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Author Topic:   VHF Marine Radios for 2015
jimh posted 01-16-2015 11:46 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
About five years ago in November 2009, an article in this forum discussed the introduction of a VHF Marine Band radio with an integral AIS receiver.

About three years ago in December 2011, an article in this forum discussed the introduction of a VHF Marine Band radio with an integral GNSS or GPS receiver. See:

About two years ago in November 2012, an article in this forum discussed the introduction of VHF Marine Band radios with an interface for NMEA-2000. See

About two months ago in November 2014, an article in this forum discussion the introduction of a VHF Marine Band radio with all of the above features, the RAY70. See

The RAY 70 provides, in one radio, all of the following:

--an internal GPS receiver,

--an internal AIS receiver, and

--a NMEA-2000 network interface.

The internal GPS receiver is described as being a 72-channel with support for WAAS augmentation. The receiver sensitivity is also specified as -166 dBm, which is an extremely good figure for GPS receiver sensitivity.

Details of the AIS receiver are not given, but it is presumed to consist of two receivers that can monitor both AIS channels simultaneously.

The NMEA-2000 network interface is also complemented with a NMEA-0183 interface.

In a span of about five years, the modern VHF Marine Band radio has evolved. I don't believe there are any other radios available now that provide all these features in one radio, besides the RAY70.

GARMIN and ICOM have VHF Marine Band radios with AIS and NMEA-2000, but they lack an internal GPS receiver.

STANDARD-HORIZON's VHF Marine Band radios have AIS and an internal GPS receiver, but they lack NMEA-2000.

I am looking forward to the 2015 Miami International Boat Show to see possible new product introductions there which will give us more choices for the ultimate VHF radio: internal GPS and AIS, and NMEA-2000.

jimh posted 03-17-2015 04:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The Miami International Boat Show 2015 has closed, and I do not believe there were any new fixed-mount VHF Marine Band radios introduced at the show.
bluewaterpirate posted 03-18-2015 08:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
ICOM has a new the IC-M424G model that has a built-in GPS Receiver.

[Long cut-and-paste from manufacturer's website deleted--jimh]

ICOM also have another lower-end model IC-M324G with a built-in GPS Receiver. Note there are two models of this radio; one has no internal GPS Receiver whereas the G model does. aspx

[Long cut-and-paste from manufacturer's website deleted.--jimh]

Whaler_bob posted 03-18-2015 03:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaler_bob    
Too bad those new ICOM's aren't NEMA 2000 compatible. I guess they're budget minded.
jimh posted 03-21-2015 09:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The ICOM website refers to the IC-M424G as an "HF Marine Transceiver." I think they mean VHF, as the specifications for the radio show it does not cover any HF bands.

What is the principal difference between the IC-M424 and IC-M324 models?

There are also IC-M424 and IC-M424G models. Curiously they have different physical appearances. I presume the G-suffix indicates a GNSS receiver here, as well.

It is also interesting to compare the receiver sensitivity ratings of the ICOM IC-M324 radio for voice and data:

Voice receiver sensitivity = -13dBµ for 12-dB SINAD

Data receiver sensitivity = -5dBµ emf for a bit error rate of one-percent

These seem like odd methods to specify receiver sensitivity. Usually sensitivity is specified in dBm or in microvolts. I am not sure what the "emf" reference is intended to mean as used only in the data receiver rating.

Here are the sensitivity figures converted to the more common dBm ratings:

Voice = -120 dBm
Data = -112 dBm

And into microvolts:

Voice = 0.225-microvolt
Data = 0.562-microvolt

Hoosier posted 03-27-2015 08:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Overton's has the Standard Horizon Eclipse DSC Plus GX1200 Class D on (perhaps a clearance) sale for $110, and there is an additional $30 rebate offer (making a net $80 radio cost). That's a hellofadeal.

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