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Author Topic:   2015 VHF Marine Band Radio Round-up
jimh posted 01-29-2015 12:03 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
2015 VHF Marine Band Radio Round-Up

A few years ago there were no VHF Marine Band radios with a NMEA-2000 network interface. Radios tended to stick to the older NMEA-0183 standard for their electrical interface to other marine instruments. In 2015 the marketplace has many radios with NMEA-2000. Here is a quick overview of the 2015 VHF Marine Band radio choices, based on three considerations:

--NMEA-2000: does the radio have a NMEA-2000 network interface?

--AIS: does the radio have an integral AIS receiver?

--GNSS: does the radio have an integral GNSS receiver?


ICOM IC-M506 No No No $450
ICOM IC-M506 Yes No No $550
ICOM IC-M506 Yes Yes No $650

LOWRANCE LINK-8 Yes Yes No $300

SIMRAD RS12 Yes No No $200
SIMRAD RS35 Yes Yes No $350

RAYMARINE RAY50 Yes No No $250
RAYMARINE RAY60 Yes No No $300
RAYMARINE RAY70 Yes Yes Yes $650

STD-HORIZON GX1600 No No No $170
STD-HORIZON GX1700 No No Yes $250
STD-HORIZON GX2200 No Yes Yes $400

GARMIN VHF100 No No No $250
GARMIN VHF200 Yes No No $400
GARMIN VHF300 Yes Yes No $999

The prices I show are typically the minimum advertised price or MAP price. It may be possible to find a less expensive price, but the MAP price is a reasonable way to compare prices.

I did not include every known brand of radio in my survey. The brands I have survey are those I would consider for my own boat. If someone wants to add information about radios from other brands, please feel free to provide the data in a similar format.

I was surprised by the results of the survey. I re-discovered the least expensive major-brand VHF Marine Band fixed mount radio with NMEA-2000: the SIMRAD RS12. At only $200 it is a bargain.

DVollrath posted 01-29-2015 04:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for DVollrath  Send Email to DVollrath     
I bought another Lowrance Link-8 this summer for $230. I see they are up to $237 now. That's a significant 20-percent-off the MAP price. There are some real bargains out there in electronics.


jimh posted 01-29-2015 08:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Lower prices are possible on all these radios if you shop carefully. The survey tries to present the various models and their options in regard to NMEA-2000, AIS, and GNSS capabilities to aid in selecting a particular brand and model. Once you find a radio you like, careful shopping may lead to the lowest price.
jimh posted 02-03-2015 09:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Regarding prices for VHF Marine Band radios, the manufacturers sometimes offer additional price reductions in the form of rebate. I have not made an exhaustive survey of rebate programs in effect, but I have noted the following offers.

Standard-Horizon has a rebate program that began on January 1, 2015 and runs until July 31, 2015.

Standard-Horizon offers rebates of $40 on the:


Standard-Horizon offers rebates of $30 on the


See details of the offer at 1-1-2015_2015_Gear_Up_For_Summer_rebate.pdf

ICOM has a rebate program in effect from February 1, 2015 to March 31, 2015.

ICOM offers a $50 rebate on the IC-M506 series of radios.

ICOM offers a $20 rebate on the IC-M412 radio. This radio may be obsolete as some retailers have marked the price of the radio as a closeout price. See details of the offer on the rebate coupon.

I also found up-to-date MAP prices for the M506 series radios, and changed the prices in the listing above. All MAP prices seem to drop $50.

Raymarine has a rebate offer in effect from January 9, 2015 until April 30, 2105.

Raymarine offers a $50 rebate on any Raymarine VHF radio. I am not certain that this rebate offer is available if only a radio is purchased. To qualify for the radio rebate you may have to purchase a "qualifying product" because the rebate on the radio is listed as an "additional $50 bonus" incentive. Check with a retailer to verify this offer, or read the fine print from Raymarine.

SIMRAD has announced a rebate program beginning February 6, 2015 and running until March 31, 2015. If you buy a qualifying chart plotter product or chart plotter and transducer bundle, you receive a free RS35 VHF Marine Band radio and a rebate of up to $500, depending on the model of chart plotter. Or, you can choose to get a free GoFree WiFi device instead of the radio. Details are found at 30082_Simrad_English_Final.pdf

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