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Icom IC-M23

The IC-M23 is a smaller version of Icom’s popular IC-M33, and like that model it will float if dropped into water, but this time Icom has gone one further and added a red flashing light that is activated on contact with water, making the radio easier to find if you drop it over the edge at night. The reduction in size is actually quite important is it ends up as one of the smallest VHFs on the market, and as such, it fits easily into the front pockets of a PFD.

The other big change with the M23 is that the battery and its charging arrangements are now completely different. With the older radio there were three exposed contacts, which could, if the radio was charged while still covered in sea water, start to corrode. With the new unit, the charging contacts have been changed to something far more akin to a phone charging system, with the socket on the top of the radio and protected by its own waterproof cap.

In use, although the new radio is only slightly smaller than its predecessor, it does seem a lot easier to hold and is also far easier to fit inside the pockets of a PFD. In use it appeared to get a strong signal from the local coastguard, and seemed quite a lot louder than the M33, battery life was excellent and easily up to a couple of trips on standby, or one long trip if used a fair bit for chatting to other kayakers.
Dunked in the water the radio floated as expected, and the red flashing LED also worked as advertised, using the radio while full of water is surprisingly easy as the speaker clears the water away for you using something called Aqua Quake, which literally blows the water out of the speaker grill.

Overall the radio seems to be a step up from the IC-M33, and although only time will tell how robust the new charging arrangements are, they certainly seem well sealed on the review unit and if water does get into the charging contacts, I think its more likely to be as a result of a forgetful user forgetting to fully tighten the water cap.

Overall the radio seems very well specified for kayak fishing use, and this coupled with Icom’s excellent reputation for customer service, means that it should be given serious consideration by anyone looking for a radio to accompany them on their fishing trips.

Recommended book

Discover Kayak Fishing
by Andy Benham

Purchase online!