Ergonomically, the Icom M72 is tops. Its lightweight, fits into one hand well, and is comfortable to hold and use.
A very powerful battery provides the muscle for a 6-watt transmitter, the highest output power rating of any handheld VHF we’ve tested.
This radio is operated with a rotary on/off/volume control located on top, a push-to-talk and a squelch button on the side, and six pushbuttons on the front panel.
Front panel controls select transmitter power, channel changing, weather, quick 16 or 9, and scanning. An optional microphone or speaker connects through a port in the top.
Overall the performance of this radio was good. However, it fell a bit short in transmitter frequency stability because the transmitter went off frequency by a small amount after emerging from the heat chamber. It was still within design specifications and completely usable.
Audio output blew away the competition by hitting 99 dBA.
Receive sensitivity was excellent and Icom rates selectivity at a very respectable 70 db.
Tested battery life was excellent with the transmitter still pumping out plenty of power even after 15 hours of use. One downside: Replacing its 2000 mAH Lithium Ion battery will cost you nearly as much as the radio itself: $130.
Following submersion test, we noticed a small amount of water in the battery compartment. 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 this radio, the gasket is small and only covers this critical area.
This handheld is a well-built radio with highly rated ergonomics, good performance, and excellent battery life. Battery replacement cost is high. This radio carries a 3-year warranty.