Icom’s “New Look” family: M92D, M424 & CommandMicIV

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

26 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Turns out that I have an Icom release listing prices for both the radios at $299, and the CommandMic at $199, when they ship in April (after FCC approval).

  2. Jonathan Udell says:

    But where is the N2K connectivity for DSC?

  3. I like the new UI. Do you know if they will be updating their SSB radio products as well?

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Good point, Jonathan. It will be a great when Icom and Standard Horizon finally put NMEA 2000 into their fixed VHFs — easy GPS integration for DSC Distress calls, plus hopefully easy direct calls to AIS targets and also easy plotting of incoming DSC calls and position polls. (All of which works well with Garmin’s N2K radios, at least when networked to their MFDs.) But at least Icom is using N2K in MarineCommander, so their engineers are getting familiar with it. And the same it true at Standard Horizon, where N2K is getting added to the CPN series.
    Robert, I don’t know about any changes to Icom’s SSB radios, but that is a much smaller market.

  5. Sandy Daugherty says:

    Icom is a bit late to the dance: Garmin used a consistant user interface through at least 6 generations of GPS’s.

  6. Jonathan Udell says:

    Ben, Is there an issue you are aware of using Garmin’s VHF w/ non Garmin MFD’s per your comment “All of which works well with Garmin’s N2K radios, at least when networked to their MFDs” ?
    We are about to place 3 VHF200’s paired with Simrad NSS8’s on a trio of new boats. Am hoping they all play nicely. I’ll let you know if we find otherwise.

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I didn’t mean to imply issues, Jonathan. For instance, I’m confidant that your Garmin VHF 200 radios will get GPS from the Simrad NSS 8’s no problem. Which is probably the main thing you’re looking for?
    But I don’t think that the NSS has the “call AIS target” feature the VHF 200 supports, and I’m not sure if it can plot DSC calls or position polls received by the radio. Please do let us know how it all works out!

  8. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    Yes, soft keys! I suspect this is going to make the use of DSC features possible without needing to crack open the manual each year.
    Not to be too judgmental, but the lack of a knob or rotary dial of some kind feels like an omission, considering some brands of MFD’s did away with rotary controls and then quickly brought them back in subsequent generations.

  9. David says:

    Great stuff!
    Ben I’d love to hear from the CNP product line. It looked fantastic when they announced the products with all the bells and wissels but we have not heared from them since. There is very little reviews out there. Is it a flop? Why are they keeping quiet and is no one talking about it?

  10. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    David, the CPN Series isn’t shipping yet! There were samples in the Standard Horizon booth, and they seemed to be running well, but SH is not quite ready to declare a real shipping date yet.
    It may be worth noting that a prototype of Icom’s MarineCommander was in their Miami stand in 2010, but not in 2011, though now it’s apparently ready. Good work takes time?

  11. Henning says:

    Jonathan, I expect that you will find that you can see the position of a DSC caller on your NSS8 as:
    – the Garmin VHF 200 outputs the standard PGN for this function, 129808
    – the NSS has 129808 listed under “NMEA 2000 PGN (receive)”
    – the NSS documentation only has the sentence “You can also see messages and position for DSC transmitting devices within range” regarding this whole subject but that is a fairly strong indication that what you want is there.
    I don’t expect, though, that you will be able to set up a call on the VHF 200 using the NSS as there is no standard PGN defined to set up a VHF call by NMEA and, as a result of this, the integration between Garmin radios and MFDs must use a proprietary PGN which won’t be understood by any Simrad MFD. There is also no corresponding proprietary PGN in use by Simrad equipment at all (as far as I know) and no mention of any ability to set up a VHF call in the NSS documentation.

  12. Glenn says:

    Why doesn’t the fixed mount radio have built in GPS, a la the Standard-Horizon?
    GPS integration is the single biggest problem confronting recreational craft DSC radios….as the USCG have said.

  13. paul greenhalgh says:

    I had hoped there might be news by now of a VHF with AIS transponder…not just a receiver. Did you here anything on this at Miami Ben?

  14. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Paul, I don’t know of any manufacturer working on a combined Class B AIS transponder and VHF radio, and in fact it may be an impossible task due to all the design regulations involved.
    I do see why combining all that hardware is attractive, just like it seems a “no-brainer” to put a GPS into a fixed VHF radio. However, I think a better solution on most boats to have all the parts — GPS, transponder, VHF, and MFD — all talking to eachother on a NMEA 2000 network. I’ve seen this work very well, and very easily, though there remain some very annoying issues like the possible lack of a standard message (PGN) for setting up a DSC call, or if there is one, lack of support for it. (Thanks for your work in this area, Henning!)

  15. bwp says:

    Garmin and Simrad are great N2k partners. I run a Garmin 740 and Simrad NSS8 both connected to a Garmin N2k backbone. They share navigational data between the Garmin GA30 GPS Antenna/Simrad GS15 GPS Antenna, the embedded sonar in the NSS8 passes temp/dept/water speed to the Garmin/both units pass nav data to my ICOM504/SH GX2100 vhf’s via NMEA0183
    Here are some screen shots.
    N2k device lists for both units…..

  16. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Tom, your message about how well N2K can work across manufacturers is great, as are all your efforts to explain the nuances of marine electronics. But it would be nice if you could get beyond those long individual photo links. Have you considered Picasa, for instance? It’s totally free and once you’ve learned it putting those photos into a single online album with captions would be a breeze. I guess Flickr offers similar features, and there are others, but my main point is that there are better tools to do the good work you seem willing to do.

  17. bwp says:

    Ben ….
    Their already in albums 7 to exact average 85 pictures per folder. Be glad to breake them out.

  18. bwp says:

    You can also use the network bridging functions of the the NSS8/740 to exchange/use NMEA 0183 data via a N2k network. In this example the NSS8 is using a Garmin GA30 (NMEA 0183) data via the Garmin 740 a hto fix own ship on the NSS8.
    Network Bridging

  19. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks for the concise link, Tom. Your first attempt was just missing one quotation mark.
    Head’s up, readers, the following html works in comments, without the outside quotes:
    Concise Link

  20. John says:

    I agree with Glenn, what about GPS integration?

  21. Mike says:

    A radio without knobs is simply and completely unacceptable.
    I can change channels *very* quickly on my Icom M-602s and 502s, almost without looking at it.
    Muscle memory is a powerful tool that button-only interfaces nullify.
    Buttons for volume and squelch are even *more* aggravating because one can operate those completely without looking at them, not even to find them.
    Synthesizers went through this when they went to software DSP implementation (ignoring the analog/digital feud), only much worse – using a mouse to manipulate knobbish things.
    Now “control surfaces” are the hottest area of MIDI devices – they let you have real knobs and sliders so real-time performance is again viable.
    Vendors who take the knobs off radios are simply exercising their free-market right to try something others have already proven is flat wrong, if not patently stupid.
    The knobs will be back, after the Stupid Tax is paid in full.

  22. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Seems like you got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, Mike. I like a channel knob too, but don’t take your absolutist stand on it.
    I struggle with highly negative comments like this, especially when the commenter is not willing to take responsibility for it with his or her full name. However, it’s good for readers to be aware of knob versus button issue, and I believe we’re all learning to take strongly worded critiques with care.
    But you then went on to use the Icom Marine Commander entry for a diatribe about whether NMEA 2000 is an open standard or not. That’s not going to happen. It’s not fair to other readers trying to learn about Icom or Icom itself. Take it to the Forum please. Also please check Panbo commenting policy: http://goo.gl/tGKK9

  23. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    I sure favor squelch and volume knobs. All things being equal, I would surely choose one radio over the other to obtain those two settings on knobs rather than buttons.

  24. Patrick says:

    Agreed Dan, and really my only complaint on the HX851… using it for general purpose radio I much prefer to grab my inexpensive Humminbird VHF with the big old knobs on top than the fancy HX851.
    Knobs are still by far the most logical and intuitive user-interface for both volume and squelch, it’s annoying manufactures as high-end as Standard Horizon and Icom even CONSIDER buttons for these functions.

  25. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I learned that Icom America has stopped calling the M92D handheld VHF a Class D radio:
    There may have been confusion because the European version of the radio purportedly does meet the Euro Class D standard, but the FCC is stricter. It seems that the only true Class D U.S. handheld VHFs are the West Marine VHF460, the Uniden MSH235, the Lowrance Link-2, and the Simrad HH36.

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