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November 235 minute read

A handheld radio is a great item to carry in your 4WD. They make life easy – guiding wheel placements on tricky lines, staying in communication while scouting the track ahead, reversing campers, positioning for photography, as a backup or for loaning to your friends.

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Let’s jump in and take a look at the Icom IC-41PRO. When we critique gear, build quality is always at the top of our list – features and aesthetics matter little in gear that stops working.

Handheld radios tend to cop the worst of it. Rain, mud, dust and drops are all most likely a question of when.

The ICOM IC41-PRO is IP67 certified. The IP stands for International Protection Code. The first number indicates the protection against access to hazardous parts and ingress of solid foreign objects. A level 6 here is the maximum score. The second digit indicates the level of protection provided against harmful ingress of water. A level 7 indicates this radio is protected against immersions up to a metre for 30 minutes.

From a quality perspective it’s comforting to see ‘Made in Japan’ stamped inside, and the metal internal casing is another positive. It’s also rare to see a 5 year warranty offered on electronics.

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With 5 watts output the ICOM IC41-PRO delivers crystal communications. Handheld to handheld. Handheld to vehicle. While exploring or in the wind this radio simply works.

The battery has a whopping 18 hours of operating time, and while we don’t have figures, these batteries seem to hold charge when switched off – if only our cameras were so frugal. Spare batteries are available and the radios can be charged via 240V (charger included) or 12V (charger optional).

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The IC-41-PRO is considerably more compact than it’s predecessor the IC-41W. We’ve opted to use the optional stubby antennas with our radios which makes them even more compact again.

The supplied flexible antenna is 470-520MHz band, and the stubby antenna is 450-490MHz band.  

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It’s effortless to select one of the 80 channels simply by rotating the large channel selector. The on/off and volume functions are combined for intuitive usage.  

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The sturdy clip makes carrying the radio on belts, in pockets or on bags easy.

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There’s something comforting about gear that you feel confident will work well over many years of trips, and the IC-41PRO is that kind of product.

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Mike Collister has spent his life outdoors. He has represented Australia as a slalom kayaker, guided whitewater expeditions in Nepal, and taught outdoor education and wilderness medicine. He’s paddled the Kimberley’s Fitzroy River in the wet season and across the Bass Strait and is an avid photographer, overlander and camper.