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ICOM M605 Review – New Premium Class VHF Marine Radio

ICOM M605 review
ICOM M605 review

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

Icom m605 color display

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.

ICOM IC-M424 Review – Compact Marine VHF Radio with Hailer

ICOM IC-M424G Compact Marine VHF Radio
ICOM IC-M424G Compact Marine VHF Radio

Today we’re going to review one of ICOM’s latest and best-selling VHF fixed mount radios: The ICOM M424.

The M424 features a new ICOM user interface which is better and more intuitive compared to older models. Complete with much-needed basic features, the M424 is equipped with VHF functionality, Class D DSC capabilities, and noise canceling technology. The radio is of medium size measuring 7 inches wide and 3.3 inches high.

One of the leading manufacturers of wireless communication products, ICOM was first founded by Tokuzo Inoue in 1954 in Osaka, Japan. Back then it was a manufacturing and engineering company creating radio equipment for various industries. 50 years later, ICOM keeps its spot on the top while proving to be one of the industry’s most trusted brands producing innovative marine electronics such as radios, navigation products and communication receivers.

What makes ICOM one of the best marine electronic brands in the world? ICOM’s products are not your ordinary marine electronics. With the help of their world-class designers and engineers, ICOM products are always intensely quality tested before distribution. In fact, ICOM products are often approved for the US Military 810 specifications which are very high. It’s no surprise that ICOM remains the best 2-way radio brand that is recognized globally. Currently distributing to more than 80 countries, ICOM was also the first Japanese company to supply radios to the United States Department of Defense and U.S. Marine Corps.

ICOM M424 Main Features:

icom m424 marine vhf radio
  • New Icom Family User Interface - The M424 features a new easy-to-use menu system. In this new interface, the bottom line of the display shows software key functions for simpler operation. With this new design, the device has fewer buttons and is more efficient to use.
  • Built-in Class D DSC - ICOM allows you to monitor channel 70 while receiving messages from another channel. It also includes great DSC so that you can make distress calls, safety, urgency, position request, and polling requests, etc.
  • Active noise-cancelling- With ICOM, you can now have smooth clear conversations without annoying background noise. This is a very useful feature especially when you’re out on the water having an emergency during a storm.
  • AIS Target Call with MA-500TR - With the optional MA-500TR Class B AIS transponder, you can make individual DSC calls without manually inputting the MMSI number.
  • High-Quality 10W Audio - The M424 includes its own 10W amplifier which can boost audio output from its external speaker. It also has its ‘public address function’ which allows you to make announcements through your mic. Now, you can use your marine radio like a megaphone or loudspeaker if needed.
  • Common NMEA Interface - with an external GPS receiver you can see your current position and time on the display. It also allows other vessels to send position information to you through a navigational device via NMEA 0183 connectivity.
  • IPX7 Submersible Protection - This waterproof rating allows the device to stay submerged for 30 minutes in 1 meter of water without damage.
  • AquaQuake Function - This vibrating function clears water from speaker for better audio transmission. A useful feature for rainy days.
  • Weather Channels and Alert Function - Keeps you informed, alert and safe during emergency weather and hazard situations as well as helping you avoid fast moving storms.

ICOM M424 Accessories:

The M424 includes a hand microphone (HM -196B/SW) for second station/ intercom, (6.1m or 20ft) of power cable, plastic tilt bracket, SP24 and SP35 loudspeaker, metal mic holder/hanger and instructional manual upon purchase. The M424 is a fixed mount VHF radio, and it can  be flush mounted. People who would like to flush mount this radio can improvise by simply building their own mount or purchase the ICOM MB-132 mounting kit.

ICOM M424 vs M424G:

ICOM M424 and M424G are both parts of the new series of Icom America’s VHF marine radios. Both these models feature built-in Class D DSC and Icom’s new interface. However, the G version is slightly more efficient having its own integrated GPS which does increase the price. It also has a more modern look with its back-lit keys.


FAQ:

Q: Does the M424 Come with all needed hardware for mounting?

A: Yes, all necessary hardware for simple mounting is included with purchase.

Q: If I flush mount the radio with the GPS still work (M424G).?

A: Yes, however remember that you will need to buy a flush mount kit with brackets as that does not come with the M424G.

Q: Does the M424 have an external speaker in the hailer/mike?

A: No, only the radio unit itself has an external speaker, if you are looking for an external hailer that will need to be bought separate.


Final Thoughts:

From the brand that always puts safety first, the ICOM M424 is undoubtedly one of the most efficient VHF radios out there. So if you’re looking for an affordable, easy-to-use VHF radio, the ICOM M424 is our top choice for you. However, if you’re looking for a VHF radio with GPS and a more modern build and design, you can opt for ICOM’s G version: the ICOM M424G.

Standard Horizon GX2200 Vhf Radio Review

Standard Horizon GX2200 vhf two way marine radio

First launched in 2014, Matrix GX2200 is a fixed-mount VHF radio filled with useful features and an intuitive layout to help insure a safe and secure boating experience. It is one of the first-ever VHF radios to include receivers both for AIS and GPS. The Standard Horizon Matrix Series GX2200 is designed for use in USA, International, and Canadian regions. Its basic features include position sharing, waypoint navigation, DSC calling, and AIS and AIS SART target. The GX2200 has a switchable RF output power of 1-25 watts and can be used with 11-16 VDC. It’s also capable of entering and saving up to a hundred waypoints - all navigable using the device’s navigation compass display. 

The GX2200 is an all-in-one device complete with all the basic features and practical design. It is created with a 66-channel integrated GPS antenna integrated into its front panel and a built-in duplexer that enables the device to just have one antenna for AIS and VHF.

It’s convenient, compact, and perfect for daily use.

Standard Horizon Matrix Fixed Mount VHF w/AIS & GPS - Class D DSC - 30W - Black

Main Features

Easy to Use and Comes in a Compact Size ​​- When looking for a great marine radio, the first thing you have to consider is the size of the device and if it’s easy to control and operate. The Standard Horizon Matrix GX2200 is the appropriate size for a fixed VHF radio. It can fit anywhere easily - perfect when you have a smaller boat and don’t have much room to mount your radio.

ClearVoice noise canceling microphone and speaker​​​​ ​​- Wind elements that can interrupt transmission will be reduced with Standard Horizon Matrix GX2200’s ClearVoice tech feature. It will result in better communication and faster search and rescue operations.

Collision and Avoidance Alarms - Shows your ship’s position and alerts all AIS ships approaching too close to your location. A great life saving tool that helps ships avoid disastrous collisions.

30-Watt Waterproof Speaker - The Standard Horizon Matrix GX2200 boasts of its powerful and durable handy mic and speaker that can survive up to 30 minutes being submerged in the water. The mic is also fixed with channel switches and for a direct Channel 16 switch.

Class D DSC - The Standard Horizon Matrix GX2200 is equipped with a Class D DSC transmitter which enables ships to communicate easily using their MMSI. With this feature, you can contact other registered MMSI vessels within your range.

Integrated 66 Channel WAAS GPS antenna - features a 66 channel WAAS GPS antenna fixed in the front panel of the fixed radio for easy DSC and AIS functioning.

AIS (Automatic Identification System) - Technology that allows the ship to have access to static and dynamic data of other ships in its range.

standard horizon gx2200 display

30 Watt Audio Amplifier - The device includes a programmed listen back feature and fog signal generator so that you can hear your last selected channel despite environmental disturbances.

Integrated GPS Feature - This allows the device to save up to a hundred waypoints making navigating easier and quicker.

NOAA Weather Alert - Helps you prepare during the worst weather conditions. Standard Horizon’s NOAA weather alert keeps you informed whenever a weather warning is issued.

Multi-Channel Monitoring (Dual Watch) - Monitor multiple channels at the same time. With this feature, you have access to emergency channels 9 and 16 as often as you need.

RAM3 Seconds Station Control - The Standard Horizon Matrix GX2200 allows you to remotely control another VHF device at a second station. This also allows communication between two radios. Perfect for contacting your cruising or fishing buddies out in the sea.

RAM3 is available to purchase from Amazon.


Other Features:

  • 80dB Commercial grade receiver
  • GPS Compass Display
  • AIS/AIS SART target Display
  • Navigation information (SOG, COG, Time, LAT/LON)
  • Programmable Scan
  • Priority Scan
  • High and Low Voltage Warning
  • E20 (Easy-To-Operate) system
  • 4800/38400 NMEA baud rate selection
  • Waterproof, Submersible IPX7 (3.3 feet for 30 minutes!)
  •  Die-cast chassis
  •  Quick channel select button
  • User-changeable channel names
  • Local/Distance attenuator
  • Voice Scrambler (optional)
  • Programmable CPA and TCPA collision avoidance alarms

Specifications:

  • Dimensions : 7 1/8"W x 3 3/16"H x 6 5/16"D
  • Display Type: Backlit Alphanumeric LCD
  • Mic Controls: 16/9 key, channel switching
  • Weather Alert: Yes
  • Microphone Controls
  • Transmit Power: 25/1 Watt
  • Amperage 0.5 Amps (Standby)
  • 5 Amps (Transmit)
  • NMEA 0183 Input: GGA, GGL, RMC, GLL, GSA, GSV
  • NMEA 0183 Output: DSC, VDM, and DSE
  • Colors: Black or White
  • Warranty: Three years

Included with Purchase:

  • GX2200 Transceiver
  • DSC Warning Sticker
  • Flush Mount Template
  • Mounting Bracket
  • Power Cord
  • Owner’s Manual

Closing Thoughts and Suggestions:

A marine radio should have all the basic features to enable easy and reliable communication on open waters. The Standard Horizon GX2200 is complete with all the basic features and extra functionalities for a secure fishing or boating trip. No matter if you’re a recreational boater, fisherman, or sailor, we highly recommend this fixed mount marine radio to help ensure your boating trips are safer.