Monday, October 25, 2010

No More Shouting!

Although we haven't been through the local bridges much, we quickly learned that we really wanted a hand-held VHF radio for communicating with the bridge operators.
The few times that we've gone through the bridges, Ken was in the cockpit while somebody else (who always seemed to be hard of hearing) was down in the salon using the VHF radio and shouting back and forth to Ken.  Ken would prefer to be able to communicate with the bridge operator himself, and if he happened to be alone communications would be difficult. 

So, after doing some research and not wanting to spend too much, we ordered the Uniden MHS75 VHF Waterproof Two-Way Marine Radio

It has a good rating, reasonable price, and is waterproof.  We received the radio over the weekend, so with the new GPS mousebarbecue grill, and radio we now feel more prepared to venture a little further out.  In a prior post we thought that a GPS, VHF radio and towing insurance would run just over the $850 we made by selling our gold. However, since we learned that a GPS can be obtained for less than $40 with a GPS mouse and a laptop, we'll have only spent $302 dollars for a GPS ($40), VHF radio ($87), stainless steel barbecue grill ($50), and an annual towing policy ($125).  A savings of $548 plus a grill and bracket worth over $300 at West Marine sounds good to us!

Also, if you read our last post you're familiar with the E-bay seller of a grill cover that increased her invoice and then got upset when I asked why her quote was less than the invoice... well, she had a bad day and contacted me later apologizing.  So, she's sewing our grill cover as we speak!  We also ordered some shackles and slides from her, as the last few times Ken has pulled the main sail up he's had a really difficult time.  He's going to clean and lubricate the sail track and replace the shackles and slides.  Hopefully that will do the trick! 

On another note, we had hoped to attend the Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival this past weekend but Ken had a job offer Saturday that we couldn't afford to turn down.  Of course, this past week was slow with work... until the weekend came.  However, Ken made good use of his time during the past week and started renovations on our house so we can get it sold this coming spring.

Work has been slow for me as well, but I've been working on something that I hope will help a little bit.  I'm really excited about it, and more to come soon!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!


Sandee said...

You're doing well on your boat shopping. Very well. We too have a hand held VHF and it sure comes in handy. I'm glad things are coming together for you.

Have a terrific day. :)

Ken n Cheryl said...

Thanks Sandee! I can always count on you for kind words. We hope to enjoy our boat as much as you do yours!

Philippe said...

I am curious, how does the GPS and laptop work? What software is used? Thanks!

Ken n Cheryl said...


We haven't tried this out yet, but have had a lot of good feedback from other cruisers. Download free charts and software and you're good to go! If you look in this post, we have a link called "GPS Mouse". Just click on it to get more detailed info from our previous post. We'll eventually get a more permanent (and expensive) GPS, but this is a great alternative for now.

Alexei said...

Good call on the handhelds. They come in real handy.

Another option, though, if your existing radio will support it, is to wire up a "command mike" at the helm. Then you can use your handhelds as a true backup. A command mike will require some tinkering and a few more bucks, but I like having it. I don't have to hunt around for my handheld because the mike is permanently mounted right by the wheel. Of course, if your existing VHF doesn't have input for an additional mike, you'd have to upgrade your entire unit, and that'll be more costly. But still, I think it's worth it.

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