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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | ICOM ID-800 Help

Reviews Summary for ICOM ID-800
ICOM ID-800 Reviews: 21 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $629.99 USD
Description: 2M/70CM Dual Band Mobile Transceiver. 55W VHF, 50W UHF. Receives 118-173, 230-549, 810-999 (Cell Blocked). Modes: FM(analog), AM(analog RX), and GMSK(digital). Digital Voice + up to 950bps data capability with the optional UT-118 installed.
Product is in production.
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KB2VYZ Rating: 5/5 Jun 19, 2008 20:44 Send this review to a friend
Just Awesome  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is an awesome radio, very easy to program (I only had to look in the manual once to figure out how to turn on the Digital Voice). And like all of the ICOMs I have owned through out the years, it's very well built.

73 de Frank/KB2VYZ
MIGUELORAMAEXK2QB Rating: 4/5 Apr 30, 2008 07:44 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio manual needs improvement  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is a great radio, so far it works great but the manual with the d-star programming and how to use its not that clear.. everything else is working great and get good reports using my sg7500 mobile antenna and with the gp1 base antenna as well..
VA3QF Rating: 4/5 Mar 25, 2008 19:38 Send this review to a friend
Good radio - bad manual  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have owned the ID-800H for only a couple of weeks, so this is a preliminary report.
I had used Yaesu for mobile and hand-held in the past, but decided to upgrade from a 2m-only mobile to dual-band and elected to add the D-STAR capability at the same time.Current pricing from Icom made the decision to get the ID-800H an easy one.
First, the manual leaves a LOT to be desired! I had to read the section on D-STAR several times to get an idea of what was being said. As a previous reviewer commented, it seems to have been proof-read by someone whose first language is NOT English. In the end I resorted to: A) buying the programming software and B) joining a Yahoo chat-group to get more information.
The software is a breeze - a bit tedious typing in all the repeater frequencies, offsets, tones, D-STAR callsigns etc but infinitely better than all the knob-twiddling on the radio.
As far as the radio itself - if you can't find room for this radio with its detachable head in even a SMART car then you've got a problem! The number of features on the microphone is impressive and means that just about every function can be controlled from there. On-air reports have been very favorable. I would have given it a 5 but the manual lets it down. Sorry, Icom!
K7JGB Rating: 5/5 Jan 5, 2008 21:23 Send this review to a friend
1st Time Icom Owner...Great Product  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have only owned Yaesu radio's, until I wanted to play with D-Star. I choose the ID-800 over the IC-2820 because the price was better and I had no intention of using all the features the IC-2820 had to offer.

As far as programming the rig by hand and using the manual; don't ask me because I have no idea how to do it. I purchased the software and cable. I have to say the CS-D800 software is by far the best software out there, to program a radio. The software is well worth the money. Especially with the new D-Star repeats coming on-line, I find myself reprogramming the radio often.

Like I said, I have only owned Yaesu radios, so the switch to the ICOM microphone took some time getting use to, but in the end, I think I like it better than Yaesu's microphone. I can control more thing with the microphone key pad therefore, I do not have to touch the faceplate as often.

There are two things that I do not like about the radio. First, is the microphone cord. The plastic that wraps around the actual wires becomes stiff in cold weather. It is not as flexible as a Yaesu microphone cord. But in Arizona it is cold a few months out of the year, so it is not a big deal. Second, the is no "reverse", so I cannot switch to the repeaters input frequency to find out if a station is close to me when they are transmitting.

The ID-800 is a great radio and I plan on purchasing two more of for a base radios.

-Joshua K7JGB
JA7UDE Rating: 3/5 Apr 19, 2007 17:08 Send this review to a friend
Good but need improvement  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have been using my ID-800D for five months. I believe it is good timing to write a review.

* Very compact
* Large LCD display
* Small detachable head
* 50 watts output on 144 and 430 MHz bands

* Takes substantial time to get used to the D-STAR repeater operation. The user interface is not intuitive.
* Gets very hot even with a few minutes TXing and goes down to the automatic low-power mode.
* Pricey

If ICOM really want to propagate the DV mode and D-STAR repeater system, they should provide amateurs with lower-priced DV capable transceivers.

The 50W output power on 144/430MHz is attractive, but the body soon gets very hot (I cannot touch the body) and then ID-800D automatically falls into the automatic low-power mode. It is obvious that the stock fan is not enough for cooling. I am using mine in the shack. The ambient temperature is about 20 degrees C.

KT4NR Rating: 4/5 Jan 7, 2007 11:33 Send this review to a friend
Initial Review is Positive  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well I have just gotten an ID800 and this is an initial review of the rig. This is my first Icom radio after 15 yrs in the hobby. I have mounted the rig in the back of my car and bought the remote kit so I can mount the head up on the dash of my 2002 Ford Escape XLT. It is run into a diamond tri-band antenna through a diplexer that is shared with a TS480SAT.

The rig itself is quite small but that by no means reflects its abilities. The radio does not seem susceptible to most interference but I did notice that I have to run the squelch dial up quite high to be effective. As I like simplex I may opt for an external filter someday so I can open the squelch more. My former rig, a Yaesu FT-8900 did not seem to have to be set so high for 2m work. The display is very nice with large clear letters. I did notice a limited field of view that did not make mounting easy and might cause the display to be a bit hard to see with sunglasses on.

The microphone is one of the best I have used. It is well lit and for once all the functions of the button seem to be displayed on the button itself in a font that can be easily read. The weakness is the scrolling buttons are on the far left of the face rather than the right or top of the mic. This works well for left handed people, but for right handed people it can be a stretch and will require some getting used to. Listening to audio from other ID800s in both analogue and digital modes it sound very nice.

The memory program I got to program the rig with works wonderfully. It is very user friendly and very quick to use as long as you know what you are putting in.

I did not test the transmit output power so I will take Icom at their word. I do notice that the rig’s fan runs a lot. Since it is remotely mounted in such a way as to have plenty of air I am not worried about over heating or being annoyed by the noise. It is rather soft but present.

The weakest part of the whole package is the direction manual. I think they used a machine to translate fro the Japanese. Sitting side by side with the direction manual of the TS480SAT they are world’s apart with the Kenwood book being easily superior. It really needs an edit by a group of native English speakers knowledgeable of the radio.

I got the rig for the digital aspects of the radio. A group of very active people here are getting on the DStar bandwagon and I expect to see a few stacks operational over the next few months. The digital mode is taking getting used to. To me almost everyone sounds like they have marbles in their mouth, however, I am lead to believe you get used to this. The audio does have some advantages over the analogue (which on this rig sounds very nice) in that it is a bit clearer (marbles aside) and fuller. It is kind of neat to see call signs of the people you are talking to scroll across along with various status messages. I have a lot of playing around to do before being more authoritive on the DStar aspect. I also have noticed that where I could not work someone before on analogue (same antenna and power on 2m, about 1/2 power on the Yaesu as the Icom) I can indeed work them on digital. It is not always true, but more often than not it is.

All in all it seems to be a good rig and I look forward to working with it for a while to come.
KF4HR Rating: 3/5 Nov 27, 2006 06:54 Send this review to a friend
ID-800H it's ok  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I rated the ICOM ID-800H "OK" for several reasons. First, it's not a true dual bander. It only can monitor one band at a time. It's basically a re-make of the ICOM IC-208H, with DV (digital voice) thrown in as a bonus. That can be a drawback to anyone that is used to using a real dual-bander. Secondly, the manual and general programming layout of the radio is not straight forward. It's almost illogical. Perhaps the most important part of this radio, is the manual. You'll need to keep the manual handy for awhile until you get the hang of it (or perhaps as long as you own this radio). (Interesting too, on the flip side, ICOM's ID-91AD HT has a beautiful programming layout!)

Next, let's talk about DV. Digital Voice audio quality does not match standard FM; nope, no way. DV sounds a bit robotic. Why? It's a simple matter of squeezing 10-12khz of audio bandwith, plus low speed digital data (callsign, GPS, messaging), down into approximately 6 khz. Something has to give. And surprise! It's your voice quality! But the quality of DV is tolerable and you get used to it fairly quickly. But I much prefer listening to FM, rather than DV. FM is just easier to listen to. In a quiet shack environment with fixed antenna and good communicaitons speaker, DV quality is fine, and after a few exchanges you'll almost forget you're using the DV mode. But in a vehicle, it's a different ballgame. And if you drive a vehicle that's somewhat noisy, you might find yourself listening much more carefully than you normally do. Consider a good mobile speaker is a must.

Programming the radio for the DV options can be an exercise in frustration. Don't expect to do this while you're driving. Again, keep the manual handy. And do not expect the manual to answer all your questions either. For example, how Call Sign Squelch is really suppose to work through a single repeater? (No success with that here yet!) The manual describes various options that can be turned on or off, but trying to find out 'why' you'd want them on or off, will send you off scratching your head.

On the plus side, DV does seem to have a bit more range than a standard FM signal. I've run tests on FM, adjusting power levels to where the FM signal was barely copyable, then switched to the DV mode without re-adjusting the power level, and the DV signal was perfectly clear. And when I say clear, I mean "absolutely" no noise, hiss, fade, frying pan noise, intermod... just DV signal!

Then again, if you try that same test from vehicles all bets are off. FM "picket fencing" takes on a whole different senario when you're in DV mode. If you loose signal in the DV mode (i.e., the bit error rate (BER) becomes too high), you'll start hearing a string of noises, sounds not unlike a drunk Donald Duck. As the bit error rate improves you might start hearing some words - otherwise it's drunk Donald Duck city - or nothing. With DV communications it's either there, or it's not. Unfortunately, when it's not - there's no telling what you're going to be hear. Luckily there's a squelch attenuator control!

Like the first generation of digital cell phones, D-Star works, but it has a long way to go. Obviously we had to start somewhere and people are excited about D-Star and that's a good thing. I think we're in the "crawl before we can walk" scenario with DV. But for now, good strong repeaters are going to be a must, especially for mobile work.

I would imagine (hope) future versions of DV gear enhance voice quality, perhaps adding a wide(r) bandwidth option if necessary. I'd also like to see a true-dual DV band mobile unit hit the market, and eventually base station radios that have a DV position on the mode selection switch. We can only hope! My suggestion? Try DV, but don't venture too far from our older analog FM radios just yet!

Pssssst! ~~~ Come on Kenwood! Pick up the D-Star ball and do DV right! ~~~
K3XT Rating: 5/5 Nov 27, 2006 04:42 Send this review to a friend
D-Star Digital Voice/Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I agree with the previous reviews on the ID-800H, I would like to add a few comments. I was concerned about how the audio would sound compared to analog FM. I am pleased to say there is very little audio quality degradation compared to an analog FM signal. For example, the audio is much better than the Uniden IV scanner when it decodes APCO 25 digital audio.

After testing two ID-800H’s on the road it is great to hear full quieting signals down to S zero. S meter reading of zero to full scale DV (Digital Voice – D-Star) is all full quieting. One thing about no noise, this means no squelch tail (no squelch level to set either), you do not know when the other station has stopped transmitting. To solve this problem, as an option you can turn on Stand-by Beep – otherwise known as Rodger Beep from the CB days. Just before the Digital Voice signal disappears into the noise the audio starts to breakup (sounds like R2D2), but no noise. No noise also means no intermod, you might have it but you will not hear it! It looks like analog FM has a 3 db edge over DV as far as weak signal capture is concerned. However, at that weak signal threshold the noise is so great on analog FM it is unpleasant to try to carry on a QSO. In practical terms there is no difference in weak signal reception. In DV mode there is no such thing as being off frequency. When you tune to a DV signal nothing is heard till you are on frequency. Tune 5 Khz away and there is silence, at 10 Khz away there is no S meter indication as well, similar to analog narrow FM deviation.

The call sign of the station you are talking to can scroll across your LCD screen if the station has programmed their call in MyCALL memory and turned on this option. Also, after the call sign there can be a 20 character text message that can scroll across as well (TXM-C). I have put “Name is Sean” in the text message so us forgetful types like myself will not have to ask the other station “what is your name” if they have done the same in their text message. This data is transmitted when depressing the PTT to speak, works the same for simplex and a D-Star repeater.

It was no problem talking through the first DV repeater in the Philadelphia, PA area (146.34/94). The manual makes using a D-Star repeater very intimidating with all the repeater calls signs that could be programmed for specific zones and gateways in a wide area linked system. For this single site repeater all I had to do was select DV mode, dial in 146.94 and start talking.

Some other interesting optional DV functions. An EMR function that will force the receive audio up on other D-Star radios if by chance the audio has been turned down or off. Digital Call Sign Squelch (DSQL) that will only open the squelch on a specific call sign (UrCALL) that is being transmitted. Great function for a busy wide area D-Star system where you only want to talk to one station and need the extended coverage of the system. A GPS can be connected so coordinates can be transmitted along with your call and text message. There is an Auto Reply function (APR) that will respond to another DV signal by transmitting your call sign and text message back to it to let that station know it has been heard when you are not at the radio.

It would have been nice to have an automatic mode selection option so the radio would switch to either DV or analog FM when tuning across a band. There is an analog FM monitor function while in DV mode but you must first push the Moni key to listen. Maybe this function will be in version 4 of the firmware. My radio came with version three. Icom is charging a fee to upgrade ID-800’s to this version and early owners are rightfully upset.

This is not your father’s FM mode. DV (D-Star) is easy to get going but requires a lot of understanding (reading) to fully utilize the many new features analog FM never had.
KF4HR Rating: 5/5 Nov 13, 2006 08:37 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Radio!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently purchased an ICOM ID-800H. The first thing I noticed was it was very similar to ICOM's IC-208H in appearance, plus it shares many of the 208H's analog programming features. This seems to be the way ICOM does business. No doubt saving ICOM valueable R&D dollars not having to recreate a new radio exterior (i.e., 706->706II->706IIg & 756->756Pro->ProII->ProIII). Smart marketing!

No D-Star repeaters in my area yet, (but soon), although I have been able to experiment with DV (digital voice) via simplex frequencies. The first thing I noticed was the fidelity of the signal wasn't quite as good as a standard narrow band FM signal. It sounds a bit "digitized or even slightly robotic", but I got used to the difference quickly and after a few minutes, it wasn't a big deal. After some testing; and switching back and forth between analog and DV, I found that DV actually provided better range! A very marginal analog signal became perfectly clear when switching to DV, at the same power level! A nice plus! And when I say clear, I mean very clear; no static, hiss, fade, or any of the other analog qualities. Then again, DV is either there - or it's not! Not much in between.

As with all of ICOM's D-Star radios, the ID-800H is backward compatible to analog, so it works well with standard FM repeaters & simplex communications.

Being able to see the person's callsign scroll across the screen, everytime they key their mic is a nice plus, especially for us that have a tough time remembering new callsigns. And there's a few more alphanumeric spaces to add something after the call; perhaps a short name or club indicator.

The radio programs fairly easily, even without the programming software, but keep the manual handy though, especially for the D-Star programming features. Quality? The ID-800H is typical of all ICOM's excellent products.

Oddly enough the ID-800H comes with the higher-end HM-133 mic (with lot's of remote features), which is typically an option on most rigs. In the case of the ID-800H, the more standard mic's (HM-118N & HM-118TN), are sold as options.

My only gripe is that ICOM didn't select a "true" dual bander to convert to D-Star. Unlike their IC-91AD D-Star HT which can monitor VHF and UHF at the same time, the ID-800H can only monitor one band at a time. If you have been used to using a real dual bander, you'll miss that functionality.

Other than that one gripe, I'm very pleased with the ID-800H. But whenever ICOM decideds to put out their next generation D-Star dual band mobile, [assuming it's a real dual bander] - I'll be one of the first in line.
K3TD Rating: 5/5 Jun 11, 2006 05:47 Send this review to a friend
Excellent!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased my ID-800 last month and have been very pleased with it. Here are my thoughts after several weeks of use:

+ Large, easy to read display
+ ICOM's operating system is user friendly
+ D-Star is FUN
+ More memories than I will ever need
+ Memory banks for better scanning
+ Scan speed is very fast
+ Rugged mechanical construction
+ Excellent receiver performance
+ Plenty of receive audio
+ CS-D800 programming software makes programming easy
+ Manual is well organized
+ Fan is very quiet

- Mic up/down buttons

Overall, I am extremely pleased with this radio. The receiver is very impressive and soesn't suffer from problems that are common with other wide band dual banders. D-Star has some really neat features and the implementation is very good.
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