Features April 2009 Issue

Budget-friendly Handheld and Fixed-mount VHF Radios

Quality fixed and portable boat VHF radios get the job done for about $100.

As a follow up to Practical Sailorís recent marine electronics report on mid-priced VHF radios, we evaluated three entry-level fixed-mount VHFs and three entry-level handheld VHFs priced at about $100. Marine radios in this price range lack some of the bells-and-whistles and safety features of higher-priced VHFs, but they will suit the needs of sailors on a budget or boaters looking for a backup VHF. The three fixed VHF radios tested were Cobra Marine F55, the Midland Regatta I and the Standard Horizon Eclipse GX1000S. Handheld radios tested were the Cobra MR HH325 VP, Midland Nautico NT3, and West Marine VHF55. Testers evaluated each radioís transmitter, receiver, sound quality, display screen, and water resistance. Radio performance was also tested at extreme temperatures, and handheld models were dropped from 4 feet onto a concrete surface.

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