VHF Radio's

sbourgoin

Adventures on Land and Water!
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
60
Location
Port Alberni, BC
Afternoon...wondering if anyone has any suggestions or recommendations on a good VHF radio to have in the Kayak Gear Closet? I am looking to purchase one over the next month in preparation for this summer's adventures. Nothing too complicated but has GPS. I've looked at a few on Amazon that seem to be good and under $250. Thoughts? Suggestions?
Thanks
Shawn
 

cougarmeat

Paddler
Joined
Sep 17, 2012
Messages
755
Location
Bend OR USA
Shawn, don’t know about GPS model but I’ve had good luck with Standard Horizon brand. Note that West Marine is just rebranded Uniden. You might look for a model that, in addition to a rechargeable battery, can be powered by AA cells. Be warned, sometimes the cost of that little plastic AA battery adapter is … frightening. Or, keeping up with the kids today, if it is charged from a USB source, you can recharge it with one of those general purpose “power packs” that can be used to recharge the phone or any other USB device.

Floatable is nice - but floatable and GPS all for under $250 … might take a little hunting, at least when I was in the market a few years ago.
 

AM

Paddler
Joined
Jan 30, 2006
Messages
904
Location
Vancouver
I’ve never had a GPS in a radio. Last time I was at a Guides’ Exchange, none of the guides had anything more than a standard press-and-talk VHF. No DSC.

I like the Standard Horizon HX300. Small, easy to use, floating, USB charge port. Floating is not a big deal IMHO: your radio should always be tethered to your PFD anyway, so floating is not really necessary.

binnacle.com has it for $150.

Cheers,
Andrew
 

JohnAbercrombie

Paddler
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
2,755
Location
Victoria, BC
Just to repeat an old rant of mine: Keep the radio simple. If you can't hand it to another paddler and have them operate it efficiently (without consulting the manual), it's too complicated.
So no GPS, no DSC, no flashing LEDs for me.
Also keep in mind that the USB chargeable VHFs have only half the transmitting time compared to a radio with a higher voltage and capacity battery. Not a big issue unless you get involved in a complicated incident....but that's part of the reason I carry the VHF.

When a friend asked about radio choices last year, I replied:
Things to think about:
USB charging voltage is 5 volts, so 'USB radios" have 3.7 volt battery packs

Most of the 'better' radios (IMO) have 7.2/7.4 volt batteries.

What difference does it make?

The energy stored in the battery is the product of the milli-amp-hour capacity and the voltage

The M-25 USB radio has a 1500 mAH (1.5 Amp Hour) battery and the radio draws 2.3 amps on high power transmit. (lower voltage, so more amps needed to get that 5 watt output....watts=volts x amps) So in theory (not in practice- you probably will have less) you have 0.6 hours (36 minutes) of high power transmission capability, IF you haven't been using your radio to 'listen' at all.

My favourite Icom radio is the M-88 which is discontinued and has been replaced by the M-85 (go figure on the numbering system....).
The M-85 has a 2010 mAH 7.2 volt battery and draws 1.5 amps on high power transmit. In theory you will have 1.3 hours (78 minutes) of high power transmit time with the M-85


The Standard Horizon HX-40 has a 1850 mAH 7.4 volt battery and draws 1.6 amps on high power (6 watt) transmit. So that means in theory that you have 1.16 hours (70 minutes) of high power transmitting time.

In a rescue situation, which would you prefer?

The HX-40 and the M-85 (and M-88 before it) are nice 'short' radios so the antenna isn't up your nose when the radio is in the PFD pocket.
I'd be happy with either of them.

I'd buy a spare battery pack and an AA battery holder, probably, for taking on trips. Keep the radio charged up for emergencies. A good modern battery will stay charged for months.

I carry a spare radio on trips - the 'tent radio' for listening to the weather.
 

sbourgoin

Adventures on Land and Water!
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
60
Location
Port Alberni, BC
I’ve never had a GPS in a radio. Last time I was at a Guides’ Exchange, none of the guides had anything more than a standard press-and-talk VHF. No DSC.

I like the Standard Horizon HX300. Small, easy to use, floating, USB charge port. Floating is not a big deal IMHO: your radio should always be tethered to your PFD anyway, so floating is not really necessary.

binnacle.com has it for $150.

Cheers,
Andrew
The HX300 has good reviews overall and $150 on binnacle is a good price. I have ordered and look forward to getting out on the water with it. Thanks for the recommendations everyone
 
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