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Old 27-01-2012, 15:35   #1
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VHF Radios

So, I'm looking to replace my fixed VHF radio, and buy a new VHF handheld radio for my ditch bag. I'm wondering if anyone would care to share there past experinces with differnt models of radios, any known problems, any personal favorites? I've been looking into the mounted VHF radios with built in AIS, and handheld VHFs with replaceable batteries, rather than the plug in type. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Old 27-01-2012, 15:53   #2
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Re: VHF radios

Standard Horizon VHF radios are excellent value. They are very well built, perform well, modestly priced, and Standard has excellent technical support and repair policies.

For a handheld in the ditch bag, I'd look at the HX-851. It has DSC and a built-in GPS, as well as other features which make it attractive -- including an optional battery pack which takes 5 AA alkaline batteries in lieu of the normal LiIon battery pack. I have one and like it very much.

The fixed-mount radios are great, too. They make a model with built-in AIS if you want that; other models are excellent as well. I have an older GX2360S and a new GX5500S. The latter model is a Class D DSC radio, has a keyboard to facilitate entry of, e.g., MMSI numbers, and I believe is the one chosen as a standard on USCG boats.



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Old 27-01-2012, 15:58   #3
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I have a slightly older version of this VHF radio for our ditch bag. It works well having filled in when we had a problem with the fixed VHF. Standard Horizon is a great company to work with in my experience. I like having the DSC capability. If I'm incapacitated hitting the red button and when is both easy to explain for safety briefings and common sense alike.
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Old 27-01-2012, 16:04   #4
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Re: VHF radios

I recently bought the Standard Horizon HX851 handheld for backup/ditchbag. It is pretty sweet, honestly I kinda think it is nicer than my mounted ICOM M-422. I really like the built-in GPS on the HX851, so that I can easily report my lat/long as long as I have my handheld and also to not have to tie in a separate GPS receiver for the distress DSC function. It is easy to use. It came with a lithium ion battery, but I also got a "battery tray" so that it can run off of 5 AAA batteries. It took me a while to find out that this was available in a new handheld. It also is waterproof like most other handhelds and floats as well. These features were important to me for the ditch bag scenario.

I like the HX851 one so much that I'm kinda keeping my eye out for a fixed-mount with built in GPS and perhaps an AIS receiver. It is a pretty low priority purchase, though, as my VHF is tied in through NMEA.

Have fun shopping!

EDIT: I see Bill types much faster than me! It is nice knowing he shares some of my opinions as he is very knowledgeable (read: much much more so than me).

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Old 27-01-2012, 16:09   #5
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Re: VHF radios

Very well pleased with my HX-851 after one year of use. DSC with built in GPS, floats, has a strobe.

My fixed is the Standard Horizon GX-1150, the base model. No external speaker connection, and does not support a remote command mic. It's in the cabin by the companionway, and I can't hear it from the helm when motoring. Actually can sorta hear it, just can't understand what's said from that distance most of the time usually because of the quality of senders transmission. I need it mounted at the helm. Wish I had stepped up a model with command mic function and external speaker and have them mounted at the helm.

When I'm hailed it's a pain to move forward of the helm to respond. And not always advisable.

I use the handheld and the fixed is the backup right now. Should be the other way around.
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Old 27-01-2012, 16:13   #6
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Re: VHF radios

I use an ICOM waterproof model, the replacement batteries were cheap so I bought it. I had a Standard but the replacement battery was expencive.
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Old 27-01-2012, 16:48   #7
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Re: VHF radios

I have an ICOM M72 handheld that use for recreation and commercial use. The battery lasts forever, it's very durable, and has great signal strength. In heavy traffic areas I turn the big VHF off and just have the handheld clipped to a lifeline or in the wheelhouse. I just so happen to have an action shot on my computer here. Eating a bell pepper.

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Old 27-01-2012, 18:53   #8
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Re: VHF radios

We have an Icom and a SH here. I like the SH very much. Our handheld is a SH too and I love this one too.

Another radio I liked very much was a handheld Ray. It came with 12 Volt charger station and used AA rechargables. It was great.

So, I would say SH and Ray are OK.

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Old 03-05-2012, 19:24   #9
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Re: VHF Radios

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a Nautilus Lifeline. I am completely sold on this radio.
It is billed as a diver's radio but I have one for each crew member on my boat. After recent events and some personal experience I have posted here some years back, I am convinced that every boat should have at least a couple Lifelines on board.
It is top of my list for my ditch bag, rides in my dinghy and I keep it on my life vest as well as one on my wife's life vest.

It is a DCS VHF radio with a built in GPS. Waterproof to 6' open and 425' closed so I keep it on me when I am diving.
So far, two weeks and I have set it up, used it to hail another boat, dived with it once and chatted with the boat from the surface. No issues at all. I bought mine the same place I got my camera gear, Backscatter. The site lists a very extensive dealer network..
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Old 03-05-2012, 19:31   #10
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Re: VHF Radios

I don't understand why you are replacing your fixed VHF with a portable ditch radio. They are both useful in different situations. Keep your mounted radio and buy a portable ditch radio. Augment instead of replace.

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Old 04-05-2012, 06:00   #11
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Re: VHF Radios

We also have the SH GX2150 fixed mount VHF/AIS and the SH HX851S DSC/GPS handheld. These are fantastic radios. One nice thing about the DSC feature of these radios is that when one of us is off the boat with the dinghy diving or fishing or visiting, etc, the other person onboard can simply push the "position poll" button and the dinghy's position shows up on the chartplotter.



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