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a couple of months ago

Standard Horizon GX6000 Commercial Grade VHF Marine Radio Review

Standard Horizon GX6000 Review
Standard Horizon GX6000 Review

If you want to get the finest marine electronics, Standard Horizon is a brand you can trust building both fixed mount and hand held VHF radios. With over 50 years of skin in the game, Standard Horizon has a reputation for creating marine electronics that boaters need. The manufacturer boasts of coming up with innovative technologies that are capable of withstanding the marine life not to mention reliable AIS and GPS technologies.

For that reason, we checked out the Standard Horizon GX6000 which proved to be an easy to operate commercial grade fixed mount marine radio with a 25 w VHF transmitter. It boasts of a built-in 80dB receiver that works well to reduce overload or external interference for clarity and quality performance.

GX6000 Specifications:

  • Programmable CPA and TCPA collision avoidance alarms
  • Integrated AIS receiver
  • Advanced 80 dB commercial grade distance attenuator
  • Front panel microphone
  • Intuitive menu design
  • GPS compass with a GPS and Waypoint status pages
  • Compatible with  NMEA2000 and NMEA0183
  • Push to enter rotary channel knob
  • 32 code (FVP-42) and 4 code (CVS2500A) voice scramblers
  • Waterproof design with a 3-year warranty
standard horizon gx6000 side view

Features of the GX6000:


The Standard Horizon GX6000 is feature rich. It delivers the long-awaited combination of a Class B AIS with a VHF transceiver that makes up a critical marine communication system.  At its price range, the Standard Horizon GX6000 is practically a steal considering the fact that it is an advanced 80dB commercial grade fixed mount marine radio with a dual zone 25 W hailer. The hailer is programmable which means it can be used for sending out signals and listening back. 

Different stations:

standard horizon gx6000 front panel

One of its best features is the fact that it supports up to 4 cordless RAM 4W remote mics from a maximum distance of 65 feet from the antenna. Basically, you can use the Standard Horizon GX6000 to set up different stations while having all of them get full control of the AIS display as well as the base. 

Power consumption:

When it comes to power, the onboard 1800 Ah-Li-ion battery can power the Standard Horizon GX6000 for up to 14 hours which is a remarkable amount of time considering what you get with options from other companies.  In fact, the Standard Horizon GX6000 comes with a water activated emergency strobe light that is common on handheld VHF marine radios. This feature is easily programmable for quick access whenever there is trouble.

Sending alerts:

The built-in AIS receiver is another innovative feature of this VHF marine radio. Through the receiver, you can directly contact an AIS ship to show your vessels locations in relation to the AIS target. You can use the AIS receiver to send alerts with the name of your boat, the MMSI number, call sign, the BRG, SOG, and COG information.

Voice scrambler:

The Standard Horizon GX6000 also comes with an integrated voice scrambler that comes in handy when you need to have private communications. It’s a 32 code scrambler that you can use to select a channel to scramble with an extra code between the receiver and the transmitter to establish a secure communication channel. The voice scrambler is compatible with all standard horizon 4 code scramblers.

PA or Hailer:

The 25W loud hailer on the Standard Horizon GX6000 is another feature that proves to be quite useful for most boaters as it helps broadcast your voice to line handlers or any other person on the doc.

Overall, the Standard Horizon GX6000 is an easy to use plug and play device that can help increase the safety level of your boat. It has an integrated voice recorder that can play back up to two minutes of received audio.  With a dimension of 13.4 x 8.9 x 9.9 inches and a weight of only 6.9 pounds, this fixed mount VHF marine radio is one of the most intuitive and functional devices for boaters.

GX6000 vs GX 1700W

If you are on a tight budget the Standard Horizon GX1700W marine VHS radio can be a good option as well. Apart from being cheaper than the GX6000, it also features a 3 inch LCD display, 25 W transmitting power and a programmable dual watch and priority scan. In fact, things get much easier with the GX1700W as you won’t need to think about wiring the radio to a GPS. 

Standard Horizon GX1700B Standard Explorer GPS VHF Marine Radio - Black

 Basically, this fixed mount marine radio comes with a DSC calling ready design that you can use to share your vessels positions right out of the box. You also get a rear case with this device that can come in handy when flush mounting the radio in right areas.  Similar to the GX6000 the GX1700W comes with programmable soft keys not to mention a capacity for connecting it to the second station with a RAM3 remote. However, you cannot connect it with up to 4 wireless remotes as is the case with the GX6000. 


  • Easy to operate
  • Waterproof design
  • Features a loud hailer
  • Reliable performance


  • Slightly expensive but worth it.

Final thoughts:

There is no denying that the Standard Horizon GX 6000 is a glimpse into the future of VHF marine radios. This device is full of useful features that are still futuristic 2 years after the introduction of the GX 6000 and the GX 6500 to the market. Prior to their introduction into the VHF marine radio industry, most boaters had a lot of expectations on their performance, price, and utility. Now, the GX6000 boasts of being one of the most popular commercial grade fixed mount VHF radios out there.

However, if you are looking for something on a budget, Standard Horizon is full of many alternatives. According to our research, we identified the GX1700 as one of the best alternatives that Standard Horizon has to offer. It comes with the same output power and is built with a compact design that is easy to use and mount just about anywhere in your boat. 

a couple of months ago

ICOM M330G Fixed Mount VHF Marine Radio Review

icom m330g vhf radio review
icom m330g vhf radio review

With over 70 years of skin in the game, ICOM has established itself as the go-to brand for those looking for top performing VHF marine radios. Although ICOM is an American company, it traces its roots back in Japan where it was founded by Tokuzo Inoue who was a renowned radio engineer at the time.

ICOM has a long-standing history of creating compact state of the art radio equipment that has been useful in the radio industry for quite some time. Over the years, the company has been one of the largest producers of advanced gear in the western hemisphere including the Pacific as well as the U.S territories.

We had to pick the ICOM M330G as one of ICOMs best-fixed mount marine radios to demonstrate how ICOM is the go-to brand for boat owners looking to improve safety. Simply put, the ICOM M330G is a must have for anyone seeking an adventure at sea, ocean or lake. It is packed with a 25 W transmitter, with 70 channels not to mention an IPX7 waterproof rating for durability.

ICOM M330G Specifications:

  • 1Amps standby amperage and 5 amps transmit amperage
  • White and black color options
  • A dimension of 6.2-by-2.6-by-4.3 inches
  • IPX7 waterproof rating
  • 25W output power
  • ± 5 KHz maximum frequency deviation
  • GPS antenna included
  • Requires a 13.8v DC power supply
  • 50Ω (SO-239) antenna impedance
  • Weighs 1.6lbs


Undeniably, one of the best ways to improve safety while boating is to install a fixed mount VHF radio. Not only are they reliable for communicating with the coast guard and other boaters, but these simple devices can also get you out of a tough situation in no time. With the ICOM M330G, you get a compact fixed mount VHF radio from a reliable manufacturer and a variety of features that guarantee top performance.

Easy to use:

To begin with, the ICOM M330G comes with a flush mount kit, a microphone and an AIS receiver that is easy to install. The menu soft key operations on the ICOM M330G are also easy to navigate. The large backlit dot matrix LCD display adds up to the intuitive design of this marine VHF radio. When it comes to installation, the manual is pretty straightforward and you also get a GPS external puck antenna that delivers improved accuracy and signaling range.


With a 25W power output, the ICOM M330G can transmit from a range of 5 to 25 miles if you couple it up with a powerful antenna. The GPS receiver delivers accurate performance thanks to the small and compact GPS puck antenna. It uses information from your GPS with the DSC (digital selective calling) for even more accurate functionality. Furthermore, it comes with a full function remote that allows you to access all the functions of the radio from the cockpit or flybridge.  


Don’t let the compact 6.2-by-2.6-by-4.3 inch size of this marine VHF radio fool you. This is a fixed mount marine VHF radio that is easy to install yet packing all the right features that make it the best in class fixed mount marine radio.

Color options:

You can pick between the white and black color option for your boat. There is also an option to pick between one with or without GPS.


With an IPX7 waterproof rating, you can expect the ICOM M330G to withstand some rough marine conditions. This VHF marine radio is designed to last many years even when being used everyday on the water.

M330 vs M424G

ICOM has a variety of VHF marine radios and the quality of the M330 can only be compared to that of the M424G and for a good reason. Even though the two devices share a variety of similarities including the waterproof rating, the output power capacity and the built-in GPA antenna, the M424 G comes with some notable improvements.

First of all, it features a built-in noise cancellation feature that reduces background noise by up to 90 percent. This is a great feature for improving the quality of your voice for outgoing transmissions as well as for improving your incoming transmissions. 

Just like the M330, the M424G has an intuitive user interface with a rotary selector that gives you quick and easy access to all the functions on the device.  The M424G, however, goes a bit further and adds a backlit LCD laser cut keypad for a more modern design. 

ICOM IC-M424G 21 Compact Marine VHF Radio, with Hailer, in Black


  • easy to install
  • intuitive AIS display
  • comes with a microphone 
  • features a GPS antenna
  • waterproof
  • compact size
  • up to 16 channels available


  • only two color options

Final thoughts:

Granted the M330 does not give a lot of variety to choose from when it comes to color options for your boat. Even then, most boaters will agree that the two options available work just fine no matter the color and design of your boat. After all, a fixed mount marine VHF radio has more to offer in terms of functionality as opposed to its color and the ICOM M330 is certainly packed with enough features.

The GPS antenna works well not just for transmissions, but also for communicating your exact location to other nearby boaters or the coast guard from far away. However, if you want a fixed mount VHF marine radio with an improved modern design, the M424G would be a solid choice. Yes, it is a bit expensive but it still falls closely within same price range as the M330. 

a few months ago

Standard Horizon HX890 Handheld VHF Radio Review

standard horizon hx890 vhf marine radio_1
standard horizon hx890 vhf marine radio_1

It isn’t often that you find a big-name manufacturer listening to their customers. What’s even rarer is a big-name manufacturer designing their new product to fix flaws pointed out by the users of their previous model. However, that is exactly what Standard Horizon has done with the HX890. They paid attention to what people had to say about their previous handheld marine radio model, the HX870 to fix all issues on their latest model i.e. Standard Horizon HX890 handheld (Very High Frequency) radio.

This, itself, would be astounding but the company’s latest handheld VHF radio is an outstanding piece of equipment. It not only shares all the qualities and feature of the earlier HX870 handheld marine radio but adds to them with some great benefits and features of its own. The Standard Horizon HX890 is going to be a bigger hit than the HX870 and there’s no stopping it. Here’s our review. 

About Standard Horizon

Standard Horizon is a brand owned by a Japanese company that traces its roots back to 1959. The company, called Yaesu Musen Co. Ltd. was established by Sako Hasegawa, an amateur radio enthusiast. Initially, the company focused on the Japanese market but when they clinched some government contracts in other countries, they ended up going international.

Standard Horizon hasn’t looked back since and has been a major name in VHF marine radios for a long time now. They manufacture both fixed mount and handheld VHF radios which means that users can have a set of both for their boats.

Why is the Standard Horizon HX890 Special?

The Standard Horizon HX890 handheld VHF radio represents a quality rarely seen in manufacturers – listening to customers’ concerns and complaints. As mentioned earlier, the HX890 is designed to be an improvement on the Standard Horizon HX870. Such is its quality that if you want a well-designed waterproof but floating handheld VHF radio that boasts of good battery life, inbuilt GPS, DSC capability, and a large screen, then you can't ignore the HX890.

This handheld marine radio comes with a 1800 mAh Li-ion battery that can manage up to 11 hours of constant use. If you don’t turn it on or only use it intermittently, you can probably get it to last up to five times as long.

Even if you look beyond battery life, you'll find the Standard Horizon HX890 to be a well-built and well-designed handheld VHF marine radio. In fact, its housing and construction meets MIL-STD-810F military standard. This makes the HX890 very sturdy and reliable in even physically demanding situations.

Floating Body Design

Moreover, it is a submersible handheld VHF radio with a rating of IPX8. This means that it can remain functional up to 1.5 meters underwater for a minimum of 30 minutes. Also, the die-cast chassis used in this device is also buoyant which allows the device to float on water.

standard horizon hx890 vhf marine radio_4

Not only does it float but it also becomes visible in water. As soon as it comes in contact with water, a white strobe light comes on. Therefore, if you drop this handheld marine radio overboard or even go overboard with it, you won’t have any trouble finding it as the device will float with the light turned on. 

Built in DSC and GPS

The Standard Horizon HX890 has GPS compatibility as well as Digital Selecting Calling (DSC) capability. These two features are very useful in emergency situations as they allow the device to send relevant identification and position data to rescue authorities. The two features are made possible by the presence of the 66-channel WAAS GPS receiver. The same receiver allows for waypoint functionality and navigation as well. 

Huge Display

The display screen on this handheld VHF marine radio is one of the largest in its market segment. Spanning 1.7” x 1.7” (2.3” diagonal), the large screen ensures that you don’t miss key details even if you're in a hurry. The interface behind the screen is intuitive and very user friendly especially combined with its soft-touch keys.

The screen even has two modes – day and night. In the night mode, the screen darkens and the text becomes red preventing glare from affecting your vision over the water. 

standard horizon hx890 vhf marine radio_3

The Standard Horizon HX890 offers voice scrambling too for those of you who want to keep your conversations private. In fact, it doesn’t just offer voice scrambling but offers them in two formats – the 4-code CVS2500A and the 32-code FVP-42.

Additionally, when you're not using the HX890 to communicate with people on other boats or the shore, you'll be able to entertain yourself with the help of its integrated FM Broadcast band receiver.

This handheld VHF radio offers all these features and qualities without being too cumbersome or heavy. As a matter of fact, the HX890’s dimensions fall well within the accepted industry standards. It is fairly compact, measuring only 5.32” high, 2.6” wide, and 1.5” thick. Bear in mind that these measurements don’t take the antenna and the knob into account. The device is also fairly light, coming in at only about 10.94 oz.

Color options

You can get it in two colors – black and navy blue. These aren’t the only features that the Standard Horizon HX890 possesses. They are just the most standout. Other features worth mentioning include.


  • 1W, 2W or 6W transmit power options
  • Noise Cancelling Function along with 700mW Loud Audio feature
  • Weather alerts through NOAA Weather Channels access
  • Programmable Dual Watch and Triple Watch Scanning
  • 3 Year Waterproof Warranty
  • DSC Group Position Call can be used for group monitoring
  • PC programming through the provided Micro USB Data jack

What Are the Disadvantages of the Standard Horizon HX890

There’s not a lot that is wrong with the Standard Horizon HX890. Its design is perfect and its performance flawless. However, there are some users who have faced some difficulties. At the same time, we feel that those difficulties are associated more with individual pieces than this VHF marine radio on the whole.

One problem that is more widespread is the quality of the belt clip. The belt clip that comes with this handheld VHF radio is not as sturdy and strong as it should be. It has a tendency to simply break with rigorous movements. This means that you should be careful if you're using the clip.

Standard Horizon HX890 Vs. Standard Horizon HX870: How Do They Compare?

Standard Horizon HX870 marine radio review

The HX870 is an incredibly popular handheld marine radio that was a worthy successor to the earlier model, Standard Horizon HX851. Now, it is all set to be replaced as the best in the market by the Standard Horizon HX890. The HX870 is an excellent device that does everything right except for a few flaws.

With the HX890, Standard Horizon has fixed those flaws and then added even more qualities to make it virtually irresistible. The biggest issue with the HX870 was its display screen. Users had complained that the bright white LED illumination of the screen was a hindrance in the night as it affected visibility on the water. The company fixed this problem by introducing the ‘Night Mode’ on the HX890.

Another big problem with the HX870 was that it could only be programmed with a single Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI). If you wanted to change the MMSI number, you would have to send that handheld marine radio all the way back to the service center to be fixed. This, effectively, tied a handheld VHF marine radio to a single ship.

The system on the Standard Horizon HX890 is different. It is possible for you to change the MMSI number on it by contacting the company remotely. You'll have to provide the company with your MMSI number and the ATIS code, after which they’ll give you a reset code. The MMSI number can still not be changed on the go but at least you have the option to do it yourself without sending it to the service center.

Not only is HX890 thinner than the HX870 but it is also sturdier owing to its military standard construction.

The DSC on the HX890 is more advanced than the one on HX870 as well. The HX870 handheld VHF radio boasts of a Class D DSC operation while the HX890 handheld marine radio supports Class H DSC operation.

The HX890 also boasts of newer features that were completely absent on the HX870. These include the two new scrambler systems and the FM Broadcast band receiver. You can also get the HX890 in navy blue or black while the HX870 was only available in one color.

The Standard Horizon HX890 Will Be the Next Big Thing

Here’s a prediction: the HX890 will be the next big thing, superseding the HX870 just like the latter superseded the HX851. It has all the features that any modern seafaring individual needs. In addition, it is rugged and fairly compact. In our opinion, you'll be hard-pressed to find any handheld VHF radio better than the Standard Horizon HX890.

ICOM M605 Review – New Premium Class VHF Marine Radio

ICOM M605 review
ICOM M605 review

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

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

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

Information about the Manufacturers - ICOM America

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

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

What Are the Advantages of Choosing ICOM M605

Icom m605 color display

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Disadvantages of ICOM M605 Should You Be Aware Of

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

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

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

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

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

What Is True Quality And Safety Worth To You?

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

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!! 

Uniden MHS235 Handheld Submersible 2-Way 5W Digital Selective Calling (DSC) Marine Radio - Black

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.

Some of the feature 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ICOM M424 Main Features:

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

ICOM M424 Accessories:

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

ICOM M424 vs M424G:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts:

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

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.

Standard Horizon Matrix Fixed Mount VHF w/AIS & GPS - Class D DSC - 30W - Black

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


  • 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 Suggestions:

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 21 Fixed Mount VHF with Hailer, N2K, Front Mic and AIS

When it comes to safety on the water, next to your life jacket, nothing is more important than a fixed mount Very High Frequency (VHF) marine radio. Some seasoned sailors may even say that a marine radio is more important than your life jacket because it improves the chances of a rescue. If you spend a lot of time in your boat, then it is likely that you already know all this but how do you translate this knowledge into action?

For example, do you pay special attention to the quality of your fixed mount VHF radio? Did you make sure that you have the best possible one for your boat? There are, after all, multiple options available online. The ICOM M506 is one of the better VHF marine radios out there. Why? We will go over all the reason why in this review.

About ICOM America and ICOM Incorporated

You wouldn’t buy an electronic product manufactured by a little known company located in a third world country, especially a product that your life may depend upon someday. You want only the best product manufactured by the best company. Well, ICOM is definitely one of the best.

The ICOM M506 is manufactured by ICOM America which is a subsidiary of ICOM Incorporated. ICOM Inc. is a publicly listed company in Japan that traces its roots as far back as 1954. While ICOM began with a focus on providing equipment to the amateur radio industry, they have since made a name for themselves in professional-level communication equipment suited to marine, aviation, and land based vehicles.

What Are the Advantages of Choosing the ICOM M506

icon m506 AIS function

The ICOM M506 is one of the best options within its price bracket. This fixed mount VHF radio isn't one of the best because of its exceptional technology but because it has a much more advanced feature set for the pice.

The foremost of these is water resistance. While most marine radios are built to resist water, this fixed mount marine radio does it better than all of them. The water resistance rating of the M506 is IPX8 while its competitors can, at best, only offer IPX7.

There’s even a special water resistance feature of the ICOM M506 known as the AquaQuake. The purpose of the AquaQuake feature is to drain the water out of the speakers so that its sound output doesn’t get garbled.

Speaking of sound output, this fixed mount VHF radio’s output quality and volume is the best in the industry. Its audio output of 15W puts many of its competitors to shame. High sound output is important because it makes the transmission easier to hear even in conditions like engine noise and strong winds. With a higher sound output, transmissions will always be clear and you’ll never miss any crucial information.

Another great aspect of this fixed mount marine radio is that it offers the option of establishing a second station on your boat. The second station can be established with the help of an add-on called COMMANDMIC. You can set up your second station as far as 60 feet from the main unit and it’ll give you access to all the functions too. Furthermore, it has a soft-key interface which should make it easier for you to use the device.

If you do choose this add-on as you should, you should also know that you won’t have to worry about water affecting your second station. It has a water resistance rating of IPX7, which is only a single point below the main unit. The second station will allow you to forego a backup handheld VHF radio. Handheld VHF radios tend to have less power and low resistance to water. This is why the second station option is so great on the ICOM M506.

Another unique feature that ICOM has provided in the M506 is last call recording. This functionality allows the last two minutes of your previous call being recorded automatically. However, you'll also have the option to manually record any call, if that is what you need.

This fixed mount VHF radio is also more compact than many of its competitors. It measures about 4.5 inches in depth and height, while its width is approximately 7 inches. Its smaller size means that it won’t eat up a lot of space on your helm, which should open up options for other equipment, if required.

Other features of the ICOM M506 and their respective benefits include:

  • An Integrated AIS Receiver: AIS stands for Automatic Identification System. It automatically transmits relevant information about your vessel like your position, your speed, and the direction you're moving in to others around you. The AIS receiver, on the other hand, translates incoming information about other vessels and presents it to you on a screen so you can plot your path safely and avoid collisions. The ICOM M506’s AIS receiver has three display settings – the Plotter, the Target List, and the Danger List.
  • Two-Way Hailer: This fixed mount marine radio has a 25W two-way hailer. With this hailer, you'll be able to use your external hailer horn to communicate with people on other parts of your boat or even people on the shore.
  • Active Noise Cancelling: The digital noise cancelling feature of this VHF marine radio reduces background noise by up to 90% on received signal and up to 30% on transmitted signal. This means clearer communication even in adverse conditions.
  • Built-in Horn: The ICOM M506’s built-in horn, once connected to your external hailer horn, will give you access to four automatic horn patterns. You can, of course, use it manually too.
  • Optional Scrambler: You’ll also have the option to get an add-on voice scrambler in case you want to prevent third-parties from listening in on your discussions.

What Disadvantages of the ICOM M506 Should You Be Aware Of

There isn't much wrong with the ICOM M506. It is a very solid device whose reliability ensures your safety in even extreme and adverse conditions. However, there is one flaw in the M506 that you need to consider very carefully before making the purchase decision.

This is the fact that it doesn’t have built-in GPS. This could be a deal breaker for many people because GPS or NAV ensures that your emergency or DSC calls carry your position information for rescuers to zero in on. If you don’t ensure that your VHF radio has GPS support, going to regions with minimal traffic i.e. farther from the shore could be risky.

Even so, the absence of an internal GPS module is balanced by the fact that ICOM has provided the option for an external GPS/NAV interface. So, the ICOM M506 you buy will be compatible with NMEA 2000 provided you get the latest version. Older variants will still allow external GPS module connection but only through NMEA 0183.

This is probably why certain buyers have complained that this fixed mount marine radio works with a NMEA 0183 device but doesn’t support NMEA 2000. It is also possible that these individuals have been unable to set up their device properly which is why they're facing this problem. The company clearly advertises that the ICOM M506 supports NMEA 2000. We doubt they’d do that and risk lawsuits if the device didn’t support NMEA 2000.

Comparing the ICOM M506 to the Standard Horizon GX2200

Standard Horizon GX2200W 30 Watt Class D Matrix Fixed Mount VHF (White)

The direct competitor of the ICOM M506 is the Standard Horizon GX2200. Many people may be tempted to choose the Standard Horizon GX2200 simply because of its lower price bracket. However, when it comes to a VHF marine radio, the phrase “you get what you pay for” really does apply.

The slightly reduced price of the Standard Horizon GX2200 is a result of the absence of some key features. The foremost of these is the NMEA compatibility. The Standard Horizon GX2200 offers NMEA 0183 compatibility, while the ICOM M506 provides compatibility with NMEA 2000.

If you know and understand marine radio electronics, you will know that NMEA 2000, or N2K as it is commonly known, is more advanced than NMEA 0183. In practice, this means that N2K devices tend to offer more versatility, greater integration with other devices, and a better network control. Moreover, N2K devices support multiple users while NMEA 0183 only supports one pair.

There are multiple other areas where the Standard Horizon GX2200 falls short of the ICOM M506 as well. For example, it only offers an audio output of 4.5W while the ICOM M506 boasts of 15Watts of audio output. This means that its sound output is lower and may not be as audible on speaker as the M506’s.

The GX2200 doesn’t even have AquaQuake or the last call recording function. Absence of AquaQuake means that its microphone offers reduced performance when being used in a lot of water. Not having the last call function takes away a clear convenience too.

A much bigger limitation of the Standard Horizon GX2200 in comparison to the M506 is that it is only rated for IPX7 water resistance. When it comes to safety, even a single rating point can make a huge difference. Don’t you agree?

There is one area where the Standard Horizon GX2200 does better than the ICOM M506, though – GPS. The GX2200 comes with an inbuilt 66 channel GPS component which can be vitally important.

If you don’t already have a GPS or NAV system on your boat that you can connect to your fixed mount VHF radio, then you'll definitely want to go for the Standard Horizon GX2200. However, there is no fixed mount marine radio out there that offers a better feature set and real world performance than the ICOM M506.

ICOM IC-M324 21 Marine VHF Radio Review

ICOM IC-M324G marine radio
ICOM IC-M324G marine radio

Icom IC-M324G is a compact VHF radio with top notch performance and all the necessary features included in its body. This VHF radio comes after the M200 (entry level model) in the ICOM VHF radio line up and features some nice upgrades. Read about our top three fixed mount VHF radios

There are two versions of the M324 series:

  1. Model M324G has a built in GPS receiver 
  2. Model M324 (no G at the end) does not come with a built in GPS receiver

The difference between the two models is around $50, but having a GPS function in a VHF radio is a huge plus, therefore we suggest you get the M324G - with the GPS. 

This fixed mount radio also comes in two color options: Black version and Super White version.

ICOM IC-M324G marine radio
ICOM M324G marine radio

So what do you get with this radio and why we think this is a good value?

1. Large Dot-Matrix Display with Icom Marine Family User Interface

Icom M324 has a large high definition Dot-Matrix display that is easy to read. Reading crucial information is fast and easy. Your distress call button, instant channel 16, volume and menu are clearly marked.

Icom fixed mount radio

2. Lifesaving GPS Receiver

Yes, you could add an external GPS to some VHF radios, but if you get the M324G - it is already built in! It simplifies operation (like automatic timezone detection), adds important safety features to your radio and there is no need to connect external GPS equipment.

The ICOM M324G comes with a dedicated distress call button. Press and hold for 3 seconds and your distress call will be transmitted (including current GPS position). If you did not get the 324G model, enter your GPS location manually. 

Built in class D DSC has the ability to  monitor channel 70 (DSC channel) even when you are making another call.

3. NMEA Interface

NMEA 0183 isn't the latest NMEA standard (NMEA 2000) but it does add ability to connect NMEA compatible devices. If you need NMEA 2000 connectivity - you will have to step up to ICOM M506 radio.

List of additional features include:

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    25 Watts / 1 Watt output power
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    Built in GPS Receiver
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    Intuitive User Interface
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    Submersible IPX7 protection
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    AquaQuake water draining system
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    NMEA 0183 interface
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    Dot-Matrix Display
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    Compatible with MA-500TF AIS transponder
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    Reasonably Priced
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    Dimensions: 7.1 x 3.2 x 4.7
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    Audio output - 4.5W
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    3 Year Waterproof Warranty

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

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    ​​​​4.8 out of 5 Stars
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    86% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
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    Large Easy to Read Display
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    Excellent Unit For the Price
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    Built in GPS
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    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


  • 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.