Time to replace the dash VHF

mrsrobinson

Well-Known Member
Mar 9, 2006
7,704
Virginia
Boat Info
2001 380DA
Engines
Caterpillar 3126
From this thread: http://www.clubsearay.com/index.php...credit-replacement.108246/page-4#post-1317115

It's time to replace the old with a new. There are waaaay too many on the market to figure out which is which, which is best, how to compare them, etc. Budget is $200 - $400.

I searched here though I cannot find a good thread on options/brands. Current one is the original RAY220 VHF/HAILER. I'd like to avoid dash mods if at all possible.

I do not need fancy, I do not need a lot of extra stuff. River boating, occasional Bay boating. I'd like to have a synch to the boat's GPS, not clear if I need NMEA2000 for that or GPS built in to the VHF. If the former, what cable(s) do I need to synch the two?

Ones I have reviewed:

https://www.thegpsstore.com/Marine-...os/Standard-Horizon-GX1850-Explorer-VHF-Black

https://www.thegpsstore.com/Marine-...n-GX2400-Matrix-VHF-with-AIS-GPS-and-NMEA2000



Capture.PNG
 
I had a GX series Standard Horizon on my 340 and it was great. I went with Garmin on my 400 only because that's the brand of MFD's I'm using. If you think you might upgrade MFD's later you may want to select your brand now if you care about things matching.

I don't think you can go wrong with any of the name brands. Though you may also want to consider Icom if you're agnostic to brands...

And good luck avoiding dash mods. That's nearly impossible coming from the old Raymarine stuff :)
 
I have the GX2400 on my 340SDA now and love it. I replaced my Ray215 with it and choose the GX2400 simply to get N2K and the bonus of AIS reception - I did not care to stay with Raymarine for my VHF.

Unfortunately from the picture you posted of your current unit the GX2400 will be considerably smaller and you may need an adapter panel or new dash panel. Also it looks like the GX2400 might be in short supply right now.

-Kevin
 
I would love to get the handset holder/mount after you pull it, mine is cracked...

From this thread: http://www.clubsearay.com/index.php...credit-replacement.108246/page-4#post-1317115

It's time to replace the old with a new. There are waaaay too many on the market to figure out which is which, which is best, how to compare them, etc. Budget is $200 - $400.

I searched here though I cannot find a good thread on options/brands. Current one is the original RAY220 VHF/HAILER. I'd like to avoid dash mods if at all possible.

I do not need fancy, I do not need a lot of extra stuff. River boating, occasional Bay boating. I'd like to have a synch to the boat's GPS, not clear if I need NMEA2000 for that or GPS built in to the VHF. If the former, what cable(s) do I need to synch the two?

Ones I have reviewed:

https://www.thegpsstore.com/Marine-...os/Standard-Horizon-GX1850-Explorer-VHF-Black

https://www.thegpsstore.com/Marine-...n-GX2400-Matrix-VHF-with-AIS-GPS-and-NMEA2000



View attachment 125067
 
I'd like to have a synch to the boat's GPS, not clear if I need NMEA2000 for that or GPS built in to the VHF. If the former, what cable(s) do I need to synch the two?

My definition of fully-enabled DSC means that:

- The VHF radio is programmed with a current MMSI number (they don't expire, but the info linked to the number could be outdated etc.)
- The VHF radio has position data
- A plotter can receive and display vessel position data of other vessels

One level below fully-enabled would be um, "mostly enabled"? Some devices only support 1-way communication of position data, so a GPS plotter can offer position data to the VHF, but the VHF can't send the position of a vessel in distress to the plotter.

A VHF with built-in GPS but no connection to a plotter is in a similar situation: perfectly capable of broadcasting your position if you're in distress, but your plotter won't show the position of another vessel in distress. Choosing not to connect a VHF w/ built-in GPS doesn't sacrifice your safety, but it removes a level of safety for nearby vessels who may broadcast a distress for you to receive, so I strongly encourage the connection.

NMEA-0183 is the DVD player of marine communication. It usually gets the job done one way or another, and doesn't seem to want to go away.

NMEA-0183 are just color coded wires that can be connected between devices. Colors aren't common between devices, but it's enough of a standard that devices from different mfr's can talk to each other.

NMEA-2000 allows your wire strippers and butt splices to stay in the tool bag, but requires additional parts and pieces and a basic understanding of how to assemble them. It also makes expansion infinitely easier. Once you have it setup and want to add a device, add a "T" and away you go. If the boat already has an NMEA-2000 network, or if there's a decent chance you'll add one at some point anyway, then that's an easy decision IMO.
 
I've found recently that VHF radios with NMEA 2000 connections seem to be the exception. NMEA 0183 is hanging on really strong.

I recently installed a Standard Horizon GX1400 radio, with GPS embedded. It was a flush mount install in the dash of a '98 270 DA, and what an everloving PITA it was. The flush mount brackets are a huge pain to install because of the design. You need to have access to the back of the radio to do it - you can't just slide it into the dash. Little screws have to be put into the brackets from the side in the rear - you need clearance on the side to do it. The dash also can't be too thick - I had to grind away the back side of the dashboard fiberglass. It took me 2 days and a whole lot of cursing to get it done.
 
I recently installed a Standard Horizon GX1400 radio, with GPS embedded. It was a flush mount install in the dash of a '98 270 DA, and what an everloving PITA it was. The flush mount brackets are a huge pain to install because of the design. You need to have access to the back of the radio to do it - you can't just slide it into the dash. Little screws have to be put into the brackets from the side in the rear - you need clearance on the side to do it. The dash also can't be too thick - I had to grind away the back side of the dashboard fiberglass. It took me 2 days and a whole lot of cursing to get it done.
I found the exact same thing having just installed a GX 2400. Ended up removing my Garmin plotter to get one hand to the backside of the radio to secure it. I should have done more homework on the flush mounting and in hindsight I probably would have paid extra for a Garmin VHF just for ease of install.
 
So reading these install nightmares, plus some other research I did online, does it make sense to install it in the dash? I've been thinking as well, I'm right-handed, the current unit is on my left side, why not install something on the right side where it's quickly accessible and won't be in my way while navigating.
 
So reading these install nightmares, plus some other research I did online, does it make sense to install it in the dash? I've been thinking as well, I'm right-handed, the current unit is on my left side, why not install something on the right side where it's quickly accessible and won't be in my way while navigating.
This is why black box type radio are pretty nice. You can hide the brains anywhere you want, and just locate the handset with convenience. The ICOM M400BB is a mice radio. I had it on my 270 AJ, I liked it quite a lot. I currently have a Garman 315 blackbox radio which is also a very nice unit, but expensive.
In any of these scenarios you’re going to have a hole in your dash panel From the old radio.
 
I've found recently that VHF radios with NMEA 2000 connections seem to be the exception. NMEA 0183 is hanging on really strong.

I recently installed a Standard Horizon GX1400 radio, with GPS embedded. It was a flush mount install in the dash of a '98 270 DA, and what an everloving PITA it was. The flush mount brackets are a huge pain to install because of the design. You need to have access to the back of the radio to do it - you can't just slide it into the dash. Little screws have to be put into the brackets from the side in the rear - you need clearance on the side to do it. The dash also can't be too thick - I had to grind away the back side of the dashboard fiberglass. It took me 2 days and a whole lot of cursing to get it done.

If you ever wind up replacing a Ray215 again we have the adapter panels to fit these and other VHFs. You just widen the hole in the dash and mount the VHF flush to our panel. The panel is pre-drilled to use the existing Ray215 mounting holes.

-Kevin
 
I found the exact same thing having just installed a GX 2400. Ended up removing my Garmin plotter to get one hand to the backside of the radio to secure it. I should have done more homework on the flush mounting and in hindsight I probably would have paid extra for a Garmin VHF just for ease of install.

This is the GX2400 installed on our 340SDA with the adapter panel. I choose not to open the hole further and flush mounted from the rear removing my MFD but it could have been easily done by cutting the dash a little more.

GX2400-001.jpg

-Kevin
 
I will second the ICOM 400BB black box. Great radio and you get all the wiring up behind the MFD panel. However, my gripe is it is NEMA0183 and even with a converter, it loses sync/position and will start to beep loudly. I would prefer a NEMA2000 connection.

Making or having a cover plate for the remaining hole it cheap and easy, and you will likely find something to fill that space as you use the boat more/decide to upgrade. A sheet of Walnut Burl ABS is easy to cut and shape, and can be held in place with 3M VHB tape. It also allows you to move things around if you don't like the placement. I made/moved several components in the first couple years by making these little plates, and once I was happy, I did have a new panel made. I think it was the 3rd year of ownership.
 
Here’s a couple pics of the GX1400 install.

This is what I was working with. Old radio on the right, being relocated to the left side. Center is where the GPS goes.
3ABE6235-A55F-4A6D-A608-A40D6C86F989.jpeg


Filled the old holes with plywood. Turns out that the dash with the burl panel was too thick for the radio mounting kit.
75405575-BCE0-4651-BDCA-D7876568CDD4.jpeg


Back side of the dash. Had to grind out the area on the right side of the pic to slim down the fiberglass.
ABA7DC6E-B1E9-4596-8F5C-FF2C0C8EDD34.jpeg



Here you can see the flush mounting bracket. It’s not attached yet. See that little notch on the side of the radio? The brackets slides in there, then a 1/4 inch long screw had to fit into a little hole in the bracket to secure it. Note the closeness of the dash on the right side - no screwdriver was fitting in there. My hand barely fit. And I had to work totally blind while trying not to drop the screw. Really shitty design.
07CC19EA-5687-4625-8B1E-CFB6EB748492.jpeg



Final installation. At least it looks good in the end with all new dash panels.
B4C87C6A-5E86-4AAD-A4E6-2621B7448669.jpeg
 
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This is the GX2400 installed on our 340SDA with the adapter panel. I choose not to open the hole further and flush mounted from the rear removing my MFD but it could have been easily done by cutting the dash a little more.
-Kevin
That looks good, in our case we had the remote mount NorthStar VHF. I removed the round Clarion remote in the same spot you have yours and enlarged to mount the GX there.

I like the AIS receive function more than I thought I would, it pairs well with the Garmin too.
 

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