VHF Radio Review - Standard Horizon HX870

7 months 3 weeks ago #36134 by robin.mousley
Clearly if you're pottering about on flat water 20m from the beach, you're probably not going to use a radio - but if you regularly go offshore in search of big downwind conditions, you should be thinking communication devices and while you might plumb for a PLB, a VHF Radio is definitely worth looking into as well.

I've been using the Standard Horizon HX870 for a while.  I like it and I've written a review on it. 

Check it out

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

7 months 3 weeks ago #36136 by Tinus
How long does the battery last on one of those units?

Nelo 560, Stellar SEI, Roman Furius

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

7 months 3 weeks ago - 7 months 2 weeks ago #36137 by robin.mousley

How long does the battery last on one of those units?

Hey Tinus!  It's supposed to last for 12 hours, and judging by the comments on user groups, that's accurate.  I usually paddle with it switched off but that does mean having to wait while it acquires GPS signal before you can use the DSC emergency button. 

Of course the radio still functions as a radio and you can call for help on Channel 16 and use the DSC emergency button when the GPS receiver has acquired signal.

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

7 months 2 weeks ago #36189 by sAsLEX

robin.mousley wrote:

 I usually paddle with it switched off but that does mean having to wait while it acquires GPS signal before calling for help.

You can surely call for help straight away, then once GPS acquired pass DSC information? 

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

7 months 2 weeks ago #36190 by robin.mousley

You can surely call for help straight away, then once GPS acquired pass DSC information?

Yes, of course.

My comment was misleading; I've updated it!

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

7 months 2 weeks ago #36222 by mcbit
Rob, you mention that it floats but is it water proof? Not the same thing :)

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

7 months 2 weeks ago #36225 by robin.mousley

Rob, you mention that it floats but is it water proof? Not the same thing

Very true!

Here's the spec from the Standard Horizon website:
  • Submersible IPX8 waterproof rating (1.5M or 4.92 feet for 30 minutes)

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

7 months 2 weeks ago #36227 by robin.mousley
During our little rescue effort on Tuesday afternoon, I struggled to use the radio in the extreme conditions - 30-40kt and sheeting spray.

Here's what I learnt:
  • It's very different testing the radio in calm air on dry land i.e. under ideal conditions.
  • On the water, sitting on a surfski in 30-40kt of wind and spray, it's extremely difficult to make yourself heard. 
  • If the microphone is covered with water, the result is that the person
    receiving your call just hears a garbled noise when you speak.  You need
    to try to get the microphone away from the wind - e.g. tucked into the
    collar of your PFD - and you need to blow hard on the microphone to
    clear the water away from it.
  • Alternatively, putting the radio in a waterproof bag will keep much of the noise out.  The issue with
    that though, is that it makes the radio more bulky and at the moment it
    only just fits into the pocket of my PFD in any case.  Conundrum!
  • It's likely to be extremely noisy inside the rescue boat, which makes it all
    the more difficult for them to hear what you're saying on the radio. 
    We ended up with the rescue commander onshore taking my directions and
    relaying them to the boat to guide them to our position.

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

7 months 2 weeks ago #36229 by tve
Did you try the DSC / GPS stuff?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

7 months 2 weeks ago #36233 by robin.mousley

Did you try the DSC / GPS stuff?

Yep, I did.  I had to wait for the radio to acquire the GPS signal first, which took a couple of minutes. 

And I think the DSC alert was what started Cape Town radio calling me.  I know also that a club radio across the other side of the bay went berserk (DSC-enabled receivers) sound an alarm - but the people at the club didn't know what it meant and ran around looking for the source of the noise!

In theory what should happen is that the DSC alert should stop when the first receiver acknowledges - but in my case I stopped it manually on my side. 

So yes, I was reasonably happy that the thing "worked".  The problem was that I couldn't make myself heard on channel 16, but I've now got the radio inside a waterproof bag, which should help.

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

7 months 2 weeks ago #36234 by sAsLEX
Did you think to try a fluffy mic cover noting your radio is already waterproof? 

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

7 months 2 weeks ago #36235 by robin.mousley

Did you think to try a fluffy mic cover noting your radio is already waterproof?

I suspect you're being facetious, but I'll reply as if you're not.  1)  there's no way to fit such a thing on a radio.  2) if you did, it would make the radio impossible to store in a PFD pocket and 3) that thing would itself get soaked and provide an even greater barrier to speech. 

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

7 months 1 week ago #36257 by sAsLEX
Not at all Robin, they are rather small and seem very effective, also very cheap. I suspect they would stop the water sitting against the diaphragm of your microphone so may still be effective.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

7 months 1 week ago #36259 by robin.mousley
Ok!  Apologies then!

I still don't think it's practical. 

Anyway, I have a waterproof bag that fits my radio now so, all good.

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

4 months 3 weeks ago #36758 by Seasurvival
Howzit Rob,
I have laid out for one of these DSC handsets, and have a VHF operator license. Do you have a direct contact at ICASA to get that MMSI registration done? I am struggling to make progress via their website.
Thanks

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

4 months 3 weeks ago #36759 by robin.mousley

Seasurvival wrote: Howzit Rob,
I have laid out for one of these DSC handsets, and have a VHF operator license. Do you have a direct contact at ICASA to get that MMSI registration done? I am struggling to make progress via their website.
Thanks


Howzit!

I contacted: Kagiso Rapulana <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
My radio license was sent by: Jacqueline Le Roux <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Perhaps send an email to both of these folks.

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

4 months 3 weeks ago #36761 by Seasurvival
Beaut, thanks Rob!
As always, thanks for the great reviews and info!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

4 months 2 weeks ago #36793 by SpaceSputnik
One thing about 870 is that on long paddles and in cold weather the battery will drain. I had many a day coming off water and finding that pressing TX button drops the battery indicator to empty. It's either a full day on the water or cold temperatures. Non-DSC radios don't drain as much. So for days like this it needs to be kept in mind.
Water-logging of speakers and mic is a real issue as well if you get splashed by waves or swim that does happen and it will greatly reduce the volume, probably down to the point of not being able to converse in windy conditions.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Latest Forum Topics

Stroke technique (6 Posts)

2 hours 48 minutes ago
Super Dave's Avatar

Epic V8 vs Think Ace (10 Posts)

19 hours 39 minutes ago
Protected by R Antispam