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Icom M88 Review

The Icom IC M88 is an expensive sub-compact handheld VHF packing loads of features into a lightweight package about the size of a bar of soap.

The Icom M 88 controls include a rotary on/off/volume control located on top, a push-to-talk and a squelch button located on the side, and six front panel pushbuttons.

icom ic m88 handheld vhf radio

Icom IC M88

These buttons control transmitter power, channel changing, weather, quick 16 or 9, and scanning. An optional external speaker/microphone plugs in on the side.


This handheld radio performed superbly, earning good ratings for both transmitter power output and stability. Receive sensitivity was rated excellent. Icom says the M88 has 70 dB of receive selectivity, as high as most handhelds we tested. Audio output hit a high of 93 dBA.

Battery Life

During the battery-life test it was one of only a few radios still functioning after 15 hours and it was going strong even then, pumping out plenty of transmitter power during our final check.

To replace the 1700 mAH Lithium Ion battery found in the M88 will set you back a whopping $122.

Following submersion test, we noticed the battery compartment had some minor water intrusion. According to Icom Advertising Manager, Dave Kruzic, water in the battery area is not a problem for Icom radios. He said no gasketing is needed between the battery and radio to prevent water intrusion.

Where it is important to protect against water intrusion is where the battery contact points meet the radio mainframe. If you look at the Icom IC M88, the gasket is small and only covers this critical area.

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If you do happen to submerge the radio, remove it from the water and shake the radio off. You should hear a small suction “snap” when removing the battery and the contact point seal is disrupted. It should be dry in that small area.

Final Thoughts

The Icom handheld is a great performer, but itÂ’s expensive and so is battery replacement. This radio carries a 3-year warranty.