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ICOM M605 Review – New Premium Class VHF Marine Radio

ICOM M605 review
ICOM M605 review
Read about marine radios

ICOM M605 is the new flagship VHF fixed mount radio in the Icon line up. This is a fully featured high end radio that allows a lot of flexibility connecting additional devices. You will find a powerful commercial grade class D DSC receiver (more about it later), integrated GNSS receiver (GPS, Glonass and SBAS), beautiful 4.3" color LCD display with night mode, built in AIS, 30W 2-way Hailer with Horn function, NMEA 2000 backward compatible with NMEA 0183 and ability to connect up to three controllers! As I said, this radio has pretty much every feature you may wish for. Let's review some of those features.

4.3" Color LCD Display - First in its class!

ICOM M605 is the first VHF fixed mount radio with a color LCD. DOT matrix displays are nice, but after you look at this 4.3" display with wide viewing angles, it will be hard for you to go back to other radios, they will feel outdated. ICOM included NIGHT MODE for operation at night which changes background to dark background and displays text and icons in dark red. This color LCD can finally display nice graphics, making navigation through menu more intuitive. 

Connect up to 3 Controller Devices

If you have a larger boat, you may want to have additional controllers that can control ALL functions on ICOM m605 VHF radio. ICOM M605 can be connected to 3 external controllers. You can use RC-M600 (works ups to 50m away) with its beautiful display or connect a more portable HM-195 handheld controller (works up to 18.3m away). Put one on flybridge and another in office corner or sleeping area, and you will always have communication by you. Intercom function is included so you can use it to talk between external controllers and the main unit.

ICOM RC-M600

ICOM HM-195 - check on AMAZON.com

Integrated AIS receiver

As we previously covered in our ICOM M506 review, AIS is a must have when you navigate through heavy traffic areas. The AIS plotter screen will display nearby vessels, and you could also choose a target on this display and call them directly using DSC without having to enter MMSI code (requires AIS transponder).

Integrated GNSS Receiver

ICOM M605 has the latest GNSS receiver which works with included UX-241 antenna. You no longer have to get an external GPS device to fully take advantage of AIS and DSC functions.

Some of the additional features include:

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    4.3" Color LCD​​​
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    25W or 1W of output power
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    Class D DSC receiver 
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    Hailer with 30W power
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    Horn and Foghorn
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    Weather channel with weather alerts
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    Dual Watch/Tri-watch
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    Adjustable backlight
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    AquaQuake water draining
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    Intercom function
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    Voice auto recorder - last 120 seconds
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    Active noise cancelling
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    IPX8
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    274 (W) × 114 (H) × 121.5 (D) mm

But what do actual users say about this radio? Are they actually happy with their purchase? Let’s find out the pros, cons and what reviewers are saying about this radio. Below are the most common pros and cons that people have stated in their reviews on Amazon.

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    Great screen
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    Excellent audio quality
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    Compact
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    Expensive, yet nobody else makes such a beautiful display
Read about marine radios

Uniden MHS235 Review

Uniden MHS235 VHF marine radio
Uniden MHS235 VHF marine radio

Uniden MHS235 is a top of the line VHF marine radio from UNIDEN. Uniden is quite famous for making two way radios, and this model is specifically designed for marine use. This well made rugged case is JIS8 rated - meaning that it is usable for continuous submersion in water under specified pressure ( 5ft for 1 hour without damaging the radio). 

As you would expect from a high end radio, there is a GPS receiver with built in DSC function as well as GPS compass. Once you press the red distress button, an emergency signal with your coordinates will be transmitted every few minutes until you receive a response. Let's say you are thrown off the board or your boat sunk, UNIDEN MHS235 will be floating and sending signal - life saving feature!! 

Transmitter power select lets you choose from 3 power modes - 1W, 2.5W or full power 6W. This UNIDEN marine radio has dual and triple power watch - simultaneously monitor weather channel and 2 Coast Guard Distress/Hailing channels. All NOAA channels  will get you weather alerts, also extremely useful when you are out on the water.

Something that we don't see so often is the temperature measuring tool that lets you measure water and air temperature. ​There is a also a built in SOS function - this Uniden vhf marine radio will be flashing built in LED light in SOS pattern. 

The display on UNIDEN MHS235  has a backlit and can be reversed, meaning you can switch between light background and dark background. You can also pull up built in compass on it.

Overall, this is a great radio that you can find on sale for under $200. Check current price and reviews HERE.

Some of the features include:

  • 6 watt VHF Select between 1, 2.5, and 6 Watts
  • All NOAA weather channels
  • USA/Internationa/Canada Channels
  • Submersiable to 5ft for 1 hour
  • DSC with GPS
  • GPS compass
  • Compass
  • Instant Channel 16/9
  • Tri-Watch
  • Floats
  • Water and air temperature measuring
  • Glow in the dark with key lock
  • Limited 3 Year Warranty
  • Dimensions - 2 x 2 x 2 inches

But what do actual users say about this radio? Are they actually happy with their purchase? Let’s find out the pros, cons and what reviewers are saying about this radio. Below are the most common pros and cons that people have stated in their reviews on Amazon.

  • 4.1 out of 5 Stars
  • 538 Total Customer reviews
  • 60% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
  • High end features
  • Excellent Unit For the Price
  • Extra safety features like Glowing and SOS flash signal
  • Comes only with a 12V car/cigarette  charger
Read about marine radios

ICOM IC-M424G Review – Compact Marine VHF Radio with Hailer

ICOM IC-M424G Compact Marine VHF Radio
ICOM IC-M424G Compact Marine VHF Radio

The ICOM IC-M424G is a compact fixed mount marine VHF radio for boaters who want all the high end features in a compact package. Large backlit LCD with intuitive interface makes it easy to read important messages on the screen as well as navigate through the menu. Active noise cancelling and bidirectional microphone is able to filter up to 90% of unwanted background noise. Integrated GPS receiver shows your current location and can be used making DSC calls.

Some of the features include:

  • All USA, International, and Canada Channels
  • All NOAA weather channels
  • IPX7 Submersible Protection to 1m for 30 minutes
  • NMEA Interface for GPS/NAV
  • Active noise cancelling
  • Built-in class D DSC
  • 10W loud audio with public address and foghorn
  • 1 / 25 Watt Switchable
  • Backlit Easy to Read LCD Display
  • Limited 3 Year Warranty
  • Dimensions - 7.09 x 3.22 x 4.72 in.

What do actual users say about this radio? Are they actully happy with their purchase? Lets find out the pros, cons and what reviwers are saying about this radio. Below are the most common pros and cons that people have stated in their reviews on Amazon.

  • 4.8 out of 5 Stars
  • 5 Total Customer reviews
  • 80% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
  • Large Easy to Read Display
  • Reliable
  • Great sound quality 
  • Prime Shipping Eligible
  • No rubber gasket for panel mounting in the package
Read about marine radios

If you have bought or used this radio please feel free to leave a comment with your expirence below to help others who may have questions.

Standard Horizon GX2200 Vhf Radio Review

Standard Horizon GX2200 vhf two way marine radio

The GX2200 comes from Standard Horizon; a very progressive and forward-thinking company. The GX2200's predecessor the GX1700 put a GPS into VHF marine radios. The next evolution, the GX2200 combines AIS (automatic tracking system) which is the primary method of collision avoidance for boats. The radio also contains a built-in GPS antenna meaning that the radio only needs a VHF antenna which drastically simplifies the installation. While the GX2200 is not the  cheapest radio considering all the features it contains it is a great buy.

The Standard Horizon GX2200 is packed with high-end VHF radio features: 2 integrated AIS receivers, integrated 66 Channel GPS receiver and full AIS/GPS matrix display. If you are someone who is constantly boating in high traffic areas, the AIS feature is a must. The 30 Watt PA/Loud hailer is useful for communicating with other vessels and is preprogrammed . The model is a little larger than your typical radio, yet you will enjoy the bigger display and the layout of the front panel. You can also get optional RAM3 Mic for it as well and the external speaker.This is a must have accessory if you need to operate the radio from a fly bridge or different area of the boat than where it is mounted.

Some of the features include:

  • AIS (Automatic Identification System) receiver
  • 66 Channel WAAS GPS antenna
  • Programmable collision avoidance alarms
  • Class D DSC
  • 30 Watt PA/Loud Hailer (preprogrammed fog signals and listen back functions)
  • ClearVoice noise cancelling
  • GPS Compass
  • User customizable keys for easy operation
  • Backlit display and keys
  • Connection for RAM3+ second station remote microphone
  • Submersible IPX7 front panel
  • 3 Year warranty

PRO'S:

  • 4.9 out of 5 Stars
  • 23 Total Customer reviews
  • 96% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
  • Large Easy to Read Display
  • High end features
  • Easy installation

CON'S:

    • Not the cheapest option
    • External RAM3 remote controller is not included with this package
Read about marine radios


ICOM IC-M506 Review – Fixed Mount VHF Radio with NMEA 2000 and AIS

Icom IC-M506 Marine radio
Icom IC-M506 Marine radio

 Just like the Standard Horizon GX2200, this is a full featured VHF two way marine radio with integrated AIS receiver and NMEA 2000 connectivity. Large 3.4" LCD display is great for viewing AIS vessel traffic information, GPS and radio menus. The radio has the NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 network connectivity. Voice communications are top notch with the help of active noise cancelling and you also have the ability to record last 2 minutes of incoming communications.

ICOM M506 has received the NMEA Best VHF Marine Radio Product Award 3 years in a row 2014-2016.

Let's look at the major reasons to get this radio vs cheaper alternatives.

Integrated AIS Receiver

First, let's ask the question - what is AIS? AIS is an Automatic Identification System used on boats and ships that transmits position, speed and navigational status via VHF transmitter. It helps to navigate through heavy traffic areas and shows traffic information on the display.

There are 3 display options when you use AIS receiver: Plotter display, Target list and Danger list. Use Plotter display to visually see nearby vessels; Target list shows number of targets and target information (range and bearing); Danger list displays potentially dangerous targets (MMSI - code or name of vessel, CPA - closest point of approach and TCPS - time getting to CPA). 

icon m506 AIS function

25W Two-Way Hailer

ICOM M506 can be connected to an external hailer horn. What does it do? It allows you to talk to people on deck, bridge or even shore if you are not too far away and listen back via the hailer speaker. Built in 25W amplifier is pretty powerful and produces nice clear audio. Some people find this a very useful function, especially if you have a larger boat with closed cabin etc.

ICOM M506 also has built in HORN with four automatic function: UNDERWAY, STOP, SAIL and TOW. 

ICOM M506 vs STANDARD HORIZON GX2200

Icom IC-M506 Marine radio
Read about marine radios

$$$$$

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    25W and 1W RF output power
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    AIS
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    NMEA 2000
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    25W Hailer
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    Horn
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    NO GPS (only external)
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    Class D DSC (meets ITU-R M493-13)
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    15W audio output
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    Last Call Function
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    AquaQuake
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    IPX8
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    W7" x H4.5" x D4.5"
Read about marine radios

$$$$

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    25W and 1W RF output power
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    AIS
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    NMEA 0183
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    30W Hailer
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    Horn
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    66 Channel GPS
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    Class D DSC (meets ITU-R M493-13)
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    4.5W audio output
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    Last Call Function (NOT AVAILABLE)
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    AquaQuake (NOT AVAILABLE)
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    IPX7
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    W7.1" x H3.1" x D6.3"

Some of the features include:

  • Integrated AIS Receiver with Plotter, Target list and Danger list.
  • NMEA 2000 Connectivity plug-and-play plus NMEA 0183 GPS data conversion
  • Last Call Voice Recording 
  • Active Noise Cancelling
  • 25 Watt Two-Way Hailer
  • Built-in Horn (4 horn patters)
  • Built-in DSC with Class D receiver
  • IPX8 Submersible (up to 60 minutes underwater, 1m)
  • 15Watt audio output
  • Weather channels with alerts
  • AquaQuake water draining
  • 3 year waterproof factory warranty

But what do actual users say about this radio? Are they actually happy with their purchase? Let’s find out the pros, cons and what reviewers are saying about this radio. Below are the most common pros and cons that people have stated in their reviews on Amazon.

  • 5 out of 5 Stars
  • Total Customer reviews
  • 100% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
  • Large Easy to Read Display
  • AIS functionality 
  • User friendly menu
 
  • GPS support only over NMEA 0183 interface
 
Read about marine radios

ICOM IC-M324G 21 Marine VHF Radio review

ICOM IC-M324G marine radio
ICOM IC-M324G marine radio

Icom IC-M324G is a compact VHF radio with top notch performance and all the necessary features included in its body. This VHF radio comes after the M200 (entry level model) in the ICOM VHF radio line up and features some nice upgrades. 

There are two versions of the M324 series:

  1. Model M324G has a built in GPS receiver 
  2. Model M324 (no G at the end) does not come with a built in GPS receiver

The difference between the two models is around $50, but having a GPS function in a VHF radio is a huge plus, therefore we suggest you get the M324G - with the GPS. 

This fixed mount radio also comes in two color options: Black version and Super White version.

ICOM IC-M324G marine radio
ICOM M324G marine radio

So what do you get with  this radio and why we think this is a good value?

1. Large Dot-Matrix Display with Icom Marine Family User Interface

Icom M324 has a large high definition Dot-Matrix display that is easy to read. Reading crucial information is fast and easy. Your distress call button, instant channel 16, volume and menu are clearly marked.

Icom fixed mount radio

2. Lifesaving GPS Receiver

Yes, you could add an external GPS to some VHF radios, but if you get the M324G - it is already built in! It simplifies operation (like automatic timezone detection), adds important safety features to your radio and there is no need to connect external GPS equipment.

The ICOM M324G comes with a dedicated distress call button. Press and hold for 3 seconds and your distress call will be transmitted (including current GPS position). If you did not get the 324G model, enter your GPS location manually. 

Built in class D DSC has the ability to  monitor channel 70 (DSC channel) even when you are making another call.

3. NMEA Interface

NMEA 0183 isn't the latest NMEA standard (NMEA 2000) but it does add ability to connect NMEA compatible devices. If you need NMEA 2000 connectivity - you will have to step up to ICOM M506 radio.

List of additional features include:

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    25 Watts / 1 Watt output power
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    Built in GPS Receiver
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    Intuitive User Interface
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    Submersible IPX7 protection
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    AquaQuake water draining system
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    NMEA 0183 interface
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    Dot-Matrix Display
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    Compatible with MA-500TF AIS transponder
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    Reasonably Priced
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    Dimensions: 7.1 x 3.2 x 4.7
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    Audio output - 4.5W
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    3 Year Waterproof Warranty

But what do actual users say about this radio? Are they actually happy with their purchase? Let’s find out the pros, cons and what reviewers are saying about this radio. Below are the most common pros and cons that people have stated in their reviews on Amazon.

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    ​​​​4.8 out of 5 Stars
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    86% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
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    Large Easy to Read Display
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    Excellent Unit For the Price
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    Built in GPS
  • minus
    Flush mount clips are not included
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    Not the newest NMEA 2000 interface 
Read about marine radios

Standard Horizon GX1300W Eclipse GX1300B Fixed Mount VHF Radio (White)

Standard Horizon GX 1300W VHF marine radio review
Standard Horizon GX 1300W VHF marine radio review

The Standard Horizon GX 1300W Eclipse is an ultra-compact class D fixed mount VHF radio. The radio has ITU-R M493-13 class D rating for digital selective calling. The radio is also water proof up to 4.92ft which is more than enough for a fixed mount marine radio. The menu is oversized making it very easy to see in rough conditions. This is a relatively inexpensive fixed mount radio that is perfect for the weekend boater who is not venturing far offshore. This unit can also be interfaced with a GPS receiver making it more versatile. Note that this radio is offered in black and white options.

Some of the features include:

  • Ultra Compact
  • 25 Watts
  • DSC - Digital Selective Calling
  • Large easy to use menu system
  • Seperate receiver for CH70
  • NMEA In and Output to a GPS Chart Plotter
  • Keys are programable
  • Track the GPS position of up to 4 ships using DSC
  • IPX8 Waterproofing - 4.92ft for 30 minutes
  • All USA, International, and Canadian Marine Channels
  • NOAA Weather Channel Selection
  • Programmable Scan, Priority Scan, and Dual Watch
  • Reasonably Priced
  •  3 Year Waterproof Warranty
  • Dimensions - 11.5 inches, 4.5 inches, 9.5 inches

But what do actual users say about this radio? Are they actually happy with their purchase? Let’s find out the pros, cons and what reviewers are saying about this radio. Below are the most common pros and cons that people have stated in their reviews on Amazon.

  • 4.3 out of 5 Stars
  • 23 Total Customer reviews
  • 70% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
  • Large Easy to Read Display
  • Excellent Unit For the Price
  • Reliable
  • Warning message has to be cleared everytime you power the radio on
Read about marine radios

Standard Horizon HX870 Floating 6W Handheld VHF with Internal GPS

Standard Horizon HX870 marine radio review
Standard Horizon HX870 marine radio review

The Standard Horizon HX870 is a 6 watt floating VHF Marine radio with internal GPS. The Radio also meets ITU-R M493 Class D DSC and has a noise canceling function. This is a higher end Marine Radio that caters to serious boaters who want not only a radio but also a GPS function.

Some of the features include:

  • Floating with 6 Watts of Power
  • Internal GPS
  • Separate Receiver for CH70
  • Noise-canceling For both transmitting and receiving audio
  • Integrated  66 Channel WAAS GPS Receiver
  • USB Support
  • Strobe Function
  • Submersible
  • Waypoint navigation
  • MOB Function
  • Dimensions - 9.5 x 3.5 x 7.5 in.

But what do actual users say about this radio? Are they actually happy with their purchase? Let’s find out the pros, cons and what reviewers are saying about this radio. Below are the most common pros and cons that people have stated in their reviews on Amazon.

  • 4.4 out of 5 Stars
  • 127 Total Customer reviews
  • 71% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
  • Large Display
  • High End Marine Radio For Serious Boaters
  • Reliable
  • Waterproof
  • White LED Illumination is not great
  • Rather Large
  • Higher cost
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If you have bought or used this radio please feel free to leave a comment with your experience below to help others who may have questions.

Standard Horizon GX1700 Review – Explorer GPS VHF Marine Radio

Standard Horizon GX1700W marine radio
Standard Horizon GX1700W marine radio

The Standard Horizon GX1700W GPS VHF Marine Radio is a higher end fixed mount radio with many features. The features include a 12 channel GPS, DSC calling, navigation, and a compact size with only 3.5in. depth making installation in tight places very easy. Over 100 waypoints can also be stored in the radio. This is an ideal radio for the serious boater who wants a high end radio with plenty of features in a small package. Please note that this radio does need an antenna; which is sold separately.

Let's take a look at some of the main features of this radio.

Ultra Thin and Compact Rear Case Design

This radio has a beautiful, bright easy to read display with plenty of information on it. But you should also know that the depth of this radio is only 3.5".

Built in GPS

Not only this fixed mount radio has a built in GPS but the GPS antenna is located at the front panel, allowing you to use brackets or flush mount and not worry about covering GPS antenna. You may also connect external GPS antenna using NMEA 0183 output.

fixed mount radio with gps

GPS Compass

One of the benefits of having a higher end marine radio is the ability to save waypoints and navigate to them using GPS compass. Standard Horizon GX1700 can save up to 100 waypoints. Built in display allows you to select COMPASS, WAYPOINT or GPS STATUS from the menu.

GX1700 display with gps

Class D DSC

GX1700 and GX1600 have VHF/FM marine transceivers are capable of ITU 493-13 DSC Class D operation. What does it mean? This means that you can continuously receive DSC functions  (digital selective calling) on channel 70 even if you are are on another call. Why would you need a DSC? It allows you no send/receive distress, urgency, safety, position info and routine to and from other vessels equipped with a DSC transceiver.

Noise Reduction

There is a lot of background noise on a boat - engine, wind, etc. GX1700 features a built in noise reduction technology - Clear Voice Noise Reduction, which helps eliminate those unwanted background noises. 

Some of the features include:

  • Integrated 12 Channel WAAS GPS receiver
  • 25 Watts
  • GPS antenna built-in to the front panel allows reception when bracket or flush mounted
  • Ultra thin and compact rear case design (3.5” depth)
  • Meets ITU-R M493-13 Class D DSC (Digital Selective Calling)
  • Automatically poll the GPS position of up to 4 ships using DSC
  • Programmable Scan, Priority Scan, and Dual Watch
  • Submersible JIS-8 1.5M (4.92Ft) for 30 minutes
  • Oversized display with customizable channel names
  • Capable of connecting to a Second Station RAM3+ Remote Access Microphone
  • Intercom between radio and Second Station RAM3+ Remote Access Microphone
  • 3 Year Waterproof Warranty
  • Dimensions - 5.9 inches, 3.4 inches, 3.6 inches

But what do actual users say about this radio? Are they actually happy with their purchase? Let’s find out the pros, cons and what reviewers are saying about this radio. Below are the most common pros and cons that people have stated in their reviews on Amazon.

  • 4.3 out of 5 Stars
  • 77 Total Customer reviews
  • 81% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
  • Large Easy to Read Display that is bright
  • DSS with GPS built in is great
  • Very well made
  • Some people has expirenced issues with the radio not working after getting wet
  • Without the seperate antenna the radio has zero range
Read about marine radios

If you have bought or used this radio please feel free to leave a comment with your experience below to help others who may have questions.

Uniden UM380 Fixed Mount Class D VHF Marine Radio – White

Fixed mount two way marine radio Uniden UM380
Fixed mount two way marine radio Uniden UM380

The Uniden UM380 Fixed Mount Class D VHF marine radio has several necessary features and is a great buy for the budget minded consumer however the radio does lack enough features to please seasoned captains who routinely take their boat on long voyages.

Some of the features include:

  • All NOAA weather channels
  • USA/Internationa/Canada Channels
  • Submersiable to 3.3 ft for 30 minutes
  • Rugged and Durable Construction
  • Channel Scan/Memory Scan
  • NMEA Input/ Output
  • Reasonably Priced
  • Limited 3 Year Warranty
  • Dimensions - 11 x 9 x 4 inches

But what do actual users say about this radio? Are they actually happy with their purchase? Let’s find out the pros, cons and what reviewers are saying about this radio. Below are the most common pros and cons that people have stated in their reviews on Amazon.

  • 4.4 out of 5 Stars
  • 309 Total Customer reviews
  • 69% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
  • Large Easy to Read Display
  • Excellent Unit For the Price
  • Reliable
  • Range was not as long as expected
  • Some customers felt it was not as durable as it should be
Read about marine radios

If you have bought or used this radio please feel free to leave a comment with your experience below to help others who may have questions.