Panbo

Mister Fish loudhailer speaker, & the Garmin GHS 10

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Mar 23, 2010
Mister_Fish_marine_hailer_fog_speaker_cPanbo_.JPG

While I may have driven the dogs in my neighborhood slightly nuts, I did satisfy myself that this new loudhailer horn speaker works quite well.  Mister Fish Marine Electronics is primarily an online dealer, but this 40 watt, 4 ohm speaker is their own design.  The goal was improved longevity and sound over the "inexpensive" speakers while maintaining a reasonable cost, and my first impression -- given the $89 price, shipping included -- is "goal achieved."  It feels solidly built and purportedly contains "lubricated internal o-ring gaskets" and all stainless hardware.  And the sound is darn good, which I was able to hear in multiple ways thanks to the Garmin VHF 200...

Just as I found that the Garmin's well designed soft key system makes even somewhat arcane VHF operations easy, so it was with the "PA" choices under the top menu.  Besides "Intercom" and "Hailer" (which includes listening), there's a fog signal choice that leads to either "Manual" mode (which also includes listening) or the many "Auto" modes seen in part below, though on the optional GHS 10 remote handset I've also been testing.  Getting around is easier than a written descriptions sounds, and even though the Garmin only puts four watts into the Mister Fish speaker, it seemed loud enough to do the job fairly well (the dogs concur).  Plus the speaker doesn't have the tinny quality I've heard in cheaper models.
   In fact, I'm going to test this combination further on Gizmo this season, and am hopeful that it may even serve as the "manly horn" I dreamt about last season.   The GHS 10, incidentally, is an impressive full function remote, but I do find that screen a little hard to read in some light conditions.  In the photo below I have the backlighting and contrast turned up to the max, and the handset is in favorable light.  But that's a small font (on a 2-inch display) for a lot of us old cusses, and if Garmin could make it bigger on some screens, that would be a good thing.

Garmin_GHS_10_fog_signals_cPanbo.JPG

Comments

I just got a GHS 10 tonight as part of a VHF 300 AIS package and I'm returning it. While I may not be transmitting on the VHF that often, I do want to frequently check that it's on the proper channel. The little screen makes that nigh impossible, especially if the handset is hung low on the helm casework, which is what I would prefer.

In the end, the plan to do away with the standard helm-mounted "box of buttons" VHF doesn't quite work. Perhaps Garmin should introduce a remote display (or better yet, add support for the black box VHFs to the GMI 10 display).

Posted by: Adam at March 24, 2010 4:40 AM | Reply

Adam, did you try the GHS 10? It shows the current channel in a font large enough to nearly fill the screen vertically, which I find quite readable. It's the auxiliary info and menus that I find hard to read sometimes, and it's particularly annoying when there is in fact lots of screen room for a larger font. The GMI 10 as a GHS 10 screen repeater is an interesting idea!

Posted by: Ben at March 24, 2010 7:47 AM | Reply

How directional is the listening part of this horn?

Posted by: Sandy Daugherty at March 24, 2010 12:14 PM | Reply

Well, Sandy, feedback was what really got to the dogs, but I was trying the speaker in a mostly enclosed space. Not a fair test. I plan to install it on the forward side of Gizmo's flying bridge, beneath the Broadband Radar, and I don't anticipate problems. I believe the listening is as directional as the horn speaker, though I'm not sure if there is a little mic in there somewhere or if it uses the speaker cone as a mic?

Posted by: Ben at March 24, 2010 12:37 PM | Reply

Ben, yes, I tried it. Our current Icom M602 mic has a remote connector (ie, isn't attached to the front of the "box of buttons"), and hangs at about waste level. That's where I'd want the GHS 10 (or any other mic), and no matter how big the numbers are it's not readable in that location. The only alternative would be to hang the handset right off the helm next to the autopilot display, but I just don't like having that coiled cord dangling there, taking up helm real estate. The GMI 10 solution would be great because I could hang the GHS 10 at waste level and use its display to control the radio, with the GMI 10 maintaining "glanceability".

Posted by: Adam at March 24, 2010 3:46 PM | Reply

I just bought and received the mini LRAD for my ship. The large unit cost 40-120k depending on features but the small unit cost well under 5k and is very portable.

While it would probably fail at keeping pirates off the ship it works amazingly well for hailing small boats... and thus, is personally my new loudhailer of choice.

Posted by: John - gCaptain at March 29, 2010 12:38 AM | Reply

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