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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | ICOM T8a Help

Reviews Summary for ICOM T8a
ICOM T8a Reviews: 23 Average rating: 3.1/5 MSRP: $419.00
Description: TRI-BAND HT
Product is in production.
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KB0YOJ Rating: 4/5 Aug 4, 2001 10:56 Send this review to a friend
Great little HT  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This radio has it's problems but those problems are small compared to the radios performance. I love the wide receive coverage of the radio. The six meter band is great for the 6 meter repeaters in my area. The tone decode is a nice and very useful function. The size of the raido is great. The factory antenna is huge for this radio, I bought the dual band antenna for the Radio Shack HX-245 from radio shack online and it works great. The battery life is not as good as I would like, yet I have found a fix for that problem. Go to radio shack and get the 9.6v turbo rc racing car battery and the sell the conection to fit from that pack to the charging port on the side of the radio and that pack will last you 4-5 days with a 25-50% duty cycle. The radio is a great little rig. If the batter clip breacks just but the case for the radio and problem fixed.
Carmen Lyons
N8AUC Rating: 4/5 Oct 9, 2000 15:00 Send this review to a friend
Not a bad little rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I really like this little radio, and the closeout price I got it for made it even nicer. I can't give it a 5 in good conscience because of the problems it does have. Then again, in my book you'd better be able to walk on water to get a 5.

The bad parts:

1) Battery snap. I had a battery snap break after having the radio 30 days. Icom did way more than they had to, and went out of their way to accomodate the replacement. I understand that this problem is only with Icom made packs and that the aftermarket batteries don't have this problem (like Maha and W&W).

2) Battery Life: 2-3 hours continuous use out of a single charge. Longer durations with shorter transmit duty cycles, of course. More would be better. So I carry an alkaline cell case for now.

3) Intermod rejection: I got spoiled by my HTX-202. No other HT could meet that kind of performance. But, with such a wideband receiver you're going to pick up more crud. It's fine at home (even on a rooftop antenna) but at the office (downtown) it occasionally gets hammered. The intermod performance is about what you'd expect from a super-wideband HT. Comes with the territory - so to speak.

Now the good parts:

1) I get glowing reports on the transmitted audio quality, with the internal mike. Reports like, "I can't believe that you're on an HT - and an ICOM at that. It sounds too good."

2) Receive audio is quite good considering the tiny internal speaker.

3) Puts out a solid 5w with the BP-200 pack. Even more when using an external supply. I've seen 6 watts out of mine at times.

4) I like being to listen to EVERYTHING and transceive on 3 bands with one unit. Being license trustee for our radio club (we have six repeaters on 4 bands) I wanted to be able to keep an ear on all of them. This one unit lets me do all of that. It also lets me listen to police, fire and EMS, AM Aircraft, FM Broadcast, NOAA weather radio, GMRS and FRS too.

5) No function keys. One finger operation. Very easy to use.

6) CTCSS Tone scan is very nice and works well. It was so easy to use I didn't have to consult the manual.

7) The units' small size makes it very easy to travel with. I don't have to carry a portable scanner AND an HT anymore, with batteries for each. It's all in one nice neat little package.

Overall, I'd say it's a keeper.
KB7UUC Rating: 1/5 Jun 26, 2000 09:51 Send this review to a friend
I agree with the above  Time owned: more than 12 months
A possible fix for the aforementioned battery problem is to purchase the soft case for the ICOM T-8A (and it's 4 band brother the T-81). The soft case serves to hold the battery onto the radio after the battery clip breaks.

A comment about the T-81. The "joystick" button that Icom's japanese "engineers" have burdened us with makes this radio unusable. While the T-81 does allow alphanumeric entry from the keypad (the T-8 requires the use of a PC and programming software), the joystick is unreliable and impossible to press accurately unless you press the dead center of it with a paper clip. I suggest that all potential HT users stay away from Icom products until they abandom this idiocy. I see that they've also incorporated this "joystick" onto one of their new radios.
DOVER Rating: 1/5 Jun 26, 2000 07:07 Send this review to a friend
poor unit with many flaws  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Icom T8A is a ok radio, the battery clip has problems. I have
two batteries, one is broken and being "repaired" (sent to manufacture for replacement)
while I use the other. I find they break every 6 to 9 months of use

The 6 meter feature is a bit of a joke considering the attached antenna
(not much of a 6 meter antenna). If you want to use 6 meter I
recommend the use of a external antenna of some kind.

I am not happy with some of the "features" such as that you can NOT
name memories from the keypad, that feature requires of PC programing interface
(extra cost).

The PC programing interface is flaky at best (I have press on the earphone
jack to get a it to work). If a load fails it leave my radio in a state with all the
memories erased. On more then one occasion I have had to manualy re-enter all
my saved channels cause the software erased them when I tryied to reload my radio
with named memories.

If you use a generic speaker mic with the keypad locked I have noticed the unit
will sometimes change channels if the mic connector is jiggled.

Another failure is the unit can not use cross band repeaters, that is it only
allow repeater will up to 60Mhz. The unit will not crossband repeat either (but I did
not expect it to).

When compairing with my yeasu FT50 I have notice my FT50 can reach repeaters with strength
while the ICOM T8a can even get the repeater to key up.
KF4GIH Rating: 2/5 May 8, 2000 13:03 Send this review to a friend
battery release tab  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The Icom T8A is a nice radio, but the battery sucks. I have two batteries with broken release tabs. I use a rubber band to hold the battery in place. I think the designer could have done a better job. But like a lot of new designer they do not worry about it because they are not using the equipment or having to work on it. I rate the Radio as "GREAT" , battery "POOR"
KG4BOD Rating: 2/5 Dec 25, 1999 17:51 Send this review to a friend
Can be nice radio... but needs improvements!  Time owned: unknown months
The radio has lots of features and does nice things...when it works! First, the battery problem. Everyone else with this radio knows about it. I found out, you cannot charge it with supplied wall charger until battery voltage drops below 8.5 volts. For some reason ICOM saw fit to design the radio this way. POO-POO on that! If the battery has more that 8.5 volts, plugging it in overnight does nothing! I found out to overcome this, I have to shell out another 100 bucks for drop in charger! I'm on my second T-8, and it's in the shop. Again, it's power on 2m/6m went down. The first unit was replaced by dealer...this time he want to fix. Is there a design flaw with finals? Lastly, the radio soaks up a lotta intermod/pager crud. Sure, it's a tiny radio packed with a lot of stuff. I think a couple design improvements will help. When I get mine back from shop... It's for sale! I'll shop for another HT. 73's...
Anonymous Rating: 3/5 Dec 4, 1999 12:53 Send this review to a friend
Good radio waiting to be great!  Time owned: unknown months
First let me say, I love this radio. It does everything I wanted to do with an HT. 3 Bands, good audio in and out of the radio. Great expanded recieve. Now the bad. The battery is the great downfall of this radio. Very little operating time out the supplied battery, and you have to have the battery on the radio to charge the thing. I also wish the radio had 3 power settings. .5 or 5 watts. What, no 1.5 or 2 watt setting? So there I was, full quieting at 5, and bamm, the battery gives out, and I had to switch to .5. Icom did a great job on making this radio do so much, but it forgot the little things, and to me, the little things count too.
NE0P Rating: 5/5 Nov 6, 1999 00:31 Send this review to a friend
Great little HT  Time owned: unknown months
I have owned this rig for 8 months now and love it. It has more than enough memories, and 3 bands!! Also receives almost everywhere. The 220 receive is kind of deaf, but it was never intended to receive there. IT is nice to be able to pick up TV and FM radio stations. It is a very good bargain for such a small radio. I have had to battery clip problems whatsoever, and would highly recommend this radio to anyone.
KI8HP Rating: 1/5 Nov 3, 1999 16:24 Send this review to a friend
problems using it in a mobile environment  Time owned: unknown months
I bought a t8a about a year ago, and it worked fine when portable, but i used mine in my Jeep, off a speaker-mic, vehicle power, and vehicle multi band antenna. Two weeks to the day from whe i bought it the TX went out. I took it back to the store, they replaced the radio, and two weeks later to the day again, bang! No TX. I really don't think the problem was with the radio, but the final trans must be real sensative to being on the outside antenna. DC power works fine, and antenna swr was good. I use a VX5-R now, and have no problems at all.
VE6BGM Rating: 4/5 Nov 3, 1999 12:46 Send this review to a friend
Very decent HT, with only problems with one batter  Time owned: unknown months
I have had the T8A for some months now. Used mainly for monitoring. Had one battery whose clip broke, but this was readily replaced by ICOM. New battery seems to have a much thicker clip and had presented NO problem. Also have MAHA battery which has a good clip with NO problems either. My only complaint about the radio is the limited duration of action of the battery.
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