Northstar VHF, new and for real

Northstar NS100 VHF

Northstar has just announced two new black box VHF radios—its first communications products ever, I think— and, by gosh, the things actually exist already. The single station NS100 is illustrated above, and there’s also a dual station model with foghorn/hailer/intercom. The radios aren’t even on Northstar’s site yet but I got the single station unit to test in yesterday’s mail. I just had a first look, and, while it is manufactured in China, the fit and finish seem exceptional. I’m told that the design and engineering are entirely Northstar’s, and I look forward to checking it out. I don’t see anything revolutionary in the spec sheet, but I’m hoping to find high performance and a good interface. (I’m also trying a Uniden 525 and two WHAMx4 wireless mics, which should make an interesting comparison. Plus, while I was away, Sitex sent up an eLoran and a black box AIS receiver. I’ve got some shop time ahead getting all this stuff running.)

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

11 Responses

  1. GPSNavX says:

    When are AIS receivers and VHF tranceivers going to be integrated? Seems obvious to have one VHF antenna and power source for VHF reception. The VHF radio could have a USB connector for the AIS data to my Mac Powerbook.
    I know Seacas is coming out with an integrated GPS/AIS receiver, but the addition of VHF voice transmission makes allot of sense.

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I haven’t heard of any VHF makers getting into AIS just yet, plus sharing an antenna with voice & DSC comms might not work out so well. I think the best bet is a separate AIS antenna that’s as far away as possible from possible interference by regular VHF comms.

  3. Pascal says:

    I think that NorthStar could have included an AIS receiver at last in this new unit, but why not a complete AIS Receiver/Transponder Clas B in the same box as the VHF/DSC Radio? To me this would make a lot os sense.
    BTW, the chinese (Smart Radio Co) as launched the new low cost SR 260 full AIS black box(Receiver/Transponder) , wich works as class A or Class B, has a gps included, can be programed using the Windows Hyperterminal, all this for less than US$600.
    I am just waiting that Garmin launches the software/firmware suport on my GpsMap276C to buy one ot this things, as I do not want to use laptops on my boat.

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Pascal, but I’m very dubious about the Smart Radio Class A/B Transponder. It looks to me like it doesn’t come anywhere near meeting Class A specs, and Class B specs aren’t even finalized yet. No mention of IMO or FCC certifications at link below. You can get in trouble broadcasting on illegal equipment!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Not to mention that it looks like it can have its MMSI easily changed by the user. Not something to make the USCG happy!

  6. del says:

    I have to agree with Ben in his comments on the Smart Radio Box. How can they advertise Class B compatibility when the Comittee that specifies it hasn’t published the standard yet?
    If I recall correctly, the DRAFT Class B standard specifically states that the MMSI must NOT be accessible to the end user. I can’t see this changing in the final version.
    The TX power appears to be fixed at +37dBm, which doesn’t comply with Class A or Class B.
    All told, with ithe information currently available,I’d be VERY worried if this box appeared on the market, and I suspect that the UK and US authorities would penalise any one found with one on board without Type Approval.

  7. Bob says:

    The Northstar NS100 came installed in my boat. It is a piece of junk. Plastic connectors and parts are no up to even modest marine applications.

  8. Dominic says:

    ´┐Ż good site, good short contents of the good work. ´┐Żongratulations !

  9. Mike says:

    Please email me if you know where I can get the back piece of the hand held, It broke and they tell me I have to buy the whole radio if I can’t find it…

  10. doug says:

    This thing sucks. I’ve had two in my boat. Both have died. Northstar / Navman or whoever ownns them now refuses to really help

  11. MARK says:

    I would like to buy a used replacement mic with cord in good shape for my Northstar VHF ns 100 ss.
    email [email protected]
    call 734-578-6254

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