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Reviews For: ICOM IC-V85

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

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Review Summary For : ICOM IC-V85
Reviews: 9MSRP: $236.00
IC-V85 144 mhz VHF FM Transceiver
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
NK2U Rating: 2018-01-14
OK but not the best Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Got this radio used but in excellent shape. Out of all the radios I've owned, this one is the hardest to program. Jeez, the 02 series was a piece of cake next to this one. Radio has a lot of features and does put out 7 watts which is good here in VT where the repeaters are far apart. Display is very small, you really need reading glasses to see it. Radio is very solid. All in all, it is a good radio but could be easier to program.
VE3EGA Rating: 2013-06-01
Solid Performer! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This radio is now aging a little (discontinued) and can be found used at hamfests or swapshops at around $125.

The big plus is it has 7W TX Output and a lithium Ion battery - which, (as you may know) discharges like a vehicle-gas-tank, When its empty the radio stops working! Fortunately battery life is good!

I mostly concur with the other reviewers regarding pros and cons but in reality - you always get what you pay for and IMHO this relatively simple 2M HT is a good bang for your buck if you don't want to carry a user-manual around all the time and like me just need an HT for 2M when traveling!

There is a lot of HT competition out there and buying a simple to program and use radio (like the V85) has some definite merits, especially as we get older and wiser and hate multi-function buttons!

Once you have spent a few minutes with the manual, you are pretty much ready to go!

I like the ability to 'over-write' memories easily and quickly on the fly and the V85 delivers.

If you need a simple to use HT, with decent specs consider the V85.



K5JAB Rating: 2013-04-10
Good not great.. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have several hand-held radios and other than my HT1000's this is one of the best mono banders you could get.

It's built like a tank and sits well on a flat surface. You can bump it even with a longer antenna and you don't have to worry about it doing a swan dive off the table.

That said, I am a little disappointed at the display on this radio. It's tiny and only has space for five characters. Also, the audio is pretty shallow. For such a solid unit you would think it would have decent audio. I'm not that impressed. I bought a commercial grade Icom speaker mic and it sounds amazing.

I use this unit as a backup mobile radio or when in a vehicle that doesn't have a radio. The 7 watt output is a plus.

If you are looking at getting a small VHF only hand-held radio I would look at either a FT-250 or, if you can find it used, FT-150. They're are both similar in size and function and have a six character display... albeit small.
KF7GLF Rating: 2010-06-22
Very solid little HT Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
My first impression of this radio when pulling it out of the box was wow, this seems like a really solid radio. The body is thick plastic, the PTT button is beefy with a very positive "click" when pushed, and the speaker/mic jack is on the side with screws to attach the connector. It reminds me of features usually found on commercial radios such as Motorola.

I am used to Yaesu and Alinco radios but with a quick glance at the manual I was up and running on the local repeater. Audio output from this radio is very strong compared to my Alinco DJ-G5.

The receiver seems sensitive and pulled in signals very clearly. I used the radio mobile with a Comet mag mount dual band antenna and an Alinco speaker/mic and got good signal reports.

I like that the top knob controls volume, as opposed to the push buttons on the Alinco. I don't mind adjusting squelch using the keypad as volume is more important to me.

The screen is a little small but I didn't have any trouble reading any of the information on it.

I didn't use the belt clip, but the fact that it mounts to the battery means you need extra belt clips for each extra battery.

I think this is a great radio for the money if 2 meters is all you need.
KA5IQX Rating: 2009-06-20
Pretty good handheld Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the V-85 handheld. The 7 watt output can be very useful when trying to hit a repeater from a "fringe" area..and that was the main thing that caused my interest in the radio. I also liked the lithium ion battery. The radio is rather thick with the belt clip...but still has a nice feel to it..and sits very nicely without the "wobble" effect that some handhelds have when you place them on a table.

I've never been a fan of the swivel style of belt clip, so I appreciate this more typical and very sturdy type of clip. However...since I like to have a back-up battery...and since the belt clip screws onto the battery ...and not the meant I needed to purchase an extra belt clip in order to attach it to my extra battery. That allows me to "quick change" a battery without the need of a screwdriver... which would have been required to switch the clip onto the new battery. This is really a minor problem though. Not a big deal at all.

The radio looks good...has good audio...and the battery seems to hold up very well. I wish the design had been more along the lines of the standard approach of one knob for volumn and one knob for changing frequency or memory channels.
I don't like having to pick one or the other for the knob..and then having to use the "up-down" buttons for the other function. Again...this is not a major problem...just my preference for having knobs.

One thing I simply can't understand why Icom would have no way at all to determine the condition of the battery. There is no "battery bar"...nor is there any display of voltage. In other words....I would like some indication of how close I am to the battery going dead. When it goes just goes. "poof". That's it. Finished. Ca-put. Of course if I know that I'm going to have a heavy day of usage...I can just re-charge the battery anyway...and know that it's ok. So...this is not absolutely terrible...but it's just odd..and a bit irritating that with all of the goodies to be offered...a simple voltage display could not have been added. I don't get it. Oh well....once again...this is not a "deal-breaker".

My complaints are really minor...and my actual rating of it is a 4.5...but that was not one of the options. It's a darned good handheld..and I've enjoyed it very much. I recommend it highly. The perfect radio just isn't out there..but this is a good one.
KD0BIE Rating: 2008-12-21
My First Hand-held Transceiver Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This was my first transceiver that I bought when I got my ticket. I wanted something that was going to be durable and have some power. I like how this is one of the only 7w hand-held. Also, I bought this because I only wanted to use 2m in my area. Price is excellent for what you get. I have received and sent excellent singles. This reminds me of some commercial hand-held’s.
N1RSR Rating: 2008-02-05
Good HT but rough around the edges... Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.

Let me start out by saying, that if I could have given the radio a 4.5 I would have done that instead; a full 5.0 is too high.

The Good:


-Base of radio is flat enough to allow it to stand up on tables- a lot of smaller radios tend to fall over with long antennas, the V85 just stays where you plant it.

-Obeys icom programming conventions generally- if you own other icoms, you can start using this one right away.

-Small without being too small;

-Decent receiver (haven't heard much intermod on mine yet. )

-Excellent speaker mic option which bolts into the radio; inspires a "commercial" quality feel.

-Radio doesn't get too hot under a lot of use.

-Decent TX/RX audio overall.

-Belt clip which attaches to back of radio is
nicely done. (there are two screws in a given
battery pack where the clip attaches, and the
clip is a non-rotating type. )

The Bad:
-Mediocre stock duck... this is atypical of most
radios, but the duck they included with this one
is worse than the halfway decent duck that came
with my ICOM T2H radios...

-Speaker in the radio is not extremely loud... I found my T2H built-in to be somewhat louder; however its more than enough to do the job.

-There is little or no warning when your battery goes dead. The radio just emits a constant loud tone and then shuts off.

-Where's the U85 UHF version? :)

IMO this radio is halfway decent. Would buy it again.I just wish some of the above minor issues were addressed.


VK3FBCA Rating: 2007-08-06
Great little radio... Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Hi all, I'll keep this simple, This radio has a commercial feel to it with great audio reports and a nice 7 watts of power. Overall this little radio rocks in my opinion, sure it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that other HT’s might have but that’s not why I bought it, I wanted a affordable, simple, durable, weatherproof 2m HT with good battery life and it seems that I have found it with this one.

Only thing I would like to have seen is maybe more memory and a sma instead of bnc antenna mount, otherwise it’s a big thumbs up from me.

W2DIP Rating: 2007-06-01
OK, I'll go first Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have owned several HTs such as the Yaesu VX-7 and VX-2 as well as the Kenwood TH-F6a. This one is the easiest to use and the only one that I have not bought software for. Works as well as my previous HTs on 2 meters. The extra two watts is not really an issue for me since I can hit the repeaters I use easily with less than 5 watts but as a wise man once told me; you can always lower your power but can never increase it above what the radio can output so buy as much power as you can in case you need it. For people on fringe areas it may be more useful.


- Ease of use. Most used options accessable by pressing the function key and then a numbered key. Since I do not use HTs much I tend to forget the key sequencies to operating the HT after a few weeks of disuse.

- Nice memory saving features.

- Get good audio reports.


- Very small screen; smaller than the screen on my Yaesu VX-2, which is the world's (?) smallest HT. The screen is so small that only the first 5 digits of the frequency are displayed full sized. The last two digits are in a tiny subscript that I can barely read. Forget about the tiny symbols used to indicate the settings. The small screen is out of proportion to the size of the radio and difficult to read.

- The 12 hour charge time is ridiculous in a new radio with a Li-on battery. To get a rapid charger you have to buy a different a model made for other models and then spend another $20 for an adaptor to fit this HT. It will cost you almost half the price of this HT to get a rapid charger.

- The Audio volume does not seem as loud as on my previous HTs.

Although this HT will serve my limited needs to only reach one or two repeaters and a simplex frequency without having to refer to the manual each time I use it, I would rate it behind Yaesu and Kenwood as far as my experience with HTs go. From the brochure and options I am guessing that the main market for this HT would be those that can use the paging feature (an option)in a group or club activity. For me this HT is just OK compared to what I have used before.