— January 2003
By Ben Ellison
Stupid Chart Tricks?
|Icom M602 VHF|
The modern high-end VHF is highly digital and multifunctional, as handsomely illustrated in Icom's M602. First off, the 602 is a Class D Digital Selective Calling (DSC) radio, meaning that it has a second receiver that is constantly monitoring DSC distress and hailing channel 70, even while you're on another channel. Note that the U.S. Coast Guard is not yet officially standing watch on 70, but did just ink a $600-million contract to totally rebuild its communications system, and many ships are listening.
The 602 has a keypad for rapid channel selection and DSC operations and a 22-watt hailer/fog horn and can support two full-function remote CommandMics, either of which can intercom back to the base unit. Interestingly, the 602 can output DSC caller position data in a NMEA format that Icom is willing to share with any plotter or PC charting developer interested in displaying such locations; let's hope (and ask) that they all enable this useful feature. The 602's suggested list price is $900, and its four- by eight-inch face matches Icom's 802 digital SSB radio, which just won the NMEA Product of the Year award.
Icom America Phone: (425) 454-8155. www.icomamerica.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.