Category Archives for "Handheld VHF Marine Radios"

ICOM IC-M25 Floating Handheld Marine Radio Review

Icom IC-m25 VHF handheld radio
Icom IC-m25 VHF handheld radio

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.

Icom m25 charging port

Icom M25 charging port

Main 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:

  • Slim, Compact and Lightweight Design - The M25 weighs 7.76 ounces and measures 5.28” tall, 2.23” inch wide, and 1.2” thick which means it can fit almost anywhere. It has a slim body shape making it much more comfortable to hold and carry in your pocket.
  • Large Controls and Display - Very easy to use controls. A significantly larger display than its predecessors means no more squinting when reading the display information.
  • Micro-USB Charger - includes a new micro USB type charging cable connector which can be used with your mobile battery packs or other small electronics. It can be charged to an AC adapter for around 3 hours.
  • Loud 550mW Audio - Despite its small size, the ICOM M25’s speakers are powerful enough to hear transmissions over the wind, choppy seas, or engine noises. You can also do quick volume adjustments by simply holding the VOL/SQL buttons or pushing the ▲ or ▼ button.
  • Float N’ Flash - A brilliant feature which allows your device to float and flash a red light when dropped in water for easy retrieval, especially at night. It also sounds an audible alarm to point you in the right direction.
  • Aqua Quake Draining Function - Once retrieved from the water, the device emits low-frequency sound waves which shakes off water from the speakers so that transmissions are smooth and clear, preserving the sound quality.
  • IPX7 Waterproofing - The M25 will be able to withstand immersion in water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes without damage.
  • Multi-Tasker- The ICOM-M25 includes an instant access button to channel 16, programmable call channel, dual/tri-watch functions which allow you to monitor distress channels while still using other channels.
  • Rechargeable 1500 mAH Li-ion battery - Powerful battery that allows 11 hours of operation with battery-life icon indications while charging and fully charged.

Additional Features

  •  Front Panel Buttons for Quick Operations
  • Weather Channel w/ Weather Alert
  • Instant access to Channel 16
  • Favorite Channel Function
  • Auto Scan
  • LCD Auto Backlighting

What’s included in the Box?

  • USB charger (Icom #BC- 217SA)
  • Belt Clip (Icom #MB - 133)
  • Antenna (Icom #FA - SC59V)
  • Battery Pack (#BP-282)
  • Hand Strap


Specifications:

  • Frequency Band: VHF
  • Type: Handheld Marine Radio
  • Country/Region of Manufacture: Japan
  • Item Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Item Model Number: IC-M25 01
  • Dimensions: W 2.2” x H 5.3” x D 1.2”
  • Features: Floating, Submersible, Radio, Waterproof
  • Display Type: Segmented LCD
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Scanning Modes: All Scan
  • Transmit Power: 5/1 Watt
  • Usable channels: INT, USA, CAN, WX channels
  • Antenna Impedance: 50Ω
  • Type of emission: 16K0G3E (FM)
  • Operating temperature range : -20°C to +60°C; -4°F to +140°F
  • Batteries: 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
  • Available Colors: Blue, Pearl White, Metallic Grey Accents
  • Warranty Details: Three Years Waterproof

Transmitter

  • Output power: (Hi/Mid/Low)       5W (High),1W (Low)
  • Max. frequency deviation: ±5.0kHz
  • Frequency stability: ±10ppm
  • Spurious emissions: -68dBc typical
  • Adjacent channel power: 70dB
  • Audio harmonic distortion: 10% (at 60% dev.)
  • Residual modulation: 40dB

Receiver

  • Sensitivity (at 12dB SINAD): 0.25µV typical
  • Squelch sensitivity: 0.25µV typ. (at threshold)
  • Adjacent Channel Selectivity: 70dB typical
  • Spurious response: 70dB typical
  • Intermodulation Rejection: 70dB typical
  • Hum and noise ratio: 40dB typical
  • Audio output power : (at 10% distortion, 8 Ω)    
  • Internal SP: 550mW typ. (12Ω load)
  • External SP: 300mW typ. (4Ω load

Final Thoughts:

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 Handheld VHF Radio Review

Icom IC-M73 radio
Icom IC-M73 radio

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.

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    Last call voice recording function automatically saves incoming calls for 1 minute.
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    700mW Loud Audio - BTL amplifier that doubles the audio output
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    Bass Boost Function that further improves voice quality
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    AquaQuake water draining function
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    Active noise cancelling, that reduces background noise to up to 90%
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    IPX8 - submersible plus waterproofing (4.9ft under water for up to 30 minutes, vs 3ft for 30 minutes in IPX7 waterproofing)
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    Optional VOX headset and adapter allowing handsfree  operation

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.

Some other features include:

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    6/3/1 Watt
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    Dual/Tri-Watch function
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    Favorite channel function
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    Tag scan function
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    Rapid desktop charger and cigarette charger

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 built quality
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    Durable
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    Long battery life​​​​
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    Excellent radio signal
  • minus
    Not the most compact radio

Standard Horizon HX210 Floating VHF Radio Review

Standard Horizon HX210 vhf marine radio
Standard Horizon HX210 vhf marine radio

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. 

Some of the features include:

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    Floating, submersible IPX7
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    1850 mAh Lithium Ion battery
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    Water Activated Emergency Strobe Light
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    Oversized full Dot Matrix display
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    WX & FM radio
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    6W / 2.5W / 1W output power
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    New E20 Menu system
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    All USA and international marine  channels
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     110 VAC and 12V DC 3-hour quick chargers

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.

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    up to 15 hours of battery life
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    Bright, large display
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    Emergency light
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    WX and FM channels
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    Great warranty
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    NO GPS

Standard Horizon HX150 Review

Standard Horizon HX150 VHF marine radio
Standard Horizon HX150 VHF marine radio

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:

Standard Horizon HX150 VHF marine radio
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    1 or 5 Watts
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    Submersible IPX7
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    Floating
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    Tri-watch
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    1030 mAh Li-Ion battery
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    AC Wall charger with charging cradle
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    W2.4" x H5x3" x D1.5"
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    8.3 oz
Uniden MHS75 VHF radio
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    1, 2.5 or 5 Watts
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    Submersible IPX8
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    Floating
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    Quad Watch Plus
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    1040 mAh Li-Ion battery
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    DC Charger
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    W2.49" x H4.57" x D1.53"
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    10.2 oz

Standard Horizon HX400 Handheld Marine Radio Review

Standard Horizon HX400 Handheld Marine Radio
Standard Horizon HX400 Handheld Marine Radio

Standard Horizon HX400 is a unique VHF radio in the Standard Horizon line up. It has two features that makes it really stand out, and you will have to decide for yourself if that's what you need.

First of all, I want to start by saying that it has a crazy big capacity Lithium-Ion battery - 2300mAh! That is enough to power this handheld radio for about 17 hours of operating time. Just for comparison, our best rated HX870 has a 1800mAh battery life. If you are out on water for a long time and don't want to think about recharging the radio, this might be the VHF radio for you. It is capable of quick charging (takes around 3 hours to fully charge it).

Second important feature is LMC capability - programmable Land Mobile Channels. You might have a need for it on land, and this handheld VHF radio has the ability to work with LMC. A dealer can program up to 40 channels in the 137-174Mhz range (VHF or High Band). Typically, LMR radio frequencies are used by public safety personnels. 

Communication is crystal clear, loud and the built in noise cancelling works really well. The built in loudspeaker is rated at 700mW of power, which is plenty loud. It is not floating, but it is rated IPX8 (just make sure the battery cover is closed properly).

Overall, this is a great choice for anyone who is looking for a high quality powerful VHF handheld ratio with a long battery, but don't need all the features found in the high end radios.

Some of the features include:

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    2300 mAh Lithium-Ion battery
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    Programabble Land Mobile Channels
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    Built in noise cancelling and voice scrambler
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    NOAA weather channels and weather alert
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    All USA, Canadian and international marine channels
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    Tri-watch
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    3 year warranty

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    Long battery life
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    Loud and clear voice quality
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    Programmable LMC
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    Not floating
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    No built in GPS

Uniden Atlantis 270 Handheld Marine Radio Review

Uniden Atlantis 270 marine radio
Uniden Atlantis 270 marine radio

Uniden Atlantis 270 replaced the popular Atlantis 250 handle marine radio. Having mostly the same specifications, this is a good radio for anyone who is looking for a budget VHF radio. The power output has been increased to 6 Watts, providing a slightly stronger signal (you can still regulate output - choose 1/2.5 or 6 watts). There is a shortcut key "BOOST" which basically enables full 6 Watt power output for a short time.

Dual and Triple operation allows you to monitor up to 2 Coast Guard/Hailing channels plus a regular marine channel (pretty standard these days). All NOAA channels are also available on this radio.

Another difference between this radio and the discontinued Atlantic 250 is the upgraded body that is now rated JIS7/IPX7 - it can be submerged in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes.

The addition of squelch feature enables to filter some background noise, but be careful with it, since you may not hear weak signals (they will be filtered out).

Overall, this is a good handheld radio with a good battery life, easy to read display and all the basic filters included. It lacks GPS, and is rather large. For those people who desire some high end features like GPS, look into the Standard Horizon HX870 which is one of our favorites handheld radios.

Some of the features include:

    • 6 watt VHF Select between 1, 2.5, and 6 Watts for short and long range communication
    • 9 weather channels
    • USA/Internationa/Canada Channels
    • Submersiable to 1 meter for 30 minutes
    • Button Key Lock
    • Channel Scan/Memory Scan
    • LCD Display
    • Rechargeable Lithium Ion 1100mAh battery
    • Instant Channel 16/9
    • Tri-Watch
    • 120v/12v Charger Included
    • Reasonably Priced
    • Dimensions - 5.35 x 2.44 x 1.53 inches

    • Inexpensive​​​
    • Reliable
    • Good power output
    • IPX7 water protection
    • Squelch level
    • Easy to read display
    • No built in GPS

Uniden Atlantis 250 – Budget Handheld Marine Radio

Uniden Atlantis 250 handheld vhf radio
Uniden Atlantis 250 handheld vhf radio

Uniden is well known name among communication device manufacturers and has a full line of VHF handheld and fixed mount marine radios.

Uniden Atlantis 250 was introduced in 2011 and have proven to be a decent choice among budget marine radios. This particular radio does not have high end features found in more expensive radios, but what it does have is a strong reception and signal transmitting (thanks to the switchable 1/5watts power output), rugged waterproof construction, all NOAA weather channels with weather alert to keep you safe, as well as a 10 hour batter life from NiMH battery pack. You will stay always connected thanks to the 16/9 triple watch.

The Uniden Atlantis 250 has since been replaced with Uniden Atlantis 270 - Read review HERE.

Some of the features include:

    • 5 watt VHF Select between 1 and 5 Watts for short and long range communication
    • All NOAA weather channels
    • USA/Internationa/Canada Channels
    • JIS4 Waterproofing
    • Instant Channel 16/9/Triple Watch
    • Channel Scan/Memory Scan
    • Backlit LCD Display and Backlit Keyboard
    • NiMH and Alkaline Battery 
    • Instant Channel 16/9
    • Tri-Watch
    • Waterproof
    • 120v/12v Charger Included
    • Memory Channel Scan
    • Reasonably Priced
    • Limited 3 Year Warranty
    • Dimensions - 3 x 2 x 6 inches

    • Strong and solid communication 
    • Inexpensive
    • Backlit Display Display
    • 16/9 Tri watch
    • Reliable
    • Not submersible 

This radio has been discontinued, please go to UNIDEN Atlantis 270 page.

Icom M93D Handheld VHF Marine Radio Review

Icom handheld marine radio
Icom M93 handheld marine radio

The Icom M93 is a powerful 48-channel handheld VHF radio and a valuable marine accessory for every vessel. Its key features include its floating and waterproof capability which doesn’t just protect the device from water damage but also increases its lifespan. With the safety advantages of DSC (Digital Selective Calling), rest assured that you’re in good hands and have reliable access to distress channels should an emergency on the water arrive.

With an IPX-7 rating, Icom M93 can withstand immersion in 1-meter deep water for up to 30 minutes. A useful feature for those unfortunate accidents when you accidentally drop your device off the boat. You don’t have to worry about the speaker getting wet and damaged either, the Icom M93 has a high-tech feature known as “Aqua Quake” which puts the speaker on vibrating mode and shakes off water from the device. This allows your speaker to work with no disturbance from water stranded on its surface.

The Icom M93 is equipped with a long-lasting rechargeable battery which can remain powered up for the whole day. With its intuitive battery indicator display found on the screen, you know when you need to recharge your radio before it dies. It also has an active noise canceling feature that’s very useful for stormy or windy situations.

Main Features

  • Floating and Flashing Capability - Accidentally dropped your device in the water? No worries! The M93 has a floating design which allows it to float on its back while the backlit keypads flash making it easier to retrieve the device even in pitch black water.
  • Compact and Stylish Design - Even with a small height of 145mm and weight of 310 grams, The Icom M93D wows with its impressive design. Its flat sheet keypad makes the device look sleek and slim. It’s so well-built that it fits perfectly in your palm.
  • Intuitive User Interface - ICOM is known for creating the best user interface for marine electronics simply because they are so user-friendly and easy to operate. This is very important for non-tech savvy people.
  • Waterproof to IPX-7 - Can withstand immersion in 1-meter deep water for up to 30 minutes.
  • Active Noise Canceling Technology - reduces background noise for better transmissions. This feature can be a lifesaver when you’re transmitting in rough conditions or a around a noisy marine environment.
  • Aquaquake - feature that drains water from the speaker grill using the device’s vibrating mode.
  • Built-in Class D DSC - The ICOM M93 includes its own dedicated second channel which monitors Channel 70 regularly. When you push the red distress button on the rear of the radio, the distress signal gets sent to the coast guard and other DSC radio-equipped vessels. They will receive your GPS coordinates, boat name, and phone number for emergency contact.
  • Backlit LCD display - View all functions and information easily even in the dark.
  • Dual and Tri-Watch Feature - enables you to monitor the distress channel while receiving messages on another channel of your choice.

Additional Features:

  • High Contrast Dot Matrix
  • Dual/Tri- Watch
  • Save up to 50 waypoints with alphanumeric names
  • Favorite channel function
  • Weather channel alarm
  • Battery indicator
  • auto Battery Saver
  • Built-In GPS Receiver
  • MOB Position Marking

Accessories:

  • Antenna, FA-SC59V
  • Hand strap
  • Owner’s Manual
  • Cigarette lighter cable, CP-25H
  • Belt clip, MB-133
  • Battery charger, BC-220
  • Battery pack, BP-285
  • AC adapter, BC-123SA

Specifications:

  • Weight: 9.3 Ounces
  • Dimensions:  2 3/8" Width x 5 5/8" Height x 1 3/4" Depth
  • Available Color:: Black
  • Display Color: Grayscale
  • Display: 2.3" Diagonal High-Visibility Polarized Dot Matrix LCD with Softglow
  • Battery Life: 9 Hours
  • Battery Type : Lithium-Ion 1570mAh
  • Material: Polycarbonate (Housing)
  • Die-Cast: Aluminum (Chassis)
  • Transmit Power: 1/5 Watt
  • Warranty Details: Three Years

ICOM M93 vs Standard Horizon HX870:

When it comes to transmitting power the Icom M93 has only two options 1 or 5 watts while the Standard Horizon HX870 has three (1, 2, or 6 watts) which means using the HX870 can give you more options to change the output power and save battery. In terms of waterproof rating, Icom M93’s IPX7 rating also falls slightly behind HX870 which has a IPX8 rating. An IPX8 rating provides more protection if you accidentally drop your device overboard (it can still work even when submerged of up-to 3 feet). Both radios have good battery life, however, the HX870 proves more powerful with its 1800 mAH lithium-ion battery compared to the M93’s 1570 mAH lithium ion type. Our verdict? The Standard Horizon HX870 packs a little more features than Icom M93. And with just a little price difference between the two, the wiser option is to purchase the device that will give you more for your money which is the HX870.

Closing thoughts and suggestions:

The Icom M93 is a good choice if you’re looking for a durable, easy-to-use, and compact VHF radio that has all the life-saving features like Float n Flash, Aqua Quake and Active Noise canceling. However, compared to same-price models like the Standard HX870, the Icom M93 significantly falls behind. Despite this, the Icom M93 is worth every penny, and if you’re a long time Icom buyer, this device won’t fail you. In fact, it can help keep you safe whilst out on the water. It is made especially for passionate and adventurous boaters.

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

Standard Horizon HX870 Floating Handheld VHF Radio Review

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

If you  are looking for an efficient floating marine radio that includes a 66-channel WAAS GPS receiver and ability to transmit and receive distress calls? Look no further; the Standard Horizon HX870 VHF Marine Radio does this and much more. Built with its own powerful GPS/DSC receiver, buoyant die-cast chassis, and submersible waterproof construction, rest assured that you’ll effortlessly navigate the water like a true captain.

The Standard Horizon HX870 is the successor of the popular HX851 portable marine radio. Up until now, the HX870 remains one of the best handheld marine radios on the market today. The premium features tough construction waterproof design are just a couple of the reasons it is our favorite handheld radio.

The HX870 works with all US, international and Canadian marine radio channels and has a dedicated receiver for CH70 (DSC calling). During the set up, you are are able to choose your group setting - US, Canada or international. To activate distress function, hold DISTRESS key for 3 seconds. A special signal will be sent to all nearby vessels in a range of 5 miles. Make sure to register for MMSI number and set it up on your HX870 handheld radio. DSC signal with your coordinates will NOT work if you don't complete this step.


Design:

The VHF marine radio is one of the best models which include an easy to operate menu system perfect for non-tech savvy mariners and crewmen. The Standard Horizon HX870 comes with a 6 Watt VHF radio with a 2.3-inch screen size twice as large as its competitors. Focusing on intuitive and efficient design, its operating buttons are all positioned strategically near the screen for ease of use. It’s also waterproof and floats, a helpful feature should you drop it in the water.

Standard Horizon HX870 6W Floating Handheld VHF Radio w/Integrated GPS Marine , Boating Equipment

Performance and Battery Power:

In event of any emergency or terrible weather condition, the Standard HX870 ensures that you can contact the coast guard or other boaters. It uses noise-canceling microphone technology that enables clear outgoing and incoming calls so you can send and receive clear messages without disrupting noises from your ship’s engine or the water.

With its built-in class DSC, you can simply push the distress button in order to send a message to the coast guard and other vessels nearby. It can save as many as 200 waypoints and 20 routes using its own compass page which shows COG, SOG, bearing, and distance to individual waypoints. With its unique and high tech compass page, you can see up to nine vessels in range!

When it comes battery power, the Standard Horizon HX870 comes with a long lasting 1800 mAh Li-Ion battery and a glow-in-the-dark gasket ideal for emergency use. The Standard HX870 also comes with a three-year warranty; many other radios only have a 1-year warranty.

Built in GPS:

The HX870 has the ability to receive weather alerts and has an assigned WX soft key to get current weather information. The biggest advantage of this portable VHF radio vs other VHR radios is built in 66 channel GPS receiver. The internal GPS antenna allows this radio to display your position either in a compass  or numerical style. You can log your GPS location at regular intervals using the LOGGER function. The HX870 also allows you to share your GPS position and request GPS positions from other vessels.

HX870 built in GPS receiver

Navigation: 

So what else makes this a top notch VHF radio? Built in navigation! You can store up to 200 waypoints on the HX870. Go to menu > NAVI> WAYPOINT and you will get access to your history, memory or manual entering of coordinates. The large display will show the compass with the coordinates of your final destination. This is extremely useful especially for smaller boats or kayaks where the space is limited and you want the radio to do it all.

In case of emergency:

If you ever end up overboard, the HX870 has a few things to help you in emergency situations. First of all, this is a floating radio that is IPX8 rated (30 minutes under 4.92ft of water). It also has water activated SOS strobe light. If the radio is dropped, it will turn on (even if it was powered off before) and start flashing an SOS light.

MOB function (Man )ver-Board) will memorize the position information instantly if the radio is dropped into water.

submersible marine two way radio

The high capacity 1800 mAh Li-Ion battery with a 3 hour quick charge function will provide plenty of battery life for regular use. You can also use supplied alkaline battery tray that takes 5 AAA batteries.

Some of the features include:

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    Floating with 1/2/6 Watts of Power
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    ​​​Internal 66 Chanel WAAS GPS receiver
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    Separate Receiver for CH70
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    All USA/Canada/International Marine channels
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    NOAA Weather Channel with weather alerts
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    DSC
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    Full dot matrix 2.3" display
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    Navigate to a DSC Distress Call
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    Water activated emergency strobe light
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    MOB (man over-board) function
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    Submersible, rated IPX8
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    Waypoint navigation
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    NMEA 0183 output
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    1800 mAh Li-Ion Battery
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    Alkaline Battery Tray
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    Dimensions: W 2.44" x H 5.43" x D 1.69"
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    3 year Factory 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.

  • 4.3 out of 5 Stars
  • 173 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

Final Thoughts:

If you are looking for a reliable, fully featured handheld marine radio, look no further! The  Standard Horizon HX870 is one of the best portable VHF radios on the market today!