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Which Marine Radio do I purchase?


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I know it is fun to spend other peoples money, so here is your chance.

I am looking to upgrade to full size Marine Radio. I would like to know which one would be the best bang for the buck and which ones to avoid. Not looking for a lot of gimmics or bells or whisles. Just a powerful radio that can do the job well. Might as well throw in the antena too. I have little to know idea which products are best anymore. I see names of the radios that I never heard of and a few I have.

Thanks in advance!

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Tom,

I'm running a cheaper Standard Horizon and the cheaper 8 ft Shakespeare antenna and haven't had a lick of issues with it. Very clear and have no problem getting out 10 + miles..

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Any one as long as it's an Icom.

I asked that question to a CG officer and he wouldn't endorse any brand. So I asked him what brand radio they used on their vessels and he told me load and clear "Icom".

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+1 for the cheaper radio, but get a real good antenna. on the radios they pretty much work the same. the more money you spend the more bells and whistels you get. i do like one that has scan on it. but you can get a good radio for less than 150.00. then plan to spend anywhere upwards off 100.00 for a good antenna. the quality of your antenna is what picks up the signal.

here are a few good ones. just about any digital one should be good. one good one at a deacent price is the digital 329-vw. they have them on ebay for around 110.00. then a couple of others is the shakespeare 5225 xt. they usely sell for over 100.00 but they have them listed on ebay for 80.00 plus shipping. then the 5225 xp and another good one is the 5226 xt. they have it on ebay for about 130.00. then the one i have and love. the shakespeare 5399, its a 9'6" and they reccomend a mast mount but it will work just fine in a regular mount.

but its alittle more money, i paid 165.00 and free shipping for mine on ebay. but the cheapest they have them on ebay now is about 180.00. and the same antenna is listed from there all the way up to 300.00 plus and thats for the same antenna. and in my opinion its worth every cent of what i paid for mine.

i had always just used a cheap antenna, i just didnt see any reason to spend that much more money for the same size antennas. but after doing alot of research and asking questions, i decided to invest in a good antenna. and i sure am glad i did. i was always content but not really happy with the 39.99 antenna, but had never used anything elce. last year after putting my new one on, i was in a whole new world. i could talk with boats much farther away. and the reception was just so much better.

another thing i like about my 9'6" one is its a 2 piece antenna. we forgot to put it down last year and hit a bridge and busted the end on mine. so i got on line and found a new top part for like 18.00. but the good 8' antennas are a good investment. and maby wouldnt even have hit that bridge,LOL. and if you are limited on money those cheap antennas will work, and like i said i was content with mine untill i tried a good one. now i wouldnt put one on my boat if it was gave to me, if i could come up with the money to buy a good one.

i,ve just rambled on way to long. so i,ll get off here. and this is just my opinion, and thats what you wanted.

one more thing, you might get on line or get some reccomendations on where to get them even cheaper than on ebay. but that 5225 xt for 80.00 plus shipping is going to be hard to beat. but you may want something elce.

sherman

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I use a Uniden Solara radio and this antenna:

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=15966&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&storeId=11151&storeNum=50157&subdeptNum=50187&classNum=50188

I have had good luck with them and have very good reception. For being on the lower end of the price spectrum they perform very well. I have had a few friends that have also put them in and they have been happy with them also.

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There are 3 things you look at in a marine radio: Price, Features, Reliability.

The biggest determination in price is features and there are 2 differant radios i would recommend for completely different reasons.

1 Standard Horizon GX1150 Eclipse - Standard has been know as one of the industry leadings in marine radios for a long time and has a big reputation for reliability. This is an basic VHF radio and will do everything you need in a VHF. If you want to upgrade to a bigger screen the GX1600 explorer is only about $25 more and is another excellent one.

2 Garmin VHF200 - All i can say is features. It has a big screen an a big list of features. Its biggest one is NMEA 2000 comtability so you can network it with any NMEA 2000 device very easily and share a whole lot more information.

PS the eclipse has a $20 rebate right now.

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They all have the same output power and modulation however the front end and recieve are the big changes. Any radio is 90% antenna as a million dollar radio with a 10 dollar antenna won't do any better than a cheap radio with the same antenna. Elevation and grounding are key to radio setup so get your radio grounded and the antenna as high and as big as you can. Personally it is Icom for me but pick what you like I however would not get a radio that does not have Tri Watch as it lets you be on any channel you want and still monitors the distress channels.

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Hi Tom,

I agree with all the other comments but wanted to add one thing: make sure the radio you buy is DSC capable. Actually, I'm not sure you can buy a non-DSC radio any more but you should be aware. With this type of radio, you connect it to an output from your GPS and the radio has a big red DISTRESS button you hold down in an emergency. When that button is pushed the radio automatically sends out a message to all other DSC capable radios (and the Sheboygan CG) of your distress call with your GPS coordinates included. You can also use this feature to call other DSC radios in non-emergency situations without tying up the airwaves. Its a must-have in my book.

Last season I bought a Raymarine Ray55 for about $250 and a Digital brand 8' antenna. I've been happy with the performance but like others have said, I think its more the antenna than the radio. I've heard good things about Icom and Standard Horizon, so I don't think you would go wrong with either of those units either.

Good luck with your decision.

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I just finished installing a cobra f75 last night. I used a basic 8' Shakespeare antenna(pn 5206 I believe). I am hoping it works well. Wondering if I should have bought a better antenna?

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I just finished installing a cobra f75 last night. I used a basic 8' Shakespeare antenna(pn 5206 I believe). I am hoping it works well. Wondering if I should have bought a better antenna?

you,ll be ok for awhile with that antenna. but the first time you upgrade, maby get a digital or something like the 5225 xt or xp. you,ll just be happier with the way it performs.

personaly i like my 9'6" 5399. but they are alittle pricy and everybody dont want that long of an antenna flopping around in rough water. but i havent had any problems. and the do reccomend a mast mount, it will work just fine on a standard ratchet mount. but i do use a stainless mount and not plastic.

sherman

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