Author Archives: Kevin Lee
Author Archives: Kevin Lee
Being in the open waters with nothing to distract you or keep you entertained can be boring at times. With nothing but water all around you, it is important to keep your spirits high and connected to the outside world. Unfortunately, most electronics don’t get along too well with water.
But, the Kenwood Outdoor Marine Radio has been designed to withstand daily use in the open water. This water proof marine radio is well crafted to ensure that every part of the system is water and moisture resistant. This leaves no room to worry about water damage. Alongside this marine radio are the Pyle Hydra speakers and the Pyle Elite Series amplifier. Both are also water proof. This combination will give you a functional outdoor music experience making your next outing on the water a blast.
With its two 6.6” speakers, the high-end outdoor speaker is not only great sounding but also looks fantastic as well. The dual cone speakers are combined with full range stereo sound reproduction. This is a high-end audio speaker which can reach high volume levels without distortion. Its power handling is rated at 75RMS watts. They are not only waterproof, but also rust proof for longevity in the wet water environment.
Included also in the Kenwood Outdoor Marine Radio is the Pyle Elite Series amplifier. The 4-Channel amp system effortlessly transitions sound levels, from one bass level to another. It has a remote turn-on and turn-off capability. This is what allows you to operate the stereo even when you’re not near the radio system. The dual high-level input connectors attached to the amplifier are designed to also power subwoofers. This opens the possibility of even more rocking days out on the water.
A great system should be able to transmit and receive signals at all times. The 2018 Kenwood KMR-322BT is waterproof and provides high quality output for a reasonable price.
This Bluetooth receiver functions works well with a phone or other such device. It has the ability to stream the audio wirelessly by connecting directly to one’s android or Apple smart phone.
The Kenwood’s Drive EQ digital conversion technology is combined with a polypropylene cone with cloth surrounding the aluminum voice coil. This is in order to provide on-board signal processing and filters for noise elimination.
Great sound quality is what will most likely drive many to get a stereo system. Getting a stereo that has a USB port and auxiliary cables that can be connected to an android phone will let one enjoy maximum music functions.
The Kenwood marine radio is a great stereo for the boat and any other outdoor entertainment function. It is easily installed and is customized to fit any boat compartment. This provides connection to a variety of media sources. Combined with several protective gears like the flip cover for the receiver, it is clear why Kenwood is the best marine radio in the market for the great outdoors.
Be it the Bluetooth receiver pairing feature or the AM/FM radio capability with 30 station memory, the Pyle Bluetooth Marine Audio Stereo Kit will grab the attention of many anglers. The attached water-resistant radio shield face will keep splashing or rain water out of your stereo. This ensures that all the internal and external parts of your radio are protected.
That’s not all. Attached to this high performance waterproof stereo, is a radio receiver and four waterproof speakers. In addition to that it comes with a matching accessory kit. This combination is sure to give you goo sound clarity at all volume levels and provide the ultimate experience for one’s water and outdoor entertainment at very reasonable price.
This marine stereo unit is a one of the least expensive ones currently available and it perfect the budget conscious boater; audiophiles will probably want to look into a different system with better quality and more features.
What’s an entertainment unit without a good receiver? Marched with an amplifier, its 40 X 50 Watt output power makes it perfect for powering each unit. This highly advanced technology system has excellent functions. These allow you to connect more speakers to this waterproof marine radio. This applies whether one is in need of bass heavy music or simply wants to listen the latest news broadcast.
When party mode sets in, pump up the music and turn the volume to 11. The four 6.5” speakers produce quality sound. The built in equalizer allows you to change among several profiles to select the best one for the music you are enjoying.
With a balanced tone quality, its polypropylene cone and cloth surround these speakers make it easy to enjoy an afternoon on the water with your favorite tunes.
You won’t miss a beat with these speakers!
Add the Bluetooth receiver capability and 150 Watts of speaker power and you have a stereo experience out of this world. Multiple media devices (iPhone, Androids, Smartphones, iPad, Tablets) can be connected with Bluetooth technology allowing anyone on board to stream their favorite tunes through the stereo system. The wireless range of 16’ft is will work almost no matter where you are located on the boat. One can easily start the Bluetooth pairing process on your marine radio system.
The Bluetooth feature also operates with low power. This in return translates into minimal power withdrawal from your phone or smart device and will not affect your phone’s performance.
The built in AM/FM tuner allows you to listen to traditional terrestrial radio for those days when you might want to jam out to your favorite classic rock station or enjoy the early morning radio shows from your radio personality.
With equipped USB and SD reader ports, it is possible to play the music or any other audio information that’s stored in any device. One can use the USB port to access music from their phone, MP3 player or SD card. This amazing option also allows the user to charge their phone or power any accessory device that is connected.
This is another great way for people to consume their music; even though CD's are almost a thing of the past. Break out your summer jame CD and bring back some great memories on the water.
Make and receive calls without the worry of water damage. Not only is it safe but also convenient. The Pyle stereo Bluetooth capability allows one to pair their phone to the enabled stereo. This then ensures that their phone has much less chance of falling into the water. One will be able to carry on an entire conversation without the need to hold their phone to their ear while on the boat.
The display screen is sharp and crisp allowing you to see everything you need to quickly. At a single glance, it is possible to see all the information one needs from incoming calls to music options and more.
With the wireless remote, one will not have to worry about going to the middle of the boat to control the stereo. This is because the wireless remote control can provide you with an extended range of control over the stereo system.
Thankfully this stereo comes with a waterproof cover. This is what provides full protection for the marine radio and other electronics from water and moisture. The cover is highly durable as it is crafted out of high quality marine material.
Another easiest way to play music from the stereo is by use of the AUX input jack. This will allow the input of sound from any media device, be it music, audio books or podcasts on the boat. That’s not all; you can also transfer audio from navigation apps or phone calls.
With the water-resistant radio shield and the marine grade waterproof construction, water conditions don’t have to impede one’s choice of entertainment. The Pyle Marine Audio Stereo Kit is a good budget stereo system that is great for smaller boats or those looking to stick to a small budget but will probably fall short for audio enthusiasts who want higher quality sound and more features.
If you are the type that has had the passion for fishing for a while, then you surely know a thing or two about the Raymarine fish finder brand. Raymarine has been in the industry for quite some time. Over the years, it has built a solid reputation for itself. They design and create some of the best fish finders that are fitted with state of the art sonar technology.
The Dragonfly Fish Finder series is proof that Raymarine can blend simplicity with high-end tech features. Among the features include all-weather displays and CHIRP DownVision. The Sonars fitted in the Dragonfly Series (The Dragonfly 4, Dragonfly 4Pro, Dragonfly 5, Dragonfly 5Pro and Dragonfly 7Pro) allow you to spend lesser time looking for fish and more time reeling them in.
In this piece, we focus our sights on the Dragonfly 7 Pro. This particular fish finder is feature packed. This is in the sense that it is designed to solve lots of fishing problems. It makes fish location a breeze and also goes the extra mile of teaching you a lot about the marine environment. All these in return transform one into a better angler.
That said, let us get right into what makes the Dragonfly 7 Pro a big deal in 2018.
The Dragonfly 7 Pro is created to be visually appealing. Its fit and finish are, to say the least, brilliant. The body is compact and lightweight. For an individual who enjoys spending time outdoors and floating on water, one will appreciate its waterproof display. Thanks to this waterproof technology, the screen does not fog up when it is cold.
This fish finder features a rotary dial and three buttons. The reduction in buttons makes it easier to use and operate. You can switch between split screen, GPS and sonar with your eyes closed (well, not exactly, but you get the point). To select the preferred screen, you can maneuver using the joystick.
You should note that this Raymarine fish finder is an affordable option. It is engineered for both fresh and saltwater use. Owing to its exceptional performance, it is ranked as one of the best fish finders on the market.
Very few fish finders perform as marketed let alone surpass the users’ expectations. The Dragonfly 7 Pro is, however, an exception. The color CHIRP DownVision technology is mind-blowing on this unit. The results displayed are impressively detailed. You can view fishes of all sizes without challenges.
With the Dragonfly 7 Pro, you can view your target fish eve if they are hiding under columns and water structures. This allows you to strategically position your bait to attract your target.
Locator operation is straightforward. All you need to do is turn the device on and start locating your fish. There is no device setup that is required. Furthermore, the fish finder’s mount is adjustable, it can be installed on pretty much any surface with great ease.
The display screen on the Dragonfly 7 Pro fish finder is brighter and crisper. The screen is constructed from bonded LCD. This material is advantageous in that it offers brighter colors, a sharper contrast and a higher resolution.
The screen measures 7-inches and has an 800x480 resolution. One can comfortably view the screen even under direct sunlight with this unit.
This review would be incomplete without the mention of the CHIRP technology used in this fish finder. This CHIRP Sonar technology makes this Raymarine unit stand out from the rest of the fish finders on the market.
With the Dragonfly 7 Pro, you have the opportunity to choose between 2 CHIRP channels. The first is used for fish targeting while the second provides a wide 60 degree CHIRP angle DownVision.
Fish targeting scans the waters below the boat with a 25 degree angle. It is designed to target bait and individual fish. The 60 degree CHIRP angle on the other hand provides lifelike images of structures underwater.
The DownVision CHIRP mode trumps all other competition. It allows you to see details in the craggy bottom. At the same time, it offers impeccable target separation between fish and structures under water.
All in all, this technology is accurate and has great imagery.
Now let’s see how the Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro compares to the Lowrance Elite 7 CHIRP. But before that, here is some information you need in order to have a great fishing experience.
This is an Italian company that is dedicated to the manufacture of navigational charts (electronic). The company was created back in 1984 and so far has a range of products under its wings.
Dragonfly 7 PRO is equipped with GPS receive and ships preinstalled with the Navionics + charts. The maps covers entire coastal US and Canadian as well as a growing list of already 20,000 lakes in it.
The debate as to which is better between the Raymarine Dragonfly series and the Lowrance fish finder series is popular, and with every new fish finder, it gets more heated.
These two fish finders have a lot of features in common. This may make it difficult to choose one over the other. Nonetheless, if you look closely, you will notice some differences. For instance;
Dragonfly 7 Pro features an all-weather display while the Lowrance Elite 7 does not.
The Lowrance Elite 7 comes with a sensitive antenna to help the GPS system function even better.
While each of these units has CHIRP technology, the Dragonfly 7 pro has an upper hand. How so? Well, it features a dual Sonar CHIRP which contains DownVision CHIRP and 2D CHIRP. With Lowrance, you only have the benefit of viewing deep and shallow waters with ease.
When reviewing this unit, one word comes to mind – versatility. The Dragonfly 7 Pro Fish finder features an adjustable mount making it easy to install and remove on boats and kayaks. Its instructions are easy to read and understand. In addition to that, it has a great GPS for an angler who is out in the waters often.
This is truly one of the best units for anglers in the fishing world.
Humminbird has been a common name when it comes to fish finders. Anglers have relied on the brand for the past 40 years and so far, it hasn’t let them down a single bit.
The Helix 5 series is part of many of Humminbird’s groundbreaking innovations. It features seven decent models that have been designed to suit the modern-era angler. It consists of the Helix 5:
The models have been fitted with cutting-edge technologies that include the accurate broadband CHIRP Sonar, the sleek Reflex interface, the Auto Chart Live and the amazing Imaging sonar. The Helix 5 series also has the Dual Beam Plus Switchfire feature that goes an extra mile to ensure that anglers have the best time. The feature achieves this by controlling the appearance of the sonar returns.
While the similarities between the models may be overwhelming, they also have a few differences that vary from model to model. They include:
The Helix 5 Chirp G2 is arguably the most convenient of the 7 fish finder models and here is a comprehensive look at the features of the machine:
The Helix Chirp G2 features a remarkable 800H x 480V 5” WVGA display and a 16-bit TFT color type display.
It further projects an outstanding 256 colors with impressive LED backlight.
When using this device you can create the most detailed maps without missing any element. You can easily capture every nitty-gritty from the scanty vegetation, bottom roughness to the depth contours. This is all thanks to its Autochart live feature that also includes an impressive 8-hour record time.
With the Helix 5 Chirp G2, creating charts has never been simpler.
The fishfinder has a slot for micro SD cards. This in return enables anglers to save waypoints every now and then without having to worry about storage. The slot is also valuable for those who fish using their own maps.
The card slot is conveniently located on the machine’s left side so one won’t get any trouble finding it.
The machine enables you to fish more by reducing the time one would ordinarily spend searching for spots. You can easily get results for the best fishing spots instantly, by settling your parameters correctly. This is because of its smartstrike feature that definitely saves one from stress when fishing.
With a size of about 1.1 x 7.5 x 4.3 inches and 10.1 pounds, you can easily carry it during your fishing expeditions, as the machine can comfortably fit any medium-sized bag pack. With the G2 fishfinder, portability should be the least of your worries.
Sonar returns are very crucial for anglers. The Chirp G2 has eased the fishing experience by giving them the power to control the appearance of their sonar returns. At the touch of a button, you can easily fix your fishing conditions thanks to its two exclusive display modes.
You can seamlessly increase or decrease detail, know how deep the water is and even account for the fishing spot’s temperature. On the other hand, the experimental anglers can play with the lure presentations as much as they want.
The Chirp G2 has a maximum depth capability of 2500 feet. It is very convenient for those who love searching for fish in the deepest ends of the waters. Unlike majority of the fishfinders, it displays images that are at the lakes’ rock bottom. However, this is achieved by setting the depth correctly and zooming until one gets a clear image.
With the efficient gimbal mount, you can effortlessly attach the fishfinder to the boat and search for spots accurately. This is a successor to the previously less-than -satisfactory mounting system that anglers had already gotten used to.
The Helix 5 Chirp features a new and improved basemap that is more accurate and detail-oriented. The GPS system gets up-to-date data from credible sources like NOAA and Lakemaster that include the best fishing spots, depth contours and navigation aids. This enables you to fish with conviction.
The main limitation when it comes to the Helix 5 chirp G2 is its lack of a suitable carrier and screen cover. Apart from this, it has a very impressive set of features from the 4000W PTP power output, Chirp DualBeam technology to the Unimap cartography. Its high resolution display will maximize the fishing experience. At the same time, its precision GPS will enhance the accuracy. These features are incredibly great compared to its price. It is its affordability that gives it a huge advantage over other fishfinders.
You’ll definitely get value for your money with this model.
The Lowrance Link-8 VHF Radio is a High-res Flush Mountable Class D Fixed-Mount VHF Radio built with a Dual Channel AIS receiver and NMEA 2000 Connectivity. It has a total of 25 watts of transmission power, a full-waterproof design, and an easy-to-use interface. Considered a top contender for its high-resolution display among VHF radios, the Lowrance Link-8 boasts a large screen and an overall item weight of 6 pounds.Reliable and complete with all the best safety features, the Lowrance Link-8 VHF is a must-have VHF radio for boaters. Because of its rugged, waterproof design, and reasonable price this marine radio is a great communication tool for mariners on the water regularly.
The Lowrance Link-8 comes with some great features that make it one of the highest-quality entry-level VHF marine radios out there. Here are some of its main features:
For boat owners with no background or knowledge about marine electronics, the NMEA standards can be confusing. For starters, every time you buy electronic equipment, you must first check the functionality of each piece. While some pieces can work in a stand-alone fashion, others need to be equipped with a network connection in order to be used with other on board devices like chartplotters etc.
NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 are today’s communication language for marine electronics. NMEA 2000 supersedes NMEA 0183 and is currently the protocol used when creating new electronics. Also, NMEA 0183 is near being phased out due to the rise of equipment with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. However, when your device has both, it makes the device even more versatile, compatible and able to connect to almost all existing marine networks.
Let’s compare The Simrad RS35 to the Lowrance Link-8. The Simrad RS35 is one of the premium VHF marine radios today and like the Lowrance Link 8 it also features its own integrated AIS receiver. This is a unique feature that’s very valuable for marine radios today. Today, the successful GX2200 is the leading marine radio with this feature.
The Link-8 and Simrad RS35 are both AIS receiving. However, unlike the Lowrance Link, the Simrad RS35 allows connection to wireless handsets making radio calling available from anywhere on board. This is very useful when you’re in a larger vessel and have several crew members on-board. The Simrad also looks better compared to Link-8 in our opinion. Cheaper than the Simrad RS35, the Link 8 is a great option for a VHF radio with an integrated AIS receiver if you have no need for a wireless handset and looks are not important to you.
Next, let’s compare the Standard Horizon GX2200 and the Lowrance Link 8. The GX2200 is a VHF marine radio complete with an Integrated 66 Channel GPS receiver and AIS receivers, overall, it has better connectivity than the Lowrance Link 8. When it comes to the interface, the Link 8 is arguably more user-friendly and easy-to-setup compared to the GX2200. If you’re looking for a cheaper and cleaner designer, the Lowrance link outshines the Standard Horizon GX2200 in our opinion.
The Lowrance Link-8 is a must-have VHF marine radio for people looking for cheaper and simpler alternatives to the Standard GX2200 and Simrad RS35. With full coverage of USA, Australian, New Zealand, & International Channels, it offers great reliability during emergency situations. Despite lacking in other connectivity and wireless features, the Lowrance Link-8 is complete with all the important basic functions for a reliable and rugged marine radio that you can use regularly. For an entry-level radio, the Link-8 has all the necessary features making it the perfect choice for the cost conscious sailor.
ICOM M605 is the new flagship VHF fixed mount radio in the Icom 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. You can see our top three picks for fixed mount marine radios here.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
The ICOM IC-M25 is a slim, lightweight, and water-resistant VHF handheld marine radio, the upgraded version of the M23 which was released on May 2011. Its equipped with a powerful 1500 mAH battery which can last approximately eleven hours per charge, float N flash functions, aqua quake draining, and an IPX7 waterproof design are some of the many features of this radio.
No more bulky charging base! The ICOM M25 includes a NEW micro USB type charging cable connector (smartphone-compatible connectors) which can be easily used with your mobile battery packs. Now you can charge your VHF marine radio in the same way you charge your phone or tablet.
The M25 is designed very intuitively starting from the large controls and well-placed, soft key buttons that make operating extremely easy. Despite being smaller in size compared to other VHF radios, the display is actually 30% larger than its predecessor the ICOM M24 which makes it easy to see all the information on screen.
Available in three colors, the ICOM-25 is a decent looking device that has everything you want from a stylish, well-designed VHF handheld radio. While the ICOM M25 is a little more expensive than other VHF marine radios, it stands out for having the best value for the money with all its useful extra features.
Choosing the best VHF handheld radio for your needs requires a little bit of research. What makes the ICOM 25 better than other handheld VHF radios? Learn more about its features below:
The ICOM M25 is another high quality VHF marine radio from ICOM. Currently, the slimmest floating marine radio, it packs many features and delivers uncompromised performance that raises the bar in the marine electronics industry. A popular favorite among consumers, the ICOM M25’s easy to use, well-placed buttons and smart interface makes the device one of the best handheld marine radios today.
Icom IC-M73 is a professional grade handheld VHF radio with some great features built in. The rugged slim design fits well in hand, and feels very comfortable in use. Icom was able to fit a very large capacity battery - 2,000mAh which provides up to 17 hours of operation time. IC-M73 has a large bright LCD display, which is very easy to read even on very sunny days.
So what can you find on this radio that is not available on some other entry level marine radios? Well, let's take a look at some of its high-end features.You can also find our top three handheld marine radios here.
As you can see, there are some real benefits stepping up to a higher end VHF handheld radio and ICOM IC-M73 is a a very good choice. Compare this radio to some of our best rated VHF Handheld radios on this page.
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.
Standard Horizon HX210 is the new model in the marine radio line up. This lower priced radio features a redesigned case with a large capacity battery (1850 mAh Lithium Ion battery), which should be enough to power it for about 14-15 hours. This radio can float, which is a huge plus.
We also like the automatically activated emergency strobe light. If you drop the radio into the water, it can flash on and off, flash SOS or set to stay on continuously. This function works even if the radio is turn off. Really nice feature to have!
Standard Horizon added WX and FM radio bands (76MHz to 108MHz), which can be useful if you are out kayaking for example. The new Dot Matrix display is one of the brightest and biggest in this category.
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.
Besides making some of the best feature packed handheld and fixed mount marine radios, Standard Horizon also designs and manufactures entry level/budget radios. HX150 is a great example of a compact handheld marine radio that provides good quality communications and decent battery life.
This would be a good VHF marine radio for kayak fishing or other activities where you don't want to carry too much weight and may not need GPS function (if you do, get the Standard Horizon HX870). This radio is floating and submersible (rated IPX7). Compact designs allows it to be stored in smaller compartments and pockets. The radio's power is variable, so if you want to preserve battery life, switch to 1W mode, and if you are further away and need a stronger reception - 5W mode is there for you.
Operating this radio is straight forward. It has a decent size LCD screen, 16/9 dedicated key, preset buttons, key lock etc. Overall, this is a great little radio. It is comparable to Uniden MHS75, but there are a few differences. Let's take a look at them: