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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | ICOM IC-25A Help

Reviews Summary for ICOM IC-25A
ICOM IC-25A Reviews: 12 Average rating: 3.8/5 MSRP: $349.00
Description: 2 meter mobile FM transceiver
Product is not in production.
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LA2YUA Rating: 4/5 Jun 17, 2013 04:26 Send this review to a friend
Should work for APRS  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was given this radio for free since it had some issues. Several capacitors in the power supply section and some coupling capacitors had failed quite spectacularly. My edition seems to have had a hard life, with signs of multiple circuit board fractures and replaced components. Power output was unstable due to a poorly soldered coax connector on the TX board. The hand microphone also had issues.

There's no memory backup battery inside, and I measured the CPU current draw to be about 7mA meaning any battery that could fit inside the radio would only provide a few hours memory. By default it will lose memory even when turned off, but still connected to the 13.8V. This can be solved by connecting the 13.8V input to the normally unused pin in the power-molex connector, this was where the BU-1 external battery pack connected, the input is wired internally to the 7805 regulator meaning it can accept a pretty wide voltage range. Keep in mind it will pull several mA from the battery as long as it's connected like that.

A very neat feature of this model is it provides a straight 8V power output on pin 2 of the mic-connector according to the schematic. This means it can be used to power a TNC/APRS tracker with no additional wires except for the rear ext. speaker connector. I expect to use the radio like this as a APRS tracker and potentially as a mobile digipeater in my car, I'll leave the memory backup line connected to the radio battery and turn the radio on/off from the ignition power.
The low-power mode is easily adjusted up to 5W from the normal 1, and I'll have the full 25W for more remote operations.
K7VO Rating: 5/5 Sep 3, 2005 13:43 Send this review to a friend
Geat radio in it's day; good choice for 2m on a tight budget  Time owned: more than 12 months
Once upon a time I had the IC-25A, the matching IC-45A 440MHz rig, and the matching IC-120 23cm mobile. They were great radios in their day. If you installed Icom's BU-1 option they retained their memories when powered off. CTCSS (PL) tones were an option on the IC-45A and the IC-120 but not the IC-25A, largely because at the time these rigs were new PL wasn't common on 2m.

What made these radios great was the receiver, which was very hot. These rigs were not intermod prone like later models which went well outside the band. Transmit audio reports were always good and the radio was built like a little tank. It was not a failure-prone model.

I eventually went to dual band and later multi-band rigs so I sold my IC-25A, but for the years I had it I must say it always served me well. These are available for next to nothing on the used market. If you understand their limitations and can live within them the IC-25A can be a great, inexpensive way to get on 2m FM even today. Just add that tone board (or external tone box) and you're ready.
AC6AN Rating: 3/5 Sep 2, 2005 12:01 Send this review to a friend
Back to basics...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I picked up one of those in a swap meet for next to nothing. The radio works well for basic communications, but has a few defficiencies.
First I installed the Comm-Spec SS-32, which I had laying around. It works just fine and enables the radio to operate on repeaters, provided their PL is 100 Hz... You can install switches to change the PL tone, but that gets quite involved, rather than a small project. In my case, the two repeaters which I care to work have 100 Hz PL. You may be less lucky than me...
Cheapskates can build a PL board for a few bucks, if you think that the Comm-Spec boards are too expensive.
Next, this rig does not retain memories when the power is turned off, which makes it useless as a mobile radio for daily use.
If you connect it to switched power, then you have to program frequencies every time you turn the car on. The only reasonable option is to use unswitched power and make sure you turn the radio off when you are not in the car. When (and not if!) you forget to do so, it will drain your battery at a rate of 350mA - squelched. Not nice!
There are solutions to this issue, but they are more involved than the average ham would care to do, I believe.
So, bottom line is that the IC-25A is a poor fit for its intended use - mobile operation. Opposite to common saying, I'd recommend that you leave home without it...
For base station tasks - voice or packet - it is not bad at all. It runs a little hot, but so do most modern rigs.
For me, five memory channels plus the VFO "channel" are just fine. I don't scan many repeaters or other services. I used this radio for my "usual" 2 meter activity - talk to my friends mainly on two repeaters and one simplex frequency. For these tasks from a home base, the IC-25A is a fine workhorse and you can't get "more radio" for $20-30 these days.
K5NT Rating: 5/5 Apr 22, 2004 15:47 Send this review to a friend
Rock-Solid!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought mine new years ago, and it has performed flawlessly. After all this time, it still does everything it is supposed to do, and does it well. I plan to install the Communications Specialties SS-64 tone encoder board, available from AES and others for less than $30. Installation instructions for the 25A are on the Communications Specialties website. That will allow me to access the repeaters I can't get into at present. Why buy a new transceiver when this one still works so well and can be so easily upgraded?
VE7NGR Rating: 4/5 Aug 8, 2002 23:25 Send this review to a friend
Follow-up to my previous review  Time owned: more than 12 months
Since writing my earlier review, I managed to obtain a copy of the manual (I didn't have one before). My comment about only doing 600Hz offset is incorrect - the offset can be set to anything from 0 to 9.9 MHz, but only in 100 kHz steps (still not suitable for ISS - at least in region 2).

I have also found out how the battery backup works. I'll provide this info to anyone who needs it - just send me an email at
VE7NGR Rating: 4/5 Mar 12, 2002 20:40 Send this review to a friend
Great packet radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I picked up a used IC-25A a couple years ago, and use it for a packet rig. It came without a mic, so I haven't tried it on phone.

A few shortcomings:
No tones (but doesn't matter for packet)
Only does 600hz offset (no good for the ISS digipeater)
Looses memories if it looses power. If there's a power outage, my packet station is down until I remember to reprogram it. Apparently a battery can be hooked up to preserve the memories, but I haven't tried it yet.

Overall I am very happy with this radio. It makes a great packet radio - I'd like to pick up a couple more eventually.
WG8X Rating: 4/5 Mar 8, 2002 11:51 Send this review to a friend
Ultimate Packet/APRS Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I also use my 25A 24hours a day for packet operation and APRS. I bought this little rig for $50.00 at Vienna's Winterfest. It came with an Icom HM-12 mic. Although this isn't the mic it came with originally, it did a good job when I was testing it. I rated this a radio a 4 because the memories will erase if you disconnect the radio form the 12VDC supply. I am thinking about designing a fix for this design flaw. If you find one of these in good shape I would recommend buying it if you are planning on setting up a 24/7 packet or APRS station. Depending on its condition, I would probably pay up to $75.00. With a 25W output, you would be silly using a new radio for packet/aprs anyway. This is the one.
WA0DTH Rating: 5/5 Dec 20, 2001 10:06 Send this review to a friend
Built to last  Time owned: more than 12 months
I use my 25A 24hours a day for packet operation.
Bought it used back around 1989.
I have a friend who has run his almost continously for packet operation for the last 20yrs.
The memory in the radio will go dumb if you remove power so you dont want to loose power.
I heard ICOM made a little battery pack to put in the power supply line just to power memory.
After all this time the LED display is a little dimmer, but performance wise it is still going strong.
The helical filters in the front end vertually eliminate intermod.
If you find one of these used in good shape
Go for it.
KD5CTI Rating: 4/5 Nov 28, 2001 00:23 Send this review to a friend
A fine rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got mine at the Socorro Hamfest in 1997. Never had any problems with it. Wish it could do subaudible tones....
WD8WV Rating: 4/5 Feb 1, 2001 09:57 Send this review to a friend
Good Little Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own one of these now and had another that I traded a friend. I have had no problems with either. The one thing is that not just any microphone will work on the radio. It has to be a dynamic microphone. My first one I put a microphone on it that was not a dynamic and I had crummy audio reports, but when I put the dynamic mic on no one new if I was on my RS HTX212 or the IC25A. They also make great packet/APRS rigs.
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