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post #1 of 14 Old 10-01-2006 Thread Starter
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Handheld VHF radio

Just did a search, no one asks thei question since 2003. I think many things have changed since then.

I need a handheld, what do you recommend? ICON, West Marine, Uniden etc? Thanks.
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post #2 of 14 Old 10-01-2006
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Depends on what you want it for. I use a Standard Horizon VX471, which is a great little multi-band which does AM/FM/WX/VHF/Aircraft/FRS/GPRS bands, and can transmit on VHF/FRS/GPRS bands as well. However, it would suck as a ditch bag radio, since the emergency AA-battery pack only allows it to transmit at 1 W, not the 5 W it is capable of. It is DSC-capable in that it can be tied into a GPS NMEA circuit and broadcast the MMSI and DSC emergency call info by hitting a protected distress call button.

I also have a larger handheld VHF, that has an emergency battery pack that can broadcast at 5W stored in a ditch bag. No really nice features, but runs on AAs a long time, especially since I have the Lithium AAs stored in it. Don't remember who makes it...

One advantage of the SH multiband units is that you can give your crew GPRS or FRS radios and talk to them when they're nearby on shore legally, where doing so via VHF would be illegal.

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post #3 of 14 Old 10-01-2006
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We have Standard Horizon HX471S Submersible 5 Watt Marine VHF.Best radio for the money.............

http://www.anchorexpress.com/hx470ss.html




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That's the one I have...but couldn't remember the model number. Nice little unit... one of the smallest and pretty good battery life. The only downside to it is that I can't seem to find any way to tell how much battery life is left on the beast.

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post #5 of 14 Old 10-01-2006
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I guess it really depends on what you are going to do with one. if it is your primary means of communications when on the water then the perhaps one with all the bells and whistles works. However if it is only a backup then why spend all the money.
We use a low cost uniden as a back up only - and after we lost our built in vhf we used it to come back from the bahamas and until we put in a new radio.
or on the other hand -- how much money do you want to spend.
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post #6 of 14 Old 10-02-2006
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The SH HX471S is my day-to-day unit, the one I have stuffed in the ditch bag is a much cheaper unit.

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post #7 of 14 Old 10-02-2006 Thread Starter
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Two Sunday ago, we went sailing with our 14 ft Capri during the small craft warning. We hit a sudden storm. We realized that all the sail boats disappear just before the storm hit. It was clear that everyone had a VHF radio and went for cover, except us.

Therefore, my primary use for the handheld VHF radio is to receive emergency weather message from the Coast Guard (Baltimore). I am doubtful that I can transmit message to the CG tho’.

It looks like that SH HX471S is a good unit. Today West Marine has their brand VHF 250 on sales for $50 less. I think it has the same functions of SH HX471S, but it sells for $160. Has anyone have any experience with West Marine brand? Thanks.
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-02-2006
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West Marine doesn't actually make anything. IIRC, the WM250 VHF is actually made by Vertex out of Japan, who makes the Standard Horizon gear as well, but under a different label. IIRC, there is a foreign Standard Horizon model that is identical to the WM 250 VHF. YMMV

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post #9 of 14 Old 10-02-2006
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At 6 watts and 16 hours on one charge, the ICOM M-72 has been great through the past season, our first year with it. I don't have experience with any other brand of handheld, and realize everyone will claim their's is better, but this radio must be hard to beat.

The audio is clearer (-10% distortion), louder than our helm-mount VHF radios (both Standard Horizons), has auto-scan, WX channels and is waterproof. Comes with a charger base, although since it's initial charge after receiving it as a gift back on Father's Day in June, it's still going strong without recharging.


http://www.icomamerica.com/products/marine/m72/

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post #10 of 14 Old 10-02-2006
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I have the West Marine. It works fine (really, it works great for the money). However, it is just for my ditch bag. It is not my primary. My primary is a fixed mount not a handheld. But I did a test and drove a couple of miles away and was still able to receive and transfer back to my boat (even from inside the car!!).

For the money, I would reccomend it.

- CD

PS You would be surprised what the Coast Guard can receive. I bet they could hear you. I believe SD is right, the West brand is actually a Standard Horizon. If I was only going to buy one and really wanted a good one, the best unit I have used is an ICOM like TB's. But they are much more expensive! Just my opinion(s).
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