending on where you wanted it. Along the bottom somewhere, attached to the front, etc.
     
  10. datakoll

    datakoll Paddler

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    When time allows, I may sew a larger pocket onto the Stohlquist pfd. In a place custom for my arm length and movements to the VHF.

    A ergonomic VHF pocket is angled not perpendicular ?

    The pfd, an open back for warm temps, has a vhf pocket but not large for a waterproof VHF bag. I tape all electronics seams with 3M 33 and then bag.

    Pockets could be stripped off used backpacking equipment from a thrift. Sew on using HD polyester thread with a curved needle.
    A sewing shop has a needle package.

    Weldwood nylon glue is outstanding with a clean prepped surface.
    A pocket could be spot glued then sewn.

    Once customizing the pfd, you may see other alterations. Seattle Fabrics has a line of hardware to look over.

    On the Lower Columbia, use the VHF to advise the Chinese pilot of your being glued to the spot for their passing. Whale touring boats may have 16 open.
     
  11. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    There are no Chinese pilots of vessels requiring pilots, whether a Bar Pilot or a River Pilot on the Lower Columbia. Many Ships Masters of Freighters are Chinese, however, which may be what you are thinking of.

    Nonetheless, having a VHF tuned to 16 and 13 on dual watch is a good idea when traversing the ship channel, because the pilots here are attentive to other vessels, even very small ones, in or near the channel, and often hail them, requesting their intentions.

    Frankly, a person has to be very stupid or ignorant to get into the path of a freighter on the lower Columbia. The channel is very clearly marked, and is Nominally Only 600 feet wide. There is plenty of room either side of the channel for our shallow draft vessels to operate, and crossing that 600 feet takes only a minute or two. It is a lot like crossing a busy street. Look both ways before you cross, and only do so when it is clear.

    Many paddlers have far too much concern and fear about a freighter running them over, at least on the Columbia.
     
  12. datakoll

    datakoll Paddler

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    Well, maybe some will try positioning the VHF in a more use able way with a custom pocket...with waterproofing bag for safety. A tether from 1/8th shock cord ?

    Lower Columbia Pilots are very cautious with kayakers, visibly turning power down often without a real need for stopping or slowing...for me but how would the pilot know that ? So a VHF call to 'proceed' is in order for their convenience not mine.

    Suggest nautical language for 'proceed...we will stay here' ?

    These ships come quickly, silently around corners in the Skamocama area. And slow for kayakers. I understand the log shipping industry considers kayakers as a huge PITA.

    PDF's are polyester. Spot gluing a pocket before sewing may be done with Locktite Adhesive found here at WalMart and Home Depot.

    I have a tube of 3M plastic adhesive on your recommendation. Experimenting now with a double seam seal of sole/upper and sole/tread on New Balance A/T running sneaks. NB's glue is not up to wet weather.

    The plastic adhesive went on the upper followed with 3M rubber/plastic adhesive for connections from cemented upper to sole and then sole/tread.

    So far, the combination does not stick to used soles. I'll try carving new rubber. Seams look stable on new shoes.
     
  13. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    A securite call to a freighter, informing the pilot of your intentions, would be good etiquette. Or, position yourself well out of the channel and hold one paddle blade up, so they can verify you are not under propulsion. Never had a reason to hail a freighter, these many years.
     
  14. M2G

    M2G Paddler

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    Spray Skirt

    Back on the topic of the original question: Read back through all of the posts in this thread and no one has mentioned the spray skirt deck area as a carry location for a radio. Seems as though that location would be ideal for radio monitoring and carry. Has anyone tuned in tried this? The used kayak I bought yesterday was furnished with a Brooks spray skirt with a good sized pocket on the deck area.
     
  15. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    After some costly repairs to 'waterlogged' Icoms over the years, I don't usually carry my radio on my deck or my person while paddling. The only exceptions are in heavy fog on the west coast (so I'd be able to contact other craft quickly if I needed to), or if I'm floating around while fishing and want to listen to other fishermen or whale-watchers etc. (ie for entertainment mostly!). In those cases, I usually secure the cord to the grab-loop of my spray deck, so it's easy to grab and use, and is secured to me rather than to the boat. Otherwise, it's nestled away in the day hatch on just about every paddle.
     
  16. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    No waterlogging of my ICOM, 6 or seven years of carrying it in a PFD pocket. Two caveats re Mark's experience:

    1. I never use any AA trays for power. Many types leak, including the ICOM one which fit radio before this one.

    2. I do not roll or swamp/capsize frequently. Mark is a skilled roller, so I bet his radio has been inverted often.

    Question for Mark: these waterlogging events, mainly after surfing, or not? I think when splatted by a wave face, punching through, momentarily the pressure exceeds the figure for one meter of immersion, the spec for the immersion rating of my ICOM, FWIW.
     
  17. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    No, all my repairs were quite a number of years ago. I used to carry the radio in a PFD pocket, so it may have seen the occasional roll but if I were planning on getting wet repeatedly I'd put it away. Most of the time it would have just been sitting in a damp pocket from the spray of waves etc. When surfing, I don't have anything out that I don't need - I don't usually even have the radio in the boat for fear of it getting banged around inside a hatch.

    Don't get me wrong - I think Icom makes a great radio, and I'm definitely more careful with my equipment than most (after all, the same radio has lasted me 10 years now - I bought my M1V in 2004!). The first couple of years of use saw some corrosion on the antenna connector and the battery connectors. I wasn't too happy with Icom's customer service at that time - even doing the repairs myself, the replacement parts (antenna, battery and a few little electronic connectors) cost me nearly the same as a new radio. Since then, I keep the radio dry as much as possible, and it's been fine since. Like you, I don't use the AA trays; only the stock rechargeable battery. I suspect their waterproof rating is a bit optimistic - although, having said that, one has to think that sea kayaking is going to subject a radio to a lot more salt, spray, and corrosion than most other types of marine activities for which one might carry a radio (I'm thinking mostly recreational boaters and fishermen etc.).

     
  18. paddler

    paddler Paddler

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    I have been carrying my radio in my sprayskirt pocket. For the most part it works well enough, but there are a few downsides which is part of what prompted me to start this thread. The two biggest issues I have encountered are the radio accidentally being activated by being fairly loosely packed in a highly mobile environment (turning on when I have it turned off, having the transmit button depress sporadically. I should note that these were rare, but occasional, instances with my standard horizon 270s, and much more frequent instances with a standard horizon 280s which certainly feels like it has "softer" knobs and buttons to me ) and a noticeable lag in communication times if I had to pull the radio out of the skirt for use. I could minimize this by leaving the radio in the sprayskirt pocket, but this resulted in me having to basically kiss my deck to use the radio, hampering my ability to see around me, and having the radio on my deck and horizontal also resulted in less transmission power. For the majority of my uses this was fine, but there have been a few instances where the little bit of delay or the loss of power was noticeable for my partners with a corresponding increase, however minute, in stress levels, something I generally try to avoid. Both of these issues occur mostly when I'm paddling dynamic waters, especially in and around small islands. So if you tend to avoid dynamic waters or only play in the stuff where the radio will either be in a hatch or on shore, sprayskirt pocket can work great. As with anything paddling related - depends on you and your needs? :?

    I actually did end up finding a pfd that fits great, holds my radio in an outside, easily accesible pocket for more relaxed uses and fits in a deeper more protected pocket for rougher waters (still take time to dig out, but shouldn't turn on if I don't want it to). The only problem - it won't hold a radio AND a knife. Opted for the radio and am now debating the knife solutions. :roll:
     
  19. M2G

    M2G Paddler

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    Well, at least a knife is easier to find a place for than a radio. :wink: If nothing else, I'd consider having a sheath sewn in at far left or right depending on your knife-hand.
     
  20. M2G

    M2G Paddler

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    One more idea for good or bad, in keeping the VHF on you.

    On your back in a hydration pack like the Kokatat Tributary. Antenna sticks up enough to pull it out past the velcro and over your shoulder. You'd have to be fairly flexible to get it back in there so this wouldn't be ideal if you're xmitting and using the radio frequently but it would be close at hand... and stays with you should you exit the boat. Might interfere with some rear deck arrangements during some rolls.

    Saw this being done by another paddler who seems to be very experienced so it ain't my idea. Just thought I'd pass it on in this thread.