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ICOM IC-R20

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  • ICOM IC-R20

    I finally purchased this receiver about an hour ago. It should be here Tuesday or Wednesday.



    I came very close to re-buying an AOR AR-8200 Mk III that I sold just after my heart attack because I didn't have long-term disability. (I do now!)

    The features of the AR8200 just cannot compare with all that the R20 offers. The R20 has everything the 8200 should have had when it was initially designed, and they charge extra for the add on's and still doesn't bring it up to the level of the R20.

    CTCSS and DCS tone decoding, dual watch (like the Alinco JD-X11 I sold recently), band scope function that still allows the receiver to function (unlike the 8200 that cuts off the radio while the band scope is operating), and a host of other functions the 8200 doesn't include like USB computer programming. (RS232 port and complicated setup for the 8200)

    The real kicker is the 8200 is $250 more than the R20.
    Peace Through Strength, Victory Through Devastation...Strategic Air Command

    American by birth, made from German parts from Emmingen, Baden-Württemberg

    An unhappy German is a Sour Kraut!

    Das Leben ist zu kurz, um billiges Bier zu trinken!

  • #2
    Re: ICOM IC-R20

    After having this receiver and using it for a week, I'm very impressed with what ICOM has come up with.

    This isn't my first ICOM product. I've had the A-20 and A-21 aviation transceivers in the past. They were built very ruggedly and functioned flawlessly. A little difficult to hear over a Lyc in a 172 though without a headset. It was possible but you had to hold it to hear it and couldn't leave it sit on the co-pilot's seat.

    Anyway I digress.

    I IC-R20 is very easy to use and the reports that I've read about it being a jumbled mess or that the manual is not clear are just not true if you have any experience at all with communications equipment.

    I was using this minutes after taking it out of the box and didn't crack the manual for a couple of hous when I had to dig in to some of the less frequently used functions. The manual is written very well.

    The audio quality is good and there are several filters to adjust it. AF filter, noise blanker, attenuator, and adjustable gain (which you won't find on any other hand-held receiver).

    Reception is also above average in all bands and all modes. Shortwave listening is better with more selectivity and sensitivity than the AR8200 hand-held. That radio was nearly deaf without a long-wire attached. On the IC-R20 you sometimes have to turn down the RF gain or you will overload the front end. Small sacrifice to receive a good signal with only a whip antenna below 30Mhz.

    This has tone and audio squelch which is helpful during a scan. THe scan speed is a dismal 20 channels a second, but you should know that this is not a scanner in the true sense of the word. It is a wide-band receiver that just happens to include a scan function. Much like the A-21 aviation receiver. It scanned too, but very slowly because that was not its primary task.

    If you want a scanner that follows 100 channels a second, all-mode trunk following, and digital P25 decoding, look to Uniden.

    If however you are looking for a first class hand-held wide band receiver capable of 150Khz to over 3300Mhz with base station capabilities and specifications, look no further.

    The keypad is lit, current consumption is a mere 150 maH which means batteries last a very long time. A fresh set of Energizer alkalines lasted 24 hours of monitoring at about 20% audio transmissions during the 'on' time.
    THe AR8200 can barely get five hours from a set of batteries.

    THe dual receive function is a welcome addition. After using the Alinco DJ-11X with this feature, it's hard to get along without it. You can scan any or all banks while monitoring a single frequency like the local PD, or you can scan another bank or linked banks. Monitor two frequencies too if you like with no scanning at all.

    The R-20 is top of the line and beats out the AOR AR8200 by miles. It really is too bad this receiver wasn't yet introduced when I bought the AR8200 back in 2001.

    Things I like:

    Dual watch.
    Selectivity.
    Sensitivity.
    Large display for these older eyes.
    Power consumption.
    ICOM dependability.
    Ease of use and navigating menus.

    Things I don't like:

    No lamp on when squelch opens. (Really ICOM??? My $100 Bearcat scanner does this!)
    Lithium battery and charger sold separately and the price sucks.
    Audio volume drops when in dual-watch mode.
    Display easily scratched because of convex shape.
    Peace Through Strength, Victory Through Devastation...Strategic Air Command

    American by birth, made from German parts from Emmingen, Baden-Württemberg

    An unhappy German is a Sour Kraut!

    Das Leben ist zu kurz, um billiges Bier zu trinken!

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