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Reviews For: Icom ID-880

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

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Review Summary For : Icom ID-880
Reviews: 36MSRP: 500 USD
The ID-880H provides VHF/UHF dual band capabilities (one band at a time) via a simple band switching system. The ID-880H has a wideband receiver as a standard feature and covers 118–173.995, 230–
549.995 and 810–999.990MHz. Listen to aviation, marine, weather channels and other utility communications.
*Receiver range depending on versions. The CS/880 free download cloning software is available from the Icom Inc (Japan) web site. Used with this software, various settings can be made from a PC and the memory channels and other settings can be shared between IC-80AD and its matching mobile unit, the ID-880H. The ID-880H has a total of 1052 memory channels (including 1000 regular channels, 50 scan edges and 2 call channels) with 26 memory banks. All memory channels and the program scan can be named with 8-character channel comments. Also each memory bank can be named with a up-to 6-character bank name comment. The ID-880H supports various scan types for maximum reception and ease of use.

* Full scan
* Selected band scan
* Programmed scan
* Memory scan
* Memory mode scan
* All bank scan
* Selected bank scan
* Bank link scan (DMS)
* Program scan link
* Skip scan
* Priority scan
* Tone scan
* Access repeater scan
Built-in CTCSS and DTCS tones are used for accessing a closed repeater or ton squelch operation. the pocket beep alerts you with a beep sound when the transceiver receives a preset tone. 1750Hz tone is also available. The 4-direction cursor buttons on the keypad give you quick and intuitive access to many settings.
And more…

* 50W* output power both VHF/UHF band
* Built-in noise filter (AM/FM) mode
* Data and 9600/1200bps packet jacks on the rear panel
* ±2.5ppm frequency stability
* Adjustable microphone sensitivity
* Monitor function to listen to a weak signal
* 14 variable tuning steps
* Auto repeaters function* automatically turns on/off duplex operation and tone encoder
* Weather channel receive with weather alert*
* 16 DTMF memory channels (24 digits)
* Drip-resistant construction, equivalent to IPX4
* Auto power save, power off and power on
* 10dB (approx) built-in attenuator
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W2FDH Rating: 2010-01-10
Much Better Icom! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
The Icom ID-880H is much better than its predecessor, the ID-800H.

A few notable improvements are:

1-Larger display (shows more characters)
2-Back-lit buttons
Solid knobs (unlike the 208/800, which wobbled, and felt quite cheap)
3-Magnetic remote head (offers additional mounting options)
4-Don't burn your hand after extended use (unlike both the ID-91AD and the ID-800H, the radio does not get real hot, even after extended use on high power)
5-MUCH better menu system

The moment you remove this radio from its box, you will see immediately, the huge improvement that this radio is over the ID-800H.

73 de Frank/KB2VYZ
PE1PQF Rating: 2009-11-27
Good D-star performer, poor FM TX-audio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Bought one for stationary use at home, mainly because it is D-star capable.

The unit runs as expected, except for two inconveniences:

- The cooling fan makes too much noise.
Mounted in the car you almost do not hear it, but at home where it is relatively quiet it is a nuisance.

- TX audio in FM/FM-N sucks (using the supplied HM-133 mic)
This one I consider a major issue. Bass-response is awful (it seems bass-frequencies are missing altogether). Mids and highs are overwhelmingly loud. I got several reports from people that the audio quality was inconvenient to listen too.

I hooked-up the mic from my Kenwood G707 to the 880. This mic sounded a lot better, but still the overall audio quality did not came near to what my G707 sounds like.

D-star performance is good, so is the audio quality. It seems the audio-circuits where (re-)designed with d-star in mind.

Because of the FM TX-audio issue I gave this unit a 3. If it wasn't for the poor FM audio it would have been a 4 (because of the loud fan).
KC7NYI Rating: 2009-10-06
BEST OF THE THREE Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
KQ4KK Rating: 2009-07-18
You can get a GPS to work Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought a 880 and a 92 at Dayton. I also downloaded/bought the software/programming cables for both. I got the 92 GPS to work, because it was easy, it's built into the mic. The 880 took me awhile.

First, the 880 GPS jack is 3/32" Stereo, not 1/8". I have been doing APRS with GPSs since 1994. And with Kenwoods since they first came out with APRS radios. ICOM DSTAR DAPRS is somewhat the same, but different.

You MUST use a Serial GPS with NEMA output set to 4800bd. The GPS jack tip and ring is wired exactly reverse from the Kenwood plug. So, if you have a GPS that works with KENWOOD APRS (3/32 stereo plug) you must make a null modem plug reversing the tip and ring. Or if you are using DB9s, then a NULL Modem adapter that swaps pins 2 and 3. THEN you MUST set the data speed to 4800bd (the default is 9600!). Then set GPS on, on the menu and it should work.

Do I like the 880? Yea. DSTAR could be easier to learn, but thats life. Need more DSTAR repeaters. Chicken and Egg issue.

Getting the GPS to work was not easy. Lots of "opinions" on how to do it, very few knew what they were talking about, because they had never done it.
W9GSD Rating: 2009-05-19
VERY NICE Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
KD4ONT Rating: 2009-05-07
Very surprised with this new (3rd generation) D-Star radio! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
First, I'd like to start off with a small disclaimer:

1. The two previous mobile rigs I've owned that are still offered by Icom as new are the IC-208H and IC-2820 (with D-Star board installed), so that's what I'm comparing the 880 to. And

2. I will be very nit picky about things in this review so everyone that reads it will know what to look for and expect. Only then, can you decide if that is acceptable in a radio or not.

I have had the radio now for over 24 hours, and have used it for almost 11 hours today alone so I will share my first impressions with you.

Upon first seeing it powered up at the store, I thought it didn't look that bad for a smallish radio. The display and digits were crisp and the amber screen color option seemed the brightest when compared to yellow and green. Yellow was the second brightest and green was the least luminous. Green wasn't a bright, almost florescent hue like the 2820, it was more like an army green. The digits and other LCD indicators on-screen were nice and sharp, with excellent contrast, unlike the dot matrix LCD on the 2820 which seemed not as black or near as sharp. The screen had more real estate than the 208/800 and seemed more usable without as much scrolling and cryptic abbreviations with the settings and such like the 208/800. The buttons below the screen have small green bars that light up, but the text printed on them aren't back lit, so you might need to memorize what they are or turn on a light when using this radio in the dark. The 2820's buttons were back lit. On the bottom of the screen were a row of soft-key functions that had a secondary function, if held down. The 880 seems to have the same "problem" as the 208/800 with the channel changing, volume, and squelch knobs having kind of a wobbly feel to them and not as solid as the 2820's. They seem as if they would be fine as long as you weren't rough with them. When I was at the Orlando hamfest 2009, I noticed that one of the 800's knobs, in the icebox display, would keep turning and not stop. I suspect that someone was too rough with it and broke the pot. My thought is that under normal circumstances, the volume and squelch pots should be okay as long as you don't man-handle them.

The faceplate is nice. It uses the dual magnet system, along with the contact pins and a faceplate lock to hold the face to the radio. The little RJ jumper, like the 2820 uses, isn't necessary when the face is connected to the main unit and the plugs on the face and radio, for remote mounting, are covered with little rubber caps to keep it nice and tidy inside.

Around the back of the main unit, there are four plugs. One is obviously for the antenna, then you have three 1/8" jacks, which are for speaker, data and GPS, and packet. No more small DIN jack for packet on this radio. Another big plus is that all the jacks are on the back of the radio and NOT behind the faceplate, like the 2820. I think that's where they should be anyways.

If you want to use a third party GPS, then you need to research if it can accept a RS-232 connection because that's what this radio needs in order to hook up a GPS. Icom sells a RS-232 to 1/8" jack adapter. I haven't looked at the pinouts of it but I would guess that one could be easily made if you have decent soldering skills. I think the AV Map GPS might work with the 880 but I'm not 100% sure about it.

Okay, enough about cosmetics, now more about how the radio programs! I felt that with both the software and manual programming, that I still had to jump through some hoops in order to get D-Star repeaters programmed and lesser so for analog ones. The software is slightly different with programming D-Star frequencies and functions than the 2820 was. The only problem I encountered with it was getting the gateway into the RPT2 section with the software. When I would click on the field(s), a dialog choice box would pop up and some fields that I wanted to edit were greyed out. This was without reading the directions, of course, because I wanted to see if I could do it from what I knew already. I ended up, after finding out that I wasn't on the gateway, opening the manual and finding how to enter RPT2 manually. I did and it was fixed. I think this radio was different to program manually, that the other ones I was familiar with, but it's learning curve wasn't as bad as the 208/800/92/2820.

When D-Star is running and you are listening to people key up, the screen's limited readability and different sized digits make it kind of strange to read at first when the info is scrolling across the screen. I guess that with time, you might get used to it and actually begin to learn how to read it.

Okay, finally with how this thing actually performs! I was very surprized how well it receives signals and the transmit is very good too. The TX audio quality with a stock mike is decent (just remember to change the mic sensitivity to high in the settings) and on D-Star it is the best sounding radio I've heard yet on the air! It appears to perform better than the 2820 in analog and digital, in my opinion. I was able to get into analog and digital repeaters seemingly farther away than previously with my trusty 2820. I was very pleasantly surprised in those areas! It did seem to get intermod, but not nearly as bad as the 208/800 and 2820 did. I haven't heard any leaky cable channels on UHF like I used to on the 2820.

Some people previously would complain about the fan on the 2820 and other radios. The 880's doesn't seem as noticeable as previous models did. It will still kick on when you transmit, but I can't seem to hear anything when it's been receiving only for a long time, unlike the 2820. Maybe if the fan is coming on during RX, it's much quieter.

The 880 seemed to pick up more engine compartment noise than the 2820 did. I'm hearing a alternator whine that I didn't notice before. Also, when the AC compressor & cooling fans turn on, I can hear them on signals that aren't full quieting. The alternator whine isn't loud, it's barely noticeable. I guess I have to chase down the RFI sometime!

Overall, I like this radio VERY much, even better than my 2820. Granted, the 2820's large screen is more useful and easier to read all the info on it, the 880 is acceptable. The 880 has some shortcomings and things I wished were done a little different, but the radio's pluses outweighed the minuses in my book. I didn't have to look at the manual very much to find out how to do something. This radio is a keeper and I just might keep it as my main rig because I like it so much! I will keep the 2820 as a backup/secondary radio for D-Star. I think that others out there might like this radio too. I would recommend this radio to anyone interested in D-Star mobile/base (even sometimes over the 2820)! Now Icom, what will be the replacement radio for the 2820 D-Star? I can hardly wait because the radios seem to be getting better with each generation release! Third time's a charm!