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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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N8ERM Rating: 0/5 Sep 7, 2009 05:40 Send this review to a friend
ICOM'S mistake  Time owned: more than 12 months
This rig takes a lot of TLC to keep it going. I keep great records of maintenance and mine has had 27 repairs in the five years I have owned it. I gave it to a good technician and it is his problem now.
ON7WP Rating: 1/5 Mar 26, 2009 12:35 Send this review to a friend
japanese rubbish: repair delight rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a problem radio, I just repaired mine for the third time and some of my friends radios also.

Known issues:

1. bad contacts in flat cables
2. interruptions in through plating on boards
3. toasted PCB tracks in PA stage
4. rotten modulation due to low bias settings, unadjustable
5. bad sideband noise performance
6. idiot CTCSS menu, encoding only not possible
7. ...

I had to take the radio apart several times to correct oxydation contact problems in the white flat cables to the front.

If it works, it's fine, but menu structure sucks, 9k6 performance is slow and confusing.

I bought two FT736 as backup, far better radios....

Pedro ON7WP-AA9HX (owning more than 35 HF radios, over 40 handhelds and over 25 VHF-UHF multimodes, so I can compare....)
W1JHR Rating: 5/5 Jan 25, 2009 16:26 Send this review to a friend
Good general vhf /uhf tranceiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my unit used 6 years ago. It has worked without a problem until about 2 months ago when it became irrational. I had read earlier reviews about the ribbon cable problem and after opening the unit, disengaging the cable and cleaning the end with a pencil eraser it began functioning logically. From start to finish it took 20 minutes and I have no problems since that time. I bought the unit for Sat work after having owned an IC-820H. This is certainly an improvement especially with the front panel power control. I also appreciate the bias tee on the antenna output for controlling preamps which I use on 144 and 432 with this unit. I wish the keys had back lighting like my 706 but this a keeper, too.
G0NIG Rating: 5/5 Apr 7, 2006 06:52 Send this review to a friend
Terrific Piece of kit.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Admittedly I've only owned the radio a few months but it is a delight to use. The quality of receive is excellent with no strong out of band signal breakthrough (I live close to a hospital paging system) which totally trashed the VHF frontend on a IC7400
Reports on the transmitted audio have always been very complemetary. Mine started live as a Euro version with the 1750Hz tone but a simple internal mod enabled the CTCSS encoder. If you do this mod ensure that you turn the tone deviation down to 600Hz or you'll receive some dreadful reports.
I have two small critisms as to the features, or lack of them:

1. No RF/IF Gain control. On a radio like this I would have thought that this would have been a given.

2. No VOX. I'm a keen contestor on HF and would like to start with VHF/UHF contesting and for SSB operation I consider a VOX facility essential.

I have fitted the UT-84 tone squelch board and intend to fit the CW narrow filters into both the main and sub rx'ers.

Some comments have stated that it can be a little fiddly to setup for satellite use but I didn't find it too much of a hurdle.

Used prices do vary quite considerably, I purchased mine for 360GBP from a local operator but have seen them on dealers shelves for in excess of 800GBP.

For me this one will be a keeper for some time to come.


Nidge (G0NIG)
G0RAX Rating: 5/5 Dec 1, 2005 14:04 Send this review to a friend
lovely rig, shame about the manual  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Beautiful radio but the manual is inscrutible. Still can't find how to tx on 70cms, and I note from other users its not just me being dumb. I have figured out the FT 857 D ok which does much more, and other modern rigs from their user guides. Icom need to employ the yaesu user guide writers.
KC0KKI Rating: 5/5 Nov 12, 2005 15:26 Send this review to a friend
Best I have owned  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Not sure why there are 2 categories here for the same rig...But I have had no problems whatsoever with my IC-821H. It looks great, works great and has never failed me. It is a perfect companion to add VHF/UHF to my IC-736 and really works great. I was skeptical before my purchase after reading the reviews here and half of them were bad...But...I have always had good luck with Icom rigs so I gave it a try and I am glad I did. If money is no object, then buy an IC-910H. If you are sick of using a mobile rig as a base and are on a budget, then I recommend considering a good used IC-821.
WB4UNA Rating: 4/5 May 25, 2004 23:44 Send this review to a friend
821 problem  Time owned: more than 12 months
Well, I have had the same problem with the ribbon cables also. I had to clean the conections and all seems to work great, as of this time. I have had my radio for 6 years and this is the first time to have it go nuts on me . I hope that i can go 6 more without any problems...

K9PO Rating: 0/5 Oct 15, 2002 12:12 Send this review to a friend
IC821H, Just say NO!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had this radio for only a couple of weeks and found the manual to not be very well written, the radio to human interface less than intuative and the overall performance to be poor.

After reading reviews of the IC820 and the IC821h it appeared that all the bugs had been worked out. That is not the case.

I had bought the radio with the intent on using it for satellite work. But when switching between sat mode and regular mode the radio software would sometime drift into interesting configurations such as the display show SSB but actually TX/RXing FM. This would fix it self in a few minutes. But was a major annoyance! The VFOs would sometimes drift into auto repeater mode even though the radio frequencies were outside of the programmed auto repeat offsets. I did several cpu resets and reprogrammings in case it was something I accidently programed. That never helped.

The RX itself was not very good IMHO. I noticed a lot of phase noise when tuning and the selectivity was not very good either. Strong close signals often desensed the RX by several dB, this is a major problem when dealing with satellites and other weak signal work.

I traded mine in and bought the FT-847 which is a much better raio in ALL respects.

I have owned Icom products for over 20 years but as a result of this POS I will not buy their products again.
NP2L Rating: 1/5 Oct 15, 2002 09:08 Send this review to a friend
Bad experience  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have sent this rig back to ICOM 4 times in the 2.5 years I've owned it. Twice because it was sent back not working - dead on arrival. I bought it for satellite work and the features are super, but after spending $500 on repairs and shipping I have to conclude that it isn't worth it and Icom is incapable of fixing it.

I see good reviews on the FT-847 and will probably get one to replace it.
PE3HMP Rating: 2/5 Nov 6, 2001 10:21 Send this review to a friend
problems  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
At first I thought it was a good trx reception is good, mutch talk power on ssb BUT,
Then the troubles began on 70cm, for a milli second(on fm) the power drops to zero and comes back up (the counter station can hear that) this time Q43 was not the one causing the fault this time, the dealer could not repair the problem (it was a new rig) so I got my money back.

Alot of people I have spoken to had problems on 70cm, no power due to Q43 a smd darlington that gets to hot, seems a poor design.

I would never buy a IC-821H again.
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