VHF radio to clip to pfd

It is time to replace my old Standard Horizon radio that I have had clipped to my life vest the last 6 years. I would appreciate any recommendations or input that could be shared. I have a budget of $125 and carry it year round in salt water. It is only carried for emergencies. Thank you in advance.

Well I have a Standard Horizon HX 300. What I like about it. Its small, it floats and even if its off if it goes into the water it starts flashing a strobe light to make it easy to find in the dark.

A lot of good radios out there. Some float others don’t. Some have the newer

Digital Selective Calling (DSC) is primarily used to initiate distress calls to shore stations and other vessels via your DSC radio and provides recipients of your emergency call with:

  • Your Vessel’s Identity
  • Your Precise Position (if interfaced with GPS)
  • Your Unique MMSI Number (Maritime Mobile Service Identity)

    What it is a button on the radio you press in case of an emergency. Sends out a distress signal and any DSC radio which are now required on power boats will get you gps position plus since its sorta like a text message it goes farther than regular voice signal, about 15 percent farther. BUT these handhelds are a little bigger, to big to fit into my radio pocket on my NRS C-vest. They also cost a little more, don’t think you will find one under about $160. A friend of mine has one and its about a 3/4 inch taller and a little wider and thicker.

I’ll look into the DCS thing, it sounds like exactly what I need. The size and cost may keep me from buying it this year, but like everything else, I’m sure they will get smaller and cheaper.

One word of caution

– Last Updated: Nov-30-13 12:28 PM EST –

Features like the strobe that goes off if the radio gets wet are designed for use on larger craft where the likelihood of immersion is very low. In a kayak, you may find that it goes off when you get slapped by a wave or roll/scull to cool off. Not only would it be annoying and potentially harmful to your vision, it will run down the battery. Chick it out carefully to see what triggers it before you buy.

What radio does fit in the pocket of the new C-Vest? I am getting ready to purchase a radio for that vest.

HX 300
Standard Horizon HX 300 fits into my C-vest radio pocket BUT its a tight fit. Only reason its tight is the one thing I don’t like about this radio is that in order to attach a lanyard cord it has to attached to the belt clip which makes the radio thicker. If the radio had some kind of attachment point for a lanyard without the belt clip it would easily fit into my radio pocket.

As far as the radio light strobing I haven’t even noticed it and have rolled many times with it on BUT only in the day. I have never rolled at night with radio. Maybe I would notice it then. The strobe isn’t that bright and can be turned off or set to do a couple different strobes either faster or real slow or just OFF. So if its a concern turn it off.

Other options
If it is literally only for emergencies you might consider a PLB like the McMurdo FastFind or ACR ResQLink. These are more effective as a MAYDAY option than a VHF but are no use for any other type of comms. They use satellite (so do not have the reception limitations of VHF), are much more waterproof than a VHF handheld, transmit your GPS coordinates when activated and have a battery life of 5 or 6 years so require no charging or other maintenance between trips.

There are pros and cons between VHF and PLB depending on personal requirements and only you can decide what suits you best. I carry both.

HX300 lanyard
I have an HX300 and a c-vest pfd. I pushed the pin out of the removable clip and then tied the lanyard through the hole left by the pin and re-installed into the back of the radio. Much thinner profile.

I emailed Standard Horizon to see if they had an extra clip I could buy so as to still have an intact one in case I ever needed one, and mentioned why, as kayakers, we needed a thinner alternative. The CEO of the company emailed me back (within a half hour) with a request for my address, and then forwarded his correspondence with the head of whatever department takes care of these things. I had one in my mail box within a week at no charge. Not only am I really happy with the HX300 but the company’s customer service is unequalled!

Thanks for the info
I never thought about modifying the clip.I will do that and also contact them to see if I can get an extra belt clip. Thanks