Northstar VHF, new and for real

Northstar NS100 VHF

Northstar has just announced two new black box VHF radios—its first communications products ever, I think— and, by gosh, the things actually exist already. The single station NS100 is illustrated above, and there’s also a dual station model with foghorn/hailer/intercom. The radios aren’t even on Northstar’s site yet but I got the single station unit to test in yesterday’s mail. I just had a first look, and, while it is manufactured in China, the fit and finish seem exceptional. I’m told that the design and engineering are entirely Northstar’s, and I look forward to checking it out. I don’t see anything revolutionary in the spec sheet, but I’m hoping to find high performance and a good interface. (I’m also trying a Uniden 525 and two WHAMx4 wireless mics, which should make an interesting comparison. Plus, while I was away, Sitex sent up an eLoran and a black box AIS receiver. I’ve got some shop time ahead getting all this stuff running.)

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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.

11 Responses

  1. GPSNavX says:

    When are AIS receivers and VHF tranceivers going to be integrated? Seems obvious to have one VHF antenna and power source for VHF reception. The VHF radio could have a USB connector for the AIS data to my Mac Powerbook.
    I know Seacas is coming out with an integrated GPS/AIS receiver, but the addition of VHF voice transmission makes allot of sense.

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I haven’t heard of any VHF makers getting into AIS just yet, plus sharing an antenna with voice & DSC comms might not work out so well. I think the best bet is a separate AIS antenna that’s as far away as possible from possible interference by regular VHF comms.

  3. Pascal says:

    I think that NorthStar could have included an AIS receiver at last in this new unit, but why not a complete AIS Receiver/Transponder Clas B in the same box as the VHF/DSC Radio? To me this would make a lot os sense.
    BTW, the chinese (Smart Radio Co) as launched the new low cost SR 260 full AIS black box(Receiver/Transponder) , wich works as class A or Class B, has a gps included, can be programed using the Windows Hyperterminal, all this for less than US$600.
    I am just waiting that Garmin launches the software/firmware suport on my GpsMap276C to buy one ot this things, as I do not want to use laptops on my boat.

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Pascal, but I’m very dubious about the Smart Radio Class A/B Transponder. It looks to me like it doesn’t come anywhere near meeting Class A specs, and Class B specs aren’t even finalized yet. No mention of IMO or FCC certifications at link below. You can get in trouble broadcasting on illegal equipment!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Not to mention that it looks like it can have its MMSI easily changed by the user. Not something to make the USCG happy!

  6. del says:

    I have to agree with Ben in his comments on the Smart Radio Box. How can they advertise Class B compatibility when the Comittee that specifies it hasn’t published the standard yet?
    If I recall correctly, the DRAFT Class B standard specifically states that the MMSI must NOT be accessible to the end user. I can’t see this changing in the final version.
    The TX power appears to be fixed at +37dBm, which doesn’t comply with Class A or Class B.
    All told, with ithe information currently available,I’d be VERY worried if this box appeared on the market, and I suspect that the UK and US authorities would penalise any one found with one on board without Type Approval.

  7. Bob says:

    The Northstar NS100 came installed in my boat. It is a piece of junk. Plastic connectors and parts are no up to even modest marine applications.

  8. Dominic says:

    ´┐Ż good site, good short contents of the good work. ´┐Żongratulations !

  9. Mike says:

    Please email me if you know where I can get the back piece of the hand held, It broke and they tell me I have to buy the whole radio if I can’t find it…

  10. doug says:

    This thing sucks. I’ve had two in my boat. Both have died. Northstar / Navman or whoever ownns them now refuses to really help

  11. MARK says:

    I would like to buy a used replacement mic with cord in good shape for my Northstar VHF ns 100 ss.
    call 734-578-6254

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