A Standard Horizon HX870 Review

A two-way radio is essential for adventures at sea, camping trips, coordinated outings, and a variety of other events. While an inexpensive set can work for a one-time use, we always recommend that consistent users and all marine users invest in a model that will last.

Finding the perfect two-way radio for your needs is harder than it sounds because there are so many options available. Every customer has a different purpose in mind and different priorities.

With all that in mind, one of our most recommended models is the Standard Horizon HX870. This two-way radio has a variety of great features that allow it to serve countless types of customers, even though it was built with boaters in mind.

To find out if the Standard Horizon HX870 is the right choice for you, check out our comprehensive review.

A Review of the Standard Horizon HX870

The Standard Horizon HX870 combines many great features into one essential piece of equipment. In this review, we'll go through each of the features that have the largest impact on the user.

Meets ITU-R M493-13 Class D DSC

US law has a list of requirements any digital selective calling equipment must meet to be installed on a ship or on shore for the purpose of communicating with ships. This ensures that the vessels can adequately reach the coast in an emergency.

The Standard Horizon HX870 was designed with this purpose in mind and it meets all the requirements for ITU-R M493-13 Class D DSC.

Exceptional Handling in Water

Whether you're heading out to sea or hitting the woods for a camping trip, you don't want your two-way radio to stop working at the first sign of rain. You also don't want to carry it around in a plastic bag for your entire trip to protect it from water damage.

The Standard Horizon HX870, however, has its own built-in water protection. The unit is waterproof and is rated to be submerged for 30 minutes at just under 5 feet.

As an added bonus, this model floats in water as well so you're less likely to lose it if you do wind up in water.

Internal WAAS GPS

Another feature that could be a convenience or a life-saver is the high-quality GPS in the Standard Horizon HX870.

This model uses an advanced type of GPS called Wide Area Augmentation System, or WAAS.

This unique system was developed by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation together. It pulls in data from an extensive network of satellites and ground stations. By combining all this data together, WAAS can give extremely accurate GPS positioning.

In fact, WAAS GPS can pinpoint your location within a 10-foot radius around 95% of the time.

Background Noise Cancellation

Everyone who has ever used an inexpensive two-way radio knows the problem of background noise. Even if the person on the other end is speaking clearly, the background noise can down them out and make communication impossible.

One of the unique and beneficial features of the Standard Horizon HX870 is noise cancellation. The technology can filter out background noise to make your partner easier to understand.

Because this model uses noise cancellation for both sending and receiving audio, you get an even stronger result.

Emergency Strobe Light

No one ventures out into nature expecting to end up in a life-threatening situation. However, when it comes to trips at sea or in the wilderness, use the ages-old wisdom of hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.

The Standard Horizon HX870 was built with that in mind. For this reason, each unit has a built-in emergency strobe light to help rescue crews find you if necessary. It's always a good idea to have a flare or strobe light with you in case of an emergency. When it's already included on your two-way radio, that's one less piece of equipment to carry.

Easy-to-Read Display

Some two-way radios have plenty of helpful features and types of data tracking. However, the display is often either too small or difficult to navigate, so many of the features go to waste.

One of the most helpful assets in the Standard Horizon HX870 is its large and readable display. This makes it easy to see your GPS location and your other important information.

The display also makes it simple to customize your device by adjusting what your display shows.

Customizable Alarms

Along with its strong GPS system, the Standard Horizon HX870 lets you set alarms to tell you if you're going off-course. You can set specific parameters, and if you get near or outside of one of these borders, your handset will sound an alarm.

You can also set an alarm to go off when your battery reaches a certain level. While there is no continuous battery level reading unless the battery is charging, the alarm helps you know when it's time to recharge.

Lightweight, Though Large

One of the only real complaints about this model is that it's on the larger side for VHFs, so many boaters worry that it will be cumbersome to carry. Fortunately, however, the Standard Horizon HX870 is surprisingly lightweight and easy to transport.

Unlike some other models, this unit also fits in most life vest pockets designed for radios.

Our Overall Impression of the Standard Horizon HX870

All in all, we would recommend the Standard Horizon HX870, especially for marine use. This product has more features than most other models both for ease of use and for emergency survival.

The primary factor each boater or other two-way radio user needs to evaluate is the cost. At just under $200, this VHF is on the pricier side. However, it's still a great value due to the high quality of the equipment and the impressive number of features included.

If you think the Standard Horizon HX870 is the VHF for you, our experts are ready to help. If you'd like to explore some other options before making your decision, shop our selection of two-way radios.

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