Standardization of VHF Marine Band Radio Size

VHF Marine Band radios, protocol, radio communication theory, practical advice; AIS; DSC; MMSI; EPIRB.
jimh
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Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
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Standardization of VHF Marine Band Radio Size

Postby jimh » Sun Apr 01, 2018 7:46 am

In radios intended for installation in automobiles, there is a nominal standard size for the panel opening in the dashboard for mounting the radio, typically 180 x 50 mm, derived from the Germin DIN 75490 standard and now codified as an international standard ISO 7736 and in vernacular "single DIN." There is also a "double DIN" size, 180 x 100.3 mm.

Use of a standard size for automobile radios is a reasonable practice inasmuch as in most automobiles the dashboard or instrument panel area is created by the automobile manufacturer as a finished space with instrumentation already installed. An automobile owner is unlikely to undertake any substantial modification of the dashboard or instrument panel, and if a non-OEM radio is to be installed, that replacement radio will likely be installed in the existing space in the instrument panel or dashboard already designed for the radio.

In contrast, in recreational small boats the instrument panel or dashboard space at the helm station is generally not a completely finished space and already filled with all the instrumentation and accessories that the boat will eventually have. Choice of instrumentation, radios, navigation devices, controls, and other components to be installed on what is generally a blank panel is left to the owner or dealer or hired installer. There is no pre-configured and dedicated space already set aside for a VHF Marine Band radio using standardized dimensions. Accordingly, there seems to be little incentive or motivation or practicality for VHF Marine Band radios to create their products to fit into a particular dimension of height and width on an instrument panel.

Among VHF Marine Band radios there does not seem to be any particular trend to comply with ISO 7736 for the radio enclosure dimension of 180 x 50 mm. A brief survey of some popular radios show the various dimensions:

ICOM
M330 = 156.5 x 66.5 mm
M324 = 180 x 82 mm
M424 = 180 x 82 mm
M506 = 175 x 110 mm (flush mount cutout 157 x 93.4 mm)

STANDARD-HORIZON
GX1300 = 155 x 60 mm
GX1600 = 150 x 85 mm
GX2000 = 180 x 80 mm
GX2200 = 180 x 80 mm
GX6000 = 175.5 x 110 mm (flush mount cut out 155 x 91.4 mm)

The only standardization of size seems to be that the two top-tier radios, ICOM M506 and Standard-Horizon GX6000, are nominally the same dimensions and have very close cutout dimensions. A width of 180 mm is also common, which correlates to the DIN standard. The height of several radios is in the range of 80 to 82 mm. On that basis one might conclude that the most common VHF Marine Band radio's panel dimensions are approximately 180 x 80/82 mm

jimh
Posts: 5994
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
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Re: Standardization of VHF Marine Band Radio Size

Postby jimh » Sun Apr 01, 2018 3:05 pm

ASIDE: concerning standardization of panel opening size for flush mounting, I notice that the newer Standard-Horizon GX6000 is slightly smaller than the ICOM M506 radio by a millimeter or so. This means that you could replace an M506 radio with a GX6000 in the slightly larger opening, but perhaps not vice-versa.