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The latest addition to Icom’s lineup of handheld VHFs is the IC-M36, a waterproof, floating radio with a couple of extra features specifically intended to minimize the effect of background noise. One is a noise-cancellation system similar to those found on headphones from Sony and Bose. A second microphone on the back of the radio picks up background noise, which it inverts (so that “peaks” become “troughs” and “troughs” become “peaks”) before combining it with the microphone signal. By adding the two together, the noise and the inverted noise cancel each other out, leaving just the voice signal to pass on through to the transmitter.

The other feature, which Icom calls Clear Audio Boost, is really two features rolled into one. It’s based on the same technology built into many upscale car radios, which constantly monitors the level of background noise and automatically increases audio volume when the ambient noise increases. In the IC-M36, it performs the same function but not only increases the volume of the received signal but also the transmitted audio signal.

List price for the IC-M36 is $310, complete with a battery charger and a lightweight lithium-ion battery pack that Icom says is good for eight hours at the standard 90-percent stand-by, 5-percent receive, 5-percent transmit duty cycle.

Icom America (425) 454-8155.

This article originally appeared in the June 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.