VHF marine radios are a must for any boating enthusiast. Not only can they be invaluable while on the water and in a life-threatening emergency, but they can also help relay to you important information about boating and weather conditions, such as storm warnings from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). There are several high-quality VHF marine radios on the market today.
Midland Radio Nautico 1
The Midland Nautico 1 is at top of the list of best VHF marine radios for three main reasons: functionality, quality and price. This 88-channel, hand-held two-way radio has a range of 18 miles and includes NOAA severe weather alert notifications. Using NiMH rechargeable batteries, or 4 AA batteries, the Nautico 1 will be ready when you need it. This very affordable marine radio is perfect for kayakers, canoers or any other boating enthusiast who will appreciate the convenience of a hand-held model. A large, backlit display, three call tones, DC adaptor for charging on the boat and a waterproof bag are all standard.
Midland Radio 5900 Parretta Dr. Kansas City, MO 64120 (816) 241-8500 http://www.midlandradio.com>
Standard Horizon HX850s Handheld VHF with GPS
If you're looking for all of the bells and whistles in a hand-held VHF marine radio, you won't go wrong with the Standard Horizon HX850s. Boating enthusiasts will pay a bit more for this radio, but they'll definitely get more bang for their buck. This radio not only includes all of the features one would expect in a hand-held unit, but it also comes with a 12-channel GPS. However, one of its best features is that it floats.
If you lose the HX850s overboard accidentally, it will stay afloat for 30 minutes. Six watts of transmitting power, a lithium-ion battery that will stay charged for approximately nine hours and a 110v AC and 12v DC charger are all standard. Add to this the functionality of the unit, such as being able to place automated distress calls that will broadcast the boater's exact location and identification data, and it's no wonder this unit has taken top honours since its release.
Standard Horizon 10900 Walker Street Cypress, CA 90630 (714) 827-7600 http://www.standardhorizon.com>
Uniden Oceanus DSC
Sometimes a fixed-mount VHF marine radio is what a boater is looking for. When that's the case, there is no need to look any farther than the Uniden Oceanus DSC. This ultra-compact radio features rugged construction that will stand up to the toughest boating conditions. In addition to its durability, the Oceanus DSC offers features that make it the choice of many avid boaters.
The Oceanus comes with the standard channel up-and-down controls. However, it also has a Quick Command control that allows boaters one-touch access to Coast Guard channels 16 and 9. This rapid access can be invaluable in life-threatening emergencies. The Triple Watch Plus system allows boaters to not only monitor emergency channels 16 and 9, but also another user-selected channel and NOAA's weather alert channel. These features, 25 watts of transmitting power and an affordable price tag make the Oceanus DSC an easy addition to any "Best Of" list.
Uniden 4700 Amon Carter Blvd. Fort Worth, TX 76155 (817) 858-3300 http://www.uniden.com>
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