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  Standard Horizon VH-310 vs. RAM+ mic

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Author Topic:   Standard Horizon VH-310 vs. RAM+ mic
95Outrage17 posted 04-24-2009 12:19 AM ET (US)   Profile for 95Outrage17   Send Email to 95Outrage17  
Hi guys,

I did a search on this subject, but didn't find much info. I'm installing a Standard Horizon GX1500S VHF on my Outrage. It will be connected to a Shakespeare Galaxy 5401-XT on a 2' stainless extension bolted to the side of the console. The VHF will be mounted at the back of the console electronics box above the steering wheel. I'm planning to treat the GS1500X as a "Phantom" VHF and mainly use a remote mic. I'm wondering if the VH-310 is worth the extra money for general use or if I'd be better off with the regular RAM+. The VH-310 looks cool and I like its full keyboard and volume reduction function when it's removed from it's dash clip. I'm wondering what others think of this unit. I don't have a mounted GPS on the Outrage yet, but will likely add a small plotter in the next year or two. That will allow me to use the VHF's GPS functions.

- Chris

Phil T posted 04-24-2009 08:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for Phil T  Send Email to Phil T     
Chris-

Have you seen this review posted by Jim?
http://continuouswave.com/ubb/Forum6/HTML/002269.html
Decisions, decisions.

jimh posted 04-24-2009 09:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have a Standard Horizon VH-310 remote microphone and have used it with a GX1500S. I don't have too much to say about it at the moment because I really have not used it that much, even though I have had for a year or two.

The ten-button numeric keypad was my initial attraction to the VH-310, and I thought it would be useful for entering MMSI data into the DSC directory of the radio. However, the display that is provided on the VH-310 is not a duplicate of the display on the GX1500s. The handset's display does not have as many pixel elements, so there is much less room on the display for information to be shown as compared to the radio's display. After thinking about the electronics involved, this is a reasonable situation. There are just too many pixels in the radio display to be able to send all that data to a remote display. Text that is shown on the radio display as a long line of characters is seen to scroll across a much smaller text region on the handset.

The ability to hold the remote handset up to your ear to hear the receiver audio was another feature that attracted me to the VH-310. This works well. There is a magnetically actuated switch in the handset cradle that adjusts the volume. When the handset is in-cradle, and the volume is set to a particular level according to adjustment by the operator. When the handset is lifted out of the cradle, the volume level on the handset is reduced so that when brought close to the ear the level is not too loud. That is a smart feature and indicates some good thinking went into the design

The set up of the audio on the VH-310 is somewhat complex. My boat has a rather large and powerful external loudspeaker for the radio. The radio provides some options for how an external loudspeaker is controlled, and which volume control adjusts the volume on the external speaker. It is so complicated that, in all honesty, I don't remember how it works or how I configured the settings on my radio. I spent an hour one afternoon changing settings on the radio regarding the how the external speaker and the handset's speaker ought to operate. The handset's speaker can reproduce the radio audio at a high level, and for some an external speaker may not be necessary at all.

The VH-310 costs as much (or more than) the GX1500S radio. In addition to the handset you also get the cradle and a long cable to connect the handset to the radio. The hardware is of good quality, what you would expect from Standard Horizon.

Hiding the GX1500S radio from view and using it as a black box radio or a faceless radio is certainly possible with the VH-310 handset, however, because the GX1500S display is so wonderfully large and filled with information, it would be a shame not to have it available for operating the radio. In particular, when using the DSC functions on the radio, the display of the GX1500S will be very helpful. You probably can perform most all of those functions using the VH-310 handset, but its display will not be able to show you as much data.

95Outrage17 posted 04-24-2009 10:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for 95Outrage17  Send Email to 95Outrage17     
Phil,

I did read that article and I was glad to read that the VHF I picked is "recommended". I gave it a lot of consideration as I had wanted an Icom because I like my Icom handheld.


Jim,

Thanks for the detailed response! I read much of your thread about the VHF install on your Revenge. I was looking for more detailed thoughts on the VH-310 mic. You make a good point about the GX1500S screen vs. that on the VH-310. If I mount the VHF in the electronics box, I will still be able to view the screen. I'll just have to open the box's door, duck down and look in at it. Not as easy to use as flush mounting in on the console though and the electronics box door doesn't like to stay open when underway. I'm reluctant to cut a big hole in the console as it's fairly original and has only had a couple modifications from the factory (fishfinder, 12V plug, engine switch/gauges). I like the clean look. I have considered cutting a hole and mounting the VHF below the throttle, but that would not be an ideal location for use underway.
I don't use the VHF often, but I figure if I'm going to install one, then I better do it "right". Generally I would use it to listen to weather forcasts and other radio traffic as well as ocassionally talk to friends. The most involved use it would get is when I volunteer to use the Whaler for safety boat purposes in our sailing club's dingy regattas. Currently there is not much use of DSC around here, but there may be in the future and that's why I bought a DSC type-D unit. Also, I like the idea of the distress safety feature that I can add when I install a GPS.
The VH-310 does cost about as much as the VHF itself, but it's not a whole lot more expensive then the regular RAM+ mic and that's why I'm considering it. I do admit though that this whole VHF arrangement is costing way more then it should with the overkill galaxy antenna and remote mic. I have a hard time making things simple when it comes to my own boat. I seem to think more rationally when dealing with client's boats, haha :)

- Chris

Phil T posted 04-25-2009 09:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for Phil T  Send Email to Phil T     
Food for thought.

I wanted to install a black box vhf on my boat, but did not get to it until after Standard Horizon stopped manufacturing them.

Given the added cost of the command mic option, I modified my current VHF so the cord tucks under the electronics box trim and the mic mounts on the console face. For better sound, I added a remote speaker tucked behind the GPS on top of the box.It works very well and is a big improvement from how it was before.

Have you seen this thread in which Ron and I talked about VHF install? See http://continuouswave.com/ubb/Forum6/HTML/001731.html

Here is a better photo of the cord routing.

http://picasaweb.google.com/CascoBayOutrage/ 1991Outrage17I#5306129065724687314

Hope this helps you.

95Outrage17 posted 04-25-2009 11:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for 95Outrage17  Send Email to 95Outrage17     
Hi Phil,

Looks like a good idea with the mic cord. It's also clean and much less expensive then buying a remote mic. I would like to be able to read the channel, etc while underway though. My dad installed a RAM mic on the flybridge of his Bayliner 32 MY. It's a great setup and works well. The VHF itself is mounted at the lower helm. Anyway, I'm pretty set on using a remote mic, but I just can't decide which one. The VH-310 is pretty neat, but I'm not sure it's necessary.

I hadn't read that thread where you, Ron and others had discussed installing a VHF. Thanks for the link. I had originally decided to go with a 3-foot whip (removeable) antenna, but I wasn't sure I'd like the antenna flopping back and forth all the time. I think the Galaxy 5401-XT will work well and look great. I'll have to take some pictures when everything is installed.

- Chris

95Outrage17 posted 05-17-2009 12:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for 95Outrage17  Send Email to 95Outrage17     
Hey guys,

Just wanted to let you know that I ended up ordering the VH-310 as I can get a bit of a discount from a local supplier. Also, I was unable to determine if the new CMP 30 mic has the volume reduction feature like the VH-310. I'll let you know how I like it once it's installed.
I have installed the VHF and the Galaxy antenna. I mounted the VHF inside the electronics box on the port side above the steering wheel. When I open the electronics box door, I can clearly read the screen. The only obstruction being the steering wheel at some angles. I mounted the clip for the mic behind the VHF at the back of the electronics box where it should be out of the way. The antenna is mounted on the starboard side of the console. The 2' extension brings the bottom of the antenna above the console rail. This should provide clear reception. When the antenna is folded down, it lies inside the bow rail. The lady who does my canvas work has taken the console cover so that she can modify it to accomodate the antenna (up or down). I'm excited to have it all finished so I can try it out!

- Chris

Phil T posted 05-17-2009 04:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Phil T  Send Email to Phil T     
Chris -

Pictures, man, PICTURES!!!!

95Outrage17 posted 05-17-2009 06:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for 95Outrage17  Send Email to 95Outrage17     
Haha, sorry Phil. I will have pictures. I just checked my camera and there are lots of Whaler pics, but no pics of the VHF install on my Whaler. It's with my fiberglass guy right now to have a few stress cracks, etc repaired around a rail base. I had to remove the bow rail. For future reference; Don't use 3M 4200 to bed a bow rail unless you never plan to remove it. Pulled some gel coat off with a few of the rail bases. I was not happy!
Anyway, I'll get some pics of the VHF setup when I get the boat back :)

- Chris

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