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Show all reviews of the Icom IC-V80
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of the Icom IC-V80.
Jul 3, 2013 11:00
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Simple design, easy to program
Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is a great little HT. Better than my old Yaesu FT-10R I had back in the early 2000s. The construction feels commercial grade; like the Motorolas from the 80s. Tough, thick plastic.
The character display is not hi-tech. Sometimes, it takes a bit of head-scratching to figure out letters. (especially 'k') The simple display is part of why this radio is so affordable though.
I especially like how there is only the one initial set-up menu. All the most common features to be changed can be accessed by pressing the F (function) button, then the key that has the function as a second feature. For example: repeater offset direction, sub-audible tone, scan, keypad lock, squelch (through the 'MONI' button) and transmit power are all easily accessible without going into a menu.
The BNC antenna connector is much easier to find external antennas for than SMA, though SMA is starting to catch up. For example, just try to find a 5/8 wave, 2m mag mount for SMA.
The speaker/mic is the old two pin design; nice and rugged. It comes with a cover screwed on. (two #0 phillips screws)
I have the Sport model, which cost $40-50 less than the regular model, as it only comes with a battery case, instead of the factory NiMH pack and charger. This is the way to go. Spend that money on a couple sets of Sanyo Eneloop AAs and don't look back. (it takes six)
The belt clip is very rugged, and has a hook to keep from being pulled off the belt easily.
The height of the radio is about right: not as tall as an HTX-202 with battery pack, but tall enough to get a big hand around. It's not unwieldy for smaller hands either.
The power button is small, but a firm push with a thumb (doesn't even have to be the tip of the thumb) is all it takes, and it is not easy to turn on or off accidentally. Good design, in my opinion.
The 'MONI' button is small too though, and it takes two hands to adjust the squelch. One hand to hold the 'MONI' button in, and the other to adjust the squelch with the arrow keys. This can be re-programmed, so that squelch is on the main knob, and volume is moved to the arrows instead of manual tuning.
The display has a green backlight, and is of high contrast.
I have not tried the stock duck antenna, but bought four accessory ones to try:
- MFJ 5/8 wave mag mount
- MFJ 1/4 wave slim mag mount
- MFJ 1/2 wave telescopic
- Smiley 5/8 wave duck
The MFJ 5/8 wave mag mount is a great performer on my car. Kind of tall, but if you're going to really get out there with 5.5 W or less of power, then the antenna needs to be good. Watch those low-hanging branches. ;)
The MFG 1/4 wave slim mag mount is great. Really compact. I use this for my home antenna. Just slap it on the window air conditioner, and it does remarkably well, for the repeaters that aren't blocked by the building. If you want a good mobile antenna for this radio, but can't tolerate the height of a 1/2 or 5/8 wave, this is the one to get.
The telescopic one, I haven't tried too much yet.
The Smiley 5/8 wave duck is great. Remarkably strong into local repeaters for a duck. Since it's mounted to the radio, and I can get in a better spot, it is often stronger than the 1/4 wave mag mount in a less ideal location. Yeah, it's tall and slaps me in the back as I walk, but I don't mind. It is a good way to increase performance of a rubber duck antenna without going to something really fragile or unwieldy like the telescopic.
Some guys are disappointed that there's not a hard knob for squelch. I don't see the big deal. For me, I adjust the squelch for reasonably strong signals; I keep mine at 4. If it is too weak to break that squelch, then dialing the squelch down doesn't help. I have to use MONI (0 squelch) to hear it, and that is just a button press away.
I'll either update this review later as time goes by and I get more hours on it, or write another one, if I'm not allowed to update this one.
Lastly, here is a performance description, with the 1/4 wave mag mount on the air conditioner. Conditions: average.
Distance from repeater: 4.8 miles
Repeater height above ground level: 100'
I'm at ground level, in my ground floor apt.
5 W and 2.5 W are full-quieting. 1/2 W is not full quieting, but just a bit of fuzz and 100% readable.
If you are in the market for a simple, inexpensive, intuitive, and rugged 2m HT, with great antenna compatibility, look no further.
I'd like to see maybe an 'IC-V90' radio like this. Same feature set, but maybe with the old battery configuration, where the battery pack goes on the bottom of the radio instead of the back, with support for a bigger battery pack and an honest 10 W worth of output. Maybe it would use 12 AAs to achieve this, instead of 6?
All the old powerhouse HTs are extinct now. It's a shame. I think there's a market for a slightly bigger HT, with lots of power, basic features, even if it is slightly less "handy."
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