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March 05, 2008

2008 Electronics Emporium: Communications

The newest communication hardware for 2008

ICOM
ICOM launched a wide array of new products in 2007 that consumers may want to continue investigating this year. These folks pioneered the popular floating-VHF category with the M34. The M34 is a military-spec radio with 5 watts of power and virtually every feature needed, including a "favorite" function that allows you to go directly to preferred channels. It floats - naturally - and can be purchased for about $189. Contact ICOM America at 425-454-8155 or icomamerica.com.
Lowrance
The LVR-880 fixed mount, a full-featured combo VHF/FM radio, comes equipped with Digital Selective Calling (DSC), produces 25/1 watts and integrates NMEA 2000 with DSC-101 for distress and buddy-tracking features when connected to a compatible Lowrance GPS chart plotter. (This unit interfaces DSC-position polling with Lowrance LCX, LMS and GlobalMap units via NMEA 2000 for up to three GPS locations.) It also includes an intercom/hailer, a large display with backlighting, six-key speaker microphone and 10 marine-weather channels with channel naming. Price is $189.99. Contact Lowrance at 800-324-1356 or www.lowrance.com.
Shakespeare
Shakespeare's ES-4 boasts a 4-inch, 4-ohm speaker with Mylar cone and white-plastic cabinet for moisture protection. With a maximum output power of 8 watts (RMS), the ES-4 comes with installation hardware and 6 feet of cable with "mini-phone" plug installed. MSRP is $36.95. Contact Shakespeare at 803-227-1590 or www.shakespeare-marine.com.
Standard Horizon
The rubber-armored, floating HX750S features a large screen, 6-watt output, built-in thermometer, SOS strobe light, 1,000mAh Lithium-ion battery and a speaker-microphone jack, allowing connection to optional accessories. The HX750S also comes with a drop-in cradle and both 110VAC and 12VDC chargers. It carries a three-year waterproof warranty and retails for $149.99.
 
The HX850S offers the same functions as the 750S but also includes GPS/WAAS and radio/position, radio/SOG/COG, SC-101 DSC and NMEA output. Retail price is $249.99.
 
The tried-and-true 25-watt, submersible (IPX7) fixed-mount VHF Eclipse model (GX1000S in black or white; $99.99) is back, now with DSC, and the Quantum series now comes with a Bluetooth wireless headset kit (BTK2, $212.50). Contact Standard Horizon, USA at 714-827-7600 or www.standardhorizon.com.