Raymarine Ray90, a full featured black box VHF radio with wireless handsets and Bluetooth audio

Ben Stein

Ben Stein

Publisher of Panbo.com, passionate marine electronics enthusiast, completed the Great Loop in 2017.

12 Responses

  1. Grant Jenkins says:

    Ben – great write-up on Raymarine’s VHF – but I was hoping to see the “Last Call’ feature that Icom introduced a couple years back with their M506, which records up to two minutes of missed incoming calls and allows them to be played back again – without missing new calls. This is such a cool feature I can’t imagine why a $1,000 VHF wouldn’t offer this as well – unless Icom has it locked down tight with patent protection…. the Bluetooth stuff is maybe useful depending on how big your boat is – but the Last Call feature is something I could use just about every time I’m on the boat! Or, maybe I just need to pay closer attention… 😉

  2. I’m glad to see DSC + chart plotter side of things working. Even though many people never use it, it is a common question I get about integration, and it really should just work.

    The angled screen thing was bothering me as I looked at your pictures – I just thought maybe there was a camera angle thing, but that would drive me insane! Especially for a premium product like this.

    The Bluetooth speaker piece is also pretty cool. Very slick way to allow for remote speakers when you can’t wire a direct connection, but you do have power.

    I’m very interested in your longer term testing with this system, specifically the WiFi handsets. Being pretty knowledgeable in WiFi myself, I am happy to see that Ray is using an established protocol instead of trying something new. There are a number of marine products that I have used / tested that decide to do their own thing, and the time and effort required to maintain and produce their product is impacted negatively as a result.

    The only worrisome thing is the fact they chose 2.4GHz, but that is a longer range, better penetrating signal than 5Ghz, so that may end up working out for the long term.

    If I needed a multi-station black box VHF, this sounds like the one to go for!

  3. Grant Jenkins says:

    Ben E., thanks for commenting on the Last Call feature, still not sure why it isn’t more popular in some of the mainstream VHF’s from Standard Horizon, Garmin, and others… and thanks for the link to Cobham, I’d not even run across them before… seems like a quality product!

  4. Dan Corcoran says:

    For bluetooth, are they careful to close/open the channel only when receiving transmissions so as not to drain the battery say on a bluetooth wireless earpiece?

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Dan, is that really a thing? I believe that Bluetooth Low Energy devices can use very little power while still available for connection but don’t think BTLE is used in headsets because it doesn’t repond quick enough (and maybe also limited bandwidth). I use all sorts of BT hearing gadgets and think they keep their amps and BT on and ready unless you tell them to “sleep” after a period of no streaming, and then it takes a bit for them to wake up.

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      Dan,

      They’re not careful to open and close the channel, which I think makes sense given their designed use case for Bluetooth. They are assuming you’re using their speaker which is supplied with 12v power from the boat, if that’s the case the additional power use is pretty de minimis. Additionally, the time spent re-establishing the connection could be enough to cause portions of transmissions to be missed.

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