Author: Boat Accessories Australia Date Posted: 21 March 2017
It wasn’t long ago that your boat radio and flares were the only means of communication you had to ensure your safety when offshore. Now we have EPIRBs and a mobile phone when in range as back-up communication tools. But new technology hasn’t replaced the marine radio. If your boat is boat is broken down, sinking, capsized or there is a medical emergency, you will need a radio to call for help. If you are going more than five miles offshore, we highly recommend having either a 27 mHz, VHF or HF radio.
While you are at sea, you must have your radio turned on and tuned to the distress frequency.
A marine Very High Frequency (VHF) radio allows you to converse with other boaters and contact those in the area during emergency situations.
The first decision to make when buying a radio is whether you are going for a handheld or installed version. A handheld radio is ideal for use on small boats that lack the dash space to install a radio and boats without an electrical system. The handheld is also ideal for communication from a tender to the mother ship.
An in-built radio is ideal if you have the space for it and want a secure, fixed location to operate from. In-built radios also tend to offer more features and connections to antennas for greater range.
GME GX620 Handheld Marine VHF Radio
Update 21/12/2017 - The GX620 has now been superseded by the GX625 Handheld Marine Radio.
Despite its small size, this hand-held has most of the features offered by larger, fixed-mount radios. The large clean LCD has backlighting and backlit buttons for use at night. The buttons are also large enough to accommodate the biggest of fingers and the unit is made of solid die-cast construction suitable for the harsh salty, wet environment.
The unit uses a 1000mAh Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery pack with an automatic power saving mode for an extended operating life plus a quality ‘drop in’ quick charger. A flexible antenna and carry case are also supplied.
GX850 Handheld Marine VHF Radio - DSC and GPS
This unit is more than just a handheld VHF radio, it has impressive life-saving features. You can transmit your GPS coordinates or the MMSI number of your boat using the digital selective calling with preformatted text. The GPS can also track your speed in kilometres or knots.
Send a distress message to all vessels in the area using the one button man overboard button. The waterproof unit has a large LCD display screen that flashes if dropped overboard. The 5/1W switchable power means you can conserve power when communicating at close range and use the full 5w power for longer distances. The unit uses a rechargeable 1,700 mAh lithium polymer battery.
This compact unit only requires a small amount of dash space for installation. Its audio is received via an integrated speaker microphone. The LCD screen offers adjustable colour and brightness so the large easy to read numbers can be seen at any angle in day or night. The unit comes with 500mm of inter-connecting lead to connect the main unit to the flush mount microphone socket in a convenient location.
The radio offers Dual Watch, Triple Watch and two programmable priority channels for easy access to regularly used channels. The radio is suitable for use throughout the world as it offers international, US and Canadian channel sets.
If you are looking for a radio that gives you access to the 27MHz Citizen as well as the VHF channel, then this is the transceiver for you.
The unit has in-built speakers in the front panel plus programmable channel scanning, dual and tri-watch functions. The Channel 88 button is a large red button on the front of the unit for easy access in case of emergency.
An optional SPK45 extension speaker can be added to give you clear audio throughout the boat.
If you need more than the standard two- or four-radio channels, invest in a Quick Radio Receiver to provide access to up to 12 channels.
Not all hand-held VHF radios are waterproof so you may like to invest in a Lalizas Dry Bag. The clear panel allows you to see the display and buttons. Made from durable vinyl, the bag can also be used for your GPS unit and mobile phone.
The SPL002 AM/FM & VHF or 27MHz Band Splitter allows you to connect an AM/FM radio to either a 27MHz or VHF radio antenna.
If you have any queries about the type of radio that is right for you, contact the friendly team at Boat Accessories Australia on 1300 308 161 or send us an email.
Clear explanation for the noviceBy: I A (Tony) Smith on 10 March 2022A well-constructed article clearly explaining the aspects and merits of several VHF models. Much appreciated.
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