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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Icom IC-T81A/E Help

Reviews Summary for Icom IC-T81A/E
Icom IC-T81A/E Reviews: 52 Average rating: 3.7/5 MSRP: $290
Description: Quad band handheld transiever
Product is in production.
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SWL377 Rating: 3/5 Feb 17, 2016 16:43 Send this review to a friend
Meh... Just OK, but fun.   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Battery HOG. Runs through even a new BP 200 batt FAST. Quad rocker switch is too small and is also twitchy, very hard to hit center button reliably. Actually surprised me on 1.2, since it has an RIT control I was expecting drft problems but didnt encounter them. Maybe AFC on repeater radios compensated for it. Works fine at 1.2 GHz. Didnt get any 6M FM QSOs, that band has little activity where I live. tried 2M 440 and 1.2 and got great sig reports on those 3 bands. Scan function works well. If you can find one cheap ($80-$100) buy it as its a fun HT despite its shortcomings.
W4KVW Rating: 4/5 Oct 31, 2014 20:38 Send this review to a friend
Does what I wanted {:>)  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well I picked up my T81A a week ago along with the wall charger,drop in charger,two batteries (1) 680 mah & (1) 800 mah as well as the AA battery pack.Also came with the stock antenna,box,& manual & the original bill of sale.I have lots of HT's but none of them did 6 meters & we are getting ready to put a 6 meter repeater up locally so I decided for $100 it was well worth it.I did not need the 1200 mhz band but it's OK if it does not get used.I like the size & weight of the HT & the only feature I don't care for is the multi function button as many others have stated above.Can't figure out what ICOM was thinking on that control but I am only planning on using the HT for local 6 meter repeater use & maybe some 6 meter simplex with a couple of local guys.I have plenty of base 6 meter rigs if I need more power as well as 6 meter all modes in my mobile if needed.As I said for the money I invested it was a No Brainer buying it since it also has 2 meters & 440 mhz if I should want or need them as well. At the price I paid I think most anyone would have been more than happy taking it home & I purchased it from the original owner who had taken very good care of it as I do my own gear. It's an ICOM so I expect that it will perform as all of the rest that I own.I also live close to the local repeaters(1 mile)so the stock antenna does just fine for me as well.If not for the multi function button I'd have given it a 5 but I'm being as honest as possible & Yes I am a Die Hard ICOM Man but it's NOT a 5 in my opinion. {:>)

AA1PR Rating: 5/5 Apr 25, 2012 19:41 Send this review to a friend
1.2 GHZ or 23cm !!!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I go this back in 2003 or so for the 23cm capabilities

like everything on this radio except the toggle button

just wish it had 220 in it from the factory
KF5CGM Rating: 5/5 Sep 28, 2010 10:11 Send this review to a friend
Great little thing  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Besides the battery, and the antenna, I like this radio.
I got it used as my first radio and after upgrading to a MFJ-1720 antenna, I could improve the range greatly.

The batteries I got with it were almost death, but I got the AA pack with it, so I could use my own AA rechargeable with it.

The BP-200xl I got works great too, besides the fact that the clip broke of to easy.
KD0GCH Rating: 4/5 Jul 5, 2010 13:22 Send this review to a friend
nice rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
just got one in a trade.this is a upgrade from my vx 170.the rx could be wider for all the tx.other than that i get good reports.if you plan to buy on you will need a aftermarket whip for it.
KD5SPJ Rating: 5/5 Feb 28, 2008 09:04 Send this review to a friend
A lot better!  Time owned: months
So, after dealing with the non existant battery life I bought a Batteires America BP-200XL for the T81A/E, and sat the stock rubber ducky on the mantle and bought a (2M) Diamond SRH77CA.

On the battery, After a full night on the charger, I left the radio on to see how much time I got. After about an hour of talking the first day on high power, a I left it on all night, next day still working! Talked for about 15 minutes on high, left on all night again still working and finally dies that day.

The antenna worked great on 2m and even works well on 70cm! It IS only a 2m ant but dies hit the fringe 440 repeaters better than the stock antenna. It really improves the reception and transmit capability on 2m over the stocker by quite a margin.
N0VKG Rating: 5/5 Feb 24, 2008 09:20 Send this review to a friend
Programming thru the keypad is the weakness/flaw...  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had this radio since about 2000 or 2001. I know why this radio gets its bad reviews. Its because this is an aweful radio to program using the keypad. Made worse by the poor instruction manual. I have found the solution. Get your hands on the iCOM OPC-478UC cable and download a copy of the CS-T81 software. Install the software, and program the radio thru the computer. Problem solved. Its makes a world of differance in this nice little radio. My whole view (review) of this radio changed once I programmed it for the first time using this software package. It makes a differance... A big differance. Try it... You won't be sorry... Its military spec toughness is awesome. Before the software, I was going to give it a poor 2/5 rating due to aweful keypad programming steps. But now, the IC-T81A is going to get what it truely deserves: 5/5
The software is truely the correct way to program this radio reliably.
VR2XMQ Rating: 3/5 Feb 21, 2008 21:57 Send this review to a friend
Love and Hate Relationship!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Can't live with it and can't live without it.

Hate Side:
The operation of the unit is a proverbial pain in the butt and a ham's worst nightmare. It is entirely non-user friendly. The battery is next to useless (a wet rag would probably be about the same) and you really need to buy a high capacity battery from third parties. The cigar looking ducky I think is just for looks and does not perform very well at all, it's really not a keeper - just get the Diamond SRH-999 and now your talking.

Love Side:
Quad bands, what more can you ask for? Best thing before I got the FT-817ND, but the ND does not have 23CM. Great wide band receiver. All the functions you could ask for are there.

It's not bad, just the issues on the hate side gave it a 3 rating otherwise it would have been a 5.

Steve, VR2XMQ
KD5SPJ Rating: 5/5 Nov 6, 2007 10:42 Send this review to a friend
Love hate...well dislike  Time owned: more than 12 months
I do love most about the T81A/E. I love it's size, reliability, ergonomics, power, the fact that it is a quad bander in a HT, and it's overall performance. The only things I don't like is the battery consumption or performance cycle or life. My stock battery is finally dying after owning this radio for about 5 years, but it never lasted very long cycle wise.

I never got more than an hour out of it, even on low power. I did just order the BP220HL which is twice the amperage than the wimpy stock 700mah unit. And at only 60 bucks it is a great deal. I'll write a review on it after I have had it a while.

On the radio, the only thing I only sort of dislike is the funky multi function switch.

Sometimes it works great, sometimes it doesn't, but that is operator related and due to my inattention or thick fingers. I only wish they would have done either directional separate buttons, or a toggle, as it is easy to make a choice that wasn't the one you wanted to make on the round multi function switch. Other than that mentioned, it is a GREAT little very function rich radio I would recommend to anyone who needed all four bands in one unit.
K5LDL Rating: 3/5 Nov 2, 2007 09:38 Send this review to a friend
Ummmm... Not so hot  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had my T81a for a little over two years before it died a fiery death in my truck when it caught fire. To be honest, when I could get it to work, it worked flawlessly. When it didn't work, it just was frustrating.

Oh hell, the radio worked fine; the features were all there, even the 4 bands it worked on were worked in great fashion. I loved this rig, except for three issues...

This radio is really a techie radio nut's dream: 4 bands, wide receiver, good audio, loaded with features, power levels...

It's also a radio operator's nighmare. Icom's battery pack for this radio didn't last at all, power shuts down in the middle of a QSO... and that infamous rocker switch. Mine was a little 'loose' to begin with and getting it to hit and land on the band or feature I needed was always a 'hit or miss' proposition. Arggggh!

I give it a solid 3 for it not for its shortcomings, and I really tried to love this radio.

Pros: 4 bands in one rig! 6m, 2m, 70cm and 1.2GHz! Good power levels, good audio, good fit in my hand.

Cons: that damned multi-position-multi-function rocker switch, Icom's poor battery performance, 50 watt dummy load for an antenna, and no Icom software to program this rig. All told, the best things for this radio came from third parties.

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