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Old 26-04-2009, 12:12   #1
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Choice of VHF

I am in need of a new VHF radio. At present, I am leaning towards an ICOM 504 at the chart table with a remote mike at the helm. I am also somewhat intrigued with a Uniden Radio with a wireless mike. Has anyone here had any experience with the Uniden and the wireless mikes? If they work in the real world, it would sure make installation easier.

Any other suggestions for a good radio?
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Old 26-04-2009, 13:04   #2
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I heard that VHFs are now available with integrated AIS. Haven't checked it out yet.
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Old 26-04-2009, 13:05   #3
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IMHO ICOM produce a better quality radio than Uniden. If a wired 2nd mike is a problem consider
1.A hand held VHF
2.A wired in handheld VHF (I have one connected to anchor winch remote(to comunicate with the helm). it get its power from the 12V supply so I don't have to worry about the battery state. It was given to me by a generous fellow cruiser when the batteries failed to hold charge. I modifed it to run from 12V)
3.A second cheap VHF with the microphone at the helm (provides redudancy and many sets alow most operations to be done from the mike, allowing the set to be located under cover).
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Old 26-04-2009, 17:26   #4
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We are Icom users, but Standard Horizon is maybe almost as good. We have friends with a Uniden wirelss and they like it. Seems likely to go overboard - just like cell phones.
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Old 26-04-2009, 18:33   #5
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I too am an Icom fan - have used their hand helds for years without any problems - ever.

I have to say though that the new boat came with Standard Horizon and a RAM mike. Their new GX-3000 has a hailer & auto signals and is RAM mike capable for less than $200 street price. Hard to beat.....

Oh and they tested very well in the Practical Sailor evaluations.
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Old 26-04-2009, 18:39   #6
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Well, if the cords on the mike and remote's are still as bad as a couple of years ago, I would stay far away from Icom. I have a 602 with 2 remote stations and all the cords have gone bad (they fall apart... UV degradation). That joke cost me $400 already. I must say that the new remotes I bought seem to have better cords... but then again, they are still new.

I would select the Standard Horizon or, if I want the best of the best: a Sailor.

cheers,
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Old 26-04-2009, 18:43   #7
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Well, if the cords on the mike and remote's are still as bad as a couple of years ago, I would stay far away from Icom. I have a 602 with 2 remote stations and all the cords have gone bad (they fall apart... UV degradation). That joke cost me $400 already. I must say that the new remotes I bought seem to have better cords... but then again, they are still new.

I would select the Standard Horizon or, if I want the best of the best: a Sailor.

cheers,
Nick.
To be fair, I had one of the SH RAM mike cords in bad shape - but it is on a 9-year old installation. I got a replacement for $75. Brand new model SH RAM mikes can be had for less than $90.

Maybe another consideration to compare to the Icom prices..
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Old 26-04-2009, 19:59   #8
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I have been a fan of Icom for decades and almost all of my ham radios are Icom. However, I did purchase the Uniden with wireless microphone a few years ago specifically for that feature and have been very satisfied with my choice.

It works as well as a wired mic, ofters the obvious portability of a handheld and fits in my pocket. I guess if it ever goes overboard, I'd buy a replacement rather than go back to the wired type.
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Old 26-04-2009, 20:05   #9
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I've got the Uniden with the WHAM remote wireless mikes. If you get one, make sure you put the charger in the cockpit. Over a year or so you'll gradually lose the ability to recharge the unit to as high a charge as new so the time between charges gets shorter. Also, if there's a problem with the unit, you have to send it to Uniden and they'll get it back to you in 1-2 weeks. I don't know what the warranty repair service is like for other companies (i.e. do they do advance replacements?). On the other hand, I love the freedom of being able to stand anywhere on the boat and use the fixed VHF. I don't know if I'd get the unit over again, but I'm not running to replace it.
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Old 26-04-2009, 20:06   #10
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The ICom 422 is a close customer to the standard Horizon. My neighbor has been with Standard Horizon each tome his boat got nailed by lightning. They make a nice radio too. RAM mic is a must for me. I don't really want my radio to be only at the helm, even if the RAM mic is what I use most. A handheld backup is also worthwhile. Handy for the dinghy. I also have a backup radio I can connect up should the antenna be good but the radio isn't.
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Old 26-04-2009, 20:12   #11
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Originally Posted by markpj23 View Post
I too am an Icom fan - have used their hand helds for years without any problems - ever.

I have to say though that the new boat came with Standard Horizon and a RAM mike. Their new GX-3000 has a hailer & auto signals and is RAM mike capable for less than $200 street price. Hard to beat.....

Oh and they tested very well in the Practical Sailor evaluations.
I took went with Standard Horizon and a RAM mike last year and am very pleased with the result. I'll take a hard wired remote any day over wireless as batteries fail just when you need them.
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Old 26-04-2009, 21:01   #12
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Thanks for the input.

Thanks for the input, especially the comments regarding batteries and charging. I had not considered that aspect of the wireless mikes. I have a couple of handhelds and I know how batteries can be down at the wrong times.
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Old 26-04-2009, 21:23   #13
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Have 2 S-H fixed mount VHF radios with 2 RAM's.


They are different models, but both DSC, and one of the RAMs are DSC
as well.

Fairly happy with the set-up, had a problem or 2, but S-H helped out and shipped new stuff. Will buy new S-H VHF any day.

Have an ICOM hand-held because they have been the best for years..As in industry standard.
(Perhaps not so with the fixed mount, but only have limited experiance there..it did not work..)

For SSB I have a SEA 235 and very pleased with it..Going on 10 years.
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Old 26-04-2009, 23:38   #14
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I have experienced more reliability problems with modern ICOM and Raymarine radios than with either of the two Unidens I own.

I installed a Uniden Oceanus (connected to GPS for DSC) in the cabin four years ago. Simple-to-use, well featured DCS radio that has worked very well. The DSC menus could be more user friendly ... otherwise I rate it excellent on design, value and performance. I considered the WHAM remote mic, but bought a Uniden Voyager handheld VHF which I clip to halyard bags in the cockpit or have on my belt.

This gives me two stand-alone VHF radios, one of which can survive immersion in an emergency. (I leave another handheld at home.) If those two fail, I am down to one 406 EPIRB and two mobile phones. That will do me until I go far, far offshore ... and start using my HF license again.

I expected to get a few range (height) issues with the handheld, but have not had any in practice. I reach land-based receivers over 20nm away at 5W power, and can talk to all the ships that I can see.
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Old 30-04-2009, 11:07   #15
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Just purchased the ICOM 604 at a boatus that is going out of business for 400 USD.
Using the remote commander mic in the cockpit this will be a great setup. The 604 has the ability to mount a total of 3 mics, 2 commander mics and one regular, either on the front panel, or vial a remote cord to another location, or for a cleaner install. I would not have gotten this model (was going with the 504 icom) except for the price, and a $30 usd rebate as well to boot.
Not a bad deal.
I will get the icom M36 hand held as well for dingy use as well.

Bob
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