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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
KE7AAQ Rating: 2004-11-15
cheap excellent multimode Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I received my 211 well before I received my ticket. After fixing a few broken switches, cleaning pots, etc, it is a great performing radio. After the well published mods and a tone board, I use this rig daily without a problem. The only shortcoming with the unit is it's vulnerability to intermod in congested areas. While it only has about 10 watts of output, (plenty for repeater use) it is plenty to drive an amp. The receiver is sensitive, but slightly noisy (phase noise?). Overall, for about 100 bux, you can't beat this multi mode rig, even if it spends it's life on FM and not on the other modes.
VA3MJ Rating: 2004-09-24
Worked great until the soldering became intermittent Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Purchased this radio back in 1978 and it worked well until the darned soldering opened up and became intermittent.
Traced the problem to the VCO board and the through board eyelets were the cause. I re-soldered everything in the VCO to no avail so I did it again!! Finally worked for a while then quit again. (Guess I only got a couple of bad soldering joints and missed some elsewhere.)

Ended up trading the unit on another 2 M all mode unit. I just couldn't spend any more time soldering and re-soldering this radio as I wanted to operate it for a change. Pretty poor show for ICOM.
KY4Z Rating: 2004-08-31
1970s workhorse keeps running ... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've owned my Icom IC-211 for 16 years, and it's performed well during this period. I bought it for $40 as a non-working unit at a hamfest; I sent it in for repair and it hasn't missed a beat since.

It's primary use in my shack is as my main 2-meter rig, which until recently was mostly FM. It's been on SSB more in the past few months than it ever was before, and I've enjoyed working new grids with just 10w and a Ringo Ranger. You can't compare the IC-211 to current offerings on the market, they'll usually run circles around it. The receiver is adequate, though my Yaesu FT-1500 outperforms the IC-211 on FM. With no memories and only 10 watts out, you have to be willing to accept the limitations when you own or buy period ham gear. The IC-211 was state-of-the-art in 1978, not 2004.

In this day and time, the IC-211 is something of a VHF boat anchor. Weighing in at 15 lbs, the handle on the rig is there for a reason! As long as I can keep my IC-211 running I'll continue to use mine. The Icom rigs of this period have a bad reputation (and mostly deservedly so) for failing. I would be inclined to replace it with another if the price was right. For high-performance SSB/CW work there are newer and better rigs out there, but none with that distinctive 1970s Icom style.
K7VO Rating: 2003-08-28
Much better than it's reputation Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Here is another rig, much like the IC-701, that takes a thrashing on eHam and some online forums. The problems described are, indeed, real, but a good working Icom IC-211 is an excellent radio.

The rig puts out anywhere from under 1W to 10W, adjustable, SSB, CW, and FM. There is no allowance for AM. No memories, but you can set the two VFOs to track if you want to tune around the FM/repeater portion of the band. This rig really wasn't built with repeaters in mind, and for the cost of an external tone box with a switch you can buy a good, used FM rig. This radio is really for the SSB/CW weak signal operator. The receiver is outstanding for a radio of the IC-211s vintage, and much better than some fairly deaf 1980s Kenwood or Yaesu rigs. A preamp is not really necessary with an IC-211.

The main reliability issue were the eyelets/feedthrougs on the two sided boards, as others have commented. Here's the good news: if the radio is still working that repair was almost certainly done, probably years ago. If you have to do the work it's more time consuming and painstaking than difficult. With some coaching I did manage to repair an IC-245/SSB with the problem, and if I can do it anyone can if they know which end of a soldering iron to hold.

The only show stopper for the IC-211 is if the CMOS LSI chip fails. There are no spares. This is the sort of problem facing ALMOST ALL 25 year old radios which have at least one proprietary chip, even the ones rated as 5s.

The bad reviews have depressed the price of this rig. You can often find a good, used one in the $150 price range. Mint ones are only a little more. If you can verify that the rig is working and problem free the IC-211 is a very good way for a ham on a very limited budget to get on 2m SSB/CW.
SM7UYJ Rating: 2003-08-01
Ok rigg if modified! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This was my fist 2m radio (in 1996), and I have had a couple off them since. Do NOT use the radio with an amplifier if you have'nt done the mod for the VCO! You will cause splatter and located in a crowded area you will not be popular! I would also recomend a new input stage if you are planing on using the radio for loong haul SSB/CW work. Put in a BF981 in mine and it made a big differance. So as previously mentioned you should not be a stranger with your soldering iron if you plan on owning this radio. But if you put in some work, you get a cheap 2m allmode that works ok!
VE6XX Rating: 2001-04-20
only for the technically apt Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Greetings: The IC-211 was a late 70ies offering from Icom, paralelling the IC-245, IC-22A, IC-22S,
IC-701 etc. These radios were notorious for a series of problems mostly related to the eyelets on the PC boards, that connected one side of the board to the other. The radios all worked well when they worked, but few were without problems.
Since these radios are all 20 or more years of age, I am amazed that any are still in operation.
Their design was good, only the implementation
was lacking. If the boards have been repaired properly, I expect that they will work a long time
I personally would not recommend any of this series to anyone who is not capable of carrying out their own repairs. I doubt Icom still supports them. Brian, VE6XX
WA6STC Rating: 2001-04-19
Got my used IC-211 off of Ebay. Radio works satisfactory. Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Picked up the all mode 2 meter off of Ebay. The radio works fine on FM and USB. The first thing you will need to do is install a Tone Encoder. The Communications Specialists outboard TE-32 works nicely. Tone input is to the vertical coated end of R162. If there is no manual or schmatic, they are available on Ebay on CDROM. The power output of this radio is variable from 1-10Watts on FM and full 10Watts out on SSB (Not adjustable). The radio has 2 VFOs so you can setup whatever offset you need for FM. If you are looking for a 2 mtr allmode that won't cost you a ton of money, I would recommend the IC-211. Its kinda old, but its performance is more than satisfactory.
KD5MID Rating: 2001-04-19
ic-211 Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Great radio.