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a couple of months ago

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

ICOM M605 is the new flagship VHF fixed mount radio in the Icom line up. This is a fully featured high end radio that allows a lot of flexibility connecting additional devices. You will find a powerful commercial grade class D DSC receiver (more about it later), integrated GNSS receiver (GPS, Glonass and SBAS), beautiful 4.3" color LCD display with night mode, built in AIS, 30W 2-way Hailer with Horn function, NMEA 2000 backward compatible with NMEA 0183 and ability to connect up to three controllers! As I said, this radio has pretty much every feature you may wish for. Let's review some of those features. You can see our top three picks for fixed mount marine radios here.

4.3" Color LCD Display - First in its class!

ICOM M605 is the first VHF fixed mount radio with a color LCD. DOT matrix displays are nice, but after you look at this 4.3" display with wide viewing angles, it will be hard for you to go back to other radios, they will feel outdated. ICOM included NIGHT MODE for operation at night which changes background to dark background and displays text and icons in dark red. This color LCD can finally display nice graphics, making navigation through menu more intuitive.

Icom m605 color display

Connect up to 3 Controller Devices

If you have a larger boat, you may want to have additional controllers that can control ALL functions on ICOM m605 VHF radio. ICOM M605 can be connected to 3 external controllers. You can use RC-M600 (works ups to 50m away) with its beautiful display or connect a more portable HM-195 handheld controller (works up to 18.3m away). Put one on flybridge and another in office corner or sleeping area, and you will always have communication by you. Intercom function is included so you can use it to talk between external controllers and the main unit.

ICOM RC-M600

ICOM HM-195 - check on AMAZON.com

Integrated AIS receiver

As we previously covered in our ICOM M506 review, AIS is a must have when you navigate through heavy traffic areas. The AIS plotter screen will display nearby vessels, and you could also choose a target on this display and call them directly using DSC without having to enter MMSI code (requires AIS transponder).

Integrated GNSS Receiver

ICOM M605 has the latest GNSS receiver which works with included UX-241 antenna. You no longer have to get an external GPS device to fully take advantage of AIS and DSC functions.

Some of the additional features include:

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    4.3" Color LCD​​​
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    25W or 1W of output power
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    Class D DSC receiver 
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    Hailer with 30W power
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    Horn and Foghorn
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    Weather channel with weather alerts
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    Dual Watch/Tri-watch
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    Adjustable backlight
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    AquaQuake water draining
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    Intercom function
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    Voice auto recorder - last 120 seconds
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    Active noise cancelling
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    IPX8
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    274 (W) × 114 (H) × 121.5 (D) mm

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 screen
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    Excellent audio quality
  • plus
    Compact
  • minus
    Expensive, yet nobody else makes such a beautiful display

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 radio: 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 brand 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 standard 810 specifications. 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 Corp.

ICOM M424 Main Features:

  • 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 function calls such as distress, safety, urgency, position request, 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 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 the output for better audio and transmission. Useful feature for rainy days.

  • Weather Channels and Alert Function - Keeps you informed, alert and safe during emergency weather and hazard situations.

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 radio, but it can also 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. It also has a more modern look with its backlit keys.

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 device with GPS and modern built 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
Uniden UM415 vhf radio review

Available in black and white body

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

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 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. You can also find our top three fixed mount radios here.

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
  • plus
    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

The Standard Horizon GX1700W GPS VHF Marine Radio is a higher end fixed mount radio with many features. The features include a 12 channel GPS, DSC calling, navigation, and a compact size with only 3.5in. depth making installation in tight places very easy. Over 100 waypoints can also be stored in the radio. This is an ideal radio for the serious boater who wants a high end radio with plenty of features in a small package. Please note that this radio does need an antenna; which is sold separately.

Let's take a look at some of the main features of this radio.

Ultra Thin and Compact Rear Case Design:

This radio has a beautiful, bright easy to read display with plenty of information on it. But you should also know that the depth of this radio is only 3.5".

Built in GPS:

Not only this fixed mount radio has a built in GPS but the GPS antenna is located at the front panel, allowing you to use brackets or flush mount and not worry about covering GPS antenna. You may also connect external GPS antenna using NMEA 0183 output.

fixed mount radio with gps

GPS Compass:

One of the benefits of having a higher end marine radio is the ability to save waypoints and navigate to them using GPS compass. Standard Horizon GX1700 can save up to 100 waypoints. Built in display allows you to select COMPASS, WAYPOINT or GPS STATUS from the menu.

GX1700 display with gps

Class D DSC:

GX1700 and GX1600 have VHF/FM marine transceivers are capable of ITU 493-13 DSC Class D operation. What does it mean? This means that you can continuously receive DSC functions  (digital selective calling) on channel 70 even if you are are on another call. Why would you need a DSC? It allows you no send/receive distress, urgency, safety, position info and routine to and from other vessels equipped with a DSC transceiver.

Noise Reduction:

There is a lot of background noise on a boat - engine, wind, etc. GX1700 features a built in noise reduction technology - Clear Voice Noise Reduction, which helps eliminate those unwanted background noises. 

Some of the features include:

  • Integrated 12 Channel WAAS GPS receiver
  • 25 Watts
  • GPS antenna built-in to the front panel allows reception when bracket or flush mounted
  • Ultra thin and compact rear case design (3.5” depth)
  • Meets ITU-R M493-13 Class D DSC (Digital Selective Calling)
  • Automatically poll the GPS position of up to 4 ships using DSC
  • Programmable Scan, Priority Scan, and Dual Watch
  • Submersible JIS-8 1.5M (4.92Ft) for 30 minutes
  • Oversized display with customizable channel names
  • Capable of connecting to a Second Station RAM3+ Remote Access Microphone
  • Intercom between radio and Second Station RAM3+ Remote Access Microphone
  • 3 Year Waterproof Warranty
  • Dimensions - 5.9 inches, 3.4 inches, 3.6 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.

  • 4.3 out of 5 Stars
  • 77 Total Customer reviews
  • 81% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
  • Large Easy to Read Display that is bright
  • DSS with GPS built in is great
  • Very well made
  • Some people has expirenced issues with the radio not working after getting wet
  • Without the seperate antenna the radio has zero range

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.