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Last updated: 4-May-09

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Icom Radio Equipment

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Since the 1970s Icom has been a major force in radio communications equipment.

While many users of Icom know the brand, some may not realise what a wide range of equipment they actually make. Whether it's HF or VHF/UHF ham radio transceivers, high power amplifiers, UHF cb radio, HF and VHF marine radio, air band radios, general purpose shortwave receivers or wide band VHF/UHF/SHF receivers, Icom has high quality equipment available.

Icom equipment sells successfully on classifieds sites, on Ebay and other auction sites and in private advertisements.

While earlier HF ham radio transceivers (IC701/710, IC720, IC740 and IC745) had mixed success, they were recognised as innovative and significant. Even in their earlier models they used phase locked loop LO generators, very slow tuning rates, excellent filter options for narrow bandwidth modes, multi-memory control systems, passband tuning, compact size, all in fully solid state design. I don't think there has ever been a tube in any ICOM radio. Update: in May 07 someone listed for sale on Ebay Australia an Icom 700T and 700R combination - apparently the first HF Icom radios - and the transmitter did have tubes in the output stages!

My first ICOM radio was an IC22A crystal controlled 2m FM radio. I later owned an IC501 six metre band multimode rig, which used a PLL vfo locked to an HF VFO to allow it to use single conversion to a 10.7 MHz IF. A very nice rig to use and I wish I hadn't sold it! I also owned several IC22S, an IC21A (base station 2m FM) and an IC701. All characterised by innovative design and good manufacture.

In the 90s Icom released some remarkable new radios. The IC736 was a well proportioned base station for HF and 6 metres, with 100w output on all bands. The IC746 followed, being more compact and having 100w also on 2 meters, all mode.

The satellite capable IC820 (144/432 MHz) produced about 40w and 35w on the 144 and 432 Mhz bands. The IC970 produced similar levels but also had two optional bands, being 1296 MHz and 2300 MHz, a first and so far the only one of the main manufacturers to produce anything capable of operating on the 13 cm band.

I started using an IC706 in 2004 in a mobile installation. This has to be one of the most successful Icom radios. While the menu system takes a little time to learn, it is a good compromise between the complex front panel with multi-function controls that would otherwise have been necessary, and the limitations on functionality that would have been necessary if the designer had been limited to six control knobs and a VFO. There are no hidden buttons in odd places and once the panel layout is learned sufficiently, the radio is quite easy to use while mobile. I have worked Japan from southern Australia on six metres from the car using an IC706.

The VHF/UHF multimode radios IC271A/H and IC471A/H were very successful radios and earned reputations for being reliable and having solid receivers that were hard to shake even nearby high power paging transmitters and other amateur signals. I have successfully used an IC271H on 144.2 MHz SSB within 50 metres of a repeater operating about 3 MHz higher. This is remarkable performance for amateur equipment and one which other radio types do not match. The IC275H also performs well under the same conditions and I have more recently used an IC910H from the same site with good results.

The IC910H is sold with the 144 and 432 MHz bands as standard inclusions, with output power levels of 100w and 75w on those two bands respectively. By adding the 23cm module, you get a three band VHF/UHF radio which is ideal for field day operation, giving those three useful bands in one reasonably compact package. I have recently added the DSP module to my IC910H and have found that in some conditions the DSP filtering gives quite a good improvement in readability of weak signals.

My Icom at Ebay page lists radios currently for sale at Ebay Australia.

You can also find Icom radios for sale at Use the advanced search option to list the Icom ads.

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