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Reviews For: Icom IC-208H

Category: Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held)

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Review Summary For : Icom IC-208H
Reviews: 134MSRP: 319.95
2M / 70cm mobile with 55 watt VHF and 50 watt UHF xmtr. CTCSS/DCS encode and decode, tone scan, detachable and remotable control head, 500 ALPHA-NUMERIC memories, etc
Product is not in production
More Info: http://
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
VK5FPAC Rating: 2016-07-23
Least distracting car mobile Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Programming is not intuitive but once done it's only great TX/RX from then on. Coupled with a quality car audio speaker for superior sound and the usual Icom mic mod the unit is the best for mobile installations due to the small control head and minimalist display. If kept clean and dry it will last for a decade of quality use. If you can find one that has only lived on a desk and from a particle free environment then grab it and begin having fun. (The only other unit I would recommend above it is the ID-880H which has better features and faster performance if you need more than 500 memories.) All the issues mentioned in previous reviews are from users who were expecting too much from this radio. It does what it does really well, is of high quality and performs at the best level in it's class.
KG4ERE Rating: 2016-04-29
Great Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I own two of these radios and love them! They are a well built, sturdy radio that keeps on ticking. The remote head is small but large enough to read without any difficulty at all. I will continue use this radio in a mobile environment for as long as it will last.
W9OS Rating: 2016-02-27
New Module Report Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The new Mitsubishi VHF module has been running great for the last three months.It appears I ate the original Toshiba module driving it into an old KLM brick with high return loss. I have since Valcro mounted the remote head in the sun glass holder in the roof of my Navigator.It closes for security. The fan can be heard under the passenger seat. It's not that loud..I do run an external speaker on the pillar in back of the drivers seat.

Earlier 4-star review posted by W9OS on 2015-11-26

I replaced the VHF module with a Mitsubishi version.
It now works to spec 5-15-50 watts out
We will see how it plays.
N4DCT Rating: 2015-10-14
Great Rig Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This was my first radio that wasn't an HT. Bought back in 2007. Has served me well and has been in 2 different vehicles and 2 different shacks. Audio quality is good, easy to program, scans fast and great receiver. Would buy again.
GM1EXK Rating: 2015-10-14
Fan is LOUD! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Good RX sensitivity
Average or slightly better than average selectivity
Good output power (55W/50W)
Good Scanner range including AM
Nice compact size and detachable front
Control all features from the mic

Controls wobble (but work fine)
The Fan comes on regardless of TX power and temp and is LOUD!
TX Audio is Low (apparently the FM Deviation is only set to 3.5khz from factory)
Can't set it to auto repeater shift in the repeater block. (UK version)

Earlier 4-star review posted by GM1EXK on 2008-03-30

+ Small size
+ The main radio is very heavy duty and solid
+ Very High power (50W on UHF!)
+ Very sensitive receiver in band
+ Large range of receiver frequencies

- The front attachment is not so heavy duty (wobbly knobs)
- Very complicated menu and programming setup
- I get a lot of engine noise when used mobile
- Separation cable screws on to the front attachment (Can't easily be removed for security)
VK2AAF Rating: 2015-08-16
Great performer, durable, hard to program Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I picked up a 2nd-hand 208H a bit more than a year ago with the intent of using it as the main shack 2m/70cm rig, but it has been pressed into service as an impromptu mobile on a few occasions. This one has survived a few knocks and getting rained on briefly without complaint.

I agree with several other posters that the volume & squelch pot shafts have a excessive amount of lateral play, but this doesn't appear to affect their smooth and noiseless operation. At worst, they contribute a 'cheap' feel to the rig which is wholly undeserved considering the brick-solid construction of the rest of the rig.

The transmit audio is always complimented in simplex service- the local 2m & 70cm repeater has comparatively poor audio fidelity. The internal speaker is quite good considering its small size.

The rig makes rated max power on both bands, but it'd be nice if it had a 4th, extra-low power selection, perhaps 500mW, to conserve battery power in extended mobile/portable operation.

As has been noted by others, the receiver is prone to intermod, but in most cases the attenuator function engaged by advancing the squelch control into the last 1/4 of its rotation is sufficient to suppress the intermittent intrusions of extraneous noise. I'll suggest this is the price paid for the extremely broad receiver bandwidth, which may be a nice feature on a spec sheet though I suspect is rarely used by most owners.

I have just two complaints about the 208H. The worst of them is the general difficulty in basic operation. It's the first rig I've owned where I've had to consult the manual to set the op freq and use the scanning feature. Programming memories, whether from the front panel or mic buttons, is cumbersome. It is far easier to use a PC, data cable and programming software to perform this function. The second complaint is the noisy cooling fan which activates upon transmitting regardless of the temperature of the heatsink. It's surely necessary considering how hot the chassis becomes when using high power, but it'd be nice if it was activated by heatsink temperature alone and were variable speed to reduce noise when in operation.

Lastly, it is far too easy to mod the rig for out-of-band transmit operation, which requires only the removal of a couple of diodes from a matrix. This has contributed to a number of Australian 4WD enthusiasts taking up the 208H as a VERY high power UHF CB transceiver (Aus UHF CB power limit is 5 watts, yet the rig will put about 45 watts into a dummy load when programmed to transmit in the 476-477MHz Aus UHF CB band). Would be nice if Icom would hardcode a 476-477MHz lockout into the main CPU of future 70cm capable rigs. Icom make some very good quality UHF CB rigs for that market segment.

In sum, I very much like the 208H and would like to buy another for permanent mounting in my ute but they very rarely appear on the 2nd-hand market. If you have one, let me know!

73 de VK2AAF
SM3WEO Rating: 2015-07-23
The little radio that could. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Having had this radio since it came out new, i have never had a problem with it. I have used it mobile on field days, had it installed in several cars and it just keeps on going. It's a breeze to program and it has great reception and transmit audio. Works perfect as a scanner too it that's what you want to use it for.

If i were to say something at all negative about it, it is that it can be a bit too sensitive at times and you wish that the squelch could be a bit harder.

To conclude, i'll never sell mine.
It will stay until it dies.
VE7REN Rating: 2014-12-29
excellent Time Owned: more than 12 months.
ive had the 208h for a couple yrs.. it does everything my icom 2300h and 2200h does.. the rx is good,the screen offers good visibility.. the fan is a little noisy,,,,little,no more so then my ft8800 or v8000 icom I had... overall im very happy with this dualband radio.. it is and has been solid performer
WB4COJ Rating: 2014-08-10
Great mobile Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have 2. One was bought new in '03, the other used from a friend getting out of Ham Radio 2 years ago.
When I buy a new radio, I download manuals and play "what if". Example: what if there is a repeater on the same frequency in another area, but on a different CTCSS. How does the radio detect this and load into a memory? The radio with the least keystrokes wins.
I was a professional radio technician and had access to test gear.
The receiver in this radio is hot. Broke squelch at .1 uv, 20 Db at .18.
The transmitters get their rated power. If tested with more than a 1:1 SWR, the radio will lower its power to avoid frying a final. Mine are mounted under the passenger seat and the display where it can be read easily. This is important with today's smaller cars. Separation cable comes with it.
The fan running is not an issue.
Also likes is the computer program to load frequencies, power, CTCSS etc.
Problems: I wore out a PTT switch.
The radio has a tendency to wipe out memories when subjected to starter spikes. Mine are powered thru a relay to the battery, which is keyed by the "accessory" line in the cars.
KC4BTU Rating: 2014-05-14
Keying issue Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I purchased an ICOM 208 in 2009 and am extremely pleased with it. I must use it on low power if I am within 30-40 miles of a repeater. I like the fact that I can set a call freq. with the mic. either by up-down scan buttons while driving, imputing via the mic. or using the tuning knob. All useful mobile functions are on the mic. I also receive public service freq.
The only issue it has developed is an intermittent tendency to not release the transmitter when I release the mic. PTT key. I have replaced the mic. and cord. It worked ok for a few weeks, then the same issue arose again. Has anyone else had this issue?