The Standard Horizon GX2150 is the latest edition of marine radio to combine full VHF functionality with an internal marine AIS receiver. The package uses a single standard marine VHF radio antenna for both VHF and AIS communications making it a plug and play replacement for most marine VHF radio installations.
In addition to its VHF and AIS capabilities, this Standard Horizon marine radio will store and navigate to waypoints when connected to a GPS receiver via a NMEA0183 connection.
The real selling feature of the GX2150 marine radio is its ability to function an AIS receiver and output that data to a compatible chartplotter display. We looked at the AIS feature set using the radio controls and display screen and by connecting the unit to a Standard Horizon CP190i display.
Putting a GX2150 on your boat will follow standard practices used to install any marine VHF radio with a few additionally steps. You will need to mount the radio, connect it to a power source, and hook up a VHF antenna. To get the AIS and DSC functions to operate normally will also need to setup your GPS for AIS functionality and input your MMSI number.
For everything to work properly your chartplotter must be compatible and have a single high speed NMEA port. The actual wiring is a fairly simple and straightforward affair as long as you follow the instructions from the radio manual. You may also need to adjust your chartplotter port settings to accommodate this unit.
The GX2150 will interface with a GPS chartplotter multiple NMEA0183 ports. When connected to a compatible plotter you will find the GX2150 capable of displaying boat position in latitude and longitude as well as course and speed onscreen. It transfers DSC and AIS data to a chartplotter using the same interface. AI requires the plotter have a high speed port. The radio can also connect to an optional CMP30 remote microphone, PA horn and external speaker.
Control of GX2150 functionality is handled with five designated function keys, three soft keys, three knobs and onscreen menus. The unit features a rotary channel selector with a push to enter function and a dedicated knob for squelch and volume. The unit is powered on or off by using the pushbutton function of the volume knob.
Hand microphone controls are available to channel up or down, quick select 16 or 9 and of course push-to-talk. Soft key functions and their respective labels which show onscreen above the button change in relation to the mode displayed on the screen.
There is no question as to why one would by this radio. The main reason: the built-in AIS unit that will interface with a chartplotter and has no requirement for a separate AIS antenna. This is the least expensive and easiest way to install an AIS receiver and when you combine its VHF capabilities you will find this Standard Horizon radio to be extremely cost effective.
Digital Selective Calling
The GX2150 is designated as a Class D radio, this means it has two built-in receivers, one to handle voice communications and one solely assigned to listening for DSC calls. After you program your MMSI number into the GX2150 it will be fully capable of sending and receiving distress, individual, all ships, group, and send and receive position data calls.
A directory contains the MMSI numbers of other vessels you may wish to call. Up to 80 individual numbers can be stored with names up to 11 characters in length. The GX2150 will even provide navigation data to a received position call.
It seems that Standard Horizon has improved its transmitter technology and moved to a more efficient design. Bravo. While transmitting at full power I measured a draw of only 4.2 amps. At the 1-watt power setting the draw was nine tenths of an amp. Receiver sensitivity and the channel separation were both rated excellent based on the factory specifications listed. Audio output was a respectable 91 dBA with volume at maximum while listening to a weather broadcast. As expected, there was some minor voice distortion at the extreme high volume settings. Overall performance of the Standard Horizon GX2150 was excellent.
This radio’s 3.2-inch full dot matrix monochrome display screen features 132 by 64 pixels of resolution and measures 2.75 inches wide and 1.33 inches high. In the Normal mode you’ll see the selected channel number displayed in large numbers on the right side of the screen and navigation data on the left.
Other Normal mode onscreen data includes channel group, GPS status and channel comment. There are four alternative display modes that include AIS, Compass, Waypoint and GPS status.
The screen backlight can be set to off or one of seven brightness levels using a selectable adjustment in the display menu. Overall I am rating this Standard Horizon display screen excellent because of its functionality and control features.
Standard Horizon GX2150—Odds and Ends
Other prominent marine VHF features found in this radio include local/distance receiver settings, pushbutton ability to call an AIS target ship, several channel scan modes, weather alert, and quick select of channel 16 and 9. The radio also has a channel preset function that lets you set up several channels for single button access.
When coupled to a GPS this radio can be used to navigate to a waypoint, store waypoints, and navigate to a DSC call. Navigation data is displayed graphically and with numerical data on both the Compass and Waypoint display pages.
When it is connected to a compatible PA horn the 30-watt hailer built into the GX2150 can be operated manually or in the automatic foghorn mode. The hailer/foghorn menu is selected with the PA/FOG soft key. Powerboat underway, powerboat underway not making way, sailing vessel underway, vessel under tow, vessel aground, and vessel at anchor are the selectable sound patterns. There are also a horn and siren mode.
This Standard Horizon marine VHF radio also has listen-back mode that can provide two-way communications through the PA horn. This can be advantageous when trying to communicate with another vessel.
The GX2150 carries a 3-year warranty and is waterproof to IPX7 standards. That means it could be submerged to a depth of 1-meter for 30 minutes without suffering any ill effects.
The Standard Horizon GX2150 is the latest model of this makers AIS/VHF combo package. The GX2150 offers up a plethora of usefulness with excellent overall performance, AIS receive capability and full DSC functionality—all at a very reasonable price.
For the vast majority of recreational there is no better option for adding AIS capability to your vessel at a reasonable cost.