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Author Topic:   Can we talk radios for a moment...
SeattleDauntless posted 08-30-2006 02:53 AM ET (US)   Profile for SeattleDauntless   Send Email to SeattleDauntless  
My new (used) Dauntless came in, and it needs a radio. It
has been a few years since I bought a marine readio, and
things change. DSC for one thing.

At the lower end of the DSC radio scale (as I only run on
lakes and the Puget Sound), what BRANDS do you all like
better than others? Cobra, Standard, Icom, ???

Which ones do you think are junk?


highanddry posted 08-30-2006 04:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
I trust Icom, flowm with them and owned several of their products--but--I just bought a Humminbird 255 because it matches my Humminbird 987c and it seems to work just dandy.
jimh posted 08-30-2006 09:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I would follow the advice of the United States Coast Guard: get a VHF Marine Radio which is rated for CLASS-D DSC service.

Following this advice eliminates many of the less expensive radios, and many of the ICOM radios. The best-buy in a CLASS-D DSC radio is probably the Standard-Horizon PS-2000.

If you don't have a GPS, then there is not much point in getting a DSC radio. If that is the case, there is a wide-open field of choices.

davej14 posted 08-30-2006 12:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
Definitely get the radio with DSC capability. You will add a GPS sooner or later and will appreciate having this feature.

I installed the Standard Horizon PS1000 and am very happy with it. At the time the PS2000 was much more expensive but lately the difference is less (<$50. I think). If I did it again, I would go for the PS2000. Make sure that the PS2000 comes with the RAM+ mic because originally you had to purchase this separately.

BW23 posted 08-30-2006 01:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for BW23  Send Email to BW23     
This is a great overview explaining DSC.

highanddry posted 08-30-2006 02:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
Almost all VHF radios now have DSC. Just because a company has not rated their product as a particular class does not mean it is not a quality or decent unit or even that it does not meet the classification. AND, who doesn't have GPS so why not get a DSC capable unit or upgrade to one?

13sport posted 08-30-2006 02:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for 13sport    
Here is a past thread on the PS1000


jimh posted 08-30-2006 06:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Be sure to get a CLASS-D DSC radio. The prior versions of radios which have some limited Digital Selective Calling features are really quite out of date. The minimum recommended radio is a CLASS-D rated radio.

If you are going to buy a new radio, there is no point in buying a radio whose DSC capabilities are already obsolete.

One of the requirements of a CLASS-D DSC radio is that you have to be able to master operation of it in less than ten minutes, that is, the user interface has to be easy to use and learn. This feature alone disqualifies many of the earlier radios, which were often rather awkward to use. And most important, a CLASS-D DSC radio is actually monitoring for calls all the time. Many of the earlier radios did not monitor for calls. They just transmitted a distress message.

The CLASS-D recommendation makes sense to me, and, remember, it's what the United States Coast Guard recommends for your vessel. It is not mandatory for recreational vessels, but it is recommended.

jimh posted 08-30-2006 06:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
More information on DSC CLASS-D radios can be found in my article in the REFERENCE section:

highanddry posted 08-31-2006 05:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
It seems it always get to this about these things. I am not saying the Standard Horizon is not a great radio as I am sure it is but you can get other radios that seem to work fine:

Submersible (JIS-7) Design for the Maximum Durability
Digital Selective Calling* (DSC Class D) for Enhanced Communication
Convenient Handset Control of Channel, Power and 16/9 Select
Rotary Channel Change, Squelch and Volume for Fast, Accurate Tuning
Large, High Visibility 2 ½" LCD Display
All USA, International and Canadian Marine Channels
10 Weather Channels with NOAA Weather Alert
Full 25 Watt or 1 Watt Transmit Power

Note that the specifications for the Humminbird quoted above include the Class D spec and:

Display Type:
2.5" Diagonal Backlit LCD

All USA, INT'L & Canada Channels

Weather Channels:

Power Output:
1w or 5w (User Selectable)

Operating Temperature Range:
( -4F to +131 F)

Frequency Range
( Transmit):
156.025 - 157.425 MHz

Frequency Range
( Receive):
156.050 - 163.275 MHz


Digital Selectivity Calling (DSC):
Class D (EN301025)

Signal-to-Noise Ratio:
>35dB @ 3kHz

Channel Spacing:
25 kHz

Further note the second reference to the Class D spec.

Point is that there are plenty of these Class D radios around so like another asked--why not get one with that feature.

Riverwhaler posted 08-31-2006 08:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for Riverwhaler  Send Email to Riverwhaler     
I agree with all the above facts with a few additions. Radio should be usable, that means to me that I can read display, important in an emergency. It should provide usable information. I usually go with Icom stuff paying the premium price. When I wanted a larger readout recently the Uniden came to light. Check it out the list of features is amazing.
Sorry can't get the line to turn blue...
bluewaterpirate posted 08-31-2006 09:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
I have both an ICOM 504 and SH Phantom 1000 on my 210 Ventura. Believe me, you can't go wrong with either radio.

I have observed no difference in the performance of the radios. I can talk with the CG & Sea Tow 50 miles off shore with either radio (CG/ST are both using 500'antennas) and I have reliable 15 mile comms both voice/DSC data exchange with a buddy of mine (we both are using 8'antennas).

The truth of the matter is that it's the antenna that makes the biggest difference. I have the ICOM connected to a 8' Shakespeare Galaxy and the SH to a 8' Digital. sitebuilderpictures/twoofakind1.jpg sitebuilderpictures/completeinstall.jpg

Here's a link that has great information and VHF online tutorial.


swist posted 08-31-2006 12:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
"The truth of the matter is that it's the antenna that makes the biggest difference."

Not to mention its height.

As more and more electronic devices of all sorts are made with the same standard set of chips, it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate among them in terms of performance and functionality. Things like ergonomics, packaging, manufacturer/dealer reputation/support, price, and other such factors come into play.

davej14 posted 08-31-2006 08:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
But you can't beat the ability to place the black box of the PS2000 (or PS1000) in a remote location and save precious space on the outside of the console.
Livingwater posted 09-02-2006 07:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Livingwater  Send Email to Livingwater     
I'm extremely happy with my PS1000 radio. It is a very user friendly radio for $99.00
where2 posted 09-03-2006 12:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
Standard Horizon PS2000 After I read the details to my wife she actually told me I "should get one".

Standard's warranty gets very good marks.

chopbuster posted 09-09-2006 12:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for chopbuster  Send Email to chopbuster     
Despite jimh's unqulaified Icom bias, I recommend surfing the net and come up with your own "deduced" analysis of what meets your specific needs.

I both own and use this particular Icom M422 Marine Radio radio, I recommend it based on my "hands on" usage of it.

Good luck with your choice.

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