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Reviews For: Icom IC-V8

Category: Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held

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Review Summary For : Icom IC-V8
Reviews: 78MSRP: 179.95
Rugged, 144 Mhz HT that boasts 5.5 Watts out of the box.
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KD8DVR Rating: 2006-09-17
Great First Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've been licensed now for 3 months, and have had this radio since day one. Now that I have more experience, I can feel comfortable reviewing. Bear in mind I have absolutely no experience with any other radio.

The radio is a relatively low cost way to get on the air. As a beginner I required easy programming and operation. With this radio, I found both to be very acceptable. The automatic repeater/offset function was very handy. This function allows you to enter a frequency, and if it is one of the repeater frequencies in the bandplan, then it will set the plus or minus offset and you are ready to go. All you need to do is set the PL tone, which you can do via the PL scan function, which scans for a PL tone then sets itself. The radio has 100 memories, plus a call channel memory and two scan ranges. Naturally, you can also scan across the whole band. The ability to reverse the functions of the volume control and the frequency selection keys is nice to have, even though I haven't seen the need yet. The radio has the option of PL encode only, PL encode/decode and DPL encode/decode. This allows for plenty of flexibility.

The transmit audio quality is superb! Many people I have talked to have commented on how it is difficult to believe I was talking on an HT. Additionally, when I have made some far away contacts, I got comments that while my signal strength was very low, my audio was what made the contact. On a homebrew quarter wave external antenna, I have made contacts from 20-40 miles without a band opening. This radio has a sturdy BNC connector, which I absolutely require. It also has survived a few hard drops, one being on concrete with no damage at all, including no cosmetic damage. DTMF encode is naturally there, as well as a few memory locations for those common used functions. For DTMF decode, DTMF squelch and paging, an add-on board is required.

What I didn't like was the fact the keypad is unlit. The display is small, but I understood that when I bought it. The birdie mentioned on other reviews is definitely there. The stock battery is a 650 mAh Nicad. Definitely buy a more powerful battery or an Alkaline pack.

The unlighted keypad as well as the lack of an external power connector is what keepos this radio from a "5" rating. Features and performance are clear winners.

Operation notes: This radio will get quite warm, and even hot if you use it extensively at high power. Ragchews are best conducted at low power, if possible. Allow for plenty of cool down time. Additionally, Icom states the extra Alkaline battery pack should NOT be used with rechargeable batteries. I have, however, disregarded this warning and used 2500 mAh cells extensively with no problems. At a >2A current draw on high power, my cells should be able to transmit over 2 hours.
KM3X Rating: 2005-12-28
AWESOME RADIO Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The IC-V8 is a great HT for the price. It has the best Rx audio quality than any radio I know of. The only downside to it would be a non-backlit keypad but hey I can survive. It fits in your hand nicely and is built pretty tough. Mine has been dropped a few times and it didnt bother it a bit. Scanning speed is great. 5.5 watts out works great. No trouble with it at all, and for the price I'd advise anybody to buy it who is looking for a great 2 meter HT.
KG4RRN Rating: 2005-10-31
Great HT Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This ICOM V-8 is still going strong after 3 years of rough abuse.
The buttons are still legible, the audio is still strong, and the unit survived severe rain during hurricane Isabel in 2003. It did need to be dried out. The speaker-mic jack is strong, never a problem with a dual speaker mic plug.
The battery clip itself was the only weak technical problem ever wrong with this HT, unfortunatly it was not built correctly, but ICOM improved on it in 2004, and now has a commercial grade belt spring clip on its brand of batteries.
I replaced the Dummy load antenna with a dual bander and it seems to provide better reception
and transmission in this urban area of Northern VA.
The ease of operation and its strength made me go out and by the new V-82, so now it can have some company.
Just wish ICOM made a dual bander VU-8....
SFD301 Rating: 2005-10-03
AWESOME Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I've had this little 2m handhelo for almost a year. In that during it's been dropped pounded, and dropped into 4' of water for 10-15 minutes. After drying out, it works great, never misses a beat. I suggest it as a beginner HT for anyone. Simple to learn, simple to use, and takes a kickin'.
KC0USQ Rating: 2005-08-25
industructable radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
This was my starter radio, its just been great to me, i have dropped it on just about every kind of surface, carpet, concrete, asphalt,and so on, and after all of that it only has one small scrach, if your looking for a just about un-breakable radio, this one is for you. The IC-V8 is pretty easy to program, its a little hard at first, but after a few minutes its a brezze. The only thing that i didnt like so much was the battery pack on mine has come a little lose, but it should be eisly fixed. I also wish that they would include a battery pack with a longer life, the one that is supplied will only last for a hour and a half to two hours on high, but if you keep it on low, you can get four hours out of it. I gave this radio a 5 with good reason, it is and overall ausome radio!
KB9YNJ Rating: 2005-02-25
Value plus fun = 5 Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
After using a few other brands of HTs over the last few years and growing tired of the complicated procedures required to perform fairly simple tasks using only a couple of buttons, the Icom V8 is a breath of fresh air! The keypad features large, easy to read buttons, well suited for large fingers. It has just enough features to make it interesting and fun to use, but simple enough to make it easy to learn. So far, I have not experienced any of the problems that were mentioned in some of the other reviews. The first thing I bought for it was a battery eliminator unit from Batteries America. This neat little device takes the place of the battery pack and comes with a cord attached with a lighter plug on the end. It has a built in noise flilter, so I have not had any problem with noise from it. Because Icom provides a drop in charger with a spacer that allows you to charge just the battery pack,you can park the standard battery pack in the charger, keeping it ready for the times when you might want to clip the unit to your belt. The antenna that comes with it works great and enables it to hit most of the 20 some odd repeaters in our local area, as well as a few some 30+ miles away. I love the BNC connector and prefer it to the SMA connectors found on the other HTs I used in the past. SMAs are okay if you leave the stock antenna on all the time, but I like to switch to base or mobile antennas and the BNC is better suited to that sort of duty. The received audio is loud and clear and makes it a pleasure to listen to. I like the way the V8 feels in my hand and find the controls to be better than most. If I wanted to be picky, a few things could be improved, but overall, I am very happy with the way it is designed and the performance it provides. The owners manual is easy to understand and use, once you read through it and learn how it is layed out. After a few days, I was able to perform just about any of the programing procedures without resorting to the manual. Icom seems to understand what the average user really needs and I have to give them credit for putting together a great little HT that does a workman like job at a great price.
KC0TQX Rating: 2005-01-23
Great radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The V8 is my first radio and I am very pleased with its performance. I did not find it very difficult to program or use and I also like the general-coverage receiver. I have no trouble hitting the nearest repeater which is about 20-30 miles away; and that's using the standard rubber duck. The radio feels solidly built and is comfortable in my hand. I think the forest green front panel is very attractive.
KG4IKN Rating: 2004-11-24
Icom V-8 and HRO Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought 2 Icom V-8's and recieved them from HRO and one of them the speaker went out within a week.I called HRO in atlanta and they said send it in for a replacement. so i took it down and UPS it to HRO and then they tell me it was not returned in 10 days from purchase and they will send it off to icom and not replace it after they told me they would over the phone! Sent it to HRO in one of those Blue States so we know why all the Flip-Flopping with the return policy.If you are getting a radio,buy from someone you can trust to tell you the truth on the maybe in a few months i'll have my radio back while HRO got it's money from me in a timely fashion.I will never buy another product from HRO.If i had a problem with a radio from AES it was replaced the same day i brought it in. I had a yaesu from AES that had a chip problem and they replaced it on the spot.I had a freind who said to try HRO. Never Again!
KC9GMX Rating: 2004-10-30
All in all its ok Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Ok, when I first got the v8 it was a bit diffacult to program, but from what I here, almost all newer ham radios are harder to program than just your cheap R/S scanner. But once you get used to using it, it all seems like second nature. True, the manual sucks, so throw it away and just sit down and play with the thing until you get it figured out on your own, thats pretty much what I did, and took a few hours, but now I know the radio very well. I would buy this radio again though. kc9gmx
KF6RMH Rating: 2004-10-17
Great for what it is... Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
First off, my Icom V8 has the same interference others have mentioned on 147.205 MHz. I even went so far as to return it for another unit. Lo and behold, the new one had the same problem.

I do also get some interference from the PC, depending on how close I am. More now that broadband has been hooked up. But go into an adjacent room and it's not really a problem.

Minus the interference, this radio is great. For the price (~$120.00 US) you get a VERY solidly-built radio and even a drop in charger that can charge either the radio or the battery. Scans fast, too.

For what it is, a budget 2M handheld, I feel it does its job well, especially considering the price. I can honestly say I'd buy it again.