ICOM IC-M506 Review – Fixed Mount VHF Radio with NMEA 2000 and AIS

Icom IC-M506 Marine radio

 Just like the Standard Horizon GX2200, this is a full featured VHF two way marine radio with integrated AIS receiver and NMEA 2000 connectivity. Large 3.4" LCD display is great for viewing AIS vessel traffic information, GPS and radio menus. The radio has the NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 network connectivity. Voice communications are top notch with the help of active noise cancelling and you also have the ability to record last 2 minutes of incoming communications.

ICOM M506 has received the NMEA Best VHF Marine Radio Product Award 3 years in a row 2014-2016.

Let's look at the major reasons to get this radio vs cheaper alternatives.

Integrated AIS Receiver

First, let's ask the question - what is AIS? AIS is an Automatic Identification System used on boats and ships that transmits position, speed and navigational status via VHF transmitter. It helps to navigate through heavy traffic areas and shows traffic information on the display.

There are 3 display options when you use AIS receiver: Plotter display, Target list and Danger list. Use Plotter display to visually see nearby vessels; Target list shows number of targets and target information (range and bearing); Danger list displays potentially dangerous targets (MMSI - code or name of vessel, CPA - closest point of approach and TCPS - time getting to CPA). 

icon m506 AIS function

25W Two-Way Hailer

ICOM M506 can be connected to an external hailer horn. What does it do? It allows you to talk to people on deck, bridge or even shore if you are not too far away and listen back via the hailer speaker. Built in 25W amplifier is pretty powerful and produces nice clear audio. Some people find this a very useful function, especially if you have a larger boat with closed cabin etc.

ICOM M506 also has built in HORN with four automatic function: UNDERWAY, STOP, SAIL and TOW. 

ICOM M506 vs STANDARD HORIZON GX2200

Icom IC-M506 Marine radio
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$$$$$

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    25W and 1W RF output power
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    AIS
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    NMEA 2000
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    25W Hailer
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    Horn
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    NO GPS (only external)
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    Class D DSC (meets ITU-R M493-13)
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    15W audio output
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    Last Call Function
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    AquaQuake
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    IPX8
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    W7" x H4.5" x D4.5"
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$$$$

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    25W and 1W RF output power
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    AIS
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    NMEA 0183
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    30W Hailer
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    Horn
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    66 Channel GPS
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    Class D DSC (meets ITU-R M493-13)
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    4.5W audio output
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    Last Call Function (NOT AVAILABLE)
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    AquaQuake (NOT AVAILABLE)
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    IPX7
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    W7.1" x H3.1" x D6.3"

Some of the features include:

  • Integrated AIS Receiver with Plotter, Target list and Danger list.
  • NMEA 2000 Connectivity plug-and-play plus NMEA 0183 GPS data conversion
  • Last Call Voice Recording 
  • Active Noise Cancelling
  • 25 Watt Two-Way Hailer
  • Built-in Horn (4 horn patters)
  • Built-in DSC with Class D receiver
  • IPX8 Submersible (up to 60 minutes underwater, 1m)
  • 15Watt audio output
  • Weather channels with alerts
  • AquaQuake water draining
  • 3 year waterproof factory warranty

But what do actual users say about this radio? Are they actually happy with their purchase? Let’s find out the pros, cons and what reviewers are saying about this radio. Below are the most common pros and cons that people have stated in their reviews on Amazon.

  • 5 out of 5 Stars
  • Total Customer reviews
  • 100% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
  • Large Easy to Read Display
  • AIS functionality 
  • User friendly menu
 
  • GPS support only over NMEA 0183 interface
 
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Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
ICOM IC-M506 Fixed Mount VHF radio
Author Rating
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