VHF Radio's

Thinking of adding a Marine VHF Radio to my emergency equipment. Any one prefer one brand/models over the others. Any brands/models have seal issues(leaks) and should be avoided? Thanks.

Look at Icom…
I’ve got the IC-M34. Got it at West Marine on sale for $150 on sale. It’s waterproof and it’s one of the only vhf radios that will float. Kind of a plus, wouldn’t ya say. Pretty basic unit. It has the three standard vhf bands and ten channel weather. It has great volume and the buttons are easy to use when wearing gloves. I give it two thumbs up. IMHO

Party On!!!

ICOM or Standard Horizon
The two top brands in the handheld VHF market seem to be ICOM and Standard Horizon. ICOMs are a little more expensive but appear to have longer battery life. Either one would be a good choice. I personally use the ICOM M88, and it is really top-notch.


Standard Horizon
I don’t yet own a VHF radio, but plan to buy one in the not to distant future. I agree that both ICOM and Standard Horizon are good radios, but I’d go with Standard Horizon because they have DSC capability whereas ICOM do not.

I have the

– Last Updated: Sep-13-10 3:40 PM EST –

Standard Horizon HX751 and it works great. Many features that convinced me to buy it. I think the price was $120 something on-line.

There is also a $20 rebate on the HX751 through 10/31. See the Standard Horizon web site.

I’d suggest ICOM…
…as I’ve had nothing but good experiences with the 3 that I own (2 M88s and 1 M1V). I haven’t used any of their other radios, but I’ve never heard anything negative about them here or on other forums.

Whatever you do, stay away from the Standard Horizon HX460/470 series radios, as they have real problems with sealing. I know of at least 20 that have failed in my local club alone. Some of their other models are well regarded.

  • 1 for the ICOM 88
    Had one on my pfd every time I go out for 4 years, never a problem. The battery life is amazing, even after 4 years.

Happy With ICOM M72 NM

Thumbs down for ICOM
I’m on my third or fourth M34 (thank you protection plan). What happens is the battery terminals corrode away, usually the drain terminal in the middle. I use mine a lot in salt water (after all it is sea kayaking) and before anyone bothers to reply “yeah, but do you rinse it off after you use it?” Yeah, I do! My work around is to put some silicon lubricant on the terminals and tape then up with Scotch 33+ or 88. It has extended their life, but there are still corrosion problems.

No I don’t put it in a bag, because I wear it on me in my PFD and the bags just take an awkward piece of equipment and make it worse.

My next radio will be a standard Horizon, many of my friends use them and have not experienced the same problems.

Which terminals?
Are you referring to the charging contacts on the outside of the battery or the internal contacts that connect to the radio body? I have seen problems with the external contacts corroding, but ICOM replaced a couple of batteries for me at no charge. I’ve never seen any problems with the internal battery contacts, which are gold plated for corrosion resistance.

Standard Horizon
I’ve had great luck with an HX850 for the past 2 years. (The 850 has replaced by the updated HX851.) It’s been exposed to lots of salt and fresh water. No problems. It is a bit bulky but it floats and has a built in GPS and is DSC.

Standard Horizon 471 series
going on four years, a gem. This is the older version without the LiOn battery, nor is it multiband incl. AM/FM radio… but I can live without that. It’s sturdy and easy to use, esp. the NOAH and Channel 16 features and rated JIS-7 (waterproof for 30 minutes at 3.3 feet) the battery life is good, the buttons easy to use w. gloved hands. It’s small enough to go into my PFD pocket.

Unless you must have all the bells and whistles (not sayin’ it’s a bad thing to want them) you can find great deals under $100 in models - any brand- that are 2-3 years old. You may not get a LiOn battery. You certainly won’t get DSC.

But you should get all the really necessary safety and monitoring features, two chargers (for land and in vehicle) and a few goodies besides. My particular VHF has a white strobe light, for example.

No one has yet mentioned Uniden, or Humingbird (spelled lik dat). They are also major brands.

Decide what features are the most important as far as safety (and not listening to tunes LOL) and go from there.

Standard Horizion
HX750 series, battery life is excellent, terminals dont corode, battery compartments dont leak, fantastic tough floating radio.

Lithium Ion battery is a big advantage
…when you’re dealing with a devise that gets carried a lot, but not used very often, as they do not lose their charge over time the way NiMH and NiCad batteries do. I’ve had spare radios and spare batteries that have sat idle for well over a year and still retained a full charge. With other batteries, you have to monitor their charge levels and ‘top them off’ frequently. It’s not a big deal to do so, but the consequences of forgetting can be dangerous.

ICOM battery terminals
There’s a known (and significant) problem with the battery terminals on the IC-M31, IC-M33, IC-M35 and also the earlier Euro MIV. The centre terminal corrodes away.

I’m interested to read that ICOM have replaced the batteries in the US as here in UK it would seem they refuse to do so when this happens. The result is a lot of UK paddlers are buying Standard Horizon.

The ICOM M71 uses a battery with only two charge terminals - it appears to be unaffected by the problem.

I’ve had one for several years - it’s a superb bit of kit and has excellent battery life. Put into context, that means the battery has barely shown discharge after 1 week of being on all day for weather broadcasts adn the occassional bit of “in-group” comms.


Not all ICOM battery terminals the same?
Perhaps that is why I have never seen problems with the ICOM M88 I previously owned, or my newer M72?

Terminal Corrosion
I have identical problem with my radio. The middle terminal corroded all the way through. Just like previous posted I use it in salt water without a waterproof bag, I rinse it right away.

Thanks to the extended warranty radio will be going back to the store today.