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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Icom IC-F221 UHF Commercial Mobile Help

Reviews Summary for Icom IC-F221 UHF Commercial Mobile
Icom IC-F221 UHF Commercial Mobile Reviews: 8 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $250 - $300 street price
Description: Powerful 45W Output; 6 Programmable Buttons and Independent Volume Knob; 4W typ. Front-mounted Speaker; 128 Memory Channels with 8 Memory Banks; 8-Character Alphanumeric Display; Flexible Hanger Actions; Built-in 2-Tone, 5-Tone, CTCSS, DTCS Encoder & Decoder; Advanced Multi 2-Tone/5-Tone Systems; Standard DTMF Encoder and Optional DTMF Decoder with ANI Function; Programmable Wide/Narrow Channel Spacing for Each Channel...
Product is in production.
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N6MED Rating: 5/5 Aug 13, 2013 15:40 Send this review to a friend
F221 for UHF work  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my F221 for several years now, getting a good price for it new from eBay. Got the programming software from an off-shore source.

Question to my fellow F221 (or F121) owners: has anyone figured out how to select a channel bank to program via "Dealer Mode?" I can get into Dealer Mode no prob, but cannot figure out any button sequence to select a bank or channel within a bank. Not being able to do this in the field is a bit problematic because, unless all channels are programmed into a single bank and thus all sequentially numbered, I have to schlepp a laptop along with me to tweak the channels or their line-up.
K5AHH Rating: 5/5 Oct 6, 2011 09:19 Send this review to a friend
Well built!  Time owned: more than 12 months
--I have owned this radio for 4 years and mainly use it for GMRS, but have occasionally used it for the 70cM Amateur Radio band. I purchased the software for this radio and it is very easy to use. I love how I can adjust the output power from 45 watts to almost nothing (less than a half watt). Very well made, built like a tank, and handles the heat well. If you are looking for a great quality GMRS, Amateur Radio, or a rig for "Public Service", then purchase this one. It even has an option for a scrambler if you need one.
N0PWZ Rating: 5/5 Oct 21, 2009 21:19 Send this review to a friend
Nice Multi-Use Radios  Time owned: more than 12 months
This radio can do quite a lot. It is quite at home on the LMR freqs, and when programmed into the 70 cm band it is almost as impressive. Since it is a programmed radio, everything has to be set up by computer. That's not quite as handy as a "real" ham radio, but since most of my opertions were on a couple of repeaters it wasn't a significant factor. They're a bit more "sound" than other ham radios (ie, built like a brick). The remind me of Vertex construction (very solid).

Since I own three of these units, the programming box and cables are amortized over a reasonable number of boxes. I recently put two of the boxes into a portable repeater configurtion, with the use of a repeater maker. It was all Plug and Play. Neat. I'd purchase these again, and probably will if my kid gets his license.
W5GSR Rating: 5/5 Mar 5, 2009 17:13 Send this review to a friend
Good radio for the price  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just recieved this radio and I like it,as stated in other posts the software takes tinkering around with to get to know how the programs work.I have it in the house and use it on ham and GMRS.It seems to do fine with the antenna up @ 40 feet.I would get another one if I needed it(but I don't).P.S. The mic NEEDS to be grounded to scan.
K7ICU Rating: 4/5 Feb 14, 2007 13:56 Send this review to a friend
Good, but not great...  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This is Icom's response to the Motorola CM-300. On paper, the specs for the Icom looked just better enough for me to give it a try.

As far as price, the Icom is less expensive than the CM-300, but if you have to purchase a programming cable from Icom, it's a small difference.

The Icom programmer and tuner software is less polished and intuitive than Motorola CPS (which isn't saying much), but it gets the job done. You can go ahead and plan on Icom refusing to sell you the software unless you're an authorized dealer.

With one less alpha tag character than the CM-300, you'll find yourself forced to use more abbreviations and codes in your alpha tags. One character really does make a considerable difference.

Power output (on paper) is slightly higher than the CM-300, but in reality it gets too warm when running at or near full power during a long QSO. I keep it throttled down to about 20W most of the time.

You can program a power-on password, but you can't enter that password with a DTMF mic. Icom has worked out a (not-so-secure) digit-duplicating scheme using the 5 front panel buttons only.

Scanning is impossible without the mic on hook (which is common for comercial radios). You may find this either convenient or annoying.

There are no "secondary" (press and hold) button functions as with the CM-300 (and most other Motorola radios). I think this is a major drawback for those who want to use this as a semi-flexible mobile. You'll find yourself taking basic button functions away in order to get enough assigned for the basics, forcing you to operate the front panel in a roundabout way.

On the plus side, channel bank size is VARIABLE, the radio is solidly constructed, very compact (I mounted mine inside my center console bin!), and RF performance is very good.
WA7HAA Rating: 5/5 Jun 20, 2006 23:22 Send this review to a friend
Simple and bulletproof  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have always favored separate VHF and UHF radios for my ham shack (you never know when you might want to talk on two radios at once!). While finding a 2 meter mono-band radio is not a problem, the choice of mono-band radios for 70cm is very limited. I had poor luck with the available Alinco models, and have always favored Icom, but they did not make an Amateur 70cm model. My other goal was to standardize, and eliminate having to learn different functions on a number of radios. After picking up an Icom commercial radio catalog, I discovered the F121 and F221 mobile radios. These would fit the bill for my operation. The modern ham rig is a marvel of many features, but in my case, I just need the basics. 128 channels is more than enough for me to program in all of the frequencies I normally use. The alphanumeric display allows me to label each channel, and it has full CTCSS/DCS capability. The front facing speaker and powerful audio are a big plus. There is plenty of power with 50W on VHF, and 45W on UHF. The programming software is easy to use, and it is a snap to reprogram, or add new frequencies. There are 4 function buttons on the front panel that can be used to allow such things as the “talk around” feature, or to adjust your squelch setting. I have both the F121, and F221 features programmed alike, so this meets my standardization specification. Both of my radios feed into a Comet diplexer which in turn feeds a Hustler G6-270R dual band vertical. This system works well for my home station. I live near a site that has numerous commercial VHF, UHF, and paging transmitters. This was a problem for the ham rigs that I used in the past, but has not been a problem since I put these Icom radios into service. I am glad that Icom gave these radios the capability to be tuned into the Amateur bands without modification. True, it is more expensive to purchase these radios as compared to a ham rig, but if your requirements are similar to mine, you will be very happy with the performance of either of these radios. Sometimes, simpler is better.
KE4SKY Rating: 5/5 May 23, 2005 11:21 Send this review to a friend
Solid RACES Performer  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
We bought several each of the F121 (VHF) and F221 (UHF) to clone alike for our state RACES leadership. The ICOM programming software is easy to use and the help screens are well written. After a while reviewing these you'll have no trouble.

If you like the configuration of a commercial radio, these are very simple and intuitive to use rigs.

The Diamond SG7900 dual-band whip is broad banded enough to enable use GMRS, public safety 460 band and amateur 70 cm and 2 meters with one antenna.

To enable scan you MUST ground the mic hanger! Attaching the mic hanger to mobile bracket screwed to the chassis works fine. I set ours are set up with the mic hanger scan function turned on, but with "Priority A" scan option turned off. This way when you remove the mic from the hanger, the radio remains on the paused channel to enable a reply, rather than reverting back to the priority A channel. Scanning was a bit frustrating at first until I looked through the help screens and figured this one out.

Having 16 banks of 16 memories each worked out well for us to arrange groups of frequencies for regional areas, and to change CTCSS or DPL from normal operations to "alert" modes. It's nice to be able to set different CTCSS for RX and TX, or configure digital selective calling, auto-answer-back, DTMF paging or other functions not in the average ham rig.

These are completely intermod proof and much more sturdy than the ham rigs I replaced with them. The F121 and F221 are about the size of typical amateur mobiles. These do cost a bit more, but make up for it in simplicity and durability.

AB0RE Rating: 5/5 Jun 4, 2004 21:35 Send this review to a friend
Top Notch 70cm / GMRS performance!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've always enjoyed the exceptional performance offered by my Icom IC-V8000 2M radio. I’m confident that the V8000 is the best 2M mobile on the market today. The problem, of course, was that it is only VHF. I’ve been unable to find comparable 2M performance in any of the dualbanders I tried. My mission was to find a good-performing UHF monobander so that I could keep my V8000 for VHF.

I saw the IC-F221 advertised in WorldRadio by a company called El Paso Communications (Epcom), a commercial dealer. Ordering the radio was not a cheap venture - the radio was about $245 and the programming kit was another $35. I justified the expense by reminding myself I get to keep the exceptional VHF performance of my IC-V8000, I actually will have two separate radios for VHF/UHF, and, as an added plus, I can use the IC-F221 on the GMRS frequencies I am also licensed for.

When the radio arrived I was pleasantly surprised to see how nicely it mated with the IC-V8000. The radios appear to be the exact same width. Both have the front-firing speaker on the right side of the radio's face. If it weren't for the differences in backlighting, one might think these radios are brother/sister.

I've been very happy with the IC-F221’s performance:

- Transmitter: 5/10/45 watts selectable. Power output is programmable by channel.
- Receiver: Sensitivity seems on par. (The factory specs are .25 microvolts or better.) Does not get overloaded with intermod like many of the dualbanders or the Alinco DR-435T I've owned in the past. I wish they'd give us more than a 3 bar S-meter. Received audio is very sufficient through the front-firing speaker.
- Thermal Management: The radio gets fairly warm on the high power setting (45W), but I've carried on 30 minute+ conversations on high power with no problems. It appears the radio gets by fine without a cooling fan.
- Scanning: Scan rate is exceptional. A neat feature is that each memory can be put in one *or more* of the ten scan banks. Most ham radios don't let you do this. Also neat is that one can set the radio to begin scanning once the microphone is put on the hook. The radio also has "scan lockout" for those annoying frequencies.
- Programming: Programming with the Icom Software and the programming interface box is relatively easy. The software has a great help file to explain what the various settings are, but there are a few functions that I have not able to figure out yet. The six keys on the radios faceplate are all custom programmable. It wouldn't have hurt for Icom to include a couple more keys so we could have access to more of the functions, but it appears that much of the faceplates space was invested in the front firing speaker system. I've been told there is a "dealer set menu" to allow one to change frequency and PL tones, but to date my dealer still has not been able to provide me with this information. It appears it's a big secret.
- Aesthetics: This radio looks sharp! As I stated earlier, it mates very nicely with the Icom IC-V8000. If you have a V8000, don't want to get rid of it, but are looking for exceptional UHF performance as well, the IC-F221 is what you're looking for.
- Missing Features: Compared to my ham radios, the features I miss most are a VFO, a reverse key, and the ability to change subaudible tones without hooking the radio up to the software.

Overall, I'm very happy with this radio. It appears to be a high quality radio and an excellent value for the price paid (about the same as the DR-435T). I'm pondering trying out the IC-F221 VHF version so I can also have access to the MURS frequencies, but I doubt there is a commercial radio available that will top the performance of the V8000. If anybody has questions regarding the radio (performance, features, programming, etc), please don't hesitate to look me up on and drop me a line via email.


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