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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Icom IC-820H Help

Reviews Summary for Icom IC-820H
Icom IC-820H Reviews: 22 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $1,288.50
Description: 2m/70cm dual band all mode base rig
Product is not in production.
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N0HAN Rating: 5/5 Nov 5, 2014 17:09 Send this review to a friend
YAY  Time owned: more than 12 months
Finally a decent Multi mode RX! I was in shock when we bench tested this I could not turn ANY of the signal generators low enough for it NOT to hear and the noise floor was great on SSB copy signals down .01uv on SSB yes I said .01! Duplicated on HP and wave tek monitors! As for the power out put issues the appliance guys have, they call it adjust the ALC to yer desired level mine drives a set of 4cx250's at 7 wts for nearly a KW out on SSB 7wts on high and 2wts on low!
G8KHS Rating: 5/5 Jul 4, 2012 06:38 Send this review to a friend
Very good all rounder  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned my IC-820H for 6 years now without a single problem.
Transmit performance is excellent with no bad artifacts.
Receive is good too and compares well with most other radios of the same type, TS790, IC910H, IC271 TS711 etc.
Robust front end, good filtering, provision for cw filter are all positive features of this well designed radio.
All the controls work well with no wobbling, the display is really excellent and clear.
The only con for me is the lack of a power control, but it's a mod you can easily add to the alc line using a pot and a little care(details on web).

Overall a good looking, great performing easy to use compact dual band multimode that gets the big thumbs up from me.

John G8KHS
WA7JCL Rating: 0/5 Jun 12, 2012 06:01 Send this review to a friend
Walk away - Run from this rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned one for over 3 years and here are the problems with it:

- This rig takes a lot of TLC to keep it going
~ Have repaired rig no less than 4 times
~ Poor parts availability (must buy whole rigs just to maintain one rig)
* TX Mode sticks on
* Intermittent and/or no RX/TX
- Wobbly knobs, every one of them, but can add O-Rings
- Have to press and hold one button to adjust the main and sub band tuning. Try doing that with just two hands while trying to work another station. Argh!
- FORGET ABOUT satellite mode! As many AMSAT discussions review, it has never worked and never will.
- Bad sideband noise performance

Sure you might get the radio for $500, but it's a suckers satellite radio, because the preamps will cost you another $500! The preamp button on the front panel is used to turn an external mast mounted preamps on and off by sending a 12 Volt DC supply through the antenna coax. The preamp switch should always be off if you don't have an external receive preamp installed.

I keep this rig for sentimental reasons.
IT9AHH Rating: 0/5 May 22, 2012 08:49 Send this review to a friend
pure junk  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I used it for a year on 144 and 432 ssb/cw tropo.
One of the worst vhf/uhf transceiver i ever had!
I had ic260,tm255,tr 751,tr 851,tr 9500, ft 225rd+mutek frontend.
Erratic hig power and burned the rx/tx switching diodes and pcb.The sub band audio lower than the main band audio,stingy smeter and deaf Uhf receiver.
Impossible drive a linear amplifier and regulate power output.
No more icom vhf/uhf rigs,stay away.
W3TWG Rating: 5/5 Aug 1, 2011 08:06 Send this review to a friend
Sounds great! Easy to use, all the features I need.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I replaced a TS-711A with this rig. I am a diehard Kenwood fan, but in this case, with this class of VHF+ transciever (for me), I find the Icom to be the easier and more intuitive radio to use. For starters, the control panel isn't nearly as busy on the Icom as is the Kenwood. After that, it's pretty much a draw between the two.
This rig has great recieve audio, coupled with the SM-8 mic, I get reports of impressive audio, very distictive. Programimg repeaters is a snap, and with the dual VFOs I can flip back and forth beteen SSB and FM simplex band portions quickly and easily.
The rig was built for sat work, and it's not the best, but it will do so, sooo... for that reason I rate the IC-820H at 5/5 - it does what it was built to do, and all else it does great!! Hope this is in my shack for quite some time!!
DF9CY Rating: 4/5 May 19, 2010 22:59 Send this review to a friend
It has all what i need  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my IC-820H as used gear from a friend in 2003. It is heavy used on VHF and UHF. Worked a lot of DX with it and with a homemade interface (see WSJT for Meteorscatter and Moonbounce is easy.
Sensitivity of the receiver is very good - the selectivity of the filters not, but this is not so important for me as I am not working contests from a hilltop.
The preowner added a power control which makes operating the PA (4cx250) easy.
But now in 2010 the rig IS old and develops faults mainly with the ribbon cable connectors (which is bad when you're just working THE DX). This is now really bad and I have no good solution to this issue. In most cases the internal software sets the rig into an undefined status, where you cannot control anything anymore. Others seem to have similar problems with their IC-820/821 sets.

Christoph DF9CY
GW4PJQ Rating: 5/5 Dec 12, 2009 12:48 Send this review to a friend
Good used buy  Time owned: more than 12 months
This radio is one of those all time greats. If you have one keep it. It runs rings around these new HF/VHF/UHF radios.
For goodness sake dont be tempted to swap it for the later IC 821H. Just because it is a later model that doesnt mean it is a better radio!
NR9R Rating: 4/5 Jun 19, 2007 20:05 Send this review to a friend
Chirpy CW  Time owned: more than 12 months
I agree with the positives that many have stated about this transceiver. It has a sensitive receiver and is well worth the current used price. I have one criticism, however. If you take a look at the QST review you will find that the first CW character is almost totally clipped on transmit. This results in a noticeable (chirp) every time the relay closes on CW and makes for a funny sounding transmitted signal.
W5BP Rating: 5/5 Jul 13, 2006 07:56 Send this review to a friend
Great All Mode Dual Bander  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Since receiving my used IC-820H I haven't found one complaint.
I use it everyday on 2m FM, repeaters and simplex. Everynight I work 2m SSB if there are any stations on the air.
I used to check in to the Deep South SSB Net 3 times a week about 250 miles away until it was recently cancelled.
There isn't much 70cm action around my QTH but I have a dual band collinear and an Arrow 5 element SSB 432MHz antenna just in case.

The antennas I use with this rig are a Cushcraft 148-20T dual polarized 2m beam, a dual band collinear, and the Arrow just mentioned up around 35 feet, though soon to be about 65 plus feet.
Hooked in line is a TE Systems 1412G 200 watt VHF amp.
I have made several hundred mile SSB contacts as well as very long distance FM ragchews when conditions are good. When the band is wide open, well this setup is just fantastic.

The dual receive is great for monitoring satellites, repeaters, band conditions, etc.
Good power output, though I wish it were adjustable from low to full output.
Bright display, analog and digital meters, scan, plenty of memory, big VFO(dual), ATT, RIT, SAT function, Preamp button for mast mounts.

I haven't done the Cross-Band Repeat mod yet, but at least I know it can be done which is a nice feature.
Sensitivity to me is great and even better with a preamp. Also has great audio.

I bought mine for a very, very good price. They seem to go for about $500 on ebay which I feel is a good price for this great dual band all mode for the serious VHFer.

My Icom IC-820H will be in my shack for a very long time.

KE6PID Rating: 5/5 Nov 17, 2005 22:21 Send this review to a friend
10 years later, still great!  Time owned: more than 12 months
The 820H was the second radio I bought when I was a freshly minted ham. I have worked satellite (like AO-10 &13 RIP) local repeaters and some DX. Worked west coast to Hawaii once when a very rare 2 meter opening was in. It's never missed a beat, never been back for repairs.

The RX is HOT! Very good sensitivity on SSB and FM, both 2 & 70cm. In sat mode the 2M Rx and 70cm Tx link up for easy tuning. It's got just about all the features you’d need.

The only nit about it is the Low/High power control, low being about 2 watts and high being full blast. It is not possible to set the drive properly for an amp, I needed to purchase an attenuator to put between the Tx and amp…then a co-ax relay to bypass it on RX.

It's a good radio. If you see one used it's a good value.
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