ICOM Radios - Signifcant Differences?

-- Last Updated: May-27-05 8:07 PM EST --

I am looking into a handheld VHF radio for use when kayaking in the ocean. After doing a search and reading a bunch of reviews, ICOM seems to be a well respected brand.

My leading choices are the M1V and the M32LI. Here is the Description of the M1V from the West Marine Website:


and the M32LI


The M32LI appears to be an exclusive product for West Marine, so I can't find any more info any it.

The only differences appear to be size: M1V smaller; Antenna M1V SMA, M32LI Stud/Whip; and Transmit Modes: 5W/1W for the M32Li, 5W/1W/0.5W for the MlV.

The M32LI is $40 cheaper than the M1V. I know the M1V gets great ratings, but I am planning to just get the weather alerts and, God forbid, use it only in an emergency situtation, so if the M32LI will do this for me, I am all for spending the saved $40 on some other paddling gear.




on consideratin is “fixed cost” repair

– Last Updated: May-30-05 11:11 AM EST –

Icom might have a fixed-cost repair service after waranty. My Horizon costs about 75 bucks to repair and this pretty much means they send you a new one. Icom might have a similar offer for their own brand whereas they might not offer it to the west marine owner.

M1V and the M32LI
I went shopping today and narrowed my choise to those two radios. My main concerns were the “belt” clip and a wrist strap and a Li-ion battery. I wanted to buy the M1V as it is a bit smaller but the belt clip took three hands to hook it on anything. The Standard I liked had no where for a strap. I ended up with the M32Li, a little larger but great ratings and with the new battery and on sale at West for 160.00 hard to pass up… GH

Go for the proven product
If you spend the extra $40, you’re never likely to look back and say “Gee, I wish I hadn’t”. The M1V is a rugged, reliable radio with excellent performance and battery life. I own one and it has served me well, but I now prefer the M88, which is the radio I use on a regular basis.

Shop around and you’ll probably find much better prices than at West Marine. Except when they have sales, their prices tend to be really high. Defender frequently has Icom radios on sale. Rebates of $50 have been common on the M88, so watch for that, also. IIRC, I bought my M1V for ~$160 and the M88 for $198.