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Reviews For: Icom IC-211

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

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Review Summary For : Icom IC-211
Reviews: 18MSRP: 250
2m all mode base rig
Product is not in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
DL9BDM Rating: 2022-06-20
Repaired ones are good ones! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Those radios that have been repaired in the meantime and therefore no longer suffer from the well-known serial defect of bad solder joints (esp. the through the board eyelets) are an unconditional buy recommendation on my part. A real classic VHF transceiver with very good transmit and receive characteristics. And if you are very lucky, it is also retrofitted with a Mutek board in the receiver.

Beware! Often these cold solder joints are on the PLL board. There is a custom made CMOS IC for the PLL circuit, which was manufactured exclusively for ICOM. A former friend (sk) of mine ruined his transceiver during a repair attempt due to lack of attention at this area. There is no substitute for this IC! If this IC is gone, the tranceiver is gone.
W0BKR Rating: 2020-09-04
Great radio, mirrors the 251a Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Love my small IC-211. Great on VHF SSB and fun on FM. No goofy menus, always easy to get on and work.
KW2W Rating: 2017-04-13
good for its day Time Owned: more than 12 months.
i bought my 211 new, other than the center meter going off a little, its been a good operating radio, used it for ssb, fm and satellite work.... by the way... the rig is still going at least 12 to 20 hours per day .... its like anything else, you get a good one, your fine, get one with problems, well, ya got trouble
WA7KGX Rating: 2014-01-04
Update on previous review Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
The problem with the master oscillator was caused by a cap added to the underside of the circuit board. Restoring the circuit to factory configuration solved that problem. At any rate, the master oscillator is hardly that; other oscillators are involved in generating the final frequency.

The IC-211 has one characteristic which will keep it in my shack. The 211 has a "scope output" for use with a panadaptor. The internally generated FM appears on the scope output when transmitting. This allows me to record both sides of a contact by feeding the scope output into another FM receiver. Last Wednesday I did this with my FLEX-1500. I then used CamStudio to record the audio and modulation spectrum. Additionally, I was able to switch modes with the 211' VFO switch to record signals on the repeater input frequency.

The 211 has its limitations. If you run a net or repeater, it might justify its upkeep.
K9MHZ Rating: 2013-04-02
What a miserable experience owning the 211 Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This rig was TERRIBLE. One board, I think the PLL board, was flexed so hard that the copper traces developed micro tears which opened the circuits. It would start as partial segments on the LED readouts along with jumpy and random tuning, then eventually lead to the PLL just going stupid and the rig was a brick.

The PA board was also a poor design, and the heat generated relative to its rated output was very inappropriate and excessive.

It seemed as though Icom just didn't have their production methods in order when the 211s were built, especially with their circuit boards and soldering.

Don't buy this thing, it's a real loser.
AE6TI Rating: 2011-09-13
tickled with it! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I inherited mine from K6VW, now a silent key. I love the old style meters and LED, and first 2m rig I've had with a RIT. Just installed a TE-32 tone generator and got great reports on the local repeaters... not too shabby for a 40 year old rig! Not terribly portable, but so delightfully solid, it is a delight to operate in my shack! My PC board reads R62 rather than R162 next to Q13, if that assures anyone installing a TE-32. Ran the wire to the RCA plug in the back and the TE-32 plugs into that and gets its power from the 4-pin molex in the back... nice and neat!
N7WS Rating: 2010-01-05
Simply awful Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I haven't owned one of these in years. But at one time both I and my late friend Ellis, W7LFX, each had one. We were constantly working on them and I remember once deciding to wick the solder off of a couple of CMOS ICs and resolder them to fix an intermittent. To make a long story shorter, I eventually discovered that there was a circuit trace missing and Icom used a solder bridge between two pins to make the Vcc connection. When I sucked to solder off I broke that connection.

I finally gave mine to Ellis and often commented that it was a measure of his character that after I gave him the radio we still remained friends.

I vowed to never own another Icom transceiver and so far I've kept my word.
W3DBB Rating: 2007-01-30
mine runs 24/7 Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I picked up my IC-211 at the 2006 Frederick MD hamfest for $90. It came with the original hand mic, operating manual, service manual, and addenda. It was very nice of the seller to include all of the service documentation. The rig is in very good cosmetic condition but was giving it's owner fits.

The previous owner correctly diagnosed faulty electrolytic capacitors in the PLL compartment, affecting alignment and causing phantom signals to appear. Initially I had trouble with the oscillator dying, resulting in no receive or transmit. It was beginning to look as if I had invested in a $90 doorstop.

I had done my research and learned about ICOM's use of double-side PC boards using staked nickel bushings in lieu of plated through-holes to connect top and bottom of the circuit boards. I did an exploratory and removed the top and bottom covers and blew the dust out with Aero-Duster. I noticed at least one modification had been done to the IC-211 in years past. I reinstalled the top and bottom covers and turned the rig on.

My next move was partly intuitive. I had noticed sometimes with the rig powered on and no oscillator action, after being left on for a period of time the oscillator would start running and the rig would work. I also recalled when I initially brought the rig home from Frederick MD to Lewistown PA in a Kia Sportage (one rough riding son of a gun, excellent vibration test!) the rig performed flawlessly. Even the alignment was perfect and there were no phantom signals on receive. I was beginning to wonder what the previous owner was talking about, but as the days and weeks went by I noticed the problems he referred to, and then some.

As the title of my review says, the fix for my IC-211 was to let the rig powered up continuously. I have no issues with excessive heating of the power transformer. I have the transceiver plugged into a cheapie surge supressor. If lighting comes up, I disconnect the antenna and screw in one of those Japanese-made Radio Shack dummy loads. Only if the lighting gets very close will I pull the plug on the IC-211, and that has yet to occur.

This 'fix' has cured nearly all of my IC-211's ills. Alignment is still 20 kHz high 146 to 148 mHz and 40 kHz high 144-146 mHz. No biggie, I just compensate by subtracting the appropriate number of mHz, depending on which PLL range I'm on, to know the correct frequency. Following this method I have no problem being 'on frequency', even on SSB. There is some 120 cycle hum in the receive audio. I've solicited reports and have yet to receive a report of hum on my transmitted signal. This hum, and the remaining alignment issue, probably goes back to the bad electrolytic capacitors in the PLL compartment. If I get bold I may change those someday, but it isn't a major issue for me.

I use the rig 95% on FM and occasionally on SSB. I have yet to try the IC-211 on CW. On FM I run the power at 50% (5 Watts) and the audio gain control at about 10 o'clock position. I use the stock ICOM hand mic.

I enjoy the receive audio of this transceiver, even with the 120 cycle hum, which is pretty low- probably modulates the receive audio approximately 5%. It is more enjoyable to listen to this transceiver than my ICOM IC-2100HN25. I use external bookshelf hi-fi speakers on both rigs and the audio from the 30 year old IC-211 is superior to the receive audio from the 3 year old IC-2100HN25 mobile rig.

If you are having problems with your IC-211, try leaving it powered up continuously, with the proper safeguards of course!



N6KYS Rating: 2007-01-29
What a nightmare Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I am a diehard Icom fan....(Pro III, V8000, 2200H, V82, A24), so it pains me to be so negative about the 211. It was the worst rig I've ever owned...intermittent power, problems with the PLL, you name it. I think it was developed and produced during a time when Icom was cutting its teeth on the technologies that went into the 211. DO NOT casually buy this rig....make sure you first know what you're getting and only then take the plunge with your eyes wide open. Otherwise, buy something newer....the aggravation you save yourself will be worth it.
W6PMR Rating: 2006-05-31
Great, Not. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
These had a number of problems, the biggest was the through-the-board eyelets that Icom used on this vintage. They became intermittant and you had to chase your tail fixing all the failed solder joints.
When it worked it was OK for it's day and it is a cheap radio now because of the well deserved reputation of these radios to start failing afer a while.
I think if you want to go old and cheap in a 2 meter SSB radio you are MUCH better off with a Kenwood 700 or a Yaesu 221, they go for about the same money and if they work they usually stay that way.