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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | ICOM IC-821H Help

Reviews Summary for ICOM IC-821H
ICOM IC-821H Reviews: 20 Average rating: 3.5/5 MSRP: $2040.00
Description: 2m/70cm All Mode TCVR for Satellite Operation
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VE6ND Rating: 5/5 Oct 18, 2016 19:11 Send this review to a friend
Great!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Just bought my second one to use at home as a third satellite station and for portable/mobile setup with my homebrew circular antennas.
I have not experienced any of the RX noise issues that others have experienced on 70cm. The ribbon seating issue is/was not only with this radio but with several others that used this concept.
I opened the clip, removed the cable and cleaned the connector and ribbon for preventative maintenance.
My preamps are also AG-25/45's and work really well, again, no issues with these preamps.
The AG-25 was a little hot and by adjusting the cap the gain came down to 17dB with a noise factor of <1.2dB perfectly acceptable for the age and type of GAsFet used.
The sticky buttons are from a type of outgassing from the plastic compound, if it really bothers you use goopbgone or something like that.
DL1MEV Rating: 3/5 Oct 6, 2015 03:13 Send this review to a friend
Was too expensive  Time owned: more than 12 months
After having good experiences with the IC-202, I had expected a better hardware-quality. The ribbon-cable-contact-problems and the sticky knobs are a shame for a 2000 /$- rig. The receiver is o.k. on 2m. On 70cm the receiving noise increases when the antenna (or 50 Ohm load) is disconnected, which indicates wild oscillations in the frontend.
A transverter would have been the wiser choice.
W5PFG Rating: 4/5 Apr 1, 2015 08:32 Send this review to a friend
Great value for satellite work in 2015  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
If you can find one of these radios in the $500-700 price range, buy one! They are a workhorse for the amateur radio satellite fleet. Compared to my IC-910h, I am very impressed with the IC-821h. In fact, I sold my IC-910h and solely use the IC-821h for portable satellite operations combined with an Arrow dual-band yagi antenna. It is computer controllable via CI-V and communicates flawlessly with the more common satellite applications on Windows and Mac. Sometimes market price drives up the cost of these radios to an unreasonable figure but keep your eye out for deals.
W6JBR Rating: 5/5 Jan 30, 2014 01:09 Send this review to a friend
WORKHORSE  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased my IC-821H new. I have used it as my main base station radio for FM repeaters and simplex (weekly EmComm nets for 8 years!), SSB, CW, and some satellite work. I have also used it with a TenTec transverter for 6M. The only fault that occurred was resolved by reseating a ribbon cable. Once the display bulbs started to go, I replaced them all with LEDs. It has generally been very reliable.
Operationally, I do wish it had:
-alphanumeric labeled memories (!)
-TCXO as standard
-tone squelch as standard (a hard to find option now!)
-TX audio monitoring.
The mic gain settings are very different between FM and SSB. I use a 2nd receiver to check my TX audio, which I do as a SOP on all my transmitters.
After two years in storage while I was traveling, the radio is again in service and operating as new- but the dreaded 'sticky buttons' had attacked in the interim! I was VERY unhappy about this, and thought they were beyond hope. After much consternation and ineffective elbow grease, my simple solution: remove the rubber button assemblies and submerge them completely in a bath of Oxi-Clean laundry stain remover dissolved in warm water, and: 'voila'- brand new buttons with no muss or fuss! The 'glue' was completely dissolved, and the buttons and designations are as new!
I would give this radio a 4.5 if I could, as there is room for improvement, but it has generally been trouble free, and continues to serve me well.
I hope this information is helpful.
John, WA2OOB
DL3MLP Rating: 4/5 Apr 16, 2013 00:14 Send this review to a friend
Very nice sat radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got this radio a few weeks ago. The IC-821h was without any options. :-( I tested it with a few ham friends at 2m SSB and noticed a very big frequency drift (about 150Hz). So I searched for a CR-239. The prices for this Option are very different. Yesturday I placed the TCXO and adjust the radio. After this the IC-821h is very stable!

Very nice radio in the whole. Everything you can reach without going to the menu. Mostly I'm using it for work satellites.

I found very much hams who have problems with the internal amplifier. So I never put the output to the maximum on FM! If I need more power on 70cm or 2m FM I am using an external amplifier which I drive with 6 Watts.

Only 4 stars, because I think the TCXO is really necessary for working SSB.

N7FAE Rating: 5/5 Jun 6, 2012 15:55 Send this review to a friend
'Sticky Buttons' Fix  Time owned: more than 12 months
I absolutely love this Radio! I do a fair amount of VHF/UHF Dxing and this is the best for me. Since my initial review below, I have had both the 'intermittent' display issue, which I fixed by cleaning the cable and it has not returned, and a 2m TX failure. Returned to ICOM for that one, it was the Bias switching transistor (not the Final); repair cost was $125 which included a requested full V&U alignment - little maintenance cost for 10 years of use.
Now on to the reason for this 2nd Review - the rubber buttons had become so sticky they felt like touching the backside of a piece of scotch tape, not to mention looking like a scum film on them which I have tried to remove to no avial over the years with WD-40, Windex, Lemon extract, you name it, but finally, found the solution!

Purchase some 'Goo Gone' spray, and find a 'medium rough texture towel, such as a linen dishtowel. Put the towel over a finger and spray some Goo Gone on the tip of the towel and put it on one of the buttons you want to start with. Wait a few minutes and then spray the fingertip/towel again and begin to rub across the button repeatedly from one side to the other. You're going to have to use reasonable force and it may take about 15-20 rubs across the button before the button is restored and the 'goop' gone. I did use some tweezers in a few cases to remove the little 'glop of goop' that ended up on the end of the button, but good news is that the buttons are firmly socketed and even with some serious rubbing, no problems - - lettering was not affected at all and the buttons are now nice soft rubber as new. It took me about an hour & 1/2 to do all 16 buttons, but it's like new now.

[MY INITIAL REVIEW in 2004 copied from the other IC-821 (no 'H') eHam section)
This is a great little rig, although I confess I use it primarily for weak-signal and not satellite work. Excellent sensitivity, even without preamp, and good compromise TX power. This was an upgrade from the IC-275 (I had to hold my breath when trading that one in, the best 2m multimode I ever used, and I've used a lot of them in the last 20 yrs) - up until the 821! I am fully satisfied with this rig, it's great, and love the capability to monitor 432 and 144 ssb at the same time. I have not experienced any of the display / connector issues as of yet, but will update if I do. (You should realize that the 820 is essentially the same base radio, less more bells and whistles, and it has a very good rating - don't sell this one short).
LA0BY Rating: 4/5 Oct 13, 2011 10:47 Send this review to a friend
RN2425 switch transistor failure  Time owned: more than 12 months
Last year I already had an intermittent problem with the 2m section. The RF power output suddenly dropped a lot, but became normal when checking at home.

Now the IC-821H failed again in the same way, and this time it stayed bad. This gave me the chance to identify the bias switching transistor RN2425 as the culprit. I replaced it with a BC161 mounted on the upper side of the Main Board PCB.
IK2TYL Rating: 4/5 Jul 13, 2011 10:48 Send this review to a friend
sticky buttons  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have the same problem that AA4AN described. After a few years of very limited use, all rubber buttons of this radio have become "sticky". They all work fine, but when you touch them you have this funny feeling like the surface of each button has an invisible coating of maple syrup
AA4AN Rating: 3/5 Jan 27, 2011 19:10 Send this review to a friend
Sloppy buttons  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought this new in late 90's. It has performed well over the last 13 years, and I have not experienced any issues like others have mentioned. Only problems I have are - lights have burned out. I now keep the display on dim to protect the last bulb. I'll probably replace them with LED's. Other issue is the soft rubber buttons on front panel are "sticky". It's like they are melting. No, It's not overheating... the buttons are sticky. Push in and I make an imprint of my fingerprint. Anyone else experience this?
LA0BY Rating: 4/5 Aug 16, 2010 11:59 Send this review to a friend
Comfortable radio, but recent RF power failure  Time owned: more than 12 months
For more than 10 years I am using my IC-821H for weak signal work only. It is a very comfortable rig. One good feature is the second receiver which allows me to monitor one band while working on the other. I know the radio emits a rather high sideband noise level.

Having not had any problems earlier, recently the RF power disappeared on 2m. First I thought it was the PA module that was gone, but then it worked when I put it on the testbench at home. Next time out in the field it failed again after some minutes. Then I did a lot of tests at home, but, of course, everything worked fine over a supply voltage range of 10,5-14V DC. I suspect a bad switching transistor Q42 (in analogy of the 70cm failure reported here), but have not replaced it yet. For now this issue remains unsolved. Any suggestions welcome ...
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