When you’re out on the water, your chances of being able to communicate with other boats are imperative. For a long time, these radios were just one-way, but now many options can be used as two-way radios by mounting external antennas or installing an internal antenna.

The “best VHF marine radio 2021” is a top 15 list of the best VHF marine radios available today. The list includes some of the most popular and lesser-known models.

Do you go sailing regularly? If you answered yes, VHF marine radios would come in handy if you’re phoning other anglers to find out where the fish are biting, but they also have various purposes. For example, a marine VHF radio is designed for calling a port controller to map a path through coastal waters, conversing with passing boats nearby, or calling in case of trouble or emergency.

These radios are used on many business boats, but they must be a distress tool on any recreational sailboat. Examine a variety of characteristics to pick the best VHF maritime radio. To begin, determine if a portable or mounted gadget will fit on the console of your yacht. Next, consider the influence of power and battery life on how far a signal goes and how much is required. The size of the display is an essential consideration for convenience. Finally, seek characteristics that indicate urgencies, such as GPS beacons, automated identification systems (AIS), and digital selective calling (DSC).

With so many types available today, picking the right VHF maritime radio may be challenging. As a result, these product suggestions will cover all you need to know about marine VHF radios and the characteristics to look for when purchasing a new radio.

VHF Marine Radios: What Are They?

Top 15 Best VHF Marine Radios in 2020

VHF stands for “very high frequency” and refers to the range of frequencies between 156 and 174 MHz, known as the VHF mobile marine band. VHF marine radio is used by large ships and practically all small maritime boats. Rivers, large ponds, and lakes all have their own rules. Launching distress calls and interacting with harbors, docks, ports, and marinas are examples of applications.

While sailing, a VHF marine radio is an essential communication tool for sending distress signals and obtaining information.

Radio frequencies are used in VHF maritime radio. A clear line of sight aids in signal enhancement. However, nothing can stop transmission if one is far from the coast.

Because of the mobile network coverage on open water, it is preferable to a phone. However, it’s possible that the signal isn’t up to par. VHF radio will almost always get an alert unless massive obstacles such as hills/mountains obstruct the movement.

If you transmit a distress signal, it will be received by anybody within range. This would increase your chances of escaping a sticky scenario. In addition, VHF maritime radios are better designed to withstand the elements at sea.

What Are The Benefits And Applications Of VHF Marine Radios?

Top 15 Best VHF Marine Radios in 2020

Why is it necessary to have a VHF marine radio on a boat nowadays? Although mobile phones are convenient, they have limits in ocean waters that VHF radios are designed to address. Here’s a brief rundown of the benefits and applications.

Mobile Network Area Limitations: One of the first limitations of mobile phones is that they do not operate everywhere, especially at sea. Once you’re a few miles from the shore, your odds of receiving an excellent cellular signal are slim. Furthermore, you won’t be able to contact other boats or emergency services without a cellular connection, so buying a cellphone won’t assist you in an emergency or distress scenario, but a VHF marine radio would.

Weather Alerts: You may listen to weather alerts on your VHF marine radio but not on your phone since cellular service is unlikely to operate at sea. As a result, you may use this gadget to monitor rapidly changing weather conditions.

In the event of an emergency distant from the coast, you may use your VHF marine radio to make a call. You may send a distress signal to rescuers; it will be received immediately since the system will automatically broadcast GPS data so that responders can locate your vessel. Best of all, if someone goes crazy, you receive aid right away. They’re also water-resistant. They provide information about your current location. Additionally, your device may include DSC for improved transmission.

You may take a portable VHF radio with you on the vessel/boat/ship when sailing. However, if your vessel is trapped in a storm, rain, or flood, the electricity may go out, and the mechanics fail. As a result, the handheld/portable alternative would be viable.

Versatility & Convenience: The handheld VHF marine radio is a reasonable recourse. It can be charged for up to 20+ hours anywhere. Numerous channel frequencies, counting weather channels, are available. When you’re in distress, just stay updated.

A fixed-mount VHF radio may broadcast between 1 and 25 watts of power. The use of 1W transmission allows for contact with nearby boats without disrupting the broadcast. Although 25W transmission enhances range, it may cause interference with other wavelengths.

DSC Capabilities: With a single button push, new fixed-mount VHF marine radios activate DSC, notifying numerous sailboats, ships, and shore stations. When coupled to GPS, DSC capabilities are added, such as location polling and a variety of group calling options. Some allow you to connect to a far-flung microphone and use it as an intercom system. Fixed radios are connected along with a VHF antenna, a power supply, and GPS.

What Different Types Of VHF Marine Radios Are There?

Top 15 Best VHF Marine Radios in 2020

Decide if you want a portable VHF marine radio or one that is permanently fixed/mounted to your boat when selecting a VHF marine radio. The transmission range/power becomes more serious as you sail away. Many devices include a large number of channels and functions, allowing you to watch many channels at the same time. The most common types of VHFs are listed below.

Portable/Handheld: The main advantage is that you can take it wherever with you, such as out fishing on a friend’s boat, on solo vacations, or to keep it safe from bad weather or potential thieves. Because they are battery-operated, have replacement batteries on hand at all times. They are compact and strong enough to transmit a perfect signal, with a solid transmission power/range.

Fixed-Mount/Mounted: These VHF marine radios are designed to operate off of the boat’s power source, making them incredibly powerful and eliminating the need for batteries. You can dismantle mounts, however, they’re not easy to move. It is preferred by mariners for its wide/extensive transmission power/range.

They’re found in both big motorboats and small yachts. You’ll need a power supply or a high-quality marine deep-cycle battery. They necessitate the installation of an antenna. The units are equipped with a GPS or ID system. Their cover lengths of over 15 miles are amazing.

VHF Marine Radios: Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it necessary for a user to carry a VHF marine radio on board?

You don’t require a VHF marine radio if your boat is less than 20 meters (65.6 feet) long. However, this is a very important piece of safety equipment, and it is strongly recommended that every boater, regardless of vessel size, carry a VHF marine radio onboard. To keep you safe, VHF radio notifications of new weather bulletins are broadcast.

2. Is a VHF maritime radio license required?

In the US, no license is required to set up and utilize a VHF marine radio. If you sail in international waters, request a license.

3. Is it necessary to have your VHF marine radio on at all times when sailing?

Absolutely! Although it is not strictly required to have the VHF radio on, it must be on to monitor bad weather notifications. If it’s on, you’re required by law to watch Station 16, the main emergency broadcast channel in the United States.

4. VHF maritime radio is obstructed and noise is generated by electronic equipment aboard. How can you get rid of them?

LED lights and onboard electronics interfere with VHF maritime radios, limiting the amount of time you can listen to transmissions. Electronics may be turned on individually. Examine the source of the interference; it must be removed/swapped/shielded. If necessary, relocate the radio.

5. What is the maximum time a buoyant portable model can float in water?

A: Buoyant models aren’t entirely waterproof; rescue them as soon as possible.

6. Should the menu provide a variety of sophisticated options?

Menus must be straightforward and intelligible to scroll through, regardless of how they’re built, so you’re prepared in an emergency.

7. What Characteristics Do Top-Notch/High-Quality VHF Marine Radios Have?

VHF maritime radios are small, but they’re packed with features. There are several factors to consider, and picking the right radio may save your life in an emergency. Let’s have a look at some characteristics you should look for in your personal VHF marine radio to ensure you’re getting the most out of it.

Top 15 Best VHF Marine Radios in 2020

Material & Construction

The display of a VHF maritime radio is essential since it allows you to notice settings on your radio, such as which channel you are speaking on. The fixed VHF radio display will almost always be larger than the portable one. If you’re viewing a display, make sure it has a backlight so you can read it in the dark.

VHF maritime radios should be simple to use and relatively durable since they are designed for use in emergency scenarios. Mounted models let you see how all of the buttons operate, so even someone who isn’t acquainted with radio operation can figure out how to use it. Water-activated emergency lights on portable radios help rescuers identify users if they fall overboard.

VHF maritime radios don’t have very simple menus since there are so many options for channels, range/power settings, and so on. A larger display is advantageous since it allows you to view more menu items without having to scroll.

Fixed/mounted VHF radios and portable VHF radios are also available. Boaters with experience recommend purchasing a fixed radio, as well as a portable radio as a backup, as well as batteries. The fixed VHF radio will not operate if the boat battery dies.

The availability of power is critical. Fixed-mount VHF radios are powered by the boat’s battery, therefore their operational period is merely limited by the availability of main power. When broadcasting at a maximum of 25W power, VHF maritime radios draw around 5 amps, and when receiving, they draw about 0.5 amps. It may take longer to deplete a large number of 12V marine batteries. The VHF radio will cease operating if the battery system fails. So have an additional portable VHF radio on board in case of an emergency.

When broadcasting VHF signals, line of sight is critical, and positioning the antenna as high as possible increases operational range. The best site is at the very top of the mast; to reduce signal loss, use a large diameter secured coax cable with well-connected connections.

Handheld VHF radios may accidentally go overboard, but fixed VHF radios are protected from water damage and corrosion. If you prefer a portable option, a floating water-resistant type is a good choice. Its water resistance is indicated by the rating. An IPX0 rating indicates that the device is not waterproof, while an IPX8 certification indicates that it is totally water-resistant.Top 15 Best VHF Marine Radios in 2020

VHF radios come in a variety of distance ratings. If you often go out on the open water, invest in a radio with a 50-mile range. A short-range rating will be adequate if you remain near the shore. VHF radios broadcast in a straight line between them, hence a long antenna is required. Purchase a radio with a longer antenna to ensure that you can transmit/receive the maximum distance possible with your radio.

Wireless Range & Operation

Some VHF maritime radios allow you to listen to more than one station at once. So there’s the dual/triple watch moniker. DSC is a term that refers to (Digital Selective Calling) is a technology that allows you to create automated distress calls with certain functionality. It’s on most fixed radios. It’s incredibly practical since it uses frequencies different than the standard ones to send a distress signal if necessary.

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) assists in locating and recognizing other boats. The identification technique entails more than simply finding the vessel’s or watercraft’s name and identification number. You may get real-time information about the destination, departure location, current speed, and cargo type. This is critical because certain boats may have an advantage over others when it comes to navigating someone’s waterway. You must be aware of who is in close proximity to you.

GPS may be a lifeline. If your radio has GPS capability, you’ll have an extra method for broadcasting signals and alerting others to your whereabouts.

While speaking, noise cancellation minimizes static sound and other distracting background noise. Noise cancellation may also deal with ambient noises such as a running motor, water splashes, rain, and so on.

You’ll need a waterproof radio if you’re going out on the sea, river, or gulf. Water splashes into your boat when the weather is bad. To ensure that you can seek assistance, you must select a waterproof receiver. The ability to withstand any amount of water, whether buried or battered by powerful waves, is critical for VHF maritime radios. Most VHF radios are IPX7 and JIS-7 compliant, meaning they can withstand totally submerged and remain pressurized.

Top 15 Best VHF Marine Radios in 2020

The functions of channels are tremendously significant to identify with. Numerous VHF marine radios allow monitoring of radio traffic on channels. For instance, dual-watch mounted radios monitor one additional channel, whilst triple-watch radios monitor two additional channels. Getting a tri-watch radio is beneficial if you spend much time on the water. Seek radios that have manifold weather channels with alerts. Finding an updated weather report at sea can be the divergence between returning unharmed and getting caught up in a hazardous situation.

Modern VHF maritime radios provide a number of useful navigation and tracking functions. GPS may assist you in determining your position in terms of latitude and longitude coordinates. In the event of a distress signal, the radio follows the location and communicates information to the Coast Guard or other emergency personnel. Digital selective calling (DSC) capabilities is required to activate the distress signal. This allows you to make a mechanical emergency call by just pressing a button. DSC is usually built-in to all current mounted VHF maritime radios, while it isn’t always the case with portable VHF radios.

Finally, the Automatic Identification System (AIS) works in conjunction with GPS to let other ships locate and recognize the vessel. This is especially useful if you’re sailing near shipping channels, as small boats without GPS coordinates may easily be turned over by massive cargo ships.

Durability & Warranty

As they are often used in international/local water bodies, oceans, bays, straits, rivers, gulfs, and lakes, and during severe downpours, fog, mist, blizzards, or whiteouts, the short/long-range robust VHF marine radios are waterproof, heat-/dust-proof.

Furthermore, these radios are built to withstand drops, dunks, and chucks. The rigorous application proves the product’s durability.

If you purchase a VHF marine radio from an approved dealer, you will be covered for many years in labor, craftsmanship, and parts. If a mechanical flaw is discovered during the warranty period, the producer will revamp or replace it free of charge. Models and manufacturers have different warranty periods.

In 2021, the top 15 best VHF marine radios

1. Uniden MHS75

Uniden MHS75 Waterproof Handheld 2-Way VHF Marine Radio (Top Pick)

With the Uniden MHS75 Waterproof Handheld 2-Way VHF Marine Radio, you can go out on the water!

Uniden has been developing groundbreaking technology that helps people keep in contact while being secure for almost 50 years. It’s easy to stay connected with the Uniden MHS75 portable waterproof 2-way VHF maritime radio.

Material & Construction

The Uniden MHS75 water-resistant JIS8/IPX8 submersible portable 2-way VHF marine radio weighs 1 pound and has a large orange backlit LCD display that is clear and easy to use. 1 AA battery with 12-hour battery life is needed. It’s 6.4″x6.2″x3.4″ in size.

It floats to the top when submerged in water, and glow-in-the-dark seals and a power key make it easy to locate. There are three power levels: 1/2.5/6W, 1/2.5/6W, and 1/2.5/6W. Simply set it to 1/2.5W to save battery life, and if you need the most transmit power available, full 6W, use the Power Boost key to obtain quick full power.

Power Boost PTT Key is included, as well as Land-based (GMRS) and Two-Way Marine (VHF) Communications. It features dual, triple, and quad Watch Plus capabilities, as well as all maritime NOAA channels. It features a flexible rubber antenna and a quick clip-on DC charging.

Wireless Range & Operation

MHS75 is waterproof to JIS8/IPX8 standards and can withstand Whitecap splashes, squally spray, and a powerful tidal surge. It’s designed tough to withstand the hardships of being out at sea every day. At 5′, it can be submerged for around 30 minutes.

It can adjust between 1/2.5 and 6 watts for short- and long-range communication, saving battery life. The transmission power of 1 watt is adequate. However, if you’re distant from shore and other stations, you may increase the transmission power and can’t receive a response.

MHS75 covers all maritime channels in the United States, Canada, and the world and keeps you up to speed on all the latest marine activities. While you listen to the chosen channel, Triple-Watch mode scans channels 16/9 every 2 seconds for signal. It’s an excellent long-range scanning radio for up to 8 miles from the beach.

Durability & Warranty

Uniden’s 3-year water protection guarantee is included with the Rainproof MHS75. This radio is suitable for those who go out in rainy or severe weather, and it can withstand the occasional immersion. It remains incredibly responsive even after several visits spread out over 3-5 years in harsh sea/ocean surfing. It withstands several rolls and dunks. The battery life is excellent.

Pros

  • Radio that can be submerged
  • 1/2.5/5W transmission power is selectable.
  • All Marine Channels in the United States, Canada, and the World

Cons

  • There are no DSC capabilities.
  • The clip has no holding mechanism.

2. Cobra 3-Watt MR HH150 FLT 

Cobra MR HH150 FLT Marine Radio

With the Cobra 3-Watt MR HH150 FLT Marine Radio, you can get the aid you need while sailing!

The Cobra MR HH150 FLT Marine Radio is a portable VHF radio with a great range that provides NOAA and international warnings to rescue you from bad weather and other emergencies on open seas.

Material & Construction

Short-/long-range communication for water enthusiasts, quick scan, battery status, user-friendly interface, expansive display, dual-watch button, backlit display keys, compressed floating design with indicators, TX/RX signal strength, DW, and PTT rapid access to channel 16/9.

It runs on rechargeable 5 AAA batteries, and you can carry additional ordinary AAA batteries in case you run out. It has a maximum range and low power consumption, allowing it to operate for an extended time. Its dimensions are 1.5″x2.7″x4.5″.

Wireless Range & Operation

It’s ideal for maritime applications and any boat size. Its orange core makes it easy to see while floating and allows you to recover it if it falls overboard. In addition, the chosen 3-Watt VHF choices may achieve an extensive range of distance with improved connection, whether it’s short- or long-distance.

This radio station broadcasts in the United States, Canada, and other worldwide locations. Get fast access to Weather channels from NOAA and warnings and approach weather risks and essential news. You have access to accurate and real-time information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You have fast access to channel 16/9 in case of an emergency, and you can scan numerous channels stored in memory to identify ongoing discussions with a single button press. For near/distant calling, choose between 1/3/6W output power. It complies with IPX8 (JIS8) requirements for water immersion.

Durability & Warranty

This waterproof radio is designed to withstand the elements and is expected to be submersible to an industry-standard JIS7 depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes of protection. It comes with rechargeable batteries and comes with a one-year guarantee.

Pros

  • Long-range portable VHF radio that floats
  • Submersible and waterproof
  • International weather notifications from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Cons

  • Corrosion may occur if water gets extensively into the interiors.

3. Uniden Atlantis 155 Handheld

Uniden Atlantis 155 Handheld Two-Way VHF Marine Radio

Uniden Atlantis 155 Handheld Two-Way VHF Nautical Radio provides convenience for marine enthusiasts!

Uniden’s Atlantis 155 handheld IPX7 submersible waterproof two-way VHF marine radio continues the company’s legacy of producing reliable handheld radios. A dazzling backlit LCD makes it easy to use at any day or night and provides you the freedom to go anywhere you choose.

Material & Construction

1.08lbs The Atlantis 155 boasts a 1/3Watt transmission power, a huge LCD screen, a sturdy build, and a plethora of functions. After being immersed, the Atlantis 155 floats, fulfills the most stringent water resistance requirements, and clears the speaker with a vibrating tone. 4 AAA 950mAh NiMH rechargeable batteries are provided, as well as a DC charging connection.

The battery lasts for 10 hours. It includes a user-selectable white illumination for daytime usage and an orange backlight for nighttime use. It can be submerged to a depth of 4.9 feet for 30 minutes, safeguarding it from the harmful effects of prolonged exposure to water.

Wireless Range & Operation

The submersible, floating portable design of the Atlantis 155 keeps you safe and connected. It gets all Weather channels from NOAA and Weather warnings from NOAA. It contains an emergency strobe light and an integrated flashlight for emergency scenarios.

It supports maritime channels from the United States, Canada, and other countries, including new 4-digit channels and Canadian “B” channels.

Durability & Warranty

It comes with a 3-year waterproof guarantee and is built to survive year after year without deterioration or signal loss.

Pros

  • Screen with two colors
  • Water-resistant floating IPX7 submersible
  • Weather warnings from NOAA
  • Marine channels in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada
  • Battery life of ten hours

Cons

  • With the manufacturer, battery replacement is not possible.

4. Cobra MRHH350FLT VHF

Cobra MRHH350FLT VHF Long-Range Marine Radio

With the Cobra MRHH350FLT VHF Marine Radio, you’ll have perfect peace of mind!

The Cobra MRHH350FLT VHF long-range floating marine radio has a lot of capabilities and is small and light. It fulfills the needs of any weekend user adequately.

Material & Construction

Don’t worry about dropping your 9.6oz. radio overboard; it’s coast guard water-resistant and floats well. The hovering design and orange core make retrieval easier. STANDARD JIS7/IPX8 indicates that it can be submerged for 30 minutes in 3ft/1M of water. It’s 2.1″x2.7″x4.8″ in size.

With a backlit display and a pioneering BURP design that pulsates water to evacuate from the speaker when soaked, the ergonomic, compact form is comfortable to carry and intuitive to use in any setting. A single Lithium Polymer battery is required.

Wireless Range & Operation

So you’re never alone on the water, converse in short/long range with 1/3/6W output options. Tri-Watch simultaneously watches three channels.

You may confidently travel through USA/Canada/International seas with dependable coverage and adequate unlimited memory to allow channel recall simple with an easy-to-read signal meter using three-channel maps.

With fast access to 10 Weather channels from NOAA, channel 16/9, 24 hours a day, and an audible alert tone if any emergency or scary weather is nearby while monitoring 3 channels swiftly, you’ll be aware of approaching threats or changing weather.

Durability & Warranty

It’s supported by Cobra’s 5-decade track record of dependability and excellence. For the limited warranty period from the date of purchase, Cobra Electronics Corporation assures that this device and its components are free of defects in workmanship and materials. If the product is used inside the United States, the warranty is enforced by the original customer/purchaser.

An excellent battery that lasts for ten days and keeps a solid charge. The radio is unaffected by salt spray in lakes, coastal seas, and oceans.

Pros

  • System of three watches
  • a characteristic of burping
  • Weather channels from NOAA

Cons

  • Only the charging cradle that comes with the product may be used to charge it.
  • There are no USB-B or USB-C ports.

5. Standard Horizon HX210

Standard Horizon HX210 Handheld VHF

Get maximum dependability with the Standard Horizon HX210 Handheld VHF, which is made to last!

For any sailing enthusiast, the Horizon HX210 6W solid floating portable VHF marine radio is a lifesaver in disaster circumstances.

Material & Construction

1.65-pound floater HX210 incorporates an Emergency strobe light triggered by water and a small case design. It comes with a large full-color, high-resolution dot-matrix display, E20 Easy-to-Operate menu system, programmable function buttons, and a high-capacity 1850 mAh Li-Ion battery, as well as a 3-hour desktop rapid charger, 12VDC and 110VAC charging cables, and a cradle. It’s 9.3″x7.1″x3.3″ in size. A single Lithium-ion battery is needed.

Wireless Range & Operation

It features all US/International/Canadian channels, as well as the variable output power of 6W/2.5W/1W. WX/FM radio bands 76MHz-108MHz are available. The floating/submersible IPX7 waterproof certification (3.3′ or 1m for 30 minutes) complements the built-in FM broadcast band system.

Durability & Warranty

The HX210 is covered by a three-year waterproof guarantee. It’s well-made, and it’s well-supported. If it ever breaks down for any reason, including water damage from normal usage in the first three years, the firm will repair or replace it free of charge! If it fails in normal usage, the company’s Flat Rate Service Program will cover it.

Internal Lithium-Ion battery technology is supported by a dense, ergonomic, and sturdy casing design. This makes it considerably smaller yet light enough to float face-up in the water.

Even if the radio is switched off, an emergency strobe light is automatically activated if it falls in water! The strobe may be programmed to flash on/off/SOS, or it can be set to remain on indefinitely.

Pros

  • Dot-matrix LCD display with high resolution
  • IPX7 waterproof rating (floating/submersible)
  • 3-year guarantee on water resistance

Cons

  • If you have hearing loss, the little speaker might be difficult to hear.

6. Cobra MR F45-D 

Cobra MR F45-D Fixed-Mount VHF Marine Radio

With the Cobra MR F45-D Fixed Mount VHF Marine Radio, you’ll always be prepared in an emergency.

Cobra is a brand of radio that may broadcast a distress signal or swap location information from other stations, boats, or the coast guard at the press of a button. Cobra has your back when it comes to boat safety and safety on the water.

Material & Construction

The MR F45 weighs 2.6 pounds and has dimensions 12.2″x9.2″x3″. A full-featured DSC-capable VHF radio is included with the MR F45. The 1/25W output, which may be selected, is appropriate for short- and long-range communication. This device has a dual watch, changeable lighting, and function buttons on the microphone. With dual-output power for short and long-range communication, this VHF maritime radio provides maximum coverage in the United States, Canada, and worldwide.

Wireless Range & Operation

Get well-versed with incoming hazards early or changing weather conditions by instant access to 10 Weather channels from NOAA, 24×7. Weather alerts with an audible tone and visual alarm inform you of threatening weather close by.

Scan channels for ongoing talks and have instant access to Channel 16 and Channel 9 in case of an emergency. Use the Dual Watch feature to keep an eye on two channels at the same time. The Signal Strength Meter on the huge lighted LCD display will show you the strength of an incoming signal.

The backlit function keys make it simple to navigate this radio’s many functions. It uses a tone on a weather channel that you may choose for your location to notify you about weather emergencies.

Durability & Warranty

Manufactured with industrial-grade materials that will withstand repeated usage; additionally equipped with IPX8 (JIS8) specifications for water submersion, and all supported by a 3-year guarantee.

Pros

  • Operation on one of three separate channels is possible.
  • All-Hazards and National Weather Information are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • For short and long communication, there are two output power options.
  • Class D DSC is installed (Digital Selective Calling)

Cons

  • Sending transmissions is more difficult.

7. Uniden UM385 25

Uniden UM385 25W Fixed-Mount Marine VHF Radio

With the Uniden UM385 25 Watt Fixed Mount Marine VHF Radio, you can stay up to current on weather forecasts!

Uniden’s Marine Radios protect you from what lies ahead, keeping you out of dangerous seas by alerting you when a storm is developing and reporting your position if you need assistance.

Material & Construction

The UM385 weighs 3.55 pounds and has dimensions 5″x6.3″x2.6″. It has triple-watch capabilities, a variety of international maritime channels, DSC capabilities, and S. A. M. E Weather Alert. The UM385 is a one-of-a-kind design that has everything you’ll need on the water.

The UM385 includes a tough handheld mic that enables you to communicate without difficulty while maintaining your eyes on the road ahead. It’s a waterproof radio that meets IPX4 waterproof specifications, which means it can withstand rain and splash damage.

Wireless Range & Operation

Distress Button, Position Send, and Request are all included in the UM385 package. The feature allows you to call for assistance with a single button push during an emergency and has complete Class D DSC capability. Knowing when to turn around and when to ask for assistance might be as valuable as having a high-performance transceiver designed for smooth communication.

Durability & Warranty

The Atlantis 275 floats and is submersible to 4.9′ for 30 minutes. It is made with superior materials to guarantee endurance. It also contains a tone to empty water from the speaker chamber while the radio is underwater, indicating that it will be ready when you need it.

Pros

  • DSC is a term that refers to (Digital Selective Calling)
  • Weather Alert for A.M.E.
  • Microphone With A Rugged Design
  • Waterproofing requirements IPX4

Cons

  • The quality of the work might have been better.

8. Retevis RT55 Floating

Retevis RT55 Floating Handheld VHF Marine Radio

With the Retevis RT55 Floating Handheld VHF Marine Radio, you can be accurate and strong!

Retevis presents you the Dual/Tri-Watch, which allows you to watch the USA, Canada, and worldwide marine channels concurrently without worrying about any sea limits; it also has an Automatic Backlight feature that brightens your voyage and works well at night.

Material & Construction

The Retevis RT55 is 9.7″x9.7″x3″ and weighs 9.9 ounces. The product is made entirely of genuine floating material and is resistant to saltwater erosion. It boasts a huge LCD screen and an enormous keypad for all operations; the large keyboard ensures that you may operate and use it comfortably even while wearing gloves at work.

NOAA Weather Monitor + Alert will automatically scan ten weather channels to provide you with the most up-to-date weather information and send you notifications for severe weather updates at sea. The device’s 1 x 1200 mAh li-ion battery, belt clip, and ultra-lightweight antenna make it simple to carry; if it falls into water, it will float immediately away. The ergonomic design is meant for a side anti-slip thread for better handling.

Wireless Range & Operation

The RT55 is a fully floating maritime radio that automatically floats after being dropped in the water; the self-sufficient drainage feature prevents water from entering the radio speaker mic, ensuring that the sound is neither distorted nor muted. A large frequency range covers the whole United States and Canada, as well as international maritime channels; high power can also provide a surprising range, and you won’t have to worry about losing the signal.

The gadget offers a tri-watch function that enables you to keep an eye on the in-progress channel, the channel you’ll call, and emergency channel 16; the TAG hot button allows you to rapidly gather together the channels you want and achieve priority fast scanning.

The NOAA weather alarm delivers automatic scans to warn you of vital weather updates, as well as an alarm signifying a severe weather threat; the LCD screen is lighted by design, and the screen clarity can be adjusted from low to high to acclimate to terrible weather.

Durability & Warranty

Rugged and durable two-way radios satisfy military standards, so you don’t have to worry about them keeping up in harsh environments. Its superior corrosion resistance ensures that it floats in seawater and performs well. The radio is completely waterproof (IP67) and has a floating function. It comes with a 2-year manufacturer’s guarantee.

Pros

  • 10 NOAA weather scans and alerts pre-programmed
  • Designed to be ultra-lightweight for a variety of aquatic activities
  • Side anti-slip thread has an ergonomic design.
  • The keyboard is larger and the LCD screen is large.

Cons

  • At first, it’s a little more difficult to utilize.

9. STANDARD HORIZON HX870

STANDARD HORIZON HX870 Floating 6W Handheld VHF

STANDARD HORIZON HX870 6W Handheld VHF brings miracles to your yacht!

The new enhanced function enables you to continually monitor and show location information of roughly nine pre-selected boats. Standard Horizon HX870 is manufactured with an Easy-to-Operate Icon/Menu System. With a bigger display and a very bright backlight, your work will be easier.

Material & Construction

HX870 is 2 pounds and is 9.5″x3.5″x7.5″. The radio includes a sophisticated floating portable VHF/GPS with a 66-channel WAAS GPS receiver that allows you to send a DSC distress message, report your position, or make calls using your coordinates, making it suitable for daily usage or adding to your ditch bag.

The device includes 6W of transmission power, a long-lasting 1,800mAh Li-Ion battery, a die-cast chassis, Submersible Waterproof Rating of IPX8, the DSC is a term that refers to (Digital Selective Calling) feature including Position Request, Position Report with waypoint entering makes this product complete.

Wireless Range & Operation

Don’t bother attempting to understand the owner’s manual. The devices include a completely new Easy-to-Operate Menu system, making this the most intuitive handheld available. Navigation to a DSC distress call may be accomplished in a few simple steps using DSC calling, location sharing, waypoint, and route navigation.

Save up to 200 waypoints and 20 routes, which may be used to navigate using the radio’s dedicated compass page. The new GM (Group Monitoring) feature of the compass page may indicate the location of up to nine boats in close vicinity to you.

The Easy-to-Operate Icon and Menu System, the ten-channel preset key selection, GPS Position Logger, USB Data Port, and water-activated SOS strobe light (the radio will turn on and flash SOS even if it is turned off) are among the advanced features. VHF has an Alkaline Battery Tray with 12V DC and 110V AC, as well as three-hour rapid charges.

Durability & Warranty

Made with an IPX8 Waterproof rating to give long-lasting durability in harsh conditions, it’s backed with a 3-year guarantee on water resistance.

Pros

  • 66-channel WAAS GPS receiver integrated
  • Emergency strobe light triggered by water
  • DSC Group Position Call is equipped with a GM (Group Monitor).
  • Full-dot matrix display with a large size

Cons

  • Battery life may have been improved.

10. GX1300 Eclipse Class D

Standard Horizon Eclipse Gx1300 Fixed-Mount VHF Radio

With the dependability of the Standard Horizon Eclipse Gx1300 VHF Radio, you’ll be ready for any emergency!

Standard Horizon Eclipse models have the same strong capabilities as conventional Eclipse models, but the newest model has an enlarged display with brilliant bold illumination that makes the GX1300 clearly visible from any location on the boat.

Material & Construction

The GX1300 Eclipse Class D VHF Radio weighs 3.2 pounds and has dimensions 11.5″x4.5″x9.5″. The gadget now has an IPx8 submersible waterproof certification. This ultra-compact VHF radio has also been revamped with a new icon/menu system that employs an enlarged full-dot matrix LCD to expand the size of the channels while also displaying navigation information.

The depth of the radio’s rear chassis has also been reduced to 5.9 inches, making it easier to install and mount in confined areas. It broadcasts a 25/1W signal.

Wireless Range & Operation

The ideal selection for the budget-conscious mariner requires full-featured marine VHF, with great new features together with DSC Test Calling plus Automatic Position Polling. Other functionalities include programmable soft keys, NOAA weather with weather alert, programmable memory and priority scan, All Marine Channels in the United States, Canada, and the World, dual watch, along with microphone with Clear Voice Noise Reduction Technology to remove unwanted background wind with engine noise.

DSC distress call may be initiated via the Eclipse GX1300. It communicates a digital mayday with vessel identity, including Latitude/Longitude, with time to aid on-time rescue, when interfaced by your GPS and active. Individual, Safety, Urgency, Position Report and Send, DSC test call, and auto DSC channel switching are among the other DSC capabilities.

Durability & Warranty

The ultra-compact VHF has been re-engineered to meet the Submersible Waterproof Rating of IPX8 of 4.92’ for the duration of 30 minutes. A 3-year guarantee on water resistance backs the device. Furthermore, the manufacturer will repair/replace it free, without hassles or additional costs.

Pros

  • A more prominent complete dot matrix display has been added.
  • A menu system that is simple to use
  • The design of the back casing is narrower.
  • A microphone with Clear Voice Noise Reduction Technology is included.

Cons

  • It should improve the brightness of the full-dot matrix display.

11. STANDARD HORIZON GX1800GB

STANDARD HORIZON GX1800GB 25W VHF/GPS/Second Station Explorer Series

You may have more safe excursions with the STANDARD HORIZON GX1800GB 25W VHF/GPS/Second Station Explorer Series!

STANDARD HORIZON offers maritime radios with the E2O Easy-to-Operate Menu System, Second Station RAM4 compatibility, and ultra-compact, easy-to-install design that makes life easier.

Material & Construction

The GX1800GB weighs 3.5 pounds and is 7.5″x4″x10″. Out of the box and ready to use, eliminating the need for additional cabling to a second GPS output. This radio may be linked to a second station installed remotely and fully functioning (RAM mic).

Class D DSC radio, DSC Distress Calling, Group Calling, Individual Calling, All Ships Calling, and Position Sharing are all available on the GX1800G. In addition, the command is more comfortable and straightforward to comprehend because of the slightly larger, extra-bright high resolution with Dot-Matrix display.

Wireless Range & Operation

DSC is simple with the GX1800G. There is no need to wire the radio to a DSC GPS since it has an integrated 66 Channel GPS incorporated into the front panel.

It now works nicely with Standard Horizon’s newest second station microphone, the RAM4, and model SSM-70. In addition, it may now control every function on the primary radio from Second Station RAM4; this includes all radio functions, DSC functions, and intercom functions between the radio and the Second Station.

The new easy menu system, which was redesigned with the operator in mind, is now more intuitive than ever. With only a few simple actions, you’ll have access to all menu features and options. DSC calling and programming has never been simpler. The back casing of the Explorer Series VHFs is ultra-thin and small.

Durability & Warranty

It comes with an IPX8 submersible design for making it a waterproof product, all Standard Horizon radios are backed by the industry’s leading 3-year guarantee on water resistance coverage.

Pros

  • WAAS GPS receiver with 66 channels
  • Compatible with RAM mic in the second station
  • For mounting convenience, the depth is just 3.5 inches.
  • Waterproof rating of IPX8

Cons

  • The alarm went off every 10 minutes, according to several customers.

12. Standard Horizon GX1600B

Standard Horizon GX1600B Standard Explorer VHF Marine Radio

You may discover new seas with the Standard Horizon GX1600B Standard Explorer VHF Marine Radio!

The Horizon GX1600B comes with a handy bundle that includes everything you need for excellent maritime communication. In addition, the Explorer GX1600 Class D DSC VHF Radio is included in the package, including all necessary features and a state-of-the-art Standard Horizon.

Material & Construction

The GX1600B VHF maritime radio is 9″x4″x9″ in size and weighs 5 pounds. All scanning operations are available, as well as Programmable, Priority Scan, and Dual Watch. It also includes a substantial 3′′ LCD and a transmission power of 25/1W.

The Explorer GX1600 is ultra-thin, with just 3.5′′ in-depth, or half the depth of comparable VHF radios on the market. The rear case design also allows you to flush install the radio in tight spaces or conserve dash space when bracket mounted, giving you more options for where you want to put your radio.

Wireless Range & Operation

The VHF radio is intended to be mounted quickly and easily. The gadget, equipped with a 70-channel receiver, complies with Class D DSC rules by continually monitoring DSC calls. Another vessel will be “polled” for its GPS position, which will appear on the radio’s display. To restore your position, COG, SOG, and time, connect the Explorer GX1600 to a GPS Chartplotter.

The microphone has ClearVoice noise reduction technology with a dedicated 16/9 channel, high/low transmit, and channel selection keys. Moreover, it features a programmable scan, priority scan, dual-watch, customizable channel names, all Weather channels from NOAA by alert, three programmable soft keys, one preset channel, and a large backlit dot matrix screen. VHF features four different NMEA inputs or two different outputs. Also, it’s backed with submersible to JIS8 standards.

Durability & Warranty

GX1600B is made out of premium materials and gadgetry to ensure long-lasting performance in a wet climate. Moreover, it’s backed with a 3-year guarantee on water resistance.

Pros

  • 3′′ LCD
  • Compass Navigation to a DSC Distress Call page
  • DSC channel selection is automatic.
  • DSC polls the GPS location of up to four ships automatically.

Cons

  • It’s a little more difficult to program the gadget.

13. Standard Horizon Eclipse Gx1400

Standard Horizon Eclipse Gx1400 Fixed-Mount VHF Radio

Standard Horizon Eclipse Gx1400 VHF Radio is now available!

The standard Horizon ultra-compact radio has a large full dot-matrix display that is easy to see. In addition, the GX1400 is equipped with Class D DSC technology, which allows it to receive DSC operations on channel 70 while still accepting voice calls.

Material & Construction

The GX1400 is 18″x10″x6″ and weighs 2.9 pounds. This ultra-compact radio has an easy icon/menu system with a more extensive full dot-matrix LCD that increases the amount of information shown. In addition, it has a shallow depth of just 3.9 inches, making it ideal for installation in confined areas. The fixed-mount VHF radio GX1400 has a power output of 25 watts and is a commercial communication option for any vessel.

It features an ITU-R M493-13 Class D VHF receiver with a separate Channel 70 receiver, allowing DSC calls to be received while listening to conversations. When the DSC DISTRESS function is turned on, it sends a digital MAYDAY message along with vessel identity, latitude/longitude, and time (if GPS is attached) for a quick response. Individual, Safety, Urgency, Position Report, and Send are more calls to be made.

Wireless Range & Operation

The Gx1400 can make a DSC distress call and has DSC Test Calling with Automatic Position Polling, Programmable Scan, Priority Scan, and Multi Watch capabilities. The microphone on the VHF is noise-canceling. It’s also NMEA 0183 compatible. The new trouble-free-to-operate menu system has been redesigned with the user in mind and is now more perceptive than before.

The VHF boasts a high-resolution dot-matrix display that makes accessing the radio’s many capabilities a breeze. It now features a brighter illumination for better contrast on the screen. In addition, the Mic integrated with the GX1400 is equipped with Clear Voice Noise Reduction Technology, eliminating unnecessary background noise such as motors, wind, and other components that might prohibit you from being heard during transmission.

Durability & Warranty

Gx1400 is backed with a Submersible Waterproof Rating of IPX8. It has a 3-year guarantee on water resistance. Suppose your Eclipse Series radio stops working for any reason (with water damage) through everyday use in the first three years of ownership. In that case, the manufacturer will repair/replace it free, with no hassles or charges.

Pros

  • E2O Menu System is a menu system that allows you to create your own
  • The Most Up-to-Date Dot-Matrix Display
  • Submersible Waterproof Rating of IPX8
  • Weather channels from NOAA, weather alert

Cons

  • The unit employs an out-of-date NMEA 0183 standard that should be upgraded.

14. ICOM M25 21 

ICOM M25 21 Handheld VHF Radio

The ICOM M25 21 Handheld VHF Radio is the most significant buddy of sailors!

This compact ICOM M25 boasts a large LC with prominent channel numbers and status symbols and a weather channel that provides weather alerts and dual/tri-watch capabilities that make the M25 an excellent device for commercial usage.

Material & Construction

M25 is 0.5″x2.2″x2.1″ and weighs 1 pound. If thrown overboard, this lightweight, thin, portable VHF radio provides exceptional performance in a circumstance where it floats and flashes! A built-in 1500 mAh lithium-ion battery with a 4-step battery life display offers 11 hours of operation. A USB charging connector is included, and connecting a speaker-microphone is possible for business use.

Wireless Range & Operation

When placed in water, M25 floats. It comes with an optional HM213 microphone. When the radio is submerged in water, and the power is turned off, the flashing light feature activates. The LCD and key backlight on the top of the front panel flashes, but a red LED light blinks in the middle of the back panel, indicating the radiolocation for easy recovery.

M25 is equipped with a Micro-B USB connection. It comes with cigarette lighter connections or mobile batteries for charging Smartphones and other gadgets that will be used with the device. It takes a maximum of 5V/1A of input. M25 produces a powerful 550mW (12Ohm load) audio output, with a clear and audible received voice. The volume loud/mute features allow rapid volume change by holding down the VOL/SQL button.

Durability & Warranty

It is made with high-precision materials and technology that assure longevity, and it comes with a 3-year warranty and Waterproofing to IPX7 certification.

Pros

  • There is a giant LCD with status icons during a considerable channel number.
  • Straightforward operation is provided via the front panel buttons.
  • The AquaQuakeTM function drains the water from the speaker.
  • Battery life indicator with four steps

15. Common NMEA M330G

M330G ICOM VHF Radio

With the M330G VHF Radio, you’ll be able to navigate the seas with ease!

The Common NMEA interface on the ICOM Small VHF fixed-mount maritime radio is designed for external GPS/NAV connection. It offers a wealth of functions while being compact and user-friendly.

Material & Construction

The basic VHF is 18″x10″x6″ and weighs 2.9 pounds. The M330 series delivers reliable service. It does, however, come in a compact package that fits wonderfully in tiny areas. The M330 series has AquaQuakeTM draining technology and 25W of electricity, and IPX7 waterproof certification. The scan/select feature and ICOM’s unique user interface are meant to be user-friendly.

Wireless Range & Operation

M330G comes with a GPS receiver and a straightforward-to-install external GPS puck antenna for better correctness and performance. The small compact design of the GPS puck antenna gives your location, bearing, and speed by using information from GLONASS, GPS, and SBAS. This information is applied to DSC, a term that refers to (Digital Selective Calling) calls. Connect to GPS puck antenna for the most precise GPS and DSC features to work.

Because of its modest size, the M330G is easy to install in vessels with limited space. The dot-matrix display is easy to see and understand. Combining a directional keypad and soft keys allows for smooth and straightforward use. The most commonly used functions are assigned to soft keys for quick one push function access.

Durability & Warranty

The product is of the highest quality and comes with a one-year limited guarantee.

Pros

  • A dedicated CH70 receiver with built-in Class D DSC.
  • Draining function of Aqua Quake
  • Favorite channel operates with tag scan
  • Waterproofing to IPX7

Cons

  • In terms of design, it’s a little more traditional.

Conclusion

For prolonged shelf life, take proper care of your VHF marine audio. Here are a few cleaning and maintenance suggestions.

  • If you’re charging the battery, turn off the radio.
  • Use a damp (but not wet) microfiber cloth to clean it. The soft fabric texture will easily remove tough dirt and stains without causing any harm.
  • Use batteries and chargers that are compatible with your device. Your unit’s accessories must be kept convenient and dry.
  • When not in use, keep it in a dry, incredible location away from harsh weather conditions such as extreme heat/cold, sunshine, snow, and rain.
  • Before storing the radio, turn it off and remove the battery.
  • Before using the radio, make sure the electrical wires are good.
  • When you connect your radio to your GPS, the accurate position is sent to you. This is critical for DSC’s life-extension function to work.
  • After the outlets have been drilled, vacuum up the fiberglass dust.
  • Antenna radios should not be held or clutched. Constant use will have an impact on transmission, reception, and operation.
  • Overcharging a battery might shorten its life.
  • Test the radio to ensure it’s in good working order and isn’t being harmed by any potential LED interference.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I look for in a VHF radio?

A: For the most part, you will want a radio with an antenna to pick up more stations. The other main thing is battery life in hours to know how long your batteries can last before needing replacement. You’ll also want to make sure there are many different presets for memory management and frequency options, if possible.

What is the range of VHF marine radio?

A: The range of VHF marine radio is typically 10 km or 6.2 mi, depending on the power output and antenna size used.

Related Tags

  • best handheld VHF marine radio 2020
  • best fixed marine VHF radio
  • best handheld VHF marine radio 2021
  • best VHF radio
  • VHF marine radio with built-in GPS
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