VHF handheld marine radio questions

Uniden sucks
I had two of them.

The first one the antennae broke off. The second one just stopped working.

It was supposed to be waterproof, but I think that is what did it in.

When I went to buy my present Icom one, it was more expensive then the West Marine (Uniden) one, but the West Marine salesmen told me the Icom was much better

jack L

Yours is dead with my Uniden
The antenna broke and the power switch seized.

Even though I know I can get the CG
on mine, it’s primary use is for the weather.

If I see a dark cloud on the horizon, it gets turned on.

Jack L

West Marine/Uniden off the list

– Last Updated: Apr-20-15 9:09 AM EST –

Thanks for the tips about the Uniden.

Took another look at the ICOM M92D, this time at the ICOM site. Not sure where one reviewer got the two-pound weight as the mfg specs are 280 grams, which is about ten ounces. ICOM states the size is 2.41 × 5.57 × 1.7 inches (less antenna).

That model is being discontinued, however, although West Marine said they had a few in their warehouse.

Anyone use Standard Horizon? Their HX870 is GPS/DSC with a $224 price tag.

Defender Marine
Check out these guys. great selection, good prices.


a few comments
i have two ICOMs, have never been let down by either. You’ll always be able to find an ICOM charger or accessories.

Having said that, I hate the plastic and metal pocket clip and rely on the lanyard.

Make sure you have a PFD pocket in which it fits. You can fabricate your own PFD pocket or mount but many PFDs have a pocket for VHF storage.

You don’t HAVE to wear it at all times but it’s critical when conditions make it possible to get separated from your boat. I paddle with mine on my person 50% of the time or less. On trips I use it for weather, sometimes to listen to chatter if there’s any traffic. If you do so you’ll want to make sure you get a good sense of and monitor battery life.

If you get a VHF take a few minutes of your time to get familiar with how to use it: how to ID yourself, place a distress call; which channels are for what, and so forth.

Here are a few links to VHF use, first one is from a great lakes sailing perspective and includes a brief explanation of how DSC works, you might find it interesting:


Another source:


Not true
that VHF is line of sight only. I would agree that it is not a bad “rule of thumb”, but VHF communication often takes place beyond line of sight and around corners. The biggest problem for handheld units is their terrible antennas which is a major factor when transmitting. Communication between two handheld units tends to be rather limited for that reason more than due to “line of sight” mantra issues.

For example, the newest CG shore repeater system is designed to be able to communicate with a 1 watt radio at sea level at 20 NMs out to sea.

I would check again before crossing if the last time I listened for any boat traffic was halfway around a 90 acre island on the other side from the channel. But the idea that any line of sight break is fatal to a VHF signal is a myth. No one would ever be able to use in many areas along the coast of Maine if that was so. There are islands all over the place and they are not neatly arranged to always leave passage for a VHF signal.

Standard Horizon
" Anyone use Standard Horizon? Their HX870 is GPS/DSC with a $224 price tag."

I have been using the Standard Horizon HX 300 I have a NRS C-vest PFD with radio pocket. Mine is 2.3w 1.3 deep and 5 inch long(the radio). It just fits into the radio pocket with the belt clip removed.

The HX870 is 2.44w 1.69D and 5.43 H. That wouldn’t fit into my radio pocket. I have yet to find a DSC radio that will fit into most radio pockets on a PFD. So either they need to make radio pockets bigger or I have to wait till DSC radios get smaller.

Oh I only paid $120 for mine and there was a 20 rebate so I was right at 100 after rebate. I bought mine online but don’t remember were.

Mini pockets
Ditched my Stohlquist Flo with its front buckles and straps, buttoned pockets with flaps and pleats. Too much foofoo which caught on my cockpit rim when practicing re-entries. Hated it.

Now wear an Astral YTV. A small zippered pocket on each side. Clean design. Love it. I have the Kokatat Tactic Pack and pretty sure it will handle a radio that I can reach easily. There’s a small opening in the top of one compartment designed for a hydration tube - or maybe an antenna. Will probably have to experiment a bit.

Since we’re looking at around 10 ounces, makes no sense to me to not wear it. I’m interested in weather alerts, since Lake Michigan weather can change fast, and emergency use which I’ll do my best to never need.

Thanks for the info, dc9mm, on the Standard Horizon, and thank you, SP, for the links. The sea kayaking site info is worth printing and studying - which I’ll do.

you should be good to go
…but I think Bryan Nystrom’s site had a quick piece on fastening a VHF to your PFD shoulder strap. I haven’t done it because I have a choice of pockets as it sounds like you do.

you decide to get…pick the radio for the size and features you want and feel you need…don’t go by price. They last for years and when you need it…YOU REALLY NEED IT. and you need battery life the difference between something on sale and something not on sale is too small to base one of the most important safety devices you will carry …Because there are only a few things that really matter for safety…A GOOD radio is one of them

Best Wishes


You’re absolutely right, Roy.

I know a reputable brand radio that’s GPS/DSC enabled costs more, but I wouldn’t buy anything less. Quality counts, not price.

That’s one thing I love about paddling: there’s always so much new stuff to learn! A great sport for the body and the mind.

Re: Standard Horizon
I just bought a Standard Horizon HX870 and played with it a bit on the water. Haven’t made any calls but seems to receive just fine. Like the logging feature. You can upload your gps log to google maps and share your tracks. Have my MMSI number entered in. I think I will really like the radio. Love all the features.

how would i charge a uniden atlantis 250 without the charger?

HX870 is a very capable VHF marine radio. You can also consider Icom m73 or the M93. With the M73 you won’t get built in GPS but the battery life is amazing on it.

I’m thinking this one is past the best before date.

@“Sergio L” : You’ve bumped a 2 year old thread.

@Sparky961 said:
I’m thinking this one is past the best before date.

@“Sergio L” : You’ve bumped a 2 year old thread.

New people are always looking for info.


Sure, but responding to a two year old thread with current information is a little “Back to the Future”, don’t you think?

No radios haven’t changed by that much it two years. Maybe if it was from 60’s or 70’s LOL