Icom IC-M25 Handheld VHF Radio - 03/22/2016
Icom IC-M25
The Icom IC-M25 is simple to use, is waterproof and it floats.

Overview

Icom designed the IC-M25 Handheld VHF Radio to replace the M24 and to be a reasonably priced waterproof handheld VHF. It’s small enough to be carried in a life vest pocket and the price is low enough that it would be worth purchasing an IC-M25 to keep in a ditch bag. It also floats and has all of the features a boater would want from a VHF radio being used on a daily basis. When purchasing, choose from three trim color choices, Metallic Gray, Pearl White, and Marine Blue.

Distinguishing Features

Float N Flash. If—or when—the radio is dropped into the water, the IC-M25’s Float N Flash feature lights and sounds an audible alarm. Additionally, the screen and a red light on the bottom of the unit flash to make it easy to find, especially at night.

AquaQuake Draining Function. When the radio is retrieved from the water, the AquaQuake emits low-frequency sound waves that sound like a strong buzz that eradicates water from the speaker, preserving sound quality.

USB Charging. The IC-M25 is equipped with a Micro-B type plug for charging. This is the same style of plug used for most small electronics. Automotive-style 12-volt power plugs, laptop computers and mobile batteries can all be used to charge the IC-M25. The unit will charge fully in about 3 hours from a dead state. Once charging is complete, the battery display reverts to FL.

Icom IC-M25
If the IC-M25 is dropped into the water, the screen flashes and the radio sounds an audio alarm.
Icom IC-M25
This photo shows the red light on the back of the radio that also flashes if the radio goes overboard.
Icom IC-M25
The Micro-B type USB charging port lets owners revive the battery from a variety of sources.

Features Inspection

Sleek Design. The radio weighs 7.76 ounces (220 g) and it measures 5.28” (134.2mm) tall and 2.23” (56.6mm) wide and 1.2” thick (30.5mm), which means it could fit in the pocket of a pair of board shorts or a pouch on a lifejacket or float jacket. The screen is 30% larger than the IC-M24’s to show bigger channel numbers and status icons. Buttons on the front of the unit are laid out in an easy-to-use pattern.

The IC-M25 is built with IPX7 construction that makes it waterproof for up to 30 minutes in 1 meter (3.3ft.) of water.

Icom IC-M25
The larger screen is easier to read than on previous models and the buttons are pretty self-explanatory.

Sound Off. Some handheld VHFs are hard to hear above wind or engine noise. The IC-M25 provides a 550mW audio output so the received voice or weather alert can be heard in noisy conditions. To instantly turn up the volume to full, the user holds the Vol/Sql button and the Up button at the same time.

Multi Tasker. Features on the IC-M25 include a four-step battery-life indicator, a weather channel for U.S. versions and instant access to channel 16 or a programmable call channel. Dual and Tri Watch functions monitor selectable channels while still letting the operator use other channels. Up and Down Buttons are in the center of the panel so they’re easy to use. The other function controls are clearly labeled and the talk button on the side is large enough that someone with big hands will feel comfortable using the radio. There is a favorite channel function as well as an Auto Scan. To make the screen easier to see, it has LCD auto backlighting.

Icom IC-M25
All the IC-M25’s controls are clearly labeled and are big enough to find quickly.
Icom IC-M25
The display provides all of the information a user would want to see including a four-step battery life indicator in the upper right hand corner.

The Specifications. The built-in 1500mAh lithium-ion battery allows 11 hours of operation and the IC-M25’s operating temperature range is -4 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 to 60 degrees Celsius).

Transmission frequency range for the IC-M25 is 156.025 to 157.425MHz and Receiving frequency is 156.050 to 163.275 MHz. Current drain when transmitting is 2.3 Amps and when receiving it’s 200 milliamps to 300 milliamps. The transmitter has an output power range of 1 to 5 watts. Maximum frequency deviation is + 5.0 kHz and frequency stability is + 10 ppm.

Accessories. The IC-M25 comes with a USB charger (Icom # BC-217SA), a belt clip (Icom # MB-133), an antenna (Icom # FA-SC59V) and a hand strap. An owner can also purchase an optional speaker microphone (Icom # HM-213) that provides commercial grade communication when the IC-M25 is clipped to the user.

Icom IC-M25
The standard charger has plenty of cord length.
Icom IC-M25
The standard belt clip doesn’t swivel or rotate. An optional model that does is available.
Icom IC-M25
To protect it when the radio isn’t in use, the threaded antenna can be removed.
Icom IC-M25
The optional speaker microphone lets owners use the IC-M25 like a fixed VHF unit.
Icom IC-M25
This photo shows the IC-M25 in white trim.

Using the IC-M25

We found using the IC-M25 to be rather straightforward. We powered it up by pressing the power key just below the transmit button at the side. We had it preset to power up on 13 for monitoring harbor traffic and then touched the dual scan key in the lower right to cycle between that channel and 16. A press of the CH/WX key brought up the current weather and the M25 includes an alert feature to keep us informed of approaching storms.

When calling on 13, boaters in our home port have a popular channel we usually go to (80a) so that was programmed in to allow a simple press of the FAV button to get us there. Alternatively we could press the CH/WX and scroll to it.

Another feature we liked is the auto-scan. Some fishermen try to be sneaky and update one another on an “off” channel. Scanning all will catch that act in short order and bring the secret conversations regarding catch updates to light.

While we didn’t fall overboard, or even drop the IC-M25 it’s easy to see the benefits of how the unit can be easily found and recovered, and then keep operating normally… even shaking water off the speaker for continuity of the sound quality.

Observations

Having a VHF radio on board is always a good idea and with its reasonable price and full range of features, the IC-M25 could be the only radio a boater needs.

Consumers need to know that Icom is one of the most respected names in VHF radios. We have models built by this company for decades and have found that they are invariably simple to operate and reliable. We have always found there prices to be competitive and good value for money spent.


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