Icom IC-M23

by David Proudfoot

Icom are previewing the forthcoming IC-M23 buoyant VHF Marine Handheld Transceiver on its stand (B19) at the London International Boatshow. Measuring just under 13cm in height, the IC-M23 is the smallest and lightest buoyant handheld in the market and can match the audio and battery performance of comparable models.

The IC-M23 is powered by a mobile phone sized 3.7V Lithium-Ion battery pack which allows the radio to be so light and small. A newly developed PA circuit provides 5W (typ.) RF output and powerful 600mW (typ.) audio even at this low voltage, while saving battery consumption for 10 hours of typical operating time.

An important safety feature is that it has a bright internal red LED which automatically starts flashing on three sides of the bottom of the IC-M23 when the radio detects contact with water. This function will be especially useful if the radio is dropped by in the water in low light conditions or even at night time.

Another fundamental improvement has been made to the way this new radio charges. Traditional charge contacts (on the back of the battery packs) can be subject to degradation due to direct contact with water. Instead of those exposed contacts, Icom has introduced a rubber-capped DC jack on the radio body which is protected with a waterproof, snap-on/off rubber cap to prevent water intrusion. To charge the battery pack, remove the rubber cap and insert the plug of the supplied charger into the DC jack. This new feature should keep the DC jack free from corrosion for years to come.

Other features of this new model include:

* IC-M23 can deliver 5W RF / 600mW AF for 10 hours at 5-5-90 operation

* Aqua Quake Draining Function blows water away from the speaker grill.

* Rugged, submersible body (1m depth for 30 minutes, equivalent to IPx7).

* Easy to read LCD with large channel indication.

* Dual/Tri-watch and TAG Scan functions.

* 4-step battery life indicator.

* Instant access to Ch 16 or Ch 37A (M1).

The IC-M23 should be available for the start of the 2011 season. No price has yet been set for this new VHF transceiver.

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