Standard Horizon again, handheld improvements


Following last week’s introduction of the very interesting GX2100 & 2000 VHF/rxAIS fixed units, Standard Horizon is today announcing significant updates to its high end handhelds.  I was already a big fan of the HX850S with its built-in GPS and full DSC features, but now the new HX851 takes care of my main original complaint — lack of navigation features for small boat and back up use — and adds a couple of cool twists…

In fact, the HX851 can store and work with 200 waypoints, including ones received via DSC position requests.  The screens below tell the story.  Also check out the new luminescent gasket way below.  And note the new strobe on/off key on the image above. The new HX751 upgrade to the existing non-GPS/DSC HX750S gets these latter two features as well, and the HX851’s strobe will even turn automatically if the floating radio (and maybe you) go into the drink.  I’m planning to do some deep DSC VHF testing this winter — because there seem to be some issues — but can tell you that in ongoing testing the original HX850S always shines. The new HX851 looks even better, and overall seems to be a real Swiss army knife of handheld safety and day-to-day nav and coms capabilities.


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. Mark says:

    Looking at the navigation screen shots, seems like we are not far away from an integrated AIS receiver in the unit with proximity/collision alarms. Would be nice to have. Like the new luminescent gasket feature.

  2. MaineFog says:

    And the first to sign in gets one of these to play with. Oh wait, that would be me! Yippee!!

  3. Labozza says:

    Very excited about both the GX2100 and HX851, Standard has raised the bar yet again. There are still a majority people out there who buy old Ni-Cad batteries for their old faithful 10 year old handheld, and without someone knowing the advantages of DSC, many people wonder why bother replacing an old OEM 25W radio that they feel isn’t ‘broken.’ Standard has actually given a reason to anyone who owns a boat or even a Jet-Ski with any concern for their own well being to take advantage of what the 21st century has to offer. These radios put AIS and DSC right into the face of the mainstream weekend boaters, and these same people will have no choice but to understand the technology and what it provides them on a practical level. I’ve said it before, DSC and AIS have kept the VHF frequency relevant in the modern day of cell phones and coastal cruising. Big ups to Standard for just not sitting on their recent resurgence over the past few years under the reign of RJK and still spending time and money on R&D. They’ve listened to nerds like us and made something that will begin a change in the way people view VHF radios and what they can actually do.

  4. Sandy Daugherty says:

    I’ve already sold customers on the GX2100, and they aren’t even in distribution yet. The HX 851 is as close to perfect as possible. The only dust mote in the picture is a question of how to keep it charged, or recharge it after a while in a ditch bag. Would some kind of alkaline battery holder top off the internal charge? Is ACR’s “D” cell battery box the only solution?

  5. This looks like a nice upgrade. Like Mark above I’m keeping my wallet warmed up for the next version that has AIS.
    I keep an HX850 in the ditch bag. I duct taped the charger base to it and ran the cord to a nearby cigarette lighter plug. I plug it in for a couple hours about once a month.
    I have an alkaline battery pack loaded with lithium AAs in the ditch bag as well.
    I also have an EPIRB and a SPOT but my feeling is that the VHF/DSC combination is the best tool in the protected waters of Puget Sound. Offshore would be a different story.

  6. Menezes says:

    It is very interesting and useful but there is another Radio/GPS that I really enjoy!
    RINO 530 HCX – Radio and GPS (Colored LCD).
    Although it works on UHF but I have two and one can send the its coordinates to the other.
    All the best,
    Menezes, Thiago Fontes

  7. JohnD says:

    I own an HX850S. Great radio. The receive sensitivity / audio quality is good. Squelch can be adjusted suitably low.
    I do wish they made a less bulky / non floating version. I know I know, but I do a lot of work on boats in hot weather and usually clip an ICOM M-72 into the small of my back or along my side.
    I’ve never gotten into that for the HX850S. I’m sure I’m the exception, but a non-floating compact HX851 would be a dream.

  8. Dave|M says:

    I have only ever used standard radios in my own boats, though I have used and installed many others. They are the best, way superior to ICOM. Standard the market leader in my view. ( not affliated to standard in any way)

  9. Todd Riceman says:

    We already have customers asking for these new radios! I have used Standard’s VHF units for many years & haven’t had any issues. I look forward to getting my hands on this thing…

  10. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Check out the instant-on automatic strobe in this MadMariner video:

  11. Anonymous says:

    Just bought the HX851. Very nice radio. Receive sensitivity seems good, compared with other radios – on the same order as an extremely high dollar vhf commercial radio.
    This radio is, however bulky. I am part of a group that teaches Sunfish sailing to Girl Scouts. When at sailing camp, I spend most of the weekend on a Boston Whaler, with a handheld radio tucked into my PFD. Or sometimes, on a Sunfish with a studen, again with the radio clipped into my PFD. The HX851 is significantly thicker than the Icom M34 it replaced.
    Also, while the channel number is displayed in very large numbers, all else in the display is show in small thin characters. If you are no longer young or you have lousy close up vision, the display is not that great. The display is bright and high-contrast. Just wish more thought had been given to folks with less than perfect eyesight.
    I bought this radio because of the integral GPS and DCS features. If things go bad on the water, I want to be able to hail the Coast Guard and for them to know exactly where we are. I don’t want any messing about if I have a hurt kid on the water. For this, the HX851 stands alone. Just wish it were slimmer. I’d take a non-floating version if it were slimmer.
    Haven’t used it enough to have a feel for battery life.
    On the basis of a short period of use, so far I like it.

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