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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
So what do you get with this radio and why we think this is a good value?
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.
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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What makes Uniden UM380 special? Here are some of the best features of this radio.
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.