Ross asks:

"Trying to find a good electronic horn for the trawler - thinking about an actual air horn - little compressor size of a beer can - are they more reliable than straight electric?"

Scott replies:

Check out

I installed one of these, and also a Kahlenberg horn that I got off of eBay. A few notes:

1) Depending on your boat, you may just want to install a standard 110 VAC air compressor in the engine room and use that to power the horn. I put in an inexpensive Porter Cable pancake-style compressor, and use it for a all kinds of things. Runs just fine off the inverter when underway.

2) The first horn I installed (one of the train horns) uses a solenoid. It's easy to install, but has the disadvantage that the only volume is LOUD. For the Kahlenberg, I installed a train air valve, like this: This is much more practical because you have a lot of control over the volume.

3) I discovered after the fact that boat horns are actually tuned, and according to the Colregs you are supposed to use a particular frequency based on the length of your vessel. Train horns, while fun and loud, do not necessarily meet the specifications. Here's a link: My Kahlenberg, I discovered, is only supposed to be installed on a vessel over 75 metres (about 150 ft). Oh well!

Scott Welch
Island Eagle

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    About Scott

    I'v been boating since I was 6 years old, and I'm passionate about doing things the right way. Hopefully you'll find these posts useful, and if you disagree with then, I'm always ready to learn new things, feel free to comment or email me.


    March 2011