VHF handhelds

Icom issues
The Icom has a well documented problem with the middle contact corroding on the battery that connects to the charger. I read about this problem and it also happened to mine after 2 years.

I have the M34 so the battery is only about $50… the I72 is much more expensive from what I’ve seen.

Go with the Standard Horizon.

I’ve had a couple ICOM radios now that if I didn’t take care of the gasket that seals the battery connection, there was some corroding.

BUT, it was easily fixed by adding some silicone paste to the rubber gasket. Ever since I’ve done this a couple times per season, I’ve never had any water compromise the seal.


Try using it in conditions…
…that are rough enough that you can’t use both hands on the radio. Make sure you try turning knobs and pressing buttons. You’ll see what I mean.

As for reliability without a dry bag, with a good radio, it’s a non-issue.

I have tried it in conditions that I paddle in and it is not an issue for me. I can use it in the bag and I like the added protection.

What conditions?
Since I don’t know your skill level or what conditions you’ve tested your gear in, I’ll just make this general statement for everyone’s benefit:

With any safety gear, it’s important to keep in mind that you are most likely to need it when conditions turn ugly and you’re at or beyond your limits, which can happen unexpectedly on almost any trip. That’s when the deficiencies of various types of gear become glaringly obvious, but it’s also the time when you can least afford to find out that something doesn’t work as you expected or worse yet, creates problems of its own.

That was always the biggest eye-opener for people during our club’s training courses. It’s a good idea to practice rescues and test your gear in conditions that are beyond your comfort level, with the assistance of more skilled paddlers or coaches, in an environment where safe water is within easy reach (just outside a harbor or cove is a good example). That way, you won’t be in for any nasty surprises when something unexpected happens for real.

Could you please provide a link?
I searched on ICOM battery problems/issues and I could not dig up much, particularly in regard to the M88 or M72.

In fact the water I have seen show up behind the battery in my M72 is apparently not an issue according to ICOM:


I still detach the battery for drying after immersion or rinsing.

Potential Weakness?
As I recall the Icoms in question are rated with the battery attached, but not otherwise. In the article you linked, they are saying water intrusion into the battery case is not a problem since the contacts are protected by a small area protected with a gasket. Should that gasket fail and my memory is correct, then you could get not simply corrosion on contacts after awhile, but water intrusion into the radio which would result, most likely, in failure. Some radios are rated without battery attached and the battery is rated as well which in theory is better.

That said, Icoms have a very, very good reputation.

BN I had a near miss on ww
I had never released my spray skirt with neoprene gloves on and when I flipped I could not find the loop. Lucky for me the guys I was paddling with righted me. Ever since then I try out all mew gear in the conditions I will paddle in. I tried the VHF in 18" seas just off of South Thomaston ME.in my dry suit with my neo gloves on.


– Last Updated: Mar-24-11 8:57 PM EST –

I've had the previous model HX850 for about two years. I have never kept it in a bag. It has been dunked, rolled with, been bashed into a barnacle covered rock with my chest(underwater,) been subjected to plenty of fresh and salt water spray, and days and days of rain in a PFD pocket. The only maintenance that it gets is fresh water rinse after every paddle and silicon on the seal for the battery occasionally, no problems so far.

The radio is larger than others but that is the price you pay for floating but it does fit in a Kokatat PDF radio pocket.

I would not hesitate to recommend it or buy the new model if I needed a new radio.

I am also wouldn't buy a new VHF radio that wasn't DSC equipped, if you are buying safety equipment why go halfway? (a.k.a. I'm too poor to buy cheap @#^$!)

18 INCH seas?

– Last Updated: Mar-25-11 7:23 AM EST –

That's barely enough texture to make the water interesting and you can easily use both hands if necessary. However, on the coast of ME, it can get really nasty, really fast, when you least expect it, so trying it in more challenging conditions would be a good idea.

I have an Icom and have not had any problems with it.