Editor’s Choice: Icom IC-M94DE

Billed as the world's first marine hand portable VHF radio with a built-in AIS receiver, the Icom IC-M94DE was always going to catch our eye.

But the range of features incorporated into this new generation – although instantly recognisable as a member of the Icom handheld family – doesn’t stop there; for the IC-M94DE’s veritable spaghetti alphabet of safety attributes continues with DSC and GPS.

The unit excels in many other ways too: It’s powerful, pumping out 6W of radio frequency output, and the 1500 mW of audio output should provide ample volume at all but the noisiest of helms.

Up to 10 hours operating time can be squeezed out of a single charge of its 2,400 mAh battery. And on the water resistance scale, the unit is rated at IPX7, which means it can withstand being submerged in one metre of water for up to 30 minutes.

And if you do drop it overboard, you’ll find Icom’s Float’nFlash function is there to help. This radio won’t sink, and while you amuse the crew by trying to hook it back on board, the LCD screen, keys and rear panel distress button all flash away merrily to let you know it’s still in the water.

Once retrieved, excess water on the speaker can be shaken off using the unit’s AquaQuake feature. The IC-M94DE fits comfortably into the hand and its rubberised backlit keypad has improved tactile characteristics for positive button operation.

Both dual- and tri-watch functions are included and there’s a favourite channel function too. A total of 50 waypoints can be specified, and a simplified navigation function guides the user to the point of his or her choosing.

The list of options and accessories for the IC-M94DE include a belt clip and a long leather belt hanger, and power choices of an AC adaptor, a desktop charger, a rechargeable 7.2V Li-on batter pack and a cigarette lighter cable for use with single fast 12V chargers.

Price: £349.95 inc VAT

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