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Reviews For: Icom IC-Z1A

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

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Review Summary For : Icom IC-Z1A
Reviews: 11MSRP: 499.95
2m/440 MHz Handheld
Product is in production
More Info: http://
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
VE7BGP Rating: 2020-11-26
A Classic and unique HT Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I recently obtained a IC-Z1A with spare Batteries and Desk Charger. I have had it's smaller brother the IC-T7H for 19 years now. It is great having the full Dual Band to go with the 1 Band at a time T-7H HT. This unique HT has the removable Front Panel that you can attach a
Coilly Cord and serve as a Speaker Mike and remote control. It also has a Standard Icom Speaker Mike socket to accept a HM-46 or 54 or HS-85 or 51 Headsets. Yes the EARLIER HS-51 for the IC-24 and 2SAT Work and work great on the Z-1A and T-7H Lower Voltage Radios contrary to what Icom says. I am looking forward to chasing the Satelites with it when I get and Arrow Hand Antenna. Yes add me to the list of 5 Star reviews this absolute top Class HT deserves. It is a great feat of Icom Engineering! 73 Gerry
KB1TMA Rating: 2010-02-24
Great Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
After looking into various mobiles and HTs I decided to purchase a used Z1A in very good condition as a first radio. I like the versatility of the radio, and the detachable face and mic combination are a plus when operating in a mobile.

This radio also serves as my base unit and hits almost all the repeaters in this small state (RI).

As others have pointed out there is some distortion at full volume, but for all the other pluses such as dual band, extended receive and easy of use for a beginner I would definatly recommend this HT to anyone.
K3CN Rating: 2009-03-02
Very fine unit Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I recently picked up this HT on ebay for a reasonable price and am very impressed with it. I prefer older models and this one has a great feel to it. well built with all the features I need and detachable face for speaker mike. It goes thru batteries fast so i have ordered a NIMH rechargable pack, it does have some distorted audio at higher levels but only a minor inconvenience. I also have the W32 and it performs very similar and shares some optional items. The only thing I miss is software programming but other than that it is a keeper.
KB2TWY Rating: 2007-02-17
The Best Dual-Band Hand-held. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This radio is like the Energizer Bunny, keep going and going........! This radio happened to be my very first hand-held since, 1995. I have used this with my local ARES group, mostly outdoors. Currently, I am using it as portable at my home and also as mobile. The only thing I have replaced is the battery. Best feature of this transceiver is that the face-plate could be used as extended mic. With almost all the features in it.

Now-a-days, almost all the hand-held are using the MIL Standards for rigid construction. But, this radio can still compete with most of the hand-held in the market. All in all, very strong, rugged, and sturdy.

Just one note of caution in general. Do not leave your hand-held in your car in extreme weather. This will shorten the useful life of any hand-held device.
N1XBP Rating: 2006-07-24
Best HT I've ever laid hand on Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I can't say anything bad about my Z-1A. It's the best HT I've ever used, hands down. That isn't to say its perfect, but the combination of features it provides makes it extremely versatile, and I always find myself annoyed that other HTs don't have the same features.

More important to me than any other feature is the ability to tune the two vfos independently and operate in a manner approximating full duplex (there is some desense). When using an Arrow handheld beam for FM satellite work I can hear my own downlink which is a capability worth it's weight in gold. Also lending itself nicely to this is that I can clip the radio to my waist and literally put all the necessary controls in the palm of my hand with the extension for one handed operation while holding the beam. As others have said, this also makes the radio handy when connected to heavier coax. I regularly keep mine tucked away with just the faceplate handy, both mobile and at home.

I've modded mine for extended receive, and while it's not exactly great I am able to receive weather radio and local emergency frequencies which I find very useful when camping. Since these frequencies are not exactly far from the operating frequencies of the radio, I'm not sure if you could tune that far unmodded.. it's been awhile :)

The interface takes a bit of getting used to but it's not so bad once you've got it worked out. I suppose the biggest complaint I have is that the volume is sometimes a bit awkward to adjust, but even that is easy.

If you're looking for an HT and happen across one of these, scoop it up!
VA3GRU Rating: 2005-11-17
Still an eye-catcher Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Given the age of this radio, It has all of the modern features that I have any use for. The 50 channel per band memory is more than adequate for my area, and the appearance of the rig is still an eyecatcher. It has a nice reciever and I did manage to get mine to recieve out of band with the common mods available on the net. Sensitivity in the extra-band frequency range leaves much to be desired, but I'm not complaining... I love this rig and the detachable face is genius. I use it as my primary uhf/vhf rig both base and mobile, and the mic/control panel has proven indispensible for this purpose, especially with heavier coax attatched.

I do, however, have a couple of qualms with this rig:

1)The speaker is too small, so the audio is crackly when you turn it up to what I consider to be a normal listening level. If you are in a noisy environment, it can be a pain.

2)The radio is not equipped with remote qsy control capability, so as to receive and decode digital carrier and trunking information via computer. This would be awesome for me, because our Police service has just switched to a digital carrier system, and I could easily cook up something in C to decode this and interface qsy control. [*nitpicking*]

3)The frontend does get overloaded by some local paging towers, but I'm not sure if that's the fault of the radio or their dirty signal... Could even be because of the rx extend mod...

But as far as serving it's intended purpose of being a dual band ham rig, it is awesome and looks really cool to boot! Can't say enough good things about the mic/faceplate...way ahead of it's time. I had wanted one since I got my license way back in nineteen hundred and ninety-six, and I can't see myself selling it anytime soon...
W1WDX Rating: 2005-08-15
Great HT Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I own the IC-Z1A and the IC-Z1E (same radio but the Z1E is the european model). Cannot say enough good thing about them. If you come across one of these rare pearls pick one up. You will not be disapointed.
KB3GUN Rating: 2004-02-14
Love it... Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I owned a Z1A when I first got licensed in 2001. I swapped it for a mobile rig a few months later. I kicked myself later on. I found another one on eBay just a few months ago and picked it up. It's a great radio, just like I remember. You can't go wrong with this HT. Feature packed and easy to use.
W5ZZQ Rating: 2004-02-04
Great Dualbander!! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I love this handie. I really like the detachable face - make into speaker mic with display. Only problem is battery life. Doesn't last a long time. Some of the aftermarket ones work well. Icom's are very pricey. If you can find one - pick it up - you'll be glad you did......
AB7UW-MONTANA Rating: 2003-12-22
feature packed radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I purchased this radio off E-bay about 2 months ago after wanting one since they came out in 1995. This is a hefty ht that has a ton of features even by todays standards. The radio I purchased seemed to be taken care of and worked well right out of the box. I did have a fairly steep learning curve,but once I got the basic commands down everything elso fell into place. This seems to be a fairly rare radio to run across in the used market probably due to its relativly high cost when new. A detachable face plate that allows a extension mike to be made of it is really a fantastic feature. If you can find one,grab it! Vaughn N1XV ex AB7UW