Caca Cabeza

best 2018 Handheld?

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Haven't had to buy ine in a few years. Need a new one. What's the bomb, without breaking the bank? My last one was iCom. Next?

 

Yawl rock!

 

(did you see what I did there...?)

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27 minutes ago, Caca Cabeza said:

Haven't had to buy ine in a few years. Need a new one. What's the bomb, without breaking the bank? My last one was iCom. Next?

 

Yawl rock!

 

(did you see what I did there...?)

We just parked our Icom. The batteries died and we could not get new ones. Looked at the usual offerings and bought a Cobra. I do not know how it compares with the others. Have it at home to listen to the weather. On the boat it will go in the grab bag. This years theme is safety issues.

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39 minutes ago, Caca Cabeza said:

Haven't had to buy ine in a few years. Need a new one. What's the bomb, without breaking the bank? My last one was iCom. Next?

 

Yawl rock!

 

(did you see what I did there...?)

Interesting question...I guess on how you typically boat and how often each trip you might use it...I have not bought one in years and wonder if there is really that much difference...I did a google search and found this and plan on reading the reviews with the criteria eliminating from the cheapest  up...https://www.bestreviews.guide/marine-vhf-radios?origin=google&google_params[matchtype]=b&google_params[network]=g&google_params[device]=c&google_params[creative]=248081073825&google_params[keyword]=marine vhf radios&google_params[adposition]=1t1&google_params[adgroupid]=44126275807&google_params[campaignid]=769102232&bs=6BWw-2MVuM-SpsCQ_HpatR7Y52ztFWB6VeWxfscUUg02kfBjwZVz3J5kgxjRP24rJ-oQirhhIGc=&google_params[feeditemid]=&google_params[targetid]=kwd-13572433&google_params[loc_interest_ms]=&google_params[loc_physical_ms]=9012281&google_params[devicemodel]=&google_params[target]=&dest=0&sys_id=0|254&gclid=Cj0KCQjw4_zVBRDVARIsAFNI9eB8yUhbzbc85SpXTaxN9Ijh1L7n_IFRDoQBUbUBp6M5JTV1Nms9M7YaAj3jEALw_wcB

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I have number 8. In the link the Cobra shown, has 2 extra buttons next to the channel up / down buttons. Not sure what they are for. Otherwise it is the same as the one on my desk.

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Icom or Standard Horizon. They both make reliable radios. Pick small and pocketable one, but maybe won't float, or big and bulky with GPS and DSC emergency calling. Lots to choose from.

I had a Cobra. Very crap quality. They call it "waterproof"   But if you read the specs it says "Designed to JIS4 standards" - which is basically splashproof. My wife spilled some coffee on it and it died. Buyer beware.MRHH125_0.png?itok=6Sxm4J8k

https://www.cobra.com/products/handheld/mr-hh125

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Last season I bought a Cobra that was supposed to be waterproof. It was dead in a week, after the first time it was used in the rain. Fortunately, since I had it a week, I was able to return it. At the Defender Warehouse sail I just bought an Icom IC-M25 for $110.00. Nothing fancy, no DSC or GPS but it's very easy to use and it floats. I dropped it into my kitchen sink and it started flashing a red light. Not a strobe, just a flashing red light that would be visible at night. The receiver is very sensitive, it can receive USCG transmissions on ch 16 on its little rubber antenna, and they are a good distance away. You can find less expensive handhelds, but Icom makes good radios. I like their ham gear too.

 

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For handhelds there is one decent choice in the USA: Icom. I've been using my IC-M72 for about 20 years and I have nothing bad to say about it.

Cobra is junk, built to a price and corners cut in every single area. Crappy batteries, illegible audio, cheap-ass switches... everything.

Why anyone would buy a crappy radio just to save a negligible amount of money is beyond me.

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8 hours ago, Zonker said:

Icom or Standard Horizon. They both make reliable radios. Pick small and pocketable one, but maybe won't float, or big and bulky with GPS and DSC emergency calling. Lots to choose from.

I had a Cobra. Very crap quality. They call it "waterproof"   But if you read the specs it says "Designed to JIS4 standards" - which is basically splashproof. My wife spilled some coffee on it and it died. Buyer beware.MRHH125_0.png?itok=6Sxm4J8k

https://www.cobra.com/products/handheld/mr-hh125

I have wasted money on Cobra brand radios in the past. Only a small amount, in boat money, but enough to know better in the future

FB- Doug

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+1 on ICOM.  I have an M73, very happy with it, no problem finding spare batteries.  All my "ham" gear is ICOM, too.  They make good radios.

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Icom is good stuff. So is Standard Horizon. Go with the features and price that best suits you.

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This is a great question Caca C, thanks for asking!

In my book, the best one is the one attached to you by a lanyard, with a full battery and a back up battery in your pocket with an ear-bud.

Water-proof is nice but floating, not so much as the battery is sometimes smaller in order to make them positively buoyant.

If it's a price issue, buy three of the cheapest for the price of the most expensive!

Learn how to use all the functions and all the tricks of good use.

A good safe boating course should teach that.

Cheers and good luck.

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4 hours ago, SailBlueH2O said:

What about the West Marine offerings ?

WM brand used to be decent quality at a reasonable price, kind of like Kirkland at Costco. Unfortunately the quality of WM brand has gone to shit. I won't bring WM branded products onto my boat. Occasionally I break this rule out of necessity and I have had cause to regret it every single time.

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I don't know about the handhelds, but most of the West fixed-mount VHFs are made by Uniden.

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My son and I both have ICOM M92D's with GPS and DSC.  On offshore races we carry them in belt pouches to aid in a MOB situation.  I think these models have been superseded, but the battery life is excellent when not turned on, but not so good when left on.  If I use it as the cockpit radio in a day race (left on all day to hear transmission from the RC) I have to charge it after each race day.   The user interface is very complicated and I have not taken time to fully learn all the features, but it does the basics well.  They float, and they flash if you drop them in the water.

I also have a Uniden which has lasted almost 15 years.  It still receives well, and I can get two race days out of it without having to charge.  The microphone is pretty screwed and if I try to transmit with it the transmission is garbled.  

The Standard Horizon equivalent to the M92D looks like a nice radio and has the same features, but I have no experience with it.

 

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5 hours ago, SailBlueH2O said:

What about the West Marine offerings ?

Remember Radio Shack? How their own-branded stuff was "just like" real stuff only cheaper and crappier? It's a time-proven marketing exploit: cut the cost of manufacturing by 20% and lower the cost by 10%. You suck in all the bargain hunters and end up making more profit anyway!

Look, there's two ways to get exploited as a consumer: Look for the very very best or look for the very cheapest.

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Just now, Somebody Else said:

Remember Radio Shack? How their own-branded stuff was "just like" real stuff only cheaper and crappier? It's a time-proven marketing exploit: cut the cost of manufacturing by 20% and lower the cost by 10%. You suck in all the bargain hunters and end up making more profit anyway!

Look, there's two ways to get exploited as a consumer: Look for the very very best or look for the very cheapest.

tough these days because often the expensive price does not guarantee better quality and performance...I never mind paying up for quality... at the same time often you can find the same performance at a lower price...which is why I asked about WM...the reviews in the link I posted were depressing

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I'm going to sell all the non-believers on Icom some more. I have no connection with Icom and I have owned radios (fixed and hand-held) by many manufacturers including a few bargain brands.

The way bargain brands work is that they are feature-driven and cost-driven. Often they are made by OEMs but down-spec'ed by the marketing company (in this instance West Marine) to save a penny here, a penny there. They draw up a list of features, then address them as cheaply as possible. Common tricks are to use one size smaller for all the internal point-to-point wiring, cheaper pots and switches, cheaper speakers and mics, cheaper displays, cheaper batteries, and finally, even cheaper cases and case materials including water-proofing. Or if the products are made in-house, they are reverse-engineered and down-spec'ed in a similar manner.

If we disregard all the features of Icom that make their products more robust and reliable -- strong cases, sturdy mechanical components, 1st-tier batteries, etc. -- what really matters is (a) can you hear received signals well and (b) can others hear your transmissions. Icom has excelled in this respect at least since the '70s and probably before that but I have no personal experience with the older gear. Audio needs to be fine tuned to work in the intended environment. In a noisy environment such as military operations, construction sites, boating operations in windy conditions or with loud engines running, the audio bandwidth needs to be tuned toward the treble end of the spectrum to make the all-important sibilant vocalizations stand out against background noise. Bass-heavy audio circuits, speakers, and mics are useless for tactical comms; they end up sounding muddy and indistinct. So quality speakers and mics which can take abuse and are tuned to the correct frequencies matter a lot. Then there's the receiving amps and mic pre-amps. Both need to engineered to clip peaks without causing the distortion common with simpler solutions. Xmitted audio compression is a fine art -- you want to have a nice low crest factor (peak-to-average ratio.) This is part of the clipping solution to avoid over-modulation. This is important for comms used in safety situations where the operators may be stressed out and basically yelling into the mic. Almost any mic can sound good in a studio or lab, operated by a calm individual, but throw that same set-up onto a sinking ship in a gale and the results might not sound so good.

Icom has consistently had superior tactical audio for decades, both receiving and transmitting.

Yaesu also makes very good equipment but I never see their marine radios in the USA.

Standard Horizon makes robust equipment but the audio is simply not up to Icom's quality.

 

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38 minutes ago, SailBlueH2O said:

tough these days because often the expensive price does not guarantee better quality and performance...I never mind paying up for quality... at the same time often you can find the same performance at a lower price...which is why I asked about WM...the reviews in the link I posted were depressing

Absolutely!

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I am not in the market expect for a spontaneous purchase but became curious with the  original question ...did a little googling and found the ICOM 36 for $159..then look up in price and found this https://www.thegpsstore.com/Icom-M93D-Floating-Handheld-VHF-with-GPS-P5010.aspx and thought hell might as well know where I am for a few dollars more...not a bad thing to have in a disaster situation even though VHF is not intended for land based use...but I'd deal with that later

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4 hours ago, BarfBag said:

This is a great question Caca C, thanks for asking!

.....     ....      ...     ...

If it's a price issue, buy three of the cheapest for the price of the most expensive!

 

And have not a single one that works, after a few weeks time

Or if by miracle one does work, you will not be able to understand / be understood on it due to execrable audio. But that won't be a problem, none will be working

FB- Doug

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7 hours ago, SailBlueH2O said:

What about the West Marine offerings ?

The West Marine branded radios are made by Uniden.  My last one was fine, but has gone through battery death, and I wasted far too much time searching in vain for a replacement battery pack.  Theoretically, one could cut open the pack and replace the cells, but I doubt that it would ever be waterproof again.  I wonder if I hastened the demise of the batteries by leaving the radio on my desk, in it's cradle, in scanner mode most of the time?  They have a current model with a very similar battery pack, but the shape is just different enough that it won't work.  I can't help thinking that this is a deliberate ploy on the part of either WM or Uniden, to sell more radios.  In any case, won't but buying any more from them.

Just got the Standard Horizon HX870 (w/ GPS and DSC.) This thing is a brick. Not quite as bad as the old Radio Shack walkie talkie bricks, but getting there.  Not really pocketable. Even clipping it on to a belt is a stretch.  

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I couldn't agree more regarding Icom.

That's what I own and I've never had any problems and expect I never will.

My Standard Horizon never gave me any problems either.

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I bought a Standard Horizon HX 300E last year because it is USB chargeable and I don't have any other way to charge on my boat. I bought it for a race and it's a good thing I didn't need it because it didn't hold a charge long enough for even a short conversation. It would pick up VHF weather, but that's all it was useful for. I sent it back for repair and they couldn't find anything wrong with it. They charged it via USB and discharged it and couldn't find the issue. I'm doing the same race this year and I'm wondering if anyone else has had issues with this radio. I think I should have a reliable radio. I have an ICOM that is about 25 years old and works fine, but it's heavy and not USB rechargeable.

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25 minutes ago, Russell Brown said:

I bought a Standard Horizon HX 300E last year because it is USB chargeable and I don't have any other way to charge on my boat. I bought it for a race and it's a good thing I didn't need it because it didn't hold a charge long enough for even a short conversation. It would pick up VHF weather, but that's all it was useful for. I sent it back for repair and they couldn't find anything wrong with it. They charged it via USB and discharged it and couldn't find the issue. I'm doing the same race this year and I'm wondering if anyone else has had issues with this radio. I think I should have a reliable radio. I have an ICOM that is about 25 years old and works fine, but it's heavy and not USB rechargeable.

I would say if you got 25 years out of it, you did well and got your money's worth. Just FYI, the Icom radio I mentioned is USB chargeable. It came with a wall wart charger but I just plugged it into one of my wall warts and USB cables and it charged fine. I wanted a radio that didn't need to sit in a cradle to charge, was USB chargeable and was easy to use so any guest could pick it up and transmit. Like I said it was not the least expensive radio I could have bought, but at $110 it was well priced and I think the best choice among the non-GPS non-DSC radios. 

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If you need basic on the water coms, M25 can't be beat. If you need more high tech shit, get the higher end version. 

 

The M25 and its predecessors have never let me down. I own 3 and use them all around the world. 

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I've had several Icom radios including handhelds, they are great. I would love to still have them (dropped, stolen,etc).

A few years ago I got a "deal" on two sets (3x box, six radios) of small Cobra handhelds, about 15$ apiece. These were for a junior sailing program. The first one crapped out within a week. They were barely better then shouting to each other over the water, even when working their best. At the end of the summer I had one that still working and it would not power up when I tried it later that fall.

Recently got the Standard Horizon handheld w GPS, other than not liking the GPS menus, it works very well but I've only had it two years.

FB- Doug

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8 hours ago, Somebody Else said:

I'm going to sell all the non-believers on Icom some more. I have no connection with Icom and I have owned radios (fixed and hand-held) by many manufacturers including a few bargain brands.

The way bargain brands work is that they are feature-driven and cost-driven. Often they are made by OEMs but down-spec'ed by the marketing company (in this instance West Marine) to save a penny here, a penny there. They draw up a list of features, then address them as cheaply as possible. Common tricks are to use one size smaller for all the internal point-to-point wiring, cheaper pots and switches, cheaper speakers and mics, cheaper displays, cheaper batteries, and finally, even cheaper cases and case materials including water-proofing. Or if the products are made in-house, they are reverse-engineered and down-spec'ed in a similar manner.

If we disregard all the features of Icom that make their products more robust and reliable -- strong cases, sturdy mechanical components, 1st-tier batteries, etc. -- what really matters is (a) can you hear received signals well and (b) can others hear your transmissions. Icom has excelled in this respect at least since the '70s and probably before that but I have no personal experience with the older gear. Audio needs to be fine tuned to work in the intended environment. In a noisy environment such as military operations, construction sites, boating operations in windy conditions or with loud engines running, the audio bandwidth needs to be tuned toward the treble end of the spectrum to make the all-important sibilant vocalizations stand out against background noise. Bass-heavy audio circuits, speakers, and mics are useless for tactical comms; they end up sounding muddy and indistinct. So quality speakers and mics which can take abuse and are tuned to the correct frequencies matter a lot. Then there's the receiving amps and mic pre-amps. Both need to engineered to clip peaks without causing the distortion common with simpler solutions. Xmitted audio compression is a fine art -- you want to have a nice low crest factor (peak-to-average ratio.) This is part of the clipping solution to avoid over-modulation. This is important for comms used in safety situations where the operators may be stressed out and basically yelling into the mic. Almost any mic can sound good in a studio or lab, operated by a calm individual, but throw that same set-up onto a sinking ship in a gale and the results might not sound so good.

Icom has consistently had superior tactical audio for decades, both receiving and transmitting.

Yaesu also makes very good equipment but I never see their marine radios in the USA.

Standard Horizon makes robust equipment but the audio is simply not up to Icom's quality.

 

Most of the SH handhelds I’ve seen were made by Yaesu.

 

Ive had a few, and loved them. Big volume, never had a problem with moisture.  Batteries finally went south after many years.

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1 hour ago, silent bob said:

Most of the SH handhelds I’ve seen were made by Yaesu.

 

Ive had a few, and loved them. Big volume, never had a problem with moisture.  Batteries finally went south after many years.

Ah! Thanks for that! I've always respected Yaesu's gear. Standard Horizon OEM'ed the radios the correct way!

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I've always stuck to Standard Horizon because all my ham stuff is Yaesu and the menu systems just make sense to me. Icom is great stuff as well, hard to go wrong with either. If your other radios are either Standard Horizon or Icom, and you like the menu systems, go with that brand. 

Or, make a list of the features you need and want and pick whichever one (Standard or Icom) fits the best.

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Used Uniden hand held radios for years, no issues. Used to have their handheld that sat in a cradle with a spare battery charging behind it. Ideal for working on yachts where your VHF could be switched on and on your person for 16 hours a day.

Went to buy a new VHF recently at WM. Couldnt find a Uniden. Sales guy pointed out that WM VHF's are exactly the same models as Undien just rebranded. So I bought a WM 75 which is an Atlantis 270. Had it for 4 years with no issues. Love Icom radios but tough to justify the extra coin for recreational use.

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17 hours ago, Somebody Else said:

Yaesu also makes very good equipment but I never see their marine radios in the USA.

Standard Horizon makes robust equipment but the audio is simply not up to Icom's quality.

 

Standard Horizon is (from all I can gather) the Yaesu brand for marine applications. I just went and did a quick search to see if I could find any documentation on the business structure without any real luck. Interestingly, the Vertex Standard site directs to Motorola for N. America. Apparently the VS brand is still used for Europe... 

I have a Yaesu aviation handheld that is identical to an older SH marine handheld, same chassis, uses the same charger (although the two have different part numbers they are identical in specs), and battery. Some differences internally (I took them to the lab at work and opened them up just for fun) of course, since aviation uses AM and marine is FM but they are clearly siblings. I've had good luck with SH and Yaesu (most of my ham rigs have been Yaesu) and ICOM.

As for the "iPhone" comment by Eyesailor, those are only good for the timid who fear sailing out of range of cell towers.

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Anyone else have experience with the ICOM M-25? I need a new radio and it needs to be USB rechargeable.

Thanks to this thread I found out that my Standard Horizon HX 300 still does the same shit after sending it back to Yaesu, It holds a charge for about 10 seconds of transmit and then goes dead. Yaesu couldn't get it to behave badly and the warranty has now expired, but I don't trust it.

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I have two Icom IC-M1Vs that I love. Batteries last all day no problem. I also have a Standard-Horizon HX-380s. This radio also lasts forever between charges and S-H gave me a program to enter 2 meter frequencies in it, so I have all the local repeaters in memory B) It is bigger than the Icoms and the menu controlled squelch is a PITA compared to the knob on the Icom. Icom vs. SH, Icom seems to have better sound quality both transmit and receive.  All of them have been subject to spray, rain, and falling into the bottom of the dinghy and sloshing around in the water with no ill effects.

For aviation, Icom blows away the S-H radios. My old Icom airband is much better than the SH products IMHO.

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i ended up with a SH hx150, basic radio, good for rc work on the lake, got it at the defender sale, plus SH rebate..   it has rechargable batteries and  you need a charging stand,  works great for an entry radio..

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2 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

... and S-H gave me a program to enter 2 meter frequencies in it, so I have all the local repeaters in memory

Oh that's cool! So it does duplex? I wonder if the Icom radios can do that. If I had known that I might just have got a SH instead.

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3 hours ago, jarcher said:

Oh that's cool! So it does duplex? I wonder if the Icom radios can do that. If I had known that I might just have got a SH instead.

Yes it does duplex and tones and everything :D

Only some S-Hs do this and I think some Icoms do as well.

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I've always carried my FT-60 with me for 2 meter and also the wide band rx. Now if they combined all that with a marine vhf tx  that would be pretty sweet! 

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If I have any problems with the new Cobra I will report them here. But it will be mid September when we return from the summer cruise. I never trust anything that says water proof. My unit says submersible, but I do not intend to test it.

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The standard horizon antennas suck. They break, they pull apart and that is annoying. Cobra and uniden have shit reception. SH radios, although “waterproof” are miserable once wet. The speaker is so garbled you can’t Herat a thing for hours until it dries. 

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6 hours ago, Unkle Crusty said:

If I have any problems with the new Cobra I will report them here. But it will be mid September when we return from the summer cruise. I never trust anything that says water proof. My unit says submersible, but I do not intend to test it.

Should have tried it in the store before you bought it....

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Sheish... with a post title like that I was pleasantly surprised not to see more shenanigans from you lot.

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I looked to see if my S-H antenna had any issues and discovered I never used it. I have Icom antennas on all my radios. If you want a ham capable radio, look for this wording in the specs of S-H handhelds:

40 Programmable Land Mobile Channels 134 MHz to 174 MHz with CTCSS and DCS

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I've got an Icom M35. Were I to be buying now, I would go for the M25. The weakness of Icoms is the charging contacts on the battery - forget to rinse off salt water, and they corrode away (especially the middle one, without which the battery won't charge). The M25 charges via USB. For weekend use, I don't need the extended battery life of the 73.

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On ‎01‎/‎04‎/‎2018 at 1:09 PM, EYESAILOR said:

iphone

Really? Coasties can't get a fix on your signal, no GMDSS functionality and how do you do a ship to ship call using an iPhone? - useless really - sorry!

SS

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41 minutes ago, shanghaisailor said:

Really? Coasties can't get a fix on your signal, no GMDSS functionality and how do you do a ship to ship call using an iPhone? - useless really - sorry!

SS

Worse than useless. We had a tragedy around here where a boater called 911 for a medical emergency and the 911 dispatcher sent the ambulance to the closest place they could think of, which was on the other side of the river from the boat. They really didn't know how to deal with maritime distress and the boaters had no clue what town or country they were near. Even worse, the 911 system routed them to the 911 center for the county on the far side of the river.

OTOH I heard a Mayday on 16 for a heart attack and a doctor on another boat in the same cove answered. No way a phone can do that.

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I had an ICOM M36 that was very good until I finally killed it after about 8 years of out and out abuse. I sail really wet small boats and kayaks, so my radios get tested pretty hard. It had the issue with the battery contacts corroding as others described. I wound up replacing it last year with a Standard Horizon HX300. I like that the SH charges faster via USB than the ICOM. It also fits better in the pocket in my PFD. It seems to work as well as the ICOM and was cheaper to purchase. I hope I didn't make a mistake. 

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On 4/2/2018 at 11:04 AM, Russell Brown said:

Anyone else have experience with the ICOM M-25? I need a new radio and it needs to be USB rechargeable.

Thanks to this thread I found out that my Standard Horizon HX 300 still does the same shit after sending it back to Yaesu, It holds a charge for about 10 seconds of transmit and then goes dead. Yaesu couldn't get it to behave badly and the warranty has now expired, but I don't trust it.

Solid, solid radio. I beat the hell out of mine partying and sailing for a week at a clip and use it for about 15 hours a day. Starting with a full charge I get by with no recharging for a week. 

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Disregarding all of the other impractical aspects of cell phones, they are not a good substitute for a marine radio because of their poor battery charge life. The adaptive power usage will cause rapid battery drain when in fringe reception areas. Battery management becomes one of the biggest issues. Noobies like/want to use their cell phones because (a) they already own one and (b) they more-or-less know how to operate it.

Pro Tip: to manage battery charge life on your cell phone, switch to airplane mode when not actively operating it, especially in fringe reception areas. This is a serious survival tip, land or sea. Also turn off any active notification services as these chew up battery life while checking to see if there are any updates to Angry Birds...

My now-ancient ICOM IC-M72 and my Garmin GPSmap 76Cx have exceptional battery life.

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3 hours ago, MisterMoon said:

I had an ICOM M36 that was very good until I finally killed it after about 8 years of out and out abuse. I sail really wet small boats and kayaks, so my radios get tested pretty hard. It had the issue with the battery contacts corroding as others described. I wound up replacing it last year with a Standard Horizon HX300. I like that the SH charges faster via USB than the ICOM. It also fits better in the pocket in my PFD. It seems to work as well as the ICOM and was cheaper to purchase. I hope I didn't make a mistake. 

Wonder who will be first with wireless charging....seems an obvious step up...

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12 minutes ago, SailBlueH2O said:

Wonder who will be first with wireless charging....seems an obvious step up...

Not sure I agree with this. Right now wireless charging requires that the device sit on a special pad. On a sailboat, well you know, we're rolling left and right. I didn't even want one that had to sit in a cradle. I bought the M25 because I can just plug it in and toss it in a drawer and I won't have to worry about it falling out of  cradle. 

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11 minutes ago, jarcher said:

Not sure I agree with this. Right now wireless charging requires that the device sit on a special pad. On a sailboat, well you know, we're rolling left and right. I didn't even want one that had to sit in a cradle. I bought the M25 because I can just plug it in and toss it in a drawer and I won't have to worry about it falling out of  cradle. 

I would think the Wireless charging pad would be designed with boats in mind...both power and sail have motion considerations

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11 hours ago, SailBlueH2O said:

Should have tried it in the store before you bought it....

Was tested, and continues to get tested. But the real test will come when it is on the boat, and we leave the dock. It is not the primary unit. It is part of this years safety theme.

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Icom or SH, use both and am very happy.  My old Icon went sunny side up and for a few more dollars than repairing it I got a new one.  The technology does improve with a quality manufacturer.  Just bought one of the last pair of Steiner binoculars sold w/ WM name, discontinued item now.  Identical to the same Steiner model, Steiner probably bumped the price up or stopped supplying them.  Use them and my Icon at new waterfront pad, use the new SH handheld and my trusty Fujinon binoculars on the yacht.  I am never disappointed to spend a little extra for quality.

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I have several SH radios, both HX300 and HX370S. I use both styles regularly in all sorts of very challenging conditions, and have had no problems with them. I became an SH loyalist several years ago, when I drowned a SH radio that was not waterproof (it was in my seabag, sloshing around for several hours in the bilge of a boat that was taking on a lot of water). I called SH customer service to ask them if it was worth it to send the radio back for repair, explaining that I was at fault, and this was not a warranty claim.

The CS rep asked me how long I had had the radio. I wasn't sure, and told her so. She asked if it was less than two years. I wasn't sure, and told her so. She asked again, the tone in her voice indicating that there was a right answer to the question and that she was a bit surprised I was so slow on the uptake. I said it was probably slightly less than two years, but I had no paperwork, and certainly couldn't prove it. She sent me another radio, saying that was policy, even though the one I drowned didn't claim to be waterproof. I still have it, and as long as they keep making good radios, I'll never buy anything else - not everything that makes a product worthwhile comes in the box.

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On 4/2/2018 at 10:04 AM, Russell Brown said:

Anyone else have experience with the ICOM M-25? I need a new radio and it needs to be USB rechargeable.

Thanks to this thread I found out that my Standard Horizon HX 300 still does the same shit after sending it back to Yaesu, It holds a charge for about 10 seconds of transmit and then goes dead. Yaesu couldn't get it to behave badly and the warranty has now expired, but I don't trust it.

I own both the HX300 and the M25. I like the M25 slightly more, and it is regularly priced slightly higher. The audio quality is better on the icom. The volume is better on the HX300. The HX300 tends to get muffled severely if water is on the speaker grille and it takes a lot of time to clear. The M25 clears out dramatically faster. 

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20 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:
21 hours ago, shanghaisailor said:

Really? Coasties can't get a fix on your signal, no GMDSS functionality and how do you do a ship to ship call using an iPhone? - useless really - sorry!

SS

Worse than useless. We had a tragedy around here where a boater called 911 for a medical emergency and the 911 dispatcher sent the ambulance to the closest place they could think of, which was on the other side of the river from the boat. They really didn't know how to deal with maritime distress and the boaters had no clue what town or country they were near. Even worse, the 911 system routed them to the 911 center for the county on the far side of the river.

OTOH I heard a Mayday on 16 for a heart attack and a doctor on another boat in the same cove answered. No way a phone can do that.

There are times when a cell phone is better than a HH VHF but when you are uncertain of signal and uncertain of your location, that is not the time.

I have put together training sessions for sailing cadets on 'Communications' and most of them are amazingly trusting of their smartphones. Sometimes they'll tell me that the phone has a weather radar built into it and similar youthful illusions.

FB- Doug

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16 hours ago, SailBlueH2O said:

I would think the Wireless charging pad would be designed with boats in mind...both power and sail have motion considerations

Inductive charging (I have to assume that radio charging and resonant charging would not be desired options for this type of device) can simplify the waterproofing but you would likely lose the ability to have an exchangeable battery. When your radio dies, it's dead until charged with no option to quickly swap battery packs or use an alkaline battery tray and continue using the radio. There are also efficiency concerns, which would not concern when using shore power to charge but could matter in some circumstances, and manufacturing cost increases. Since the quality manufacturers seem to have already resolved the waterproofing problem pretty well they may not see much advantage over the current designs. Corrosion resistant contacts and a charging cradle seem to work really well. I can't see the need to keep the two devices (radio and charge pad) in close proximity as a serious problem. Too easy to resolve that one. (JMTC)

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58 minutes ago, ScowLover said:

I own both the HX300 and the M25. I like the M25 slightly more, and it is regularly priced slightly higher. The audio quality is better on the icom. The volume is better on the HX300. The HX300 tends to get muffled severely if water is on the speaker grille and it takes a lot of time to clear. The M25 clears out dramatically faster. 

Thanks Scow & Bodega for the M25 reports. I'm going to get one.

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18 hours ago, Somebody Else said:

Disregarding all of the other impractical aspects of cell phones, they are not a good substitute for a marine radio because of their poor battery charge life. The adaptive power usage will cause rapid battery drain when in fringe reception areas. Battery management becomes one of the biggest issues. Noobies like/want to use their cell phones because (a) they already own one and (b) they more-or-less know how to operate it.

Pro Tip: to manage battery charge life on your cell phone, switch to airplane mode when not actively operating it, especially in fringe reception areas. This is a serious survival tip, land or sea. Also turn off any active notification services as these chew up battery life while checking to see if there are any updates to Angry Birds...

My now-ancient ICOM IC-M72 and my Garmin GPSmap 76Cx have exceptional battery life.

Just want to make sure I've got it straight. Can you actually play Angry Birds with airplane activated in a survival situation or are you saying just cut down on the updates? Or is  playing it a definite no no as well?Can the game even be played offline? Just in case I'm stuck in a life raft with a couple of noisy kids some day this could be good info.

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8 hours ago, fufkin said:

Just want to make sure I've got it straight. Can you actually play Angry Birds with airplane activated in a survival situation or are you saying just cut down on the updates? Or is  playing it a definite no no as well?Can the game even be played offline? Just in case I'm stuck in a life raft with a couple of noisy kids some day this could be good info.

Just turn off "AUTO UPDATES." That was just a random example of things that chew up battery life. There are lots of things that lower the time between charging. 

There are many apps that chew up battery charge and yes, they are mostly games. Apps which use heavy animation and heavy sound. Apps that need info from a server such as mapping apps, wind and tide apps, etc.

Google "how to increase battery life" or specifically, "how to increase iphone battery life" or "how to increase galaxy battery life". There are a lot of convenient features that are real battery hogs especially if you are in marginal reception areas. 

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1 hour ago, Somebody Else said:

Just turn off "AUTO UPDATES." That was just a random example of things that chew up battery life. There are lots of things that lower the time between charging. 

There are many apps that chew up battery charge and yes, they are mostly games. Apps which use heavy animation and heavy sound. Apps that need info from a server such as mapping apps, wind and tide apps, etc.

Google "how to increase battery life" or specifically, "how to increase iphone battery life" or "how to increase galaxy battery life". There are a lot of convenient features that are real battery hogs especially if you are in marginal reception areas. 

Thanks Somebody Else...I was actually just joking around a little. But the basics of battery preservation on an iPhone are good to know. I use em all the time--shut down all ---apps, location services, updates, Bluetooth, wifi---or use airport. Memory is vague but I seem to recall this coming in handy for some off piste snowboarders or hikers or something. If your lost and all you've got is your phone putting it in power saving mode is key. 

It's been a couple of years since I messed around with MotionX GPS which was a great little app for the Iphone...incidentally developed by a sailor(Pillipe Kahn who ran/owned Pegasus Racing). I'm pretty sure it had a low power mode and that the IPhone can get a GPS fix outside of cell coverage but I was using it nearshore.

As for VHF, I've got an Icom w DSC at the nav(not handheld) and don't generally carry a handheld. Your post up thread about sound quality was interesting. The features these days and price makes me think I should get something this season.

 

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What do you guys think is the best bank for the buck in a VF handheld with GPS and DSC? I'm looking at the Icom M93D but it's $300...  I just bought an M25 which seems quite nice but I'm thinking a GPS/DSC might be a better backup for emergencies.

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1 hour ago, jarcher said:

What do you guys think is the best bank for the buck in a VF handheld with GPS and DSC? I'm looking at the Icom M93D but it's $300...  I just bought an M25 which seems quite nice but I'm thinking a GPS/DSC might be a better backup for emergencies.

The S-H is good, but the price isn't much different.

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MotionX was great but they folded a few years ago when all the smartphone makers started giving away the same functionality for free.  Except AFAIK you can’t switch to nautical charts in Apple maps.

The SH HX870 is always on sale somewhere for around $200.  Plus they’ve been offering rebates on top of that, but IDK if anyone ever actually gets their rebate.  I didn’t.  

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Right now the HX870 is on sale for $199 and then a $40 rebate from SH. I called SH and they told me that this radio can not do the amatuer 2 meter band. The only ones that will do that are the HX380 and the HX400 (which say that LMR channels are included). He also said that Standard Horizon will not give the software to make it do this to an end user, only to a dealer so I would need to make sure the dealer is willing to program that for me, or provide the software. 

The HX870 is not USB chargeable, it's charger is a nonstandard cradle.The cradle can be powered with a 120VAC wall wart or by a cable with a cigarette style connector. There is also an optional cable that just connects to 12VDC. All these plug into the cradle, not the radio directly. The instruction manual does not indicate if the radio locks into the cradle.  But it does come with the ability to use 5 AAA batteries but this it power output is limited to 1 watt.  

Sadly, the Icom M93D also requires a cradle, and is a good bit more expensive. 

So, I think for another $50 I'll return the Icom M25 and order an HX870. 

 

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A bit of dredging through the dark corners of Ebay will usually turn up someone willing to sell a bootleg copy of radio programming software and appropriate cables to use it.  (Who knew there was a serial port hidden in the headphone jack?)  Of course, it comes with no instructions or warranty.  

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2 hours ago, toddster said:

A bit of dredging through the dark corners of Ebay will usually turn up someone willing to sell a bootleg copy of radio programming software and appropriate cables to use it.  (Who knew there was a serial port hidden in the headphone jack?)  Of course, it comes with no instructions or warranty.  

I guess I was lucky - SH sent me a copy :D

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Thanks for all of the great replies. As usual, the answers often breed more questions. As I understand it, some of the handhelds can be modifies for HAM radio frequencies. How would that be beneficial with a 1/5 watt transmitter? Just to listen?

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39 minutes ago, Caca Cabeza said:

Thanks for all of the great replies. As usual, the answers often breed more questions. As I understand it, some of the handhelds can be modifies for HAM radio frequencies. How would that be beneficial with a 1/5 watt transmitter? Just to listen?

2-meter repeaters are what most folks are connecting to. 1/5w is just fine to reach them if there are some around you. Its still VHF so primarily line of sight. The repeater re-broadcasts your signal to other hams. Most repeaters are up on top of hills and mountains making them easy to reach. 

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2 hours ago, ordkhntr said:

2-meter repeaters are what most folks are connecting to. 1/5w is just fine to reach them if there are some around you. Its still VHF so primarily line of sight. The repeater re-broadcasts your signal to other hams. Most repeaters are up on top of hills and mountains making them easy to reach. 

This exactly, although ham on VHF is 144MHz to 148MHz, right next to the marine VHF allocation. So without a repeater you'll still get line of sight operation, just like with a marine radio. Of course on land there are hills and buildings and such to block the signal. Ham 2 meter handhelds typically are 1/5 watt selectable just like marine handhelds.

For anyone who does not know, in the US you won't need a license to operate a marine VHF if your boat is under 20 meters in length, but you'll always need a license to operate on any ham frequencies. What privileges you have depends upon the level of your ham (officially called "amateur radio") license. Getting a ham license requires passing a technical exam that covers electronics, radio theory and operation and some other things. There used to be a morse code requirement, back when hams were real hams...

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I have a 4 year old Icom that refuses to quit.  I've left it in a bag for 2 years (when I didn't have a boat) and the battery still showed full bars on the display.   I'm tempted to buy a new one just to get the DSC option.  If something happens to me, it would easier for the kids or a guest to push the DSC rescue button on the radio.

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I just ordered my HX870 from the GPS store, $199.95 and free shipping and a promised $40 rebate from SH. The Icom M93D was $249.95. If not for the SH rebate I would probably have bought the Icom instead, but the SH 3 year warranty is nice. What did you guys mean about SH not actually paying the rebate? The form looks easy enough, why would they not pay it?

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9 hours ago, jarcher said:

This exactly, although ham on VHF is 144MHz to 148MHz, right next to the marine VHF allocation. So without a repeater you'll still get line of sight operation, just like with a marine radio. Of course on land there are hills and buildings and such to block the signal. Ham 2 meter handhelds typically are 1/5 watt selectable just like marine handhelds.

For anyone who does not know, in the US you won't need a license to operate a marine VHF if your boat is under 20 meters in length, but you'll always need a license to operate on any ham frequencies. What privileges you have depends upon the level of your ham (officially called "amateur radio") license. Getting a ham license requires passing a technical exam that covers electronics, radio theory and operation and some other things. There used to be a morse code requirement, back when hams were real hams...

Really, 20 meters or less no VHF radio license required.

Certainly not the case in Canada.

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https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/oep-navigation-radiocomms-faqs-1489.htm#01

Actually it is the case in Canada for small rec vessels, as long as you remain in Canadian territorial waters.

edit: that was always my understanding maybe someone can correct me if I'm wrong 

another edit: I seem to recall the requirement was phased in w the arrival of dsc (?)

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13 minutes ago, fufkin said:

https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/oep-navigation-radiocomms-faqs-1489.htm#01

Actually it is the case in Canada for small rec vessels, as long as you remain in Canadian territorial waters.

edit: that was always my understanding maybe someone can correct me if I'm wrong 

Here is something from Blue Seas about when you need a license, although it does not specify what country. 

http://www.offshoreblue.com/communications/radio-operator.php

Any time you sail in a country other than the one you are flagged in you'll need a radio license.

Canada seems to have a requirement that the person be licensed and the ship station be licensed, although the ship station license requirement has exemptions. I'm not clear on if every boater who touches a marine radio in Canada really needs an ROC(m), that would be crazy.

http://boating.ncf.ca/vhf.html#license

 

 

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Jarcher

Yeah I think they phased out the ship station license for small boats in 99 in Canada while in Canadian waters , but the operators license is different and is required, as far as I know.

My earlier post was mistaking ships licence for operators licence. Apologies to anyone for the confusion.

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On 4/5/2018 at 9:42 AM, jarcher said:

What do you guys think is the best bank for the buck in a VF handheld with GPS and DSC? I'm looking at the Icom M93D but it's $300...  I just bought an M25 which seems quite nice but I'm thinking a GPS/DSC might be a better backup for emergencies.

Chicago-mackinac race now requires a DSC / GPS enabled handheld.   Jumped on line, knew I wanted iCom based on history, the picture of the M93D showed a volume / on-off knob just like I'm used to so I I bought it and used it this past week.   It sucks, because that wasn't a 'knob' on top, it's a useless remote speaker port.    If ya wanna change volume or squelch you gotta go thru a bunch of keystroked and buttons to get there.    

It'll live in the ditch bag to meet the rule, and I'll keep using my iCom 73(?) since it's way smaller and more friendly.   Seriously you can go to a 4 day regatta and leave the charger at home, they last forever on a charge.  If you dont require the DSC function just get the old school iCom 73 and be done with it if you can find one

 

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See the VOR MOB thread. If you end up in the water, it will be SO nice to press a button and have all boats in range ring a loud alarm with your position displayed.

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2 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

See the VOR MOB thread. If you end up in the water, it will be SO nice to press a button and have all boats in range ring a loud alarm with your position displayed.

Oh God no, please, don't drag that thread into it... This has been a very productive thread so far...

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1 hour ago, jarcher said:

I just ordered my HX870 from the GPS store, $199.95 and free shipping and a promised $40 rebate from SH. The Icom M93D was $249.95. If not for the SH rebate I would probably have bought the Icom instead, but the SH 3 year warranty is nice. What did you guys mean about SH not actually paying the rebate? The form looks easy enough, why would they not pay it?

Like a lot of other companies, SH contracts with a sleazy third-party marketing company to handle their "rebate" campaign.  Judging from many review and forum comments, they send out a few checks, but only if you spend a lot more than $40 of your time pestering them.  Most people simply never get a check and eventually forget about it.  I did not get one.  The time spent cutting out pieces of the box, printing receipt copies, etc. was more than enough wasted time.  

The whole point of a "rebate" as opposed to simply cutting the price, is that in most cases, it will never be paid.   

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4 minutes ago, toddster said:

Like a lot of other companies, SH contracts with a sleazy third-party marketing company to handle their "rebate" campaign.  Judging from many review and forum comments, they send out a few checks, but only if you spend a lot more than $40 of your time pestering them.  Most people simply never get a check and eventually forget about it.  I did not get one.  The time spent cutting out pieces of the box, printing receipt copies, etc. was more than enough wasted time.  

The whole point of a "rebate" as opposed to simply cutting the price, is that in most cases, it will never be paid.   

Same as my iCom from West Marine---- haven't seen my rebate yet either.   Waste of time...

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21 minutes ago, toddster said:

Like a lot of other companies, SH contracts with a sleazy third-party marketing company to handle their "rebate" campaign.  Judging from many review and forum comments, they send out a few checks, but only if you spend a lot more than $40 of your time pestering them.  Most people simply never get a check and eventually forget about it.  I did not get one.  The time spent cutting out pieces of the box, printing receipt copies, etc. was more than enough wasted time.  

The whole point of a "rebate" as opposed to simply cutting the price, is that in most cases, it will never be paid.   

Dilbert's company is offering a $1,000,000 rebate on some stupid software they charge $1,000,000 for. When Dilbert asks how this makes any money, the PHB says "if just ONE person loses the receipt" :rolleyes:

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1 hour ago, toddster said:

Like a lot of other companies, SH contracts with a sleazy third-party marketing company to handle their "rebate" campaign.  Judging from many review and forum comments, they send out a few checks, but only if you spend a lot more than $40 of your time pestering them.  Most people simply never get a check and eventually forget about it.  I did not get one.  The time spent cutting out pieces of the box, printing receipt copies, etc. was more than enough wasted time.  

The whole point of a "rebate" as opposed to simply cutting the price, is that in most cases, it will never be paid.   

 

1 hour ago, 1sailor said:

Same as my iCom from West Marine---- haven't seen my rebate yet either.   Waste of time...

 

Well it's one thing to hope people never file for the rebate. It's quite another to actually not pay it. I'll be applying and I'll be really pissed if they pull this stunt. Thanks for the heads up!

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6 hours ago, jarcher said:

...   ...

Well it's one thing to hope people never file for the rebate. It's quite another to actually not pay it. I'll be applying and I'll be really pissed if they pull this stunt. Thanks for the heads up!

Unfortunately it is standard operating procedure to make the customer/sucker applying for the rebate to jump thru hoops and say "Oops we lost your paperwork, send it again..... oh and you have to send us the originals, no copies" etc etc. There was a time when the Att'y General of NC was busting these kinds of things, but nowadays it just gets shrugged off.

As a general rule I don't buy things based on their rebated price, only if it's a good deal and worth buying anyway. Although I have have succeeded in cashing rebates a few times, but probably about 50/50

FB- Doug

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I was in West Marine earlier today, they have the ICOM M73 marked down to $169 right now.

No GPS or DSC, but that's a pretty great price for a good solid handheld...

$.02

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Regarding antennas. I have yet to get an HT that I didn't switch antennas on. Pretty much all OEM rubber ducky antennas suck. I have had great success with Diamond brand. 

Also, this thread got me thinking about the HX400. The only downside I see is that they state that it has to be programmed by SH/Yeasu of their dealer. We sail in lots of different areas so being able to change the 2-meter frequencies is a have to for it to be useful to a HAM. 

So I got to searching, and it looks like there is a copy of it floating around. I've used stuff from this site before and it worked fine. Anyway, I am going to pick up an HX400 ($180 at HRO) and give it a shot... 

Here is the link:

https://hamfiles.co.uk/index.php?page=downloads&type=entry&id=radio-programming%2Fvertex-standard%2Fstandard-horizon-new

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