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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Scanners | Icom R-5 Help

Reviews Summary for Icom R-5
Icom R-5 Reviews: 18 Average rating: 4.2/5 MSRP: $190.00
Description: Ultra-compact, super wide-band handheld receiver.
Product is in production.
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AF1952 Rating: 4/5 Oct 26, 2003 06:56 Send this review to a friend
OOPS! correction  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
In my previous review I stated that it was only possible to scan one memory bank at a time. As has been correctly pointed out, you are given the choice of scanning one bank or all banks.

My main bone of contention was the fact that it was not possible to scan ANY NUMBER of selected memory banks ( a function which my three other scanners possess ). I did not explain my point very well and apologise for being misleading.
KC2IGY Rating: 5/5 Oct 25, 2003 08:56 Send this review to a friend
Size doesn't matter.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I've had a few "micro receivers", and this one is the best of the bunch. I don't find the MW performance to be as bad as some have noted, but it isn't the R5's strong point either. VHF and UHF is where the R5 performs best. To correct another review, you can scan more than one bank at a time. You have the choice of scanning all the banks, or any single bank.
AF1952 Rating: 4/5 Oct 25, 2003 06:57 Send this review to a friend
Good thing in a small package  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
There's not a lot I can add to the existing reviews. The absence of a key pad makes programming awkward and complicated. Once programmed this little unit performs well and has good sensitivity. The provision of a ferrite bar antenna for AM was a total waste of time and space with reception of AM stations being extremely poor. This feature is a pointless addition given the main reason for buying a scanner. Where it counts I cannot really fault this receiver as VHF/UHF performance is excellent.
I am a little cautious about that plastic belt clip and do not trust it.

One major disadvantage is the fact that you can only scan one memory bank at a time, I have found this somewhat inconvenient. Being able to customise your memory banks is fine but this is not much of an advantage when you are confined to scanning only one memory bank at a time.

The claimed scanning speed of 30 ch/ sec is misleading, in search mode perhaps, but in memory scan it is a lot slower.
Overall a good additional scanner, but because of it's limitations I would not buy one as my one and only receiver. I am pleased with my R-5 and consider it good value for money, if it had cost more I would have been disappointed though.
AB0RE Rating: 4/5 Aug 30, 2003 12:39 Send this review to a friend
Works as advertised  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Whereas I echo some of KA1BTI's sentiments regarding scan speed and shortwave sensitivity, I cannot complain about the overall performance of the IC-R5.

First, one needs to take note that Icom labels the IC-R5 a "communications receiver", not a scanner and certainly not a shortwave radio. If one is looking for something that scans incredibly fast or something that is very hot on shortwave frequencies their money may be better spent elsewhere. However, if one is looking for a DC-to-light receiver, the Icom IC-R5 fits the bill nicely. It has an exceptional receive range and is capable of receiving wide/narrow FM and AM, which covers most communication with the exception of SSB.

Secondly, I think it's important to take a look at some of the features of the IC-R5 that, in my opinion, make it more attractive than the competition.
- The radio is has CTCSS & DCS, which make it a great receiver for the local repeater or public service frequencies. The radio also has the capability of scanning the tones to determine which tone is the correct one.
- The radio also has "offset" capabilities, so you can flip to the input frequency of a repeater at the touch of one button. Again, a very nice feature for listening to local VHF/UHF frequencies. Many of my ham rigs don't even let me punch in an offset for frequencies that fall outside of the radio's TX range, so this feature is especially appreciated on the R5.
- And, since we're talking about VHF/UHF RX, I found that the receiver is exceptionally sensitive in these areas. For once, I don't feel like I'm compromising if I do VHF/UHF scanning on the IC-R5 vs. a ham radio.
- The television channels come pre-programmed in the radio. No more spending hours looking up and punching in all the channels. Pressing the "BAND" button while in VFO mode also toggles nicely between the TV band, WX radio band, AM radio band, shortwave band, VHF low band, FM radio band, etc... It's a very user-friendly system.
- The ability to group frequencies and then name the groups and individual frequencies is nice for those of us who have a hard time remembering what we programmed in the radio.
- The radio only requires a couple of AA's and it seems to have good battery life. I am using some 1500mA NiMHs and they don't require recharging very often.

There are a few cons:
- The audio gets somewhat distorted when turned past the half way point.
- Programming the frequencies into groups, then naming the frequencies/groups, took a lot of getting used to. Icom could/should have made this process more user-friendly.
- As mentioned earlier, it does not scan as incredibly fast as a scanner and does not really excel on the shortwave frequencies, especially with the stock rubber duck antenna (of course).

Overall, I'd rate the radio "Good" as I'm happy with my purchase. I was looking for something to replace my older scanner and wanted something that also received the TV & radio frequencies, so I think I made a good purchase decision. Just keep in mind that a tri-band HT with similar receive range can be had for about $50 more than the IC-R5, so keep your intended use in mind when purchasing the radio.

Dan / ab0re

KA1BTI Rating: 2/5 May 23, 2003 03:51 Send this review to a friend
Scanner?  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This radio is an attractive choice on paper. Wideband coverage, 1250 or so memories, and more features than I would want to mention here. The IC-R5 is a tiny black box about the size of a "mini" HT.

To find it listed under RECEIVERS/SCANNERS was enough to make me post my "findings."
As a scanner, Icom's ingenious "all or one" bank scheme, combined with a very slow scan rate (I will not even call it a speed) will make you feel like you live in the middle of Nowhere. You probably will not hear that much.

For shortwave enthusiasts, unless you feel the need to have your programmes blasting from your shirt pocket, consider that any decent SW portable will easily outperform the R5. In addition, may even feature SSB and multiple bandwidths!

Surely this radio will beat beat a $20 Walkman for AM/FM Broadcast reception you say....? In just one miserable example, I could BARELY hear local 50Kw WBZ AM...and NOTHING ELSE. The older R2, lacking the ferrite bar, must have had even more people scratching their heads.

After using the cloning feature via the earphone jack, the internal speaker would often cut out...and then amazingly work again, just before I would be ready to send it back. I almost never felt I was saving time with the R5. Not even with the programming software.

To be fair, there is no panacea for those seeking a TINY wideband, high-end receiver for a low-end price. However, I found this radio to be a real pain. The aforementioned reasons were enough to make me run back to my family of radios that do ONE thing very well.... NOT resemble an R5!
NZ7C Rating: 5/5 Mar 18, 2003 17:35 Send this review to a friend
Great little buy  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
For its purpose this is a great little buy and extremely versatile. The software is excellent and you can either purchase a USB or serial interface. Highly recommend it.
SWL3 Rating: 4/5 Mar 9, 2003 17:02 Send this review to a friend
Very small with a lot of features.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I didn't even know these "DC-to-light" receivers existed until a few weeks ago. I mentioned to a coworker, who is a ham, I'd like a really small receiver that receives shortwave, TV sound and VHF/UHF communications. He had the IC-R5 up on his computer in less than a minute. I bought one and I think it's great. I wanted a small receiver so I could listen to TV sound while I was on the go and this receiver has a TV bank built-in for both UHF and VHF channels. (See my Yaesu VR-120D review about this.) It also comes with 2 AA NiCads and a charger that charges the batteries in the radio even while it's being used. The only thing it is lacking is SSB and I wish the buttons were illuminated. It's difficult to program without number buttons to enter the frequencies directly, but as long as I have the manual to refer to I have no problems. Don't hold a button down for more than a second, though, unless you really want to because it will engage another function. The small size more than makes up for the lack of number buttons. I see reviews with complaints about deafness, but this is a handheld receiver with a duckie, not a tabletop rig with an outside antenna on the roof. I think it performs well on all bands. I also have a Yaesu VR-500 that gets SSB and seems to receive slightly better. It might be because it is slightly larger. Also, the buttons light up. It also has number buttons to enter frequencies directly, but is is slightly larger than the IC-R5. The IC-R5 comes preprogrammed with 100 SWL stations in one bank, which starts one off immediately with short wave listening. One thing, though; don't do a full reset or it wipes them all out. I did that and had to program them all back in. I give the IC-R5 a thumbs up. It fits in your pocket and does almost everything. BTW, it also has tone squelch.
WK4RC Rating: 5/5 Feb 25, 2003 16:16 Send this review to a friend
Great all in one!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Decided to replace my older scanners and little shortwave receiver with something smaller and get as much bang for the buck as I could in the process. I thought that this receiver would do the job and have be pleased with it so far. The multi purpose, small number of buttons on the unit were easy to figure out to get it up and running out of the box. Needed the manual to get the memory banks assigned from stored memories tho. Still was not very difficult to do. Has ability to imput text descriptions for saved freqs in memory also. Programmable via software and cloning from another unit, don't have that ability yet. Receive of public service, ham, AM and FM broadcast, TV sound was really quite good. Audio was very acceptable even tho the speaker is quite tiny! Short wave receive, AM, no SSB, was pretty good on stronger sigs indoors. Would imagine that with a longer antenna than the supplied duck it would be very acceptable for casual listening. Tho as it is it is fine for my interests. Lotsa bang for the buck in a very small package. I have no complaints.
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