VHF Marine

looking for suggestions, keep in mind I have no radio experience ,- im a fisherman and live near a big lake (lake huron) -the fishermen on the lake use vhf marine radios to talk to each other, work well when close to each other -when I am on my boat near the other boats I can hear them easy enough on my vhf marine boat radio. I would like to hear these fisherman when at home or work (anywhere from 5 to 25 miles away and more ). most fisherman talk on channel 68 and jump around to a handful of channels to talk to each other for any length of time (marine vhf channels are from 156 MHz to 162 MHz).note -I don’t want to transmit only receive . whats my best bet to accomplish this ?
is a high tower required with a vhf antenna on top and a vhf receiver? I do have access to about a 50 foot tower.
is there a scanner that can pickup vhf 25 miles away or more without a high antenna ?
what does a repeater do- my guess is record and transmit from one area to another -leap frogging a transmission so to speak -but im not sure if this works for marine vhf ?-using repeaters are you able to get vhf from far distances with short antenna? I don’t even know if there are repeaters near me
also ive read online something about streaming vhf marine channels but I think its only channels dedicated to weather , coast guard etc.
there’s a coast guard tower near by but its unlikely I can utilize it somehow.
thanks for any info

For transmit and receive, you want to get your antenna as high as possible. As I understand it, it’s not legal for you to transmit anyway from an onshore station like that without any real purpose.

So that’s about it, as high as possible. Any scanner will pick up boats, but its all in the antenna. A junk scanner with an antenna at 100ft will blow the socks off of a 3000 dollar unit with a rubber duck.

As far as repeaters, they don’t apply in marine use as far as I know. But it’s a radio, with an antenna high up, that takes a received signal and retransmits it on a “side” frequency at full power, greatly extending the range of VHF.

Altitude is a good thing, but not always necessary. My 2m/440 antenna, a Comet GP-1, is 20 feet above the ground and my house is 290 feet above sea level. I live four miles as the crow flies from San Diego Bay and I can regularly hear ships operating around San Clemente Island, which is 80 miles to the Northwest.

You just told me how your house is at 300 feet MSL. That would mean its like your antenna is 300 feet tall, so while you just stated height doesn’t matter, you then stated that yours is up high. :smiley:

Check regulations for the legality of a land station to communicate on marine frequencies. Also, check the legality of using marine freqencies at all on inland lakes.

It’s legal to use a marine radio on inland lakes but not legal as a base station on land.

http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?job=operations&id=ship_stations#Using Hand-Held Marine VHF Radios on Land

You must have a special license, called a marine utility station license, to operate a hand-held marine radio from land – a ship station license IS NOT sufficient.