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New VHF Recommendation

Old 02-04-2019, 02:27 PM
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Default New VHF Recommendation

I need to get a new VHF for my boat (center console used for inshore and offshore fishing off NJ). I would like AIS receiver capabilities in the new VHF and (f it matters) I have Simrad NSS EVO2 multifunction displays. Are there any new products coming out this year that I should wait for (boat won't be in the water until April/May)? . I've read many older threads on this but a models are constantly changing, would like to get some recommendations on particular models that are currently out there, Thanks
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Old 02-04-2019, 07:18 PM
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I'm in a similar situation, Simrad NSS Evo3, I think AIS would be cool (but don't necessarily need it) and don't want to mess with NMEA 0183. I've got a basic Westmarine hand held VHF for traversing the harbor. I plan on getting out to the nearshore reefs this spring. I feel like I owe it to the crew and their significant others to have a solid fixed mount VHF.

Icom M506 appears to be the gold standard but its anywhere from $540 to $650 new out the door with NMEA2000 and AIS. So I'm looking at $800 or so with an antenna and ratchet.
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:25 PM
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Simrad RS40 is out and has good features. Also you get added functionality when you use a Simrad Radio with a Simrad MFD.
https://www.simrad-yachting.com/en-g...ct-upgrade-gb/
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Old 02-05-2019, 02:11 AM
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https://www.thegpsstore.com/Standard...ack-P3968.aspx
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Old 02-05-2019, 02:13 AM
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And notice that $30 rebate. That puts the GX2200 with AIS at only $300. Not a bad deal at all.
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Old 02-05-2019, 05:30 AM
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In regard to choosing a VHF Marine Band radio in 2019, the first decision branch will be to have NMEA-2000 or not. If you need NMEA-2000 for interfacing the radio to a chart plotter or a GNSS receiver, that criteria will eliminate many models.

I don't particularly anticipate any new radio models. If a manufacturer had a new model, they would probably have already introduced it at a major boat show or exposition by now. Perhaps you should wait two weeks to see what happens at the Miami International Boat Show.

There have been no regulatory changes in radio specifications, so there really is nothing compelling change in VHF Marine Band radios. Features like having an internal GNSS receiver and an integrated AIS receiver have been available for many years.

A radio from the same manufacturer as the chart plotter MAY offer some advantages IF the chart plotter and its display can control DSC CALL SET UP in the radio. How much integration and how much advantage might be gained is hard to judge, as it depends on the particular brands and models combined, but generally such integration seems to work best with NMEA-2000 interface between radio and chart plotter. Conversely, the least integration of radio and chart plotter is when different brands are used and the interface is limited to NMEA-0183.
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Last edited by jhebert; 02-05-2019 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 02-05-2019, 06:24 AM
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Take a look at Sitex MDA-4. Nmea2000 and 0183 has AIS built it. Slim design for easy flush mounting with holes on front. big bright screen..


Been having good success with this model. Price is best on market
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Old 02-05-2019, 08:27 AM
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Yes, the Sitex is a good option as well. At the same $300 price point. I believe there are two main differences in the two. As jherbert points out, NMEA 2000 is one of those factors. The Sitex has it, the SH does not. But you can connect the SH to your chartplotter using NMEA 0183. To get NMEA 2000, you'd have to step up to the SH GX6000. It's priced at $400 with a $40 rebate right now, so $360. It does also add a few additional features such as voice scrambler, voice recorder and the option for a wireless RAM mic. However, you do have to purchase a separate AIS antenna with the GX6000. No antenna built into the unit.

The other main difference in the two is that the SH shows the AIS targets on it's own screen, while the Sitex sends the AIS data to your chartplotter. Assuming you have the two connected and sat up. The Sitex can display AIS on it's own screen, but requires an external antenna to do so. The SH has an internal antenna.

Both the SH GX2200 and Sitex MDA-4 have good size screens. Which for me is an important factor. The Sitex has a 2" tall x 2.75" wide screen (3" diagonal). GX2200 screen is 3.25" wide x 1.75" tall (3.62" diagonal). So really close on this factor, very slight advantage to the SH.

If you pay attention to warranties (I do, mainly as an indicator by the mfg. of how much faith they have in their product), there's a 2 year warranty on the Sitex vs a 3 year on the SH.

Any of these three units would be a solid choice.
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Old 02-05-2019, 09:06 AM
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Simrad RS-35 and/or the Lowrance Link-8. Both have built in receiving functionality for AIS and both are N2K compatible. Connect the VHF to your N2K network and AIS targets will display on the screen.

Only difference between the two units is the Simrad has the capability to run a wireless mic. If you don't need that functionality, save your $$$. Street price on the Link-8 is under $250
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Old 02-05-2019, 10:32 AM
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Can't help with any potential new models coming out. I would wait until after the Miami how happens (in a couple of weeks) and see if anything new is introduced.

Here is what I see as sub $400 VHF's I would consider, along with typical pricing:
*SH GX2200 $325.
*SH GX6000 $360 (after rebate)
*Lowrance Link 8 $300
*Sitex MDA-4 $300
*Simrad RS35 $400

All but the GX2200 has NMEA 2000. I don't know what advantage you'd get from the NMEA 2000 connection vs NMEA 0183, other than easier to connect. I'll probably compare these further in the next couple days, as I may change out my VHF along with my electronics upgrade. A few things to look at are...
*hailer
*warranty
*any requirements for additional equipment at additional cost (such as another antenna)
*nice to have features such as recording of last VHF call received, wireless mics, etc.
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Old 02-05-2019, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by JB2C View Post
...I don't know what advantage you'd get from the NMEA 2000 connection vs NMEA 0183, other than easier to connect.
Using only NMEA-0183, I don't think there is a method for DSC CALL SET-UP possible, at least I cannot recall ever seeing or hearing about it being done.

With NMEA-2000 there may be DSC CALL SET-UP, either using proprietary parameter groups or perhaps even standard parameter groups.

Being able to have DSC CALL SET-UP allows the chart plotter to pre-configure and initiate a DSC call. In theory, you could see an AIS target on your chart plotter, and using the chart plotter you could set up a DSC call to that vessel. Whether you can do that with every radio and every chart plotter with NMEA-2000 is not guaranteed, but with some radios and some chart plotters of the same brand, you can do that.


Originally Posted by JB2C View Post
...typical pricing:
*SH GX6000 $360 (after rebate)
Wow--that is crazy cheap pricing. That was an $800 MSRP radio a while back.
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Old 02-05-2019, 11:34 AM
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if the Simrad RS40 is supposed to be the replacement for the RS35, perhaps the 35 will start being discounted?

I have the RS35. So far so good with it connected via N2K to my Garmin 7600 series MFDs.
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Old 02-05-2019, 12:46 PM
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I [COLOR=left=#222222]know with Standard Horizon, they don't have anything that allows you to make a call from the chartplotter. I do believe Garmin allows you to do that. Not sure about the others. But for me, it's not a big deal. I'll just use the radio to make the call. Having a VHF with the AIS information on the VHF screen, however, is very helpful. No transcribing of MMSI numbers from the chartplotter to the VHF to make the call. I know on the Sitex MDA-4, you just find the boat you want to call on the VHF's screen (or the chartplotter screen if you have it connected), note the name or last 2-3 digits of the MMSI number, switch to the AIS list view on the VHF, select the correct boat name or number, and hit the button to make the DSC call. But it does not have the capability of calling from a connected chartplotter.[/COLOR]
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Old 02-05-2019, 12:58 PM
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With RS35 or RS40 AIS targets can be called directly from a Simrad MFD's.

A $28 video and NMEA 183 cable is required for running NMEA 183 with any NSS model.

RS40 is not worth the huge premium over RS35, I have both.
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Old 02-05-2019, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by abbor View Post
RS40 is not worth the huge premium over RS35, I have both.
from what I've read about the 40, I agree.
What I don't like, though, is them eliminating the 35 altogether for the 40, leaving that competitive price point open for all of the other players.
If they keep both, great, but the wording of their own ad says "the rs40 replaces the rs35".
bad idea, me thinks.
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Old 02-05-2019, 03:39 PM
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In Europe they don't have a choice, according to new regulations all VHF's must have integrated GNNS (GPS).

The pricing of RS40 seems to be adapted to competitor price level. RS35 and even more Link-8 gives excellent value for the money and have been without competition when comparing functionality vs price.
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Old 02-05-2019, 04:47 PM
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I have the Lowrance Link-8 and it worked great. I actually have Raymarine Axioms and the integration is seamless.
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Old 02-06-2019, 05:40 AM
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Looks like Standard Horizon is finally adding some new models with Nmea 2000. Gx1800 and gx1850

https://www.thegpsstore.com/Standard...dios-C867.aspx
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Old 02-06-2019, 07:02 AM
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As of Thursday they were quarantined and recalled.. Software issue with nmea2000 and DSC..
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Old 02-06-2019, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by mfeen1 View Post
As of Thursday [the Standard Horizon GX1800 and GX1850 radios] were quarantined and recalled...issue with [NMEA-2000] and DSC
The "EXPLORER" models were approved for sale in December 2018 with the FCC. I would have expected that the DSC was very well tested to earn that approval.

The NMEA-2000 interconnections seems to have been a problem for several manufacturers, and some are still ironing it out.

Last edited by jhebert; 02-06-2019 at 08:25 PM.
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