Ray218, first impressions

Ray218_Front

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 speakerRaymic_Hand 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?

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Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

5 Responses

  1. Russ says:

    No DSC Distress button?
    Color is nice, but only if it really enhances the ease of use.
    What I’d like to see next in a VHF is a fully integrated AIS transceiver. Why do I need to buy two VHF transcievers, two antennas, etc? Of course there may be two transceivers in the box, but it seems like the best chance of having those transceivers not interfere with each other, and drive through a single antenna, is to have one manufacturer put it all in one box and make it work.
    It’s the obviously missing features in the Standard CPV350. How could they add a VHF to a plotter and not include AIS?

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Russ, The DSC button is under that little door left of the 16/9 button. I agree that combining VHF and AIS sounds good, simplified NMEA 0183 connects for one thing, but apparently it’s not that easy to put them all in one box. Shielding issues I guess. I like the color screen on the Uniden because I find it easier to read, even though it’s pretty small.

  3. Russ says:

    Sorry for the lack of clarity, I was looking for a Distress button on the RayMic.

  4. MarTee says:

    The radio looks nice but I am disappointed it only supports NMEA 0183 connections. I would like to see one of the Seatalk versions supported, which would greatly simplify an all Raymarine installation. I would also like to be able to operate the radio and DSC features directly from a E or C display. I like DSC, but the typical radio display is too small to make it easy. An integrated AIS receiver option would be great too.

  5. b393capt says:

    MarTee writes “be able to operate the DSC features direct from the E or C display”.
    Are your thinking being able to keep a list of friends boat within the chartplotter, click to inquire location and/or place a VHF call, integrate with AIS contacts so you can click on an AIS contact, pickup the MMSI, and make a ship to ship call … Great Idea MarTee
    Raymarine ?

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