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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Icom IC-W2A Help

Reviews Summary for Icom IC-W2A
Icom IC-W2A Reviews: 11 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $500
Description: 2m/70cm Dual Band HT
Product is in production.
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N2RWE Rating: 5/5 May 22, 2002 15:07 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding HT, even after 10 years!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I got my ticket back in 1992 and spent my first couple years using a Radio Shack HTX-202. The Icom IC-W2A is the first "advanced" HT I saw as a new ham but unfortunately for me at the time I couldn't afford the $500+ price tag. Ten years and several outbids on e-Bay later I finally own one!

This is Icom's first "true" dual-band HT which offered side-by-side dual band operation without favoring one band over another, as many other dual band HT's did at the time (a trend that has re-appeared). Quite frankly, the W2A is a brick, there's no escaping the fact that it is a 10 year old design, but with its' "brickness" comes a high degree of quality in construction.

The insides of the radio is equally as impressive as the outside! The W2A is a great example of modular construction. There's a main CPU board, and a modular backplane system in which each band module (2m and 70cm) plug in. Each module is almost completely contained in a RF shielded enclosure.

The radio has most of the features that you would expect to find in an HT today. There is an ample amount of memories; 40 per band plus a call channel and a pair of band edge memories. Each memory channel can contain a PL tone but not a split PL, PL encode/decode setting and repeater offset. A ctcss encode/decode board is standard as is a DTMF decoder for DTMF controlled squelch and what Icom calls Pocket Beep (a paging function).

Typical for Icom, battery life isn't anything exceptional. The standard battery pack is a BP-84, 1000mah NiCD pack which will give you about 6-8 hours of operation depending on how much you transmit. Fortunately because of the age of the radio, aftermarket batteries and chargers are widely available for a reasonable cost and thanks to advancements in battery technology, more than double the original capacity.

The vfo's on each band will tune any frequency you can type in (with a simple keyboard mod), but there is no guarantee that the PLL will lock. After the keyboard RX mod, the W2A will receive the FULL 800MHz band with excellent sensitivity and without any hardware modification.

On the downside, the 70cm band especially, is prone to a small amount of intermod, which gets considerably worse when you connect a high gain antenna. This is probably due to the fact that the receivers are extremely sensitive, rivaling my new IC-2800H mobile. My W2A seems to have a great duty cycle on 2 meters, producing very little heat while running the BP-84 at high power (2.5w), but 70cm, however is a different story altogther as the radio heats up quite quickly on high power (1.5w).

Te W2A also has other nifty features that you're likely to find on a newer rig such as a clock, auto power off, direct frequency entry, and several different kinds of scans. With a simple mod, the IC-W2A can also become a cross-band repeater,a feature that is starting to disappear from modern HT's.

All in all I think the IC-W2A and it's twin, the IC-X2A (70cm/23cm) are worth every penny that they sell for. The fact that you still see a lot of them around is a testament to their quality and usefulness. If you don't need the latest and greatest, or the smallest and lightest HT, then why not take a short trip back in time and pick up a W2A. You won't be disappointed.
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