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Old 07-05-2018, 05:16   #1
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Handheld VHF radio that uses alkaline batteries?

Every guide on VHF radio I read talks about the advantages of alkaline batteries: simple, reliable long-term storage (in ditch bag), ability to replace batteries on the fly. Yet, they do not seem to exist.

For example, West Marine has a guide on handheld VHF (https://www.westmarine.com/WestAdvis...Handheld-Radio) with a whole paragraph on alkaline battery packs, but then every single radio they list is a lithium-ion rechargeable.

I do not want a lithium-ion rechargeable. I have an aviation lithium-ion and it is DEAD and every device from shavers to whatever that is lithium-ion I have ever had has either gone dead, or has like 20 minutes of working time after it recharges a few times. I do not have a goddamn charger in my life raft. I need a radio that takes alkaline BATTERIES, not a charger.

Does such a radio exist?
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Old 07-05-2018, 05:31   #2
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Re: Handheld VHF radio that uses alkaline batteries?

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Does such a radio exist?
Sure.

Check out the HX870 from Standard Horizon.

Comes with a 1,800 milli-Amp.hour Lithium ion battery.

AND a AAAx5 alkaline battery tray.
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Old 07-05-2018, 06:10   #3
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Re: Handheld VHF radio that uses alkaline batteries?

I had a long time ago (20+ years) a handheld marine VHF Motorola (it was originally a 8 channel , 2 mt. air traffic vhf, modified by a friend), that had a standard battery pack and one for 8 alcaline batteries. Don't remerber the model and saddly it went scuba diving and never came back. It worked great but the alcaline batteries lasted very too little. I now have a Raymarine 101 E . Take a look in GOOGLE, you'll find many of them (icom, standard horizon, cobra, raymarine....) that work with both types of batteries or come with an accessory adapter for alcaline ones.

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Old 07-05-2018, 07:09   #4
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Re: Handheld VHF radio that uses alkaline batteries?

You have a life raft on a Whaler?

FWIW, I have an old Standard handheld... with a replacement NICAD battery. Doesn't get used much. I charged it once last year sometime, and I see just now it's still at "4 bars" worth of battery (out of 5).

I don't notice much self-discharge on all the various L-ION devices we've got, when they're not used...

If some of the dual-battery-style products don't suit, maybe there's a work-around that doesn't start with leaving the radio in a life raft, maybe only grabbing it "on the way out"?

-Chris
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:26   #5
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Re: Handheld VHF radio that uses alkaline batteries?

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Originally Posted by Alan Mighty View Post
Sure.

Check out the HX870 from Standard Horizon.

Comes with a 1,800 milli-Amp.hour Lithium ion battery.

AND a AAAx5 alkaline battery tray.
Another vote for the SH 870. I've owned several SH handhelds over the years and still have my first, 30 year old model that still works like new AND has both battery options.
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:52   #6
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Re: Handheld VHF radio that uses alkaline batteries?

I understand your logic and frustration. It isn’t well advertised but AA or AAA battery packs are available for most of Icom’s handheld radios. Go to their website and click on the radio’s “Product Brochure”. It will list the available battery packs.

I imagine the same is true for Standard Horizon.

This is kind of the best of both worlds. For everyday use you can use the rechargeable pack but if you run out of juice at an ackward moment, just throw on your backup alkaline pack.

I see some can now be charged with a USB outlet.
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Old 07-05-2018, 08:02   #7
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Re: Handheld VHF radio that uses alkaline batteries?

We had a Uniden in our ditch bag that could use AA batteries, but changed it out for a Standard Horizon with lithium battery, a small solar charger, and a 20000 mAh lithium portable power pack. The amount of talk time and standby when using AA was pathetically short vs the lithium, but maybe they are better now.

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Old 07-05-2018, 08:03   #8
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Re: Handheld VHF radio that uses alkaline batteries?

I found this one

Although it comes with rechargeable batts, you can replace with standard AAA alkaline batts.

Takes-bizarrely-5 AAA batts, so i have it in my ditch box along with a sealed unopened box of 10 AAA batts. but I guess if I ever need it, I might appreciate the double talk time that 10 batts will afford. 3 watts is not much ooomph, but my target audience is only really the USCG. Hopefully the thing stays in the box.

I bought it off the shelf at (I think) Bass

https://www.cobra.com/products/handheld/mr-hh125

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Old 07-05-2018, 08:31   #9
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Re: Handheld VHF radio that uses alkaline batteries?

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Originally Posted by Alan Mighty View Post
Sure.

Check out the HX870 from Standard Horizon.

Comes with a 1,800 milli-Amp.hour Lithium ion battery.

AND a AAAx5 alkaline battery tray.
I have a Uniden handheld VHF with the same arrangement; recharagable pack, but also a second tray that accepts AA batts.
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:17   #10
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Re: Handheld VHF radio that uses alkaline batteries?

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Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
I understand your logic and frustration. It isn’t well advertised but AA or AAA battery packs are available for most of Icom’s handheld radios. Go to their website and click on the radio’s “Product Brochure”. It will list the available battery packs.
.

+1 for this. I have the ICOM M36 Floating with the 5 AA battery pack in addition to the rechargeable Li-ion. Works very well. These Li-ion seem to hold a charge longer than previous models.
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:36   #11
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Re: Handheld VHF radio that uses alkaline batteries?

On my HX 870 I disable the GPS option, easy to bring back if I need it.
More option= more consomption.
My 851 last longer.
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:42   #12
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Re: Handheld VHF radio that uses alkaline batteries?

Good topic
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:23   #13
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Re: Handheld VHF radio that uses alkaline batteries?

Agree it is not clear in the specs but WM does make one with aux battery tray for regular alkaline batteries
I know because I have one.

VHF160 Floating 6W Handheld VHF Radio
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:38   #14
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Re: Handheld VHF radio that uses alkaline batteries?

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Originally Posted by Smokeys Kitchen View Post
+1 for this. I have the ICOM M36 Floating with the 5 AA battery pack in addition to the rechargeable Li-ion. Works very well. These Li-ion seem to hold a charge longer than previous models.
I have this one as well.

You might Google “long term storage of Lithium ion batteries”.

They are different animals in that they live much longer if NOT stored long term with a full charge, but rather drained to 40-50%.

Also,
I now buy Energizer ULTIMATE Lithium AA & AAA 20 year life batteries after discovering that they worked so well in a camera I had. After much use, then much long term storage, they were still like new when I donated the camera away. I kept the batteries and said goodbye to the camera.
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:39   #15
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Re: Handheld VHF radio that uses alkaline batteries?

Years ago I picked up a used Cobra Marine MR HH400 handheld VHF (age unknown) from eBay as a spare for the ditch bag, and I still have it. It uses AAs, alkaline or rechargeable. Seems to work fine with either. I've not tried to mix them. Current use is infrequent, mostly to listen to weather from home. I think I last replaced the batteries at least 6 months ago (probably much more) the charge remains at top (I think with Costco alkalines inside).
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