Today, the typical marine electronics or equipment catalog may list 30 different fixed-mount, 55-channel-programmable scanning VHF radios, some selling at prices that begin at less than $100! While these are usable, the newer radios, those that are "type accepted" (approved for sale by the FCC) after the beginning of 1999, are a cut above because they are required to have at least a minimum Digital Selective Calling (DSC) with mandatory distress call capability. These radios, often referred to as complying with the "SC-101" specification, sell at prices as low as $150. More capable DSC radios conform to the Class "D" DSC specification and usually have a second receiver that is used to continuously monitor channel 70, the DSC hailing channel-although there is an important distinction to be noted here (see sidebar). Radios that meet this specification usually provide additional features, including expanded memory capacity for storing other vessels' Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) numbers and in some models, keypads to facilitate data entry. The highest VHF/DSC radio specification is Class "A" and is required for large ships and other vessels that must meet Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) requirements. While a Class "A" set can be installed on any vessel, the less costly Class "D" radio is the preferred choice for virtually any yacht. With an eye to those VHF radios that meet or exceed the latest criteria for DSC safety and convenience, here are the notable offerings from a range of manufacturers for the 2005 boating season and beyond.