I decided to put a few words out there about the ICOM M72 for those who might be in the market for a handheld VHF radio. I have only used the M72 for one season but it has turned out to be my favorite radio thus far.
I use the radio for collecting weather information, communicating with other kayakers and boaters in the area. Give that the hard shell case is exposed to the salt water all the time I choose to keep it safe in a aquapac radio case. This reduces the salt water exposure greatly. The M72 is nice and slender so when added to the aquapac it does not feel over bulky as some radios have in the past. The function buttons are all easy to use through the case. Best for me is the amount of volume you can get out of the radio. While on the water the radio may be on the deck of my kayak and the wind could be blowing hard restricting my hearing. While listening for updated weather I can easily hear the M72.
The M72 also can operate at 6 watts of power. This provides a nice strong signal, especially while kayaking along the shoreline and in and out of bays. I can still get clear reception from many boater that are far from my location.
The battery life of the M72 has been much greater than any other radio I have used in the past and it has held up against the elements better that other radios I have used. Even in a protective case other radios I have used start to get corrosion around screws and other parts of the radio. My M72 still looks brand new. It has been very reliable and I recommend checking it out if you are in the market for a radio.
The M34 tends to get a lot of attention due to the fact that is can float. Which would come in handy as a kayaker. But with proper management and tethering the radio to your kayak or yourself. There should be no problems. I simply found the M34 to bulky for me.