A VHF radio is a critical piece of safety and communication equipment that every boater should have on board, regardless of your boating activities. The type of VHF radio that you need will vary depending on what type of boating you do.
There are two basic types of VHF radios; Handheld or Fixed Mount. All Handheld units provide basic VHF receive and transmit functions, and some now include a built-in GPS, with DSC functions. Some fixed mount VHFs now offer AIS Receive and NMEA2000 capabilities.
Most are menu driven, and generally easy to operate.
Handheld VHFs are ideal for inshore operators of smaller boats, such as dinghies, kayaks or small powerboats. They are also a good back up for larger boats that have a fixed mount VHF as the main radio.
The limitation of a handheld unit is less wattage, compared to a fixed mount. Range of a handheld also typically suffers because there is no external antenna. Remember that a VHF's range is line-of-sight; so an 8 foot antenna, or mast-top antenna used by most Fixed Mount VHF's will give you much more range. Also, fixed mount units are usually 25 Watts, compared to the 5 or 6 Watts for the majority of handheld VHF.
All of our handheld VHF radios are waterproof, and some of them float. So the price difference tends to be based on the battery capacity and life, the accessories included, and DSC/GPS capability. The most popular handheld VHF we sell is the Standard Horizon HX870S. Another popular radios is the Icom M73 VHF
Every fixed mount VHF radio sold today offers DSC, or Digital Selective Calling. Standard and Icom's DSC handheld radio's will allow you to contact a similarly equipped craft directly by means of a unique MMSI number, or to send a distress signal with your MMSI identity and location, by a simple press of the button.
MMSI numbers are issued at no cost by Industry Canada - Spectrum Management.
We carry a large selection of both handheld and fixed mount VHF radios, from trusted manufacturers such as Standard Horizon, Raymarine, Simrad and ICOM.
Whatever your needs, we have you covered from the most basic handheld units, to the most advanced fixed mount units with AIS capabilities.