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Handheld VHF recommendations

Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:53 pm
by Sealwife
Am looking at buying a handheld VHF to share with other half. My intended use for it is sea kayaking, husband will be using it as back up radio aboard small yacht.

Seem to be loads available at many prices. Does anyone have any recommendations or ones which are duff and not to touch with a barge pole.

Re: Handheld VHF recommendations

Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:58 pm
by John K
Standard Horizon HX300e is good. Not too big, waterproof, floats, USB charging. Not expensive either.

Icom are good too, but generally more expensive for no real benefit. Cobra are a bit cheaper, and although some people are happy with them I’d avoid as the quality isn’t in the sane league.

Re: Handheld VHF recommendations

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:52 am
by John Goldhurst
Well if using as a back up on a small yacht and Sea kayaking .I would go top of the line
Standard Horizon HX890 all the futures you could want. I have a earlier model HX 851 and its been very reliable over the years. Only down side its on the large side to fit in a PFD. For small and compact go for there HX 40 with a floating case.

Re: Handheld VHF recommendations

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:24 am
by John K
There are pros and cons of DSC handhelds.

The main benefit is that they can give automated location details in a distress call, but they are bigger, more complicated, more expensive and have shorter battery life due to the GPS.

My personal choice would be a simple handheld VHF and a PLB for emergency use. That combination will be about £100 more than an all singing and dancing handheld VHF but will be more usable and more dependable in an emergency.

Re: Handheld VHF recommendations

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:46 am
by Chris Bolton
I have a HX300 and have been generally happy with it. The USB charging is very useful on a multi-day trip. The battery state indicator is not very good; it shows full charge for days, until you press transmit, when the current drain drops the voltage substantially and reveals it to be nearly flat and only transmitting weakly.

I haven't seen the HX40 before - the small size would be attractive to me. Making the casing big enough to float is pointless for me as I leash the radio anyway and it just takes up more pocket space.

I agree with John K regarding DSC. My brother is both a keen yachtsman and a marine pilot and tells me there are lots of false alarms from DSC.

Re: Handheld VHF recommendations

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:47 pm
by kayakbiker
I can recommend Cobra. I have a HH500.
With this unit its possible to hook it up to a mobile phone with bluetooth, which is handy at times.

I had a problem with mine just after 2 years so contacted cobra customer support. They asked me to send it back to them and then sent me out a brand new unit.
Great customer support!

Re: Handheld VHF recommendations

Posted: Wed Dec 18, 2019 5:34 pm
by MikeB
Don't go the DSC route - get a stand-alone PLB (McMurdo Fastfind or similar) and then either the SH set or the M73 Icom. The M73 has fabulous battery life, but the SH offers the option of usb charging which may be useful.

Re: Handheld VHF recommendations

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:31 pm
by Kate D
I've had a number of VHF radios over the years. My last one, Standard Horizon HX300 was well out of warrantee when it failed. Failure was caused by water ingress through the charging socket. I have replaced it with the HX40 which is much smaller and charges on a cradle (so there is no charging socket to let the water in). Another advantage is that you do not have to attach the belt carrier in order to attach a string, so again it takes up much less space in your pocket.
I would agree with what others have said about DSC radios. The battery life is rubbish compared with a simple radio. A PLB makes up for this function.