Having recently taken up sea kayaking and venturing into more advanced locations, my family decided that it was time I purchased a radio should I get caught out while paddling. After a bit of research, I opted for the ICOM M71 which seems to be a favourite amongst the sea kayaking fraternity and I hope to provide a review in the next few months.
There are one or two thing that you need to do before using a VHF radio on a regular basis in that that you need to apply for radio licence, which is free if done on line through the Ofcom website and then you need complete a VHF marine radio operators training course. The text below reviews the operators course I attended run by Anchor Training.
The course was run from Carsington Water near Ashbourne in the Peak District and I must say the relaxed way in which the course was presented and the equipment provided for the course was excellent. During the morning sessions we looked at the licensing and the protocols for Mayday, Pan Pan, Securite calls and it amazed me just how slowly you need to speak to allow others to write down your message and how much easier calling for assistance with DSC (most portable hand held VHF’s don’t this function). After lunch we used another radio set to practice making routine calls and to put polish on the other protocols. Unfortunately, the last part of the course involves sitting a written paper and I am pleased to say that we all passed and will shortly have our certificates to prove it.
If you are looking for a VHF Marine operators course, then I would certainly recommend attending one run by Ben Hodgson from Anchor Training as he is very knowledgable, easy to get along with and very supportive during the practical sessions.