The radio's layout is straightforward and easy to use, with a half
dozen clearly labeled buttons on the front panel and a volume/power knob
along the top. The radio's rugged body, meanwhile, meets military
specifications for durability, so you can rough it up at sea or on land
without fearing a breakdown. Other design details include 5 watts of
output power for reliable communication over long distances, a
surprisingly compact chassis that fits easily in the palm of your hand,
and a two-step power saver that preserves battery life.
The IC-M88 also offers several scanning modes, including an auto scan
function that starts scanning whenever no signal is detected, a
traditional scan mode that searches through all the tag channels in
sequence, a priority scan mode that does the same but also monitors the
distress channel (number 16), and a weather alert option that
immediately switches the radio to the appropriate weather channel when a
storm warning comes through. Users will also dig the Dual Watch and
Tri-Watch functions. The former lets you communicate on a channel of
your choice while also keeping an eye on channel 16, while the latter
monitors two channels--channel 16 and another channel--while receiving a
third channel. The pair of "watch" modes guarantee that you won't miss
an important emergency call from a distressed boater while your
attention is otherwise engaged.
Additional features include a lithium-ion battery pack that delivers
up to 15 hours of talk time per charge, instant access to channels 16
and 9, a key lock function, a four-level battery life indicator, a
programmable beep sound, and a self-check function that monitors the
internal temperature, connected battery voltage, and water intrusion.
Bundled with such accessories as a drop-in charger, swivel belt clip,
and hand strap, the IC-M88 radio measures 2.44 by 3.81 by 1.53 inches (W
x H x D) and is backed by a three-year warranty.
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