The Raymarine 55 is a miniaturized version of the companies’ top-of-the-line radio. The two even share the same owner’s handbook. This model VHF has a few less features and a significantly lower price tag. The standard microphone has push buttons to control channel selection, scan, transmitter power, local/distant receive sensitivity, and quick 16 or 9 selection.
The Raymarine 55 can use an optional microphone relocation kit; however the standard radio microphone cannot be disconnected. This radio can also connect to an optional remote microphone and operate as part of an intercom system when it’s connected.
Overall the Ray 55 performance well in testing, it had just one glitch. In our transmitter review, we found the Ray 55 frequency stability drifted off after it was subjected to our cold temperature torture chamber. It just barely remained within specification. After the radio warmed a bit it returned to normal.
It earned a good rating for transmitter power stability. We rated receiver sensitivity excellent while selectivity ranked high at 80 dB. Audio output was rated average with sound pressure levels hitting 90 dBA.
Raymarine provides one-button control of a few functions including: toggling between weather and voice channels, making a quick channel 16 or 9 selection, and selecting various menus.
Three soft keys below the screen serve multiple functions depending on the mode of operations. The unit is turned on or off with the volume control knob. Squelch and channel selection each have rotary knob control too.
A low battery message appears onscreen when input power drops below 12.2 volts. Increasing the voltage back above 12.5 turned off the warning.
Many functions on the Ray 55 are operated by going into a menu and then making choices with the channel rotary knob or soft keys.
Some commonly used VHF menu choices are local/distant receiver setting, picking the channel group, switching transmitter power, and setting a scan mode.
The system configuration menu controls functions like display backlighting and contrast, key beep, and speed unit selection.
Digital Selective Calling
The Ray 55 is designated a Class D radio for DSC operations. Class D means the radio sports two separate receivers, one for voice communications, and a second to monitor channel 70 for any DSC calls.
Before you can make a distress or any other type of DSC call the MMSI number must be programmed into the radio. The Ray 55 has a phonebook that will store up to 50 MMSI numbers and with 9 character names. This radio will make distress, individual, all ships, and group calls as well as transmit and receive position data.
Odds and Ends
This Raymarine marine VHF can scan channels using Dual Watch, Tri-Watch, all channels, saved channels, and priority mode.
All scanning modes and choices are made in the VHF operations menu. Dual Watch scans channel 16 and another selected channel. Tri-Watch adds a third channel to the scan.
You use the save channel option in the menu to add a channel to memory. The radio will also store up to three favorite channels.
The Raymarine 55 uses a dot matrix screen 2.1 inches wide by 1.2 inches high, the top line of the screen has a variety of icon symbols. It displays channel numbers in large block numbers with a customizable channel comment.
The display can be set to show a second standby channel side by side with a soft key push used to switch between the two.
Time, position, course, and speed can be displayed onscreen when the radio is connected to a GPS unit. We rated the display screen excellent.
The Raymarine 55 offers good performance, a number of user-friendly features, and a nice display screen. It is waterproof to IPX7 standards.