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Lowrance Link 8 Fixed Mount VHF Radio Review

Lowrance Link 8 VHF marine radio review
Lowrance Link 8 VHF marine radio review

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.

Main Features

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:

  • Waterproof - The Lowrance Link-8 has a waterproof rating of JIS-7 (immersion-resistant) which means water cannot enter the unit when its submerged. It’s also well constructued and able to withstand everyday use in harsh ocean conditions. 
  • High-Resolution Dot-Matrix Display- No more squinting or finding a good light in order to read the display. The Link 8 comes with its own high-quality LCD with 128x256 resolution. You can easily see your current position and also read and receive messages conveniently. A handy feature for emergency situations.
  • Dual Channel, AIS receiver, and AIS plotting functionality - this enables you to send AIS target information like your ship name, sign, distance, and bearing to your chartplotter. 
  • 25 W / 1 W transmission power - allows you to change transmission power from 25 watts to 1 watt.
  • User-Friendly Interface - Link-8 is designed with a very easy to use interface that allows you to set controls, change menu, and scan through channels quickly. 
  • High-Quality Mic with built-in speaker and easy-grip rubber overmolding - Clear quality audio that isolates background noise and enables you to receive and send high-quality audio messages.  
  • Log Distress Calls - It can save up to 10 distress calls and 20 individual DSC calls which is very useful for search and rescue operations.
  • The Lowrance also includes a hailer horn output listen back feature and a dedicated MOB button.
  • Track Your Buddy Technology - allows you to connect your VHF device with DSC position polling with your chartplotter to show location of up to 3 friendly vessels on your chart. 
  • 2-Year warranty and includes an LVR880 Suncover and a VHF Radio Mic Clip.

What Does it Mean when a Device is NMEA 0183 & 2000 compatible?

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.

Comparing The Lowrance Link 8 With The Simrad RS35:

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. 

simrad rs35 VHF radio

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.

Standard Horizon GX2200 VS Lowrance Link 8

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. 

Standard horizon GX2200 with Ais and GPS

Final Thoughts:

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 Review – New Premium Class VHF Marine Radio

ICOM M605 review
ICOM M605 review

Being prudent with funds is definitely a virtue but maybe this financial prudence should be set aside when it comes to your safety. This is especially true if you have an adventurous side and take your boat out on the the water often. Since the most important safety equipment on any boat is the fixed-mount VHF radio, perhaps this is where you should begin. 

The ICOM M605 is the most advanced fixed-mount marine radio available right now. The device has pretty much everything you can ever desire in your Very High Frequency (VHF) marine radio. It is not only full of features that very few other radios possess but its performance and reliability also exceed its competitors’.

This is a high-end radio that is well worth the expense. What specific features can make an expensive device like this worth buying? Here’s our review of this fixed-mount VHF radio.

Information about the Manufacturers - ICOM America

The ICOM M605 is the flagship device of ICOM America as it is based around the latest technologies and has an exhaustive feature set. ICOM America, itself, has been at the forefront of the fixed-mount marine radio market for a while now.

The company is backed by ICOM Incorporated, a publicly listed firm that was established as far back as 1954. Even though they began by providing old-school ham radios, they’ve since become leading communication equipment manufacturers in aviation, terrestrial, and marine sectors.

What Are the Advantages of Choosing ICOM M605

Icom m605 color display

The ICOM M605 is unique. It is the only VHF marine radio in the market right now that features a color LCD display screen. In fact, its 4.3” display screen is so good that we recommend you get this device simply to experience it.

Not only is the ICOM M605 the only fixed-mount marine radio with a color display screen but it was also the first VHF marine radio with an LCD screen. The color LCD screen isn't just a gimmick either. It improves usability and functionality of the device significantly.

Users that have tried this screen have found it very difficult to go back to dot matrix displays precisely for these reasons. For example, the M605’s display screen offers a 180° viewing angle which is great for seeing the screen even if you are not directly in front of it; something you can’t do with a dot matrix screen.

Additionally, it has a ‘Night Mode’ too. The purpose of this mode is to make the screen non-intrusive in the dark. Turning on this mode will darken the display background while the icons and text on the screen will turn red. Moreover, the brightness of the screen is adjustable even during the day and the graphics are sharp and vibrant making the interface very intuitive.

The intuitive nature of the user interface is, further, helped by soft-touch keys and high-resolution characters. There is a directional, alphanumeric keypad and a series of shortcut buttons at the bottom of the display corresponding to the most frequently used functions of the VHF marine radio.

The clarity and ease of use of the display screen adds value to the integrated Automatic Identification System (AIS) since other vessels, their bearing, and the distance between them are more clearly visible. As is the case with all ICOM fixed-mount marine radios, the AIS receiver has three display settings which are the Danger List, the Target List, and the Plotter.

While the color LCD display screen is the biggest lure of the ICOM M605, its flexibility and versatility is not to be scoffed at. This fixed-mount VHF radio is one of the most flexible when it comes to system configuration. You can connect up to three separate controllers to the main unit on this device.

You can choose to install secondary control units anywhere on your boat including the sleeping area or even the fly-bridge. You won’t have to worry about how elaborate the secondary controllers are since you can use them to control all the functions of this VHF marine radio. Moreover, you'll be able to use them as intercoms!

This versatility makes the ICOM M605 ideal for larger boats. In terms of what type of secondary units are available, you'll be able to choose between the more permanent RC-M600 with its own display screen or the portable HM-195 handheld controller

The RC-M600 can be installed up to 50 meters away while the handheld has an installation range of 18.3 meters.

The ICOM M605 comes with an inbuilt Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver which should negate the need for an external GPS system and save you a pretty penny. Like all ICOM fixed-mount marine radios, this one has a water resistance rating of IPX8, which is the highest in its class.

The M605 also has ICOM’s proprietary AquaQuake water draining technology. The AquaQuake technology uses vibrations to eject water from the ICOM M605 controller. Water in the microphone or speaker can affect sound quality. AquaQuake, combined with the active noise cancelling feature of the M605 ensures that the transmission remains clear and audible.

  • There are numerous other features that make the ICOM M605 so useful. These include: 
  • NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 compatibility to connect third-party devices.
  • Up to two minutes of automatic last call recording.
  • A 30W 2-way Hailer to communicate with the deck or even the shore.
  • 25W or 1W of output power.
  • Class D DSC receiver.
  • Horn and Foghorn with multiple preset patterns.

What Disadvantages of ICOM M605 Should You Be Aware Of

The disadvantages of the ICOM M605 are a direct result of the features that make it such an exceptional product.

The first of these is cost. This is probably the most expensive fixed-mount VHF radio in the market right now but how could it not be? It has so many features and offers a multitude of unique benefits that it has to be expensive. The big question is whether it is worth all that money.

We believe it is. Not a single buyer of this fixed-mount marine radio has regretted their purchase. The ICOM M605 may be expensive on a standalone basis but when you look at its features and benefits, you'll realize that it offers excellent value for the money.

The other downside of the M605 is that it isn't the most compact. The ICOM M605 measures about 121.5mm in depth, 114mm in height, and 274mm in width. Again, this is a result of having numerous benefits. To offer so many benefits and features, additional components need to be added. This, in turn, means that the device gets bigger.

After all, if you're going to enjoy the advantages of having such a large display screen, it is only natural that the device will be bigger than the screen. 


What Is True Quality And Safety Worth To You?

Everything has a price. The most fully featured devices will cost you more than low-end devices. Our question to you is what true quality and safety are worth to you? If you're one of those discerning people who can’t bear mediocrity and realize what true safety means, then this VHF marine radio is designed explicitly for you.

ICOM IC-M424 Review – Compact Marine VHF Radio with Hailer

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

Today we’re going to review one of ICOM’s latest and best-selling VHF fixed mount radios: The ICOM M424.

The M424 features a new ICOM user interface which is better and more intuitive compared to older models. Complete with much-needed basic features, the M424 is equipped with VHF functionality, Class D DSC capabilities, and noise canceling technology. The radio is of medium size measuring 7 inches wide and 3.3 inches high.

One of the leading manufacturers of wireless communication products, ICOM was first founded by Tokuzo Inoue in 1954 in Osaka, Japan. Back then it was a manufacturing and engineering company creating radio equipment for various industries. 50 years later, ICOM keeps its spot on the top while proving to be one of the industry’s most trusted brands producing innovative marine electronics such as radios, navigation products and communication receivers.

What makes ICOM one of the best marine electronic brands in the world? ICOM’s products are not your ordinary marine electronics. With the help of their world-class designers and engineers, ICOM products are always intensely quality tested before distribution. In fact, ICOM products are often approved for the US Military 810 specifications which are very high. It’s no surprise that ICOM remains the best 2-way radio brand that is recognized globally. Currently distributing to more than 80 countries, ICOM was also the first Japanese company to supply radios to the United States Department of Defense and U.S. Marine Corps.

ICOM M424 Main Features:

icom m424 marine vhf radio
  • New Icom Family User Interface - The M424 features a new easy-to-use menu system. In this new interface, the bottom line of the display shows software key functions for simpler operation. With this new design, the device has fewer buttons and is more efficient to use.
  • Built-in Class D DSC - ICOM allows you to monitor channel 70 while receiving messages from another channel. It also includes great DSC so that you can make distress calls, safety, urgency, position request, and polling requests, etc.
  • Active noise-cancelling- With ICOM, you can now have smooth clear conversations without annoying background noise. This is a very useful feature especially when you’re out on the water having an emergency during a storm.
  • AIS Target Call with MA-500TR - With the optional MA-500TR Class B AIS transponder, you can make individual DSC calls without manually inputting the MMSI number.
  • High-Quality 10W Audio - The M424 includes its own 10W amplifier which can boost audio output from its external speaker. It also has its ‘public address function’ which allows you to make announcements through your mic. Now, you can use your marine radio like a megaphone or loudspeaker if needed.
  • Common NMEA Interface - with an external GPS receiver you can see your current position and time on the display. It also allows other vessels to send position information to you through a navigational device via NMEA 0183 connectivity.
  • IPX7 Submersible Protection - This waterproof rating allows the device to stay submerged for 30 minutes in 1 meter of water without damage.
  • AquaQuake Function - This vibrating function clears water from speaker for better audio transmission. A useful feature for rainy days.
  • Weather Channels and Alert Function - Keeps you informed, alert and safe during emergency weather and hazard situations as well as helping you avoid fast moving storms.

ICOM M424 Accessories:

The M424 includes a hand microphone (HM -196B/SW) for second station/ intercom, (6.1m or 20ft) of power cable, plastic tilt bracket, SP24 and SP35 loudspeaker, metal mic holder/hanger and instructional manual upon purchase. The M424 is a fixed mount VHF radio, and it can  be flush mounted. People who would like to flush mount this radio can improvise by simply building their own mount or purchase the ICOM MB-132 mounting kit.

ICOM M424 vs M424G:

ICOM M424 and M424G are both parts of the new series of Icom America’s VHF marine radios. Both these models feature built-in Class D DSC and Icom’s new interface. However, the G version is slightly more efficient having its own integrated GPS which does increase the price. It also has a more modern look with its back-lit keys.


FAQ:

Q: Does the M424 Come with all needed hardware for mounting?

A: Yes, all necessary hardware for simple mounting is included with purchase.

Q: If I flush mount the radio with the GPS still work (M424G).?

A: Yes, however remember that you will need to buy a flush mount kit with brackets as that does not come with the M424G.

Q: Does the M424 have an external speaker in the hailer/mike?

A: No, only the radio unit itself has an external speaker, if you are looking for an external hailer that will need to be bought separate.


Final Thoughts:

From the brand that always puts safety first, the ICOM M424 is undoubtedly one of the most efficient VHF radios out there. So if you’re looking for an affordable, easy-to-use VHF radio, the ICOM M424 is our top choice for you. However, if you’re looking for a VHF radio with GPS and a more modern build and design, you can opt for ICOM’s G version: the ICOM M424G.

Uniden UM415 Fixed Mount VHF Marine Radio review

Uniden UM415 Fixed Mount Class D VHF Marine Radio
Uniden UM415 Fixed Mount Class D VHF Marine Radio

The Uniden Oceanus UM415 is a fixed mount marine radio built with a compact JIS8 submersible-waterproof body. It is designed with a shorter chassis for easier and more versatile installations. Equipped with DSC (Digital Selective Calling) capability, the UM415 can transmit at 1 to 25 watts to various marine channels in the US, Canada, or International regions.

Are you worried about the ever-changing weather while being out on the water? The UM415 is the perfect tool that can help you predict the best time of day for your offshore boating or fishing adventures. The UM415 features NOAA weather and emergency alerts with S.A.M.E. technology. This gives you regular weather updates including informing you of the chance of rain, strong winds, storms, and other serious weather hazards in your area.

The Oceanus D UM415 is JIS8 submersible which means it can be submersed in 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes without any water damage. The UM415 features a dot matrix LCD display with huge channel indicators, rugged speaker microphone, up/down, scan and 16/9 keys. Compared to older models, the display is more intuitive with all important information being displayed clearly on the main screen at a high resolution. It has many useful extra features including a public-address system, alarm clock, local time adjustment, and daylight savings time adjustment. It can even store groups of MMSI numbers to make outgoing group calls!

The UM415 purchase includes microphone hanger, mounting hardware (bracket & knobs), and a 3-year water protection warranty.

Main Features

  • 1/25 Watt Transmit Power - Low or High transmitter power selection for options to preserve battery capacity.
  • Class-D DSC (Digital Selective Calling) - Uniden Oceanus is now updated with a class D DSC rating. Class D is often used for leisure vessels. It sends pre-defined digital messages and allows distress signals to be sent faster making your fishing or offshore trips more safe and secure.
  • DSC Position Send, Request, Test Call Features - Transmit your location to another ship/vessel or equest locations of other ships.
  • All USA, Canadian, and International Marine Channels - Monitor channels from all over USA, Canada, and primary international marine channels.
  • Shorter Chassis Design - Save space with the smaller chassis design. Now you can mount your radio in a several different ways.
  • JIS8 Water Resistant + Submersible​ - Can be submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes without any water damage.
  • NOAA Weather Channels + Alert Tones (10 weather channels) - monitor and issue alarm for weather hazards including storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes.
  • S.A.M.E. Technology Emergency/Weather Alert - Specific Area Message Encoding. Developed by the National Weather Service during the late 1980s. Standard component of national emergency weather alert.
  • Dual/Triple Channel Watch​ - Continuously monitor distress channel CH 16 while on your working channel.
  • Programmable channel scan - Never miss a call while at sea. Channel selection also comes with brief text descriptions. Very useful and informative especially when venturing out in new areas.
  • Adjustable Squelch - Increase or decrease the squelch on your VHF radio according to how sensitive you want the receiver to be.
  • Loud and Clear Mic with Rubber Grip - High-quality microphone which also features a unique rubber grip design for convenient use. This also prevents the mic clip from breaking.
  • Large Backlit Dot Matrix LCD Display - Read information on the display easily and clearly even in low light.
  • GPS Support
  • Quik Command™ one-touch channel 16 / 9 key on mic
  • Monitor Channel
  • Power Selectable
  • Audible Button Beeps

Specifications

  • Brand: Uniden
  • Model Number: UM415
  • Dimensions: 6.58" W x 2.95" H x 5.08" D
  • Weight: 2 lbs 3 oz
  • Channels: USA, Canada, International and NOAA weather
  • Connectors: NMEA0183 Input and Output
  • Supply Voltage: 13.8 Volt DC, negative ground (10.5 - 16.0 Volt DC)
  • Current Draw @ 13.8 Volt DC: 0.36 Amp Receive / 6 Amp Transmit
  • Operating Temperature Range: -20 degrees C to 50 degrees C
  • Frequency range: 156 to 164 MHz
  • External speaker capable (40 ohms)
  • Mount: Bracket / Flush* (Flush mount kit FMB321 sold separately)
  • Available Colors: Black and White
Uniden UM415 vhf radio review

Available in black and white body


Final Thoughts

The Uniden UM415 is a well-designed, low cost, full featured VHF radio that is a good fit if you are looking for an inexpensive marine vhf radio with many of the latest features. With a JIS8 submersible waterproof rating, you don’t have to worry if it gets wet. Transmitter performance is generally good and audio quality is excellent. The controls are very intuitive and make this radio perfect for all kinds of users. Setup is also easy and requires little to no technical guidance.

Despite all the good things about this radio, there are a couple issues buyers should be aware of. For example, it doesn’t include a speaker on the mic handle and the clip that holds the mic is made of plastic instead of metal.

Overall, Uniden UM415 is a great unit for its price. It’s actually very inexpensive compared to other models giving you extra features for a great price. If you’re looking for an affordable fixed mount VHF radio that’s going to last for years, Uniden UM415 is the best choice.

Cobra Electronics MR F45-D Fixed Mount VHF Radio Review

Cobra Electronics MR F45-D Class-D Fixed Mount VHF Radio
Cobra Electronics MR F45-D Class-D Fixed Mount VHF Radio

If you are looking for a good budget fixed mount VHF radio, COBRA MR F45-D is your perfect choice. With MSRP of less than $150, you get a powerful radio that can output up to 25 Watt of power for long -range communication as well as DSC functionality. Your communications will be crystal clear thanks to built it noise cancelling microphone. While it may not have the biggest display on the market, you do get adjustable backlight as well as Dual Watch. Weather alerts with visual and audible alarms will keep you safe in case there is a storm on the horizon. And did we mentioned that is it Submersible? Check out more specs below.

Some of the features include:

  • Dual power 1 or 25 Watts
  • 10 NOAA weather channels
  • USA/Internationa/Canada Channels
  • Submersible rated as JIS7
  • GPS input capability
  • Instant Channel 16/9
  • Noice Canceling Microphone
  • Reasonably Priced
  • Limited 3 Year 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.

  • 4.2 out of 5 Stars
  • 181 Total Customer reviews
  • 66% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
  • Large Easy to Read Display
  • Excellent Unit For the Price
  • Good power output
 
  • Very few users reported reliability issues, but were replaced under warranty
 
 

ICOM IC-M324 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. Read about our top three fixed mount VHF radios

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
  • minus
    Not the newest NMEA 2000 interface 

Standard Horizon GX1300 Eclipse Fixed Mount VHF Radio Review

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

The Standard Horizon GX1300 ECLIPSE is a 25-watt compact fixed-mount VHF marine radio with an ITU-R M493 class D rating for DSC (digital selective calling). Like its earlier predecessors the Eclipse models, the GX1300 is also waterproof BUT re-engineered with an IPX8 rating (which means it can be submerged to around 4.92 ft of water for 30 minutes). Made for all types of users, the GX1300 comes with an easy-to-operate menu system featuring a 31mm x 55 mm full dot matrix display.

The sought-after GX1300 has a large screen display that allows for easy and convenient use and reading. No more squinting to see all the details and no need for a flashlight during nights or dark stormy days. Compared to other models, the GX1300 is more compact (11.5 x 4.5 x 9.5 inches) which makes mounting easier and quicker. In fact, you can mount the GX1300 numerous ways ensuring that it will fit on almost any boat no matter the layout or available space.

A good combination of vale and size, the Standard Horizon GX1300 is a reliable and efficient marine VHF radio perfect for recreational boaters who enjoy the venturing offshore as well. If you’re looking for a low-cost fixed mount VHF radio that has all the needed features for a safe and secure boating experience, the Standard Horizon GX1300 is our best choice for you.

Main Features:

Choosing a marine radio based on looks won’t give you the best bang for your buck. To ensure you’re getting the most of your money, don’t forget to check out the device’s included features. Let’s have a look at some of the best features of the Standard Horizon GX1300:

  • IPX8 Waterproof Rating (Submersible) – the GX1300 has the latest submersible technology which ensures a waterproof rating of IPX8; this allows the radio to last up to 30 minutes in 4.92ft water without any water damage. This feature gives your device a longer life and saves it from unfortunate accidents!
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    DSC (Digital Selective Calling) with Distress Function – the GX1300 meets ITU-R M493-13 Class DSC which allows users to transmit digital MAYDAY by including ship identification details including current location (longitude and latitude), time, and vessel name. This feature makes it very easy during emergency situations to call for help almost instantly.
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    Large and Bright Screen Displa ​​- oversized screen display with bright bold back lighting makes it easy to read in dark settings. It can also be adjusted for different lighting situations, so you can use the device easily eve n in direct sunlight.
  • Microphone with Clear Voice Noise Reduction Technology – the GX1300 is equipped with an advanced microphone that helps eliminate unwanted background noise. No more buzzing engine sounds or static noise coming through your transmissions. This ensures transmissions are sent clear and clean no matter the weather or other background noises.
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    Compact Size and built with E2O Menu Display – the GX1300 may be small but it has all the features expected in a high-quality marine radio. Don’t worry as the GX1300’s easy to use interface makes using it very easy and intuitive for all users.
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    US, Canada, & International Channels – the GX1300 is pre-loaded with a complete set of channels from different regions all over the US, Canada, and primary stations around the world.
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    Dual Watch - feature that enables you to monitor your working channel and Channel 16 (emergency/distress channel) at the same time. This is recommended for boat to boat navigational safety.
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    NOAA weather channels - supplies you with up to date weather information so you stay safe and prepared for the worst storms.
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    Ultra-Compact 5.9” rear chassis design - slimmer than other Eclipse models for easier mounting in small areas. This makes installation and mounting much easier compared to the larger and bulkier previous models.
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    Automatic Position Polling - Gathers other vessels position and GPS location.
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    3-Year Warranty - free replacement for broken device in the first three years of ownership.

Other Features Include:

  • DSC Test Calling, Auto DSC channel change selection
  • Seperate receiver for CH70
  • NMEA In and Output to a GPS Chart Plotter
  • Preset key used to recall up to 10 favorite channels
  • Programmable Soft Keys
  • Dimensions - 11.5 inches, 4.5 inches, 9.5 inches

Specifications:

  • Brand: Standard Horizon
  • Model: GX1300
  • Transmit Power: 25/1 Watt
  • Frequency Band: VHF
  • NMEA Inputs: GLL, GGA, GNS, RMC
  • NMEA 0183 outputs: DSC and DSE
  • Available Colors: Black and White
  • Dimensions: 11.5 x 4.5 x 9.5 inches.
  • Waterproof: IPX8, submersible 4.92 ft. (1.5m) for 30 minutes
  • Flush Mount Cutout: 2" (H) x 5.4" (W)
  • Scanning Modes: Programmable Scan, Priority Scan and Dual Watch Weather
  • Type: Mounted In-Boat Marine Radio
  • Current Draw: 5A/0.5A
  • Display Type: Backlit dot matrix display
  • Controls: Backlit keypad, squelch, volume spring loaded DSC distress cover
  • Channel Selection: Front panel keys


Final Thoughts:

Just because its small, doesn’t mean it’s weak. From the top makers of marine radios for both commercial marine business and recreational boaters, the Standard Horizon GX1300 is an easy-to-install and operate VHF radio, one of the best choices if you’re looking for a low cost but full-featured Marine VHF radio. Accidents can happen anytime so don’t risk your life! Equip your boat with a life-saving marine radio such as the Standard Horizon GX1300.

Standard Horizon GX1700 Review – Explorer GPS VHF Marine Radio

Standard Horizon GX1700W marine radio
Standard Horizon GX1700W marine radio

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

fixed mount radio with gps

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!

Standard horizon gx1700 black vhf marine radio

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.

Standard Horizon CMP31W 2

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.

GX1700 display with gps

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.

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 is a sleek 25-Watt Fixed Mount VHF radio with full DSC capability, a rugged non-slip front microphone, and instant Channel 16/9 keys. From the brand that makes great commercial marine electronics, the Uniden UM380 stands out in their current lineup. Considered a great improvement from the previous Uniden models, the UM380 boasts clear audio and extended range. It has loads of useful and intuitive features that easily makes it our top choice for a VHF fixed mount radio.

Worried about signal problems? With UM380 you can reach a wide range of local and international channels. Best for off-shore communications, it has a reliable connection to all Global, US, and Canadian marine channels.

Designed for recreational vessels, the Uniden UM380 features a class D equipment grade and its own distress button during times of emergency. Unlike other marine radios that are equipped with a fixed transmission power, the Uniden UM380’s transmission can be changed from 1 to 25 watts.

It’s one of the most durable low-cost marine radio available in the market today. The Uniden UM380 is manufactured in Japan where all the materials used are at the highest level of quality and performance. The Uniden UM380 is the best choice if you’re looking for a long-lasting, affordable VHF radio for your boating needs.

Main Features

What makes Uniden UM380 special? Here are some of the best features of this radio.

  • Rugged Non-Slip Front Microphone - The UM380 features a high-tech microphone made from a non-slip rubberized material for easy to grip and use. It also minimizes the mechanical surface vibration allowing clear and smooth voice transmission.
  • DSC capability - allows the user to send radio message to other vessels in order to note their position and communicate with other crafts nearby. This feature also allows users to press a distress button (red emergency button) to call for help during an emergency.
  • NOAA Emergency Weather Alert - gives up-to-date weather information and alerts you to incoming dangerous weather and hazards. Accidents can happen anytime, so make sure you’re always prepared. This channel is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
  • Channel Names - Assign new names to all your marine channels for saving and remembering specific channels.
  •  Specific Area Message Encoding (S.A.M.E. ) Weather Alert - alerts you of severe conditions in your immediate area. It’s the protocol used to encode the NOAA and EAS in US and Canada.
  • JIS4- Water- Resistance Specification - includes a splash proof radio housing to protect the device from water damage. Don’t confuse water-resistant with waterproof though, the UM380 is not submersible so don’t drop your device overboard!
  • Class D VHF Radio - standard class for recreational boaters. Required capabilities include all-ships call, distress call, individual station call, distress coordinates, distress acknowledgment, geographical area call, etc.
  • Orange Backlit Text Display - Easy-to-see large LCD text display with a backlit design. Great for dark and stormy situations where low light can affect visuals.
  • Triple Watch Feature - Never miss a transmission. With Uniden UM380’s triple watch feature, you can monitor up to three channels at once. This allows you to monitor the weather alert channels while keeping up with marine news from other channels.

Other Features

  • Hi/Lo Power Switch
  • Memory Channel Scan
  • Save Scanned Channels
  • Channel Names
  • NMEA input/output
  • Large Full Dot Matrix Display
  • LCD Contrast Control
  • Compact Case Depth
UNIDEN vhf marine radio

Available on Amazon.com

Specifications

  • Brand: Uniden
  • Model: UM380
  • Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Waterproof Rating: IPX4
  • NMEA Interface: NMEA 0183
  • Display Type: Backlit dot-matrix LCD
  • Channel Selection: Up/down buttons
  • Type: CB Radio
  • Frequency Band: VHF
  • Scanning Modes: Programmable, Dual- and Triple-watch
  • Receiver Spec: Sensitivity 0.27 uV
  • Rejection: 70 DB
  • Warranty: 1-year Limited Warranty

Final Thoughts:

Despite falling short in waterproof rating and transmission range compared to other VHF radios, the Uniden UM388 features an amazing GPS and DSC capability which ensures your safety wherever you are in the sea under the most extreme weather conditions! It’s a compact, sleek, and convenient marine radio for recreational boaters and fishermen. Our verdict? The UM380 is more than just a radio, it is a life-saving tool every marine vessel should have on-board that can be acquired for a very reasonable price.