Feature Loaded High-end VHFs
Fixed marine radios priced at $300-plus offer plenty of extras.
As a follow-up to our June 2012 report on mid-priced VHF radios, Practical Sailor tested seven fixed DSC-capable VHFs priced above $300. Because most high-end VHF marine radios offer excellent performance, testers looked especially close at extra features, price, and warranties. We evaluated one radio from Standard Horizon, the Matrix AIS+ GX2150; three from Icom, the IC-M424, IC-M504A, and the IC-M604A; two from Garmin, the VHF 200 and VHF 300; and one from Raymarine, the Ray 218. In addition to the bonus features like AIS, position tracking, and hailer/foghorn capability, testers looked at NMEA network compatibility, screen display, audio output and quality, transmit power and power stability, power draw, and frequency stability.