Are you finding that the choice of fixed marine VHF radios on the market right now is a bit daunting? You’re not alone in feeling this; I had the same impression when putting together this article.
In addition, I noticed almost every other website putting handheld VHF radios in the same list as fixed! That’s not the case here!
The editorial team at Sailing Savvy boasts nearly 50 years of experience in the yachting and sailing industry. Over the years, we’ve used and evaluated more fixed marine VHF radios than most.
Coastal sailors might not require high-end features. So, this article highlights reliable fixed marine VHF radios with essential functions
For those needing more advanced units, we’ve listed our top recommendations, too. Let’s dive in!
📻 The Best Fixed VHF Marine Radios
We have carefully researched, tested, and compiled a list of the best VHF marine radios available on the market.
Each product is selected for quality and performance to help improve your communication and safety at sea. Browse through our recommendations below to find the perfect VHF marine radio for your needs.
Our in-house yacht captain, Craig, recently had the opportunity to install and use the Lowrance LINK-9 VHF marine radio on his new tender and was impressed by its functionality.
He believes the Lowrance LINK-9 is an excellent choice for boaters needing a reliable and feature-rich VHF marine radio.
- Powerful VHF performance with DSC and AIS receive
- Large, clear white dot matrix LCD
- Easy installation and setup process
- Difficulty entering MMSI number
- Limited to 2 channels
Its overall experience is quite solid, as it offers clear communications with DSC and AIS capabilities. These features make it easier to locate and communicate with other vessels, ensuring improved safety on the water.
One of the best aspects of the LINK-9 is its large, clear white dot matrix LCD screen. We found this very useful, as it offers high visibility even in bright sunlight, allowing for quick reading and access to essential information during our voyages.
This marine radio also has a robust and easily mountable fist mic, which we found convenient for everyday use.
However, we did run into some snags while setting up the unit. Specifically, we had trouble entering the MMSI number and spent considerable time with Lowrance tech support to resolve the issue.
Although this was an inconvenience, the responsive and helpful customer support did make amends for this.
Additionally, the radio is limited to just two channels, which might not be enough for those who require more extensive communication options.
In conclusion, the Lowrance LINK-9 VHF marine radio is a solid choice for a reliable and feature-packed communications solution for those out on the water. Despite some setbacks in the setup process and channel limitations, we believe its performance and the overall experience it offers make it a worthwhile investment for boat owners.
The Standard Horizon GX6000 25W Commercial Grade Fixed Mount VHF is an excellent marine radio for those seeking a reliable and feature-rich VHF radio.
We highly recommend the Standard Horizon GX6000 for its integrated AIS receiver, collision avoidance alarms, and NMEA compatibility.
- Integrated AIS receiver with target display
- Programmable CPA and TCPA collision avoidance alarms
- NMEA2000 and NMEA0183 compatible
- Additional antennas required
- NMEA 2000 cable, GPS receiver, and flush mount brackets not included
- No built-in GPS
Its integrated AIS receiver enables the display of crucial information, including MMSI, Call Sign, Ship Name, BRG, DST, SOG, and COG, allowing you to identify nearby vessels and avoid potential collisions easily.
One impressive aspect of the GX6000 is its programmable CPA and TCPA collision avoidance alarms. These alarms are typically found in radars and provide an additional layer of safety, so having them in your VHF is a highly premium feature!
The radio is also NMEA2000 and NMEA0183 compatible, allowing for seamless integration with other marine electronics onboard.
However, we must point out that some essential components are not included in the package.
You will need to purchase additional antennas, and it lacks an NMEA 2000 cable or flush mount brackets.
Additionally, the VHF radio doesn’t have a built-in GPS; you will need to buy Standard Horizon’s SCU-31 GPS antenna and receiver or wire your own compatible receiver/antenna.
In conclusion, the Standard Horizon GX6000 offers a great combination of features, making it a top choice for anyone looking to enhance their marine communication capabilities.
Despite some minor drawbacks in terms of missing components, the overall performance and feature set make it well worth the investment for a reliable and efficient VHF marine radio.
Our experience with the Icom M330G 31 Compact VHF marine radio left us with a favorable impression, thanks to its overall build quality, professional design, and durability.
Icom is a highly respected industry name. The M330G 31 is reliable, compact, and comes with built-in GPS features.
- High-quality materials and reliable performance
- Compact design with large LCD
- Integrated GPS with external puck antenna
- Less intuitive button layout compared to older models
- No dedicated buttons for 09 or weather channels
- Some users miss the knobs and dials
As a user, the large LCD and soft key menu operation make navigating through the device a breeze. The integrated GPS with an external puck antenna ensures accurate location tracking while on the water.
Though we found the compact design to be a plus, some users might feel differently about the lack of dedicated buttons for channel 9 or weather channels, making it slightly less intuitive than older models.
Another minor downside is that the Icom M330G 31 has shifted away from knobs and dials in favor of button controls, which might not suit all users’ preferences.
The Icom M330G 31 Compact Basic VHF marine radio offers a good balance between simplicity, functionality, and advanced features like Class D DSC and IPX7 waterproofing.
While making some concessions in terms of ease of use for certain tasks, it remains a solid choice for anyone needing a reliable VHF marine radio with GPS capability.
This VHF marine radio is worth considering due to its built-in GPS, clear audio quality, and reliable performance.
Having recently used the M424G 21, we were quite impressed with its features and overall performance.
- Built-in GPS
- Aqua Quake draining function
- Submersible protection (IPX7) – up to 1 meter depth for 30 minutes
- Requires some drilling for installation
- Could have a better user manual
- Only 21 channels
The built-in GPS functionality is a major advantage, providing accurate position reports and making it ideal for receiving and sending distress signals.
The Aqua Quake draining function is another feature we found helpful, especially when out on the water.
It clears any water from the speaker grill, ensuring the audio quality remains clear. Additionally, the radio’s IPX7 submersible protection rating offers added peace of mind, securing the device up to 1 meter underwater for 30 minutes.
However, we did encounter a couple of drawbacks. Installing the radio required some drilling, which might be a pain for some.
We also noticed that the user manual could be better, as some parts were not easy to comprehend. This radio offers 21 channels, which may be sufficient for casual users, but professionals might prefer more options.
Overall, the ICOM M424G 21 VHF marine radio met our expectations in terms of performance and usability. Its unique features, like the built-in GPS and Aqua Quake draining function, make it stand out among other marine radios on the market.
If you’re looking for a reliable marine radio that performs well on the water, this one should definitely be on your list.
The Raymarine Ray55 VHF radio is a feature-rich, compact marine radio suitable for reliable communication at sea.
Our experience with the 55 has been quite satisfying overall.
- Compact design with 25-watt output
- Class D DSC with GPS interface and distress key
- Dual channel display for easy monitoring
- Some reported reliability issues
- Hardwired microphone cord
- May require an additional purchase for in-dash flush mounting kit
The compact design is perfect for smaller boats, and the 25-watt output ensures strong communication.
The Class D DSC with GPS interface and the front-mounted distress key make this radio a trustworthy choice for emergencies.
The dual-channel display is another feature we appreciate. It allows for simultaneous monitoring of active and standby channels, ensuring efficient communication with other boats or monitoring weather alerts.
The professional-grade receiver provides clear reception, and we found onboard controls on the microphone to be convenient.
Some drawbacks include reported reliability issues with the device, such as premature power-offs. We did not experience this ourselves, but we thought it was worth mentioning.
The hardwired microphone cord could also be an issue in the long run, as a damaged cord might require an entire radio replacement. Lastly, remember that an optional in-dash flush mounting kit may need to be purchased separately for a cleaner installation.
In conclusion, the Raymarine Ray55 VHF Fixed Mount Radio is a feature-packed marine radio designed to enhance safety and communication at sea.
Though there are a few potential issues, the radio’s overall performance and convenience make it a solid option for boaters investing in a reliable VHF radio system.
🧑⚖️ Our recommendation process
Between the editorial team at Sailing Savvy, we have nearly 50 years’ worth of experience within the yachting industry. We have used numerous brands like Lowrance, Raymarine, and ICOM.
The recommendations we share are 100% impartial and bias-free. We only offer genuine advice on what we have come to know as the best and most reliable sailing gear.
📝 Buying Guide
When choosing the best VHF marine radio for your needs, there are several factors to consider. We’ll discuss the key features and elements to look for to make an informed decision.
⚖️ Final Verdict
Considering these key features will allows you to make a confident decision when selecting the best VHF marine radio. Remember, safety and communication should always be prioritized while out on the water.