Standard Horizon GX6000 VHF & wireless RAM 4W mics, finally!

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.

74 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Head’s up: If you get a new VHF, you may be surprised to see that some channel numbers are shown as four digits starting with “10” like 1007 instead of 07, 1018 instead of 18, etc. The USCG explains here:

    https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=mtVhf

  2. I’m glad to finally see SH go wireless with a decent handset. For the last few years I have been using the B&G V50 with the wireless handset, and the handset is not that great from the quality of sound and speaker side of things. I recently replaced it with a good, trusty GX2200 and the wired RAM3 mic, but would have much preferred a wireless one. Unfortunately, all of the ones I’ve tested in the last 6+ years have had their issues.

    Seeing SH use WiFi for the remote gives me hope that the clarity and quality will be good enough. Looking forward to a longer term review around the wireless remote!

    • Francois Labelle says:

      Seen on an Amazon purchase review of the SCU 30 Wireless Base Station… “The range is extremely limited, and not likely useable.

      I have this temporarily installed and sitting above my nav station, in an effort to find optimal location. My boat is a 50ft sloop made from FRP and wood, with the nav station located just aft of the beam, on the starboard side.

      With the access point at the nav station, the RAM4W handheld looses connection when going into the forward berth. It also looses connection when at the helm at the back. Both of these locations are within line of sight if the access point.

      This is very unfortunate because my plan was to use it primarily as an intercom when anchoring, and when my wife is below due to bad weather. As far as I can tell, this is not going to suit my needs.”

      • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

        Hi Francois, I strongly suspect that you have a faulty RAM4W mic or wireless base station (and maybe the Amazon reviewer did too). I didn’t have any trouble with range on my 37-foot flybridge powerboat, which is FRP with lots of in-line-of-sight electronics and other possible blockage. The range is like the boat’s many WiFi sources, which it should be because the GX6000 uses WiFi. Have you tried calling them?

        • Francois Labelle says:

          Thanks…I bought the GX6000 and purchased the GPS antenna, I’m debating having to buy the wifi antenna… I already bought the handheld wifi remote…the review was disappointing, to say the least!

  3. Saffy The Pook says:

    I know I’m likely in the minority here but I’m not a big fan of wireless instruments and radios on boats. The functions of these devices are critical, I don’t feel much need to be able to roam while using them, and wires are much more reliable. I do like SH’s trend towards allowing multiple RAM mics off the same head unit and I’m glad they’re finally embracing N2K. Now if they can just get that integrated AIS transceiver issue worked out they’ll have the perfect package.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you regarding wireless equipment.

      The problem is that many manufacturers insist on supplying cables with permanently mounted connectors that are impossible to pull through some of the spaces on boats. I have a wired remote microphone on the fly bridge of my boat and ended up having to cut and splice the cable in order to route it. The manufacturer specifically told me not to do this; yet the connectors on the cable wee not field replaceable.

    • Francois Labelle says:

      I read your review on the GX6000 I just bought… You’d think they would have found a way to combine the GPS antenna SCU-31 and the WIFI antenna SCU-30!! You have to pay extra for 2 VHF/ AIS antenna and GPS and separate WIFI antennas!!? Could they not have combined both in one unit? The roof of my boat may end up looking like a porcupine!!

  4. Timo Giling Timo Giling says:

    The main reason that SH is unable to ship their GX6500 VHF/AIS tranceiver is that the internal class B transponder is a Amec CSTDMA type transponder. The patent on this technology is held by their fierce competitor SRT since July 2015. Until SH (Amec) and SRT sort out this issue there will be no product in the shops worldwide. Apart from this legal / commercial issue, preliminary tests appear to show that the GX6500 only just barely complies with some relevant standards. Authorities are not very happy with these results and seem reluctant to clear the GX6500.

  5. Timo Giling Timo Giling says:

    Hi Ben,
    The information cited was published on the Dutch Sailors’ forum by a (long known and trustworthy) professional in the VHF / AIS field. He said (Nov ’17) that a Dutch SH representative told him about the patent issue. I cannot verify this in person, but I have no reason to doubt his words given his reputation in the Netherlands.

    The same goes for the troublesome compliance of the AIS transponder. He claims to have thoroughly tested the Amec transponder involved (his company installs and tests VHF and AIS equipment for both industry and government for a living) and reported the ‘meager’ outcome: just barely compliant. He mentioned that ‘jitter’ was particularly an issue and that this seems to be one of the main reasons that SH can’t get the EU approval stamp on the GX6500.

    Let me be clear, I’m not an expert myself, just repeating what information is available. I’m an enthusiastic user of SH equipment and I know many boaters would be interested in a combined VHF/AIS transponder. It would be far better if SH themselves would clear up the mist around the GX6500. But for some reason the mist is very, very persistent.

  6. Jim Hebert says:

    Re the cause of the Standard-Horizon GX6500 lacking approval by the USCG and FCC being due to infringement of a patent (as proposed above by Timo):

    I join Ben in being skeptical that approval of the GX6500 is being withheld due to a patent infringement. The two regulatory agencies involved in granting approval in the USA are the FCC and the USCG. I don’t believe either of those regulatory agencies are concerned with protection of intellectual property. If there were a patent infringement, the owner of the patent would have to seek redress in some other venue than with the FCC or USCG. I am not a lawyer, but I believe that in the USA the federal court has exclusive jurisdiction over patent disputes.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Jim, I may have been unclear in my previous posts, but as I have understood there are two separate issues at hand: one is a possible patent infringement, the other an approval issue. These issues are unrelated I guess. As Ben pointed out, the patent issue may be solved or non-existent anymore, but apparently the technical issue(s) seem to remain. This lies with the FCC / USCG in the USA and with a notified body in the EU.

  8. Chris Cumming says:

    Hi Ben,
    I am considering purchasing a GX6000 and have attempted – unsuccessfully – to get answers from SH to the following question. Perhaps you know the answer.

    If the unit is connected to only one antenna via the “VHF” port, and the radio is connected to a NMEA2000 network on which I’m operating a separate AIS transceiver (Simrad NAIS-500), will AIS target data be made available on the radio?

  9. Martin T Martin T says:

    Hi Ben,

    I would like to see the new handheld HX890 tested if you have possibility to do so:
    http://www.standardhorizon.com/indexVS.cfm?cmd=DisplayProducts&DivisionID=3&ProdCatID=85&ProdID=2869

    Thanks for a great site and bog!

    br,
    martin

  10. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Martin! I didn’t even know about the new HX890. And while I don’t know if we’ll get to test it, it does look like a nice update on what already seemed like a great feature set in the HX870:

    https://www.panbo.com/standard-horizon-hx870-handheld-vhfgpsdsc-powerhouse/

    I particularly like the addition of an FM receiver. I still have a working SH HX471S multiband handheld — no longer made but still listed here: https://goo.gl/hHy4Km — and have found its FM band quite nice to have on many occasions. And I see that SH has new compact HX40 handheld also with FM (but no GPS or DSC): https://goo.gl/23xpPd

    Incidentally, the HX890 (and 870) have the “Easy to Operate Menu system” similar to what I’ve testing on the GX6000 and which I like a lot. It really is fairly easy to find your way around and I especially like how you can customize the interface for quick access to the features you use a lot.

    You can even setup the GX6000 interface (and update firmware) with a Yaezu PC program and a USB cable to the radio. I’ve done it and plan to write about how well it works. And if you look in the Files list at SH for the HX890 and 870, you’ll see that they have the same capability.

  11. Rick Vicik says:

    Has anyone tried to display AIS target information from a GX6000 on a chartplotter via NMEA2000?
    A friend of mine has been unable to get this to work using Coastal Explorer. Another friend who is associated with Coastal Explorer put a sniffer on the NMEA2000 bus and found that the longitude in the PGN 129039 was off by about 21 degrees east. Latitude was correct. Lat/Long on the GX6000 display was correct for the target.

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Yup, SH messed up the NMEA 2000 AIS translation in the original GX6000 firmware (which is hard to understand given how long it took to market). But they fixed it with the AIS Firmware Update V1.00.02 that you’ll see in the Files section of their GX6000 page, https://goo.gl/Wo4yM9 (though they should probably be more proactive about the issue, and maybe I should have been too.)

      I reported the problem some time back, not completely sure if it was the radio or something wacky on my N2K network, and they got the update out on 8/1. I used the YCE08 PC software to do the updates and can confirm that it works. AIS targets now show the correct location on the Garmin and Raymarine plotters that are on the same network. But I do have MFD screenshots showing vessels in my harbor as 3,508 miles away though the radio correctly showed them at 0.1nm away.

      The good news here is that the radio can be updated fairly easily, and the PC software can also be used to customize the interface easily, like which soft keys to show where and local channel descriptions.

  12. Rick Vicik says:

    Thanks very much for the fast reply and detailed information. I was going crazy trying to get it to work for my friend. I’ll help him with the update next time we can get out to his boat.
    —rick

    • Rick Vicik says:

      We finally updated the AIS firmware on my friend’s GX6000. The process appeared successful and the version displayed afterward was v1.00.02. We did not update the “Radio” firmware because it was 2.00.04 which seems to be current. The end result is that it now puts nothing on the NMEA2000 bus. My NMEA sniffer shows it doesn’t even negotiate for a bus address. It’s acting like a parameter is set to disable NMEA2000, but I couldn’t find one. The NMEA2000 setup options only allow setting device and system “number”. The “Search” selection in that sub-section seems to be intended to list other devices on the NMEA2000 bus, but nothing appears. The AIS and GPS position info output via 0183 works OK. The SH support person who has been working with us agreed to let my friend send the unit back. The serial number was 7T020098 and it was purchased in May2018.

      —rick

      • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

        Thanks for the followup, Rick, but sorry about the outcome. The AIS update did work fine for me and I wrote about it here:

        https://www.panbo.com/standard-horizon-gx6000-bad-and-good-news-plus-new-hx890-and-hx40/

        Also, I used that N2K “Search” function to select a GPS source for the radio and that worked fine too, though the screen instructions certainly could be better.

      • Roy Buddle says:

        Rick – I got exactly the same. Raymarine e & a series system and bought the correct cable but it’s not reading any GPS data, either before or after the same firmware updates. At the same time, when I run a “Device scan” on my Raymarine master MFD, it shows a GX6000 with serial #7L020231. Very frustrating. Haven’t tried the 0183 “alternative” and frankly I don’ t want to as that’s going backwards.

        • Rick Vicik says:

          Sorry I didn’t see your message sooner. In our case, the GX6000 sent AIS target information correctly via 0183. We used a Furuno IF-NMEA2K converter in AIS mode to get the info to NMEA2000 so his Coastal Explorer PC chartplotter could display it. Here is another reason to avoid 0183/2000 combinations unless you are aware of all the details. We had hoped to use the internal GPS receiver in the GX6000 to provide position information to Coastal Explorer, but the IF-NMEA2K doesn’t convert 0183 GNSS info in AIS mode and doesn’t convert 0183 AIS info in normal mode.
          —rick

  13. davidurell davidurell says:

    Hi Ben – Thanks for the early notes. I am curious how the RAM 4W is working out. A good solution or better to wait? I have a sail boat so I am looking for something not as intrusive as the iCOM 605 down below, and I love the idea of a wireless unit for the cockpit. Thinking this might be my best solution if it works well. Your thoughts? Thanks

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Hi David, I think that the RAM 4W wireless mic is great. The battery life, range, and audio quality are all excellent, and the screen/button interface works very nicely, especially if you customize the soft keys for your favorite commands, as I mentioned here: https://www.panbo.com/standard-horizon-gx6000-bad-and-good-news-plus-new-hx890-and-hx40/

      There is a weirdness, though. The mic has contacts for a charging holster, but SH doesn’t include or offer one as an option, and apparently has no plans to (and I asked recently). It’s not terrible to use the USB port to charge one but I can so picture one or more RAM 4W’s neatly stowed and fully charged in simple wall cradles mounted on a companionway bulkhead, or flybridge, etc.

      I will eventually write a comparison of the GX6000 and Icom 605, but the short story is that I wish the latter had the former’s interface or that the latter had the former’s stunning color screen. They’re both excellent VHF radios, but if a wireless mic is important, the 6000 will likely make you happy. There are other radios with decent wireless remotes, but not on this level of RX/TX quality and feature sets (in my experience).

  14. samir elbaguer says:

    I had my my GX6000 for about 3 month now and frankly not impressed. It’s hooked up to my EVO2 MFDs and it has trouble getting a GPS fix. Sometimes it takes hours. When I search “device list” it randomly shows what’s on the network. Sometimes it shows both EVOs, sometimes just one, other times it can’t find anything at all. Even when it reads the fix it randomly drops it and I get “no gps” alarm and then It takes forever to acquire it back. And then, yesterday, when I turned it off it wouldn’t power back. Power and all the connections are fine, I’ll be talking to standard horizon tomorrow, see what thy say.

  15. chuck dahill says:

    I am about to put two of these on my boat (pilot house and bridge) with remote mics which will provide access to two radios at two locations. Anyone have any insight/issues with doing this, ie interference with dual AIS/GPS, etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      All I can say is this. I have both GX 6000 and Icom M 605. Both hooked up to Ais transponder and my Simrad EVO2 MFDs on Y2K buss. ICOM works like a charm, gets position in less than a minute on power up shows my AIS targets from the transponder and gives me the option to call them direct DSC. My experience with GX6000 you can read on post above. I can only add that when I called SH they asked me to pay for shipping to their repair facility. That for a unit that’s barely 4 months old. I haven’t received it back yet so don’t know if those issues are fixable. I had SH radios before and they were excellent.

  16. Brian says:

    Purchased the GX 6000 a month ago and have had nothing but problems with it acquiring a GPS fix with all new Garmin electronics. My neighbor bought one also and is having the same problems (Garmin GPS also). Sent mine back to SH only to be told it test good. Seems that it has a hard time connecting to the NEMA 2000 network. I’ve tried new cables, T connectors etc. with little luck. It connected one time to GPS then dropped off shortly after. I’ve tried everything that SH support has suggested but nothing seems to work. Would not recommend. I have a new GX 1600 as my back up VHF and it works flawlessly.

    • Roy Buddle says:

      Brian – I had exactly the same problems with my Raymarine network. No connection to my NMEA 2000 and no GPS fix. I went through all the forums – THT, Raymarine and spoke with SH – all to no avail. The PRODUCT DOES NOT WORK AS ADVERTISED. I pulled mine out, spent another $500 on an ICOM 506, which fortunately slots into the same hole. Lo and behold it works like a treat. I bough the 506 without AIS, and added the Raymarine AIS700 so I’ve got the full Class B transceiver. As for the GX 6000, I’m putting that into my overhead box as a back up and will try the NMEA 0183 to one of my plotters. As I had also bought a Shakespeare Galaxy AIS antenna (yes, this is getting really expensive) I will connect that to the GX 6000 and see what we get. End result is I have 2x top-end VHF systems and assuming the GX 6000 can get a GPS fix from 0183, then I have 2x independent AIS systems (one receive / one transceiver). Really DISAPPOINTED the GX 6000 has failed so miserably though……

      • “End result is I have 2x top-end VHF systems and assuming the GX 6000 can get a GPS fix from 0183, then I have 2x independent AIS systems (one receive / one transceiver).”
        I’m having the same issue. Gave up on the N2k part of it. Have no option but to use it as a backup.
        Question: How are you planning to use GX as a backup AIS as far as antennas go? I have similar set up as you. Stand alone AIS transceiver with its own antenna. Are you planning to add two more, one for Vhf and another for AIS, GX requires a separate antenna for AIS? I’m trying to avoid having 4 antennas on my top, but can’t come up with a solution.

        • Roy Buddle says:

          Samir, I bought a Shakespeare AS-2 antenna splitter. I have a Shakespeare Galaxy 6225 Phase iii antenna that is common to both VHF’s. I also have a Shakespeare Galaxy Phase iii AIS antenna, which is only connected to the GX 6000. The ICOM 506 is without the AIS option. It’s connected to the Raymarine AIS 700 transceiver (it has a separate GPS antenna) and therefore shares the VHF antenna for transmission and receiving of AIS Class B data for the ICOM. So, in summary I have a dedicated AIS antenna for the GX 6000 that shares the VHF antenna with the ICOM 506.

          You only need 2 anntennae, unless you want to have 100% redunancy. Hope this helps.

  17. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    My recollection is that the GX6000 did work with NMEA 2000 GPS when I had it installed on my boat, but I will double check that.

    Mostly though I used it with Standard Horizon’s optional SCU-31 GPS Smart Antenna, which worked fine:

    https://www.hodgesmarine.com/Standard-Horizon-Scu-31-Gps-Smart-Antenna-p/stascu-31.htm

    • Roy Buddle says:

      Thanks . To be precise I am referring to NMEA 2000 to Raymarine SeaTalkng. I bought the specific cable for that purpose (and the same cable is now being used for the ICOM 506 to the Raymarine network – it works fine, so it’s not a cable issue). Somebody suggested the problem may be related to the communication protocol between the VHF and the system, which I can’t comment on.

      I’m interested to see if good old NMEA 0183 works when I connect it to my Raymarine MFD’s using those tiddly wires….

      I did think about buying the separate SCU-31, but that wouldn’t achieve the goal of being able to integrate the system and receive AIS data on my Raymarine MFD’s (they wouldn’t be connected to the VHF)…..

      I’d be interested to see what happens if you have access to a Raymarine network and try to connect the GX 6000 via SeaTalkng. As I told the folks at SH, I can’t be the only one experiencing this problem.

  18. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    For Brian, Roy or anyone else having trouble with NMEA 2000 GPS on GX6000: I just got two different N2K GPS receivers working fine with the radio and may have uncovered the problem area in the process.

    I can’t find it explained in the manual, but N2K GPS selection is not automatic. You have to use the Menu button to navigate to SetUp, then to Setup NMEA 2000, and then to the Select Device screen. Then you use the middle soft key to Search for devices and hopefully your GPS will show up on the list… but you’re not done yet. Now you have to select the GPS — which may require scrolling down — and then use the Select soft key (or enter knob) to actually select it.

    Finally, you may want to push Back once and then Search again because your N2K GPS should now be marked as SET, and should work.

    Maybe you figured this out already — or hopefully SH tech support told you — but it seems quite odd that the manual’s section about NMEA 2000 Setup only discusses changing the “device number” of a second GX6000 on the network (and I think they mean device instance), and N2K GPS selection is not mentioned in the GPS Setup section either.

    • Roy Buddle says:

      Ben – Thanks! Really appreciate you having a closer look at this on a Sunday afternoon….!

      I tried all of what you mention and whilst, the “SEARCH” found my p70R and i70, it didn’t find my e125, a65 or a68 (master) on the same network. I tried different combinations of device number, which SH tech help also suggested. Something else bizarre, that I haven’t mentioned before – when I used my freshwater wash-down hose, an alarm warning would go off from the radio! Every time. Really very strange. That might suggest a dodgy install (on my part), but I do all my own work and the ferrite cores were all installed correctly. As I said, when I popped in the ICOM 506 and turned on – it was flawless. MMSI entered / picked up the GPS fix immediately and it just worked. My old ICOM 504 lasted 10 years and I said bad things – but I take them all back – sorry ICOM!

      • Samir elbaguer says:

        As I mentioned earlier, mine quit powering up shortly after installation and had be sent back. I received it back, after about a month, but haven’t installed it yet since I haven’t decided yet on what to do with it. After all the issues I had with it I don’t trust its reliability and not sure if I want it on my boat.

        • Roy Buddle says:

          Samir, your unit sounds faulty – which is not a good thing if you want a redundant 2nd VHF. If I were you I would ask for a refund and NOT install it. Trust and reliability are 2 key adjectives when it comes to a radio. It is disappointing to hear this but I am still a bit surprised there are not more reports of issues coming out. Perhaps people aren’t buying them? Sometimes it sucks being an “early adopter”.

          • Anonymous says:

            Unfortunately I ordered the radio a couple of days before leaving the states for a three month trip. By the time it quit working, about two months after installation and five months after buying it, it was way past the time frame for refunding it. I did call the seller but he won’t have it.

  19. Tim Clarke says:

    Hello Ben,

    Any new reports on this system? how well does the wireless wifi remote work? Distance? Things have been quiet recently on this radio, wondering how well it is holding up. I’m considering purchasing to upgrade. Thanks!

    • Donald Snelgrove says:

      I have had the GX-6000 radio for several months now, as well as the remote wireless microphone SSM-71H. I have found the distance for the microphone to keep a steady connection to be disappointing. I recently had to return the microphone for an intermittent speaker so I am hopeful the replacement will provide a longer and more steady connection. In my experience, the microphone will intermittently drop connection at approximately 10-15 feet away, with one small bulkhead in its path. Thus, I receive an audible warning of a dropped connection when the microphone is at the helm of my 39′ sailboat, and the GX-6000 unit/transmitting antenna at the nav station below. I find the base unit to be excellent but the wireless microphone to be disappointing, at least so far.

      • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

        Thanks for reporting in, Donald, but I’m wondering if you had a defective RAM4W. I recall experiencing better range on my 37′ powerboat with numerous bulkheads and lots of possibly interfering electronics. Besides, WiFi should be able to do better than what you got. I’ve still got the 6000 in my shop and will try to do more focused range testing.

        Tim, One thing I’ve never understood about the RAM4W is that while it has contacts for a 12v powered charging holster that could mount to a bulkhead, there still isn’t one available. USB charging is OK, but the holster seems like something should just come with a premium product like this.

  20. Donald Snelgrove says:

    Ben, you may be right about the defective SSM 71-H/RAM4W. I have returned it for repair/return since the speaker was cutting out even when the connection was good. I’ll keep you posted!

  21. Tim Clarke says:

    Thanks for the responses. I hope it is better than that! I’m looking to upgrade my home base station, and feel like the wireless remote would be a great addition to walk around the house with. (IE the wife can hail me at night without getting out of bed, etc)

    But, it needs to work in order to justify spending a BOAT, versus a couple hundred on a lower model.

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Tim, I probably misunderstand your situation but the image of your wife fishing at night while you loll around was motivating. And it was nice to find that RAM 4W still had most of its charge after sitting untouched for several months.

      I have The GX6000 set up in my basement shop near the south wall, which has windows and a door. That space is heavily insulated from the first floor, like 9-inch fiberglass with tinfoil layer down. The RAM 4W works fine — either through the floor or outside and in again — on the first floor directly above the WiFi antenna sitting on my shop bench and in about a 20 foot semicircle.

      Then I put the WiFi antenna outside my shop on a short stepladder and found I can walk about 100 feet away as long as I don’t put the house in between. I could also connect from about the same area on the first floor and near the windows on the second floor that are nearly 30 feet above the antenna. I suspect that if I moved the radio up into my house the mic would work OK on most of both floors. The WiFi range feels like using a low cost router with a phone.

      At any rate I was also reminded of what a nice mic this is. It was easy to remember how to get around, check weather, AIS targets, etc. Also when you do wander past WiFi range, it lets you know and then gracefully re-pairs when you get it back in range.

  22. Robert Settle says:

    It sounds like the GX6000 is just not ready for primetime. The majority of comments re. reliability and lack of documentation eliminated this for consideration aboard my boat. I have read reviews of other Standard Horizon models that have cracks in housings, failures, DOA’s etc. I travel the world in my sailboat. I don’t have the luxury to be a beta-tester. I don’t want to have to flash the ROM to fix problems with software. I will be buying an iCom. I would love to have the interface and nice remote of the SH but will make do…

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Hi Robert, I’m the one who wrote about updating the GX6000 to fix an issue with AIS output over NMEA 2000…

      https://www.panbo.com/standard-horizon-gx6000-bad-and-good-news-plus-new-hx890-and-hx40/

      …but that was early in the life of this product, and I have not noticed excessive mentions of “cracks in housings, failures, DOA’s etc.” in this or any other Standard Horizon models.

      Also, I think that being able to update a VHF in the field is a feature. It’s not about fixing significant bugs that should have been found before shipping (though that has happened to others besides SH — see early comments about Simrad RS35, which also became a great radio after bug fixes).

      But modern VHF/DSC/AIS radios are complicated beasts, and I’m not sure any designers can get one completely right without lots of customer feedback. For instance, I’d love to see a firmware update for the beautiful ICOM 605 I’ve been long testing on Gizmo, though I’m not sure it’s possible in the field:

      https://www.panbo.com/smorgasboat-the-tasty-testing-buffet-installed-on-gizmo-for-2017/

      There could be many improvements in the softkey interface, I think, and it can’t be customized. But the true annoyance is the screen dimming. You can get the gorgeous bright color screen to be very dim and red for night use, but if you shut it down that way, you won’t see anything when you turn it on again in bright daylight. And then you have to remember a complex set of key commands to reset the brightness blind, or wait until it’s dark again!

  23. Bill says:

    I just bought this, and the day after install, I am having buyers remorse. I see there is a GX2400 which is smaller, and seems to have all these features, PLUS GPS. I don’t know how I missed the fact that this GX600 doesn’t have internal GPS, that was one of my requirements. I guess I saw GPS mentioned, just not that it was internal. I hooked up the Nk2, but the GPS on the system is not showing up on the 6000. I hope I don’t need to buy their added antenna just to make it hunt. I think they are running specials on this unit to clear stock, My guess is that it is B/C they don not need that fat case now that they are not also using it for AIS send. The older I get, the more mistakes I make!

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Bill, You have to select the NMEA 2000 GPS, a process I explained in an April 2019 comment above:

      https://www.panbo.com/standard-horizon-gx6000-vhf-wireless-ram-4w-mics-finally/#comment-71545

      The GX6000 is a big radio, but that also means big buttons, knobs, and screen (which I like). Also it’s more apt to go on a big boat where an internal GPS might not work well. (Then again, I see that the new 2400 seems to have both an internal GPS plus support for the external “Smart GPS” antenna.)

      I recently bought a GX1400G to fit a small space in the center console outboard I’m redoing. It’s tiny compared to the GX6000 and that’s hard to know from product photos. The dimensions tell the story though probably best to see them in the real world at a show or dealer showroom. (The 1400 is a fine little economy VHF but a bit harder to use because of small buttons etc.)

  24. Jim Hebert says:

    Product reviews made after one day of use of the product might not be the most reasonable source of critiques. Complex products often require some study and learning to become used to their full capabilities.

    • Bill Coleman says:

      I couldn’t agree more about product reviews in a day, Jim. I guess I wasn’t thinking of it as a product review, as much as being pissed at myself for not scouring the specs before buying. This is my 5th S-H VHF, and the last one I bought one year after the previous one, only because the new one had Internal GPS. Planned obsolescence. It just gripes me that they leave out a very important ingredient that probably would cost them a few bucks to have included. Now, I have to have my MFD on for the VHF to have GPS. I am grateful that Ben does these reviews, I think they are great, and I have to apologize for not remembering the part about selecting the NMEA 2000 selection above. It was some time ago that I read through all that, and so of course all that was gone from my memory. You know the bit about not remembering what you had for breakfast . . .
      These just came on sale, along with a rebate, so I just jumped.

      I just got back from fiddling with it, and now I do have GPS, so thanks Ben.

      • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

        No problem, Bill, and thanks for mentioning the new 2400. SH doesn’t seem to do press releases these days but I just posted the flyer:

        https://www.panbo.com/new-standard-horizon-gx2400-matrix-vhf/

        It does seem to incorporate many good features of the 6000, plus internal GPS, but I do think that you have a very good radio system that can handle multiple wireless mics and/or dual hailers if you’d like.

        And did you know that you can program the soft keys so the main features you use are right there without having to remember where to find them? (Yes, I know about failing memory 😉

        • Bill Coleman says:

          I probably shouldn’t have read up on the 2400, I see it only needs one antenna, after I just bought a 200$ Vesper splitter!

  25. Don Snelgrove says:

    Gents
    I am the author of the comment back in July 2019 on my experience with the wireless remote mike SSM-71H. I did return the mike to SH for repair, as well as the wireless antenna/access point SCU-30 Wireless Access Point due to the disappointing ability to maintain a reliable connection between the mike and the GX-6000.
    SH found no issues with either piece of hardware yet I remain frustrated in the mike’s ability to maintain a solid connection to the radio.
    As stated last summer, the microphone will intermittently drop connection at approximately 10-15 feet away, with one small bulkhead in its path. Thus, I receive an audible warning of a dropped connection when the microphone is at the helm of my 39′ sailboat, and the GX-6000 unit/transmitting antenna at the nav station below. Sometimes the warning will sound every few minutes, a major irritant. I have even put the mike just 10 feet away from the radio with no line of sight issues other than the corner of my nav station and occasionally will receive a lost signal alarm even then. It’s quite frustrating since the remote mic capability was the main reason I purchased this unit. Has anyone else experienced this problem?

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Thanks for your report, Don. That sounds VERY disappointing. And Standard Horizon did not suggest troubleshooting steps? Is there any other WiFi on your boat? Have you tried different locations for the SCU-30 antenna?

      Also, I had the test GX6000 boxed up and ready to return, but I’m going to reinstall it on Gizmo instead. My good experience seems to differ from some other users, and maybe I missed something.

  26. Don Snelgrove says:

    Ben
    To answer your questions: Yes, I have reported it to SH, which included the return of the SCU-30 antenna and SSM-71H. They were very curious and interested in helping but the same issue continues after the devices were returned for possible repair. I don’t have any other WiFi on the boat except when sailing offshore (we race the boat to Bermuda, Nova Scotia and across to Europe in 2018) but that WiFi is only on for a few minutes (from my Iridium Go satellite receiver) when I’m downloading weather GRIB files. Your question about location is a good one and I believe that antenna location is part of the problem. The antenna cable is around 6′ long and I place it currently by my nav station. This means the signal has to go through one fiberglass/wooden bulkhead to get to the remote mike which is about 15 feet away, something that all WiFi signals should handle easily. Yet the signal will still be intermittent with the remote mike emitting a loud alarm whenever the signal becomes low in strength. Quite frustrating since this will occur once every 30 minutes or so. The result: I’ll often use a portable VHF radio at the helm, defeating the purpose of the SH remote mike!

  27. David says:

    Don,

    I have had a similar experience since installation of the GX6000 on my boat in early 2019. Initially I mounted the wifi antenna behind the nav station which is just forward of the companionway and cockpit (50′ Hinckley yawl). The antenna was approximately 10 feet from the helm station, and the signal had to penetrate through a single wood panel. The signal was entirely unreliable, making the remote unusable last season. A handheld did service in the cockpit.

    Last winter I had the antenna relocated using the available extension cable so it was under the cockpit coaming – passing through a single layer of fiberglass (no coming). The connection is better but certainly not perfect, as it has dropped out a number of times this year which leaves you scrambling back down the companionway for a handheld or to use the wired mic.

    The unit was a poor choice. The cost and trouble of tinkering and relocating the antenna is worth more to me than the actual expense of the unit, which itself is quite a bit more than a decent single station VHF.

    I’m very dissatisfied with the unit, even though it “kind of works” now, and wish I had done something different. I am surprised in this day that SH has failed to provide a more capable wifi solution.

    • Don Snelgrove says:

      thanks, David, for your answer. Sounds like you have the same challenges as me. Perhaps I should try the extension cable and move the antenna to where it doesn’t have to pass thru the bulkhead. What was the name/part# for the extension cable? Thanks!

  28. Bill Coleman says:

    After having trouble with an excellent quality router give poor performance from my basement, my research turned up that wi-fi seems to want to travel horizontally, not vertically. Sounds complicated, but something to consider.

  29. Francois Labelle says:

    Can someone explain to me what is the difference(s) between the SH GX6000 and the GX6000E? What does the E stand for?
    Also if I understand correctly, the GX6000/GX6000E has an AIS Transceiver only, meaning it can receive/view other ships’ positions and data including ship collision avoidance… the GX6500/GX6500E has AIS transceiver plus an AIS transponder, meaning it can show or broadcast your position to other vessels? I really appreciate all the comments on this blog! Thank you!!

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Christopher (below) is correct; E is for Euro. There are a few fairly minor differences between the marine VHF standards there and over here, so the manufacturers have to build different models.

      Also, the never-released GX6500/6500E can be called an AIS transceiver or transponder — they’re pretty much the same thing — but the GX6000 is only an AIS receiver.

  30. Christopher says:

    The letter “E” indicates the version for Europe.

  1. August 22, 2018

    […] the GX6000 I began testing in June photographed at the same time I grabbed the Garmin 742 screen at top. Note the realistic bearings […]

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