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Search for a Handheld Marine Two-Way VHF Radio / Transceiver

Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 8:29 pm
by LongHaulMatt

I have just started to research the market for a Handheld Marine Two-Way VHF Radio / Transceiver and quickly got a bit lost in the multitude of manufacturers and models (Standard Horizon, ICOM, Uniden).

May I ask for some guidance towards the right direction as to what to buy and where here on Vancouver Island.

Thanks a lot in advance to everybody for assistance.

Cheers, Matt

Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 8:57 pm
by Alm
I usually have a bad luck with buying US-made things in Canada, especially in BC. Much cheaper getting it either from other provinces (GST 7%, but no PST), or from the USA (GST+PST+ $5 if shipped by Canadapost, but much higher additional taxes if shipped by UPS, and zero taxes if either bought from private seller under US$ 40 or declared so for shipping). My GPS was ordered from Calgary store, VHF Icom M1V bought at e-bay, tent from Colorado, in-store display unit, 30% off already low $US 200 price, compared to $US 300 for the same tent at MEC store in Vancouver. I don't remember if there is any West Marine on the Island - they have most of current marine hand-held VHF, so you may have a look, but this store is expensive.

VHF rated to water-resistance Class 7 should be OK. Rechargeable Lithium batteries I prefer over AAA or any other - higher capacity, although they can't be bought at gas-stations, but you can carry one spare charged - they retain charge for very long time too. Icom M1V has been probably discontinued (some other smaller Icom was introduced a year ago), so if you can get it, it will be really cheap. Very similar model by Standard Horizon (SH 400? don't remember) costs slightly more than M1V. You may ask at Paddlewise, - there will be somebody for sure that knows the latest knews and tried all the best models.


Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 2:31 pm
by Anne
I bought the Icom M72 at Steveston Marine in Vancouver earlier this year. West Marine sells it for the same price I believe (C$225 + tax). I checked prices in the US but couldn't find anything really cheaper, after adding shipping cost & hassle. Especially with the Canadian dollar being so strong now. I am happy with the model, but havn't figured out all the settings and options yet (it's much more complex than it looks with its 6 buttons). The Icom is the only handheld radio made in Japan as the salesperon pointed out, the other radios presumably in China - not that that's a bad thing, but it Japan seems better in the eyes of sales people. ... tId=248062
The link is from West Marine in the US but they have stores on Vancouver Island.

Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 5:00 pm
by Alm
Yes, Icom is made in Japan (not USA). Strong CDN $ (or weak US $ relatively to CDN) often allows canadians finding good deals in the USA now even on non-US products, because US stores can't adjust USD prices for local customers (i.e. raise them) too often. M72 can be bought in the USA from $US 175 or $CDN 194, plus same canadian taxes, plus shipping (the latter can be more than CDN 30, though - especially with UPS hidden charges). UPS should be avoided in cross-border shipping.

M72 replaces discontinued M1V (which cost me $60 used from US online retailer, found through e-bay), zero tax, plus CDN 40 for missing charger block. Hunting for soon to be discontinued models makes sense, - at least I like that kind of prices :-) ...

Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 7:47 pm
by krudave
Anne wrote: I bought the Icom M72

That is an outstanding radio, and a very good value at that price. With the possibility of 6W of output power, and a 2000 mAh battery, it is a good choice for our needs.

Holler back if you need help figuring out the settings on the radio. ICOM's menu layout is pretty standard from model to model.

Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 8:29 pm
by Alm
When I look now at M72 specs, - it is smaller (shorter) than M1V, yet not as short as M88. M88 seems to be the favorite among tough kayaking dudes - at least until M72 was introduced in Dec 2005. M88 is wider, though - but carreid on PFD shoulder its width is less important than height. M88 costs a bit more than M72 - somewhere from USD 250. My M1V is still available in stores, and can be found for USD 150 (may be even cheaper) - interesting, I read that 72 was supposed to replace M1V. 6 watt output of M72 - I don't know how important it is; moslty it's direct line of sight that limits transmission at these frequencies only up to the horizon (somewhere 15-20 km from a kayak in open sea). Interesting that with higher battery capacity (2000 Vs 1700) M72 has slightly shorter talk time - probably due to higher power consumption. Another interesting feature is Class 8 waterproof rating of M72 (better than Class 7 of all previous models).

Icom M72 vs. M88

Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 12:55 pm
by Anne
I was first drawn to the Icom M88 because it looks smaller, but it weighs the same as the M72 (shorter but fatter). The M88 is more expensive than the M72 because it has channels for land use, e.g. people working in forestry on the coast can use it on the water and on logging roads.

Re: Icom M72 vs. M88

Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 9:19 pm
by krudave
Anne wrote:The M88 is more expensive than the M72 because it has channels for land use, e.g. people working in forestry on the coast can use it on the water and on logging roads.
And, if you plan ahead, you can hit repeaters on land and hook into the ham network ... with apropos licences, not that I know how to do that.

I can't get my M88 to select the Land listing of channels, so I probably need to pre-program some channels in there, which I might do when I get the apropos licence!

Standard Horizon HX471S

Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 11:07 pm
by acrosome
Sorry for resurrecting the post, but I have an update.

As of the time of this posting you can find Standard Horizon HX471S radios for $200 on the web. They must be be priced down in anticipation of new models coming out or something, because this is apparently way below MSRP.

This model includes send and receive on both land FRS and (of course) marine VHF bands. In addition it receives AM, FM, MURS, and aeronautical channels. It comes with a Lithium battery, but a AA battery case is also available. It has a DISTRESS button that automatically sends a DSC distress call and activates a strobe on the front of the unit. It is waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

I just bought one.

Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 12:27 am
by krudave
These are really good radios. You did not mention it, but they are submersible, also.

Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 2:35 pm
by Hugh B
I too am have started looking for a VHF radio.
What features are needed vs nice to have?
Auto scan auto weather scan?
what is double/triple watch and why is it good to have?
does higher battery capapcity help? 2000mAh vs 1400mAh or does radio size then become the issue.

I gather that some of these radios are marine based frequencies only. I'd like to be able to use this radio on logging roads in the interior of B.C.
(if VHF is the type of radio used there).
I assume there are radios that have multi channel capabilities. They seem to be out there but more like $500 vs $200 for marine only.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Found this Cobra
that has GMRS as well as VHF.
The GMRS is of interest as the radio can now be used for other activites such as Backcountry skiing or hiking in conjunction with FRS/GMRS radios.
By way of interest I found this Cdn source for radios.
Edited: Found this review from Powerboat reports reprinted on the Standard horizon website. ... rticle.pdf


Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 5:59 pm
by mje
Apparantly "Cobra" has a dual purpose Marine/GMRS radios. Still, I'd feel safer with a good waterproof, immersion tested radio, even if it's not dual purpose. FRS and GMRS radios are cheap enough you're better off buying two radios.

Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 6:54 pm
by Hugh B
mje wrote:Apparantly "Cobra" has a dual purpose Marine/GMRS radios. Still, I'd feel safer with a good waterproof, immersion tested radio, even if it's not dual purpose. FRS and GMRS radios are cheap enough you're better off buying two radios.
I checked the Cobra site and this MRHH425LIVP Combination VHF / GMRS Radio radio is JIS7 rated. Is that immersion rated?
I see that Icom and Uniden have FRS/VHF combos as well.
We ski with FRS /GMRS radios so already have them. I think I'm leaning towards the ones that have land channels as well for logging road travel.

This still is a confusing area. There is lots of info out there but I do get more from someone saying I bought the XYZ model,the battery lasts for 12 hr and I dropped it 3x and it still works. that's why this site is so good.


Radio Bands

Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:41 pm
by acrosome
I just thought I'd point this out in case anyone doesn't know- it is ILLEGAL to broadcast on the marine bands from land. At least here in the US the FCC will hunt you down if you make a habit of it. That's one reason I bought the Standard Horizon HX471SS radio that I did (see above)- it is multi-band.

By the way, I am REALLY impressed with it. It is one of the short models- very small. Reasonably intuitive controls, considering it's complex functions. I would recommend it. You can buy add-on modules for encryption or to add a barometer function (only one of the two at a time, though). It comes with both lithium battery and AA adapter. I'm very satisfied with it.

Posted: Wed May 30, 2007 5:04 pm
by Bazzer
I have been researching handheld VHF's and I have found the Uniden Mystic. It is not only a VHF but a GPS as well. Not only that but it has DSC which will give another station that is similarly equipped your position if you use the Distress button. It can also receive DSC from other stations. The GPS is by Magellan and it will store BluNav charts downloaded from your PC.

Waterproof as well!