Accidents cannot be predicted on the water or anywhere else. Even the most seasoned sailors with tons of experience can fall victim to equipment malfunction or bad weather. When disaster strikes, the one piece of equipment that can ensure quick rescue is your Very High Frequency (VHF) marine radio.
One of the reasons why your fixed mount VHF radio is important is its Digital Selective Calling (DSC) functionality. DSC allows key information about your boat to be sent to other boats in your region and rescue authorities in emergencies. DSC is most beneficial if your GPS position is also shared automatically. Therefore, it is not only important for you to have a fixed mount marine radio on board but to have one with built-in GPS.
Unfortunately, most marine radios with built-in GPS tend to be on the expensive side. The Standard Horizon GX1700, though, is economical. It is a reasonably priced radio that offers excellent value for the money. To help you discover if the Standard Horizon GX1700 fits your needs, here’s our review.
What You Should Know About Standard Horizon
Standard Horizon is a brand that has been around for more than five decades. It is a leader in the global marine communication market. The company doesn’t only manufacture marine radios for individuals but has also worked with governments across the world.
Standard Horizon is managed by Yaesu Musen Co. Ltd. Yaeso Musen was established in 1959 and has since gradually grown to become a global name in communication equipment.
What Are the Advantages of Choosing the Standard Horizon GX1700
At the time of its release, the Standard Horizon GX1700 was the first fixed mount VHF radio with built-in GPS. In fact, the 12-channel GPS was its most important feature at that time. Other fixed mount marine radios with built-in GPS have since been introduced but the GX1700 still remains one of the most affordable options out there.
This VHF marine radio even has a small GPS antenna at the front of the unit. Apart from sharing position data through DSC, the GPS also makes additional features possible such as waypoint creation and navigation. You'll be able to use this device’s navigation capabilities to create up to 100 waypoints!
The GX1700 is one of the thinnest fixed mount VHF radios on the market. It measures only about 3.6” in depth. In fact, the Standard Horizon GX1700 is quite a compact device which makes it perfect small boats. The device is 5.9” wide and 3.4” high.
In its product class, this fixed mount marine radio possesses one of the largest dot-matrix display screens. The display is also bright and easy to read. Its size, layout, and brightness ensure that this device’s display screen offers more information at a quick glance than many of its competitors.
The GX1700 will be a good option for you if you need a second station on your boat. By connecting the RAM3+ Remote Access Microphone, you’ll be able to create a second station anywhere on your boat. The second station will give you full functionality including Digital Selective Calling (DSC) functions. You'll even be able to use the main unit and second station as an intercom system.
This fixed mount marine radio also comes with the company’s Clear Voice Noise Reduction technology to reduce environmental sounds caused by winds, storms, waves, and the engine from your transmissions. This technology combined with the GX1700’s 25W transmission power means that messages not only remain audible but also loud and clear.
What Disadvantages of the Standard Horizon GX1700 Should You Be Aware Of
We’ve already mentioned that the Standard Horizon GX1700 was the first of its kind to offer built-in GPS functionality. While that inbuilt feature was groundbreaking at the time, it was still nascent in nature.
As a result, the GPS on this fixed mount VHF radio has problems. For example, it takes a long time to gain GPS connectivity and sometimes it times out when connecting. When it times out, you'll have to re-initiate the connection process all over again. Even when it is connected, the connectivity can drop for no apparent reason.
Finally, the GPS antenna on this device is small. Because of this, it isn’t very powerful. What this means is that you can’t place this device below-deck or in a location where the antenna won’t get clear access to the skies. If you're short on options, though, you can always fall back on connecting an external GPS system to this fixed mount marine radio via the provided NMEA 0183 output.
You should also make sure that the Standard Horizon GX1700 doesn’t get wet. The problem is that it stops working when it gets wet. Even so, this depends on how deep the water penetrates inside the radio. Standard Horizon has tried to negate this little flaw by offering a three-year waterproof guarantee. If your fixed mount VHF radio does get wet and stops working, they’ll replace it for you at no extra cost.
While the guarantee will prevent financial loss, a VHF marine radio that isn’t resistant to water poses other very serious problems. For example, you wouldn’t want your device to stop working in an emergency situation because it got wet. Therefore, it might be a good idea for you to invest in a water resistant cover for it.
Even with the company’s noise reduction technology, you may also have to invest in an external speaker since the GX1700’s inbuilt speaker isn’t very powerful. Whether you will need an external speaker or not depends on where you will install this device on your boat.
You'll definitely have to buy a separate antenna and connect it to this device. Again, the type of boat and installation conditions will determine what kind you should get.
Verdict - The Perfect Companion for Small & Medium Boats
The GX1700’s ultra-thin profile makes it the ideal choice for small and medium sized boats. This fixed mount VHF radio is also priced right, especially considering its features. The oversized dot-matrix display screen and waypoint creation may entice fishing aficionados too. If space is a major consideration for you and money is a concern as well, then you won’t find any device better suited to your boat than the Standard Horizon GX1700.
However, if you have ample room and want to know what other options you have including a handheld marine radio our full list of the best VHF marine radios can you see which other ones might be better for you.