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Standard Horizon Marine and Aircraft Radios

Standard Horizon offers marine and aircraft radios for communications, safety, and distress calls while you are on the water or in flight. VHF radios are the gold standard of safety. Understanding how marine and aircraft radios work and what features you need will help you make the right purchase.

What features should you look for in a VHF radio?

When researching your options for a Standard Horizon radio, there are several key features you should consider before purchasing. These include:

  • Maximum power settings: They are limited to a high rate of 25 watts for transmitting; most communications over short distances use a 1-watt setting to reduce interference with other boaters. Be sure to check the maximum wattage on your radio choices.
  • Channels: These radios have up to 55 channels. However, many are for military, Coast Guard, and other governmental purposes only. While you may listen to transmissions on these reserved channels, there are only about 10-15 channels over which you can transmit.
  • Antenna: For fixed mount radios, the antenna mount is a vital part of the function. An antenna should be mounted on the highest point possible with a large diameter coax cable that runs directly to the fixed mount radio.
  • Battery power: A fixed mount marine radio will draw from the boat's battery and use a low amount of amperage. However, if your boat undergoes any battery or engine troubles, you may lose power to it; thus, a backup hand-held VHF marine radio is also an essential communications tool.
What types of mounts are available for a marine radio antenna?

Mounting the antenna for your VHF marine radio is critical for optimal performance under all weather conditions. The four main antenna mounts include:

  • Straight mount: This is located on the masthead of your boat.
  • Ratchet mount: It allows the antenna to be angled up or down as needed to pass under low spots like bridges or when moving into a covered slip or boathouse.
  • Swivel mount: This also allows some freedom of movement and angle adjustment of the antenna. However, this mount is set at a permanent altitude.
  • Rail mount: It is attachable to the bow rail for watercraft that lack the superstructure to support an antenna mount.
What emergency features do marine radios have?

VHF radios offer emergency features that include:

  • Distress buttons
  • DSC with MMSI input ability to identify you immediately to nearby craft, Coast Guard, and marine police
  • GPS with the option to send position or request position
  • Loud hailers to attract nearby craft or rescue crews
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