VHF radio choice

I know there’s lots posted on this subject but choices are ever changing. Floating seems nice so how about the ICOM M34 versus the Standard HX750S? Non floating, ICOM M88 versus the Standard HX280S which is a new model. The M88 is the most expensive, is it better in some way? Is floating considered essential or just desirable? Thanks for any help.

icom m72
one feature I like is the ‘aqua quake’ which clears water from the grill. Another radio I had before suffered from poor sound at time due to water in the grill. I personally don’t look much for floating because I figure I need a solid lanyard on everything and given that I don’t care if it floats.

I like Icom
I like my Icom, and it’s held up extremely well for years (I wear it on my vest, not in a waterproof bag).

I’d say the most important features are waterproofness, and ease of use. Aside from that, there’s just not much I think you need from a handheld. You can pay more to decrease the size of the unit, and for some that’s worth it.

Floating will just make the unit bigger. I agree with the above post that my radio is always tethered to my vest, so no need to float.

Smaller Battery too
Every floating handheld VHF radio I have seen has a smaller battery which helps reduce density/weight. Typically the batteries in floating units are around 1000 and regular units are around 1700. That translates to less operation time which is an important consideration. Transmitting takes a great deal of power compared to receiving and during an emergency you may need to do a good deal of transmitting. Not a good time to have power drop off and/or unit cease working because the battery becomes discharged.

I Went Low Price and Tethered
HX270S a year or two back. I haven’t used it nearly enough to make judgments about it. But for $89 what the hell.

Second the Icom M72
It’s the best radio I’ve had. I use it in a dry bag for days where I anticipate a lot of rolling, and without a bag on normal days.

I have this one also. It’s a great radio. I’ve had it underwater many times and it has never missed a beat. The small form factor is also great for kayaking… easily stuffs into a deck bag or pfd.

Midland Nautico
The instructions are rubbish but.

Its cheap, small, water “proof” and it can work on AA batteries.

That working on AA batteries is important when you have used a nice radio with rechargeable batteries and the thing is dead. My kayak does not have an AC outlet.

This is not a good radio and the instructions smell of China, or some place that double checks nothing. But it has some attributes that serve kayaking well.And did I say it was cheap? It is cheap.

Very happy with my 270
Good battery life, reliable (After 18 months), and no signs of water intrusion despite many dunkings.

And the price was great at $80. I had a Standard HX-150S non-submersible for years before that. It was not as good a radio in terms of features, and cost me 3 times as much.

had an M72
best handheld ever, until it sank. Have an M34 now. Nice big buttons. I have ni-cad battery; abysmal battery life. I’d imagine the newer li-ion’s are better but I can’t retrofit.

Also have the M34

– Last Updated: Apr-04-09 8:45 AM EST –

I called ICom and tec support recommended the M34. He said he used it for kayaking himself. I find the battery last for days when listening and scanning. You can also get an adapter for AA. In 2 or 3 years, I planned on another backup battery. The M34 was also on sale.

I also asked about keeping in a bag, and he said that it wasn't necessary and that if I did find myself in the water to allow the unit to float. He said that it would stay waterproof much longer floating on the surface than down even one foot. He said the same was true for all of their hand helds. (I still keep it in a bag most of the time, so I don't have to wash it.)

The real advantage of the M88 is the smaller size.

Sometimes, I think I should have gotten the smaller one, but you can't really go wrong with either one (or any waterproof VHF that you know will work for you.)

I have an Icom radio and it’s built like a tank. I dropped it on some pavement and except for a few surface dings the radio works like a charm . FishHawk

Low priced bagged with desiccant
Starting with sailing I learned the radios most often fail by getting dropped on pavement or being abused in some other manor that you’ll never predict.

If you have teens or children I strongly recommend that you buy two radios. I buy whatever is on sale and get a bag and some desiccant.

I’d even rather have two $100 radios than one $400 radio.

I have been impressed with the durability and waterproofness of the Icoms and other good brands, but that still doesn’t stop your children from losing or destroying them.

how about 2 $152 dollar radios?

– Last Updated: Apr-04-09 12:51 PM EST –


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