farmer boy 8:26am, 26 March 2012
Hi all, I need to replace the existing (antique) VHF and I am overwhelmed by the choice! It looks like some radios come with AIS, GPS and some make tea! I do not want to spend too much but I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations? I will also need a portable VHF.. is it better to buy one that can use normal dry cell batteries or a LI rechargeable? Maybe you can recommend a particular make that is known to be good value and good quality? Standard Horizon seem to have a good guarantee - any thoughts?
rothwell_neil 7 years ago
Pleased with my Standard Horizon HX280 handheld, recharge from 12v supply and lithium batteries and don't discharge when not in use. Can buy a dry cell battery case as well.

For main radio is don't get a DSC unless you have a GPS that can feed it otherwise alarm goes off for no position all the time. If you get one with GPS built in see if it has a NMEA output as you could drive your AIS engine from that.
NormanKlipspringer 7 years ago
I have the following radio: Mtech MT500 (about £105). It is basic with all the right functions and it is connected to my chartplotter, GPS, AIS and works well. the best feature which I have not found on many radios in this price bracket is the numeric keypad on the microphone, which makes selecting channels much easier. Also makes entering MMSI numbers etc much easier. I have an ICOM handheld with rechargeable batteries which seem to last forever, but as backup I have a cradle (supplied by Icom) which holds AA batteries and fits inside the radio.
lukeeole 7 years ago
no radio will let you down, all basically use the same electronincs and core parts.

Customer care is important when the equipment fails (rare) in my YC we had 2 ribs with the Icom radios on which had a habit of breaking as they we exposed to the elements 24hrs a day and the salt eventually started to effect them. Icom took the radios back and fixed them 4 times free of charge over a period of 6 years before asking for any money. Great customer service

My money is with Icom at the moment and the set on Eole is still as good as the day it came out of the box 11 years ago.

the real question is where will you be going and how often will you be using the radio.

if staying in rivers or very close to an area you know well you are probably best going for a bog-standard vhf, if you plan going abit further afeild a DSC set with GPS is a good and piece of kit as this will allow you to send a distress call with your exact position fo rescue

I would only bother with AIS if you are going to play with shipping as trust me ships cant see yachts (and I work on ships)
rothwell_neil 7 years ago

Noticed that Standard Hoizon do a Matrix DSC radio with AIS built in. This kills 3 birds with just the one stone, GPS, DSC and AIS for a shade over £200. GX2100
pjbharrison 7 years ago
The GX 2100 doesn't have GPS built in, it needs to have one connected for the AIS to work
rothwell_neil 7 years ago
Yes did notice that after the post, I use my garmin handheld connected to the DSC radio as I am determined to go plotter free and use the android pad with Navionics.
pjbharrison 7 years ago
Used Marine Traffic app on Android last Saturday night at Carlingford lough. Showed container ship about to comeout through channel and another approaching from behind us. Gave us time to make sure we were out of the way.
App showed destination as Heysham for ship coming out so we knew he would be turning towards us once out of channel.
Examiner didn't know of app and was impressed by use of technology!
farmer boy 7 years ago
Got fed up thinking about it and have bought a Standard Horizon HX280E handheld Submersible VHF for £99.59 and a Standard Horizon GX1600E Fixed VHF DSC Radio for £148.73 and one of the NASA AIS radar things.... just need to fit the damn things now. Officially fed up - deadline is looming and got very little done today (buggering about with the mast and aerial for the VHF) and so many little things yet to do. Beginning to hate boats! I may have a go at cleaning up and polishing the gelcoat tomorrow.. bought some of the Farecla G10 polish, as recommended by Neil...
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