Vhf radios

What kind of handheld vhf radios are people using/happy with? I’ve been using the Icom m73 which looked good online but after a year of use is basically junk. Looking for recommendations for a replacement.

I’m looking for a new vhf too. Must have corded mic. I’d prefer one that floats. I done mind paying twice as much for quality.

Motorola UHF/VHF handheld radios seem to be the most popular one with European companies.

I’ve used them on many different vessels without any issues.


I’ve heard from a few different people saying “get the Motorola” but I’ve never actually met someone who used or owned a Motorola. If anyone knows the specific model that works with marine channels please let me know. The only thing I can find online with them looks to be for “in-house” use only; nothing with channels13/16 etc…

Here in the Netherlands the HM130 is popular. For marine use it is delivered with the compulsory ATIS, also with duplex channel 31 for full duplex communication with bridge keepers and other maritime authorities. It floats and flashes and is easily recognizable by the bright yellow color. Price wise this also is a good deal, about one third of the Motorola prices.

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Motorola APX 6000. It’s a bit of a brick and pricey but it works great.

Really appreciate the feedback guys. Any other pilots or anybody on here that can weigh in?

Most of the handhelds were of decent quality, Motorola, although a bit heavy was the top of the heap. Now that thing about being floatable, Quite alright with that. Delaware Bay, a few cargo tanks. and a few other ports have handheld radios on the bottom that were in my slippery hands before they took a swim. Had a decent Grady White a few years ago, had both fixed and floatable vhf. Good idea.

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Standard Horizon HX400


Standard made a good product as well. They didn’t float back then. I really pissed off a few captains and bean counters dropping my shit going up a jacobs or wooden ladder early on. Did lose one discharging cargo while stripping and leaning over the tank before this new anti-vapor shit came along.

I love the Standard Horizon HX850 Handheld VHF, and it has been up graded to Standard Horizon HX890. Very easy to use and program.
Charles L Starke

For years I have a Standard Horizon HX-380s that one could use to pound nails and the battery lasted forever. It also could be programmed to ham frequencies and I had a few 2 meter repeaters programmed. Sadly it died and I replaced it with an HX-870. That radio works well, but it does not seem as rugged as the old one.
My old IC-M1V radios are freaking GREAT and I have never used better, but batteries are no longer available except NOS stuff that is dead on arrival :frowning:

I have a few of those 850’s

Used Motorola years ago together with other makes Motorola was tops

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In case anyone was following this - I went with the Standard Horizon HX400. Didnt feel the need for the next model up with gps and other bells and whistles. So far this thing works great, its a bit bigger than my icom m73 but still fits in the same case. I was actually standing next to someone a few days ago using a different icom m73 and they werent getting through clearly, tried the hx400 and it was clear as day. I got the commercial mic SH sells too and same story, a little bigger but works much better.

Regarding handheld vhf reception: whatever radio I’ve got, everyone else’s radio picks up transmissions a few seconds before mine does. Heavy metal contamination, or weird personal magnetic field? Kind of a liability, unfortunately.

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