Sunday, August 13, 2017


I have now received my little Icom IC-R5 back from Geoff at Castle Electronics in full working order who I can highly recommend for repairs.

This is going to be an ideal receiver for when I'm 'on site' at airfields and airshows, it's so compact but seems very sturdy and robust. I have to say after some initial testing, the supplied rubber duck antenna is next to useless, but as soon as you replace this with just about anything else, it really begins to shine and is a very capable and sensitive receiver on the VHF & UHF airband at least.

Many people have complained about the lack of buttons on the little Icom's making them difficult to use, but after having read the manual several times over on programming frequencies into memories and then into banks and also programming search bands (or scan edges as Icom like to call it) I am now able to do everything I want to do without referring to the manual. It's really quite quick and easy to tune frequencies I want to get to manually in VFO mode too.

I have been messing about with the Icom connected to my loft antenna usually reserved for my Uniden BCT15X and I had quite a shock this Sunday morning! While tuning around on the Icom I could clearly hear a constant broadcast from RAF Wittering coming through the squelch and showing one bar of signal on 123.925.

The broadcast was as follows: 'Wittering radar is now closed and will reopen at 0730 Zulu on the 14th August'.

I was quite surprised I could hear anything from Wittering given my location on the West side of Leicester but what was more surprising was when I reconnected my antenna to the BCT15X, the transmission wasn't coming through the squelch and even when I backed it off, the broadcast was barely audible! Could the IC-R5 really beat my BCT15X in pulling in weak signals? Well, yes it does in this case!

So, all in all, a very capable little receiver for airband at least, HOWEVER, the scan speed of memory channels is woefully inadequate in my opinion if you intend to scan a lot of frequencies, because while it will search at about 30 steps a second, it's actual scan speed of stored memories is just 10 CHANNELS A SECOND.

Now, if your going to use this radio 'on site' as I will be doing, this is not much of an issue, because I will typically be monitoring a handful of frequencies at the most, but for use as a home based scanner monitoring perhaps hundreds of frequencies as I do, it is simply not up to the job. To be fair to Icom, it does say on the front 'communications receiver' and not 'communications scanner' !

Having said that, I hear the slow scan speed has been addressed with the Icom IC-R6 so maybe getting hold of one of these will be my next goal....

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