Icom IC-2300H http://amzn.to/1o4BiaE

My new 2m/70cm transceiver, the Icom IC-2300H

I just replaced my Kenwood TM-281A with this Icom IC-2300H.

If you’ve been following my return-to-amateur-radio blog post saga, you know I’ve been trying to hit a not-so-local 2m ARC repeater. I tried three iterations of antennas with my Yaesu FT-60R h/t, but its 4-watt output simply couldn’t get me to that repeater. I elected to go with a higher power mobile transceiver, to be used as a base station principally, as my method of choice over buying an RF power amp for the H/T. This was purely a decision based on economics.

I only had the Kenwood a couple of days. It had a hardware problem: its power output would randomly drop to next to nothing…something inside was heating up. When a good friend of mine, whose judgment I completely trust, told me he had heard of this problem with Kenwoods before, I decided to replace it with a different brand. I chose Icom. Icom has been around for ages. A quality manufacturer…not to say that Kenwood is not. If I hadn’t had the hardware problem with the Kenwood, I’d be using it today, I’m sure. To make a long story short, I RMA’ed the Kenwood back and now have the Icom. I have now settled in with it and like it a lot. I’ll take a moment and compare the two though.

Kenwood elected to go with fewer physical buttons/knobs for whatever design reasons in contrast to the Icom. For example the Kenwood TM-281A had no squelch control…you have to go into the software to vary the squelch. The squelch is assigned a menu number. You have to go into the radio’s menu and find that number. That took some getting used to and I didn’t like it. Programming the Kenwood was a bit non-intuitive. By the second day, I had seriously considered buying the Kenwood interface cable and programming software so I could use a PC to program it.

The Icom IC-2300H, on the other hand, has more “stuff.” That is, more knobs and buttons AND is much easier to program and maintain in my opinion. I realize this may very well be a matter of personal choice, but I am getting along much better with the Icom. Overall I find the Icom to be much more intuitive: I can easily remember how to set a PL tone for a new repeated and how to add that frequency to memory.

The Icom’s included microphone deserves a mention too. You can literally do anything you want from the mic’s keypad as you can from the radio’s front panel. This just makes things so much easier.

You never have to touch the front panel again. I find that so very convenient.

And guess what…I now fully quiet that confounded not-so-local repeater — net control no longer complains about my signal. Success! Finally.