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Reviews For: Icom IC-E7

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

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Review Summary For : Icom IC-E7
Reviews: 8MSRP: 169GBP
The IC-E7 is small enough to be carried anytime, anywhere and covers the popular 144MHz and 430/440MHz bands for short range contact and repeater operation. In addition, it has wideband receiver capability for receiving FM, analogue TV audio and other utility communications. A large capacity Lithium-Ion battery pack provides long battery life for extended use.
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
MM0HRL Rating: 2016-09-06
Not great, but good. Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
It seems to me that having rigs that do every dam' thing for their owners has made some of them into helpless ninnies who baulk at the idea of (shock horror) having to program non standard offsets!

In reality this is a pleasant little radio. Like any ham rig it has its strengths and also its weaknesses.

I programmed about nine memories into it in maybe 10-15minutes. Other radios have been more demanding than this one, for sure. Mostly I have Yaesu sets which are usually easy enough to put memories into, even storing them into different banks on some occasions - which can be a very useful additional piece of design.

But this one's an Icom. My other Icom HT is an ID-51 Plus, which I lack the courage to even try to program myself - although I've used software to make some changes/additions, it's always seemed like a kerfuffle to me.

This simple little thing's a total walk in the park in comparison. Sure you only get six characters for alpha tags, but so is the case with other rigs and we've survived that terrible handicap easy enough.

I won't gripe about the same things others have covered already, but I will say this in criticism of it. Its RX audio is harsher than I'm used to hearing. Decently audible, easily readable. But "harsh" is the best word for this. Not as rough as "rough" - just - harsh? At any rate harsher than I like to hear.

Its coverage is more or less what most HTs deliver these days, and I wonder how many of us spend any time listening to the weird non-ham allocations that so many radios come primed with? The air band's there, but who listens to down in HF on a handset with a stubby little duck antenna? Sure if the transmitter's maybe a mile or two distant you'll pick it up but for the sort of TX characteristics we normally associate with HF - or the other UHF sections the radio has,well - for my money I'd rather they had spent the devopment budget on something else.

Like - improving the RX audio!

However, that apart, this is a solid little performer. It's adequately sensitive and can with its short dual band ducky raise two repeaters around 12 to 16 miles away over varied terrain. And put a readable signal into them too.

It'd be nicer if DStar was present, but that would never happen at this price point. However I wonder how long it'll take some manufacturer to realise there's a sizeable market for low power HTs - say 10mW or so - to be used with DStar dongles like the DV4mini and DVMega?

Since so many people are using those things - for which the ID-51 is way-OTT overkill.

The display has large easily read characters, but there's no voltage readout - which I'd have liked to see. As it is, battery condition is back to the basic business of having a tiny battery icon with missing segments to show the charge state (very crudely.)

The battery has far more capacity than the main competitor, the VX-3 - which I also have. The little Yaesu is slimmer, lighter and - the battery's stupidly underpowered. If I take mine out I also have a spare battery with me. Fortunately aftermarket cells are easily available for both rigs - but the Yaesu's ones are cheaper, lots.

The icom cradle charger is excellent - I really dislike using wall warts with nastly little sockets in the rig side to plug them into.

Mine came with a kit of accessories. A belt case, and a fist speaker-mike. Which has an adaptor cable too. The mike's pretty naff, nowhere near the qualityh of the one sold for the ID-51. It feels flimsy and very insubstantial. It does work, but it's not pleasant to use.
DO5SSB Rating: 2015-03-26
Very good Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Nice small TRX, long life battery, fast menu switching if you learned it, very good elaborated menu and keyboard usage. Nice green backlight on display and keyboard, cheap aftermarket batteries. I'm using mine with an Icom FA-S270A antenna. Would buy it again.
PE1RLN Rating: 2012-09-19
Way better than VX-3 Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I owned the VX-3 previously, but I wouldn't buy it again. Yes, it is a nice little radio but programming it is a pain when you don't use a computer.

The IC-E7 though is way more user-friendly:
- bigger display
- no crappy features one will never use
- easy operation
- double-PTT 1750Hz function (tap the PTT twice to send 1750)
- backlit buttons, #1 feature
- large batterycapacity
- chargingcradle (no internal broken connectors)

Using this radio, even in darkness, is very easy. However, you will have to read the manual, which is logical when you have only 8 buttons. After that, all functions are easily accessible.

Reception is also better than Yaesu's, especially out of the HAM bands. For example on 50.400 MHz or 70.450 MHz the radio receives just as much as other dedicated equipment. Don't go there with your Yaesu.

Are there also negative points? Yep:
- display only gives you a 6-character name for channels
- non-standard microphone jack (Yasu 4-pin 3,5mm jack will fit but microphone and speaker have to be switched) so you'll have to modify other mics to work
- SMA-connector is too long, Diamond antennas and other brands can't be screwed on to the bottom, leaving a 1 - 2 mm space between
- no beltclip (but it will fit in the smalles pockets though

After all, I like this radio more than other similar models. I also owned the Wouxun UV-3R but you can't compare this toy with professional gear like Icom. I bought my Icom for 75 euros, brand new but second hand and it's worth every cent!
M0SAZ Rating: 2010-01-11
Great for repeater and event work Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned an IC-E7 for almost 2 years now and I must say I am very pleased with it. Out of all the radio equipment that has come and gone, this little Icom is a keeper.

It is small, not at thin as the VX-3 but still small enough. On it's standard antenna, I can reach a couple of 2 metre repeaters almost 30 miles from my home QTH and my /a QTH.

Once you have mastered the menu system, I think you will find it a pleasure to use. The drop in charger is excellent and battery life is exceptional.

As another station commented, it doesn't have DTMF capability, but I was not looking for that. If you did have one of these and wanted to occasionally use an Echolink node, you could use a portable DTMF generator, which I use for my FT-817 to save buying a more expensive mic.

On the subject of microphones, when out on club events, I use the Icom HM-131L for ease of operation. You will need an OPC-782 adaptor too, or make one if you can be bothered!

Overall the TX and RX are excellent and for a radio that only gives 1.5w on 2m and 1w on 70cm, it has to be used to be believed. I have even used mine /m with a small micro mag-mount and it works really well.

I got mine for an introductory price of 99 GBP, I have just looked and the same dealer is now selling them for 184 GBP - they must have proved their worth!
SV1ENS Rating: 2008-06-24
Excellent Time Owned: more than 12 months.
It's a great little radio !
Only downside is the charging scheme, I prefer the direct jack way :-)
Changed it's antenna for a quad mouse tail and RX is now even better !

Thumbs up to Icom !
2E0JTP Rating: 2008-03-29
OK, but not perfect. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The IC-E7 (IC-P7A in US) is a great ultra compact radio but I returned it to the shop and swapped it for a Yaesu VX-3E (VX-3R in US).

The reason?

The IC-E7 has no ability to program DTMF strings into memory.

I think a radio with only 1.5W/1W output needs to be able to access repeaters (it can) and just as importantly, Echolink/Internet connected RF nodes.

Without the ability to send a pre-programmed DTMF string, the IC-E7 is only capable of accessing pre-established Internet links. You have no ability to call up specific nodes or send DTMF commands. This is a major failing in what is otherwise a remarkable radio.

Don't misunderstand me, I realise the IC-E7 isn't designed to have a full DTMF keypad, but the VX-3E
(which has nearly identical specifications) does have the ability to pre-program DTMF strings into memory for single button recall as you need them.
If you like to use your hand held for accessing local Echolink Nodes, the IC-E7 is no use.

I only owned the radio long enough to be surprised by the fact it has NO programmable DTMF memory options (less than a day) so my overall opinion of the radio is that it appears to be very well made and has a remarkable number of features (except pre-programmable DTMF strings, go figure...), the display is very large (which is nice) but it's very exposed and liable to get scratched in normal day to day use (not so nice). The drop in charger is a nice feature and the 1800mAh Li-Ion battery is great. The radio is, however, fatter because of the bigger battery.

If you don't need DTMF for Echolink or other Internet linking RF Nodes, then this is a great radio, if you do need them - Look elsewhere.
OE3SGU Rating: 2007-09-06
Dont leave home without it Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Bought the European E7 model recently and I really love this marvel. The reception is very good, even FM broadcast is crispy clear with the delivered "antenna". Sensitivity is excellent and it is very easy to use if you read the manual first. I really appreciate the supplied fast charger which loads the battery in 3 hours. The battery lasts very very long - thats a real plus! For the local repeaters I usually switch to low power which is just 100 mw and it is more than enough. Add a longer whip (about 30 cm) and even the stronger SW stations are received in a good quality. Thank you ICOM!
G7UFJ Rating: 2006-12-24
For what it is, excellent Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I was looking to trade my Yaesu VX-7 for something smaller and lighter, was not concerned about losing the 6m capability as I have this on another radio. I did want wide RX for airband/PMR446 etc. Initially I was looking at the Alinco DJ-C7 and the Yaesu VX-2, I very quickly ruled out the Alinco, bad reports on here and very low power output which for my location would make it almost useless as a transmitter. Whilst browsing round the shop this Icom caught my eye. Just as small as the Yeasu but looking much much nicer. Slightly higher power than the Yaesu also. It had to be mine.
One huge advantage I'm sure many will appreciate over the VX-7 and no doubt someothers is the included rapid charger allowing a full charge in 3 hours as opposed to Yaesu's 19 hours, and an alleged operating time of 20 hours.

Using it.
Having very few buttons it's not the easiest and quickest to setup and program. All splits and repeater offsets have to be set manually, the offset direction +/- and the freq difference, you cannot enter a frequency and store it as a tx freq to a memory with a rx freq stored. One concern I had was the lack of direct entry keypad, but Icom thought this through and have come up with a reasonable solution (this maybe the same as others but I dont know) The band button will cycle you through AM broadcast - HF - 50Mhz - FM broadcast -
airband - VHF - UHF - 600Mhz - 800Mhz - TV audio. This allows to quickly get into the band area you want then use the dial to tune in.
All the usual features are present, CTCSS/DCS, 1000 memories, Its 1.5w VHF/1.0w UHF output some may find restrictive compared with larger handhelds offering 5 or 6W but in a package this size you cant have it all. I think that sums it up perfectly, everything you need for most operating conditions but in a small package, which is naturally restrictive for some things.

What I like,

size weight and look
wide rx with preprogramed tv audio channels
minimal buttons but multifuncion buttons, 1750hz tone burst is a great example of good thinking on Icoms part
memory/memory bank scan facility works very well and so much easier to use then the VX-7
switchable am/fm/wfm modes
6.25khz steps

what I dont like,

no auto repeater shift, annoying how odd splits have to be programed
alpha tags - for memories with tags they are either all on or all off
very poor audio from built in speaker, be warned you will not hear this radio is a noisy environment without a speaker mic or earpiece