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Old 03-01-2014, 16:30   #1
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Has anyone tried the $50 Standard VHFs?

I just saw the Standard Horizon HX100 hand held VHF radios on sale at West Marine, priced at 2 for $99. They are just 2.5 watt max, but they float. They sound like they would be the perfect little dinghy radios if they work at all well. I was wondering if anyone here had tried them yet.


I had bought a similar pair of bargain-basement radios from West a little while back, but they did not work well at all. Those had been made by Uniden. The reception was so bad that I ended up returning them for lack of performance. Fortunately, West took them back with no complaint. I am hoping that the quality from Standard might be a bit better, even at this very low price.


Can anyone here comment from direct experience?

Thanks,
Jim


STANDARD HORIZON HX100 2.5W Floating Handheld VHF Twin Pack at West Marine
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Old 03-01-2014, 17:41   #2
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Re: Has anyone tried the $50 Standard VHFs?

I've used a standard horizon HX 270 E for the last five years.
Its submergeable - but definitely not 'floating' - you could use it as a divers weight !
Battery life fantastic, never had it run out on me. Came with 12v charger, mains charger, alternate 6x AA battery pack as well.
Cannot fault it - great reception. I use it more than I use the main set.

No idea whether they went downhill when moving to more modern lightweight construction - hence floatation, mine is the 'old version', die-cast alloy.

Geoff - Bristol UK.

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Old 03-01-2014, 17:48   #3
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Re: Has anyone tried the $50 Standard VHFs?

geofflena - standard horizon still makes a great radio. my 'old' one is more than 10 years old, my 'new' one is 2 years old. both still great radios, long battery life, and when you buy one they give you both 12volt and 110volt chargers.

don't know why - i certainly don't need them - but i've got to run over and see those little 2.5 watt guys....
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Old 03-01-2014, 19:27   #4
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Re: Has anyone tried the $50 Standard VHFs?

We just got a set of 80 Motorola handsets, and tested them out skiing. Great range (up mountains, across valleys, down in basements... Supposedly 8km depending on bounce), great sound, great fun. Had a little problem with a grumpy French woman who got pissed off that one day we were on the same frequency as her, even tho we were there first, so we had to go to the effort of pushing the button to change channels.

Nobody tried dropping one in the snow yet, though...

Also lent my mum one to use between the bedroom and kitchen to order my cup of tea, since the servants bells were taken out thirty years ago. Awesome stuff.

So awesome we bought a second set and now have four, so if we drop one in the water the other won't be useless. Got a second charger too, now.
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Old 03-01-2014, 20:07   #5
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Re: Has anyone tried the $50 Standard VHFs?

I have the SH 5 watt floater. WM offered it around Christmas for 99. Keep you eyes open or look on Google or Amazon. It comes up several times/year. Its a good radio. Never had a problem. Nice especially in busy places. Low watts keeps it to about 5 miles.
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Old 04-01-2014, 11:27   #6
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Re: Has anyone tried the $50 Standard VHFs?

I checked another supplier - they also have the same SH 2-pack on for $99, so it sounds like it's a clearout. Not necessarily a bad thing.

I find the achilles-heel of VHF portables is the batteries. If the charger is good quality and well-regulated, and you're able to leave the radios in the charger when not using them, and you seldom run the batteries to nothing, you will probably get good service out of them. If you only use them occasionally and they sit for long periods run-down or without charging, the batteries will poop out in two years maybe.

So, this could be a good deal.
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Old 14-01-2014, 21:04   #7
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Re: Has anyone tried the $50 Standard VHFs?

Just bought a pair from Defender. First experiences are very good for a $50 floating handheld VHF. I also have a HX460X VHF handheld I've owned for over 10 years and several Yaesu (also made by Standard Horizon) VHF ham radios and a CPV-350 combo VHF and chartplotter. Very happy with Standard Horizon products.
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Old 15-01-2014, 04:37   #8
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Re: Has anyone tried the $50 Standard VHFs?

I bought the Cobra model for $50 last year and ordered another one for this year. We don't use them much but for the price, why not. I'm going to throw this one in a zip lock and store in my dingy.

I had a very nice Standard Horizon waterproof radio. I dropped it in 6' of water, dove down immediately to get it, and it was shot already. So now I'm just getting the cheap handhelds.

http://www.defender.com/product3.jsp...8968&id=921508
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Old 16-01-2014, 17:46   #9
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Re: Has anyone tried the $50 Standard VHFs?

I have that same little Cobra 3W handset. I am generally happy with it. The sound quality is quite good. I especially like the fact that it can use AAA batteries as well as the rechargeable ones that come with it & I especially like the fact that it is pocket size. My only complaint is that it does not float, which is why I am now looking a the HX-100.

Rodney K, thank you for the first hand review. Based on that, I will probably grab a pair of these when I find them in stock.

Thanks to everyone for all the responses.

Jim
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Old 16-01-2014, 18:00   #10
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Re: Has anyone tried the $50 Standard VHFs?

2.5 watts wont ring around the cornet. Get the full 6 watts.
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Old 16-01-2014, 20:36   #11
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Re: Has anyone tried the $50 Standard VHFs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
2.5 watts wont ring around the cornet. Get the full 6 watts.
Cornet? What's a cornet?

Also, I was just looking to use this thing as a dingy radio &/or launch call radio, or maybe a MOB bag radio. I was just looking for a short range, limited use el-cheapo to knock around & not worry about. This was not intended as a primary-use unit.
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Old 17-01-2014, 12:49   #12
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Re: Has anyone tried the $50 Standard VHFs?

All,

The major limiting factor for range is the height of the antenna. Traditionally a 25W radio has a much taller antenna than a handheld. VHF radio's signal travels in a straight line and because of the curvature of the earth, the height of the antenna is the most important factor to consider. In fact I personally used the HX100 (2.5W) this past summer and transmitted that same range (3.5 to 5 miles) as my 6W handheld boat to boat.

Jason Kennedy
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Old 17-01-2014, 13:05   #13
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Re: Has anyone tried the $50 Standard VHFs?

At that price and power, I would say they are more suitable for "bow to stern" or "boat to dink" or "launch come get us", but what a bargain.

Note that they come with a three-year warranty, like many SH products, but this one is a $65 flat rate repair charge. $65 to repair a $50 radio...hmmm....someone didn't get the memo?
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Old 17-01-2014, 13:07   #14
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Re: Has anyone tried the $50 Standard VHFs?

Thanks Jason.


Mark
PS put a AIS transceiver in radio instead of a receiver only
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Old 17-01-2014, 16:32   #15
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Re: Has anyone tried the $50 Standard VHFs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Note that they come with a three-year warranty, like many SH products, but this one is a $65 flat rate repair charge. $65 to repair a $50 radio...hmmm....someone didn't get the memo?
Didn't get the momo? Somebody did not think that one through. That almost sounds like a UCC class action case brewing.
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