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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Icom IC-2SA Help

Reviews Summary for Icom IC-2SA
Reviews: 1 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: Enjoy the features of a full-sized handheld with a
transceiver that fits snugly in the palm of your hand. The
super-lightweight IC-2SA/SE has a full 5 W output power, 48
memory channels, VFO scan and memory scan functions. All
functions are performed very easily at the touch of just a
few switches and controls.
Product is not in production.
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VK3ZGP Rating: 5/5 May 20, 2013 08:19 Send this review to a friend
Reliable Performer  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Icom “S” series IC-2SA/IC-2SE, single band, 2m, 5W transceivers were the smallest handheld transceivers in the late 1980s. We are still using two IC-2SA transceivers I bought new with my YL back in the 1980s. I've been so impressed by the reliability of the Icom IC-2SA that I recently bought the matching 70cm IC-4SA, plus another IC-2SA and a dual-band IC-24AT.

There were two main variants of the these “S” series transceivers the IC-2SE for Europe and the IC-2SA for the rest of the world. These two variants used different processors and the major difference was the IC-2SE included a default 1750Hz tone burst for repeater access. The band edges for the transmit frequency range is programmed using diodes soldered onto the PCB. Refer to the Instruction and Service manuals for country details.

The transceiver doesn't have a keypad but has three buttons on the front panel. It relies on a menu system for configuration. The display is relatively small with correspondingly tiny text which can make it a little difficult to program. The back light is relatively dim and uneven but still usable at night. Once set up I find the operation of the transceiver relatively simple even without a keypad. There is no option to clone settings or store the settings on a PC.

The IC-2SA/SE and IC-4SA/SE share the same menu system and hardware options which is why I bought a cheap, secondhand IC-4SA and not a more modern 70cm handheld. In the “S” series the physically larger IC-2SAT/SET, IC-3SAT (220MHz). IC-4SAT/SET plus the IC-24AT/ET have DTMF style keypads for programming and control.

To access repeaters that require sub-audible CTCSS tones the IC-2SA/SE and IC-4SA/SE require a UT-50 tone squelch encoder/decoder module to be installed. Clone UT-50 modules are currently advertised on eBay. Icom sold a UT-51 tone encoder module but that has less capability than the UT-50 I prefer to install. These transceivers were typically sold without any option modules. If you need CTCSS then factor that into the cost of purchase.

A UT-49 DTMF decoder module could be fitted but this module only provided limited paging and a code squelch function. The code format is very restrictive and few transceivers would be compatible.. Although I've had the UT-49 option fitted for about 25 years I have never used it and I now view it as a useless gimmick.

The IC-2SA receiver is susceptible to nearby high power transmitters even out of band transmitters such as Pager systems. It does include a wideband receiver that covers from low-band VHF to Low-band UHF. but doesn't include a wideband FM demodulator so audio from FM broadcast stations is distorted. The frequency coverage and performance of the receiver is not specified outside the 2m band and limits will vary with circuit tolerances. My IC-2SAs will not receive down to anywhere near the 6m band or up to the 70cm band so it doesn't permit any form of cross-band operation.

5W RF output is only specified at 13.8V while most battery packs were 7.2V NiCads and only good for 2W output. Only the battery pack operating time (4:1 Rx/Tx) varied across the range from the smallest BP-81 (0.9 hrs) through to the BP-84 (8.5 hrs). While the 12V BP-85 battery pack was rated at 2.1 hrs but at high power. The BP-90 (6x AA battery holder) was not rated.

There have been some breaks of years between use of these handhelds and after long periods without power they sometimes appear dead with no display when powered on but all that I have ever needed to do is perform a reset of the CPU following the maintenance instructions in the rear of the Instruction Manual. Aftermarket batteries are still available and these days I prefer to use BP-90 battery packs that hold 6x AA batteries. The other alternative is to rebuild old Icom battery packs.

These transceivers have two modes of operation, either a simple function mode that is limited but easier to navigate, or a multi-function mode that is more complex but provides full functionality. At different places in the later, simplified Instruction Manual Icom refers to Simple mode as Normal mode just to add to the confusion. I have always used Multi-Function mode and never seen a reason to drop back into simple mode.

The earlier Instruction Manual (A-5048-1EX 1989) explained in great detail all the Simple and Multi-Function modes of the IC-2SA but that was not seen as user friendly so Icom released a large, double-sided “Tech Talk” sheet with a truncated Instruction manual (A-50685-1EX 1989) that only covers Simple mode. You must refer to the “Tech Talk” sheet for Multi-Function mode. Only the truncated manual and the “Tech Talk” sheet are available online from Icom. I actually prefer to use the full Instruction Manual with limited use of the sheet.

I'm extremely happy with the performance of the IC-2SA units and intend to keep using them until they fail. You should be able to buy modern, more capable transceivers for the same price or less than the current price of a secondhand IC-2SA.

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