MIBS 2023 – Icom 510BB VHF radio
The Miami International Boat Show (MIBS) is the first major show of the year. As a result, it’s frequently where we see manufacturers showing off their latest products. This year was no exception. I walked the show floor, finding the latest and greatest offerings in the marine technology space. I’m going to do a series of posts on what I found. The first up is Icom’s M510BB black box VHF radio.
The M510BB is Icom’s latest black-box radio, and although it shares most of its model number with the M510, there are some significant differences. Most notably, the M510BB doesn’t have the smartphone integration of the M510 nor a color display. But, it does have an NMEA 2000 interface built into the main radio, whereas the M510 relies on the CT-M500 interface box for NMEA 2000 connectivity.
The M510BB offers an integrated AIS receiver, a 2-minute digital recording buffer, hailer and horn functionality, an integrated GPS receiver, remote DSC triggering, and support for up to three command mics. With multiple command mics, the system also supports intercom functionality between stations.
Icom will also offer an M410BB with support for two command mics, no remote DSC, and without the 2-minute recording function. Icom hasn’t announced official pricing yet but the radios should be available in the second quarter of this year.
This seems more like it should have been called the M605BB – features line up nearly 100%. 510’s halo feature was the phone stuff – and that not being present here is a miss.
yes, the 510 is almost perfect, except they chose to scalp us for the additional interface $… simply to get nmea2000 … which frankly these days should be standard ! .. the incremental cost really is minimal … in a radio that retails for way over $700 !!
I agree completely. Icom lost quite a few installations when the 510 came out. It is a beautiful radio but they missed the boat entirely on the structure and pricing of it.
The pricing for the 510 (dash mount and not the topic of discussion here) + second unit isn’t the blocker for me. It’s the fact that I now have extra sets of power cables and another box that turns the install looking kind of crummy. Also the display is lacking a number pad but doesn’t seem like an efficient use of space, which I prefer to spinning a dial to get to 68 or whatever other channel – so I don’t feel like having this on the dash vs a black box, is a win. The M510 dash unit looks dated, and it’s not like my Furuno TZT3 stuff looks super modern to begin with – but the age of 4″ screens for AIS/etc.. is over. The other missing feature is the “last call” feature on other icoms.
What I want is an “M610” both in dash mount and black box (or maybe just sell a black box and offer command heads) with the phone integration (running the app and being able to use AirPods is pretty awesome), last call, and number pads on command mic/heads.
Outside the above, the 510 is a great VHF – I hear distant stations well, and they report hearing me exceptionally clearly. This is the part of the equation that others seem to overlook – and probably the most important in a VHF.
It’s really interesting, my first reaction to the external box was also negative. I looked at it and thought it was an unnecessary additional component plus it put the NMEA 2000 connection the wrong side of WiFi connection and that seemed like a potential additional source of issues.
But, every time I talk to Icom I hear how well the M510 is selling and how well it’s been received. I don’t know how to explain the disconnect. Perhaps Icom would be shocked to learn how many more they would sell without this decision. Or, perhaps we are over-estimating how many people care enough to not buy the radio.
I’m with you on the disconnect issue. Well, that, and salesmen lie.
This seems like yet another swing-and-a-miss from Icom.
Has anyone seen a B&G V100 yet? It was announced several years ago.
Not just the cost even if external box was free it is just something else to fail. I can’t believe Icom did it on a high end radio like the 510. Maybe they will fix it in 3-5 years when whatever next comes out 520 or 510 doesn’t suck edition.