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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
Hand-held VHF Marine Band Radio
|Author||Topic: Hand-held VHF Marine Band Radio|
posted 07-29-2012 12:37 PM ET (US)
Looking for recommendations [for a hand-held VHF Marine Band radio], and what brands and models to stay away from. Thanks in advance!
posted 07-29-2012 05:55 PM ET (US)
VHF Marine band hand-held radios are now available in a very wide range of models. There are very basic, very small radios with no frills. There are sophisticated radios with built-in GPS receivers and full digital selective calling features. There are survival radios that are designed to be completely waterproof and operate only on Channel-16. It is hard to know what sort to recommend.
There are also multi-band hand-held radios. I have one that has AM-broadcast, FM-broadcast, Aviation (VHF AM band), VHF Marine Band FM, and Family Radio Service (FRS). The radio only transmits on Marine and FRS.
I am somewhat partial to Standard-Horizon radios. Standard-Horizon has a history of implementing new features in their VHF Marine Band radios before other brands. Also, I have heard many Standard-Horizon radios in use and they seem to always have good modulation. And the factory service has always been good. I'd look first at the range of hand-held radios from Standard-Horizon.
One consideration is the battery power for the radio. If the radio uses a standard battery size, for example, an AA battery, then you can always buy a battery for it. If the radio uses a special form factor rechargeable battery, you need to always carry the charger for the radio. Some hand-held radios include as an accessory a drop-in charging station. A drop-in charger can be very handy, both as a way to keep the radio charged and as a place to store the radio when not in use.
posted 07-29-2012 08:11 PM ET (US)
I would consider a hand held with a built in GPS receiver for use with DSC. I too like Standard Horizon radios.
posted 07-29-2012 08:11 PM ET (US)
Waterproof and floats might be nice.
posted 07-30-2012 06:50 AM ET (US)
I could not obtain a replacement battery for my old (budget-priced) Humminbird portable marine radio, so I bought a Standard-Horizon HX500S. My choice was influenced by its high capacity lithium ion battery (rated for 16 hours of use) and strong audio output. I also purchased a high quality external speaker/mike, useful in a noisy environment.
posted 07-30-2012 08:59 AM ET (US)
I have a handheld Standard Horizon with the optional headset and boom microphone which I find invaluable when the boat is at speed. I am always able to hear what is being broadcast. The later model apparently can be used via a Bluetooth headset but I have no experience with that setup.
The radio has much better ears than my brothers Icom of older vintage.
posted 07-30-2012 10:14 AM ET (US)
I've been using the new ICOM M92D for a little over a month. So far so good. It's a solid HH with great features.
posted 07-30-2012 12:35 PM ET (US)
I have been very pleased with my Cobra HH475. It doesn't have GPS or DSC; however, I'm typically within site of shore with substantial boat traffic. I would not recommend it as a primary radio for offshore duty. A lot depends on your budget and what type of boating you do as to critical features.
The HH475 transmits at 1, 3 and 6 watts, can monitor 3 channels and comes with bluetooth so that my phone stays tucked away in a dry bag. It also floats, is waterproof, has NOAA weather alerts and a rewind feature for missed calls. The unit uses either LiON or AA batteries. It was on sale online for $99 a year ago when I bought mine.
You would not go wrong with a quality Standard Horizon or ICOM unit either.
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