Icom's new handheld VHF is its first without an aluminum chassis, but it's purportedly still "military rugged," and it actually floats, a combination that fuels the company’s "last handheld you’ll ever need" pitch. The M34, which costs about $180, also has an Aqua Quake mode that shakes water from its speaker plus a "favorites" feature that lets you limit channel scrolling to just the ones you want. Although I only handled it at a boat show, this unit's curvy shape and simple button layout seemed especially comfortable and good for one-handed operation. The Icom M34 comes with a 12-volt charger, an A.C. adapter, and a Li-ion battery that’s said to provide about ten hours of typical use.
Accessories available include a AAA battery tray and Icom's new HM-165 waterproof speaker mic. Note that the Cobra 425 handheld comes with a similarly long-lasting Li-ion battery, includes an AA backup power tray in the basic package, and has a lapel speaker mic option.
This article originally appeared in the June 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.