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Old 02-21-2019, 09:26 AM   #1
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Latest VHF choices to replace old Icom M602?

I've got an Icom M602 installed at a lower helm station. It's connected with their internal rear mic option, so there's no cord dangling at the helm. Up on the flybridge there was an HM-127 but the cord insulation had failed. I replaced it last season with an HM-157 (which has worked nicely).

I'd like to add a hailer but find out that the hailer feature specifically won't work from a Command Mic (the upper station). Oh. Great...

That and the DSC/DSE never worked and I've discovered 0138 out from the M602 wasn't connected. And that's potentially a good thing as the M602 is apparently not a very cooperative 0183 talker.

From the searching I've done it does not appear that any of what I have currently installed will carry forward, so I'd have to pull new cables for the upper and remote mic. Which isn't a horrible problem as there's relatively decent access for that.

So the question arises, if I upgrade to a new VHF what should I be considering?
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Old 02-21-2019, 11:08 AM   #2
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I have always like iCom radios. Standard Horizon are good too. What kind of electronics do you have? Can the new radio interface easily with your electronics?

Not just as easy as picking a radio off the shelve....
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Old 02-21-2019, 11:31 AM   #3
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I have always like iCom radios. Standard Horizon are good too. What kind of electronics do you have? Can the new radio interface easily with your electronics?

Not just as easy as picking a radio off the shelve....
The M602 is getting 0183 data now. I have NMEA-2000 data available and would likely use that. I've got older Furuno MFD12 chart plotters, with their FA-50 AIS transceiver. So I don't "need" to have AIS or GPS reception in the radio but wouldn't reject a unit that had it, if just for redundancy.

The M602 has it's own VHF antenna, separate from the 2nd VHF antenna that the FA-50 AIS uses (and it's own separate GPS antenna).

I don't know that I'd want to run yet another GPS antenna for the radio. It starts to look like a porcupine with too many sensors on the mast and blisters of satellite antennas on the flybridge. There's already two of them for the AIS and SiriusXM radio units.
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Old 02-21-2019, 01:12 PM   #4
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I just purchased the new Furuno FM-4800 VHF and have had it installed for a week or so. I also have an ICOM, SH GX2150 and B&G V50.

So far, I really like the FM-4800. Not only does it have it's own GPS and NMEA 2000, which still seem like upgrades with everyone else, but it doesn't require a massive hole to mount (looking at you ICOM) and appears well built.

The menus are very easy to use, and it scans my list of channels very well and doesn't stutter or do anything else irritating (looking at you B&G). The speaker is louder than any of the others I have, and it was super simple to configure things the way I wanted. I'm using its internal GPS for now, but it can fall back to a networked one.

After upgrading my TZT2's to v6.21 yesterday, I am also able to start a DSC call from the TZT2's just by clicking on an AIS contact, and it actually works without any configuration.

The screen is a bit simpler than I'd like, but it does the job. Plenty of room to display things, and infinitely adjustable.

I'm hoping to write up some more of my observations after a few more weeks of actual usage. So far, I do really like the unit, and it does everything I expected without fuss, feels well built, and looks good too.
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Old 02-21-2019, 02:23 PM   #5
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Looking at you...
Lol. But that's exactly the sort of thing that's helpful when considering replacements.

I mind knowing what's great about something, but I definitely want to know what isn't.

I do like not having the mic cord dangling at the helm. Right now it's remote mic on the pillar besides the starboard door. This is not a smart mic, just the plain one... but out the rear of the unit. It doesn't look like the FM-4800 has that and the 4850 is entirely smart remotes (and separate speakers).

Your comment about the screen being simpler than you'd like is also a concern. But then again screens that get too complicated are an added hassle to use.
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Old 02-21-2019, 03:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post
Lol. But that's exactly the sort of thing that's helpful when considering replacements.

I mind knowing what's great about something, but I definitely want to know what isn't.

I do like not having the mic cord dangling at the helm. Right now it's remote mic on the pillar besides the starboard door. This is not a smart mic, just the plain one... but out the rear of the unit. It doesn't look like the FM-4800 has that and the 4850 is entirely smart remotes (and separate speakers).

Your comment about the screen being simpler than you'd like is also a concern. But then again screens that get too complicated are an added hassle to use.
I have a lot of opinions of VHF radios! I have owned far too many of them in the last 5 years, and tested/used even more. So far I have yet to find one that doesn't have some big issue that prevents it from being usable 100% of the time. Sure, there are good radios from all sorts of folks, but not having NMEA 2000 in this day and age is stupid. Not having a good GPS in them is a crime. Having wireless remotes that barely work also seems like something we could/should have overcome by now....

I'm hoping the FM-4800 will be different, and so far it looks pretty good. It does not have a wireless remote, which I am OK with as I have yet to see anyone deliver this reliably. Based on Ben's review of the new Raymarine black box, and others experience with the SH GX6000, it sounds like we might be getting close with the wireless remotes.

For me, a VHF radio should be rock solid, have its own GPS source, have a clear to hear speaker, transmit very well, and scan and allow you to hear easily. I want it to be as standalone as possible, while still contributing AIS targets to my NMEA 2000 network. It is a critical device that should not be flaky or freak out - I rely on it.

My comment on the screen on the FM-4800 was comparing it to some of the ginormous products from other vendors, and the sheer amount of info you can put on it. However, I can't think of when I rely on that myself, it just seems to be something other people desire. Seeing a list of AIS targets on a VHF screen, or like SH's circle showing a range of icons on a tiny VHF screen does not really appeal to me as a useful feature.
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Old 02-21-2019, 05:20 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by stevemitchell View Post
I just purchased the new Furuno FM-4800 VHF and have had it installed for a week or so. I also have an ICOM, SH GX2150 and B&G V50.

So far, I really like the FM-4800. Not only does it have it's own GPS and NMEA 2000, which still seem like upgrades with everyone else, but it doesn't require a massive hole to mount (looking at you ICOM) and appears well built.

The menus are very easy to use, and it scans my list of channels very well and doesn't stutter or do anything else irritating (looking at you B&G). The speaker is louder than any of the others I have, and it was super simple to configure things the way I wanted. I'm using its internal GPS for now, but it can fall back to a networked one.

After upgrading my TZT2's to v6.21 yesterday, I am also able to start a DSC call from the TZT2's just by clicking on an AIS contact, and it actually works without any configuration.

The screen is a bit simpler than I'd like, but it does the job. Plenty of room to display things, and infinitely adjustable.

I'm hoping to write up some more of my observations after a few more weeks of actual usage. So far, I do really like the unit, and it does everything I expected without fuss, feels well built, and looks good too.
Thanks for that. That's the vhs ive been considering, but no one has any on display, even at the boat show, so its nice to get an actual report from a user.
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Old 02-21-2019, 05:36 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by stevemitchell View Post
I have a lot of opinions of VHF radios! I have owned far too many of them in the last 5 years, and tested/used even more. So far I have yet to find one that doesn't have some big issue that prevents it from being usable 100% of the time. Sure, there are good radios from all sorts of folks, but not having NMEA 2000 in this day and age is stupid. Not having a good GPS in them is a crime. Having wireless remotes that barely work also seems like something we could/should have overcome by now....



I'm hoping the FM-4800 will be different, and so far it looks pretty good. It does not have a wireless remote, which I am OK with as I have yet to see anyone deliver this reliably. Based on Ben's review of the new Raymarine black box, and others experience with the SH GX6000, it sounds like we might be getting close with the wireless remotes.



For me, a VHF radio should be rock solid, have its own GPS source, have a clear to hear speaker, transmit very well, and scan and allow you to hear easily. I want it to be as standalone as possible, while still contributing AIS targets to my NMEA 2000 network. It is a critical device that should not be flaky or freak out - I rely on it.



My comment on the screen on the FM-4800 was comparing it to some of the ginormous products from other vendors, and the sheer amount of info you can put on it. However, I can't think of when I rely on that myself, it just seems to be something other people desire. Seeing a list of AIS targets on a VHF screen, or like SH's circle showing a range of icons on a tiny VHF screen does not really appeal to me as a useful feature.


I feel the same way about all my nav equipment. Each piece of equipment should do its job with minimal dependence on anything else, and be replaceable with minimal impact on anything else. This runs contrary to the strategy of most electronics vendors, but I think best serves the mariner whoís life is at stake.

Too many vendors treat this stuff like an iPhone app or other inconsequential toy, but thatís not the case for any serious boater. Our lives depend on it, and I insist that it work all the time, every time, without exception. Others need not apply.
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Old 02-21-2019, 07:09 PM   #9
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Thanks for that. That's the vhs ive been considering, but no one has any on display, even at the boat show, so its nice to get an actual report from a user.


I saw it at the Seattle boat show but had already decided to purchase it before then. I had to ask and they took it out from a cabinet below the big display. Very few of the booth folks seemed to know much about it but thatís not unusual.

Here are a couple of shots of it from today while I was working on other install tasks.

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For some reason I really like the mic. The angular design just appealed to me.

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Iím also strangely satisfied by the big stainless bit on the back that slots into the holder.
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Old 02-21-2019, 08:10 PM   #10
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I just installed the Standard Horizon Matrix GX2200. I think it was about $330.00. I bought it from stock at West Marine, but they matched the lowest Web price I found while there (I love their price matching. Here and now. Cheaper than the internet -- internet prices without paying shipping!).

I like the radio because it was plug-and-chug with internal GPS and an internal AIS receiver. So, I connected the two power wires and the antenna, entered my MMSI, and was up-and-running.

For full functionality, I ran the two conductors to the speaker/hailer that had been unused on the boat from a prior owner, and two more pairs of wires to supply my plotter with NMEA-0183 AIS and DSC contacts.

Within minutes, I had the unit up-and-running with internal AIS and GPS, connected to my hailer/loud-speaker, and supplying AIS and DSC to, and otherwise fully integrated with, my plotter.

On the down side, it has double-watch, but not triple watch. So, I can monitor 16 and 9 simultaneously, but I can't simultaneously monitor 16 and 9 -- while also monitoring whatever channel I may be using to coordinate with friends. I have to fall back to 16 and the talk channel. The same is true of my normal habit of monitoring 16, 9, and 22A (Coast Guard reports) when I'm not out with others'. I end up monitoring 16 and 9, and then tuning to 22A when told on 16 that a report is coming up.

Somehow, I haven't quite gotten used to the UI, yet, either. I still fumble around changing AIS display ranges, and doing other routine things. So, I'm not sure the control configuration is the best (but it could just be me and old habits dying hard).
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Old 02-21-2019, 10:12 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by stevemitchell View Post
I saw it at the Seattle boat show but had already decided to purchase it before then. I had to ask and they took it out from a cabinet below the big display. Very few of the booth folks seemed to know much about it but thatís not unusual.

Here are a couple of shots of it from today while I was working on other install tasks.

Attachment 85663

Attachment 85664

For some reason I really like the mic. The angular design just appealed to me.

Attachment 85665

Iím also strangely satisfied by the big stainless bit on the back that slots into the holder.
I should of asked the guys, I was talking to the furuno crew for a while about other stuff oh well. I have enough info now to order it, tks
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Old 02-22-2019, 03:15 PM   #12
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Got a response from Icom regarding my M602, confirming my concerns about it.

Part of which included mentioning the dimensions of all their current models, in case anyone else needs 'em.

Model
Dimensions (mm & inches)
Cut-out hole (mm & inches)

M602
220(W) ◊ 110(H) ◊ 109.4(D) mm 8 21⁄32(W) ◊ 4 11⁄32(H) ◊ 4 5⁄16(D) in
200(W) x 90(W) 7 7/8(W) x 3 35/64(H) 5.4(W) x 2.0(H)

M424
180(W) ◊ 82(H) ◊ 135(D) mm 7 3/329W) X 3 15/64(H) X 5 5/15(D)
166.1(W) x 61(H) 6 1/2(W) x 2 2/5(H)

M506
178.9(W) X 113.9(H) X 130.0(D) mm 7 1/16(W) X 3 7/32(H) X 5(D) in
157.0(W) X 93.4(H) 6 3/16 (W) X 3 43/64(H)

M605
274(W) ◊ 144(H) ◊ 121.5(D) mm 10.8(W) ◊ 4.5(H) ◊ 4.8(D) in
252(W) x 95.75(W) 9 15/16(W) x 3 25/32(H)

None of which are the same as my M602.

Which leads me down the rabbit hole of do I switch to something else and free up the space the M602 is taking up on the helm....

I may just start thinking about this more seriously....
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Old 02-23-2019, 07:25 AM   #13
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I mentioned in the other thread that we replaced ICOM M-604s with M-605s.

Our set-up is one radio uses the rear mic connection (standard mic, not Command Mic), and that one has the hailer attached... the other radio uses the front mic connection (ditto standard mic).

The cut-out is larger, but not much and we had enough room to deal with it.

The 605s each came with their own GPS antenna, and have both NMEA2000 and NMEA0183 connections. I don't know how the tiny new antenna compares with the GP-36/GPA-019 that previously fed that radio.

I don't have much time with the 605s, yet, but they seem to be slightly niftier than the 604s.

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Old 02-23-2019, 09:32 AM   #14
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All this talk about changing radios has me thinking about moving mine to free up console space. It'd be a bit of a re-wiring adventure, moving the VHF cabling, but it might be worth it...
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Old 02-23-2019, 11:18 AM   #15
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I just purchased the new Furuno FM-4800 VHF and have had it installed for a week or so................... I can't find pricing anywhere!

So far, I really like the FM-4800. Not only does it have it's own GPS and NMEA 2000, it doesn't require a massive hole to mount..................can it be mounted on a vertical surface?

The menus are very easy to use, and the speaker is louder than any of the others I have..................This feature attracted me!

I am also able to start a DSC call from the TZT2's just by clicking on an AIS contact....................I wonder if this would work with a Raymarine AIS!

The screen is a bit simpler than I'd like, but it does the job.
I really like an uncluttered VHF screen.
Looking forward to more of your assessment!
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Old 03-01-2019, 06:51 AM   #16
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By "Raymarine AIS" do you mean a Raymarine chart plotter? Or a Furuno TZT2 chart plotter being fed AIS data from a Raymarine AIS transceiver?

I suspect the AIS calling is more a function of the TZT2 than anything else. I think the NMEA standard has support for DSC calling but I have no idea how well supported it is across different vendor equipment.
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Old 03-01-2019, 07:36 AM   #17
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If you want a good new basic VHF ( maybe as a second unit ) you can't beat this deal. Only one left at this price.https://www.walmart.com/ip/Icom-M506...eiver/40629737
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Old 03-01-2019, 07:56 AM   #18
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I have the M506 with NMEA2K and the command mike for the bridge. With the NMEA2k you can get GPS info from the bus (assuming its available) without having to add another GPS antenna. Also, the command mike on the M506 has the complete functionality of the radio (unlike old style command mikes). So using hailer, intercom and foghorn is no problem.


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Old 03-01-2019, 09:14 AM   #19
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With the M506-01 I have my gps position thru nema0183 from my Raymarine a97 The a97 is not the latest but has nema 2k, 0183, and SEAtalk. Spring project is the commandmic on the flybridge.
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Old 03-01-2019, 10:23 AM   #20
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By "Raymarine AIS" do you mean a Raymarine chart plotter? Or a Furuno TZT2 chart plotter being fed AIS data from a Raymarine AIS transceiver?
Good question! I'm wondering if the Furuno 4800 is compatible with the Raymarine eS128 and the Raymarine AIS650. I'm referring to starting a DSC call by just clicking on the AIS contact on the plotter.
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