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What is the best handheld vhf marine radio?

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  • What is the best handheld vhf marine radio?

    Im looking to buy a handheld,rechargable marine radios and there seem to be quite a few out there. Anyone have any recommendations? The prices are very varied for what seem to be very similar products so Im wondering if there are any that stand out. Anyone have one they are very happy with that they can recommend? Thanks in advance. Pat


  • #2
    Re: What is the best handheld vhf marine radio?

    Here's my experience using a handheld. I bought a submersible from West Marine, and just kept it in the glovebox. I had to actually use the thing when I got over my head on the Chesapeake.For communicating with the Coast Guard on shore, it worked great. No static and good signal. The only problem is the NIMH battery ran out fairly quick. It comes with a AA battery adapter (which I forgot) and now that is all I use. Forget the rechargeable battery. If you save a few $$$ by opting for the NICAD, that's fine just so it has the adapter. Get a submersible though.

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    • #3
      Re: What is the best handheld vhf marine radio?

      PatI just bought two VHF handhelds from West Marine and I really like both. The ones I bought are West Maine own brand and I do not know who actually makes them for West Marine. Models are VHF 100 and VHF 200.Both radios work great I am very happy with both. Both have a three year warranty and include water damage. If you are looking for a real small radio then this radio is not for you. I perfer one with large channel indicator and a large speaker so you can see and here it out on the boat and both do that. We bought these two radios then went to the ocean for a week. Batteries in both lasted the whole week with out recharging and still say fully charged. I still have not read the manual as very easy to work. I did look up how long to charge battery.Features that I liked. Large channel indicator, Large speaker, Scans as many channels as you want. Large NiMH battery pack so no battery memory problems. Comes with a drop in charger and a power cord for both AC 110 volts and DC 12 volts. Also comes with with a Alkaline battery tray so can use regular batteries if you want. Comes with a belt clip and Rubber antenna. Will survive under water 3 feet for 30 minutes so should you find your self in the water should still work to call for help.I mostly use the VHF 100 on our trip, the reciever works great if fact the weather channels may be better than my fixed radio with a 6 db gain antenna.Both the VHF 100 and 200 very similar but I will list the differences. The VHF 200 display will tell you what each channel is for, (16 Calling and distress ect) The VHF 200 has a plug for a external mike if you buy one. The VHF 200 has triple watch for channel 16, 9, one channel of your choosing. The VHF 100 has dual watch 16 and one channel of your chooseing. Since both radio will scan I never used the dual or triple watch.I got a good deal on both the VHF 100 I got for $139 durning a special deal on their web site. The VHF 200 I got for $179 on their web site. This was the best deal I have seen but has been on sale many times durning the year. At one time had on sale for $35 for thier 35 year annaversity sale.If there is any thing that I did not like it would be that it scans slower than some radios so if you say scan 20 it will take some time to complete the loop. For me not a big deal as normaly scan about 10 channels. So I would suggest you take a look at it and if you like it wait for the next deal. Again if you want a very small radio not the best choice.
      Have some fun and enjoy the Great Outdoors.
      Love to fish out of Bodega Bay, California.

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      • #4
        Re: What is the best handheld vhf marine radio?

        Boatist, what kind of distance can one of thesequality hand helds be expected to get.

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        • #5
          Re: What is the best handheld vhf marine radio?

          NOSLEEPWe really did not test distants with these units but I would not expect over about 6 miles handheld to handheld on the open ocean unless you connect it to a better and higher antenna. In a river with I qould expect 4 miles. Hand held to Coast Guard maybr 10 to 12 miles as Coast Guard's antenna 1500 feet high along the coast.I can tell you we were fishing out of Bodega bay California and could here boats off ten mile beach which is about 10 miles away. I found unit I used great finding out how weather and fishing was offshore when we got up each morning. Before would have to uncover boat and put up antennas to here any chatter.
          Have some fun and enjoy the Great Outdoors.
          Love to fish out of Bodega Bay, California.

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          • #6
            Re: What is the best handheld vhf marine radio?

            BOATIST- Thanks you so much for your in depth descriptions of the radios. I am going to look into the vhf 200 model you described made by west marine.

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            • #7
              Re: What is the best handheld vhf marine radio?

              Thanx Boatist, great info.

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              • #8
                Re: What is the best handheld vhf marine radio?

                For what it worth the VHF200 is on sale in my last flyer for $30 off so $189.99 until Aug 24. Some times the web site has better deals but I have not checked.
                Have some fun and enjoy the Great Outdoors.
                Love to fish out of Bodega Bay, California.

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