Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best marine radio 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated September 1, 2023
Best marine radio of 2018
After carefully examining the reviews and ratings of the people who have used them earlier this listicle has been made. Based on customer reviews and my own experience with the cowboy method I’ve found the best 3 marine radio on the market. The best marine radio will make your fairytale dreams come true! Simply review and buy them.
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this marine radio win the first place?
I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack.
Why did this marine radio come in second place?
This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price.
Why did this marine radio take third place?
It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great! It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built.
marine radio Buyer’s Guide
How They Work
Marine VHF radios rely on radio waves to send and receive transmissions. They rely on line of sight in order to function. Anything that blocks line of sight (land masses, earth curvature, etc.) will disrupt the signals. Thankfully there are few such obstacles on the open water.
The most powerful marine radios are those with long antennas and high wattage. If multiple boats simultaneously transmit on one frequency, the strongest signal is the one which will come through.
Fixed-Mount and Handheld
There are two basic types of VHF marine radio: fixed-mount and handheld. You can maximize your range with a fixed-mount system, which also draws from the boat’s electricity (so you don’t need batteries). Then again, if the electrical system goes down in an emergency, you will need a handheld. Buy one of each if you can.
VHF Radio vs. Mobile
Why buy a VHF radio at all? Why not simply use your cell phone? There are a number of good reasons. For one, mobile networks offer spotty coverage on the open water (nonexistent in many locations). Cell phones lack the weather alert and DSC features of marine radios and are not waterproof.
A fixed-mount VHF marine radio is one which is permanently mounted to your boat and wired into the boat’s electrical system, generally the helm. Benefits include a higher power output and range than handheld radios, dedicated power, and ease-of-use in choppy sea conditions. Many options are available for antennas (straight mount, swivel mount, ratchet mount, rail mount, etc.). You can even set up dual stations and navigate using GPS.
Power and Range
A fixed-mount radio can transmit on anything from one to 2watts of power. Transmitting on one watt allows you to talk to nearby boats without disrupting other transmissions. Transmitting on 2watts will maximize your range (anywhere from five to 30 miles, depending on clear line of sight).
As mentioned before, you have numerous options when it comes to antennas for fixed-mount units. To get the best range, you want your antenna to be mounted as high as you can. If you plan to attach the unit to a powerboat, do so on the superstructure and pick an antenna with six- or nine-dB gain. If you have a sailboat, mount on the mast and go with three dB.
One popular feature for fixed-mount systems is dual station. This allows you to install a microphone in another room inside your boat and operate dual stations from the helm radio. You can then use the system as an intercom.
This is a feature you will find in higher-end fixed-mount marine radios, but generally not in the less expensive models. It allows you to broadcast to other vessels in the area, line handlers, and so on. To use it, you will need to purchase additional hardware in the form of an external waterproof speaker. You also may find it comes equipped with a feature called Listen-Back. With this, you can convert speakers into microphones to amplify noises. This makes it easy to hear the foredeck hand or fog signals in the distance. Not all hailer functions include Listen-Back, so if you need it, look for it specifically in the product specifications of the model you are considering.
This is the portable version of a VHF marine radio. It isn’t mounted; you carry it around with you. Many handheld units these days offer most of the same advanced features as fixed-mount units. You can get extremely basic models at the lower end and very sophisticated ones at the higher end.
Features can include DSC capability, built-in GPS, a distress button, waterproofing, noise canceling, and much more. Range is lower than what you will get from a fixed-mount radio, but handheld models offer a couple of very important benefits. They offer a backup if your ship’s electrical system crashes in an emergency (or your ship sinks altogether). On top of that, they are portable. You can take them anywhere on your vessel or off of it.
The larger your handheld radio, the bigger the battery it can hold and the longer its battery life is going to be. Buoyant, lightweight models also generally hold smaller batteries than those which are allowed to sink. At the lower end of the range, you might get seven hours of charge. At the higher end, you can expect around 20 hours. You will need to weigh the importance of battery life in conjunction with other important features such as buoyancy. Figure out what you need most and make your purchase decision accordingly.
As just discussed, some radios these days are made to float. While the tradeoff is a shorter battery life, there are plenty of benefits to a floating radio. For one thing, you are less likely to lose it and have to waste money on a replacement. For another (and more importantly), you might need to use your radio to get rescued in the water. If it sinks, obviously it is useless to you. A buoyant radio could save your life.
Handheld marine radios usually have either a dot matrix or LCD display. A seven-segment LCD display looks like your clock radio; it is blocky and hard to read. A dot matrix display can generate any image, and looks more like the screen on your smartphone or television. While dot matrix may not be a vital feature, it certainly makes for a more pleasant user experience.
What are some important features to look for on a VHF marine radio? The features listed below may cost you extra, but they can provide you with greater value in your purchase.
GPS is an incredibly useful feature. As mentioned above, you can use it in conjunction with your DSC to transmit your exact location in distress. This allows rescue parties to make their way to you directly.
GPS is also useful for general navigational purposes. You can view your latitude and longitude, and even set up custom waypoints as you travel. That way you can find your way to and from specific locations. This is excellent for fishing, diving, and numerous other purposes.
AIS stands for “Automatic Identification System.” It is a tracking system you can use to locate and identify other vessels. Using an AIS-equipped transponder or receiver, you can see real-time data on nearby ships including their type, dimensions, cargo, position, speed, destinations, and more. A transponder will broadcast information on your vessel; a receiver will not. Benefits include the ability to transmit your position, detect movements from unauthorized vessels, manage a port, conduct coastal surveillance, and more.
Early warning in case of inclement weather conditions at sea can quite literally save your life. For that reason, you are going to want a marine radio equipped with weather alerts. These should include alerts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as well as Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) alerts. SAME alerts are specific to your region; NOAA alerts are national.
2watt mountable marine radio doesn’t have built in GPS. However, it is very reasonably priced, powerful and very easy to use. Also, it’s one of the only marine radios on the market that comes with an external speaker jack.
Comes with mounting bracket. There’s no chance this radio will go overboard. It attaches to the frame of your boat.
Long range communication. 2watts of power allows you to send messages to boats 20 nautical miles or more away.
Noise free transmissions. The built in noise reducer erases static and wind.
Uncomplicated interface. The MR F45-D doesn’t have quite as many features as some nautical radios. But it has all the basics and it’s super easy to use.
External speaker jack. If you need a volume boost, you can hook up an extra speaker.
GX1700W costs twice as much as an ordinary mounted marine radio. But, it has twice as many features. With this unit you get built in GPS and DSC. Plus, water doesn’t phase it. This radio is JIScertified waterproof.
Built-in GPS. No need to buy a separate GPS device. The GX1700W comes with built-in GPS functionality.
Advanced DSC calling. With this radio, you can place DSC calls while you monitor other communication frequencies.
Send and receive position info. Receive, send and navigate GPS waypoints via DSC.
Easy to install. Some bulky marine radios are a pain to setup and wire together. But it’s super easy to set up the GX1700W because it’s slim and compact.
Compatible with RAM3+ remote microphone technology. With a RAM3+ microphone, you’re not stuck in front of the radio anymore. You can walk around your boat and communicate from wherever you want.
Won’t break if submerged underwater. The GX1700W can withstand being submerged in water for up to 30 minutes. It’s JIScertified.
Water damage guarantee. Standard Horizon is so confident in this radio that it has backed it up with a year warranty that covers all water related breakages.
Cobra’s most basic entry-level handheld features an output for an external speaker/mic, a signal strength meter, a key lock, a large illuminated display, a 12V charging lead and a belt clip. The selectable power output of or Watts is quite modest but with instant Channel 1access, IPXwaterproofing and five 850mAh NiMH rechargeable batteries, the Cobra remains very good value for money.
Coming from a company with such resounding commercial pedigree was always an auspicious start for the HT20 and its performance doesn’t disappoint. Its robust polycarbonate IP6casing comes with rubberised side grips for easy handling with wet fingers or gloves and its high-visibility backlit display with a simple, seven-button keypad make it very easy to use. It comes with a huge capacity (2000 mAh) Lithium-ion battery pack allied to 5-watt or 1-watt output for more time at sea, plus VOX, which allows you to use the radio hands free.
Standard Horizon HX300E
With 5W transmit power, IPXwaterproofing, integrated buoyancy that enables it to float face up and a water-activated flashing LED that helps you locate it if it goes overboard, the HX300 is a very capable marine unit. Despite the compact case, it comes with a USB cable with 230VAC adapter for extra flexibility when recharging; and the ‘E2O’ (Easy To Operate) menu system allows intuitive access to all the setup functions. It comes with Programmable Scan, Priority Scan, Dual watch and Tri Watch and a belt clip and hand strap are included as standard.
The IC-M2is built around a rugged, waterproof (IPX7) body, with a ‘Float n Flash’ facility, which activates a bright LED if the radio is dropped overboard. You also get an ‘AquaQuake’ facility to remove water from the speaker, plus a 5W Output, a Tri-watch mode and a Lithium-Ion battery with an 11-hour operating time. Despite a user-friendly screen that is 30 per cent larger than its predecessor, the IC-M23, the new radio retains very compact dimensions and a weight of just 220g.
As the replacement for the much-loved HH475, the new HH500 is Cobra’s flagship handheld and it shows. You get Bluetooth capability, plus a ‘Rewind-Say-Again’ facility, enabling you to replay the last 20 seconds of a transmission. In addition to ATIS-compatibility, you also get a ‘Burp’ feature to shake water free of the grill, plus output options of 1, and Watts and a noise-cancelling microphone. The battery capacity isn’t huge but with a signal strength meter, a button lock, illuminated keys and a Tri-watch facility, it is an impressively specified radio.
For those who like to engage in the rough and tumble of year-round open boating, a unit like Entel’s HT64makes good sense. It comes with commercial grade construction, a 2000 mAh Li-Ion battery pack for 12.5-hour use and class-leading IP6submersible waterproofing (five metres for one hour). It also has the ability to function at anything from -20 to +5degrees Centigrade, plus a Keylock safety function, VOX hands-free operation and Entel’s classic seven-button interface for user convenience.
While Simrad is not especially well known for its handheld equipment, the HH3has plenty going for it. In addition to a very loud 700mW speaker for clear communication in noisy environments, you get a large LCD display, built-in buoyancy, selectable 5W/1W transmit power, Dual Watch, Keylock and Man Over Board functionality. The battery capacity isn’t huge, but you can extend operation from eight to 1hours on the ‘Power Save’ setting – and at less than 300g, it’s even moderately lightweight for a unit of its type.
Standard Horizon HX870E E2O
Standard Horizon’s powerful 6W HX870E comes with built-in GPS/DSC, plus a buoyant die-cast chassis, an IPXsubmersible waterproof rating and a generous 1800 mAh Li-Ion battery. It also employs a glow-in-the-dark gasket, NMEA compatibility via the charger cradle, an LED strobe light with various flash patterns (including SOS), and an impressively watertight three-year warranty. It can save up to 200 waypoints and 20 routes and you can track them via the compass page, which shows SOG, COG, bearing and distance to each waypoint.
VHF handheld radio
The last time PBO tested handheld VHF radios was back in January 201Since then there have been changes to product ranges, updates to existing models, and some are no longer around.
There’s no doubt in my mind, reinforced by lots of practical experience, that a handheld VHF radio is an essential communication and safety item on any craft heading out on the water.
Fixed radios have their role, and when installed by the navigation table offer a convenient communication location. However, there are many occasions when the opportunity to communicate on deck offers great advantages, not least the ability to both monitor the boat’s position and in safety situations monitor the scene while communicating.
Handhelds can be used by a tender shore party to communicate with the mother ship, and of course they’re vital in any abandon-ship situation.
All radios can select high- or low-transmission power, and some have three levels. All have a lock function to prevent accidental change to settings, but will still allow the transmit function.
All have a battery level indicator: those with push-button volume and squelch will have a linear level indicator for these on the display screen.
How we tested them
We took the radios out on the Solent aboard my Beneteau First 305, and I picked up a mooring off Calshot in Southampton Water. Alan Watson then motored his Nelson powerboat Trinity Star eastwards into the Solent, acting as the communication boat.
We tried each radio at different distances on low power (1W) until reception began to break down. We then turned the radios to their full transmitting power. At their limit we used the radios while standing up in the cockpit.
The test team reviewed the sets for ease of use, focusing on channel change, squelch and volume control.
If you are looking for a high quality, reliable and lightweight marine radio, then Standard Horizon HX870 is the perfect one for you. It has many awesome features that make it popular among people. First of all the built-in GPS feature is amazing and life-saver. Built-in GPS can detect your position automatically.
Secondly the noise cancellation features. This feature (Noise Cancellation) will help you to listen to the voice of the other end of the transmission. This marine vhf radio is completely waterproof not just so-called water resistant. Standard Horizon HX870 is floatable so you can easily retrieve it if it falls on water. It also has mob function, strobe, and waypoint navigation. You can purchase this product if it meets your need and budget.
NMEA 018and NMEA 2000 explained
There is also no standardization with wire color coding, so you need to pay close attention to the instructions in each manual of the two units you are connecting. The brown wire on your GPS may need to connect to the purple wire on your radio.
The newer NMEA 2000 standards solve most, if not all, of the problems of the old standard. It allows all of your electronic equipment to talk to each other. For instance, the instruments on your navigation station will talk to the gauge on your helm, even if they are of different manufacture. It also allows easy plug in of all components.
Get the whole story here.
Adjacent Ch. Selectivity – More than 80dB. Which is better? Why is one expressed as a negative? We have no clue.
There are some accessories you may want to consider, such as a remote microphone (called a RAM mike or a WHAM mike depending on brand.) We use one because our VHF radio is at the nav station below deck, and it’s handy to have a second at the helm. A remote mike does the job without needing another installation of a radio as well as antenna and 12v power. Some units will accept these, some not, so if you feel you may want one in the future, make sure you get a radio which has that capability.
A remote speaker for at the helm can be an essential accessory, and almost all VHF radios have an output for it. However, a hailing speaker, which some may want, may not be available in some models.
Fed up with the terrible warbling noise your flat-screen TV makes? You’ve come to the right place.
Upgrading your TV sound can be as easy as plugging in a sound bar, but first you’ll need to buy the right one. In this guide we’ll look at the different types of home audio systems available, from sound bars to stereo speakers to full-blown, amped-up, surround-sound speaker packages. Here’s what you should be looking for to best suit your needs.
Step up to a surround-sound system
If you’re looking for something that sounds better than a sound bar, the best option is to put together your own system with an AV receiver and surround-sound speakers.
If you buy your VHF equipment from recognised marine agents and chandlers, you will not have a problem because in Europe, it is illegal to sell radio sets that are not type-approved. This means that any new gear must have passed tests for being in the legal frequency band and will be frequency stable. In other words, they will not interfere with nearby channels or produce harmful harmonics. Radios sold in the UK are both International and Europe compliant, which means that equipment built for America, for instance, might not be legal here in the UK. So ignore the braggart at the club bar who talks about getting his electronics from America and look through this newspaper for reputable suppliers instead.
Rules for using radio
Are you obsessed with remote control boats? Do you wish to provide you or your kid with a boat which is both fun and cost-effective? If so, you will appreciate UDI00remote control boat.
We all know how accident-prone rc boats can be. It is our duty to minimize such accidents as much as humanly possible. The manufacturers of this product also realize this need and therefore have added a safety feature to this boat.
This feature insures that the sharp propellers operate only when placed in water. They automatically turn off when not in immediate contact with water. Such a characteristic prevents your children from injuring themselves from the sharp blades.
No one, be it a child or an adult, likes to lose control. Therefore, both you and your kid will appreciate the easy usability of this product.
The transmitter allows you to easily control your boat as it sprints at a speed of 30 km/h and knocks other competing boats out of the race. While such a speed is high enough for children to be left satisfied, it is also moderate enough to insure control. The 2.GHz transmitter not only allows for perfect controllability but also delivers an extended range.
Customers have lauded this product for its value-added features. Parents are particularly impressed with its safety features, which they believe, add to the overall appeal of the product. Moreover, they have praised the boat for its perfect size which enhances both portability and usability in indoor pools.
However, some believe that even after having an extended battery, the overall operational time is still less and children are left unsatisfied. Nonetheless, one must remember that most toy boats can only function for up to eight minutes and therefore, this product is not inferior to any other offering.
It, therefore, successfully caters to both of its intended customers. The product offers great value at a reasonable price and is worth a try for those who are looking for a robust toy for their children.
Long gone are the days when the best remote control boats were super expensive and exclusive and thus, only found at amusement parks. These old-fashioned models were huge, and you could only acquire a few moments on them. For hardcore boating fans, this situation was like a tragedy. Hence, the industry stepped up to cater to the needs of a growing global fan base. Now, remote control boats are available in several types such as catamarans, V-shaped hulls, and hydroplanes. They have been designed to be sleeker in structure and arrive in a wide array of colors and even mini rc boats exist today. These newer vessels are loved because they offer transmission over longer distances and more fun during water sports and races and the fact that every user can find a boat that suits their needs.
Getting started is always a rough thing. There are so many questions due to all the different type of rc boats. What’s the best remote control boat for the lake? What’s the best boat under 100? What about under 200? What’s the best rc boat for rough waters? Hopefully the boat’s up there answered your question. If you have other questions l I am here to try and provide you a guide with all the information that you need. The goal here is to get you give you clear information which can get you started on your amazing hobby! Take a look at our beginner rc boat page.
Dual rates are a method to control the sensitivity of your model using one or more of the switches on the transmitter. The idea is to define two different amounts of control surface movement (called “high rate” and “low rate”) for the pitch, roll, and yaw axes. This is done by setting the maximum amount of servo movement (throw) in each rate. For instance, you may want to configure low rates to 60% travel to make your model more docile during takeoff and landing. Flipping a switch to enable high rates with 100% travel could give you the extra control movement you need to perform aerobatics. It is common to assign a separate rate switch to each axis. This allows you choose combinations such as low-rate roll control in conjunction with high-rate pitch.
THE SWITCHES ON A TRANSMITTER CAN BE ASSIGNED TO CONTROL DUAL RATES. THIS LETS YOU ALTER THE SENSITIVITY OF YOUR MODEL WHILE IT IS FLYING.
Many kits for airplanes and helicopters provide suggested control throws for high rates and low rates. These are usually defined as deflection angles or movement distances for the control surfaces. However, setting up these parameters in the radio requires you to transpose the values into rotation limits for the servos (as a percentage of the total available servo movement). It sometimes takes a little trial and error, but it is an easy process. Some radios feature triple rates for an extra level of adjustability.
THIS MODEL HAS SIGNIFICANTLY GREATER RUDDER THROW (AND EXPO) IN HIGH RATE THAN IN LOW RATE. IT IS EASY TO SEE HOW THE INCREASED CONTROL SURFACE MOVEMENT WILL AFFECT THE AIRPLANE’S MANEUVERABILITY.
One of the most often overlooked and useful features of computer radios is Exponential Travel. By default, there is a linear relationship between the movement of a control stick and the response of a servo. Moving a control stick 50% of its travel will command the relevant servo to move 50% of its travel. The exponential menu allows you to transform this linear relationship into a more, well, exponential one.
The advantage of using expo is that the total travel of the servo is unchanged, but you get more precise movement of the control surfaces near their neutral positions. This allows you to set up a model with extreme control throws for crazy aerobatics, while also keeping the model from being twitchy when flying straight and level.
THIS DIAGRAM TAKEN FROM THE MANUAL FOR THE TACTIC TTX-850 RADIO ILLUSTRATES THE EFFECT OF EXPONENTIAL SETTINGS. THE X-AXIS IS CONTROL STICK MOVEMENT AND THE Y-AXIS IS SERVO MOVEMENT.
With exponential enabled, moving the control stick 25% may only result in the control surface moving 10%. This makes it easier for the pilot to input the subtle, nearly imperceptible commands that keep a model flying on a smooth predicable path. Yet, moving the control stick to 100% will still result in 100% servo movement. I typically start with 35% exponential on my sport models and adjust as necessary to meet my preferences. Really aerobatic airplanes may get 70% exponential. I know of some multi-rotor pilots who use 100% exponential. The multi-rotor’s flight controller board may have exponential options as well. In that case, configure expo on either the radio or flight controller, not both.
Exponential settings are typically tied to the dual rate menus. You can define a specific exponential value for each rate of every control axis. You may want greater exponential values for high rate control throws. Be aware that exponential is not defined the same for every radio brand. With Futaba, Hitec, and Tactic radios, you want negative expo values. Spektrum, JR, and Graupner radios need positive exponential values. Getting it backwards will have the undesired effect of making your model very sensitive in cruise…perhaps uncontrollable. Read your manual and make sure that you get it correct.
End Point Adjustment
End Point Adjustment (EPA) allows you to define the maximum servo travel for any channel. This feature is especially helpful when dealing with components such as wing flaps or bomb releases that could get damaged by excessive movements. In these cases, it is often necessary to reduce the EPA values drastically before connecting the servo to the component that it will move. Then you can gradually increase the endpoints without fear of damaging anything.
THIS MENU FOR EPA (CALLED “TRAVEL” BY TACTIC) SHOWS WHERE I HAD TO LIMIT THE SERVO MOVEMENT TO MAKE THE FLAPS AND BOMB RELEASE (CHANNELS AND 7) FUNCTION PROPERLY ON THIS MODEL.
While EPA is a very useful tool when configuring a model, it is not always the best option. If you find that you are reducing the throw of a servo significantly, you may be better served by making mechanical adjustments to the control mechanism. For instance, moving the pushrod closer to the servo’s axis of rotation will have the combined benefit of decreasing its linear control throw while also increasing its mechanical advantage.
I write about Failsafe with the hope that it will remind me to configure it more often. Failsafe defines how the onboard components of the radio system will react when the link between the transmitter and receiver is broken, i.e. you aren’t in control anymore. While such instances are rare, the possibility is credible enough to prepare for it.
Your desired failsafe settings will largely depend on the type of aircraft you are flying. With an aerodynamically stable aircraft that will fly by itself, you may just want to choose a low throttle setting with a gentle yaw input so that it orbits in a circle until you regain control. For a speedy and/or aerobatic airplane, it may be best to kill the throttle and neutralize the control surfaces to prevent it from zooming further away. A multi-rotor may benefit from a throttle setting that provides a gentle descent. Assess the risks based on each specific aircraft and where you are flying. Choose the failsafe response that maximizes your chances of a safe recovery, or at least minimizes collateral damage.
The JL Audio M770 CCS-CG-WH speakers are one of a kind. The manufacturer came up with these speakers to not only deliver quality sound, but powerful music that you can listen to even at high speeds on your marine vessel, such as Jet Ski or speed boat.
Unlike most Jet Ski and marine speakers, this particular model was built to cover the highs and lows effectively. They feature a polypropylene cone that is mica-injected. The cone structure and material offer high excursion and linearity.
The silk dome high-frequency drivers are well-built with a wider dispersion angle for better stereo imaging while on the move. The mounting options are flexible as far as these speakers are concerned, thanks to the flush and surface-mount casings.
The Wrap Up
We have reached the end of our, best Jet Ski speakers reviews. The reviewed products are among the best you will find on the market. They can all be used with a Jet Ski/watercraft, but the mounting may differ from one vessel to another.
Marine-grade speakers may be new inventions to most people who are not conversant with water recreational vehicles. However, you can learn the basics of choosing these speakers from our buying guide section above.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your marine radio wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of marine radio
- №1 — Uniden MHS75 Handheld Submersible 2-Way 5W VHF Marine Radio – Black
- №2 — Uniden Atlantis 150 Submersible Handheld Two-Way VHF Marine Radio
- №3 — Uniden UM380 Fixed Mount Class D VHF Marine Radio – White