Looking for the best handheld vhf marine radio for your travels on sea? Look no further! We have reviewed the best walkie talkies and compared features of what we think make these the best 5 options.
So, we know a handheld marine radio is one gear you need atop your vessel when abandoning the land for the open waters. These devices can be used to reach out to the coast guard in emergencies, correspondence with other boats and to get updates on how the weather is doing around you. To do all these and do it effectively, you need to get yourself a handheld VHF marine radio.
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Considerations Choosing marine vhf radios
VHF radios have different shapes and designs, but they all do one thing, connect! VHF means Very High Frequency, and it is the transmission frequency band favoured by maritime and aviation services because of its effectiveness in the open. It is therefore important that all vessels have a portable handheld radio and a sturdy hard-wired unit on board. It is not a choice, as both radio types serve different purposes, with the mobile unit most important in emergencies.
When your vessel loses power, you turn to your handheld radio; they are designed to survive water is thrown at them. The bulk of them come with waterproof and shockproof features, and in some cases, some can even float!
So if you are thinking of exploring the oceans, fishing or getting a closeup with marine life, do not leave that dock without being equipped with one of these.
Best Handheld vhf marine radio
These are the best handheld marine radios on the market. Enjoy!
1. ICOM IC-M93D
The Icom is iconic, and that is not a failed attempt at a pun, it literally has everything you would need or expect from a VHF radio, coupled with a two-tone body. The Icom VHF radio is intelligent, compact and sleek, making it easy to handle, causing little to no discomfort.
The radio has all you would need for effective VHF communications and also features integrated class D DSC properties, with channel 70 as a dedicated receiver. If you are used to the Icom interface, adapting to this device would be very easy for you as it continues the use of the usual Icom Marine Family User Interface. And also retains the active noise cancellation, aqua quake and Float n’ Flash.
The radio features a dot matrix display with large fonts that make it easy for you to pick out the information on the screen even under direct sunlight due to the high contrast in its display. And that is not all, as it also features an Integrated Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) that can make available your speed, location and bearing in record time and praiseworthy accuracy, using information gotten from SBAS(WAAS/MSAS/EGNOS), QZSS, GPS and GLONASS.
The radio has a rear button that when pushed, sends a distress signal from your current location to a specific waypoint. The radio is designed in a way that allows you to track all the vital pieces of information on the screen at the same time, so nothing is left out.
2. Cobra MR HH350
It is important that devices that you intend to use on water be water-resistant, and this beautifully designed device is IPX7 rated, that is it can withstand being submerged in water at a depth of one meter for 30 minutes. Also, in the event that water gets into the speakers, you do not need to worry, as the special burp feature vibrates all the water away from the speaker allowing for clear communication and f you can not get it out of the water in time, it simply would wait for you, as the cobra floats.
The radio has access to NOAA weather channels for updates on how the weather around you is doing, it also allows for operation of channels in Canada, the United States and in international waters. The device has the ability to scan channels and pick up conversations nearby and also to gain access to channel 16 instantly in cases of emergency. With the tri watch feature, you can monitor two other channels alongside channel 16.
In the package, besides this VHF radio, you would find a wrist strap, belt clip, manual, li-ion battery pack, antenna, dc charger, ac charger, and a drop in battery charger.
3. Uniden MHS75
The Uniden VHF radio is all about doing one thing and doing it well; it just wants to make sure that you are safe. A job well done is when you are back home in the arms of your family and friends, and this small compact radio has just the right features to make sure of that. The built-in GPS keeps track of your location real-time and sends it to emergency services at the push of the “Disaster Key.” The onboard digital selective calling system initiates a mayday transmission that would ultimately lead to your rescue.
The ergonomic design sees this radio fit into your hands, with the sizeable display allowing you two backlight LED colors, green or orange. I am not saying to take it swimming or dunk it in the pool, but if it ever inadvertently fall in the water, you can easily pick it out as it would stay floating, and the radio would be easily picked out due to the glow in the dark power button and seal. The radio has a bright strobe that can be turned on to call the attention of people closeby, in emergency situations, this is one security feature you want on your belt.
4. BaoFeng BF-F8HP
One thing that sticks out when considering this Baofeng VHF radio option is the price. This product is evidence of the fact that price does not always indicate quality. The Baofeng has a foot in every category and for its affordable price offers more than enough for you to get through your travails on your vessel. The Bf-F8HP is an upgrade from the older version, the UV-5R, the new model has a harder, more durable exterior shell to prevent against damage when it falls, it has twice the power output, about 30% increase in battery capacity, a V-85 high gain antenna that gives twice the performance as the older model.
The Baofeng has low, medium and high power settings, and it transmits on a frequency range between 65 and 108MHz. It has a very powerful battery that would allow for usage up to 20 hours of standby time, and it features an easy to read LCD display that allows you to monitor all the important vitals.
Purchasing this radio at this very affordable price makes this VHF radio choice almost a steal.
5. Standard Horizon HX890
This radio combines value and functionality better than most on the list. The radio features a man overboard function that activates a white strobe light when it falls in the water. It also features triple and dual watch that allows you to keep track of important emergency channels when doing other things with the radio. The Standard horizon radio has a round case that allows for the best ergonomics and easy handling. The Standard horizon features a dot LCD display that has both night and day mode, so you can always use the radio even when the sun goes down.
That is not all; the radio features active noise cancellation, digital selective calling, and also has about 66 channels integrated into the system. You need not worry about power, as it is fitted with a battery with 1800mAh capacity. Included in the package are accessories like a belt clip, a lanyard, 12V charger, 220V adapter, 110V wall charger, alkaline battery tray, rechargeable Li-ion battery, and PC programming cable.