The Icom is by far the best, followed by the Simrad. The simrad is getting a little old now & the Icom has lots more useful extras. I have heard so many complaints about the Silva Jobs that I wouldn't consider it at all. Thats only my opinion.
For myself I bought the Standard VM3500. It does everything that the Icom does, its of a similar quality & its £100.00 cheaper. That & Jon Brooks from Icom hates me saying it.
Avoid the Silva S15 would be my advice. There have been all sorts of problems with this set as a search of this forum will reveal. I am in the process of replacing my S15 at the moment and am leaning towards the Icom M421.
I've been looking recently, but haven't decided yet. You've ended up with an interesting shortlist, because the Icom 601 is much more expensive than the other two (£379 vs £229) and is obviously the one to choose. Agree with bigmart that the Simrad is getting on a bit and that Silva seem to be having quality problems, so I'd also avoid those two.
Had you looked at the Icom 421? This is £225 - much cheaper than the 601 - but still has a good spec, although you can't connect a second controller mic to it.
The Standard VM3500 is a good choice for £299, and can have a second mic connected. Like the Icom 601, it has a PA and foghorn built in, and has an NMEA output so that other vessels' positions can be displayed on a chartplotter.
A set which looks very appealing is the Uniden UM625C which has a bright TFT display, a PA and foghorn, NMEA output, plus the ability to interface with up to 4 wireless remote mics. These wireless mics are waterproof, float, can be used as intercoms up to half a mile, and use inductive charging (so no contacts to corrode). At only $300 in the US (say £250 here with shipping, duty & VAT), this Uniden looks exceptional value. Pity we can't legally use it here!
Have you considered the Cobra MR75EU? Although it is american it does have CE marking and the nominated body - as far as the EU is concerned - is in ireland, so that should not be a problem.
I am very pleased with mine. Even the manual (around 65 pages long!) is excellent and is packed with photos instead of diagrams.
An influencing factor in my case was the large digits on the display. It also has tri-watch, selectable International/American/Canadian channels and can also be used as a loud-hailer. It lives very happily with my little Garmin and they chat all the time!
The Standard Horizon is fully type approved for use in the EEC. I bought mine from Cactus but you will also find it at Marine electonic Services (MES). Both these companies are UK traders & it would be illegal for them to sell non approved product in UK.
Bigmart you are correct. When I looked at the StandardHorizon.com website and looked for a dealer they only showed dealers in USA and Canada. I forgot that the world begins in Boston and ends in Hawaii.
Just a point Cactus are selling the 3500E + the extra microphone for £405.90 and MES are selling the same kit for £369.95 VAT inc.
Well you don't have to be a Rocket Scientist to work out where to buy it from.
BTW: I assume the "E" on the end of the model Number means that its EEC Spec.
I have to say I am very pleased with mine although I have only just wired in the remote Mike & I'm still trying to figure out all how to access all the functions of the main set from the Mike. I think the second Mike is a bit of overkill on a 26 Footer but I can't resist the chance to play with a new toy /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif. I still have to find a PA Horn so that I can use the Fog Horn & the Loud Hailer. I don't want anything too big up the Mast.
I can't comment on others but having recently installed a 601 I can offer the following comments.
We bought 601 with second station. Prices vary enormously - far more than just dealer mark up so I think it's down to ICOM's pricing policy. Do shop around.
The second station works well enough although not fully featured (eg does not have dsc).
The set seems to have odd features, as if the software is not fully sorted eg selecting channel on keypad, the selection reverts after a few seconds. Also the display shows UTC despite having input a local offset.
The manual is pretty awlful. I'm sure that the writer knew what he meant but I dont. Also, many function use combined buttons and these aren't obvious so have to refer to manual to, say, tag channels for scanning.
ICOM support, from what I have seen, is not good, not a patch on Raymarine. Try finding out whether 601 has channel M for example.
Power consumption seems high, maybe the second station contributes to that.
That said, the set does seem to be good quality and does have some good feature. I think it's let down by poor detail and poor support.
I ordered an Icom 421 (8 hours ago) as I don't need a second station. I already have an RD64 flush mounted and the RD68 would have gone straight in so it was a tough decision. Many small factors including screen / fist mic buttons and the like. Extremely happy with other Icom product - handheld Euro 1 V. Not unhappy with RD64 but it did have a few niggles including ability to switch to low power without realising.
Currently designing a mounting facia to push into existing (larger) hole left by Simrad unit that will take the new unit - hours of fun with Iroko and a router!
I'm now on my 4th Silva S15, and I seem to have now finally got one that works properly. If you do go for the S15 make absolutely sure you have the very latest firmware (version 4.X I think) as this version is quite good. Previous versions are complete poo, and the S15 is not flash upgradable.
Although the 4th S15 is now OK, in hindsight I would have bought an ICOM.