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ICOM M605 Review – New Premium Class VHF Marine Radio

ICOM M605 review
ICOM M605 review
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ICOM M605 is the new flagship VHF fixed mount radio in the Icon line up. This is a fully featured high end radio that allows a lot of flexibility connecting additional devices. You will find a powerful commercial grade class D DSC receiver (more about it later), integrated GNSS receiver (GPS, Glonass and SBAS), beautiful 4.3" color LCD display with night mode, built in AIS, 30W 2-way Hailer with Horn function, NMEA 2000 backward compatible with NMEA 0183 and ability to connect up to three controllers! As I said, this radio has pretty much every feature you may wish for. Let's review some of those features. You can see our top three picks for fixed mount marine radios here.

4.3" Color LCD Display - First in its class!

ICOM M605 is the first VHF fixed mount radio with a color LCD. DOT matrix displays are nice, but after you look at this 4.3" display with wide viewing angles, it will be hard for you to go back to other radios, they will feel outdated. ICOM included NIGHT MODE for operation at night which changes background to dark background and displays text and icons in dark red. This color LCD can finally display nice graphics, making navigation through menu more intuitive. 

Connect up to 3 Controller Devices

If you have a larger boat, you may want to have additional controllers that can control ALL functions on ICOM m605 VHF radio. ICOM M605 can be connected to 3 external controllers. You can use RC-M600 (works ups to 50m away) with its beautiful display or connect a more portable HM-195 handheld controller (works up to 18.3m away). Put one on flybridge and another in office corner or sleeping area, and you will always have communication by you. Intercom function is included so you can use it to talk between external controllers and the main unit.

ICOM RC-M600

ICOM HM-195 - check on AMAZON.com

Integrated AIS receiver

As we previously covered in our ICOM M506 review, AIS is a must have when you navigate through heavy traffic areas. The AIS plotter screen will display nearby vessels, and you could also choose a target on this display and call them directly using DSC without having to enter MMSI code (requires AIS transponder).

Integrated GNSS Receiver

ICOM M605 has the latest GNSS receiver which works with included UX-241 antenna. You no longer have to get an external GPS device to fully take advantage of AIS and DSC functions.

Some of the additional features include:

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    4.3" Color LCD​​​
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    25W or 1W of output power
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    Class D DSC receiver 
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    Hailer with 30W power
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    Horn and Foghorn
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    Weather channel with weather alerts
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    Dual Watch/Tri-watch
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    Adjustable backlight
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    AquaQuake water draining
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    Intercom function
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    Voice auto recorder - last 120 seconds
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    Active noise cancelling
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    IPX8
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    274 (W) × 114 (H) × 121.5 (D) mm

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.

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    Great screen
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    Excellent audio quality
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    Compact
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    Expensive, yet nobody else makes such a beautiful display
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Standard Horizon GX2200 Vhf Radio Review

Standard Horizon GX2200 vhf two way marine radio

The GX2200 comes from Standard Horizon; a very progressive and forward-thinking company. The GX2200's predecessor the GX1700 put a GPS into VHF marine radios. The next evolution, the GX2200 combines AIS (automatic tracking system) which is the primary method of collision avoidance for boats. The radio also contains a built-in GPS antenna meaning that the radio only needs a VHF antenna which drastically simplifies the installation. While the GX2200 is not the  cheapest radio considering all the features it contains it is a great buy.

The Standard Horizon GX2200 is packed with high-end VHF radio features: 2 integrated AIS receivers, integrated 66 Channel GPS receiver and full AIS/GPS matrix display. If you are someone who is constantly boating in high traffic areas, the AIS feature is a must. The 30 Watt PA/Loud hailer is useful for communicating with other vessels and is preprogrammed . The model is a little larger than your typical radio, yet you will enjoy the bigger display and the layout of the front panel. You can also get optional RAM3 Mic for it as well and the external speaker.This is a must have accessory if you need to operate the radio from a fly bridge or different area of the boat than where it is mounted.

Some of the features include:

  • AIS (Automatic Identification System) receiver
  • 66 Channel WAAS GPS antenna
  • Programmable collision avoidance alarms
  • Class D DSC
  • 30 Watt PA/Loud Hailer (preprogrammed fog signals and listen back functions)
  • ClearVoice noise cancelling
  • GPS Compass
  • User customizable keys for easy operation
  • Backlit display and keys
  • Connection for RAM3+ second station remote microphone
  • Submersible IPX7 front panel
  • 3 Year warranty

PRO'S:

  • 4.9 out of 5 Stars
  • 23 Total Customer reviews
  • 96% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
  • Large Easy to Read Display
  • High end features
  • Easy installation

CON'S:

    • Not the cheapest option
    • External RAM3 remote controller is not included with this package
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ICOM IC-M506 Review – Fixed Mount VHF Radio with NMEA 2000 and AIS

Icom IC-M506 Marine radio
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. You can find our top 3 fixed mount radios here.

Let's Look At The Major Reasons To Get This Radio vs One Of It's 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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    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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    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
 
Read about marine radios