VHF radios

-- Last Updated: Mar-13-07 10:54 PM EST --

Curious as to what the experts (or people smarter than I am :)) recommend for a VHF radio. This would be simply for safety and not to be used on a regular basis.

Some of the features I'm thinking of:

- access to NOAA weather stations
- waterproof
- small enough to keep in/on my PFD (because if you don't have it when you go in the drink and get separated from your boat, it's useless).

Any ideas?

Search Archives
Use the search function and look for “vhf radios” or some such. There is a ton of stuff to review and plenty of good advice on exactly what you are asking. I just used it this past weekend to choose a radio for myself.

Icom M72

M 72 period.
will be widely echoed, or any Icom really. the m72 is the latest and will meet your (any sea kayaker) criteria to a T. you can and should do your own comaparison’s but i’m certain you will come back to this one. smallest, with the highest durable waterproof level on the market. if there’s better, let us know.

Came to same conclusion: M72
M88’s good to, and maybe tougher (MILSPEC) - but it’s stubby and thicker. M72 fits my hand better. Only slightly longer, and is thinner and fit’s my PFD pocket perfectly. Cheaper and higher waterproof rating too.

Icom M34?
Anyone have any experience with this model?

I am a firm believer in owning a unit that has an AA option. Of course, a unit of that type will not be the smallest, most compact radio, but I like having alkalines to fall back on.


Icom M34
Just bought one from Defender (on sale) about one month ago. Seems great, tried the waterproof floating part in a bucket, passed that test. It fits the pocket of my PDF with antenna hanging out. So far so good.

Standard Horizon 270S
Has all the feature you could want and need in a fairly small size. Great audio quality!

M72 for me
Picked one up a couple of weeks ago – it’s a terrific radio. 6 watts, IPX-8 waterproof standard. Fits in my PFD pocket perfectly. Some nice features as well – the Aqua-Quake function clears the speaker of any water – very cool.

The new M34 looks pretty nice as well. Not quite as small as the M72 but it floats!



CCrane radio
has great weather band, solar powered and hand crank radios; AM FM shortwave, etc. Free catalog at their web site.

I have a few of their products that come in handy when dealing with hurricane situations in coastal NC.

Yep, M-72
I’ve had mine for about a year. Love it. Just read through the manual again, and said, “Cool, I didn’t know it could do that.”

Standard Horizon 370S
I bought this radio because I can use AA alkalines if/when the NImh battery dies.

Which is nice for longer trips!!

Thanks for the replies
One of the vendors that I have a “rewards” credit card with sells a couple of different Icoms, so I think I’m going to use my points and go with this model, since my additional research rates it very highly. I’m leaning away from the M72 just because I would also like the ability to use AA batteries as a backup, but if one of their products is that good, I’m sure others are of similar quality.

Standard Horizon 270s
this does look like a great unit. the fact that it comes with a back up AA battery tray is a big bonus. my Icom doesn’t have a battery tray available. it’s battery life is off the scale, but it would be good for peace of mind.

Great radios . Rugged radio. You can’t go wrong with a Icom. FishHawk

AA caveat
Just remember that the radio is NOT submersible with the AA pack on it. There aren’t any radios on the market that are.