Japanese marine radio specialist Icom has just launched its brand new Icom M804 long-range radio in Europe for long distance communications.


The Icom M804 long-range radio is currently the only single sideband system that has the all-important CE mark approval.

This means it can be sold to European customers and installed in European boats because it conforms to the new Radio Equipment Directive.

SSB radio is often installed by bluewater cruisers looking for a subscription-free means of staying in touch with land.

The medium and high frequencies used by SSB mean that signals can carry further than 4,000 miles with the right combination of weather and user skill.

It makes SSB a good way of staying in touch with other boats during an ocean crossing. It will also receive weather updates and routing information.

The addition of a separate Pactor modem even allows the system to be used for sending and receiving digital data. You can transfer small emails or GRIB files, for instance.

Icom’s latest model will be familiar to anyone who has used their other equipment, as it is based on the GM800 model for commercial vessels.

It is packed with features, including a 4.3-inch colour TFT LCD screen, audio replay, GPS and DSC calling.

Pressing the large ‘distress’ button in an emergency sends an automated digital distress signal. This includes your GPS coordinates, and calls for help from other ships or coastal stations.

The dedicated DSC watch-keeping receiver also continuously scans the six distress channels in rotation.

A total of 100 MMSI numbers (75 Individual and 25 Group) for DSC calls can be stored with a 10-character ID name. Large soft keys and an intuitive interface make it simple to enter data or use the different functions.

There is good connectivity, supporting both NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183. And it supports HF email access with up to 160 presets for email frequencies.

The Icom M804 long-range radio is also compatible with Icom’s AT-141 automatic antenna tuning unit.

Pricing is £3,720 including VAT, or £3,958.80 with the AT-141 unit.