Icom just unveiled its new state-of-the-art SSB at the big METS marine trade show in Amsterdam. Designed for offshore cruising, the new Icom IC-M804 provides long-range MF and HF radio communications designed to keep you safe anywhere in the world.
The new Icom has a DSC radio that scans six distress signals, a distress call button and an integrated GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) providing global coverage through a constellation of satellites. The Icom conforms to the latest European and international standards.
SSB radios have been used in offshore vessels for generations. (When Eric Schweikardt, the photographer, and I drove a Donzi from Seattle to Juneau, Alaska, and back, in the 1980s, we had an SSB on board, and used it to check weather forecasts and information from other cruising boats.) They are preferred equipment in boat rallies or races, where all boats can receive the same information at the same time and carry on a brief conversation. They have obvious safety advantages.
The new Icom has a large distress call button; press it and the radio sends out an automated digital signal with your GNSS coordinates that will reach other ships or shore stations.
It also has a voice recorder feature that automatically records the last two minutes of your receiving audio. If you think you’ve missed something, you can listen to it again.
The unit has a remote head that can be mounted near a chart table or nav station, while the actual control box can be mounted out of the way. A large color LCD display has an almost 180-degree viewing angle, and there’s a combination of soft keys and a keypad to make it user-friendly.
You also can set it up to conform to your HF email frequency, so you can send and receive email messages. Up to 160-email frequencies are available. An automatic antenna tuner matches all radio bands to your antenna. Read more: