Cheap/disposable handheld vhf

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by sb in gp, Dec 13, 2014.

  1. sb in gp

    sb in gp Member SILVER Sponsor

    740
    Oct 10, 2006
    Grosse Pointe, MI
    44 Sedan Bridge 2006
    Cummins QSC-500
    Thinking of getting a cheap backup vhf for the boat. Don't need tons of features, just need it to have average range and work when I need it. I'd like to spend less than $100.

    I find a few on eBay and elsewhere including this Cobra mrhh125 for about $50.
    http://www.overtons.com/modperl/pro...aVFl3nX3jaEmNTr2u-7fFdEGYZzo_CnGvYaAhNJ8P8HAQ

    This uses AAA batteries which is nice for a disposable since I can replace them cheaply.

    Has anyone had success with this unit or have other advice? Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014
  2. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    Not what you want to hear, but..........

    There is a reason some hand-helds are cheap. Lack of features, lack of quality and lack of service if you have a problem. Try listening to or broadcasting on a windy day using a $50 radio and you quickly see why this may not be a good place to save $$. I don't like the AA battery radios because you never are sure about remaining battery life or range. With my rechargeable I just plop it in the cradle as I close up the boat and it is always charged when we need to use it. I think you can probably catch a sale at our favorite electronics seller, BOE, and buy a Standard Horizon with rechargeable batteries cheap enough that you end up with a first class radio, great features like rechargeable batteries, scanning, etc. for not a lot more money than a cheaper brand. Service after the sale is also important. I have a Standard that had a battery drain problem. I didn't want to do without the radio for weeks and weeks, but was caught at the mercy of Standard since there were still 2 months of warranty remaining. I sent the radio to them on Monday via UPS, got a call Wednesday saying the had diagnosed the problem and repaired the radio (at no cost even though battery replacement isn't covered) and would ship it back. It came by FEDEX on Friday.....5 days with no lost time on the water.

    Good luck with your search..........
     
  3. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Agreed. Dockhands at our Marina said they always get the cheapest available since they misplace, lose, drop, etc.

    You can tell when you are trying to talk with them on the radio...
     
  4. my3sons

    my3sons Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Feb 24, 2009
    Upstate NY (lake Erie)
    2004 400DB, Onan 9 kw Gen, Highfield RIB,
    Cummins 6CTA
  5. Woody

    Woody Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2007
    N. Wisconsin/Lk Superior
    2005 420DA
    Cummins 6CTA8.3
    A little over your budget but I use a Icom m36. My hearing isn't what it used to be but with this one I have no problem....about 160 bucks though.
     
  6. Alex F

    Alex F Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 14, 2006
    East Coast
    2005 420DB with AB 11 DLX Tender, Raymarine Dual E120 MFD/Radar/XMWeather, ST7001 A/P, AIS, SeaLift
    T-Cummins 450Cs Straight-Drives, 9KW Onan Generator, 40HP Yamaha for tender.
    Scott,

    I went the route you're looking at. I didn't have great expectation, just a backup for my handheld, use on the tender and give it to the kids when they go kayaking. The performance is matching the price tag. When I was a lead boat on a trip, I had tried this VHF to minimize range of my broadcast (instead of broadcasting in 20nm radius with my on board VHF). Next thing you know only two boats behind me were able to clearly hear me. All others didn't hear a thing. So, realistically you're looking at 1/2nm (+/-) range.

    Giving it to the kids is a good idea, BUT....here's the kicker, it's "water resistant". A friend had his unit submerged and it was the end of life. So, now I use this cheap POS on board while I let my kids take iCOM M36, which is truly waterproof and it floats. My son gave it a good test when he flipped on a kayak. The iCOM floated right up and worked thereafter like it never saw the water (it was salt water too).

    So, whether it's worth to spend $50 on this VHF is really depends how you plan on using it. Just expect to get what you pay.
     
  7. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer
    2X 454 w/ vDrives
    I have that Cobra and bought it for the same reason as you but I bought it on impulse at Radioworld when I was there buying something else. I also have a standard Horizon 851 waterproof floater with GPS, and a Uniden Voyager.

    The Cobra is not too bad as a backup because it's light. I have never tested its max range but it's ok up to about a mile. I mostly use it at our cottage to listen to the fisherman chatter off shore or when I take a quick short dingy trip to shore. That said, all the other comments above are right. If I were to get another backup and money was an issue I would probably try to buy a used one.
     
  8. sb in gp

    sb in gp Member SILVER Sponsor

    740
    Oct 10, 2006
    Grosse Pointe, MI
    44 Sedan Bridge 2006
    Cummins QSC-500
    Great feedback guys. I'll up the budget a bit and see what I can find.

    I love to support Boe whenever I can, so I'll start there.

    Scott
     
  9. Knot It

    Knot It Member

    348
    Oct 28, 2011
    St. Louis, Mo
    '01 340 Sundancer
    T-7.4 Horizons w/ V Drives
  10. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer
    2X 454 w/ vDrives
    After clicking on the link you gave, I saw these:
    http://www.overtons.com/modperl/pro...g-Handheld-VHF-Radio-Two-Pack&i=709935&r=view

    Two Standard Horizon HX100 floating handhelds with a dual charging stand for $100. Can't beat that with a stick!
     
  11. dpmulvey

    dpmulvey New Member SILVER Sponsor

    Dec 19, 2007
    Homeport: Charles City, VA
    1999/2007 330 Sundancer Hardtop.
    6.2 Merc Horixons
    1.5:1 Velvet Drives
    I've had an SH for years. Less than $150. Well worth every dime.
     
  12. Thornton69

    Thornton69 Member

    213
    Sep 15, 2014
    Northern BC
    1980 24.5' SR custom hardtop
    1984 18' Valco sled
    1984 20' Alicraft- sold
    5.7 260 Merc/ Bravo 2
    Evanrude 115/80 jet
    "I have had the Standard Horizon HX280S for a while and no complaints. It's a cheap radio that doesn't act it.
    http://www.marine-electronics-review...on-hx280s.html"
    Have had this unit as well for a couple years now. Been surprisingly real happy with it. Also has 40 LMR channels so has been pretty handy in conjunction with the p/u 2 way as well.
     
  13. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    I guess I shouldn't have been so quick with the keyboard. I ordered two of the Cobra radios, then saw the link to the Standard Horizon pair. I called Overtons and canx'd the first ones and they're shipping the second ones.
     
  14. my3sons

    my3sons Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Feb 24, 2009
    Upstate NY (lake Erie)
    2004 400DB, Onan 9 kw Gen, Highfield RIB,
    Cummins 6CTA
  15. Thornton69

    Thornton69 Member

    213
    Sep 15, 2014
    Northern BC
    1980 24.5' SR custom hardtop
    1984 18' Valco sled
    1984 20' Alicraft- sold
    5.7 260 Merc/ Bravo 2
    Evanrude 115/80 jet
  16. h_gerry

    h_gerry Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 19, 2013
    Oceanside, NY
    400 Express Cruiser - 1994 with
    Raytheon 41xx Radar, Northstar 6000i GPS
    Kohler 5E
    454 Mercruiser Inboards
    I have the Standard Horizon HX150 as my backup/dinghy radio and have been happy with it. I believe it was around $100. Speaker could be better but it works just fine.
     
  17. k9medic

    k9medic Member

    456
    Mar 27, 2013
    Florida
    2005 23' twin engine jet boat
    1998 420 Aft Cabin
    twin jet 160hp.
    twin 3116 CATs
  18. sb in gp

    sb in gp Member SILVER Sponsor

    740
    Oct 10, 2006
    Grosse Pointe, MI
    44 Sedan Bridge 2006
    Cummins QSC-500
    Thanks for all replies. Took advice and spent a bit more and got a standard horizon hx290. About $100 after $20 rebate. Ordered from Boe.
     
  19. Seevee

    Seevee Member

    232
    Dec 3, 2015
    St. Pete, FL
    280 Sundancer 2003,
    Garmin 4208, Ray 60
    4.3 Merc Twins, Alpha One, Kohler 5kw
    I had excellent luck with the Icom IC M72. Have two of them and have had them for several years. Used them for boating, kayaking and windsurfing, and beat the heck out of them and they continue to serve me well. They are 6 watts and will go 5 or 6 miles line of sight and I can pick up our Coast Guard antenna about 15 miles away. I have a base station at home, and can even get thru a few high buildings about a mile out.

    Now, they are older and there's newer models out. My son in law has one that floats, great unit, I'll find out what it is.

    Icom's products are outstanding. I've had three VHFs (two are the ones above) plus an aircraft transceiver that also has been great.

    I've had others, too. I like Garmin, Standard is OK, but their chart plotters suck.

    I wouldn't buy a "cheap" one... get references and go for something that works and you can depend on.
     
  20. RidgeRunner

    RidgeRunner New Member SILVER Sponsor

    185
    Jan 25, 2017
    Chesapeake VA
    Amberjack w/ Fishing Package. Full Camper Pkg. 3 ax. Trler. Standard Horizon 2200 VHF w/AIS No Mid
    Single 350 MAG MPI B3
    my elcheapo was just that. So now I'm in even deeper because I still had to go out and get a real radio...Speaker quality was severely lacking. Somethings it doesn't pay to go cheap on.
     

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