There have been huge improvements in several areas over the past few years that have seen handheld VHF marine radios evolve from a basic communications gadget to something that has proven to be extremely useful thanks to the numerous features that have been added.
Screens have become clearer, and battery life has significantly improved. You can now access weather reports and GPS-powered features. Waterproofing has also increased as some handheld marine radios can now float for extended periods without incurring any damage to the interior electrics.
Here are two of the top handheld VHF marine radios you can find in the market today:
Standard Horizon HX870 Handheld VHF Marine Radio
This device has impressive features, a large screen, and a host of functionalities. It is also waterproof and has an in-built GPS receiver, a rather rare feature you won’t find in many handheld radios.
Icom IC-M25 Handheld VHF Marine Radio
This gadget falls under the entry-level category and as such, is relatively cheaper. But the handheld radio still has an array of features such as a USB port that allows charging from a host of electronic devices.
It may be a small device, but it has a big screen and a battery life that can run for over 11 hours after charging for just 2.5.
Features Of The Best Handheld VHF Marine Radio
For those heading out to sea, a handheld VHF (Very High Frequency) marine radio is a must-have device. Such a radio allows you to communicate with other vessels, receive weather reports and vessel traffic updates, and contact the Coast Guard in an emergency. There are other types of VHD marine radios available, including hard-wired, permanently installed units with lots of extra features, but a handheld battery-powered model is great to have as an emergency backup device. For example, if you need to abandon your boat, a portable device enables you to remain in contact with the emergency rescue services.
Some of the key specifications to pay attention to when comparing different portable marine radios are battery size, charging time, manufacturer’s warranty, range, waterproof rating, and channel monitoring capabilities. So, what are some of the features of the best handheld VHF marine radios?
The range of a VHF radio is determined by its power. While most people want a model with a long-range, higher power requirements mean batteries don’t last as long or have to be very heavy, compromising portability and floatability. Fortunately, you can not find devices for sale with variable power settings and quick boost options, which allow you to conserve battery life when longer range communications are not necessary.
The waterproof rating of a handheld VHF marine radio is definitely an important feature. Look for models with an IPX8 rating because they remain functioning in up to 5 feet of water. Keep in mind that many waterproof radios listed online are not completely watertight and are merely water-resistant, so you need to look at the technical specifications. Water-resistant radios may survive a light rain shower, but will not help you if you fall overboard.
Portable marine radios that allow you to monitor multiple channels at once are a popular choice. A dual watch handheld VHF radios enable you to monitor two channels simultaneously, while a tri watch device is capable of monitoring three. It is possible to find quad watch handheld VHF marine radios for sale, but they are rare.
Additional features that are handy to have include noise reduction technology, NOAA alerts, “rewind say again,” DSC (digital selective calling), and GPS (global positioning system). Buying a handheld marine radio with GPS capabilities is a good idea for those that want to remember different locations, such as fruitful fishing spots. Furthermore, in an emergency, a radio with GPS capabilities will allow you to provide the rescue team with your exact position.
I Believe that I have been a fisherman ever since I was born. I have had and still have a couple of boats that me and my family and friends enjoy all year long. One thing I have learned in all of the years is that you need to be properly prepared when going out on a boat. It would be an easy argument to say that you can`t prepare enough. My hope is that this site gives you a few ideas for items or accessories that you may not have though of for your boating or fishing trips. Happy Boating & Fishing Everyone