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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Icom IC-251A Help

Reviews Summary for Icom IC-251A
Icom IC-251A Reviews: 18 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $friend-$250.00
Description: 2m all mde base rig
Product is not in production.
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AK4YH Rating: 5/5 Jul 10, 2017 14:35 Send this review to a friend
Awesome quality.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Hello, mine is the E version, which I've had for almost three weeks. I wish they still make them like that, with everything you need and nothing you don't. Well, except a tone board maybe. Anyone has a photo of where you insert the tone? R156 wiper? Where is that? I can't find it. I've made a few 200km contacts with only 10W and an indoors homebuilt Yagi-Uda. Great sound, good audio reports, it still works great. I opened it and the build quality is excellent, especially the soldering. You even get spare RCA connectors! The tuning knob was very stiff when I got it but a few drops of oil and now it glides effortlessly. I love the toggle switches. I use a TechnoFix microphone with it, not having the original. CW works well. The SWR meter is a big plus. I am going to baby this thing so it lasts another 30yrs!
W0BKR Rating: 5/5 Jan 26, 2016 10:20 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio Even Today!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had these radios off and on for some time and always really enjoy them. They tune well, easy to use, great receiver and very functional. They can be used portable or base, easy to implement and easy to hook up and operate. I run mine off DC power just to save the internal AC/DC Supply as they do run some heat inside the radio. If you can find one, scarf it up. They are getting hard to find these days as many ops hang on to them. Resale price usually in the 175-250 range.
WA7KGX Rating: 3/5 Apr 6, 2013 22:05 Send this review to a friend
Vintage Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is such an old radio there is no downloadable service manual for it. The schematic that came with the user's manual leaves a bit to the imagination.

The unit I picked up at a hamfest has seen better days. Two of the toggle switches were busted. The tuning dial mechanism was a mess. By the time I got it working again I had to build a replacement DC to DC converter. Fortunately there is enough spare room inside to install a kludge DC to DC converter.

The prices these radios are fetching on Ebay suggest some think using these radios will restore their health and vitality to what it was when the radios were new.
ZL1SW Rating: 5/5 Aug 26, 2012 18:30 Send this review to a friend
grate ssb rig  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
used mostly for ssb with an amp,exl recv and the std mic is best on it,very simple to use no bells or wissels thats a +,i love it .will be with me for many many years,if you are looking for a good base 2 mtr rig and can find one of these i recomend getting it,
F6GGR Rating: 4/5 Dec 6, 2010 06:47 Send this review to a friend
Oldy but goldy  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own one for more than a year and I must say I love it. It presents a good sensitivity and the low increments of the VFO in FM mode is sometimes useful. All the commands are in front and separated. Bad things: using the 3 memories and the scanning is not easy, but you can forget them. This rig is for SSB and quiet FM traffic. When using the repeaters you must tune VFO A and then VFO B for the two frequencies you need, but the transceiver will keep this setting when you move to another repeater. The only thing i really don't like is the complex manner to send the tone call (1750) for the European model (IC_251E). You have to lock the VFO and then push the tuning speed button! They should have put a "call" button on the microphone.
The switches (there are six of them) are easily broken when old. And if you have (find) some of them, keep this treasure.

I realise I have mentionned many "bad" things about the IC-251(E) but I still say it is a good one. ( you'll fall in love with her). And there is no bloody @#! menus.

W0BKR Rating: 5/5 Jul 23, 2010 13:55 Send this review to a friend
Still a great performer  Time owned: more than 12 months
I pikced one up not long ago, and honestly, the rcvr sensitivity is sufficient for most VHF work. For EME, you might consider more preamps or something, but honestly, it will hear what it out there.

I like a tunable VFO. Compact enough for mobile or base/portable.

No filters or options but you really don't need any on VHF with the limited activity. NB works good, a bit clumsy for FM repeater work.

Two VFOs? Well, only for FM which again is a bit clumsy.

For VHF, if you need something "cheap" but useable, the 251A is a good selection. If you want to spend more then $200, then look into the TR-751A, or more $, an ICOM 820, etc. They will all work VHF SSB for you. Really depends more on your antenna, feedline and receiving system (i.e. preamps, amps, etc.) moreso then the radio.
KB0GU Rating: 5/5 Mar 1, 2010 02:35 Send this review to a friend
My starter 2M All Mode  Time owned: more than 12 months
Got this used off ebay, got manual with it but manual, schematic and detailed parts lay out available on line for free. At first thought it was not aligned for dial frequency turns out when you tune 144.200 for SSB weak signal and switch to USB the rig does an auto offset, same for LSB and CW. I have used for meteor scatter, psk, FM, and more recently weak signal SSB. Put a TE System 1452 in line with it and WOW. Receive is incredible as well as transmit now to 15 element horizontal beam. If ordering TE, ask for the low power input model, they know what you need when you tell them you have this radio. There are a lot of them still working fine business out there, and for the price of admission I can't complain.
26JLH Rating: 5/5 Aug 22, 2009 16:18 Send this review to a friend
good and old fashoned  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
looks ok, got it off epay..have only talked to my handies on it as i need to put up an aerial for it.Looks to be restored but who ever has done this knew what they were doing.It looks like new not 30 odd years old if only i had the box and paper manual i would be very happy..oh well i will get one by and by.. Good radio bloody well made, quality item puts the new plastic radios to shame even the front is metal as it should be, after all its a ham radio not a cheap vidieo..jeff m6-glh..somerset england..
AH6RH Rating: 5/5 Dec 7, 2008 13:34 Send this review to a friend
I love my 251a  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I really like my IC-251A, quirks and all. First off, if you really want a top of the line 2m SSB rig, and you want a modern in-production radio, then the Icom IC-910H is your only real choice, and it's not a bad one.

But, if you choke on the $1,400 price tag, then I would consider a IC-251A in good condition. All the key controls are on the front panel, such as mic gain, RF power, etc. It passes the first test, because real radios have knobs and not push button menus. You can calibrate the internal SWR meter by opening up the top cover and using a screwdriver, but I leave mines in RF power mode.

The front end is very sensitive, and the radio tunes in 100 hertz increments in SSB mode, which is the second test.

On FM, you can get it to tune in 1 kHz increments, which is useful for working the ISS uplink. That is the third test. The button to the bottom and to the left of the main VFO knob is for selecting tuning step increments.

For FM, you can choose to operate the meter in signal strength mode, or center discriminator mode. Can't find radios with a center discriminator meter any more, because they don't make crystal mobile radios and walkies.

Now for the quirks. It has 3 internal memories that require external DC to keep alive. This is from the days before internal lithium batteries. If you don't like internal batteries, then you have to supply external DC to radios. This is one of them. It also comes with an internal AC power supply, and sometimes over the years people remove them so you might get a radio without the internal AC supply. This radio uses the 4-pin .093 inch Molex connector which you can get at Radio Shack, similar to the IC-22S radio and IC-ML1 amplifier.

There are two VFO's, A and B. You can tune each one independently, then use the RA-TB or RB-TA switch setting to receiver either on A or B, and transmit on the other VFO. If you change freq, the other VFO will change by the same amount. By default, the radio wakes up with A=145.0, B=145.60. This is the standard 600 kHz repeater split. If you use the RA-TB or RB-TA mode, you can tune the repeater split to where you want to make contacts.

There are no internal filter slots for add SSB and CW filters. There's not enough activity here to determine the filtering characteristics of the radio.

There's no provision for hooking it up to a computer for automated tuning. If you like Icom radios, I recommend you get one with a built-in CI-V interface, which are the IC-275, 820, 821, 910.

This radio uses the older pre-amplified mikes, with the phantom power hooked up to the mike audio pin. So, it uses the HM-7, HM-8 and SM-5 mikes. The more modern Icom mikes such as the HM-12 and HM-14 with a separate mic DC lead don't work well with this rig.

So, if you work straight SSB simplex, or are interested in using the radio for uplinks (or the downlinks) to satellites, it works great recognizing you and not the computer have to do the tuning. I look forward to using this rig when I come home from work each day. That lets me dedicate, configure and use my IC-910H for mobile satellite work. If you want a straight forward radio, consider the IC-275 (and be prepared to pay more). If you get a working IC-251A for $175 or less, it's a good deal.
W6PMR Rating: 4/5 Nov 26, 2008 17:40 Send this review to a friend
Good but not perfect!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this last week at our new local radio store here in Auburn. It was a consignment radio
and I needed an all mode 2 meter for the base as my 736 was being repaired. There was a Icom 211 there for the same money but my experience with that model was very bad so I thought for $100 what could I loose.
Here is my impressions after a week of using the radio.
Easy to use, the manual is available on Rigpix
but I only need it for reference.
Not bad reciever, not as sensitive as others I have owned but with a pre-amp it's OK.
Only 10 watts, needs an amp.
Clumsy to use on FM. No PL and only 3 memories.
I installed a Com-Spec 32 but it's just not a great radio for FM. I use it for SSB and for one hundred dollars it's a good fill in untill I get my main radio back.
If you can pick it up for cheap, go for it if you just need an all mode for not to much $$$
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