Band Condition Scale:
Excellent, Good, Normal, Fair, Poor and Very Poor




Here is what I have for radios (for now). Plenty of reviews around for these units, but here is my personal thoughts on them:

ICOM IC2200H - Great radio, expanded receive range, confusing user interface.

My unit is quite sensitive to power supply noise - which will cause my mic to malfunction. I do not know if thats a design issue, or an isolated case. My statement is not a complaint about the radio, we should all strive to have a clean power source anyway. I did want to mention it though, mainly to help anyone else that might be having the same difficulties.

This model is no longer being made by ICOM; but has been replaced by the IC2300H. Most notable difference to me is the lack of air-band receive in the newer model - which is something I enjoy having on my 2200. I am sure there is other differences, and I will try to include some of that information here when I can.

Kenwood F6A - Great HT, 0-1.3GHz Receive, small size(good or bad?), user interface, like most ham radios, will take some getting used to.

Baofeng UV5R - Great HT, some expanded frequency capability, ok+ on interface, and unbeatable on price. Some will offer concerns on frequency stability, spurious emissions, etc. but I have also heard those with pro level test equipment give these units the thumbs up.

My opinion, for the short experience I've had with it, its a good starter radio without breaking the bank. I would also recommend it for just what it is, a hand-held walk around unit - and considering the price you don't have to worry near as much about damage/loss at events.

Yaesu FT857D - Very happy with this newest edition; write up comming soon!

Still waiting for the 'coming soon' but a couple little quirks I wanted to get in writing ... both to help others and to remember it myself! Sorry if this isn't well written yet; its late a just posting it quickly until I get a chance to make it presentable.

VFO Band Stops Disappeared

One VFO decided one day that when using the 'up-band' button, it would only cycle through 3 bands ... namely from 40M, to 30M, to 20M, and then a subsequent press would cycle back to 40M. The other VFO would work perfectly normal.

One interesting clue ... it would go thru all the bands just fine in the oposite direction ... ie using 'band-down' worked as expected and wrapped from 160M back to 23cm.

I was able to locate precisely nothing about this on the web; but kept at it on my own. While I still don't fully know what caused this; the solution was to step 'up' for 20M to 40M (in the 3 band loop it was exhibiting); and then tuning out of the 40M band manually. This generated an out-of-band stop in the 8MHz area. After doing that, everything now works normall again. I'm guessing there was a corrupted pointer to the next band that this re-wrote ... or something similiar.

S-Meter Stops Working

This actually happened to me a couple of times. I beleive the first time this happened was on all bands, all modes though I can't be positive of that memory.The solution I thought I found was that the external meter port was activated ... and it appeared that had disabled the internal (LCD) meter. After returning the external meter selection to off, the S-Meter resumed operating normally, and though I thought it odd that I couldn't have both working I didn't think much more of it.

Until it happened again that is... Remembering the previous occurence, I immediately checked the external meter settings(menu 60,61,62). This time, however, they were not activated. So, off to Google I went. Found several tips stating that it would not function if the AGC was turned off; and I did in fact have AGC turned off so thought that would solve it. It did not.

This time was different, however, in that it was only a problem on FM mode. Other modes still worked fine. With that in mind, my next thought was that the radio wasn't malfunctioning at all ... but rather it was telling me that my 2M antennae had issues. After checking with my analyzer, I found that not to be the case either.

So, back to google. Off on a single search result somewhere in cyber-land (sorry, I can't remember where ... but will try to find it and link it) I came across a write up about the service menu settings getting corrupted; and two of them (9 & 10) calibrate the S-Meter for FM mode only. Checking these, they seamed to be set to 'realistic' values; but I experimented anyway ... and achieved settings that get the meter to match what I expect for a few local repeaters. Obviously not an accurate way to adjust it; but equally obvious that its more accurate than S0 displaying for a 50W signal from my driveway.

Will need to work on getting the proper equipment to accurately determine the settings; but at least I have a some meter capability in the meantime.