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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
VHF Marine Band Radio Set: Opinion of Particular Brand and Model
|Author||Topic: VHF Marine Band Radio Set: Opinion of Particular Brand and Model|
posted 08-11-2010 04:12 PM ET (US)
I need to replace the [VHF Marine Band radio] on my 1988 Boston Whaler Montauk boat. [Tell me your] experience--good or bad--with the ICOM M422. Thanks for your help.
posted 08-11-2010 06:48 PM ET (US)
[Moved to SMALL BOAT ELECTRICAL.]
posted 08-11-2010 08:44 PM ET (US)
The United States Coast Guard has been recommending for several years that any VHF Marine Band radio installed on a non-mandatory recreational vessel be at least a CLASS-D DSC rated radio. After March of next year, 2011, it will be against FCC regulations to manufacture, sell, or install any VHF Marine Band Radio which is not a CLASS-D DSC rated radio.
The ICOM modem M422 is not a CLASS D DSC rated radio. I strongly recommend against buying and installing any non-CLASS-D rated DSC radio.
In general I have found that the radios made by STANDARD-HORIZON are superior to the radios made by ICOM for VHF Marine Band service on the following basis:
--the quality of the modulation on transmit of the STANDARD-HORIZON radios is much better than the ICOM radios;
--the user interface for control of the radio and its features, particularly with regard to digital selective calling features, is much better on the STANDARD-HORIZON radios than on the ICOM radios;
--the cost of STANDARD-HORIZON radios compared to ICOM radios which offer the same feature set is generally lower;
--the repair service and support service provided by STANDARD HORIZON is superior to ICOM in my experience.
posted 08-13-2010 11:03 AM ET (US)
Thanks Jim. Also, I have to apologize because I didnt see that this was reposted to electrical and posted it again to maintenance. Sorry. Can you suggest a Standard horizon model?
posted 08-13-2010 11:25 AM ET (US)
Check your email. You should have received an email from me notifying you that your article had been moved.
posted 08-13-2010 11:38 AM ET (US)
The least expensive STANDARD-HORIZON VHF Marine Band fixed-mount radio with CLASS-D DSC rating is the ECLIPSE+ model or GX1100S:
The model QUEST-X or GX1500S is also a good choice. I have one of these onboard my boat now:
If I were to buy a new VHF Marine Band fixed-mount radio I would likely get the newer model MATRIX or GX2000:
The GX2000 has a receiver whose intermodulation distortion specifications are better than the two other models I mentioned. Improvement in intermodulation distortion helps the radio receiver perform better when there are many very strong signals present in the local area.
The GX2100AIS or MATRIX AIS is also another option if want to have a modern two-channel AIS receiver on your boat:
posted 08-13-2010 11:43 AM ET (US)
There are other choices in a CLASS-D DSC rated radio, but I have a fondness for STANDARD-HORIZON for the reasons I mentioned above.
posted 08-13-2010 03:25 PM ET (US)
Jim, What is class D Radio?, What does it have/do? I have always use ICOM and have never had a problem...
posted 08-13-2010 04:44 PM ET (US)
CLASS-D DSC is what the FCC decided is mandatory after March 2011. If you need to know more about it you could start with the United States Coast Guard website on Digital Selective Calling. I would rather not change the topic of this discussion from radio manufacturers and brands and into a private tutorial on digital selective calling, so if you don't mind you can study up on digital selective calling by reading some of the on-line resources already published on that topic. Here is a list of them
and here is the United States Coast Guard Navigation Center home page on DSC
Digital Selective Calling is part of the upgrade of VHF Marine Band radio systems on a global basis. I am afraid resistance is futile.
posted 08-16-2010 11:31 PM ET (US)
Thanks Jim, I just ordered the GX 200. Great deal at $177. Looking forward to getting it later this week. That brings up another question. Does anyone have ant suggestions for mounting? I know the classic mount inside the console on the floor. What other options have worked out for Montauk owners?
posted 08-18-2010 06:19 PM ET (US)
Bob--Please start a new thread in order to change the topic to mounting antennas on a specific boat from the choice of a particular brand and model of radio.
posted 08-18-2010 07:24 PM ET (US)
This weekend I thought there was something wrong with my SH GX2100 as channel 16 was showing almost permanently busy icon and just a lot of static
Not until I went out yesterday did I discover the non problem
Unfortunately here there are many idiots who just play with their VHF. The GX2100 is just better than my old Navman and was finding all these fools who were just keying there mikes for fun. As it's Ramadan most were sleeping or at work compared to the weekend so things were better.
Fishing was poor but listening to the female radio operator of the coalition warship interrogating local ships was interesting.
posted 08-18-2010 08:52 PM ET (US)
DSC might prove to be a valuable life-saving technology in the areas that support it.
For bridge-to-bridge communications, it's unecessarily complex and worthless at best.
posted 08-19-2010 12:02 AM ET (US)
The human factors of the DSC interface on S-H radios is much
better than Icom. With Icom, you have to push a some buttons
to answer a DSC call. With S-H, you just pick up the mike
and talk. Also, the Icoms cannot be set to always answer a
position request. The S-H radios can (I'm not trying to hide
any secret fishing spots).
DSC is great for calling your buddies, and for yelling for
Note: I haven't checked the Icom manuals in about 18 months,
posted 08-19-2010 12:13 AM ET (US)
And DSC as a life-saving technology: If a fair number of
other boaters have DSC radios, it can be life-saving even if
the local CG doesn't. That's certainly the case in few areas
of the USA that have not yet received USCG Rescue 21 capability.
posted 08-19-2010 02:07 PM ET (US)
Provided they have chartplotters that support position requests, sure.
As far as calling your buddies, what part of hailing a vessel by name on VHF 16/9 and choosing a working channel doesn't work?
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