- Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement

Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | ICOM IC-W32A Help

Reviews Summary for ICOM IC-W32A
ICOM IC-W32A Reviews: 121 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $260.00
Description: 2 Meter/440 MHz Dual Bander Handheld
Product is in production.
More info:
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to this review.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

You can write your own review of the ICOM IC-W32A.

<— Page 2 of 13 —>

KY7F Rating: 5/5 Aug 18, 2011 13:19 Send this review to a friend
Still My Workhorse  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have had my W32A now for over ten years. Still going strong. Never had a problem with it. Use it a lot, too.
VK2BEN Rating: 5/5 Mar 10, 2011 19:04 Send this review to a friend
A real keeper  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned and used my W32A for coming up to 6 years and it has been great. Some people seem to have had bad luck with them, but mine has been a really reliable workhorse and it just keeps on going!

The original BP-173 battery is low capacity and weighs a metric tonne, but a couple of after-market BP-180's and an AA-cell holder more than makes up for that stinker ;)

I've used mine for Satellites work with an Arrow II beam; as a cross-band repeater; a marine band walkie; a scanner; a paper-weight and as a wheel-chock to stop the car rolling down the hill. Is there anything this HT cannot do?

The W32A has some sort of "MIL-spec" construction rating, which was probably valid back before the turn of the millennium. It _is_ fairly tough, although nothing like the commercial ****rola walkies some of the public services use. There are better built HT's around now, but with a little care I think this one will keep on trucking for quite a while yet.

I personally have not had issues with over sensitivity or overload; deafness; etc. It works great in the city (OK, you can see the S-meter peak often due to pager transmitters, but who doesn't?) and even hits non-LOS repeaters with 3W on the rubber antenna (Still using the original!).

To conclude: if I didn't need the money for another project, I would not wish to dispose of this awesome radio. I think the phrase, "they don't make 'em like this any more" is fairly apt in this instance.

73 and cheers,
KC7YRA Rating: 2/5 Feb 3, 2010 21:03 Send this review to a friend
I really wanted this rig  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I had a buddy with one of these and REALLY wanted one. So one day I busted out the credit card and ordered one up.

It arrived and it was BEAUTIFUL!!! I programmed it up and started carrying it around proudly. It was easy to use and did everything I wanted it to.

It started to display a serious problem though. If I was receiving a signal too strong, it would simply not register it. Where I lived, we had EXTREMELY good repeaters that could almost be heard in the fillings in your teeth (JK). Well, this little rig would not pick them up. It simply would not display ANYTHING on the signal meter. If you removed the antenna, you could hear everything full quieting. But of course would have to re-attach the antenna to transmit.

If you were miles from the repeater, it was OK, but you were incapable of being heard into the repeater because if you put a decent antenna on the radio, it would clam up and refuse to receive the signal. It would happily scan through all of my ham and public safety memories and never stop on anything but the weakest stations.

I tried all manner of external antenna (both handheld and mobile) and all kinds of squelch options, but never was able to hear anything that was usable.

I finally sold the radio on Ebay. It was practically new. I didn't even have it for 6 months. In the entire time I had it, I don't think that I received 10 transmissions. It was truly awful. You could set it to a simplex frequency, walk across the room with another handheld and the W32A would not be able to pick up the signal. It would not register anything on the "S" meter, the green receive light would not lite, NOTHING. If I was to walk 2 blocks away with the 2nd handheld, then the W32A would finally open up.

I have never seen a radio that was so sensitive, it was useless. If I took it into a vehicle and hooked it to a magmount, I could hear repeaters 80+ miles away, but none that were within 10 miles.

All of this seemed to affect the VHF receiver. UHF was fine but there were no UHF repeaters, so not very useful.

Since so many folks love theirs, I think I may have gotten a bad one. I would love to try one again but *Sigh*. Looks like that may never happen

VR2XMC Rating: 5/5 Jul 25, 2009 17:07 Send this review to a friend
still an excellent dual band H/T  Time owned: more than 12 months
Through years, I have played around many H/Ts including the latest IC92AD, IC91AD etc. etc. While many of them have gone, I am still keeping 3 x ICW32A, one for myself and the remaining 2 for my sons. It does not have all the functions in the new H/Ts such as WFM RX, AM broadcast RX.

However, it is a solid performer in any ARES or other similar operations. What you get is solid full duplex dual band function. The full cross band repeater function in the W32A is now absent from any of the new H/T. In the new generation H/T, there is only one single RF FET responsible for TX in V and U. For W32A, it has separated RF power modules for V and U.

The cross band repeater function is very useful in case you need a small repeater suddenly. In some of the previous reviews, it was complained that the battery pack life was short for W32A. This can be easily overcome by after market battery pack. BP180 7.2v 1000maH battery pack is now available in VR2 for only USD19.

Li-ion 3.7v 1500maH rechargeable cells are also very cheap. I built my own battery pack with 3 x 3.7v cells for my H/T. The operating time for my W32a is now very loooong before the need of recharging.
KB9NPH Rating: 5/5 May 21, 2009 20:18 Send this review to a friend
good unit  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned 3 of these units. Sold the first two and I plan on keeping the third. They are hard to find in the market, just a good solid rig.
KC8APT Rating: 5/5 May 20, 2009 13:37 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a great radio to bad they quit making it. I have used it for ham events as a SAG driver in a 100K bike event with a 5/8's wave mag-mount antenna. At 5 wats I was getting back to the repeater over 20 miles away. Other HT's hooked to the same antenna could not make it!

Once you swap out the batteries for newer ones the radio lasts for ever!

I added a Diamond RH77CA Antenna to it and it has alot stonger revice...

I have never owned something were you don't need to get a few options / addons for it.....

So if you can find it used its a great radio!!!!

W5SRG Rating: 5/5 Oct 28, 2008 19:09 Send this review to a friend
love it  Time owned: more than 12 months
Got mine in 2004 I think. I love it. It does everything I need and never has a problem. As to batt. life, don't use high power if you don't need it. I have never had mine feel hot like some do, not sure why. I will never let go of this one.
KC5PQC Rating: 5/5 May 5, 2008 13:20 Send this review to a friend
HAVE OWNED SEVERAL GREAT RADIO!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought my first 32 used at a hamfest. never had a problem.used for two years, and sold at a hamfest.i then bought a Kenwood, big mistake, hated the second i turned it on.missed my i bought a new one and paid retail.{ouch!} as far as the heat problem goes,i removed the paint under the belt clip, and added a dab of thermal helps to get rid of some of the heat. had this one for 6 years. i have talked about scratching my call sign on the display, to prevent me from selling it. i change radios like most people change does everything well for me.sorry to hear production has stopped.
SWL377 Rating: 4/5 Apr 22, 2008 22:00 Send this review to a friend
Good HT, 2 in 1  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought a barely used one with an extra batt still in the shrink wrap for $130 and am very happy with the purchase. It is a bit large and heavy, but it is really 2 radios in 1 proven by the fact that it can work 144-440 duplex. It gets warm on full power xmit, but I haven't read about any thermal PA failures. The complaints about battery life are true and you need to manage power carefully if you want to use it for a full day of normal operations on a single batt. I don't think it is a power hog. I think Icom was faced with a heavy radio and put a small batt on it to keep the weight down. I am still learning all its features. The W32A is a capable radio and gets really good audio reports. You will not regret buying one.
KI4SVY Rating: 5/5 Jun 25, 2007 10:01 Send this review to a friend
Geat Dual Band Portable  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a great dual band portable.
I purchased one used and the performance has been outstanding for over a year.

Look, a portable radio is limited. 5-watts is that. So, its nice to have both Vhf and Uhf in a single radio for portable use.

If you find one of these used grab it. They are a excellent radio package.
<— Page 2 of 13 —>

If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions about Reviews, please email your Reviews Manager.