The Advantages of VHF Radio Communication

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The Advantages of VHF Radio Communication

Very high frequency (VHF) is a range of electromagnetic radio frequency waves from 30 MHz to 300 MHz. The VHF range lies between high frequency (HF) and ultra high frequency (UHF). The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) designates these frequency ranges. Regular radio service near the start of the twentieth century used terms like lower frequency (LF), medium frequency (MF), and high frequency (HF). The task of standardisation and extension was later carried out by ITU.

Several uses of VHF include television broadcasting; frequency modulation (FM) radio broadcasting; terrestrial mobile stations, such as business, military, emergency, and private use; and data communication over tens of kilometres (amateur radio, radio modems, marine communication, et cetera) and over hundreds of kilometres (air traffic control, et cetera).

Basic knowledge of the types of VHF radio communication equipment, its communication protocols, and its advantages is imperative to users who are interested in using VHF radio communication. Along with a variety of electronics and specialty stores, eBay features a huge collection of radio communication equipment, including components that are specific to VHF radio.

Marine VHF Radio

Marine VHF radio is installed on large ships and many small boats for more than one reason. The main purposes of its use include:

  • To summon rescue services in case of an emergency
  • To communicate with harbours, locks, bridges, et cetera

It operates, as the name suggests, in the VHF range, and it is widely used to avoid collisions. However, some countries, including the UK, strongly discourage its use.

A marine VHF set consists of a combination of a transmitter and a receiver that only operates at international frequency standards, known as channels. International calling and the distress channel is channel 16, which has a frequency of 156.8 MHz. A secondary channel for distress calls is channel 9.

Frequency modulation (FM) with vertical polarisation is used in a Marine VHF set, which means that in order to have very good reception, the antennas mounted on the boat have to be vertical.

Digital selective calling (DSC) capability is essential for modern-day maritime VHF radios, and certification to send a distress signal with a single press of a button is a mandatory safety precaution.

Marine VHF radios mostly use half-duplex transmission mechanisms, which means the user can only send or receive a single signal at one particular moment in time. The transmit button on the set determines whether it is being operated as a transmitter or a receiver. A duplex transmission mechanism is used by the rest of the channels so that two-way communication can take place simultaneously. Weather radio broadcasts are also received by Marine VHF radios.

Types of Marine VHF Radio Equipment

The radio set can be fixed or portable, and each type has its pros and cons. Some positive points for both fixed and portable systems are noted in the following table:

Fixed

Portable

More effective aerial

Mostly waterproof

Higher transmitting power

Walkie talkie design

Large display and large buttons

Can be carried to a lifeboat in an emergency

Large aerial

Can be used as an emergency radio in critical environments, such as on gas tankers

More reliable power source

Has its own power source

The table is constructed on the basis of the most widely used radios. It is a recommended practice for buyers to research product-specific information before buying any equipment.

Marine radios are either 'Voice-Only' or include 'Digital Selective Calling' (DSC). Voice-Only type radios are the traditional sets, and they rely, as the name suggests, on human voice for communication.

Advantages of VHF Radio Communication

Very high frequency (VHF) range has numerous benefits, which is one of the key reasons several broadcasters and local governments have switched from the high frequency (HF) band to the very high frequency band. Many FM stations, broadcast television channels, aircraft, and marine vessels have also started using the VHF range for communication for the same reason. These advantages include minimal radio interference, improved quality of sound, and the portability of the antenna.

Minimal Radio Interference

Radio interference has a very minimal effect on the VHF range. This is one of the reasons that it has seen an increase in usage in vehicles. Police forces, for example, have switched from HF to VHF for the same reason, according to the Institute for Criminal Justice Education (ICJE). HF channels had interference problems. VHF is especially beneficial in rural areas, as it can transmit long distances easily as compared to the ultra high frequency (UHF) range. Transmission over long distances is controlled and rarely interferes with distant stations at night.

Quality of Sound

The quality of sound on VHF is phenomenal. VHF offers a lot better quality in comparison to the high frequency bands like shortwave, Citizen's Band (CB), AM, et cetera. This is one of the reasons broadcasters prefer VHF for high-quality audio on FM radio and certain television stations.

The quality of sound is usually not a function of time, as the quality maintains a steady level during all hours of the day. Nonetheless, some broadcasters prefer stereo sound. For two-way communications, the overall quality is slightly affected, but everything is still perfectly understandable, and there is no need to repeat dialogue to communicate.

Type of Antenna

Another advantage of VHF radio communication is that the antenna used for receiving VHF signals is the most portable and least expensive style as compared to other types of antennas. Simple telescopic antennas are used to receive signals on their FM radio sets, for example. They are highly cost effective, and they also have the ability to retract into the receivers when the radio set is not in use. On the other hand, HF and UHF receivers use long wires, loops, and relatively large, costly antennas.

VHF antennas can be utilised to receive weather band signals and two-way communications. Another somewhat trickier use of VHF antennas is for the reception of VHF TV stations and FM radio. This cannot be done with AM and UHF, as two separate antennas are required in their case.

Neptunian Advantages

VHF radios are much more efficient than other radios for use on ships and boats. In marine emergencies, VHF signals have proven to be a lot more adequate than Citizen’s Band (CB) or Family Radio Service (FRS). According to the Boat Owners’ Association of the United States (Boat US), FRS does not have an emergency channel, and CB emergency channels are not overseen by Coast Guard units.

The use of the VHF band is much more frequent with boaters. In order to establish easier communication with a variety of boaters, fellow boat users also use VHF radio communication.

Buying Radio Communication Equipment on eBay

Thorough research on the types and advantages of VHF radio communication equipment is imperative before buyers decide to invest in this type of equipment. eBay boasts a wide collection of radio communication equipment for VHF bands, as well as others. You can start your search by visiting the eBay homepage. Enter a relevant query, such as 'VHF radio&', 'VHF marine radio&', or just 'VHF&' into the search bar to see the list of possibilities. Filter the results as you desire by clicking on the various filters on the results page.

To save the cost of delivery charges, it is recommended that you look for local listings for the specific product. Local listings can be viewed by entering your postcode under the 'Distance' filter option. As soon as the transaction is complete, you and the seller can exchange feedback regarding your shopping experience. The seller’s eBay history and user comments help buyers choose sellers they can trust.

Conclusion

The range of electromagnetic radio frequency waves from 30 MHz to 300 MHz is categorised as the very high frequency (VHF) band. It lies between the ultra high frequency (UHF) and high frequency (HF) bands. Several uses of VHF include FM radio broadcasting, television broadcasting, data communication, and air traffic control.

VHF range has many benefits, and a considerable number of broadcasters have switched from the HF band to the VHF band. Some advantages of VHF include less radio interference, improved quality of sound, and the portability of radio antennas.

Marine VHF radio is installed on boats and ships so that they can summon rescue services in the event of an emergency, or they need to communicate with locks, harbours, or bridges. A Marine VHF set is a combination of a receiver and a transmitter that only operates on certain channels. The antennas mounted on a boat or ship should be vertical for the best reception because FM with vertical polarisation is used in a Marine VHF set.

Basic knowledge of the various types of VHF radio communication equipment, including marine VHF radio and its types, and the several advantages of VHF are essential if buyers want to make the right decision regarding the purchase of VHF radio communication equipment. eBay and many electronics and specialty stores feature an impressive collection of new and used VHF radio communication equipment in different price ranges for a range of buyers.

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