Best VHF Radio For Kayaking

Best VHF Radio For Kayaking Adventures

Do you have a love of kayaking? Well, you should be aware that things may turn hazardous out there. So, it is almost always a good idea to invest in anything for your own protection, and the VHF radio is by far the best. The VHF radio is commonly referred to as ham radio for the uninformed.

However, buying the best vhf for kayaking is, in some ways, like buying a car. It was equally challenging, and after extensive research, we realized that it depends on what you need it for. Nevertheless, there are several other essential factors to consider while selecting one, which we will go over in-depth.

What is a VHF Radio?

Understanding VHF radio is crucial, yet it's not that difficult to learn. The V stands for Very High Frequency, and it relates to the device's frequency range. VHF radios have a 30-to-300-megahertz (MHz) frequency range. Short-range radios operate at higher frequencies, whereas longer-range radios operate at lower frequencies.

VHF is designed for short-range communication; hence, it should not be utilized for long-distance communication. Unless you have a lot of money to spend on equipment like parabolic antennas and amplifiers to raise your signal strength for long-distance contact to the point where it doesn't drop out when passing across hills, valleys, trees, buildings, and so on.

The VHF band is used by commercial and amateur radio operators and emergency services such as police, fire departments, ambulances, and government agencies.

In order to get your message through, you need to know how to use the equipment correctly. It can be difficult to understand how VHF radios work without proper training or knowledge of the technology involved.

Type of Marine VHF Radios

There are many types of marine VHF radios, and they're all designed for use in a marine environment.

  • Handheld VHF Marine Radios
  • Fixed Mount VHF Marine Radios
  • HF/SSB Long Range VHF Marine Radios

Let's introduce you to them for your better understanding.

Handheld VHF Marine Radios

With 5W to 6W power, they all are equipped with an antenna along with other significant features. They are compact and can be carried by one person on land or at sea. Handheld VHF marine radios typically operate on channels 7 through 13. These channels are also sometimes used for emergency broadcasts from ships during distress situations such as storms or collisions at sea.

Plus, these radios offer a range of up to 20 miles so that you can talk with other boaters far away from your boat using these handheld transceivers. They are also great for communicating with other ships and receiving weather updates, which can be critical when you're out there on the water.

Handheld VHF marine radios come in various sizes and styles, so you can find one that perfectly suits your needs. Almost all the models are lightweight and easy to install and operate.

They are ideal for kayakers who need their equipment but don't want it weighing them down or getting in their way while they paddle around exploring new places.

Fixed Mount VHF Marine Radios

Fixed mount VHF marine radios can be mounted in a few different ways. You can mount them to a pole or mast, bulkhead, rail, deck, console, or any other flat surface on your boat. However, you'll need a 12V power source to operate them.

Most importantly, these radios can reach 20 miles because of their high power. Not only that, but you'll also get features like Automated Identification System in fixed installation models.

There are many benefits to fixed mount VHF marine radios. First of all, they're easy to install and easy to use. Second of all, and this is essential, fixed mount VHF marine radios don't require you to have a handheld radio for communication with land-based stations and other boats out there on the water.

HF/SSB Long Range VHF Marine Radios

The HF/SSB long range VHF marine radio is a multi-functional device that you can use to communicate over long distances. These radios work in both high frequency (HF) and single sideband (SSB). This type of radio includes a transceiver, mobile antenna, and battery.

If you want to be able to talk to people from all over the world, then HF/SSB Long Range VHF Marine Radios are just what you need. The radios have a range of up to 80 nautical miles, which makes them ideal for use on boats or large yachts.

Besides, you can use these radios for two-way communication between boats and ships and between ships and land stations. They can also be used by ship-to-shore communications service providers and fishing vessels. Plus, they have a frequency range of 1 MHz to 30 MHz, which means they can transmit both voice and data signals over a wide range of frequencies.

However, because these radios are so expensive, most people don't buy them unless they have specific needs for communicating across vast distances.

For example: if you regularly kayak out into open water far from shorelines where cell phones won't work well or if your boat has multiple occupants who need constant contact with each other.

The Importance of Marine VHF Radio when Kayaking

There are a lot of things that go into kayaking. You need a boat, know how to paddle and swim, and most importantly, require a Marine VHF radio.

Marine VHF radios are essential when it comes to kayaking because they allow you to communicate with other boats in the area. If there's an emergency on your boat, like if someone falls overboard or there's an electrical fire, having this communication line open can help save lives.

Again, if you're alone in your boat or just with one other person, it's also important for safety reasons that you have some sort of communication device installed on your boat. Without it, if something were to happen while out on the water, like an accident, rescue personnel would not be able to reach you or help until after the fact, which could mean life or death for both parties involved.

Benefits

If you're a kayaker, then you know how important it is to stay in touch with other kayakers. And a marine VHF radio can keep you connected with others. There are a handful of benefits, among which some major ones are stated below.

  • For starters, it is a reliable mode of communication. You can use it to call for help in an emergency situation, contact other boaters in the area, and for navigation purposes. This means that mariners can communicate with one another for safety purposes and be aware of what is happening in the area.

  • Marine VHF radio is also a good option because it is affordable, and you can operate the system without having extensive technical knowledge. You only need to point and click with most models to run it, making it easy and fun to use.

  • These types of radios are waterproof, making them ideal for kayakers to use. You can report emergencies and contact authorities in times of crisis.

However, you better check your local laws before going out on the water if there are any rules about using them.

Uses of Handheld VHF

The handheld VHF radio is a portable device that allows you to communicate with your boat, car, or other people nearby. The device has a number of different uses, including:

  • You can use the handheld VHF radio to communicate with other boats in your area. You can also use it to call for help if you need assistance after an accident or emergency.
  • If you're out in nature and want to talk to someone close by, the handheld VHF radio is a great option. It lets you speak with people up to about five miles away, which makes it perfect for communicating with others while hiking or camping.
  • Suppose two cars are close together but unable to see each other clearly due to poor weather conditions such as fog. In that case, they can use their handheld VHF radios as communication devices instead of using cell phones or walkie-talkies.

Why do I need a Marine Radio?

There are a lot of reasons why you should get one.

  • They're extremely useful for safety when boating. If you ever get lost or run into trouble, a marine radio will be able to connect you to the Coast Guard and help them come to rescue you.
  • You can also use it as a communication tool so that if your friends are using their own radios, everyone can talk together.
  • It's also suitable for navigation. Marine radios are equipped with special features that help with steering your boat in the right direction without fail.
  • These devices have weather channels which means that even if there's fog or heavy rain outside, your visibility won't be hindered, provided there is enough light.
  • VHF radio has more battery life than your cell phone. Besides, if you drop your phone in water, it won't survive, whereas these radios are waterproof.

7 Best VHF Radio for Kayaking

According to our well-researched Amazon review, we tried to outline the best VHF radio for kayaking that is available to you. First on the list of our amazing VHF radios for kayaking is;

Uniden Atlantis 155 Handheld Two-Way VHF Marine Radio

This VHF radio is one of the top-notch products we can say when listing the best VHF radios for kayaking. This amazing product allows you to stay well connected to your peers while kayaking and even has GPS capabilities, allowing you to exactly track your peers in the middle of the ocean when kayaking.

Not only that, it can stay charged for up to 12 hours, making it durable and reliable for you and your group when kayaking. In addition to that, it floats while meeting the toughest waterproof issues and can as well be used for many channels, including international marine channels and even reaching up to USA channels.

#1

Product Specification

Product Weight: 43.64 Pounds
Material: Plastic
Color: Red
Length: 3.84 meters
Width: 94 cm
Weight Capacity: 180 Kg
Person Capacity: 2Person

5 of 5 stars

Hence making it way easier for you to communicate with your peers or ask for help in case you are in grave danger. If that wasn't enough, you can have this VHF radio with a three-year warranty, which ensures the durability of the VHF radio, and we can say that it is a great benefit.

Competitive Advantages  

  • Has been tested for the IPX8 / JIS8 submersible toughest waterproof level hence can be used hassle-free
  • The brilliant LCD display allows the VHF radio to be used day and night so even if you go kayaking during nighttime, it is usable
  • It contains the emergency strobe light in case you require a source of light when kayaking at night.

Uniden UM385 25 Watt Fixed Mount Marine Vhf Radio

The Amazon Uniden UM385 25-watt Fixed Mount Marine VHF radio, which is one of a kind when you say it, is another well-known Uniden VHF radio that ranks second on the list. It is a lightweight VHF radio of only four pounds and has full-proof water resistance just like the previous one mentioned.

But what sets this amazing product apart is that it can actually save you from bad weather and stormy seasons when you're kayaking and a storm comes out of nowhere, putting you and your peers in greater danger than ever before, which is obviously something we all do not want.

#1

Product Specification

Product Weight: 43.64 Pounds
Material: Plastic
Color: Red
Length: 3.84 meters
Width: 94 cm
Weight Capacity: 180 Kg
Person Capacity: 2Person

5 of 5 stars

The handheld mic allows you to communicate in two ways, unlike the other VHF radios, while keeping an eye on the weather and the unpredictable water levels.

And just what the kayaking season needs, it can alert you when the weather levels are reaching a dangerous level so that you can have an ample amount of time to actually make a plan to leave the location where possible high or low tides can be seen, which is dangerous for you.

Competitive Advantages  

  • It has the DSC (Digital Selective Calling) which allows you to call for help with just one button without speaking
  • It has water resistance which complies with specifically IPX4 waterproof standards hence completely hassle-free in the water
  • Can stay up to 13 hours when used and hence pretty durable and reliable

Standard Horizon HX210 6W Floating Handheld Marine VHF Transceiver [HX210]

The next one on the list is the astonishing and very cool Standard Horizon HX210 6W Floating Handheld Marine VHF Transceiver [HX210], which is known for its amazing antenna response and rapid charging effect. This is one of the VHF radios to die for, as it has such amazing and unique advantages.

It has selectable channels that can go up to six watts and can last longer than ten hours with a whopping three-year warranty and waterproof resistance designed just for you. Just like it’s peer VHF radios, it can also provide direct access to marine channels and USA channels with the best high resolution LCD screen available for day and night use.

#1

Product Specification

Product Weight: 43.64 Pounds
Material: Plastic
Color: Red
Length: 3.84 meters
Width: 94 cm
Weight Capacity: 180 Kg
Person Capacity: 2Person

5 of 5 stars

Hence, enabling you to do that amazing kayaking trip that you have been willing to go on with Standard Horizon HX210 6W Floating Handheld Marine VHF Transceiver [HX210]. In the box when it arrives, you will be receiving the AC/CD battery and antenna along with the device and proper documentation to guide you on how to operate this VHF radio.

Competitive Advantages  

  • It has the easy to operate menu system which enables you to operate very easily when communicating.
  • It can receive the radio band range of channels from 76MHz to 108MHz hence making communication easier with many channels.
  • Has charging cables and cradles included for 12 VDC to 110 VAC making it easier to charge and hence portable.

Uniden MHS75 Waterproof Handheld 2-Way VHF Marine radio

The next item on our list is the Uniden MHS75 Waterproof Handheld 2-Way VHF Marine radio, which has selectable channels for Canada, the United States, and international marine channels for your convenience while lying with your buddies.

What distinguishes this amazing vhf radio is, with sixteen exact channels available and the extremely precise waterproof level it has to offer, we can say that even if it is in the water, floating water will not penetrate this amazing VHF radio while kayaking as it has a JIS8 waterproof rating.

#1

Product Specification

Product Weight: 43.64 Pounds
Material: Plastic
Color: Red
Length: 3.84 meters
Width: 94 cm
Weight Capacity: 180 Kg
Person Capacity: 2Person

5 of 5 stars

Along with that, all the NOAA Weather Channels, along with every other weather channel available. Similarly, it can last up to ten hours after charging and has the GPS capabilities of time and location installed in it, enabling you to see where you are situated and where to go when the weather doesn't look like it is in your favor.

Competitive Advantages  

  • It has the triple watch mode which enables channels of 16 to 9 for a signal while you are listening to a current channel making it easier to switch in between channels and helping you communicate easily
  • It has the Digital Selective Calling feature as well which makes it easier to ask for help with just a button.
  • Is extremely weather resistant and can withstand very harsh weather calamities hence being the ultimate essential safety kit for kayaking.

Standard Horizon HX890 Black Handheld VHF

The next one on our list is the Standard Horizon HX890 Black Handheld VHF, and this one, by far, is the most suitable for that thrilling kayaking journey to the far unknown. The main reason being that it gives you a whopping 66 channels, unlike the other VHF radios that are quite limited.

Along with that, it comes with all the best parts—the li-on battery, charger of 110 volts, adapter of 220 volts, and most importantly, along with PC programming, which is surprisingly advanced compared to the other VHF radios available. But that's not just the best part of this Standard Horizon HX890 Black Handheld VHF.

#1

Product Specification

Product Weight: 43.64 Pounds
Material: Plastic
Color: Red
Length: 3.84 meters
Width: 94 cm
Weight Capacity: 180 Kg
Person Capacity: 2Person

5 of 5 stars

It also has a loudspeaker quality of 700 mW and a noise cancellation function at the same time. With other capabilities such as GPS and rugged case construction; it can withstand any kind of weather and let you know your location just like that. Also, unlike the other VHF radios available, it can actually have FM radio broadcast, making it even more unique and one of a kind.

Competitive Advantages  

  • It has automatic water-activated strobe light when it comes in contact with water during the night time hence no manual work is needed.
  • Contains waypoint along with route navigation hence enabling you to monitor where you are heading during kayaking.
  • Has the micro USB data jack for any kind of PC programming which means you can store data or anything required while kayaking.

Uniden Atlantis 275 Handheld Two-Way VHF Marine Radio

The very second last VHF radio on our list is the Uniden Atlantis 275 Handheld Two-Way VHF Marine Radio. It is known for its very largest dual screen that has amazing LCD resolution and is one of the top features of the VHF radio. Not only that, but it is water resistant and is known as the submersible Uniden Atlantis 275 Handheld Two-Way VHF Marine Radio.

With all the NOAA weather channels, USA, Canada, and international marine channels, including four-digit Canadian channels, you can say that this is a very helpful one indeed.

The size of this Uniden Atlantis 275 Handheld Two-Way VHF Marine Radio is what it is highlighted for, as it is portable and can be within arm's reach very easily.

#1

Product Specification

Product Weight: 43.64 Pounds
Material: Plastic
Color: Red
Length: 3.84 meters
Width: 94 cm
Weight Capacity: 180 Kg
Person Capacity: 2Person

5 of 5 stars

Along with that, the three-year warranty and the lithium-ion battery and chargers of up to 110 volts are included in the package when ordered by anyone. Having the GPS system signaled and it's the largest screen, you can visually and clearly understand where you are heading.

Since it keeps track of time and exactly where you are heading to, making it easier for you to understand the route as it helps in route navigation with its built-in system.

Competitive Advantages  

  • Meets the toughest water-resistance of Waterproof standards IPX8 / JIS8 and is even clear after submerging it in water hence no hassle for users.
  • Contains emergency strobe light and built-in flashlight that you can use while kayaking at night.
  • Has built-in li-ion battery so there is no hassle of putting a battery in as you can just simply charge without any issue,

Cobra MR HH350 FLT Handheld Floating VHF Radio

The very last item on our list is the Cobra MR HH350 FLT Handheld Floating VHF Radio, which is known for its noise cancelling benefits and a mic which allows two-way communication, hence enabling you to ask for help.

The Cobra MR HH350 FLT Handheld Floating VHF Radio has the usual features of built-in GPS for time and location tracking and monitoring along with a submersible feature that allows it to be used in any kind of dicey waters that aren't favoring your kayaking journey.

With being completely wireless and coming with a 24 hour emergency alert service, this may outweigh the other VHF radio that is on the list given that it isn't just long-lasting but so much more durable and reliable for its users. With having access to all the NOAA weather channels and emergency alerts available and ongoing, you can be stress-free.

#1

Product Specification

Product Weight: 43.64 Pounds
Material: Plastic
Color: Red
Length: 3.84 meters
Width: 94 cm
Weight Capacity: 180 Kg
Person Capacity: 2Person

5 of 5 stars

Not only that, with the orange core the floating ability, can float in the water bodies and even have a single drop of water penetrate it as the water resistance is the strongest for the Cobra MR HH350 FLT Handheld Floating VHF Radio. Hence, its features are even more unique than we can imagine.

Competitive Advantages  

  • Unique memory scan installed and available within the VHF radio in it meaning it can keep recorded data.
  • The microphone installed can cancel any kind of noise that is around you when you speak with the other party.
  • 6 watts built-in power for longer communication making it durable for your kayaking.

Is a License Needed for a Handheld VHF Radio?

While it isn't necessarily required to have a license to operate a handheld VHF radio, depending on which region of the world you are in, many countries recommend having a proper license for a handheld VHF radio, and hence we recommend it just in case.

As the handheld VHF radio will be attached to the vessel, a license will be required.

Handheld VHF vs Fixed Mount VHF Marine Radios

The Handheld VHF and Fixed Mount VHF marine radios are both similar to each other but have some key differences which make them unique and different from each other.

The key feature mainly consists of the Fixed Mount VHF marine radio being permanently attached to the vessel, whereas the Handle VHF isn't permanently attached to the vessel while kayaking.

Buying Guide for the Best VHF Radio for Kayaking

In this section, we will help you navigate the features and things you should keep in mind when buying the perfect VHF radio for kayaking.

VHF radio range

The VHF radio range is something that we should keep in mind when purchasing a VHF radio. This is because the radio range is what determines the option available to you when choosing the best type, given that there are three types of VHF radio, depending on your kayaking journey, which suits you and your peers the most.

However, when going kayaking, we recommend bringing a lightweight VHF radio.

The channels and frequencies

When kayaking, it is vitally important that you understand the channels and frequencies your VHF radio has to offer. The higher the channel and frequency range, the better the VHF radio, as you can have access to help as much as you need in case you face any kind of danger.

A VHF radio with 66 channels, such as the Standard Horizon HX890 Black Handheld VHF mentioned above, is usually the best option.

Battery Service Life

Next up is the battery service life of the VHF radio. The built-in li-ion battery often has an average three-year guarantee, which enables it to be operable and durable for users, and that's what you should be aiming for when buying the VHF radio.

Many VHF radio types have the facility of batters that have to be put in manually, so in that case, you can have a battery service life of up to 5 years.

Brand Type (Dual or Tri-brand/watch)

Along with that, the brand type is something to definitely keep in mind when using the VHF radio for kayaking. The dual or tri-band watch will give you the greater frequency of bandwidth when you are kayaking and, in case the frequencies are rather noisy, it will reduce any network congestion, enabling you to have access to other parties or peers very easily.

Digital Selective Calling (DSC)

Digital Selective Calling is one of the coolest features of the VHF radio. This is because if you are in an emergency where you are really not in the position to stand and ask for help or are in a situation where you are deeply injured and can't really speak properly, all you can do is click the small button on your VHF radio to ask for help within minutes as it will send alerts to nearby VHF radios.

You can go for the Uniden UM385 25 Watt Fixed Mount Marine VHF Radio as mentioned above for its digital voice calling service.

Antennas

While many of the VHF radios are completely wireless and have antennas that go with them, if you aren't much of an antenna person, you can go for different VHF radios that do not necessarily have larger antennas that go with them. But antennas are the most vital part of any VHF radio for greater communication.

Waterproofing and buoyancy

In addition to that, waterproofing and buoyancy are essential parts of every VHF radio that is available on the market. The more it is waterproofed, the better it is. And the best ones are those which can withstand extreme weather pressure and can still be extremely dry and remain waterproof.

Not only can they float easily in bodies of water while remaining completely dry. If you are looking for durability, have a VHF radio that has gone through the JIS7/IPX7 submersible rating.

An Emergency Call

The main function of any VHF radio is emergency calling. Requesting assistance through a channel and attempting to communicate for assistance. However, the type of emergency call that some VHF radios allow varies. It can be the DSC, which is much cooler or hassle-free, or it can be using a two-way microphone installed within the VHF radio to ask for help.

Scanning

Many VHF radios often have a scanning system to help you navigate through very dicey waters and extreme weather as it helps through route navigation be precise. If you are someone who is very much confused with water routes and may need help, this kind of VHF radio with a scanning system pre-installed can help you a lot.

Weather Alerts

Furthermore, one of the crucial aspects of any VHF radio is weather alerts. That is the minimum requirement for any VHF radio, as weather channels such as NOAA weather channels will help you understand the upcoming tides, where to go for hiking, and even pre-alert you about the weather so that you have enough time to escape the horrible weather.

Noise Cancellation

While just a few VHF radios offer this service of noise cancellation, it is actually very helpful, specifically when you are trying to understand what the other party is trying to communicate with you about and what you are trying to speak about.

Miscommunication is frequently caused by distorted background noise, so we strongly advise you to use VHF radios that specialize in this type of service.

Display Type

The largest display type is only offered by one VHF radio, and we usually say the largest display type doesn't mean the best if it does come with other important features that topple over the display type. But having an LCD screen that can be used for night and day kayaking is something you should keep your eyes on when purchasing one.

Included Accessories

Other important features to consider include the durability of how many horses it can withstand, such as 10-hour durability whereas some VHF radios can go up to 24 hours, which is the best VHF to go for.

Along with that, the charger type, cables, and cards that come with the VHF radio should be considered when purchasing it, whether it is a 110 V adapter or a 220 V charger.

Final Word

With our best VHF radio for kayaking, you can have peace of mind. It may not seem like much, but it could make a massive difference in the long run. In addition, these radios are relatively cheap and can last for years without fail.

At the end of the day, a VHF radio is an important safety feature and should be part of any kayaker's list of equipment. This is especially so for those who travel on long trips or in remote locations. So why risk your safety or the safety of the boaters around you?

Greenkayak
Greenkayak
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