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Search for Handheld Marine Two-Way VHF Radio / Transceiver

LongHaulMatt

New Member
Joined
May 26, 2006
Messages
5
Location
Port Alberni
Hello!

I have just started to research the market for a Handheld Marine Two-Way VHF Radio / Transceiver and quickly got a bit lost in the multitude of manufacturers and models (Standard Horizon, ICOM, Uniden).

May I ask for some guidance towards the right direction as to what to buy and where here on Vancouver Island.

Thanks a lot in advance to everybody for assistance.

Cheers, Matt
 
Hi Matt - I ended up with THIS UNIT and have been very happy with it. Comes with everything you need in the box. I actually got mine through eBay for a really good price, but I'm sure that there are dealers on the island.
 
i'll second Dave's reccomendation of Standard Horizon gear.
make sure that the model you get is marked 'submersible'. i'm amazed at the sizes they are managing to get these things down to. i have an HX260S that is almost twice the size of some of the newer submersibles. prices have dropped some as well as size. i paid 400 for mine about five years ago.
one more thing to throw into the mix is DSC (Digital Selective Calling). i don't know if this is yet available in hand-helds but the scuttlebut is that in the not too distant future it is all the coastgaurd will be monitoring.
you DO need a radio lisence for handhelds. contact your local Power Squadron for courses.
DarenN.......
 
I don't think you can go wrong with any of the suggestions so far. I've used one of these the last three seasons: http://www.icomamerica.com/products/marine/m88/

One thing I like is the 1700 mAh Lithium ion battery. Li ion batteries really hold a charge, and are very compact for their capacity.

The ICOM M88 is not as compact as the SH radio Dave B uses, but it is very rugged.

Definitely get one that is submersible. Mine has a self-contained battery unit which has contacts that self-wipe when engaged with the radio body, and an O-ring to keep wetness out of the battery/radio body interface.

It sits in my PFD pocket, and gets salty and wet all the time. Now, if it would only float!! Don't ask how I know it doesn't float ... :oops:
 
Radios

My icom radio i cannot buy new batteries for it, but it is still a good radio.I may look at the icom that can take double AA s. Then put rechargeable AAs in it. West marine on Douglas has a good selection.
 
radio

Dave it is an ic-m15. it was a small radio in its day about 10 years ago!It was a mail order from west marine.
 
Mac, there are replacement batteries out there for the M15. Some from this site: http://nicdlady.com/icom.htm


M15 CM-138 7.2V/1000mAh $35.00 $135.00
M15 CM-138 NiMH 7.2V/1650mAh $42.00
M15 CM-139 7.2V/1200mAh $40.00 $155.00
M15 CM-139 NiMH 7.2V/1650mAh $42.00

The numbers are rebuild (new batteries in your case), and new.

Google shows some other sites, also -- not sure of their reliability. It is a quality radio. Still sells for big bucks.
 
radios

Dave thanks for the site info. I will have to decide , more money into an older radio, or a smaller new radio? For LongHaulMatt what do to think about a radio with AA batteries. Then you could get replacement batteries anywhere!
 
So I just got a Standard Horizon HX460S radio - extremely compact, which I like, but even though it is "submersible" (to JIS7) I'm not convinced that this can really be trusted in the wet wet world of kayaking. I'm thinking of getting an Aquapac holder for it, but these things are one-size fits all, ie. bigger than I need, which kinda defeats the beauty of the ultra compact radio. So.....is anyone aware of the materials and methods required to make custom homemade see-thru drybags? I've made a few WP nylon bags in the past, but never see-thru.

BTW Steveston Marine has some SH HX270S radios which they are selling off at $120. This is a great deal, but I decided to spend a couple more bucks on the much smaller HX460S (both are discontinued models).
 
hi Ian;
i've had my HX260S for about 4 years. never worried about it getting wet. i even dropped it in the water once when it was turned on. no problems.
when i bought it the 460 was what i really wanted but it was priced out of my budget at the time.
DarenN.........
 
Same here with my 270......I even rinse it in fresh water every once in a while to get the salt off 8O

And that's a great sale price - if I didn't have one already I would scoop one up.
 
I just picked up the SH HX270S for just US$79.99 at Bass Pro Shops. Seems very nice. Comes with a pack for AA cells along with the NiCad.
 
How do you secure the Standard Horizon 260 or 270 to your self or your boat? It doesn't have a lanyard thing and the belt clip is no help.
 
Rootman said:
How do you secure the Standard Horizon 260 or 270 to your self or your boat? It doesn't have a lanyard thing and the belt clip is no help.

my 260 has lanyard attachment point, centered, at the top of the belt clip.
DarenN.....
 
One thing worth considering is warranty repair. Vertex Standard is called Yaesu in the Ham world. When I was shopping for a handheld ham radio one consideration I had to factor in was that Yaesu repair was in California. Any warranty repairs could take awhile. Something to consider or ask at the desk when you buy radios.
Incidently, I ended up getting the Yaesu VX-7RB because it easily surpassed the equivalent Icom in features and had several upgrades which fixed the bugs. A click of a button on my computer and the radio will broadcast on marine, frs, gmrs as well, so I also use it as my "emergency" marine radio; 281 channels @5 watts.

A couple things that may be of interest to some as well. The FCC in the United States does not require a person to hold a Ham radio license when buying Ham radio equipment from the United States. Some buy equipment for emergency comm only. There is no duty on Ham radio equipment when buying Ham radio equipment from the United States.
 
I like my little Uniden Voyager from the point of view of its size and ease of use but was singularly unimpressed by the 3 year "Warranty". My unit gave up the ghost and so it had to go to the radio hospital. Uniden said that it wasn't working becasue water had got in the unit so I "must" have mistreated it or had it in water >1m in depth for >30 minutes. It stays in my PFD and never gets any deeper than occurs during a wet exit (two feet?).

The shop I bought it at was great - the owner twisted the arm of the local Uniden rep and I got a replacement that I think was a brand new one supposed to be used by the rep for "show and tell" purposes.

But I won't buy Uniden again.

FWIW my next radio will have an AA battery tray. I want to be able to keep it functioning without having to find a power outlet to recharge it.

I liked the look of the HX471S but does one really need to be able to tune in to FM stations? Tempting, but unwise. Rather like the knife on one's PFD. It should only be for cutting oneself or others out of tangles, not whittling twigs. If one starts listening to commercial radio on Marine VHF radios the batteries will conk out when one really wants them to keep going.
 
Comoxpaddler said:
I like my little Uniden Voyager from the point of view of its size and ease of use but was singularly unimpressed by the 3 year "Warranty". My unit gave up the ghost and so it had to go to the radio hospital. Uniden said that it wasn't working becasue water had got in the unit so I "must" have mistreated it or had it in water >1m in depth for >30 minutes. It stays in my PFD and never gets any deeper than occurs during a wet exit (two feet?).

The shop I bought it at was great - the owner twisted the arm of the local Uniden rep and I got a replacement that I think was a brand new one supposed to be used by the rep for "show and tell" purposes.

But I won't buy Uniden again.

FWIW my next radio will have an AA battery tray. I want to be able to keep it functioning without having to find a power outlet to recharge it.

I liked the look of the HX471S but does one really need to be able to tune in to FM stations? Tempting, but unwise. Rather like the knife on one's PFD. It should only be for cutting oneself or others out of tangles, not whittling twigs. If one starts listening to commercial radio on Marine VHF radios the batteries will conk out when one really wants them to keep going.


The problem with AA battery trays is you will not get full wattage on transmit. If you were in the water and needed to transmit in an emergency you would have to disconnect the AA pack and install the stock battery while in the water. You could get a 12 gell cell but wouldn't recommend using it while you are on water cause many handhelds do not include a waterproof EXT DC plug. If they did it would be prohibitively expensive. Another solution which can retain its waterproofness is to buy a waterproof radio bag and a 7.2 volt RC NMH battery (with charger) at radioshack $44. Hook the 7.2 volt battery pack to the EXT DC connection on the radio and slide both units into the waterproof bag. It won't have enough power to charge many radios like the HX471S, or may not be able to transmit at full power but it is easy to disconnect in the bag to use your main battery for full transmission. Presto you have 10 hours of KPLU and all that Jazz without even using your main battery! woohoo!
 
And I would suggest trying your radio on a 7.2 volt source to see if it works before buying the battery. :) many do but some may not. The HX471S will. I suggest buying a waterproof or splashproof bag for all waterproof radios anyway.
 
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