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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 03-18-2010
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Hows your handheld?

I was just wondering what your handheld VHF is? What do you like, and dislike about it? What kind of range do you get in real world conditions? If you could have any 1, what would it be?
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Old 03-18-2010
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When I first bought my boat in 2003 I was wet behind the ears and thought I could get by with just a handheld for daysailing. So in 2003 I bought a Uniden Atlantis handheld which was ok at first, but it was not long after that I wanted to throw it over board. The re-chargable battery would run down fast and within a year or so was no longer re-chargable, fortunately it came with an extra pack that held 6 AA batteries but it was good at running those down too. The range was not so far with that little rubber ducky antenna and I soon realized that I could receive much further than I transmit so I no longer trusted it for my safety. I soon purchased a Uniden 525 with an extra Wham mic which is much more reliable and also has the DSC which I have an MMSI number for. I still have the little handheld but only use it on the dinghy for short distances or sometimes when hailing the marina for a slip asignment. I don't really like them anymore and would not recommend anyone use it as a primary radio.
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Old 03-18-2010
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I have a Standard Horizon that I bought 15 years ago. I pulled it out of a 3 year storage recently and the battery was still charged. While I haven't used it much over the years I am impressed with the battery and range seems very good for a handheld.

Gene
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Old 03-18-2010
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I have two Standard Horizon HX270S handheld and a base station. Have used then for over three years with no complaints. They came with several different options for power and a good waterproof rating. The range is probable about 4 miles on high. I have only used the rechargeable battery that they came with. One can always be charging while I use the other. They have been thru 100s of use/recharge cycles. When I travel one is on all day but I rotate them so I can not give you a recharged battery life. But I would guess around 20hrs. Dan S/V Marian Claire
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Old 03-18-2010
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Hello,

I have a west marine 150 and 250. I like the 250 because it has AM/FM as well as marine / weather. Both units work well. They have 5 watt power and I can hear boats over 10 miles away and I can transmit at least 2 miles, which is all I need from a hand held.

Likes:
-they come with cradle charger and 12V cig lighter charger.
-nice display, easy to read, well lit at night
-excellent battery life
-they come with rechargeable batts and a separate case for AAA batts
-all the features you expect from a hand held

Dislikes
-Its easy to accidentally turn it on, and this will kill the batts
-sound quality is just OK

Barry
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Old 03-19-2010
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I use a Uniden Voyager


Down side: Has it's own proprietary battery and charger. If you lose the charger you're in trouble and if the battery dies likewise.

Up side:
  • The battery once charged lasts FOREVER. I charged the radio once in a trip from USA to New Zealand and used it in NZ for a few weeks after arriving. The charge can last for several months.
  • It is tiny, fits easily into a pocket (claimed to be the smallest VHF in the world)
Just for the record, my first one started corroding on the outer casing and after 18 months I asked Uniden if they knew how I could stop the corrosion. They said they didn't know and would I please send them the radio. I did and three weeks later I got a brand new one in the mail, no questions asked.

I would recommend this radio to anyone (and have, all my freinds have them now).
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Old 03-19-2010
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we use the standard horizon HX500SLi's at work. they have LiLon batts and easily last a full work shift, up to 12 hours. being lilon they do not have to be run down all the way before they are charged. they do not suffer battery memory problems. They have lasted for over two seasons of full time work for 6 months out of the year and have far surpassed previous handhelds and have taken a beating in the process. The range your going to get out of a handheld is about as far as the horizon.

defender has them fairly cheap:
5W VHF Marine Handheld Transceiver
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Old 03-19-2010
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I sure appreciate the replies from all of you. If I may, how would you rate your hand held VHF on a scale of 1-10? 1 being worst, and 10 absolutely blown away by performance, wouldn't live without.
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Old 03-19-2010
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I would give the S-H HX500S-Li an 9 : they have been great, had great range and lasted well.

one side note would be how the handheld charges. I find that normal plug instyle tend to corrode and end up not working after some time where the drop in style tend to last longer and you can wipe the contacts clean easily. Also the option of a AA battery back up pack is always a good thing to have in a bag with some AA batterys just incase...

Last edited by southshoreS24; 03-19-2010 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 03-19-2010
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I bought a cheap, now-discontinued model Uniden Atlantis 3-4 years ago because I just wanted something for occasional daysailing use. I'm so pleased with it that I now use it almost exclusively. I give it a full charge in late April and it's still got power in early November. The sound quality is very good to excellent, it's easy to use and I've gotten clear reception up to 2 miles (haven't had occasion to try any farther). When this one eventally craps out, I just hope there's an equally good "cheapie" on the market at that time.
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