Recommendations for marine radios

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  • #21172
    Jayne Hardy

    I would like to get myself a handheld vhf for up coming summer trips and wondering if anyone has purchased one recently and could provide me with information about what to buy.


Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
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  • #21207
    Nick Heath

    Whatever you buy, be suspicious of its waterproof claim and use a waterproof radio case that still lets you operate it.  Some member have found to their cost that after a bit of use some part of the radio will leak, usually with fatal results. Good brands e.g.  Standard-Horizon,  ICOM, Cobra and others. Make sure it fits in a pfd pocket wit a case on it. It is best select a radio that accepts alkaline batteries, of which you can carry many extras, rather than relying on a rechargeable battery when there is nowhere to recharge it on a multi-day trip. Both are nice to have. Most paddlers leave their radios turned off most of the time to conserve battery power (and to avoid annoying radio chatter).

    Kapila Jayaweera

    I highly recommend Standard Horizon HX 890 radio. This is a newer model than HX870. Actually HX870 is more advance version that HX890. They remove several features from  HX890 which kayakers almost never needed.

    Few thing I like about HX890 (I believe HX870 has same features)

    Radio floats. You still have to tie down to your PFD or it could float away from you.

    Large screen.

    Built in GPS (you could track down your trip if you want then download coordinates to your computer. Nice feature I used few times. It could eat up your battery so has to be used carefully)

    Comes with AAA battery case. Can use 3xAAA batteries.

    Digital calling feature

    MMSI – Can program your own MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) # to this radio. This can use for calling another radio by adding their MMSI number to your radio.

    Distress button. There is an distress button on the radio. If you press this button, it will send a distress signal with GPS coordinate so that you don’t have to give your location verbally.

    Flash light – I hardly use

    FM radio – occasionally uses

    Weather channels – all radios have I believe.

    I bought mine from Steveston Marine at Langley. Looks like it is on sale for less price than I bought two years ago.

    Please let me know if you need more information.

    Aaron Creighton

    I also have the SH HX870. I did a good chunk if research and it’s one of the better options and is the predecessor of the HX860 I believe which was also a fan favorite. Make sure you get certified though for a VHS as you need a MMSI number to make us of DSC funtionality.

    Quirine Schuyff

    The one I have, Standard Horizon HX870, had really good reviews and I have heard from others that it is one of the better choices. It has the one button emergency call and Digital Select Calling plus features like way points and coordinates you can input. Mine is waterproof, floats and has a flashing beacon to find it in the dark if dropped in the water. (Beacon automatically engages when submerged.)

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