Latest News: Forums Cruising VHF Radios – Any recommendations

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 20 total)
  • #3865


    I am hoping to start cruising a bit further afield in the Bristol Channel this year, sailing out of Newport (hope to be at the Lydney weekend in June). For sailing in company with the cruisers out of Newport, and for safety, I am looking at getting a handheld VHF radio. I hope to do the RYA radio course in the next few weeks.

    Any advice or experiences out there on which unit to buy?? Don’t want to spend too much, but don’t want to get cheap rubbish.

    Thanks in advance….



    Hi Pete
    I’ve just done the radio course and went up to the London Boat Show researching hand-helds. The consensus was you cannot economise on safety equipment and I was directed to ICOM and bought a IC M33 for a bargain £115, I think normally £130. One source was a RYA instructor and that is what they use, apparently its also the choice of the RNLI. My course cost £95, had I been a member of the club it would have cost £55, and then you have to send off a further £25 ?? to the RYA for the “license document.” All in all not cheap and not essential and it doesn’t make you 100% safe, but hopefully a worthwhile addition (when I get to cruise the Solent in reality).


    I agree with Mike the Icom M33 floating radio is super, clips on to my bouyancy aid easily but it is hard to remove; which I think is good.


    Sorry that should say Dave Mac


    I’ve been considering buying the Standard Horizon HX270E. Its around £70, can transmit on 2W or 5W, can be run on either the provided Li-ion battery or AA’s and has a 3yr guarantee so would appear to meet my requirements – has anyone else used one of these?



    Thanks for the advice (and the PM).

    I’ll check the Icom unit out – it is within the budget I had in mind. As I will usually be sailing with my 11 year old son, I don’t want to scrimp on this. I see you can pick them up on e-bay, but again, probably not a good idea if I want to rely on it!



    I have been using the Standard Horizon for the last year…. Very happy with it.


    I have the ICOM. I always use an Aquapac, even on this floating, watertight etc etc. Not only does it keep water out but it eliminates all wind noise when speaking. This has become recommended practice here in Dublin Bay following an incident when communication was difficult because of wind noise.

    I attach radio by a cord. I pass my left arm through large loop at end of cord, which is then is passed behind neck. Radio then hangs over my right shoulder. This means I can hear it, operate it with left hand while steering, and VHF stays in place and doesn’t get in way. I always attach radio before putting on lifejacket.



    I have an ICOM and it does the job. I was told that the lifeboats use them as their manufacturer of choice. I was also told by a large yacht charter operator in the Solent that he always buys ICOMs and would not buy anything else as they were sick of having to replace other types that broke down after a year or two.

    Bob Harland

    Just to mention that you need a license for your VHF radio.
    And to use the radio you must have or be supervised by someone who has an operators license.
    More information on RYA website;

    @peter.soper wrote:

    I hope to do the RYA radio course in the next few weeks.

    Please do attend the RYA radio course – it’s every bit as important as carrying the radio.


    Some years ago I was advised that as I sea sailed I should buy a handheld radio. I was informed that the RNLI used ICOM in Aquapacs which were fastened to lifejackets by lanyard. The radios floated and had protection from the water. As was the practice in Wayfarers I fastened the Aquapac to the boat with a 12 feet line.
    A RNLI Seacheck was carried out within a year by a RNLI lifeboat crew member who advised me to split the line to 8 feet and 4 feet sections. The two sections are joined by a strong spring clip from the shorter section. In strong winds I was told to secure the radio to my buoyancy aid and to stick the radio inside by waterproof jacket.
    Another advantage of ICOMs is that they can also be powered by AAAA batteries.


    Last September The Mad Doc & I went across to Spurn Point in “Barbie” for a Lifeboatmans Breakfast ( Like a fat boys but bigger) whilst collecting this huge meal, the Chef commented on my VHF and asked if it was waterproof because there’s always lived in aquapacs. When I told him it had to be waterproof because it floated, he thought what a good idea and looked forward to getting them on the Lifeboat.
    For those who don’t know the Cafe at Spurn point is run by the Lifeboatmen and their Ladies.


    Tha Aquapac is not only used to keep water off the radio. It also totally prevents wind noise when talking. Wind noise can render any call unintelligible, and in stressful situations it is easy to forget to protect microphone from wind. A plastic bag is an inelegant substitute.


    Dave Barker

    Just a quick mention for the Icom M71. Although a little more expensive than some, it does have several advantages – to my eyes at least. The transmission power (at max) is 6W rather than the usual 5W, which might make a useful difference, but the main reason I chose it is that it is longer and slimmer than most other models, (and who doesn’t like a long, slim model? 🙂 ), so it will fit nicely into the pocket of my buoyancy aid. This has an attachment loop inside, so there is no risk of my dropping the radio.

    I previously had a Nexus NX1500 (Silva), which was good, but I couldn’t get a spare battery anywhere. They now have a better UK setup, but I’m happy with the Icom.


    I’ve been using an M71 as well, and can attest to its water-proofness 🙂

    A major factor in my choice was battery life – with a spare battery I can run for around 4 days’ sailing before I have to find somewhere to charge.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 20 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.