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Old 30 May 2007, 12:19   #1
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What is good inexpensive hand held VHF radio?

I'm looking for an inexpensive, hand held, VHF waterproof (JIS7?) radio. Prefer one that has long battery life (12 hours+ ?). Size is not all that important. There are a zillion of them out there and I have no idea what brand or models are good. My only experience with hand held radios has been with the FRS band radios. None came close to the rated distance and some were totally useless at 1/2 the rated distance. I compared a couple side by side and despite same rating one worked 2x the distance of the other. So if the VHF radios as as variable in quality and performance, I thought I'd better ask here for recommendations so I don't buy a dog. Perfer radio that is less than $75.
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Old 30 May 2007, 19:17   #2
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<$75 try eBay.

If I were to buy a new handheld (which I need), it would be the new floating Icom M34, which West Marine has for $170. Do a little online shopping, you might find it a bit cheaper. At least twice I've watched handhelds bounce, splash and sink...
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Old 30 May 2007, 21:21   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dctucker View Post
At least twice I've watched handhelds bounce, splash and sink...
It's pretty much guaranteed. Spend enough to get a truly waterproof one. I have two Standard Horizon handhelds (and two built-ins) All have been faultless through years of dunkings. (Well, one of the built-ins lives on my book shelf, so it has a life of leisure...)

The newer handheld has rechargeables but can also take AAs which is a nice feature, although I have yet to need it!
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Old 31 May 2007, 02:01   #4
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Just to clarify further, I'd like to know what brands are good for VHF radios and what brands to stay away from. Or are there good and bad models from every brand?
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Old 31 May 2007, 05:30   #5
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Well I would have to say Standard Horizon of course!!
Having worked for Icom for 8 year I would have no troueld in recomending some of thier range.

IMHO the M71 is still one of the best units on the market at the moment but you pay for that!

In the US we have a radio that has FRS built in.
Have a look on:-
www.standardhorizon.com

If you want good value for money the you can't really beat the HX-270.
You get lots of goodies for the money you pay.

Cheers
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Old 31 May 2007, 05:50   #6
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Originally Posted by PilotSmith View Post
...I'd better ask here for recommendations so I don't buy a dog....
There is no doubt that the Standard Horizon HX-270 is, as Jon points out, a very good radio. It is one of those rare marine goodies which is actually worth a lot more than it is sold for!

Robust,
Easy to use,
Useful features,
Plenty of battery and charging options,
Value for money.

I too have been a big fan of Icom, but I would having nothing other than a Standard Horizon on my boat now.
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Old 31 May 2007, 09:53   #7
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"If you want good value for money the you can't really beat the HX-270..."

For $85 that seems so far like the best bang for the buck for a quality unit. Found 3 places selling it for $85. Anyone know a less expensive source for it?

I saw this review and a Standard Horizon radio also came out on top. A couple other radios actually failed the water test! http://www.boatus.com/reviews/power/vhf.asp
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Old 31 May 2007, 15:00   #8
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Found it online for $83 and local store will match the price. So I think I will pick up a HX270S tomorrow unless someone can show me a better unit for less. I held one at the store and it feels very sturdy. It is compact enough to easily fit in your pocket too. Pretty heavy radio for the small size!
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Old 02 June 2007, 10:35   #9
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Old 02 June 2007, 11:32   #10
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Done, got the HX270S. Comes with a nice set of accessories for the price I got it for. Seems extremely well built.

http://www.standardhorizon.com/index...3&isArchived=0

The included rechargeable pack is a 1400mAh pack that lasts 18 hours. I have NiMH batteries that I can use in the included battery tray that are 2650mAh. If my math is correct, it will run 34 hours continuous on that set of batteries!

Thanks for the tips in steering me towards Standard Horizon.
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