What handheld VHF radio do you guys prefer?

bent rodz

Almost A Member
  • Aug 30, 2014
    159
    130
    34
    San Diego
    Name
    Tony
    Boat
    Skipjack 24 Open
    Hey BDrs I'm on the market for a backup handheld VHF radio. As the tile says, which one would you prefer? I have narrowed it down to these two radios.

    Standard Horizon HX890 with GPS/DSC $199
    Or
    ICOM M94D with AIS/GPS/DSC $299

    I was thinking Icom as it has the AIS feature and my main radio (SIMRAD RS12) only has DSC.

    Is the AIS feature of the ICOM worth the extra $100 bucks?

    I would like to hear some of your thoughts. Thanks.
    20210524_172248.jpg

    Screenshot_20210524-170801_Samsung Internet.jpg
     
    Last edited:
    Upvote 0

    clevel

    Skipper
  • Jun 4, 2011
    1,234
    1,049
    Laguna Niguel
    Name
    Cabo Jack
    Boat
    Cobia 261
    I have had the SH HX 890 for 4 years and it is really nice. The AIS feature is most useful when overlaid on your boats navigation plotter, not very useful on a handheld unless it’s the only navigation plotter you rely on.
     
    bent rodz
    bent rodz
    This is the info I was looking for. Thanks. I'm not really sure what all the hype is about AIS on the handheld. The dude at West Marine was trying to sell me on it and I thought it was a cool feature. Not really sure how I would overlay this over my existing chart plotter though as it is a hand held wireless device. Hopefully some other peeps will chime in and put some thoughts on this too. Thanks Skipper.
    Upvote 0
    Upvote 0

    MYNomad

    Heading South
    Dec 12, 2007
    4,175
    4,773
    Pacific Northwest / West Coast Mexico
    Name
    Rick
    Boat
    Yes
    I think sea level is right -- AIS on a handheld is not very useful. I have the 890 and the 870. The screen on the 890 is bigger and the newer "white paper" technology, but the print is pretty small (30 years ago that wouldn't have bothered me), and it has more capabilities (and therefore complexity) than I would ever use in a handheld. But still a great radio. I also have various ICOM handhelds, but not the one you mention. Nothing wrong with any of them, but I still prefer the SH's. If it is going into your ditch bag, be sure to get an alkaline battery pack with extra batteries in a vacu-pack sealed bag.
     
    bent rodz
    bent rodz
    Right on man. Great tips you offered. Thanks! So far thats three for three in favor of the SH. I will definately do that with the battery's! It will be going in a ditch bag.
    Upvote 0
    Upvote 0

    Tesoro

    Member
    Sep 5, 2015
    476
    657
    60
    Brookings, Southern Oregon
    Name
    Chris
    Boat
    21 Arima Ranger 'HogFish'
    HX890. BUT ditch the stock antenna and put on a smiley one. The stock antennas have like negative gain. The smileys are only 20 bucks or so.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: sickcat
    Upvote 0

    bent rodz

    Almost A Member
  • Aug 30, 2014
    159
    130
    34
    San Diego
    Name
    Tony
    Boat
    Skipjack 24 Open
    Thanks guys! I picked up the Standard Horizon HX890 as a backup. Where can I get the upgraded Smiley antenna mentioned?
     
    Upvote 0

    ShadowX

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Oct 10, 2010
    2,489
    2,883
    Los Angeles
    Name
    Alex
    Boat
    None
    I use BaoFeng radios for emergencies. There are other special uses for them, but I can't elaborate. You can easily program them for any legal radio channels in the spectrum. It comes with LiPo batteries, so you can store them for a long time without worrying about the battery life.

    They are dirt cheap (less than $20). If the radio drops into the ocean by accident, you don't feel as bad. You can even use it as an FM radio too.
     
    Last edited:
    Upvote 0

    Dragon

    It is what it is...
    May 24, 2006
    421
    296
    SLO Co.
    Name
    Paul
    Boat
    22' Pro Sport CC / 20' Skipjack Open
    I just got the 890 and put the Smiley antenna on it. 1st hand held I have owned. I live probably 5-6mi. from the coast as the crow flies. And I had it out in the boat in my driveway just playing with it & working on my other electronics. When that thing comes to life and I hear "Another one in the box, Loud & Clear! WTF!!! then some random fishing chatter. I had my main radio on but the antenna was down and it didnt pick it up (also brand new SH). The 1 thing I dont like is you cant turn the squelch all the way down. So it is off? At least I havent figured it out? For sure it does way more than I can do with all the features, I just wanted it for the ditch bag. Im likin it...
     
    Upvote 0

    moorefish

    Member
    Jan 1, 2004
    766
    28
    SoCal
    Name
    MN
    Boat
    Any
    I have the Standard Horizon HX 870. Solid unit but Battery life about one year before a very rapid decline. Anyone else experience this? Also, best place to purchase a new/FRESH replacement battery.
     
    Upvote 0