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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Icom IC-202 Help


Reviews Summary for Icom IC-202
Icom IC-202 Reviews: 7 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: 2m SSB/CW portable
Product is not in production.
More info: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/lapthorn/ic202.htm
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GM1FLQ Rating: 5/5 Apr 7, 2009 11:34 Send this review to a friend
A leader in its day  Time owned: more than 12 months
In its day this was the radio to have in its class - sensitive, low noise etc.
They are even recognised today for their decent performance - several microwave enthusists use them for transverting. Unlike more modern models this unit was actually well built and was a bit different in its styling which you either love or hate. Can't recall many problems with this one either.
 
AC5XP Rating: 5/5 Aug 20, 2008 07:11 Send this review to a friend
Icom the innovator - Already then!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The IC-202 is one of Icom's most memorable radios ever produced. It entered the HAM scene around 1976, so quite a while back. It was the result of a great thinking-out-of-the-box effort, putting Icom on the map as the most innovative designer/manufacturer of Ham equipment. Something I think still holds truth today with radios like the ProIII and the IC-7800, but that's another story.
Icom put an attractive sticker price on the radio, something that helped its success in the market.

The radio basically is a hand-held SSB-only rig operating on the two-meter band. (despite it being listed here under the "Non hand-held" radios). It can be tuned across the band in a 200 kHz segment; four of these banks can be installed, of which two are factory supplied: 144 to 144.2 and 144.2 to 144.4 MHz.
The VFO is done by using a VXFO concept; a crystal configured in a lowered-Q oscillator circuit which allows frequency pulling by means of a variable capacitor. The capacitor used is a true mechanical variable capacitor, not a diode which helps in establishing an excellent carrier-to-noise behavior for the VFO as a whole. It also has an excellent "feel" when tuning; a real mechanical dial with that nice high-viscosity greased ball bearing feeling! Truly a great design job.

The radio can be battery operated or from an external 13.8V supply. A matching PSU/PA combination also was sold for base operation but these are rarer than hen's teeth. Something that also holds truth for the radio itself because not too many were sold in the US it seems, in Europe the radio was much more popular (as the IC-202E, basically the same radio but with a removable telescopic antenna instead, as was later implemented on all versions when the IC-202S successor was launched)

Other great features for this radio were the rugged construction (aluminum diecast case), well laid-out controls with great feel, its excellent weight distribution when operating it portable, and the military man-pack look.
When taking off the side covers, one also is impressed with the very clean build. Remarkably enough, the whole radio is realized on single-sided PCB, which is a blessing because later Icom radios using an early version of double-sided PCBs had a reliability problem caused by very poor though-hole metallizing.
But as said, this radio is not plagued by such problems.

I had one of these (IC-202E) in the late seventies when I bought it new. Should never have sold it though. I remember how we made QSOs from the east-part of The Netherlands (from the ETGD tower located at the Technical University Twente, see http://www.etgd.utwente.nl) deep into the UK, operating it portable from the IC-202 whip antenna. That's hundreds of miles. Hard to imagine today for younger hams when the only thing you now hear on 2 meters is FM repeater traffic, and even that seems to die off…

Like I wrote, these radios are hard to find nowadays. Even harder is to find one in immaculate condition. Lots of "improvements" for this radio have been published which resulted in many units offered for sale today having been butchered.
Don't take me wrong; every person is entitled to practice the hobby they please, but if I wanted a SSB hand-held rig with lowered noise figure and a digital display, I would buy an FT-817, no need to destroy a historical icon for such a desire....
In any case, I was lucky to finally find a mint IC-202 for sale, after looking for such a radio for THREE years!
Meet you on the band- With your unmodified IC-202 of course, or else use your FT-817, as long as you operate portable :-)
Loek "Luke" d'Hont, AC5XP
 
WW2R Rating: 5/5 May 27, 2008 22:31 Send this review to a friend
great little radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I currently have 2 of these radios. The first one bought in 1979 and is still going strong


The IC-202 is a 2m SSB/CW "vertical" portable.. The main difference between the later IC-202S and the IC-202 was the addition of LSB and cw sidetone. The IC202 did however have provision for feeding in an external VFO

The IC-202 was an analog, VXO design, hence it radiated a very clean signal. It could cover up to four band segments, each 200kHz wide, with 144.000-144.400 installed from the factory, but calculating xtal frequencies for other frequencies was easy (eg 148.8 to 146MHz for sat operation)

Simple to operatre; a great rig. Still use mine as a Microwave portable IF.

Only mod was to change the input fet to a more recent device which brought the sensitivity up
. Details of the mod are available on the internet
 
G3XBM Rating: 5/5 Aug 19, 2006 09:22 Send this review to a friend
Good VHF SSB rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
An excellent QRP VHF SSB rig from the 1970s. VXO coverage 200kHz per band and a good clean receiver. Allowed me to work plenty of DX both handheld and on a small beam. These days it would look a bit basic with no synthesiser, memories or gadgets but it does what it is meant to do well - SSB/CW transceive on 2m.
 
W7MY Rating: 5/5 May 19, 2006 11:39 Send this review to a friend
Super!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchaserd my IC-202s in 1980 so I could work Oscar 6, a 2m to 10m saellite. I used it for several years and it then ended up in storage. 25 years later it came out of storage and with a fresh set of batteries became operational again.

I have been operating VHF lately and find it fun to take on trips, mountaintopping, and great for searching out line and other noise sources.

The receiver is super sensitive and with just the whip, I have worked stations 200 miles away during opening. Its really fun to have around, I wish I had the 6m version as well!
 
K7VO Rating: 4/5 Jan 8, 2004 13:11 Send this review to a friend
Excellent receiver, still going after all these years  Time owned: more than 12 months
Not too long ago I picked up another Icom IC-202 for my shack. It was like having an old friend come home. My newer, fancier rigs don't have the oh-so-quiet receiver noise floor of these old portables, and the IC-202 hears almost as well as pretty much anything out there despite it's age.

The IC-202 2m SSB/CW "bookshelf" portable is the original version of this rig, which was sold between 1976 and 1980. The main difference between the later IC-202S and the IC-202 was the addition of LSB capability for satellite work. Otherwise they are basically the same radio. I've had both versions on and off over the past 20 years and I always come back to these rigs. I bought my latest one last year on eBay for all of $80 plus shipping, so they are now a good, inexpensive way to get on 2m SSB/CW.

The IC-202 was an analog, VXO design. It covered four band segments, each 200kHz wide, with 144.000-144.400 installed from the factory.

Output was 3W PEP or CW. CW T/R switching is manual, as in you have to flip a switch on the fromt of the rig, which is the main negative point on this rig. For SSB work, though, the rig was quite pleasant to operate in its day, and still isn't bad at all today. The tuning was a bit coarse and you never quite know exactly what frequency you were on.

Receive audio is fine to my ears, if not exceptional, and transmitted audio reports are good with the stock mic. An optional desk mic., model SM-2, is available, as was an optional 3 amp power supply/speaker combo, model IC-3PS. The rig does sound better through an external speaker. One neat feature of the power supply was that it had a bay in which to inset the matching IC-20L 10W linear, turning the IC-202 into a nice little base rig.
I
n it's day this was *the* fun little toy for mountaintopping and portable 2m operating OK, if you actually imported a Mizuho SB-2M they were every bit as nice and even smaller. The IC-202 is still fun and the flaws are understandable if you remember that this is a mid '70s design. No bells, no whistles, just a great rig.
 
G3OTK Rating: 5/5 Oct 20, 2000 13:24 Send this review to a friend
1970's 2m SSB/CW TCVR  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought an Icom IC202 in 1976 – still got it. The price in the UK was about 170 pounds Sterling (about $250 at present exchange rates). It was one of the first commercial 2 metre SSB/CW transceivers. It is unusual in having a VXO for tuning that covers a 200 kHz portion of the band with linear calibration that seems to be spot-on. The VXO has four switch selectable tuning range positions with 144 to144.2 and 144.2 to 144.4 being fitted as standard, at least in the UK. I have added additional crystals to extend the range to 144.8.

One of the side covers can be removed and nine C-size batteries fitted for portable operation. There is also a telescopic antenna and a PL259-compatible RF connector. An external 12V DC connector is fitted, with reverse polarity protection, which is fortunate as I wired the mating connector wrongly on the day the rig arrived

The power output is about 3W PEP. Transmit on SSB (USB only on this model) is by PTT on the mic (no VOX) and by a front panel switch for CW. A dc voltage is switched to the antenna connector on transmit and this can be sensed for switching a linear or a transverter. The receiver sensitivity seems OK, although I have never made any comparisons with other rigs. A noise blanker can be switched in, although I can’t comment on its effectiveness as I have never needed to use it.

The IC202 is about 3 inches wide by 10 inches high by 10 inches deep, so it fits nicely between other 1970's rigs. In late 70s/early 80s I used it with a h/b transverter on 10 metres and it worked extremely well. These days IC202s are often used with micro-wave transverters.

All-in-all, a first class rig especially when viewed as a mid-70s product. My IC202 been completely reliable.
 


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