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WEST MARINE
VHF85 Handheld VHF Radio

$139.99

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Model # 11954328 | Mfg # VHF85

Product Description

Small, rugged, inexpensive, and with all the features most boaters will ever want or need. Our VHF85 handheld radio offers an incredible 11-hour battery life on a single charge for all-day use and easily slips into your pocket until you need it. It also is built tough, with a super strong aluminum alloy chassis, so it can take all the abuse a day on the water can dish out.

The ultra compact radio that’s BIG on features

Our littlest VHF radio, the VHF85 more than measures up to other offerings. Despite its small size, it transmits with plenty of power (five watts), so you’ll be heard loud and clear when needed. Its backlit, 7-segment LCD display is easy to read with large, highly legible characters you won't have to squint to see, even in bright sunlight. Illuminated eight-button control make operation a breeze.

This little workhorse also features convenient Dual and Triple-Watch modes, letting you monitor other channels. It meets rigid IPX8 submersibility standards and is backed by a comprehensive waterproof warranty so, while it doesn’t float, it’ll more than handle most onboard chores.

“Plug and play” use preserves battery life

Despite a highly respectable 11-hour battery life, the VHF85 also comes with a clip-on DC charger with AC adapter. Plug it in to the bottom of your radio and you can use it while it’s charging—without running the battery down.

  • Material: Die-cast aluminum chassis
  • Controls: On/Volume/Squelch knobs, eight buttons
  • Scanning Modes: Dual- and Triple-Watch Plus
  • Weather Alert: Yes
  • Transmit Power: 1/2.5/5 Watt
  • Receiver Performance: Sensitivity: 0.20µV; Rejection: 75dB
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion
  • Battery Life: 11 hours
  • Waterproof: Mfr. rated IPX8
  • Dimensions: 2 1/2“W x 4 9/16“H x 1 1/2“D
  • Display Type: Segmented LCD
  • Weight: 10.2oz.
  • Included Equipment: Rapid clip-on DC charger, AC adapter, belt clip, wrist strap
  • Warranty: Three-year waterproof; $49.99 flat rate

Specs

VHF85 Handheld VHF Radio

Battery Life 11 Hours
Battery Type Lithium-Ion
Color Black
Dimensions 2 1/2" Width x 4 9/16" Height x 1 1/2" Depth
Display Type Segmented LCD
Features Waterproof
Weather Alert
Material Aluminum
Scanning Modes Dual-Watch
Tri-Watch
Transmit Power 5/2.5/1 Watt
Warranty Details Three Years Waterproof
Flat Rate
Weight 10.2 Ounces

West Advisor

The West Advisor articles have answered boaters' questions and provided solutions to boating problems for more than 20 years. West Marine has compiled one of the Web's most comprehensive collections of technical boating information articles.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
West Marine VHF85 Handheld VHF Radio
 
3.8

(based on 36 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (15)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (11)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (5)

71%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to use (29)
  • Lightweight (27)
  • Good audio (26)
  • Clear signal (23)
  • Rugged (23)

Cons

  • Short range (4)
  • Drains battery (3)

Best Uses

  • Boating / sailing (29)
  • Emergencies (10)
  • Camping (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Casual/ recreational (27), Avid adventurer (7)
    • Primary use:
    • Personal (34)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Good Little Radio - Excellent Price

Bought this radio for use on my Laser sailboat. Range was an important factor for me, unfortunately, most reviews never mention range.Note to others - if you're 'reviewing' a radio, please include...Read complete review

Bought this radio for use on my Laser sailboat. Range was an important factor for me, unfortunately, most reviews never mention range.Note to others - if you're 'reviewing' a radio, please include actual usage/range figures!Yesterday I got out on the water and communicated back to shore (my neighbor) at a true distance of 7 nautical miles.I started out on 5 watts, the report from shore was crystal clear. I then dropped to 2.5 watts - same report. I then dropped to 1 watt and it was reported that there was no difference. I thought that was excellent performance, keep in mind, my radio is about 3 feet off the water (max) so doing 7 nautical miles on the lowest power setting (1 watt) was very good.The radio is small, inexpensive and carries a 3 year warranty from West Marine - that's excellent. It will run for a FULL day on a single charge. It's also quite waterproof. Short antenna means it's not in the way and yet, the range was still excellent. Having actual volume and squelch knobs means it's easy to use on a moment's notice. When it comes right down to it, it's as simple as volume/squelch and the talk button. That's important for me as both of my hands are usually busy and I don't have time to safely play with buttons etc when someone calls in or I call out. I need to be able to simply and quickly get a message through - not spend time trying to figure out buttons/features.If there's one thing wrong with it it's only that it won't float. It comes with a car charger and A/C charger so you're covered there. There were reports that the tabs break off in the charger adapter - I can't really see it happening. They look pretty solid to me (perhaps re-designed?).I had a great experience with West Marine, I was thinking of getting a more expensive iCom radio, and while they are reported to be the best I'm sure happy with this little unit. It's also almost entirely die-cast metal so I doubt you can break it. Having said that, I don't find it to be heavy at all. The inlcuded belt clip works well on my life jacket - I'm not worried about loosing it (I also attached the lanyard).Highly recommended - it's great, it's small, it's powerful and it's inexpensive. I'll update my review if/when I get out further then 7 nautical miles :-)I did cover all exposed screws with silicon though as I know most manufacturers haven't realized that stainless screws are important when they are exposed to salt water. Having said that, I don't think there are any water-proof issues here. The contacts on the exposed battery terminals appear to be stainless, so I doubt that the battery will need to be replaced due to rusted out terminals as with other radios.A great buy - if only it floted and was bright yellow it would be perfect! On the other and, at [$] it's probably the best value out there. And I like the fact that it's branded West Marine. I had a great experience with them and am sure that will continue. I don't mind advertising for them at all. Way to go guys - you got a winner here!

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Don't waste your money on this radio

Could not receive weather stations where you could understand the transmission. When talking boat to boat seperated by 100 yards or so it was fine. I needed to communicate the the USCG station that...Read complete review

Could not receive weather stations where you could understand the transmission. When talking boat to boat seperated by 100 yards or so it was fine. I needed to communicate the the USCG station that was 2.4 miles away in clear view over salt marsh flats and they could not understand my transmission. I tried another radio and all was good. When I arrive home I charged the radio, let is discharge , charged again and same results.
If you use you plan to use this radio as a emergency transmitter, DON'T.
Your better off buying something better.

Why did I purchaes this radio. I called my local West Marine and they said they had the Icom radio I wanted and would put it on the side for me. When I arrived there 30 minutes after they said they didn't have it but had this one and it was equally as good. Needing an extra radio for the next morning I took it.

I am now on my way back to return this radio for credit back to my Port Supply account. I tried it for a week and it is a real piece of garbage compared to other radios I have on hand.

I am not new to VHF radios and have several. I am a licensed captain and guide. This is by far the worst radio I have ever had.

Save your money and buy something else. I will not trust my life or my clients lives to this radio.

Reviewed by 36 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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5.0

Great radio! Would by one again.

By Rooster

from NJ

About Me Casual/ Recreational

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Clear Signal
  • Easy To Use
  • Good Audio
  • Lightweight
  • Rugged

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Boating

    Comments about West Marine VHF85 Handheld VHF Radio:

    Great radio. No negatives.

    • Primary use:
    • Personal
     
    4.0

    excellent product great value

    By stevie t

    from cape coral fl.

    About Me Casual/ Recreational

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Clear Signal
    • Easy To Use
    • Good Audio
    • Lightweight
    • Rugged

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Boating
      • Emergencies

      Comments about West Marine VHF85 Handheld VHF Radio:

      Easy to use quality product

      • Primary use:
      • Personal
       
      5.0

      Excellent radio

      By Spike03

      from Kihei hi

      About Me Avid Adventurer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Clear Signal
      • Easy To Use
      • Good Audio
      • Lightweight
      • Rugged

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Boating
        • Emergencies

        Comments about West Marine VHF85 Handheld VHF Radio:

        I have one in the ditch bag, and another in the zodiac tender . So small no reason not to have one .

        • Primary use:
        • Personal
         
        5.0

        Would buy again

        By Paul

        from Nashville

        About Me Casual/ Recreational

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Clear Signal
        • Easy To Use
        • Good Audio
        • Lightweight
        • Rugged

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Boating

          Comments about West Marine VHF85 Handheld VHF Radio:

          essential on the sailboat courses

          • Primary use:
          • Personal
           
          4.0

          I would like to buy this radio again and again!

          By Joey

          from Watsonville, CA

          About Me Avid Adventurer

          Pros

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Camping
              • Families
              • Hunting

              Comments about West Marine VHF85 Handheld VHF Radio:

              I love this radio!

               
              5.0

              Great value & very compact

              By Frankie

              from Palm beach gardens FL

              About Me Casual/ Recreational

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easy To Use
              • Good Audio
              • Lightweight
              • Rugged

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Boating

                Comments about West Marine VHF85 Handheld VHF Radio:

                A must have for boating in the ocean

                • Primary use:
                • Personal
                 
                4.0

                Good value

                By viscopj

                from Long Island NY

                About Me Casual/ Recreational

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Clear Signal
                • Easy To Use
                • Good Audio
                • Rugged

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Boating

                  Comments about West Marine VHF85 Handheld VHF Radio:

                  good deal

                  • Primary use:
                  • Personal
                   
                  5.0

                  Great Little Radio, excellent for ditch bag or back up

                  By Pacman Jeff

                  from Central FL

                  About Me Casual/ Recreational

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Clear Signal
                  • Easy To Use
                  • Good Audio
                  • Lightweight
                  • Rugged

                  Cons

                  • Short Range

                  Best Uses

                  • Boating
                  • Emergencies

                  Comments about West Marine VHF85 Handheld VHF Radio:

                  Awesome radio, easy to use, long battery life

                  • Primary use:
                  • Personal

                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Good Waterproof Radio

                  By Never Forget

                  from Oakley, CA

                  About Me Military/Law Enforcement

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Clear Signal
                  • Easy To Use
                  • Good Audio
                  • Lightweight
                  • Rugged

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Boating

                    Comments about West Marine VHF85 Handheld VHF Radio:

                    I like the idea you can fall in the water and still be able to use the radio. This is an important feature for the cost of the radio. The radio has a comfortable clips that you can secure the radio to your clothing or PFD.

                    • Primary use:
                    • Personal

                    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    4.0

                    Four Years of Use

                    By Revo_yak13

                    from Hawaii

                    About Me Casual/ Recreational

                    Pros

                    • Clear Signal
                    • Easy To Use
                    • Good Audio
                    • Lightweight

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Kayaking

                      Comments about West Marine VHF85 Handheld VHF Radio:

                      Purchased this radio in 2011. Used it regularly at least once a month to go kayak fishing. Battery would last a little over 6 hours on a full charge. Used it a couple of days ago and now the radio stopped working even after I charged the battery. Ordered a new battery to see if that was the problem. I'll update once I find out if it is the battery or the radio. Service department said if it's the radio they will credit me for the battery. Probably not worth getting fixed if it is the radio. I already ordered a backup radio from another manufacturer. I'm not thrilled to be ordering a new radio after four years. Never abused this radio. Always rinsed it off after every use and dried it. I have it clipped to my PFD so it doesn't bounce around in the kayak. Radio looks brand new still yet. I'm really hoping it's just a bad battery.

                      • Primary use:
                      • Personal

                      Displaying reviews 1-10

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