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Reviews For: Icom R-5

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Review Summary For : Icom R-5
Reviews: 17MSRP: 190.00
Ultra-compact, super wide-band handheld receiver.
Product is in production
More Info: http://
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W4ARZ Rating: 2012-09-30
Deaf as my Aunt Mary Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Bought 1 for $150. Pristine shape, Box & all accessories. Not bad on local repeaters, Public service bands. When they go digital in January, I'll have a glorified Icom R2. P- Poor on HF...Non existant on any lower band except for FM broadcast where it seems to shine..that is except that it's as broad as a barn door on that band. Actually I paid $100 too much.. It's worth about $50. Leave this dud alone.. Put your money into a protable HT that has transmit capability. The idiots at Icom & Yaesu think they can put lower band capability in these mini's and it never works. Hey once bitten twice shy ? Not so. I also bought an Icom R3 a couple years ago.. You would think I'd learn my lesson.. They say what happens once happens 3 times.... Lord help me with my next radio mistake...SWAN maybe ? Seriously.. The R-5 simply is useable on no more than 50% of it's advertised range. woof woof !
KC2PJL Rating: 2008-05-14
Great Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've had my R5 for less than 24 hours and I can already state it was one of the best radio purchases I've made in a long time.

I had reservations about programming/operating a radio that has a minimal keypad but the R5 was easy to program, even without software. It's also easy to operate. The audio is very good for such a small speaker, very impressive. I'm using the stock rubber duck antenna, a collapsible 9-section Radio Shack antenna, and a roof-mounted discone and reception is very good on all bands tried out so far, regardless of which antenna it's hooked up to. I had it at work with me overnight and was listening to several of the pre-programmed SW stations. What impressed me was that the radio room I dispatch from is in the basement of the building and I was using the stock rubber duck antenna! I'm also surrounded by 5 computers in very close proximity to where the R5 was sitting. I'm also glad Icom included CTCSS/DCS in the R5.

My only real negatives are the lack of a full keypad along with no SSB reception.

I also own a Yaesu VR-500 and there is no comparison between the two...the Icom R5 outshines the VR-500 in all aspects of operation. While sitting in my ham shack/listening post I can't use the Yaesu at all due to extreme front-end overload. I live just outside of NYC and I have to jack the squelch so high (auto or manual) that I just don't hear anything. If the computer in the shack is on the Yaesu really goes nuts. Even putting it on the outdoor discone doesn't relieve the overload I'm experiencing. I'm no radio engineer but I can't help but think that if Yaesu had included CTCSS/DCS in the VR-500 overload wouldn't be such an issue. Either that's the way all VR-500's are or maybe I've got a dud. I'm only holding on to it for the SSB. My parents live in the midwest so I'm hoping when I'm out there visiting that there will be far less to overload the Yaesu. There is a major military installation by them so maybe the SSB reception will make the Yaesu purchase worth it.

If my experience with Energizer Lithium batteries are any indication I'll get good, long life out of each pair I use in the Icom.

If you're looking for a good all-around hand-held receiver that covers more than a standard hand-held scanner consider the R5.
VA3MKS Rating: 2007-02-03
Really nice. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Just bought this radio in JAN / 2007 - Radio is Great!
I've used it for about 20 hours so far.
Things I suggest;

-Getting the unblocked version. 0.100 to 1.3mhz
-Replacing the stock antenna if you listen to specific bands.
-Rechargeable batteries.
-Computer cable for the memory banks.

-Very easy to use once you figure it out.
-Tiny, tiny tiny! Awesome!
-TV channels are program in!
-FM/WFM/AM channels sound great.
-Only takes 2 AA alcalines and it runs for 10-20+ hours no problem!!!!

-No trunking
-anything from 2mhz - 30mhz is hard to hear, either because its on sideband or im not using the right antennas.

VE6XL Rating: 2006-04-15
Very compact Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The main feature of this radio is the compact size. It has everything one would need in a scanner. It can be taken anywhere with no difficulty.

The layout of the controls is a bit confusing and will take some getting used to. Adding memory channels and setting up scanning ranges is challenging. This may be in light of the size and limited number of available buttons.

The quality of audio is good.

If an very small compact package is what you are looking for the R5 is an excellent choice, otherwise I would look for something a bit easier to use.

N4KR Rating: 2006-01-09
"Perfect Portable" Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
A Great Emergency Radio. Listen in to everything going on. With just "Two" AA Batteries, you've got many days of service. Got mine for Christmas. A beautiful little Reciever. Last year I bought a used Icom Q7A Dual bander (same size as the R-5) and I take it with me everywhere. It too is a great monitor. But now, Icom has discontinued the Q7A. I believe that they may also soon discontinue the R-5, can't prove it, just a feeling. Once gone, they will become a rare item. The R-5 is absolutely a fun little reciever. It even has "ALL" of the T.V. channels AUDIO programmed into it. Just dial-up the channel, and listen to the program, even when driving, lots of fun. Weather, Short-Wave, Ham, Police, Marine, FM Broadcast, AM Broadcast .....what more could you want in such a small package. A good investment for $190.
KG4MIQ Rating: 2006-01-04
Excellent handheld communications receiver Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I have used a Uniden BC100XLT, Bearcat BC350A, BCT7, and various others, and have to admit, while this one is not as fast, it is by far the best I have used. I have seen better "scanners", but this is not intended to be a scanner. I have seen more sensitive receivers, and some with better audio, but not in a handheld that runs off AA batteries. On the whole, this is a fantastic little receiver that goes with me everywhere and performs beautifully.

I purchased mine used (but still in mint condition with the box and charger) at a local pawn shop for $110. I had to replace the rechargables, since the originals had been long lost. Best thing I could have done was purchase two NiMH 2300mAh AA's for $5. I don't know how long the batteries will last between charges, simply because I've never even seen the battery level indicator decrease since running off the NiMH (my guess would be >40 hours, continuous usage). Turning off the backlight increases battery life even longer. I find the stock antenna to be adequate, performing even better than some longer whips, throughout the receive capabilities of the IC-R5. I like having an alphanumeric display. I find myself wishing for a keypad for direct frequency entry, but that's my only reservation. I have not tried using the programming software yet, but I assume it will help speed up the process and intend to obtain it soon.

I do have one question: my unit apparently is a "non-US" model, since I cannot seem to get the weather-related functions to work, and there are no FCC labels on my unit, not to mention that the materials included with the receiver were only written in Japanese. However, the day I bought it, prior to doing a full reset (accidentally), I recall the WX functions working. My unit is cellular-blocked (915-959Mhz), though not that I really care, but it would be nice to have the WX capability restored. Anyone come across anything similar or have any suggestions?

Overall, it's not in the same category as an expensive AOR or other receiver, but it isn't very far behind in terms of "bang-for-the-buck". I'd quickly purchase another IC-R5, if I ever lost this one.
AE6OX Rating: 2006-01-02
OK with flaws Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Bought the R5 to listen to local VHF air and public service bands. It works well enough in the 40-480 Mhz regions. HF reception is a joke, but I expected that; no one should expect these little handhelds to do much below 30 MHz.

On the plus side, it works well on VHF/UHF bands. Stock antenna is OK and I get excellent battery life using ordinary alkaline AA batteries. Haven't even tried the rechargeable ones it came with.

Programming memories and/or band scan edges, on the other hand, is unbelievably tedious and not helped by poor documentation.

I bought Icom's overpriced programming software and USB cable interface. THAT was a big mistake. The software suffers from the same poor documentation. The USB interface (OPC-478U), which I thought would be trouble-free, comes with a CD-rom alleged to contain a USB driver you must load to your PC. I have NEVER been able to get the USB interface driver software to work. I advise staying away from the Icom software and using the alternate "freeware" available on the internet.
K2KOH Rating: 2005-07-16
Few Birdies! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I bought this radio to keep at work, so I can monitor other law enforcement agencies around me. Fits in my shirt pocket, has nice audio, and has VERY FEW birdies. Once you get used to it, it's not that hard to use without software.
One thing I particularly like as far as birdies is that there are almost no birdies in the UHF Aircraft band. My R10 and R20 are plagued with them, but this little wonder stopped only three times in the band scan.
G1HBE Rating: 2005-06-01
Surprisingly good Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought an IC-r5 after suffering some bad spurious signals with my previous Yaesu VR120d. This little Icom is much better, with clean reception and better audio. MW reception is strictly 'strong sinals only' on the buit-in ferrite antenna, but I didn't buy it as a broadcast radio anyway. As for LW, forget it - there's no sign of any signals below about 300KHz, but again this does not bother me at all. VHF and UHF reception is superb - highly sensitive with few unwanted noises and decent selectivity. My only complaints are: the push-button volume control and the SMA antenna connector (ugh!). Oh, and the odd bank system, which is hard to understand after being accustomed to simple (0)00 systems. What are those letters for...? Other than these minor quibbles, I'm very impressed.
THIODEN Rating: 2004-01-24
Super ! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I was very satisfied with my alinco DJ-X3 but this baby does even better, it's receiver is far more sensitive, this is personal, but I think it has better looks too ;) Although some have complained that this unit is hard to program i actualy found it quite easy, tune to freq. push and hold down mem, select nr. and presto! When the optional pc-link is bought or made, that's even easier. I use CS-R5 and TK5 to program my scanner and it works like a charm.
This baby is always in my pocket, in my hand, or on my belt ( the clip is said to be fragile, but mine is still in one piece :o) )
So, to sum up, if you're new to the hobby, this is the scanner to buy, and even if you're experienced , you'll enjoy this tiny black box.
I've used a variety of antennas, the stock antenna wich is a icom fa-s270c, a Nagoya NA-771, a rubber duck cb antenna, a cb external antenna A-99, a homemade 70 GP, several long wire antennas ( odd lengths off wire ), and a 2m dipole.
The stock antenna did surprisingly well, compared to the nagoya which is also 70cm/2M, the cb antenna A-99, seemed to give me the best reults, which is quite logical because it's high and big ;) the long wire works well for SW listening, better then the internal bar. So thats it
bye now,