The Icom M34 is a totally new handheld design and the first handheld VHF we’ve tested that is designed to float.
The case is just under 6 inches tall, about 2.5 inches wide and a tad less than 2 inches deep. It weighs a meager 10.8 ounces and floated on the surface during our dunk test.
Icom does advise that should you use AAA batteries to power the unit in place of the supplied 980mAH Lithium-Ion battery, it may not float. Also maximum power output is reduced to 2 watts with AAA batteries.
It has front panel pushbutton control for volume, squelch, channel selection, and scan and a top-mounted external speaker-microphone jack located next to the pushbutton on/off switch.
The display screen shows volume and squelch settings, channel group, scan setting, and battery status with icons or level indicators. Backlighting comes on automatically anytime a button is pressed.
Overall this Icom handheld performed respectably during our round of testing earning excellent ratings for transmitter power output and receive sensitivity.
It managed good ratings for the display screen and audio quality. Audio output was 92 dBA, as high as any radio in this price range.
At temperature extremes, especially at warm temperatures, the radio tended to drift a bit off frequency, not enough to adversely effect performance, but enough to lower its rating transmitter frequency stability rating to fair.
The M34, with its 980 mAH Lithium Ion battery lasted 12 hours in our battery life test. The warranty period on the battery is 12 months. Battery replacement cost is $50.
We found this handheld VHF radio to be a good overall performer with a reasonable price tag, plus it floats. A big plus for a radio used around the water.
This Icom handheld radio carries a 3-year warranty.