Being prudent with funds is definitely a virtue but maybe this financial prudence should be set aside when it comes to your safety. This is especially true if you have an adventurous side and take your boat out on the the water often. Since the most important safety equipment on any boat is the fixed-mount VHF radio, perhaps this is where you should begin.
The ICOM M605 is the most advanced fixed-mount marine radio available right now. The device has pretty much everything you can ever desire in your Very High Frequency (VHF) marine radio. It is not only full of features that very few other radios possess but its performance and reliability also exceed its competitors’.
This is a high-end radio that is well worth the expense. What specific features can make an expensive device like this worth buying? Here’s our review of this fixed-mount VHF radio.
Information about the Manufacturers - ICOM America
The ICOM M605 is the flagship device of ICOM America as it is based around the latest technologies and has an exhaustive feature set. ICOM America, itself, has been at the forefront of the fixed-mount marine radio market for a while now.
The company is backed by ICOM Incorporated, a publicly listed firm that was established as far back as 1954. Even though they began by providing old-school ham radios, they’ve since become leading communication equipment manufacturers in aviation, terrestrial, and marine sectors.
What Are the Advantages of Choosing ICOM M605
The ICOM M605 is unique. It is the only VHF marine radio in the market right now that features a color LCD display screen. In fact, its 4.3” display screen is so good that we recommend you get this device simply to experience it.
Not only is the ICOM M605 the only fixed-mount marine radio with a color display screen but it was also the first VHF marine radio with an LCD screen. The color LCD screen isn't just a gimmick either. It improves usability and functionality of the device significantly.
Users that have tried this screen have found it very difficult to go back to dot matrix displays precisely for these reasons. For example, the M605’s display screen offers a 180° viewing angle which is great for seeing the screen even if you are not directly in front of it; something you can’t do with a dot matrix screen.
Additionally, it has a ‘Night Mode’ too. The purpose of this mode is to make the screen non-intrusive in the dark. Turning on this mode will darken the display background while the icons and text on the screen will turn red. Moreover, the brightness of the screen is adjustable even during the day and the graphics are sharp and vibrant making the interface very intuitive.
The intuitive nature of the user interface is, further, helped by soft-touch keys and high-resolution characters. There is a directional, alphanumeric keypad and a series of shortcut buttons at the bottom of the display corresponding to the most frequently used functions of the VHF marine radio.
The clarity and ease of use of the display screen adds value to the integrated Automatic Identification System (AIS) since other vessels, their bearing, and the distance between them are more clearly visible. As is the case with all ICOM fixed-mount marine radios, the AIS receiver has three display settings which are the Danger List, the Target List, and the Plotter.
While the color LCD display screen is the biggest lure of the ICOM M605, its flexibility and versatility is not to be scoffed at. This fixed-mount VHF radio is one of the most flexible when it comes to system configuration. You can connect up to three separate controllers to the main unit on this device.
You can choose to install secondary control units anywhere on your boat including the sleeping area or even the fly-bridge. You won’t have to worry about how elaborate the secondary controllers are since you can use them to control all the functions of this VHF marine radio. Moreover, you'll be able to use them as intercoms!
This versatility makes the ICOM M605 ideal for larger boats. In terms of what type of secondary units are available, you'll be able to choose between the more permanent RC-M600 with its own display screen or the portable HM-195 handheld controller.
The RC-M600 can be installed up to 50 meters away while the handheld has an installation range of 18.3 meters.
The ICOM M605 comes with an inbuilt Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver which should negate the need for an external GPS system and save you a pretty penny. Like all ICOM fixed-mount marine radios, this one has a water resistance rating of IPX8, which is the highest in its class.
The M605 also has ICOM’s proprietary AquaQuake water draining technology. The AquaQuake technology uses vibrations to eject water from the ICOM M605 controller. Water in the microphone or speaker can affect sound quality. AquaQuake, combined with the active noise cancelling feature of the M605 ensures that the transmission remains clear and audible.
- There are numerous other features that make the ICOM M605 so useful. These include:
- NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 compatibility to connect third-party devices.
- Up to two minutes of automatic last call recording.
- A 30W 2-way Hailer to communicate with the deck or even the shore.
- 25W or 1W of output power.
- Class D DSC receiver.
- Horn and Foghorn with multiple preset patterns.
What Disadvantages of ICOM M605 Should You Be Aware Of
The disadvantages of the ICOM M605 are a direct result of the features that make it such an exceptional product.
The first of these is cost. This is probably the most expensive fixed-mount VHF radio in the market right now but how could it not be? It has so many features and offers a multitude of unique benefits that it has to be expensive. The big question is whether it is worth all that money.
We believe it is. Not a single buyer of this fixed-mount marine radio has regretted their purchase. The ICOM M605 may be expensive on a standalone basis but when you look at its features and benefits, you'll realize that it offers excellent value for the money.
The other downside of the M605 is that it isn't the most compact. The ICOM M605 measures about 121.5mm in depth, 114mm in height, and 274mm in width. Again, this is a result of having numerous benefits. To offer so many benefits and features, additional components need to be added. This, in turn, means that the device gets bigger.
After all, if you're going to enjoy the advantages of having such a large display screen, it is only natural that the device will be bigger than the screen.
What Is True Quality And Safety Worth To You?
Everything has a price. The most fully featured devices will cost you more than low-end devices. Our question to you is what true quality and safety are worth to you? If you're one of those discerning people who can’t bear mediocrity and realize what true safety means, then this VHF marine radio is designed explicitly for you.