View Full Version : Marine Radio

11-20-2007, 03:05 PM
When we purchased our new boat we went long on the electronics and short on the radio. Now we need to upgrade and I'm looking for suggestions on what to look for and features people like on them. I fish out of Chatham on a 26' CC. The furthest we venture from shore is crab ledge, occasionally regal sword.

11-20-2007, 03:29 PM
Truth is, it is the antenna and not the radio that'll give you the best range and overall performance.

VHF Radios:
I'd get either a Standard Horizon or Icom VHF radio with DSC (Digital Selective Calling) features for position sending and requesting. If you have a chart plotter capable of interpreting the DS"E" part of the DSC sentence encoding, then you might want to look around the net forums for the one that interfaces 'the best' with your brand of GPS, as there is no NEMA standard for DSC wire coding, colors, or features.

Something like the S-H Quest model runs only $140 and past Powerboat Reports tests had the S-H models outperforming Icoms for clarity and power handling.


VHF Antennas:
Rule #1 - Height rules
Rule #2 - Height rules
Rule #3 - Don't forget rules #1 & 2

That said, in testing of over 25 boats over the past 2 seasons, the BEST performing VHF combos were either a Std-H or Icom radio running a Shakespeare Galaxy 5225 series antenna. In this case, the top-3 tested were using XT model antennas with the Shakespeare Centerpin connector (haven't yet tested an XP model antenna). All tested > 25 watts transmitting power and had the lowest Standing Wave Ratio, 1.1 or less, of any of the sets I've personally tested to date.

Shakespeare makes the 'XT' model for $120 or so and then an enhanced 'XP' model for $150. I'd use the XP model for any offshore boat, as the build is more rugged, though I've no issues with my XT model ... but I ain't cruising as fast as Riptide :eek: ! Powerboat Reports tests also had this class of antenna outperforming Digital Antennas by a wide margin.

Shakespeare Centerpin Connectors:
These are the balls! Fuggedhabout soldered connectors ...


Check out Dave's Electronincs via www.brokenlegdave or BOE, By Owner Electronics when buying on-line.

11-25-2007, 04:05 PM
Dale-thanks for the great info. We have the Furuno NavNet Vx2 which is DSC compatible so I'll start by looking for units that will work with it. I'll probably give a call to Young's Electonics Systems as well to see what they recommend.

01-30-2008, 02:31 PM
I'm a fan of the Icom 504. It gives you hailer, fog, dsc and nmea in and out so you can use the polling feature to track your fishing buddys.