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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Icom IC-22S Help

Reviews Summary for Icom IC-22S
Icom IC-22S Reviews: 5 Average rating: 3.8/5 MSRP: $300.00
Description: 2m 10W FM mobile, diode matrix programmed
Product is not in production.
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AC6AN Rating: 4/5 Dec 25, 2008 17:38 Send this review to a friend
My 20 minute APRS mod  Time owned: more than 12 months
IC-22S can be still found used for a few bucks. The RF section is quite reliable but most of these units had issues with solder joints on the synthesizer board or suffer from lock problems with marginal divider ICs.
It's hard to recommend this rig for general repeater use but it's still useful for some tasks. Here is my easy mod to put it on APRS frequency and get rid of the synthesizer issues. I noticed that the frequency synthesizer includes a stable 133.69 MHz crystal oscillator. The mod passes this frequency to the RF board instead of the VCO output. Mixed with 10.7 MHz (First IF frequency) you get 144.390 MHz - bingo!
Here it goes... All steps of this mod refer to the synthesizer board only. Unsolder the thin coax from the points labeled "OUT". This is a tiny bit tricky because of the shield under the board near these solder joints. I used a very thin tip and managed to reach these solder joints. You can also cut the wires from the top side of the board.
You will now have to identify the 2pF capacitor C33 which connects the crystal oscillator to L5. Solder a 22pF to the trace going to L5 under the board and solder the output coax between the other lead of this capacitor and a nearby ground point. Use an electric tape to insulate the floating wires.
The IC-22S includes a "lock detect" circuit and it must see a lock condition to transmit. Removing the wire from pin 4 of IC2 to R7 "fakes" the lock condition.
Assemble it back together and you now have a crystal-ontrolled radio which operates right on the common APRS frequency, regardless of the Channel or DUP position.
In about 20 minutes I converted this clunker into a useful APRS radio with no lock issues. I intend to run regulated 5V, squelch/audio, MIC and PTT into the auxiliary connector on the rear panel to interface directly to a modded Tripmate GPS. I built a TinyTrak board into the battery compartment of the GPS, so it's a complete APRS rig!
I have a feeling that the IC-22S will outlast the rest of this APRS system...
KB0XR Rating: 5/5 Jul 26, 2008 04:57 Send this review to a friend
Simple but dated  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've got two of the 22U's that just refuse to die. One has a tone board installed and the other is stock. The receivers were hot for their time and the overall construction was pretty well bullet proof. I use one to monitor skywarn activities. I'll probably never get rid of these. I just plain like them.
WA3LWR Rating: 4/5 Jul 25, 2008 06:52 Send this review to a friend
Nice, but aged unit  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought the 22S when it came out and the receiver still blows me away. Hot and sensitive to say the least. Output is only 10 watts, no PL tones. Diode board was excellent system for its time, but now is outdated and problematic because of limitations. Still a nice unit, especially receiver, but no longer a primary radio for me.
N7TRZ Rating: 4/5 Apr 15, 2008 15:18 Send this review to a friend
worth it for the receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've got a couple of these. One has an aftermarket selector switch with all the 15Khz steps built in and the other is still like the factory shipped it.

This rigs is still very usable in areas with 15Khz steps. My area is on 20Khz spacing, so the usable frequencies are limited. I've relegated this radio to monitoring what it can, a job which it performs yeoman duty. Quiet, sensitive, good audio.

The previous reviewer is correct about the diode board. Don't plan on very many changes there. Program it up once and leave it alone. The pads lift very easily unless you are VERY skilled with an iron.
KU4QD Rating: 2/5 Jun 22, 2003 13:15 Send this review to a friend
Great receiver, intermod proof, difficult to maintain  Time owned: more than 12 months
In it's day the Icom IC-22S was a marvel. It used switching diodes for programming rather than crystals, which was an inexpensive and elegant solution. Changing operating frequencies on it's 22 channels no longer required a major investment.

On the plus side, this rig, much like the IC-22A before it and IC-22U after it, had a fantastic receiver for a 2m FM rig. It covered strictly from 146-148 MHz and was about intermod proof. Where modern DC to green light rigs would get bleeps and bloops from paging towers or be wiped out in RF congested areas, the IC-22U would hear only the repeater or simplex frequency it was supposed to hear. Five helical resonators in the front end and the relatively narrow band coverage made this possible without sacrificing on sensitivity. Transmitted and received audio were also excellent.

The cons, unfortunately, outweigh the pros. First off, the diode matrix allowed for programming in 15kHZ steps. If you live in or drive through an area where 20kHz steps are used between repeaters you won't get 2/3 of them. Second, there is no allowance for coverage below 146MHz. Back then there was no FM in the lower part of the band. Today there is, and that's still more repeaters you can't access with this rig.

Worst of all, these radios have not aged gracefully. By now all the little wires going to and from the diode matrix are likely quite brittle. Try and do some reprogamming and you may find yourself with a major repair job. ALso, at least some production runs used the same double sided boards with the flaky feed-throughs that were used on the IC-245 and IC-211. Again, a major hassle to repair. You see a lot of broken IC-22S rigs at hamfests and on eBay that are just plain more hassle than they are worth.

There were after market synthesizers (external) and switch mods (internal) that get you around a lot of the issues with the diode matrix, but they still don't change the tuning rate or frequency coverage.

The same excellent receiver that was in the IC-22S was also in the IC-22A, the earlier crystal controlled radio, and the IC-22U or IC-24E thumbwheel controlled radio. Get one of those and pass on the IC-22S. I sold my last one a year or two ago and won't have another. Their time has passed.

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