A quick question from a newbie, re my VHS handheld

Hello All,

I found this forum after trying a web-search on this subject, and you are probably the best folks to ask. Let me preface my question by saying that I know next-to-nothing about radios in general, not like the users of this forum…

Here goes:

A few years ago, I had a small sailboat, and of course immediately picked up a small handheld VHF radio (iCom IC-M34) to have aboard. Unfortunately, after a year or two I no longer had the boat, but did end up with this radio among the necessary bits in my bag from it. It works perfectly, and seems to hold a charge forever.

My question is, is it reasonable or legal or feasible to keep this unit charged and in my car, say, for emergency use in case of injury or accident in a remote place on land? I’d love for my wife and I to at least have something around with which we might summon help if there’s a crisis and cellphones or landlines are not an option.

I realize, of course that the channels on the marine VHF are reserved in many cases for different purposes, and that this radio was not intended for this.

So would I be a fool to think an emergency message could reach help, or (worse yet) would I be breaking the law by trying to use this while on land (and not communicating with a marine vessel)?

Should I just give or sell this to another boater?

Thanks for indulging my question, and, if so moved, for replying.

All best,
Tom, NYC

Marine radios are illegal for land use. No one inland would monitor them anyway.

Inland, a bit pointless, but if you live on the coast, maybe? However, on the coast or inland, cell coverage is much more reliable. Oddly, in the UK, and I think internationally you will not be prosecuted for using any radio equipment, licensed or unlicensed for real emergency situations. It allows for a member of the public to use a Police radio that perhaps an injured officer has available, or for a civilian to use a aviation radio etc etc.

It’s just pointless if you have a phone. Marine radios are great offshore, where cell coverage is non-existent. On land, the reverse applies.

In the US, the FCC allows for the use of almost any radio on nearly any radio service in the event of an emergency if no other means of communication is available. This is on the condition that the user cease communication when the emergency has passed or as soon as another method of communication becomes available.

Having said that, since marine radios are generally not monitored or used on land, it would make more sense to use a land based radio service for emergency radio communications for your purposes.