Icom IC-208h Mobile Dual Band

Started by Scott, September 01, 2012, 11:57:57 PM

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Pet peeve -- when people try to tell me that a radio with a single receiver isn't a "dual band" radio.  Hint: if it can operate on two bands, it's a dual-band radio, whether it can operate on both of them at the same time or not.

Enter the Icom IC-208h, a dual-band (don't you dare argue with me) mobile rig of much renown.

Honestly, they're awesome basic radios.  Big display is great for mobile use, single receiver keeps the noise down, and you can literally do ALMOST EVERYTHING from the microphone, which is a huge plus while operating mobile because after you learn the rig, you won't even look at the display anymore.  Your thumb will do everything, while you pay attention to teenaged girls in Honda Civics that are too busy texting their cheerleading friends to be bothered watching what lane they're in.

These radios also come with the remote head / separation kit, which is very nice if you're limited on real estate in the front of the vehicle.  I have mine mounted on the center of the dash with double-sided tape, with the wire running to the glove box, then along the center console to the radio's mounting location on the back of the center console. 

Audio is stellar for what it is, they've got something ridiculous like 500 memory locations, and they put up a full 55W/50W on 2m / 70cm (if that's a thing for you.  My opinion is that "power is over-rated."  It's a pun, get it??  Nevermind).

It's got its drawbacks, though.  For one, Icom has been saying for almost a year that it's to be discontinued, but failed to come through with even a prototype of the replacement at Dayton this year.  For another, they're comparatively expensive when held beside competing models -- remember, this is a single-VFO dual-band mobile, but they retail for like $350 or something.  That's a touch high, even for quality products like Icom.

Speaking of Icom, accessories aren't cheap.  A replacement mic is about $100.  I kinda need that explained to me -- how is it that $100 out of $350 for the radio is just the microphone?! 

It has a digital interface (awesome for FM digital modes like MT63-1000 if that's your thing) and can be programmed from software, but you need the fancy Icom cable ($$$).  Also, Icom has NO* cross-band repeat equipment in their current catalog, and seems disinterested in bringing that feature to market (* don't argue with me about the V880 -- nobody runs D-star and you know it).  If you need cross-band repeat for your ARES public service events and for building ad-hoc repeaters with your similarly equipped cross-banding teammates, this is not the radio for you.

So, while the IC-208h is a strong radio for its size, you might find it to be overpriced for the somewhat lean feature load on it.  I run one of these indoors as a base station and another mobile in a compact sedan, and both have been great at what they do.

They just don't do very much beyond the very basics.


I picked up a similar model the Icom ic-207h dual band single receiver.
Got it cheap from a local ham who thought a bit hard to program.
I googled the steps and programed it in about five minutes as you said all from the mic.
Very small and robust radio, very low power usage on receive so will run on batt for a long time if your listening.
perfect for solar panel use.
I highly recommend one of these for anyone's faraday box, as I know 10yrs from now dig it up attach a batt and an antenna and it will most likely work.


Quote from: Chasrobin on September 06, 2012, 01:20:03 PM
I picked up a similar model the Icom ic-207h dual band single receiver.
Got it cheap from a local ham who thought a bit hard to program.
Lucky you.  I have an IC-207h in my Jeep, and I swear it's waterproof.  :D  It's been soaked over and over and still works great.  Solid radios.

And by the way, when your HM-98 microphone breaks, and it will because the PTT switch is crap, the HM-133 from the IC-208 WILL work!!  Tone scan from the mic is the only feature I've seen not function correctly with the IC-207h; other than that, you're good to go.