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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
WR2W Rating: 2003-08-08
A Very Nicely Upgraded IC-T2H Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I think the IC-V8 is a Very Nicely Upgraded IC-T2H. It's easy to use and program, and has great receive and transmit qualities. Even comes with a drop-in charger and the BP-222 NiCad pack instead of just a battery case. Built as solid too. The only thing I'm not fond of is the "soft" red on/off button which I hope does not wear out too soon. Icom has a Winner with this IC-V8 HT...
W2PSK Rating: 2003-08-06
Good HT Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
First off, the link that the first reviewer put on here is not the best link. Here's a link directly to the webpage about the IC-V8:

If you're looking for a new 2m HT, this is an excellent choice. It's got all the modern bells and whistles (even DCS!) with about 5 watts of output. The radio feels very solid in your hands. It comes standard with a slow charge drop-in charger, which is very cool. Most radios come with a wallwart. It's got sufficient memory channels (99+) with alpha-tagging. Even though computer programing of the memory channels is an option, programming via the radio isn't overly complicated and is easily mastered after programing in a couple of memories. The manual is good, and it's compact so it's easily carried with the HT for quick reference.

This radio has the ability to lock it so that memory channels can't be changed (without knowing how to unlock it) and you can even change the display to a "Channel" read out instead of the alpha-tags or frequency display. This would be a great feature if these radios are used by a club for special events.

One thing that I am nit-picking on is the alpha-display. It's small, so I understand the limitations on what Icom could do with it, but because of the way the display is, some alpha-characters appear as lower case, so it looks a little goofy, but nothing I can't deal with. Also, only 5 alpha-characters, but that's because of it's small size.

Something that some people may not like is the fact that it can't be externally powered. Then again, this is an HT. If you want a mobile or base rig, BUY a mobile or base rig! :) This is a REAL HT. You don't see Motorola radios with a plug on the side, do you!?

Another negative in my eyes (but not bad enough to bring this radio to a "4") is the fact that if you want to change something in the memory channel, you have to copy the memory channel to the VFO (by hitting a certian key combination) and make the changes in the VFO, then re-save it to the memory channel, re-entering the alpha-tag again. For example, if you entered a repeater's information into a memory channel, then find out that the repeater requires a PL tone, you'd have to copy the memory channel to the VFO, add the PL tone, save it to the memory channel, then re-enter the alpha-tag. I suppose this could be solved simply by computer programming, but if you had to do it in the field, you'd have to know how to manually do it.

Also, with today's technology, you'd think the charger would be "smart" so as to detect when the battery is completly charged. My video camera charger does this... The manual warns you about over charging. How much more would it have cost Icom to make it so their charger detects when the battery has a full charge, then stops charging!?

Oh well. Over all, it's a 5 in my book. The negatives in no way remotely make this radio a 4. Go out and buy it! For $130, you can't go wrong!
KA7JEX Rating: 2003-07-24
Outstanding radio Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Ruggedly built, easy to use. What else is there to say about an excellent handheld?

I use the programming software for the radio, and am well pleased with how easily it works. The copy/paste feature is invaluable when setting up a radio for the first time.

Rather than pay the exhorbitant price for the quick charger, I went to Radio Shack and purchased the end connectors for a radio controlled car battery ($2) and direct soldered the bare ends to the standard charger battery connections. Disassembly of the standard battery charger is accomplished with the removal of one screw. Radio Shack sells a radio control quick charger unit for under $25.

Quick charger units that I have are both a 110vac unit and a 12v cigar lighter plug in unit made by TYCO.

Duane Vincent KA7JEX
NC2F Rating: 2003-07-02
Great Value, function and durability Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The V8's mission in my view is very well defined. It is a durable and functional 2M HT which offers alot of the features found (and even some not found)in radios 2X and 3X it's price.

I used this HT on Field Day and it performed flawlessly with excellent rx & tx to all the area repeaters I needed to cover.

While external DC is absent from the V8, quite honestly I do not miss this feature. I have grown accustomed to relying on Battery power and extra battery packs are always an option if the need arises. Higher mAh battery packs offered from various sources provide nice options for the V8. But for now I am getting along with the standard battery just fine.

As mentioned above, this past weekend I used it for visiting Field Day sites in various locations of the Eastern NY section. RX with the stock antenna was very good as was TX coverage. Certainly it's not a 2M 5/8 wave antenna - but it did the job when and where I needed it to under some tough terrain and at time some distance...

This is now my go to 2M HT. Great Job iCom!

Dennis NC2F
KC8ULU Rating: 2003-07-02
Great little rig! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
This is my first HT I have bought new, and having everything from a VX-1 (my first rig ever) to an old DJ160, I can say I was very pleased when I bought this at our local Hamfest from AES (on sale!).

My first impressions on this radio were that, although the green is a nice departure from the usual black (or silver), I would have prefered a black case. After charging up the battery (time to build a battery eliminator!), and setting a few memories I keyed up our repeater. I got good audio reports and a full quieting (I was almost 25 miles away with an Iron Horse high gain antenna) signal from the 5 watts output. The only problems I had, without stating other previous ones are;
1. Battery clip needs to be built a bit more sturdy (broke after a few clips/unclips of the belt)
2. How about an LED backlight for the keypad?
3. 1 knob is nice, but 2 would be alot more user-friendly
4. A lighter socket to charge the battery would be welcome (I guess they can't always be like Yaesu and Alinco hihi)

Overall, this is a nice little rig, with only a few quirks and qualms. I would recommend it to a new ham, as well as any OT. After I bought one, quite a few others did as well when they tried out mine. Whether it is Skywarn, ARES, or just ragchewing on your local repeater, this is a very good rig to use.
N8XRV Rating: 2003-06-12
Nice 2M HT Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
This is a rugged little radio, Dropped it a few times onto the sidewalk, just a couple of scratches.
Has good output power, Hooked up to a good mobile antenna, it performs as expected with 5.5 Watts.

The only thing that serverly bugged me about this radio was no connector for external power. I like to use it in my vehicle, and on long trips, batteries die too quickly. BUT... I have come up with a 35 dollar solution.

I purchaced a Battery case for the radio (Item# BP-208), made to hold 6AA batteries for around $15

Then got a cigarette lighter universal power adapter (Item# 273-1817) at the local Radio Shack store.

Soldered the ends of the wires into the battery pack, made a little hole at the bottom for the wire to come out, set the universal power adapter to 9V, and it works nicely.

The stock batteries show 7.3V but 6AA = 9V, so either should work with no problems.

Be sure to have a voltage meter, and get the + and - correct, or you could risk radio damage.
KI5DR Rating: 2003-05-29
Best 2m HT available Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I have used my Icom 32AT for years for public service events. Back in February, I purchased my Icom V8 specifically to help in the Columbia Shuttle recovery effort.

This little V8 survived 3 days of wet, muddy, raining dense forests of East Texas (San Augustine). Not only did the radio survive, but was a fantastic performer - great power putput, excellent audio in and out, and LOOONG battery life.

I especially like having the BNC connector. Many folks have commented about the general shift over to SMA connectors for their size. I feel they are not as reliable and tend to wear out faster than BNC connectors. I wish others would stick with BNC.

While the 32AT was always "Old Reliable", the lighter weight of the V8 makes it my choice for a durable, all-purpose 2m HT.

Scott - KI5DR
N8CDN Rating: 2003-05-28
Good Value Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
After close to 20 years, I needed a replacement for my old Icom 2AT. I got my IC-V8 for $99.95 new at Hamvention. I could not pass this up based on the reviews here on E-Ham. I am very pleased with it so far. The recieve audio is ok and sensitivity is great. The memory programming took a little getting used to. I just cannot believe the features I got for $100.00. Considering my 2AT cost a liitle over $200.00 close to 20 years ago! This is truly a good time to be a ham with all the features you get for really low pricing.

Next on my Icom list: IC 703 and a IC V8000.

I really like Icom equipment!

Terry N8CDN
KG9EQ Rating: 2003-04-29
Good value for what it is Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Bought it nearly new from a friend at a hamfest. It functions well for what it was designed to do. Many of the other reviewers touched on some of the issues I have with this radio (small display, lack of DC power connection, memory programming issues, the speaker mic connection), but, all-in-all, a good functional HT. I bought the AA battery packs, and will get some high power NiMH batteries to use in them. This radio is worth a 4 in my book so far.
JOHN_EMT Rating: 2003-03-24
The absolute best buy out there... Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I work as a Emergency Medical Technician in West Michigan. I bought this radio as a back-up and as a take home portable, so I would be able to respond from home if needed. I looked for quite some time for just the right radio for the job. I foound it in the IC-V8. It is terrific! It is by far the best portable radio I have ever used. It is far better than the motorola radios that we use on the job. so much so, that I have started to use this instead. It is crystal clear, and has a great range. There is nowhere in the county I cannot reach with this portable when I bounce it off the repeater. For the amount I paid, $160.00 , it is a tremendous deal. I love my IC-V8 radio.....