How about a wireless Bluetooth headset designed expressly for marine VHF? Standard Horizon’s BH-2 works with either the company’s new HX760S handheld or as an add-on to certain of its Quantum fixed VHF radios. It can be used in either push-to-talk or completely hands-free voice-activated modes (with two VOX sensitivity levels selectable). The HX760S—which floats if it goes overboard—has Bluetooth built in and costs $350 bundled with a BH-2 headset and A.C./D.C. chargers for both. It features six watts of transmit power, on-screen squelch and volume indicators, and a 1150 mAh li-ion battery. To use a BH-2 up to 30 feet from a fixed GX5000S or GX5500S radio, you’ll need a $200 BTK-2 kit which includes a small circuit board that needs installing and a clever charging cradle that fixes to the front of the radio. Note that Standard Horizon became part of the Motorola Corporation last winter, and gained access to all sorts of Bluetooth, cellular, and other radio technology. I suspect that the BH-2 is the first of many novel marine communications products to come.
This article originally appeared in the November 2008 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.