VHF from USA

Mfc1955

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Apologies if this is repetative but I have recently seen vhf handheld and fixed sets on the Internet, particularly Ebay, advertised at cheaper prices than UK sourced goods. They all seem to be originally USA units, and have the ability to switch between USA, Canadian and International frequencies, so can they be used in Britain/Europe ? Or do regulations prohibit this?
 

mickp

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There was a thread lower down on cheap USA VHF and electronics..... I have read somewher that USA standards are different....and they are not type approved... I may be wrong I to operate VHF on a British VHF licence it must be type approved... perhaps the experts on this forum can confirm.
 
G

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Try a search because this has been covered in some depth.

From memory it comes down to lower standards in manufacture/relibility with US kit and not having a EC mark and ending up with a whopping fine

or something like that.

But I'm sure I'll be corrected if I've got it wrong

Tim Eades
http://www.btinternet.com/~tim.eades/
 

Strathglass

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The answers are.
1.:- If the VHF can be switched to International then it will work in UK.
2 :- If it is not CE stamped it is illegal to use in the UK.
3 :- By the time you pay the delivery charges and VAT you will find thet the total £ price is numerically the same as the $ price.
4 :- The special offer on the West web site still looks tempting.
 

tcm

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Re: CE marking

This usually relates to selling things, not using them. So, no prob making a food mixer, but big problem trying to market said contraption.

So, only issue is using it...and there must be loads of sets out and about miles pre-CE marked. So, if it works I'd say use it. Everyone else in Europe wd use it too, cept us v sensible law-abiding types. But, dunno if there are real regs. Nor, indeed if it works...
 

Twister_Ken

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My British bought h/held comes with switchable US, Canadian and International channels, a handbook that lists American, European and Asian service addresses, a CE sticker (nothing moulded in) and a 'Made in Taiwan' legend.

Somehow, I can't believe there is one thing different about it compared with the version that's sold in the US. Except maybe the price.

Garmin 725e, BTW
 

kimhollamby

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Re: CE marking

The governing factor is not CE mark but compliance of the unit with Radiocommunications Agency approved standards. Out of office today and not got the necessary bumph to hand but just found the declaraion of conformity for my Icom IC-M15 handheld which has been built to IEC945.

Reason for higher cost, amongst other things, is the convoluted procedure required to test conformity. Also that conformity does in effect demand a higher spec in many cases. Had more than one VHF that we've been given advanced details of over the years that never in fact made it into the UK market thanks to failed tests.

If your radio is inspected at any time, they'll certainly be looking for conformity (although I've never heard of RA inspectors getting past checking a ship's radio licence if valid). I also cannot remember if the latest radio licence form asks for details of installed radio.

Any electronics for European use also have to be CE-marked in relation to EMC Directive...which is all about stopping units from broadcasting stray electro-magnetic waves or getting affected by them.

Associate Publisher ybw.com websites kim_hollamby@ipcmedia.com
 

Chris_Stannard

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Re:Standards

Agree with kimhollamby. The difference in the standards is that the CE standards apply to all electrical goods offered for sale. Thus for example your local charity shop will not accept electrical goods for sale as they have to be tested and marked as CE approved and this costs more than they can recover.

All UHF and VHF radios have to be Type Approved by the RA for use. The problem is that for marine use they have to go through a second approval process which is more demanding than the standard for general use on shore. Your VHF licence from the RA only permits you to use equipment that has been through this process. One of the conditions is that your radio cannot have Channel 0 which is restricted to the Coastguard.

There is a possibility that a radio not approved to the marine channels may spill over from one channel into another. If you cause interference and someone complains the RA will investigate and if you are found responsible they will take action against you which is expensive.

In the end you get what you pay for.
 

Twister_Ken

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US sailors

Understand your points completely, but if all the RA's fears are justified, it begs the question of what happens to an American sailor who brings his boat across the pond. Presumably he manages to use his radio without bringing the system to its knees.

Didn't notice anything amiss during the AC150 last year, when there were dozens of US yachts in the Solent.
 
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My understanding is the US provides local weather reports to their spoilt sailors on dedicated VHF weather channels. channel frequencies are recognised internationally so a US set will have all the European channels plus additionally some extra channels for the weather reports. The frequencies allocated to the additional channels are not available to third world users like Great Britain or any of Europe so US sets have a button marked "International" which blocks or unblocks these additional channels. I'm unsure about European type approval for the use of a set over here - but the set will work fine.
 

jfkal

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Re: US sailors

Forgot the govt in the equation. They need to make money. So the same system need to get a sticker and cost 30 % more. Even better still try Radar. Same unit double price.
 

robp

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Re: US sailors

Point is, as I'm sure you are infering Ken, is that the major manufacturers will probably uitilise the same spec that meets Euro/RA standards, on all their production. However, part of the type approval requires a number to be shown together with the model no. The user takes their chance if it isn't actually type approved. It would be illegal for techy to fix it too, if it went wrong
 

pvb

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What about a French-sourced VHF?

Would a French-sourced VHF meet the UK's stringent type approval requirements? Or would it be illegal to use it?
 

robp

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Re: What about a French-sourced VHF?

If it's type approved under "ETSI" rules or under the new R&TTE directive, which I would do if it were my company seeking approval, it's OK in all Europe. It's finally pretty well harmonised.
 

tcm

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Re: US/france

incidentally arthur, I wonder if you notice (from afar) how keen we all are on rules here in blighty? The more boating I do in France, the more uptight it seems to be here. Yet there all these rules, and nobody to check them nor is there any possibility of them being checked. For UK boat abroad for example ...no radio licence no reminders and yet....

The french attitude is to obey the convenient rules, and the US also seems to have a "citizen first"attitude or prasp "1st amendment" is it?...
 

ArthurWood

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Re: US/france

Actually, Matt, aside from marine rules or lack of them, there seem to be more rules here. On the subject of marine/boating rules, here in FL they are very strict on drinking and boating and if an accident occurs in which someone dies and you are the innocent party but have been drinking you may be charged with homicide.
Rules which affect us here are mainly related to where we live. Homeowners' Associations have powers to levy fines for non-compliance with the rules of the sub-division (housing estate)eg leaving garage doors open, not paying monthly fees, letting dog poop in public areas etc. Such rules are for the common good IMHO and that is why people choose to live in such places. The main objective is to ensure property values are maintained or increased and that people are not bothered by other people's idiosyncracies. On this island there are no garish signs and fast food joints permitted . All sounds a bit clinical, but it works. If you don't like it you can always go and live on a ranch in central FL and do more or less what you like.
Other examples of rules are for example on beaches:
-no dogs, no alcohol, no radios, no nudity, no changing on the beach, only allowed on beach between 6.00am and 11.00pm. Loud and loutish behaviour is just not tolerated. Freedom is a very common word here, but actually to some degree I don't think people here are as free to do what they like as they are in the UK. The police are very much in evidence. But IMHO if UK freedom allows some members of society to impinge on the rights and comforts of others with impunity I prefer the US form.
Of course, people here will challenge almost anything through the courts. I don't think there is such a thing as a trivial prosecution. Hm, I've rambled a bit. Sorry Kim.
 

Chris_Stannard

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Re: US/france

I agree that the authorities in the UK are keen on the rules. Just in case anyone thinks they do not bother, the RA went round at Cowes a couple of years back and caught an awful lot of people without licences. I believe the fine is about 100 years licence fee, so it pays to pay.

I am glad to hear that Europe has finally got harmonised on radio standards. They had not when I threw my hand in two years ago. As for the US sets they may be slightly more likely to cause interference. This is because the channels are officially 25 kHz but to increase the number available extra channels were interleaved between the original ones. These days anyone who cannot make a synthesised radio that works inside 12.5 kHz has no right to be in the industry. One of the rasons things are cheaper in the states is the market is much bigger than UK. And if you think our prices are high try buying electronics in the Netherlands, the dealers cannot buy for UK prices.
 
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