VHF replay, more than just a good idea
Panbo reader Steve e-mailed a while back asking me to bug the VHF manufacturers to build in a replay feature. He wrote, “I cannot say how many times I have missed something on the VHF and longed for a ‘back’ 10 seconds button.” Well, I thought it was a great idea—lord knows how many times I’ve suffered through a long NOAA weather loop only to space out by the time the particular forecast or buoy stats I wanted came along. But I had nothing to do with the several VHF replay features now hitting the market.
First up is a Cobra handheld that was previewed at METS (above). It has a built-in memory chip that records the last 20 seconds of whatever breaks squelch on the channel(s) you’re monitoring. You can also save recordings, make voice notes, or record a canned transmission. The U.S. version of this radio, not yet available, is also dual band, able to do GMRS with 5 watts of transmit power. I suspect that Cobra has a hot product here, and I’m hoping to test it when available. (There will also be a fixed Class D VHF with “Rewind, Say Again”.)
Meanwhile, out in Everett, Washington, professional skipper Scott Sucke has developed Last Call, a VHF speaker with a memory chip inside. Straight up it will probably make your existing VHF sound better (building radios waterproof is not good for speaker performance), and it will replay/amplify the last 60 seconds of continuous transmission, save it too. Apparently the Washington State Ferry Service likes them enough to equip its whole fleet. The Last Call Web site has a demo video and contact information, but note that there’s $99 deal going on the first manufacturing batch, “while supplies last”. I hope to test Last Call too.