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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
Can we talk radios for a moment...
|Author||Topic: Can we talk radios for a moment...|
posted 08-30-2006 02:53 AM ET (US)
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
Which ones do you think are junk?
posted 08-30-2006 04:57 AM ET (US)
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.
posted 08-30-2006 09:06 AM ET (US)
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.
posted 08-30-2006 12:53 PM ET (US)
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.
posted 08-30-2006 01:55 PM ET (US)
This is a great overview explaining DSC.
posted 08-30-2006 02:37 PM ET (US)
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?
posted 08-30-2006 02:40 PM ET (US)
Here is a past thread on the PS1000
posted 08-30-2006 06:10 PM ET (US)
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 The prior versions of radios which have some limited Digital Selective Calling features are really quite out of date.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.
posted 08-30-2006 06:15 PM ET (US)
More information on DSC CLASS-D radios can be found in my article in the REFERENCE section:
posted 08-31-2006 05:13 AM ET (US)
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
Note that the specifications for the Humminbird quoted above include the Class D spec and:
Further note the second reference to the Class D spec.
posted 08-31-2006 08:55 AM ET (US)
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...
posted 08-31-2006 09:00 AM ET (US)
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.
Here's a link that has great information and VHF online tutorial.
posted 08-31-2006 12:44 PM ET (US)
"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.
posted 08-31-2006 08:37 PM ET (US)
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.
posted 09-02-2006 07:42 PM ET (US)
I'm extremely happy with my PS1000 radio. It is a very user friendly radio for $99.00
posted 09-03-2006 12:28 AM ET (US)
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.
posted 09-09-2006 12:46 PM ET (US)
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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