ICOM VHF troubles

On my first M72, I’ve had the power/volume knob break off after it freezes up. With the stellar reviews on the M72, I bought another. This time from WestMarine with the $29~ extended warranty. Hoping to prevent the same problem on the new radio, I spoke to an ICOM tech. I was told I that after a fresh water rinse and dry, I should put a few drops of silicone lube between the knob and the body of radio. Which I did (do).

After less than two seasons, the problem reappeared. With great resistance, WestMarine replaced the radio. They claimed “corrosion” is not covered. On a submersible radio???

Now, with less than two seasons on this latest radio, (third radio if your counting), the knob is once again frozen.

I see that now, it looks like ICOM has replaced the M72 with a M73.

So…my question is, does anyone know if the M73 actually corrects this “corrosion” problem?

Or, should I opt for a different brand/model? Not sure if WestMarine will give me that choice.

If so, any recommendations?

My usage is in salt water. It’s worn unbagged on my PFD. I don’t intentionally roll or do rescue practice with it on. It’s rinsed and dried after day usage.

Thanks for enduring this lengthy story and thanks in advance for any help.

Radio issues
I would skip West Marine and deal directly with the manufacturer. First they need to know this is the second unit with these issues, and then I would go down to a yacht club or even back to West Marine (they usually have a bulletin board) and post your problem heck, write to Latitude38 (sailing magazine here in SF bay area) and pose the question to them, if they can not help you, their readers might be able to…they are an awesome organization

Maybe get a different model

– Last Updated: May-27-14 8:33 AM EST –

I have the M-24 and have had no problem at all with it.
It got continuous daily use all this past winter in salt water and it took many duckings as well as splashings .
I follow their recommendations and rinse it in fresh water after each use

salt crystallization?
Is the knob frozen by salt crystallization? If so, instead of a quick rinse you may need to soak your radio in a bucket of fresh water after use.

That said, unless I can soak/rinse my radio daily, mine is bagged. When going around Iceland, Freya Hoffmeister and I both had M88 radios. Hers was “naked” and mine was bagged. By the time we rounded the island her M88 was a mess (battery and switch corrosion) and had to be replaced, mine was fine (and is still working fine).

Greg Stamer

Iridium ?
search: Delorme satellite expedition

dry bag

Electronics here are kept in bags with unit seams covered with 3M 33 vinyl electrical tape. The colored tapes may be thinner, more flexible ?

Bags collect condensation and not distilled water condensation. Older bags ?

Traded the Garmin 76 for a 78. Rumor has some green corrosion on the insides after 100+ hours bagged over 6 years.

You may try emailing Allied Electronics for a salt water electronics corrosion inhibitor with cleaner.

We had Jiffy Lube for several years with silicone and acetic acid. Works good. Jiffy went under ?

Get a new iron and some diodes while there. Allied sells 100 suborbital diodes for Radio Shack’s ten count.

I’m on my second M72 in 3 years, and it’s currently at ICOM for the 3rd time, trying to fix a problem (alternately not turning off, or not turning on.)

All this has been covered by Icom, and I appreciate that. But I’ve bought a replacement radio because I’m convinced the M72 just isn’t meant for the kind of salty use that sea kayakers put a radio through.

I bought an M93D, which has only buttons, no knobs.

Returned my ICOM

– Last Updated: May-27-14 5:32 PM EST –

My Standard Horizon was 7 years old and it was time for a new radio, based on reviews from this web site I bought an ICOM. It was very hard to adjust the squelch, the clip to attach it to my PFD did not swivel and the weather channels came in broken up. I returned it and bought a Standard Horizon - it works great.

I also wear it clipped to my PFD in salt water and never had a problem with my last Standard Horizon.

Very interesting beta testing!

– Last Updated: May-28-14 7:50 AM EST –

I have had an ICOM M72 for 7 years now, it is only used in saltwater and I haven't experienced similar problems. In fact, it is still on the original batteries. It gets plenty of use since I paddle at least once or twice a week in everything from light to heavy conditions from April to November. I do give it an occasional rinse, and keep it in a nylon treated case clipped to my PFD.

Just suggesting that because it is a recurrent problem for you, perhaps it is some way that you are using it?

I recall a person I knew who kept locking up Swift paddles. I think she had permanently locked the ferrules on about 3 of them. Couldn't figure out why since I knew they had a very reliable ferrule system if you took minimal care. Then I saw some pics posted where she had a habit of sticking them in the sand vertically on the beach while on extended paddles or camping trips. I doubt they were taken down between paddles much either. No wonder they kept salt locking. It wasn't Swift's fault.....

If my old M72 croaks, and I hope it doesn't, I might consider a M36 or M24 as a replacement. I have some friends who use them and they seem like good radios for seakayakers.

I returned the M72 to the local WestMarine and they made good on the radio using the extended warranty that I had bought from them.

Since the store didn’t have the newer M73 in stock, I was issued a gift card for exactly what I paid when I bought the radio nearly three years ago.

So now - researching reviews etc as I’m pretty sure I won’t go the ICOM route again.

For anyone in the market for marine electronics, WestMarine will price match and their optional extended warranty sure beats mailing it back to the manufacturer.

Thanks for all the responses.

None are

“But I’ve bought a replacement radio because I’m convinced the M72 just isn’t meant for the kind of salty use that sea kayakers put a radio through.”

You are correct, but it is also true for all VHF marine handhelds. They are designed for use on small boats and vessels where they seldom exposed to being immersed or being whacked by waves. Use by kayakers is a very small niche of the market. A kayak handheld should be built no only for immersion, but for exposure to forceful water pressure as well. I am unaware of any consumer grade radio that mets that standard.

IPX standards are not predictive of long term corrosion problems caused by poor charging and battery contacts, etc. Also the IPX standards are based on whether or not water intrusion occurs in a new unit to the extent it causes malfunction, as opposed to no water intrusion. Over time, even a small amount of salt water intrusion is deadly to electronics.