Monday, February 15, 2010

Hand-held VHF Radio Could Save Your Life

A problem with EPIRB or PLB is that if you fall off a boat, without an expensive 121.5 MHz RDF the boat has no way of finding you by the radio signal, and you might well succumb to hypothermia before the USCG responds and arrives.

An excellent alternative that will give your boat (and all other DSC-equipped VHF radios) within a range of several miles your exact position, making it possible to find you, is a waterproof hand-held marine VHF radio with internal GPS and DSC.

Best Products
  • Standard Horizon HX850S
    6W, floating, internal GPS, DSC, SOS strobe light
    "EDITOR'S CHOICE" by Practical Sailor September 2009
    "BEST CHOICE" by Practical Sailor July 2009
    SAIL Magazine 2009 Pittman "INNOVATION AWARD" January 2009

    Find It Online with Google Products

  • Standard Horizon HX851
    6W, floating, internal GPS, DSC, SOS strobe light, glow-in-the dark gasket, navigate to waypoints and compass display.
    Improved version of HX850S

    Find It Online with Google Products
Honorable Mention
  • Lowrance LHR-80
    5W, floating, internal GPS, DSC, navigate to waypoints
    PRO: track-your-buddy, larger display, less expensive
    CON: not as waterproof, less powerful, not as rugged
More Information
See Also: VHF Radio with DSC and GPS plus AIS
UPDATE: Another option is the Mobilarm V100 "VPIRB" water-activated DSC+GPS distress beacon. Cool idea (despite the misleading moniker), but suffers from limited function and very high price tag (~$750). At (say) $250 it would be much more competitive and compelling.

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