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Old 21-08-2013, 09:53   #1
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Icom M92D DSC Handheld

Anybody using this radio?

A DSC handheld VHF is an absolutely essential grab bag item, in my opinion. I have the Standard Horizon HX851, for which I bought the AAA battery tray and a bag full of long-life lithium AAA's. The only problem is that I have been using the HX851 as my primary handheld, so it doesn't stay in the grab bag. I wonder whether, in a real emergency, I will be able to remember to find it and bring it along, and even if I do remember, whether I will be able to actually find it in a distress situation.

Besides that, I don't really like the HX851 that much. It is very bulky, has awkward controls, and doesn't sound all that great.

The new Icom M92D looks better, and besides has DSP, which ought to really help a handheld VHF. So I'm thinking about acquiring one of these and retiring the HX851 to permanent life in the grab bag.


A general gripe I have about handheld marine VHF radios is their bulk. They are always a PITA to stuff in a pocket or somehow grapple with, when you're getting in and out of the dinghy, scrambling onto shore, and all the other stuff you do when you need to have your handheld with you.

Why are they so big? I have an Icom ham handheld which is also 5 watts, and besides has two receivers jam-packed into it, and a whole digital modem on top of that. It has excellent battery life, it is highly waterproofed, and it is about half the volume of the the HX851. Why can't they make marine VHF's in that form factor?

I haven't handled the M92D -- is it smaller than the HX851? If it's not, then I might try to find something smaller. Is there a really compact yet high quality marine VHF handheld? Or if I'm going to have to give up DSC for my everyday handheld anyway, maybe I'll just use the ham HT for that purpose.

Hmmm.
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Old 21-08-2013, 21:30   #2
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Re: Icom M92D DSC Handheld

I think the size of most of them is to make them bouyant. I have a Standard Horizon HX150 and for sure it's bulkier than it needs to be to function from an electronics standpoint. But if it was the size of an ipod it would be denser than water and that's no good.
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Old 22-08-2013, 06:03   #3
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Re: Icom M92D DSC Handheld

I've had one since they came out over a year ago. I went for it because of the DSC feature and gps. I also thought it a good idea and also would plan to take it with me in an emergency. It always goes with me on long dink trips. It works fine, is very light and easy to use, good sound. I have an old Icom and a Raymarine. The 92 is my favorite. One downside though is the battery lasts less long than a non dsc/gps handheld, but that is probably because the battery is doing more work. Maybe I have some unneeded function turned on - I'll have to read the manual...

It is not pocket sized, but light enough not to really be an issue. I drop it in a rucksack. It comes with a reasonably beefy belt clip if you need it.
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Old 22-08-2013, 07:13   #4
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Re: Icom M92D DSC Handheld

Dockhead:

I'm currently looking for a new VHF and trying to decide between the Icom M92D and the Standard Horizon HX851 myself. Primary purpose would be to have it at the helm. But expect to take it with me in an emergency situation. I have read the display on the HX851 is somewhat cluttered and unreadable if you don't have your reading glasses. Also there is no battery life indicator on the HX851 not sure if the 92D has one either. Think it would be handy to know how much battery life you have left.
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Old 22-08-2013, 07:35   #5
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Re: Icom M92D DSC Handheld

There is a battery life indicator on the HX851, but it isn't on all the time and the resolution isn't very good. Instead, it appears when the unit is about 75% depleted, and is not very useful for precise indication of the last 25%.

As for the display, I have not seen the Icom, but the pictures on the website look like it is about the same as the SH.

Both would be difficult to read for me without reading glasses. The VHF status functions (channel, volume, etc) of the SH are easy enough to read, but the navigation functions (lat/long, waypoint data, etc) are small type. The compass display is large and easy to use when navigating with the radio to a waypoint.

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Old 23-08-2013, 02:32   #6
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Re: Icom M92D DSC Handheld

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbianka View Post
Dockhead:

I'm currently looking for a new VHF and trying to decide between the Icom M92D and the Standard Horizon HX851 myself. Primary purpose would be to have it at the helm. But expect to take it with me in an emergency situation. I have read the display on the HX851 is somewhat cluttered and unreadable if you don't have your reading glasses. Also there is no battery life indicator on the HX851 not sure if the 92D has one either. Think it would be handy to know how much battery life you have left.
The battery life indicator is there, but I wouldn't use it at the helm as you suggest unless it is off on a passage and just switched on for use docking for example. The battery will last less than a day on standby and it takes many hours to charge back up.
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Old 23-08-2013, 03:27   #7
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Re: Icom M92D DSC Handheld

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbianka View Post
Dockhead:

I'm currently looking for a new VHF and trying to decide between the Icom M92D and the Standard Horizon HX851 myself. Primary purpose would be to have it at the helm. But expect to take it with me in an emergency situation. I have read the display on the HX851 is somewhat cluttered and unreadable if you don't have your reading glasses. Also there is no battery life indicator on the HX851 not sure if the 92D has one either. Think it would be handy to know how much battery life you have left.
I would suggest trying the 92D before you decide. Indeed the HX851 doesn't provide much information about battery state and that is one of several things I don't like about it.


Everybody talks about taking the handheld VHF with them if they, God forbid, have to abandon ship. OK, that's logical, but how? If you're using the handheld every day, can you be sure you'll remember it? Do people have a list of things to grab in case of abandoning ship, besides the grab bag?

I try to keep everything in the grab bag, and never take stuff out of it, which would seem to entirely defeat the purpose of it. But not everything on my list to take is in there. Passport, ship's documents, wallet, mobile phone -- these things are not kept in the grab bag. Maybe I'm overthinking the VHF thing -- maybe I should just make and post a list somewhere, including the handheld.
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Old 23-08-2013, 07:10   #8
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Re: Icom M92D DSC Handheld

Quote:
Originally Posted by poiu View Post
The battery life indicator is there, but I wouldn't use it at the helm as you suggest unless it is off on a passage and just switched on for use docking for example. The battery will last less than a day on standby and it takes many hours to charge back up.
If you are talking about the HX851, we get much better battery life out of ours than what you describe.

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Old 23-08-2013, 07:15   #9
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Re: Icom M92D DSC Handheld

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Everybody talks about taking the handheld VHF with them if they, God forbid, have to abandon ship. OK, that's logical, but how? If you're using the handheld every day, can you be sure you'll remember it? Do people have a list of things to grab in case of abandoning ship, besides the grab bag?

I try to keep everything in the grab bag, and never take stuff out of it, which would seem to entirely defeat the purpose of it. But not everything on my list to take is in there. Passport, ship's documents, wallet, mobile phone -- these things are not kept in the grab bag. Maybe I'm overthinking the VHF thing -- maybe I should just make and post a list somewhere, including the handheld.
We don't consider a ditch bag necessary until we undertake passages. During those times, the HH with DSC/GPS goes into the grab bag, which is secured in the cockpit for easy grabbing if needed. We have a second inexpensive HH kept loose on the boat for any voice communication we may need from it (which is very rare, since we have a fixed mount with cockpit remote).

So for every day usage in the dinghy, etc, the HH is used as normal. For daysails between islands, etc, no ditch bag is secured so no radio in it.

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Old 23-08-2013, 07:34   #10
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Re: Icom M92D DSC Handheld

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
If you are talking about the HX851, we get much better battery life out of ours than what you describe.

Mark
Good to know. I do also have 12 volt power at the helm so I was thinking of keeping it in the charger there when not in use. I also have a mounted DSC VHF in the cockpit too. But, since I need a new a new handheld VHF I figured might as well go with floating, GPS and DSC also. Though floating is the primary consideration over the other two features. But, the added safety of GPS location is an attractive safety feature IMO.
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Old 23-08-2013, 07:50   #11
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Re: Icom M92D DSC Handheld

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I would suggest trying the 92D before you decide. Indeed the HX851 doesn't provide much information about battery state and that is one of several things I don't like about it.


Everybody talks about taking the handheld VHF with them if they, God forbid, have to abandon ship. OK, that's logical, but how? If you're using the handheld every day, can you be sure you'll remember it? Do people have a list of things to grab in case of abandoning ship, besides the grab bag?

I try to keep everything in the grab bag, and never take stuff out of it, which would seem to entirely defeat the purpose of it. But not everything on my list to take is in there. Passport, ship's documents, wallet, mobile phone -- these things are not kept in the grab bag. Maybe I'm overthinking the VHF thing -- maybe I should just make and post a list somewhere, including the handheld.
Dockhead

Yeah, it's hard to plan for every contingency you might encounter. Though having a VHF in the ditch bag is good. You still have to remember to keep it charged. So there are no surprises when you need to use it. Trouble is often "out of sight is out of mind" at least for me. What I like about having a floating handheld VHF at the helm is that even if you should forget it there is still I chance you'll find it floating nearby if the boat goes down. At least if your helm position is not totally enclosed.
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Old 23-08-2013, 09:55   #12
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Re: Icom M92D DSC Handheld

I have both the hx851 and the Icom. The Icom is not much smaller, if it is smaller at all. They both work very well. I like the VHFs from both companies. We each have one dedicated to us that we wear on watches. I like the idea of the MOB giving his own lat/lon coordinates via radio.
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Old 23-08-2013, 11:44   #13
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Re: Icom M92D DSC Handheld

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Originally Posted by SVNeko View Post
I have both the hx851 and the Icom. The Icom is not much smaller, if it is smaller at all. They both work very well. I like the VHFs from both companies. We each have one dedicated to us that we wear on watches. I like the idea of the MOB giving his own lat/lon coordinates via radio.
Having a DSC handheld on one's person when going overboard could really be a lifesaver. But they are simply too big to keep on you all the time! When will they make a really small one, like a mobile phone?
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Old 24-08-2013, 11:43   #14
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Re: Icom M92D DSC Handheld

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Having a DSC handheld on one's person when going overboard could really be a lifesaver. But they are simply too big to keep on you all the time! When will they make a really small one, like a mobile phone?
Dockhead

As soon as you and I buy one of the current models.
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Old 24-08-2013, 21:34   #15
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Re: Icom M92D DSC Handheld

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Having a DSC handheld on one's person when going overboard could really be a lifesaver. But they are simply too big to keep on you all the time! When will they make a really small one, like a mobile phone?
That is what a personal AIS-SART is for.

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