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Marine Electronics Journal Blog
 

Best VHFs for 2017, Part 1
8/14/2017


Modern VHF transceivers do a lot more than connect boaters by voice to each other and to people on shore. Functions vary from radio to radio but now include some impressive safety features, like DSC---Digital Selective Calling, GPS and AIS---Automatic Identification System. For many mariners the onboard VHF is a primary safety and survival tool.

The following six VHFs are part of an exercise we do every year at MEJ that we call the Best & Brightest Boating Electronics. We’ll roll out the remaining six transceivers next week. It works this way—we ask manufacturers to name the one model in their product line of, say, fishfinders, MFDs or radars, that they consider to be their best. 

We’re not looking for the most expensive or even the most technologically advanced piece of equipment. In some cases, manufacturers name a rock-solid product that has earned the title of Best & Brightest by simply performing as advertised year after year. In other cases, the products harness innovations that are on the cutting edge of marine technology.

There are 18 categories of electronics in this year’s Best & Brightest roundup. In subsequent weeks we'll roll out the best vessel monitoring and AIS equipment, personal survival gear and a whole lot more.


Standard Horizon GX2200 MATRIX AIS/GPS

The GX2200 MATRIX AIS/GPS features an integrated 66-channel WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) GPS antenna, so there is no need to hassle with wiring the radio to a GPS for DSC (Digital Selective Calling) or AIS (Automatic Identification System). Out of the box and ready to go, it acquires GPS position, AIS and AIS SART (Search and Rescue Transponder) targets. The MATRIX AIS/GPS displays AIS target information (MMSI, Call Sign, Ship Name, BRG (bearing), DST (distance), SOG (speed over ground) and COG (course over ground) and allows you to contact an AIS ship directly using DSC, shows your vessel’s position in relation to AIS targets and alerts you when an AIS ship may be approaching via the Closest Point of Approach alarm. One antenna input is all that is needed to receive AIS targets from both Class A and B AIS transponders.

  



Icom M605

Icom’s newest marine VHF transceiver, the M605, is designed with optimum visibility in mind: bring communication to life. The large 4.3 inch LCD color display provides nearly 180 degree viewing angle for easy viewing in any lighting condition, day or night. The intuitive interface comes with high-resolution characters and icons, along with directional keypad and soft keys. The M605 is not just a radio, it is a system, which allows for smooth operation throughout the vessel. Remotely control up to three controllers using all the M605 functions with the HM-195 series COMMANDMIC. The M605 will give boaters flexibility and never be tied to one place again while onboard.

 

 

Simrad RS20

The versatile RS20 Class D DSC VHF radio is designed for a variety of boats from small RIBs to larger cruisers, and is designed to match the low-profile style of modern Simrad Glass Bridge displays and accessories. The RS20 features a white dot matrix LCD screen with inverted light mode, four backlit mic buttons and an easier front-mount installation with snap-on edge bezels. The RS20 has a new startup wizard for easier radio set up, improved scanning features, a Favorites shortcut for customizing users settings and a My Channels list, which enables users to only scan desired channels. The layout of RS20 controls are designed for left-hand operation, allowing for right-hand control of the helm.

 


Garmin VHF 210AIS

Communication and situational awareness are critical on the water.  The fixed-mount VHF 210AIS radio displays AIS on the chartplotter to enhance communication, situational awareness and collision avoidance. Designed to complement the latest GPSMAP chartplotters and MFDs (Multi-Function Displays), it’s easy to install and use, just plug and play via the NMEA 2000® network to compatible Garmin chartplotters and MFDs. It provides standard Class D Digital Selective Calling (DSC) functionality (distress calling and direct calling with user programmed Maritime Mobile Service Identity—MMSI). With 25 watt transmit power, the VHF 210 AIS gives all fishermen, sailors and cruisers confidence at their fingertips in an emergency situation and may improve their chances of a rapid rescue. Pre-programmed with US, Canadian, and international marine channels, plus 10 NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather channels. 

 

B&G B20

The versatile B20 Class D DSC VHF radio is ideal for a variety of boats from small RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boat)  to larger sailing yachts. The B20 features a white dot matrix LCD screen with inverted light mode, four backlit mic buttons and an easier front-mount installation with snap-on edge bezels. The B20 has a new startup wizard for easier radio set up, improved scanning features, a Favorites shortcut for customizing users settings and a My Channels list, which enables users to only scan desired channels. The layout of B20 controls are designed for left-hand operation, allowing for right-hand control of the helm.

  


Raymarine Ray70

The Ray70 is Raymarine’s premium, all-in-one communications solution that includes a built-in 66-channel GPS, an AIS receiver, second station expandability, and a built-in 30-watt loudhailer output. The Ray70 is expandable to dual-station control using the optional RayMic handset.  Full control of all of the Ray70’s features is available from the RayMic, in addition to intercom calling between stations.

 

 

 


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Comments | Leave a Comment
Page 1 of 2 ( 9 comments)

 
Darryl:(3/27/2017 10:17:15 PM) "Putting the MSRP with each unit reviewed would have been helpful. If each unit was actually tested, the reports on each unit would have been helpful too.


Thanks Darryl---we generally don't mention prices due to confusion over so many variations---MSRP (mfg. suggested retail price), MAP (min. advertised price), MRP (min. resale price) and then there are internet prices on some websites that go their own way. But your point is well taken--buyers need to know if something is in their price range. We'll work on it.
There is independent testing of some of these products on sites like panbo.com but the information we receive from manufacturers rarely cites the results of any shootouts they may conduct against the competition's products. "
 
 
Laurie Seibert:(2/16/2017 2:00:20 AM) "Thanks EV Collier for sharing this informative blog. It is important to know the causes of EMI filters. We use these parts in our daily life in the electronic products so we should know that what are the causes are cures of EMI Filters.

Great job and keep updating!

Regards
Laurie Seibert
http://www.lcr-inc.com/"
 
 
Yes:(2/10/2017 7:22:40 AM) "EMI/RFI filter causes and cure. There are very few people who share such information with everyone. I was looking to read such informative blog!

Great job!

Regards
Lisa Wilson
http://filterconcepts.com/
"
 
 
hugo:(1/30/2016 2:00:32 AM) "Why is no integrated ais transceiver available? Only recivers.

Hugo---

Each AIS system consists of one VHF transmitter, two VHF TDMA receivers, one VHF DSC receiver, and standard marine electronic communications links (IEC 61162/NMEA 0183) to shipboard display and sensor systems (AIS Schematic). Position and timing information is normally derived from an integral or external global navigation satellite system (e.g. GPS) receiver, including a medium frequency differential GNSS receiver for precise position in coastal and inland waters. Other information broadcast by the AIS, if available, is electronically obtained from shipboard equipment through standard marine data connections. Heading information and course and speed over ground would normally be provided by all AIS-equipped ships. Other information, such as rate of turn, angle of heel, pitch and roll, and destination and ETA could also be provided. Check out: http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=AISworks"
 
 
Islander Sailboat Info:(12/4/2015 9:49:32 AM) "Great post!! This is the missing introduction I've been looking for. Thank you for taking a complicated subject and making it very easy to understand."
 
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