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ICOM M605 Review – New Premium Class VHF Marine Radio

ICOM M605 review
ICOM M605 review
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ICOM M605 is the new flagship VHF fixed mount radio in the Icon 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look at this 4.3" display with wide viewing angles, it will be hard for you to go back to other radios, they will feel outdated.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. 

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
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    Compact
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    Expensive, yet nobody else makes such a beautiful display
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August 20, 2017

Uniden MHS235 Review

Uniden MHS235 VHF marine radio
Uniden MHS235 VHF marine radio

Uniden MHS235 is a top of the line VHF marine radio from UNIDEN. Uniden is quite famous for making two way radios, and this model is specifically designed for marine use. This well made rugged case is JIS8 rated - meaning that it is usable for continuous submersion in water under specified pressure ( 5ft for 1 hour without damaging the radio). 

As you would expect from a high end radio, there is a GPS receiver with built in DSC function as well as GPS compass. Once you press the red distress button, an emergency signal with your coordinates will be transmitted every few minutes until you receive a response. Let's say you are thrown off the board or your boat sunk, UNIDEN MHS235 will be floating and sending signal - life saving feature!! 

Transmitter power select lets you choose from 3 power modes - 1W, 2.5W or full power 6W. This UNIDEN marine radio has dual and triple power watch - simultaneously monitor weather channel and 2 Coast Guard Distress/Hailing channels. All NOAA channels  will get you weather alerts, also extremely useful when you are out on the water.

Something that we don't see so often is the temperature measuring tool that lets you measure water and air temperature. ​There is a also a built in SOS function - this Uniden vhf marine radio will be flashing built in LED light in SOS pattern. 

The display on UNIDEN MHS235  has a backlit and can be reversed, meaning you can switch between light background and dark background. You can also pull up built in compass on it.

Overall, this is a great radio that you can find on sale for under $200. Check current price and reviews HERE.

Some of the features include:

  • 6 watt VHF Select between 1, 2.5, and 6 Watts
  • All NOAA weather channels
  • USA/Internationa/Canada Channels
  • Submersiable to 5ft for 1 hour
  • DSC with GPS
  • GPS compass
  • Compass
  • Instant Channel 16/9
  • Tri-Watch
  • Floats
  • Water and air temperature measuring
  • Glow in the dark with key lock
  • Limited 3 Year Warranty
  • Dimensions - 2 x 2 x 2 inches

But what do actual users say about this radio? Are they actually happy with their purchase? Let’s find out the pros, cons and what reviewers are saying about this radio. Below are the most common pros and cons that people have stated in their reviews on Amazon.

  • 4.1 out of 5 Stars
  • 538 Total Customer reviews
  • 60% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
  • High end features
  • Excellent Unit For the Price
  • Extra safety features like Glowing and SOS flash signal
  • Comes only with a 12V car/cigarette  charger
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ICOM IC-M424G Review – Compact Marine VHF Radio with Hailer

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

The ICOM IC-M424G is a compact fixed mount marine VHF radio for boaters who want all the high end features in a compact package. Large backlit LCD with intuitive interface makes it easy to read important messages on the screen as well as navigate through the menu. Active noise cancelling and bidirectional microphone is able to filter up to 90% of unwanted background noise. Integrated GPS receiver shows your current location and can be used making DSC calls.

Some of the features include:

  • All USA, International, and Canada Channels
  • All NOAA weather channels
  • IPX7 Submersible Protection to 1m for 30 minutes
  • NMEA Interface for GPS/NAV
  • Active noise cancelling
  • Built-in class D DSC
  • 10W loud audio with public address and foghorn
  • 1 / 25 Watt Switchable
  • Backlit Easy to Read LCD Display
  • Limited 3 Year Warranty
  • Dimensions - 7.09 x 3.22 x 4.72 in.

What do actual users say about this radio? Are they actully happy with their purchase? Lets find out the pros, cons and what reviwers are saying about this radio. Below are the most common pros and cons that people have stated in their reviews on Amazon.

  • 4.8 out of 5 Stars
  • 5 Total Customer reviews
  • 80% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
  • Large Easy to Read Display
  • Reliable
  • Great sound quality 
  • Prime Shipping Eligible
  • No rubber gasket for panel mounting in the package
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If you have bought or used this radio please feel free to leave a comment with your expirence below to help others who may have questions.

Standard Horizon GX2200 Vhf Radio Review

Standard Horizon GX2200 vhf two way marine radio

First launched in 2014, Matrix GX2200 is a fixed-mount VHF radio filled with useful features and an intuitive layout to help insure a safe and secure boating experience. It is one of the first-ever VHF radios to include receivers both for AIS and GPS. The Standard Horizon Matrix Series GX2200 is designed for use in USA, International, and Canadian regions. Its basic features include position sharing, waypoint navigation, DSC calling, and AIS and AIS SART target. The GX2200 has a switchable RF output power of 1-25 watts and can be used with 11-16 VDC. It’s also capable of entering and saving up to a hundred waypoints - all navigable using the device’s navigation compass display. The GX2200 is an all-in-one device complete with all the basic features and practical design. It is created with a 66-channel integrated GPS antenna integrated into its front panel and a built-in duplexer that enables the device to just have one antenna for AIS and VHF. It’s convenient, compact, and perfect for daily use.

Main Features

Easy to Use and Comes in a Compact Size ​​- When looking for a great marine radio, the first thing you have to consider is the size of the device and if it’s easy to control and operate. The Standard Horizon Matrix GX2200 is the appropriate size for a fixed VHF radio. It can fit anywhere easily - perfect when you have a smaller boat and don’t have much room to mount your radio.

ClearVoice noise canceling microphone and speaker​​​​ ​​- Wind elements that can interrupt transmission will be reduced with Standard Horizon Matrix GX2200’s ClearVoice tech feature. It will result in better communication and faster search and rescue operations.

Collision and Avoidance Alarms - Shows your ship’s position and alerts all AIS ships approaching too close to your location. A great life saving tool that helps ships avoid disastrous collisions.

30-Watt Waterproof Speaker - The Standard Horizon Matrix GX2200 boasts of its powerful and durable handy mic and speaker that can survive up to 30 minutes being submerged in the water. The mic is also fixed with channel switches and for a direct Channel 16 switch.

Class D DSC - The Standard Horizon Matrix GX2200 is equipped with a Class D DSC transmitter which enables ships to communicate easily using their MMSI. With this feature, you can contact other registered MMSI vessels within your range.

Integrated 66 Channel WAAS GPS antenna - features a 66 channel WAAS GPS antenna fixed in the front panel of the fixed radio for easy DSC and AIS functioning.

AIS (Automatic Identification System) - Technology that allows the ship to have access to static and dynamic data of other ships in its range.

standard horizon gx2200 display

30 Watt Audio Amplifier - The device includes a programmed listen back feature and fog signal generator so that you can hear your last selected channel despite environmental disturbances.

Integrated GPS Feature - This allows the device to save up to a hundred waypoints making navigating easier and quicker.

NOAA Weather Alert - Helps you prepare during the worst weather conditions. Standard Horizon’s NOAA weather alert keeps you informed whenever a weather warning is issued.

Multi-Channel Monitoring (Dual Watch) - Monitor multiple channels at the same time. With this feature, you have access to emergency channels 9 and 16 as often as you need.

RAM3 Seconds Station Control - The Standard Horizon Matrix GX2200 allows you to remotely control another VHF device at a second station. This also allows communication between two radios. Perfect for contacting your cruising or fishing buddies out in the sea.

RAM3 is available to purchase from Amazon.


Other Features:

  • 80dB Commercial grade receiver
  • GPS Compass Display
  • AIS/AIS SART target Display
  • Navigation information (SOG, COG, Time, LAT/LON)
  • Programmable Scan
  • Priority Scan
  • High and Low Voltage Warning
  • E20 (Easy-To-Operate) system
  • 4800/38400 NMEA baud rate selection
  • Waterproof, Submersible IPX7 (3.3 feet for 30 minutes!)
  •  Die-cast chassis
  •  Quick channel select button
  • User-changeable channel names
  • Local/Distance attenuator
  • Voice Scrambler (optional)
  • Programmable CPA and TCPA collision avoidance alarms

Specifications

  • Dimensions : 7 1/8"W x 3 3/16"H x 6 5/16"D
  • Display Type: Backlit Alphanumeric LCD
  • Mic Controls: 16/9 key, channel switching
  • Weather Alert: Yes
  • Microphone Controls
  • Transmit Power: 25/1 Watt
  • Amperage 0.5 Amps (Standby)
  • 5 Amps (Transmit)
  • NMEA 0183 Input: GGA, GGL, RMC, GLL, GSA, GSV
  • NMEA 0183 Output: DSC, VDM, and DSE
  • Colors: Black or White
  • Warranty: Three years

Included with Purchase:

  • GX2200 Transceiver
  • DSC Warning Sticker
  • Flush Mount Template
  • Mounting Bracket
  • Power Cord
  • Owner’s Manual

Closing Thoughts and Suggestion

A marine radio should have all the basic features to enable easy and reliable communication on open waters. The Standard Horizon GX2200 is complete with all the basic features and extra functionalities for a secure fishing or boating trip. No matter if you’re a recreational boater, fisherman, or sailor, we highly recommend this fixed mount marine radio to help ensure your boating trips are safer.

ICOM IC-M506 Review – Fixed Mount VHF Radio with NMEA 2000 and AIS

Icom IC-M506 Marine radio
Icom IC-M506 Marine radio

 Just like the Standard Horizon GX2200, this is a full featured VHF two way marine radio with integrated AIS receiver and NMEA 2000 connectivity. Large 3.4" LCD display is great for viewing AIS vessel traffic information, GPS and radio menus. The radio has the NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 network connectivity. Voice communications are top notch with the help of active noise cancelling and you also have the ability to record last 2 minutes of incoming communications.

ICOM M506 has received the NMEA Best VHF Marine Radio Product Award 3 years in a row 2014-2016. You can find our top 3 fixed mount radios here.

Let's Look At The Major Reasons To Get This Radio vs One Of It's Cheaper Alternatives.

Integrated AIS Receiver

First, let's ask the question - what is AIS? AIS is an Automatic Identification System used on boats and ships that transmits position, speed and navigational status via VHF transmitter. It helps to navigate through heavy traffic areas and shows traffic information on the display.

There are 3 display options when you use AIS receiver: Plotter display, Target list and Danger list. Use Plotter display to visually see nearby vessels; Target list shows number of targets and target information (range and bearing); Danger list displays potentially dangerous targets (MMSI - code or name of vessel, CPA - closest point of approach and TCPS - time getting to CPA). 

icon m506 AIS function

25W Two-Way Hailer

ICOM M506 can be connected to an external hailer horn. What does it do? It allows you to talk to people on deck, bridge or even shore if you are not too far away and listen back via the hailer speaker. Built in 25W amplifier is pretty powerful and produces nice clear audio. Some people find this a very useful function, especially if you have a larger boat with closed cabin etc.

ICOM M506 also has built in HORN with four automatic function: UNDERWAY, STOP, SAIL and TOW. 

ICOM M506 vs STANDARD HORIZON GX2200

Icom IC-M506 Marine radio
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    25W and 1W RF output power
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    AIS
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    NMEA 2000
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    25W Hailer
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    Horn
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    NO GPS (only external)
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    Class D DSC (meets ITU-R M493-13)
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    15W audio output
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    Last Call Function
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    AquaQuake
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    IPX8
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    W7" x H4.5" x D4.5"
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    25W and 1W RF output power
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    AIS
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    NMEA 0183
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    30W Hailer
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    Horn
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    66 Channel GPS
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    Class D DSC (meets ITU-R M493-13)
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    4.5W audio output
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    Last Call Function (NOT AVAILABLE)
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    AquaQuake (NOT AVAILABLE)
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    IPX7
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    W7.1" x H3.1" x D6.3"

Some of the features include:

  • Integrated AIS Receiver with Plotter, Target list and Danger list.
  • NMEA 2000 Connectivity plug-and-play plus NMEA 0183 GPS data conversion
  • Last Call Voice Recording 
  • Active Noise Cancelling
  • 25 Watt Two-Way Hailer
  • Built-in Horn (4 horn patters)
  • Built-in DSC with Class D receiver
  • IPX8 Submersible (up to 60 minutes underwater, 1m)
  • 15Watt audio output
  • Weather channels with alerts
  • AquaQuake water draining
  • 3 year waterproof factory 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.

  • 5 out of 5 Stars
  • Total Customer reviews
  • 100% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
  • Large Easy to Read Display
  • AIS functionality 
  • User friendly menu
 
  • GPS support only over NMEA 0183 interface
 
Read about marine radios

ICOM IC-M324G 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
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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 
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Standard Horizon GX1300W Eclipse GX1300B Fixed Mount VHF Radio (White)

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.

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Standard Horizon HX870 Floating 6W Handheld VHF with Internal GPS

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

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

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

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


Design:

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

Performance and Battery Power:

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

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

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

Built in GPS:

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

HX870 built in GPS receiver

Navigation: 

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

In case of emergency:

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

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

submersible marine two way radio

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

Final verdict

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

Some of the features include:

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

But what do actual users say about this radio? Are they actually happy with their purchase? Let’s find out the pros, cons and what reviewers are saying about this radio. Below are the most common pros and cons that people have stated in their reviews on Amazon.

  • 4.4 out of 5 Stars
  • 162 Total Customer reviews
  • 71% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
  • Large Display
  • High End Marine Radio For Serious Boaters
  • Reliable
  • Waterproof
  • White LED Illumination is not great
  • Rather Large
  • Higher cost
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If you have bought or used this radio please feel free to leave a comment with your experience below to help others who may have questions.


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
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If you have bought or used this radio please feel free to leave a comment with your experience below to help others who may have questions.

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.

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If you have bought or used this radio please feel free to leave a comment with your experience below to help others who may have questions.