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Reviews For: Icom IC-W2A

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

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Review Summary For : Icom IC-W2A
Reviews: 11MSRP: 500
2m/70cm Dual Band HT
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
N2EAC Rating: 2014-12-24
Wow - Amazing technology ahead of its time! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned and operated a number of HT's and I've been pleased with each of them. However, I do wish to note that ICOM would put the IC-W2A back into production. Why???

1. It is easy to program.
2. It is a true V/U, dual receiver
3. It has outstanding transmit and receive audio.
4. I prefer a larger transceiver - Why? The smaller the transceiver, the more the case is needed to disperse the heat generated by the PA's while transmitting. In other words, my Yaesu VX-5RS gets "downright" hot from transmitting when participating in a 3 person QSO over a repeater. The IC-W2A does not heat up at all.

Also, I have gone the way of buying the W & W Manufacturing Co., UC-1 Charging System, with batteries of 7.2v @ 2500mAh or to get full power use a 12v @ 1400mAh, all of the foregoing are MADE IN THE USA.

I would really like to get another IC-W2A. I would like to note that the IC-W2A is ICOM's version of the Yaesu FT-470 (also a fine "brick" HT), but candidly, I have predisposition for ICOM amateur radio equipment.

So, if you have a chance at a hamfest to buy an IC-W2A . . . BUY IT, along with any accessories, which are becoming more and more difficult to obtain, THEN contact me. I am good on QRZ.

73, Ed, N2EAC
W0TRJ Rating: 2013-04-25
Just OK Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I purchased 2ea used W2a and 3ea 2SRA HTs at a local hamfest for under $50.00 with manuals.

One of the IC2SRA was working the other 4 would not power up.
So far I have one IC- W2A and 2ea IC- 2SRA working
The problem is the voltage regulators going bad using drop in chargers for these Radios and have
no idea why?
ICOM PN#S87050EF-VR-T1 Voltage Regulator and hard
to find.
Also doing the extended TX mod on the W2A would
only work for VHF 134MHz-174MHzTX/RX UHF 440-450MHz TX/only UHF RX
I think this is because it has the older CPU in the Radio IC-W2A SER#06901.
The out of band TX worked great on the IC-2SRA.

The W2A and the IC-2SRA both have alot of intermod near computers generated noise/switching power supplies.
I see replacement BP-84 Battery Packs on E-bay for
$35.00 shipped.
The W2A will do crossband Repeat- Neat!for a HT.
Xband Repeater ON Hold [FUNCTION] press [2] and them [#]
Xband Repeater OFF Push and hold [FUNCTION] & [#]

I will give the W2A Radio a 3 1/2.
K0SIP Rating: 2012-03-06
What a gem! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Recently purchased a used W2a at a local hamfest for under $100 and was really glad that I did. Took a week to re-energize the older nicad battery, and added a new NiMH from the nicadlady (another great buy). Have to say, running 5W at 12V, this is a real joy to use. Did the receive mod myself, and though most of the state has switched to DTRS, it's a great general purpose VHF/UHF receiver. Get one if you can find it!
KI8ES Rating: 2011-11-20
Hard to beat this one! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Awesome audio, and works well. Lasts forever on a 12vdc 10ah gell cell. Grab one if you find it.
KL2EC Rating: 2010-03-25
great radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
It was my first ht and really liked using it. I bought a huge 12v. battery pack that pushed it for days! It held up as long as it was cared for minimally.
N2RRA Rating: 2007-01-12
Awsome! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Look at all the other reviews. What more can I possibly say?

This is my second W2A. Back in 1993 when I sold my first I had regreted it. I finally came across another attempting to get back into the FM VHF/UHF scene and it's been working fantastic. Recieve audio is great, transmit audio no problem, cross band repeat works great, and put's out full power. To think that an H.T. of this age can still work this great, and look as great.

It has a great slim feel, and slim look. Oddly enough being that all the other H.T.'s just until last few years seemed to be big and bulky.

If I keep blabbing I'll just be repeating what other's said. Bottom line great H.T. till this day.

KD7TDA Rating: 2006-07-09
Best HT I've had! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I got my W2A new in '92. I have had no complaints about it. The receive is great and so is the TX. This was my primary radio until it slipped off my belt and fell into a creek while backpacking. It still works great, when it will come on. I would highly recommend this radio to anyone!
ZL1UST Rating: 2004-05-09
Outstanding ! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned two ICW2A over a 12 year period.Both had the "mods." done to them.For experimental purposes,with the radio connected to a dummy load,it TX's well beyond the Amateur bands.With an antenna connected the RX is marginal to useless beyond Amateur UHF range.The lamp switch function mentioned in a previous ZL posting IS documented on page34 of the intruction manual.The lamp fixed ON function is used when one would be powering the radio externally and one would be on radio watch for many hours at a time.The lamp fixed OFF function,stealth mode,is to remove the distraction effect that the radio may cause in a crowded enviroment and possibly a slight battery power saving over many hours use.I have used these functions many times.The overheating mentioned earlier is a result of abuse.All handhelds will overheat when used on HIGH power in time.There should be no reason to run the radio on HIGH power for long periods.Apart from the heat the battery pack energy is depleted very fast.Either move the radio to a better location and or install a higher gain antenna or use a mobile radio.
The first radio worked flawlessly but I had to replace the battery packs numerous times.
The second which I still have has had numerous battery pack replacements.The latest mod. being NiMH cells installed.
1:The original rubber duck antenna is not much better than a dummy load at getting the signals in and out.
2:The factory battery packs have very short lives,even with carefull maintainance.
3:Over time the speaker/mikes creat scratch on the TX audio.
4.No simualtanious VHF/VHF or UHF/UHF opration.Only VHF/UHF
1:When the mods. are done it is a good "receiver" on the VHF marine other public service radio frequencies.
2.Performs crossband repeat flawlessly
3.The alarm/clock feature is very usefull.Why has this feature not been carried forward into modern handheld radios,I do not know.
4.Seperate VHF and UHF audio outlets.
5.Good RX and TX audio
KB3GLV Rating: 2002-12-20
BEST HT EVER!!!!!!!! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I got this little radio off of ebay a year ago as my first HT. When i figured out how to use it, i fell in love! The controls are complicated, like to get it into crossband repeat, you have to put 2 meters and 70 Cm. in VFO and then put the VHF as the main one and then hit F and 2 and then F and Enter. But once you learn the controls, ITS GREAT!!!!!!! I would SURELY recommend this HT to anyone!!!!
ZL2UFI Rating: 2002-10-15
Great Dual Bander. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I brought this rig based on the comments in the previous review. I already owned the IC-2SRA (which I have also reviewed here). The IC-W2A is from the same family and shares most of the same accessories as well. I brought the rig second hand from a ham store here in ZL and was described as being a 9 out of 10 condition - well it simply wasn't, may be a 5 or 6, but you get that when someone else views the rig and comments on it.

The rig came with an interesting supply of extra's, namely a speaker/microphone (HM-70), a cigarette lighter socket cable (CP-13), a DC power cable (OPC-288), a battery case (BP-90), plus the usual battery pack (BP-85), manual (photocopy not original) and wall charger.

All of these extra's make up for the 9 out of 10 comment. These accessories are almost impossible to source now, as the rig is over 10 years old so that was a nice surprise.

After receiving the rig I did a CPU reset to get the radio back to it's "out of the box" setup, and clear all the repeater and other frequencies.

I found a number of "mods" for this radio on the Internet, and will include two here that I think are of use to others.

1. A short note describing an undocumented feature of the ICOM IC-W2A dual band handheld. If you press and hold the function key and press 3 (light) the light timer is disabled. Pressing the 3 (light) again turns off the display lamp. Now, why you would want to do this I'll never know, but its a little known fact about an unknown subject.

2. To enable cross-band repeat, set each band to the frequency and mode desired. Set the current band to VHF. Press (Function-2) (Function-Enter) and the little "L" indicator will lash. The radio is now in the cross-band repeat mode. Do disable, press (Function-Enter) again.

This rig will operate out of band without to many problems, on receive, not too sure on the transmit side. In fact it was sold to me as a dualbander with scanner. I am able to pick several emergency services with as much as a couple of key combinations, no screwdrivers or soldering irons. This would have to be one of the best “features” of this rig.

I have had good audio reports and no problems with this rig at all, apart from the heat it generates on 70cm transmit, on high power. It seems that the back of the rig, which acts as the heatsink gets very hot, very quickly; so much so that I doubt you could hold the rig in your hand after a long 20 minute plus QSO on a repeater. I even have the belt clip attached to the rig as well, and the heat transfers to this as well!!!

I would say that if you can pick one of these up in good condition, it is worth inspection and purchase; more so if you can get the extras like I did.

One further comment I will make here about handhelds in general - I have in the past brought new handhelds, and I have always at the time or shortly there after purchased as much of the accessories as I could. These extras may cost a lot, but it makes the handhelds so much more useable and have a higher re-sale value later on. I have not brought a new handheld this time, because I have returned to ham radio after 10-12 years on inactivity and want to test the waters again to see if I can hold the interest.

Email me at if you want some of the other mods, like those mentioned above for this rig.