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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | ICOM IC-2820H Help

Reviews Summary for ICOM IC-2820H
ICOM IC-2820H Reviews: 49 Average rating: 3.6/5 MSRP: $768
Description: The ICOM IC-2820H 2M/440 dual bander has all the features you would expect and some you would not! You get: separate front panel, wideband receive, 3 power settings, built-in CTCSS decode/encode, selectable amber/green display, PC compatibility and 522 memory channels. V/V and U/U receive is available. The rear panel has two SO-239 antenna jacks to support diversity reception (two antennas required). The diversity function compares the receiving signal strength from two different antennas, ANT1 and ANT2, and automatically selects the strongest signal. This feature is useful when you are listening in a moving vehicle or the transmitting station itself is moving. Diversity receiving is available in 127 MHz, 136 MHz, 146 MHz, 375 MHz, 440 MHz and 500 MHz bands only.

The IC-2820H is D-STAR upgradeable with the optional UT-123 Power output is 50/15/5 watts on 2 meters and 50/15/5 watts on 440 MHz. It is 9600 BPS packet ready too (6 pin DIN). This radio comes with full function backlit HM-133 remote DTMF hand mic, mounting bracket, power cord and spare fuses. Main unit size: 5.9 x 1.65 x 7.4 inches 3.3 Lbs (150x40x188 mm 1.5 kg). Controller size: 5.9 x 2.6 x 1.25 inches 7.4 ounces (150x58x32 mm 210g). This model requires 13.8 VDC at 12 amps. This radio is supplied with the OPC-1663 and OPC-1712 separation cables.
Product is not in production.
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KC0VOE Rating: 5/5 Apr 28, 2012 17:40 Send this review to a friend
4.5 Awesome mobile radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I give this radio a 4.5 - my only complaints are:

1 - The menu system is underwhelming, not fun to use and sometimes confusing. The screen real estate is under used. This thing has a huge dot matrix screen but Icom didn't really think through the menu designs. This is more of an issue when using dstar.
2 - I wish there was an LED or something to make it easy to see what band you are on with a simple glance.
3 - I wish the speaker was louder.

Other than that, I think this is a great radio. Even if you don't want to install the Dstar module. Diversity antenna port is pretty awesome and I hope the next model has this. I have had no problems with mine, the receiver is sensitive and sounds good. I would buy another one.
VE2YU Rating: 4/5 Feb 27, 2012 11:59 Send this review to a friend
Very Pleased with radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have now had the 2820H for about 3 months. I must say at first I did not like the idea of the microphone not connected to the head as my Yaesu ft8800 was but after realizing that I am going to mount the radio on a homemade bracket above my rearview mirror in my corolla I was pleased they had done what they did. I do wish the extension cable was longer but it is not and they do not sell one longer so I cut the cable and extended it as I have it running in the ceiling to the trunk. I have experienced no inter-mod with this radio and I have only had good reports and the gps unit for dprs work very well along with the dstar capabilities. I am very pleased with this radio.
MW0GUK Rating: 5/5 Jul 19, 2011 02:52 Send this review to a friend
Really good  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Peolple say that this is an expensive radio but lets look at what you get if you include the UT 123 module.

It is a very good dual band radio for 2m and 70cm and the audio quality on both recieve and transmit is exceptional. It give a full 50 watts on both bands which is great in areas where repeater coverage is a little poor. Compared to my previous Yaesu products the audio has been commented on greatly.
The GPS system is really a lot of fun and you need this module to operate DStar. That is a giggle, working 6000 miles whilst mobile on UHF is funny. The othher station in Calgary was able to give me bearing and distance to me!!!!
DStar itself can be a bit tricky to get used to but when you do, the benefits are enormous. I found the Nifty guide to be worth its weight in gold and then some.
The display can be a little hard to see if there is bight sunshine in your eyes but this is not really a problem here in south Wales
Generally it is very well built and solid. When you consider that to have all the facilities that this rig offers as standard, ie data, twin band, voice, GPS all at the same time, you would have to spend more than the rrp to get all of the stuff seperately.
I just love it and when you consider all of this I believe it is actually good value.
VE3LLL Rating: 3/5 Feb 24, 2011 10:07 Send this review to a friend
My least-favourite radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
One "feature" of the 2820H that has pushed me to add this negative review is a small thing, but it still irritates after more than a year of ownership. While many mobile radios have fans that seem to make more noise than airflow, the 2820H thoroughly beats them all in that regard. The noisy fan comes on for long minutes when the radio is simply ON - not even receiving signals - and its roaring is obvious through most receiving and all transmitting.

Definitely not recommended for a shack radio.

Another "feature" I haven't seen mentioned in a quick scan of other reviews is that the microphone must plug into the *BODY* of the radio, it cannot be plugged into the control head.

In a separated mobile installation, the grudgingly-short 11' control head separation cable that Icom supplies must be routed back to the radio body, of course. You'll be lucky if it's long enough. However to have the microphone at the front of the vehicle with the driver - not a rare requirement, is it?!! - a customer-supplied CAT5 or other extension cable is required to extend the 30" microphone cable from the driver back to the radio body. It is not supplied by Icom, which makes you wonder, "What were they thinking?!"

"What were they thinking?" comes up a lot. Operation of the radio is least-intuitive of the 15 or so newer radios I own or have owned in seven years. Frequent forays into dense and complicated menus are required, and after over a year the often-obscure manual is still required at times to try to figure out how to do things.

Finally, D-Star...

Whether it is a limitation of the radio, or of the technology, D-Star signals are in my experience very frequently **NOT** as amazing-clear as others have reported. Perhaps those making these reports are located close to strong signal sources.

The three D-Star repeaters around me are all somewhat distant - 20km or more away. Despite that, in all three cases, I usually get nearly-full-quieting signals from the analog NON-D-Star repeaters that are co-located with those D-Star repeaters. However the D-Star signals from there are often wobbly-sounding, and fairly-often drop out or "R2D2"... a frequently-heard term describing D-Star signals that sound much like that robot from Star Wars. These signals are of course as intelligible to human radio operators as the robot was. Icom's 92AD D-Star handheld - which I also own - is no better than the 2820H at receiving D-Star signals unless the transmitter is closer than usually required to get good signals from analog sources.

I do know that the claims for this technology are the opposite of this, but I and other local friends - all one-time proponents of adding D-Star to one of our own club's repeater sites - have not found them to be true.

D-Star's performance aside, it brings additional usability complaints about this radio too. For example, as implemented the technology requires programming details IN ADVANCE of every D-Star repeater or point-to-point station you will communicate with - not something easily done with this radio while in motion or with anything less than careful attention.

I give the 2820H a '3' rating only because it seems to be a fairly solid (except for the mic) dual-band radio. Once you've climbed the unusually-steep learning curve and got it programmed to support your needs, it is a decent performer on analog. On D-Star? Well, who knows? It can only be compared to other Icom radios, but it has not impressed here.

Despite the '3' rating I would not recommend the radio. There are better-designed analog dual-band radios out there, and D-Star has definitely gone back-burner for me until persons or companies with better design sense than Icom can improve the digital technology and the radios used with it.
N3ORX Rating: 4/5 Feb 22, 2011 09:00 Send this review to a friend
Good, almost great.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had this radio for a month now. Let me start by saying I like the D-Star capability, and I can see this mode expanding and growing, and that is a good thing, in my opinion. It is also an excellent performer in analog mode.
I have only two major complaints, which are serious enough to me to stop me from rating the radio as "great." The first is fan noise. I have an Icom 2720H in my Jeep, and it has a noisy fan. I took it out and put it on the bench next to the 2820H and did a comparison. The 2820H was noisier than the 2720H. Reason I put the 2720H in the Jeep was because of the noisy fan (I have an Icom 208H in the family car and it is quiet). This was very disappointing to me, as I had hoped to put the 2820H in the car and possibly get one for the shack, too.
Second complaint is that the mic should be capable of plugging in to the control head, also,, ala the 2720H. If using this mobile, and wanting to bury the main body someplace like the trunk to eliminate fan noise, you then need to make up a very long mic extension cord and route it through the car.
I would have thought that ICOM's designers would have thought of these things based on feedback from previous ICOM transceivers. The jury is out on whether I will buy another one for the shack..I may look at something else for using D-Star from home.
KD6KZU Rating: 5/5 Mar 3, 2010 16:29 Send this review to a friend
D-Star D-Star D-Star  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Yes it is expensive. But, in my mind it is worth every single penny. This radio is beautiful. Receive sensitivity is wonderful. Have this in a truck with a FT-1900R. I hear a station on the 1900R then switch to the 2820 to actually listen. Audio quality on FM is wonderful. Have had nothing but good reports from other stations.

Now for the good part. With the D-star module this radio turns into the future. Audio quality is Phenomenal. Programming is a learning curve, but in my opinion no harder than any other modern radio. The internet links available on D-star repeaters put IRLP/Echolink to shame. Regularly work stations from England, Australia, Japan, and Germany through the gateway and they sound like they are on the telephone. The lag I've experienced with IRLP and Echolink is virtually non-existent on D-star. I'm hooked.

I think any user that puts the time in to learn the ropes of the system (no harder then learning satellite, PSK, or any complicated HF rig) will find D-star is pleasant and welcomed.
DD4DA Rating: 3/5 Jan 21, 2010 12:50 Send this review to a friend
Again at service - don't need that again  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I purchaise the 2820H at the end of Augist 2009 and added an UT123 immediately. I did some test out of my shack, used the external Diamond X30 Antenna and did some Tests to get some experiences in D-STAR. The GPS Antenna was'nt installed that time - was still in the box. After about 2 weeks and some qso's, i wanna see the GPS receiver working. I installed the GPS-Antenna and tried to see the polar coordinates, but the GPS does'nt got a fix.
Until some further tests, it was clear that the GPS RX must be defect. I went back to the dealer an he xchanged the UT123 after some tests. Well, the RX seems to work and did that about 8 Weeks. I was surprised if i could not got a GPS fix again. A call to ICOM Germany and some Emails later, the complete RIG was again left to the dealer and later, to ICOM germany (now nr Frankfurt Main). Nobody at ICOM Service center could not find the reason why the GPS RX got failed. They replaced the UT123 again and exchanged the GPS Antenna this time too. Now, i got the RIg back, but the GPS is not installed yet, because this will failed later again.
D-STAR is boring, so i will dismount the UT123 and put them to Ebay. This is the second experience with the ICOM Germany Service - they need near 8 Weeks to change a Modul - don't need that again. Next time, i will decide me for an YAESU oder Kennwood RIG for mobile operating in FM.

vy 73 de Gerd
VK6ZMS Rating: 4/5 Jan 8, 2010 06:36 Send this review to a friend
Nice rig  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The only thing stopping me giving this radio a 5
is the fact you have to remove the front panel to plug in the GPS antenna. Other than that its very easy to programme, the manual is clear and the radio sounds nice on air.
The receiver sensitivity good and can be controlled
by the squelch/RF gain.
M3VXJ Rating: 4/5 Sep 8, 2009 07:31 Send this review to a friend
Not so bad!  Time owned: more than 12 months
My previous review gave this a 1 out of 5. I've been using it for over a year now on and off so feel able to give a more reasoned review.

Good solid unit. Front panel is quite robust although it did feel flimsy at first. This is a proper dual bander and works great on both my local d-star and analogue repeaters. GPS antenna seems to work wherever I throw it, even under the driver seat!

Icom put the GPS antenna connector behind where the front panel fits and the same with the programming cable connector. Icom needs to make certain that users purchasing this transceiver cannot use it on d-star without the UT-123 because this is not always clear. Microphone is cheap and nasty!

I bought the CS2820 software to program this. It is described as cloning software but does allow you to program a single unit.

Overall its been pretty good.
KV4BL Rating: 1/5 Aug 31, 2009 01:32 Send this review to a friend
Complicated, Expensive, Ripoff  Time owned: more than 12 months
Icom 2820. How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways:

1) prohibitively expensive for what you get. It at first appears to be a solid dual-bander with bells and whistles that would be desired.

2) besides the outrageous cost of the radio to begin with, then you are saddled with the approximately $300 for the digital module so this radio can be all it can be. D-Star is, in and of itself, a pricey ripoff which is hyped to Hades and back but IMHO, isn't worth a hill of beans. More on that later.

3) the "no transmit bug" which I understand can be remedied by by boxing it up and sending it off for a firmware or software upgrade. More expense, trouble, and time without use of the radio

4)Magnetic attachment on back of control head. While touted and even seen by some as a "plus", it is an annoyance to me when trying to move or adjust the mount that sticks up from my console, having the head pop loose from the mount every time. The 2800's system was so much better.

5) Cross-band repeat requires complicated or expensive mod to enable. Can only be used legally for brief time as Icom didn't see fit to include an automatic CW ID to ID the radio. Way to go Icom!

6) cheaply constructed microphone and cord common to all current production Icom radios. The cord's outer insulation is some kind of cheap plasticized material that doesn't have the resiliency of rubber or like materials used in past applications of this type. The mic's cheap feel and durability are legend. No need for further comment, here.

7) Programming difficulty and complications galore

8) issues previously noted by others regarding too-short control head and microphone cables. For what these things cost, Icom should do far better. This is a gross mistake they repeat on model after model. They should be ashamed!

9) saving best for last, D-STAR sham. I went ahead and purchased the modules for three 2820's, thinking they would be fun to play with should anyone else in the area turn up with them. It was fun communicating with a friend and a close relative who are both hams using this new technology at first. After a few months, another friend turned up with one of the ht's and we were able to communicate on simplex with it, and the novelty was interesting.

After a while, this friend and another decided to go whole hog and add a D-Star repeater to the area at their own expense. This is to their credit and in no way is an indictment against them. Once it was up and running, it was again, a neat novelty and others in the area bought D-Star capable radios and began to partake of the mode. THEN came the "issues". The repeaters were all connected to the dubious D-Star "network".

I cannot for the life of me, see what is so great about it. I hear people on nets and YL's in particular, talking about how "wonderful" D-Star is and how great it is. The D-Star network, as I see it, is overly complicated and complex. If you are a computer geek or enjoy video gaming or such it is probably just great. Otherwise, getting into "The Gateway" consists of jumping through so many hoops that consist of having to go online and register or get permission from this source and that just to connect to it, that I see NO VALUE in it. Before I had again obtained internet from my house, I had friends supposedly "register" me or whatever else was needed to get into this jerkzoid network and assumed that I would be able to. As it is, I can hear "nets" all over the place coming into the local DS repeaters all the time, but they cannot hear me, I am told because I haven't jumped through some hoop or other to get into it, STILL!!!! This is entirely too much DRAMA to use such an expensive piece of gear! I have looked and can find NO STEP BY STEP TUTORIALS, ANYWHERE, that will tell a non-technogeek how to get into the gateway and talk to other repeaters or areas.

It is like buying a computer for the first time and having no knowledge of how it works or how to connect to the internet. There are no real tutorials telling you to "press this button while holding this key down" and turning this knob, or whatever.

I have long thought that connecting computers and radios was an exercise in folly of the worst sort. One thing that has always made Amateur Radio shine when things were bad was its simplicity. Whether CW, SSB, AM, or FM, these modes and a little know how were able to get on the air and work when phone lines, police radio systems, and other things went down and would not work.

DS further complicates the flow of things and muddies the water with unnecessary technical hoopla that, IMHO, has a much enhanced opportunity for FAILURE, when things get really bad. So many want to jump onto this digital bandwagon and praise it as the new way to communicate in disasters. I see it is a new way for disaster comms to fall on their face when things are bad.

While the idea of linking repeaters across the country via internet has appeal and I have enjoyed it, give me IRLP or Echo Link any day over this rubbish!
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