Uniden Mystic VHF/GPS Marine Handheld Radio

A compact combination communication and navigation device for sailors looking for an all-in-one package.

UnidenVHF/GPS

Uniden

If you go to the Uniden website in search of a user manual and locate the Mystic hot key, you'll note that this little item commands some 6,446 kbs of instructions-horrifically, 132 pages of Adobe text. It is not for naught. The Uniden Mystic is a brilliant multi-tasker with great capability and a truckload of intelligent features. It is a competent VHF with Digital Select Calling (DSC) facility, and it is a welcome back-up nav tool. To be sure, as we found out on a recent double-handed overnight race in Rhode Island Sound, it is perfectly adept as the only nav tool.As a VHF transceiver, there are no surprises here. The Mystic facilitates one-watt and five-watt transmitting, DSC watch and DSC calling options, and a variety of operating modes including emergency calling on channel 16 and programmable DSC transmission with MMSI entry.As a GPS receiver, bells and whistles are at your beck and call. From conventional Lat/Lon position fixing to the full menu of waypoint bearings, SOG, CMG, heading, routing and tracking, everything is in the palm of your hand. Local charting according to your position and your needs is preloaded. Keystrokes are intuitive, although registering waypoints requires a bit of elevated knowledge and one should not, as we did, attempt to figure it out on the run. Lat/Lon is always in bold and on top when you need it, so as long as you have the cherished paper chart, you know where you are within inches.Nav screens, albeit tiny, can be improved with the use of drugstore magnifiers, are easily scrolled. They include a chart with track, route (including a convenient left and right cross-track indicator), SOG, heading, bearing, distance to waypoint, etc., and satellite availability.All in all, the Uniden Mystic is a worthy tool, combining a sophisticated blend of VHF and GPS with DSC compatibility. And the Lithium Ion battery has killer endurance. MSRP: $699 (Aggressive shoppers will find significantly better prices online.) www.uniden.com