Ray218, first impressions
I really didn’t get to fool with the new Ray218 much during Raymarine’s Miami sea trials—what with the AIS250, C-Series Sirius, and LifeTag demos—but it sure sounded good. The speaker is big and the product manager claims that specs (PDF brochure) like sensitivity and “intermodulation rejection” are the best out there. It’s also the first VHF with a soft key interface, which seems darn useful for getting at favorite channels quickly or negotiating complicated menus (the main thing many boaters get from DSC, I fear). There are three knobs, too, just the ones you need, not to mention four scan modes, 30w hailer, and NMEA in/out. The Ray218 (May shipping expected) will come with a fairly standard mic, but there will also be an optional full function RayMic that has the same soft keys, and does duplex intercom with the base station. Apparently this $569 MSRP set will be the top of a whole new VHF line to roll out eventually, and surely is an indication that Raymarine wants to go hard against the best of Icom, Standard, etc. Is it just me who’d like to see an ever higher end model with a color screen?