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VHF suggestions

Old 04-20-2004, 08:25 AM
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Default VHF suggestions

I am looking for a lower priced VHF for my new boat. Any suggestions on one that is less than $150? I have seen the Icom M45 advertised in a lot of places for around $100 but want to make sure I get the best value for the small amount of money I want to spend.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 04-20-2004, 08:46 AM
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Default RE: VHF suggestions

Both Icom and Standard Horizon offer good radios at low prices with good warranties - you can't go wrong with either brand.
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Old 04-20-2004, 11:36 AM
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Default RE: VHF suggestions

The M45 is a nice radio, but I would only consider it for backup purposes since it has no DSC capacity.

As posted, either the ICOM or Standard Horizon radios are good. I have a Standard Horizon Intrepid LE that hasn't given me an ounce of trouble.

Oh, and don't skimp on the antenna. Most guys here will recommend the Digital brand, but I have an 8 ft Shakespeare Galaxy 5225XT mounted on my T-top that really reaches out. Expect to pay in the area of $100 just for the antenna.
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Old 04-20-2004, 11:57 AM
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Default RE: VHF suggestions

Look at the Icom 302 with DSC.
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Old 04-20-2004, 12:33 PM
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Default RE: VHF suggestions

Good advice above, especially on the antenna. A high end VHF when coupled to an el cheapo antenna will likely give you el cheapo serrvice, but an el cheapo VHF coupled to a high end antenna such as a Digital or Shakespeare Galaxy 5225XT will give you great reception and range - assuming your boats size is such that you can handle an 8 ft antenna. If not, both also offer shorter versions of their high end antennas. And BTW work2fish and 150sport, you both recommended a VHF with DSC - how do you know riggo's boat needs a radio with DSC?
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Old 04-20-2004, 12:49 PM
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Default RE: VHF suggestions

In this area, Shakespeare Galaxy really rules the market. I've had two, and could not be more impressed. If you're doing the install yourself, consider one of the gold-plated coax cable connectors Shakespeare puts out. It goes on the end of the antenna's wire, and connects to the VHF radio. The connector that comes with the antenna is fine, but if you are not skilled with soldering technique, you can end up with a problem connection. The dealer installed my antenna used the solder-type connector, but neglected actually doing the soldering job. One of many shortcuts I've found.

I don't understand the question about "needing DSC". Unless you've got a boat and cruising area so small that you won't ever consider putting a GPS aboard, my opinion is that all boats need DSC. Eventually Coast Guard will start supporting this system, and it will make rescue quicker from that point on. Nobody "needs" any equipment to help with a rescue, until they need it real bad.
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Old 04-20-2004, 01:02 PM
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Default RE: VHF suggestions

Boats don't need DSC, people need DSC. It's been a requirement for FCC Type acceptance for some time, so the only radios that don't have it are older designs. Even the lowest cost new models have it.
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Old 04-20-2004, 01:51 PM
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Default RE: VHF suggestions

Check out the ICOM 402S. It is a fixed mount and has DSC feature. I believe you can get this for about $150 and I think there may be a $15 rebate offer going on for the next couple weeks.
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Old 04-20-2004, 08:39 PM
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Default RE: VHF suggestions

I agree, check out the Icom 302 that's selling for a $144 plus a $10-rebate from Icom. If you're not interested in DCS the Icom M45 is probably the best unit for a $100 while they last. I picked one up as a secondary unit last year coupled to a Shakespeare Galaxy 5225XT and it really cranks out a signal. I read a bench test report a couple of years ago and they rated the M45 acutally putting out 27-watts, a great unit for $99.
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Old 04-20-2004, 08:48 PM
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Default RE: VHF suggestions

what are everyone's feelings regarding Raytheon VHF's?
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Old 04-20-2004, 09:00 PM
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Default RE: VHF suggestions

They're also a good VHF but not for the current pricing, It seems the displays on the Raymarines are harder to view, I found the Icoms are more sensitive on recieveing and easier to view.
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Old 04-21-2004, 03:42 AM
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Default RE: VHF suggestions

Powerboat Reports did a review of fixed-mount VHFs recently. Icom M502 was the top pick, closely followed by Standard. Raymarine did not get a good review.
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Old 04-21-2004, 05:33 AM
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Default RE: VHF suggestions

Thanks for everyone's input. It looks like I will dish out a little bit more and go for one with DCS and will also take the advise to get a good quality antennae.
It seems like the ICOM gets a good rating from the one's that know (you guys) so ICOM it is.
Thanks again!
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