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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Icom IC-502A Help

Reviews Summary for Icom IC-502A
Icom IC-502A Reviews: 4 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: Updated 6m SSB/CW portable
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KG4OHE Rating: 5/5 Jun 28, 2005 12:13 Send this review to a friend
What a fun radio!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Fell into the purchase of the IC-502A with the IC-3PS power supply/speaker set at a hamfest this spring and have not regretted the purchase for one minute.
The unit was initially purchased for use as a monitoring receiver but I've since used it as Xcvr making several SSB phone contacts. Have since added a 6M horizontal loop antenna which has improved my signal. Unit is easy to use and with it's portability, I'm looking forward to using it in the field. Great little rig!
VR2XMQ Rating: 5/5 May 30, 2004 04:49 Send this review to a friend
Great little SSB portable  Time owned: more than 12 months
I fully agree with all the comments of the previous reviewer.

I have had mine for many many years and will not part with it for love or money. I have worke into Africa with a simple 3 element cushcraft barefoot using this radio!

Also have the IC-202 which is the 2 meter version and that has a hot front end. Would love to get the IC-402 which ic the 70 cms version of the same.
DF1AS Rating: 5/5 May 14, 2003 13:15 Send this review to a friend
Cult  Time owned: more than 12 months
202x, 215, 402, and 502x are cult objects.

502 or 502A were (and still are) hard to find in Europe, 6 m was allowed only in a few countries.

A look into the part list is amazing. How is (was) it possible to build such a rig wich almost nothing? But that's why there's also almost nothing to repair if something failed. The circuit diagram (yes, just one - not a set) is easy to understand. It's just a bit tricky to disassemble these rigs if necessary, may be you have to de- and resolder some wires ...

I have a full set of ICOM's cult series, and all of them are still working fine. The pot's (volume, rit, squelch) sometimes need spray (once every decade) ...

The 502A is indeed better than the 502. Frequency drift and the knob gear, of course. Inline with the 202(E) upgrade to 202S and the 402 a new front look appeared. Also, the power cord connector has changed. The previous one (202, 215, 502) was very dangerous to use inside a vehicle ("+" pole outside).

Just great things for their time. 5/5
KU4QD Rating: 5/5 Apr 3, 2002 22:34 Send this review to a friend
Vast improvement over earlier version  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Icom IC-502A was an updated version of the original IC-502, part of Icom's "bookshelf portable" series. The original Icom IC-502 was introduced in 1975 and was immensely popular. It did suffer from two major flaws: a tendency to drift quite a lot and very coarse tuning requiring the fingers of a safecracker to tune in the desired signal. The IC-502A, released in 1980, did a marvelous job of correcting both problems. It was replaced by the IC-505 just two years later, and is somewhat harder to find than the earlier version. It's worth the extra effort to find one.

Both the IC-502 and IC-502A were analog VFO designs. The rigs had very hot receivers indeed, and naturally had no phase or digital noise, hence a really quiet front end. As a result, they've been a favorite among mountain toppers, rovers, and QRP/portable enthusiasts for a very long time.

These are simple, straightforward rigs with just a few controls: a large main tuning knob, an RIT control, a power/light switch, a volume control, a noise blanker switch, and a CW-T/receive switch. A fine tuning knob below the main tuning knob was added to the "A" version, and this, combined with a stable VFO, made all the difference in the world. The IC-502 was a pain to operate; the IC-502A is a pleasure, at least on SSB. CW involves manually switching from transmit to receive and back again, which is somewhat annoying. Both receive and transmitted audio are excellent, either with the provided hand mic. or the optional SM-2 desk mic. Output power is all of 3W, which is more than enough to make lots of interesting contacts when the band is open.

The rig sports a telescopic whip at the top and can run on 10 "C" cell batteries, making it truly portable. OK, not as portable as a Mizuho/AEA handheld, but as portable as was possible in it's day. An optional BC-20 internal charger would take up one third of the battery case, and the rig could then be run on 2/3 sub C NiCad cells. The lighting for the S/RF meter and VFO dial can be switched off to conserve battery power. The power cord has a molded, triangular, three pin female plug at the end, and is nearly impossible to replace. If you want to run this rig off of an external supply make sure you get a cord with the rig.

Other options which were available (and are anywhere from somewhat to very hard to find) included the MB-2 mounting bracket, the IC-50L 10W linear, and the IC-3PS power supply/speaker, which included a place to put the linear into. The Icom IC-3PA also makes a nice matching supply/speaker if you don't have the linear.

The IC-502A is a great little performer. The nits I've picked are minor, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone looking for an inexpensive way to get on 6m, especially for portable operation.

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