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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Icom IC-215 Help

Reviews Summary for Icom IC-215
Icom IC-215 Reviews: 4 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: 2m FM 3W "bookshelf portable" transceiver, 15 channel crystal-controlled radio.
Product is not in production.
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K2WH Rating: 5/5 Jun 16, 2012 17:04 Send this review to a friend
A Good Nostalgic Rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just acquired the 215 and it was functional. Unfortunately, the PL board was removed by the previous owner and none of the crystals were for any repeaters in my area. Being a rebuilder by heart and a lover of old radios, I decided to get the rig up to 100%. So, I ordered a set of Nicad batteries for it, found a BC-20 internal charger, ordered my first set of crystals for a favorite repeater and ordered a PL board from Comspec. Put it all together, tuned it up, installed the crystal,trimmed up the frequencies and keyed the mic. The repeater came right. I received DFQ reports with the pull out whip and good audio.

I also own a 502 6 meter SSB unit that is another "Bookshelf" rig. I love these little guys and since they are so rare, get lots of looks from new hams who have never seen these rigs. I give the rig a 4 since it is limited in performance and convenience when compared to todays technology rigs.

AH6RH Rating: 5/5 Apr 30, 2007 21:16 Send this review to a friend
My first VHF Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
Back in the goold ol' days of upgrading from a Novice to a Tech, I went out immediately and bought the IC-215. As a poor student, it took a pretty penny to buy the basic rig. It came with 146 Mhz crystals for .94 simplex, .34/.94, .22/.82, .28/.88 and .52 simplex.

It has a built-in whip antenna which screws into the top/back section. And, it has a SO-239 connector to attach a coax-fed antenna. The external power jack was I think a 2.1 mm coaxial power connector. The two side covers snap off revealing the discrete component insides. Nothing but caps, resistors, inductors and a couple of IC chips. None of these SMT devices or monolithic finals.

It puts out .5 watts on low power, and 3.0 watts on high. There's a light switch to the left of the power control that turns on the internal lighting. The front panel has a multi-position switch that turns on the radio and selects either the main dial of 12 crystal positions, or three independent crystal positions -- like a 3 selection call channel.

The radio has a built-in discriminator, which you can use to zero the receiver by plugging in a 50 microamp centered meter (good luck on finding one these days).

It uses Icom's 4-pin mike standard. This is the same as the IC-22S, and contrasts with the 3-pin IC-22A and the 8-pin IC-22U.

Took it hiking to the top of a 4,000 ft mountain ridge in a back-pack, and hit the repeater 100 miles away with no strain.

The bigger brother to this radio is the IC-22A mobile. Bought one of those on eBay too, and am enjoying it as well.

Great rig. I still have it and won't part with it.

Ron Hashiro, AH6RH
Honolulu, HI
N7ZXJ Rating: 5/5 Mar 7, 2003 14:02 Send this review to a friend
Scrapy lil guy  Time owned: more than 12 months
The IC-215 was my first rig way back when, must have been in the mid 70's. Added a CTSS mod, and was able to hit all my favorite repeaters in the Puget Sound area. Even did the 4.25 split for CAP. As a fool, I sold it to another cadet as I wanted to upgrade to a IC228A. 20 years later I found one on E-bay and yes I spent too much for it. But again I have a nice lil guy that I can teach my son the fun of amature radio.
KU4QD Rating: 4/5 Oct 11, 2002 17:44 Send this review to a friend
Cute old rig, mainly interesting to collectors  Time owned: more than 12 months
Why would anybody in their right mind review a crystal controlled rig today? They are impractical, the crystals cost more than the radio is worth, you are *very* limited in the frequencies available to you, PL/CTCSS tones weren't even thought of yet in the amateur service, etc... Crystal rigs today are a joke, right?

This was a portable rig, a pre-handheld like the Drake TR-22C. We have handhelds today, right? Who would want one of these?

Mostly, all of this is true. Still, if you want to monitor one or two local repeaters and the crystals are in there, then old rockbound rigs still work. Adding a PL board is no big deal, though the board may cost as much as the rig.

As rockbound rigs go, though, the IC-215 has to be the most desirable. OK, maybe that's nostalgia talking, but... The IC-215 completes a set of Icom "bookshelf portables". The rest of the set are 6m, 2m, and 70cm SSB/CW rigs that are very good indeed. These little rigs that stood upright are cute. If you've got the three sideband rigs and $30-$40 will complete the set, why not?

This rig *is* durable. It dates from the mid '70s. Every time some newer, fancier 2m rig in my car let me down and I had to send it off for repair or buy a replacement, the old IC-215 would come off the shelf. I even have the (rare) matching mounting bracket, so I'd stick it in the car and run it mobile. The IC-215 has *never* let me down.

Intermod? Heck, no! There are five helical resonators in the front end. Sensitivity? Just fine. Audio? Surprisingly good, both received and transmitted. Sensitivity? As good as any other 2m FM rig you are likely to use.

OK, 3W out is really light for a mobile rig. Running the thing on C cells doesn't make much sense when modern handhelds are available. It's mainly a nostalgia or a collectors piece today. Still, remember the article in QST recently about the TR-22? This rig inspires those sorts of feelings in me.

If you've got the other portables, get an IC-215 to finish the set. It may even come in useful when your newer, nicer, fancier toy fails.

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