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  #1  
Old 08-12-2008
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Handheld GPS w/VHF radio?

Well, the financial situation right now won't let my wife and I purchase a boat, but we will be joining the local sailing club! I would like to have my own GPS/VHF handheld unit, hopefully I don't have to part with a limb to get it. Can anyone reccommend a good brand/model? The only thing I've found online so far is the Uniden Mystic. Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-12-2008
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I think Standard Horizon has one too. I have one of their radios and I'm happy with it
Tom
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Old 08-12-2008
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Standard Horizon HX850S

Available here on Sailnet for $217 or $213 at Defender. No first hand experience, but believe this unit has rec'd good reviews.
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Old 08-12-2008
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Yes, the Standard Horizon HX850S has received positive reviews. I ordered one about a month ago, but it is currently on backorder until around early September (though other suppliers may have them in stock). However, I belive the Uniden has a screen for the gps, while the SH unit only uses the gps for the DSC feature.
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Old 08-12-2008
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Tortuga,

I have the same situation as you. I rent boats too, and I got my own handheld VHF because I didn't always trust the condition of the on-board radios of the different vessels I rent. It's a security factor for me.

You should know that the GPS in these radios is not that useful for navigation, though. They are very accurate, to be sure, but the radio's GPS is really for use with the distress alert feature of the DSC. That's the Digital Selective Calling system that is now included on all hard mount radios and some handhelds. If you get in trouble, you can hit the distress alert button on the radio and a digital emergency message will be sent out, including your GPS position, to all other DSC radios in range.

That's a pretty good feature. HOWEVER, in order to use this feature, you MUST have an MMSI number issued to your vessel. The number is issued to the vessel, not to you or the radio. None of the DSC features on the radio work without the MMSI number entered. So you pretty much have to own a boat in order to use DSC. As for the GPS on the radio, it will display your latitude and longitude, but that's it.

I know all this because I have a Standard Horizon HX850S, which is a great radio and I would recommend it, but I can't use any DSC features until I buy a boat.

You might consider using the same $200 to buy a non-GPS handheld VHF (about $100) and a small hiking GPS unit (also about $100-150). With the dedicated GPS you have much more flexibility. You can use your home computer to download navigational waypoints (I take mine straight off the USCG Light List) and it makes a great complement to a chart and a compass and your own eyeballs.

That's my take. Feel free to ask more if you'd like .
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Old 08-12-2008
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I have had a SH HX850S for a couple of months and have found it to be a great radio. There is a screen configuration that shows latitude, longitude, speed, and course over ground. Surprising useful if you have a head for remembering numbers -- I used it to get us to the start line in heavy fog on a race weekend.

The DSC works great as a dinghy radio to stay in touch with the big boat on cruise weekends.

I got mine from Defender shortly after they were released. Defender was very good at keeping me advised of the back order status. The radio has been more popular than the SH folks where prepared for and they haven't been able to keep up with demand.
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Old 02-04-2011
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I am in the market for a hand held GPS and VHF radio, seeing how I can get a two for one seems like a no brainer.

I found this Lowrance for 198.99 free shipping from Ebay


I am thinking about purchasing it. Seems to have more options than the SH HX850S.

I am going to be into some serious kayaking this summer. Looking to go offshore and land a kingfish with it.

Last edited by JagsBch; 02-04-2011 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 02-04-2011
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It also becomes a single point of failure... if it dies, you lose both the VHF and the GPS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JagsBch View Post
I am in the market for a hand held GPS and VHF radio, seeing how I can get a two for one seems like a no brainer.

I found this Lowrance for 198.99 free shipping from Ebay


I am thinking about purchasing it. Seems to have more options than the SH HX850S.

I am going to be into some serious kayaking this summer. Looking to go offshore and land a kingfish with it.
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Old 02-04-2011
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Looks like a nice unit at a good price. And having the DSC features built in for what you propose is nice. I have a Lowrance handheld GPS and like it. Decent quality stuff at good prices.
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Old 02-04-2011
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The HX850S can be had for under $200 nowadays. My parents got me one for Christmas and I love it. The GPS functionality is still useful even without an MMSI, it just won't let you do the DSC stuff -- you can still read the coast guard your position. It also is waterproof and floats, which was a key feature for me, since I intend to have it attached to my PFD so if I become a MOB I can call for rescue and tell my would-be rescuers where I am. Basically none of my friends that I go sailing with has any significant sailing experience, so if I become a MOB I can't count on them coming back for me.
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