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FURUNO FM4800 & FM4850 VHF RADIOS

Introduced late in 2018, Furuno has raised the bar on multi-function, stand-alone and black box VHF radios with the introduction of their FM4800 and FM4850 radiotelephones.
By Capt. John N. Raguso
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FURUNO FM4800 & FM4850 VHF RADIOS

The Furuno FM4800 (stand-alone) and FM4850 (black box) VHF units offer similar core functionalities, albeit with some slight nuances that only a larger footprint black box layout can offer. When you're on the water and something goes wrong, every boater knows it's imperative that you have a reliable link to dry land. Sure, a mobile phone might work, but oftentimes you are out of range of the closest cell tower when out on the briny. Furuno’s FM4800 and FM4850 VHF radiotelephones offer a built-in Class D DSC, GPS receiver, AIS receiver, and simplified loudhailer with intercom, making these twins the ultimate marine electronics "multi-tool" that offer more useful features than ever before, all in a compact and unobtrusive package.

The FM4800 is not only a 25W VHF with built-in DSC, it also features a host of other built-ins that make it one of the most versatile VHFs on the market. With its built-in GPS receiver, the FM4800 does not require an external GPS source to enable its DSC functionality, which is a real time and labor saver when rigging this on your boat. This stand-alone VHF can also be used as a backup source of GPS positioning for other onboard electronics when shared via a network link. Its built-in AIS receiver can be used to overlay AIS targets with networked GPS Plotters or MFDs, such as Furuno's NavNet TZtouch and NavNet TZtouch2, or their recently introduced GP1871F/GP1971F combo units that we covered in a product review last season. You can also share GPS, DSC and AIS information via NMEA0183 or NMEA2000 outputs on the rear of the radio receiver. When connected via NMEA2000 to any NavNet TZtouch2 MFD, DSC calling can be initiated directly from the TZtouch2 display by merely tapping on the AIS/DSC target and selecting the “DSC Call” function. Additionally, when MOB (Man Overboard) is activated on a TZtouch2 MFD, the FM4800 enters a special mode where you can initiate a distress call by simply pushing the rotary knob. This Furuno VHF boasts an IP68 waterproof standard, the highest rating for this class of marine electronics. Translated, it can withstand the IP's laboratory testing of full immersion for over 30 minutes, making the unit an ideal candidate for vessels with an exposed bridge, where it can be bracket or flush mounted, or even mounted overhead in a T-top or hardtop.

The FM4800 can operate as a simplified Loudhailer with eight patterns of alert sounds. Loudhailer, Fog Horn and Warning Signal features are all available, enhancing onboard safety and communications while navigating in the dark or fog. When connected with a second-station handset, its intercom feature is available, allowing communications between the two devices in different parts of your vessel. The horn speaker can be used to collect external sounds and transmit them through the built-in speaker with a function called Listen Back. In this way, a person on the deck can easily communicate with the bridge, a particularly useful feature for a variety of fishing vessels and workboats. The Listen Back function can also be a useful tool on sport fishing vessels, allowing the horn speaker to collect the sound from fishing rods and lines when you get a strike.

The Furuno FM4850 includes the same all-in-one features found in the companion FM4800 VHF, but with a twist. The FM4850's black box configuration allows for it to be installed in an out-of-the-way location, so it's not taking up valuable real estate at the helm, while the included handset with LCD screen and waterproof speaker can be installed in easy-to-access locations. Up to three individual handset stations can be connected to a single black box installation, each of them with full access to the FM4850's impressive capabilities. This means you can have a 25W Marine VHF radiotelephone with built-in Class D DSC, GPS receiver, AIS receiver, multi-station intercom and 30W loud hailer with listen-back capability installed at multiple locations onboard, all with one simple installation of the black box unit in a central out-of-the-way location. With its built-in GPS receiver, all the FM4850 requires is an external GPS antenna. The FM4850 does not require an external GPS source to enable its DSC functionality, and the unit can be used as a backup source of GPS positioning for other onboard electronics.

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