Icom IC-R20 still a good buy?

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macnoodle
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Icom IC-R20 still a good buy?

Post by macnoodle »

Hi everyone,

I already have a Uniden UBCD396XT. A great little scanner, except for the programming, which sucks. But I am getting used to it. Slowly. :)

I think I would still like another receiver, one that will cover the frequency gaps of the Uniden (and preferably extend the frequency spectrum). There are several options as far as scanners are concerned - AOR, Alinco, Icom, they all make scanners that have continuous coverage from around 100 or 150 kHz, all the way to 1.3 GHz. But they only receive AM/FM/WFM. The Alinco DJ-X11E also adds SSB and CW, but does not extend the frequency coverage above 1.3 GHz.

Which brings me to the Icom IC-R20. Continuous coverage from 150 kHz to 3305 MHz. SSB, CW, AM, FMN, FMW modes. Everything that I (think I) am looking for! The built-in recorder just takes it over the top, IMO.

My question is: Is the Icom IC-R20 still a good buy these days? ??? Would I be better-off waiting to see if someone brings out a digital-capable receiver with similar specs? (Long shot, I know). I know that all the other scanners I mentioned aren't digital either (that's why I have my Uniden), and in that company the Icom IC-R20 is clearly head and shoulders above the rest (the Alinco DJ-X11E comes close, except for missing the higher frequencies).

What say you? Is the Icom IC-R20 still king-of-the-portable-hill? Worth buying right now? ???

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youngn
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Re: Icom IC-R20 still a good buy?

Post by youngn »

Welcome to the forum!

I haven't had any personal experience with the R20 but have read mostly good reviews.

What do you currently like to listen to on the uniden?
"YOUNGN"

macnoodle
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Re: Icom IC-R20 still a good buy?

Post by macnoodle »

At the moment I listen in on a bit of everything the Uniden lets me. I enjoy monitoring air band regularly, and listen in on Police and emergency services (when available), also NSW GRN stuff, UHF CB, CB, 2-meter band, etc. But... it all gets a bit tedious after a while, and I'm curious about tuning in to some of the frequencies that I don't have access to with the Uniden. Most of the amateur radio bands are out of range for the Uniden, and I think they might be interesting to listen in on, as well as some of the higher frequencies that I don't have access to right now. I have a Degen DE1103 that I enjoy using, but being able to search some of those lower frequencies automatically sounds great (or having them preprogrammed and scanning).

I've been trying to catch the ISS talking with the ground (an uphill struggle in Oz, but I don't give up easily), and the Icom's internal recorder could be a great help here (not to mention that I could program ALL of the known ISS frequencies into the Icom).

Comint
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Re: Icom IC-R20 still a good buy?

Post by Comint »

The Icoms have always been deemed to be overpriced when compared to other scanners. And I have never heard of anyone saying that they are "easy to program".

If you have difficulty programming the UBCD396XT, you will certainly have difficulty programming an Icom.

--
Comint

peteramjet
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Re: Icom IC-R20 still a good buy?

Post by peteramjet »

I had a R-20 around 2006. I liked the wideband coverage, alpha-tag function and dual watch function (2 frequencies at once). Was no more difficult to program than the Uniden. It still seems to be a current model Icom receiver and doesn't appear to have been replaced. Downside is there is no trunking or P25 functionality.

Is it a god buy? Depends completely on what you listen to. If it is mainly airbrand, CB, 2-meter, trunking and P25 then it won't do anything your Uniden will do. If you are keen on what occurs outside of those bands then it may be a worth-while second scanner - but if it was me, I wouldn't be selling the Uniden to buy it :D

macnoodle
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Re: Icom IC-R20 still a good buy?

Post by macnoodle »

peteramjet wrote:If you are keen on what occurs outside of those bands then it may be a worth-while second scanner - but if it was me, I wouldn't be selling the Uniden to buy it :D
That seems to be the current solution, doesn't it? One scanner for digital, another scanner for everything else.

I am curious what happens on all those other frequencies, and I would love to be able to use the recorder on the Icom to catch the ISS talking with the ground one day (I could just leave it monitoring those frequencies 24/7, and check the recording once a day). Now all I have to do is decide if those features are worth the current asking price. :lol:

SteveO
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Re: Icom IC-R20 still a good buy?

Post by SteveO »

macnoodle wrote:
peteramjet wrote:If you are keen on what occurs outside of those bands then it may be a worth-while second scanner - but if it was me, I wouldn't be selling the Uniden to buy it :D
That seems to be the current solution, doesn't it? One scanner for digital, another scanner for everything else.

I am curious what happens on all those other frequencies, and I would love to be able to use the recorder on the Icom to catch the ISS talking with the ground one day (I could just leave it monitoring those frequencies 24/7, and check the recording once a day). Now all I have to do is decide if those features are worth the current asking price. :lol:
The ISS is going to be very bright and easy to see over SE Qld early July.
Steve

macnoodle
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Re: Icom IC-R20 still a good buy?

Post by macnoodle »

SteveO wrote:The ISS is going to be very bright and easy to see over SE Qld early July.
Seeing the ISS is not a problem. It's that they don't talk much over Australia. I wish they would, but why would they? I guess I should not be surprised that they don't - none of the astronauts are Australian, so they get their talking done over their "home continents".

Here is the ISS flying over my backyard in October last year. And no, they weren't talking at the time. :)

Image

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AIRMAN
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Re: Icom IC-R20 still a good buy?

Post by AIRMAN »

The Icom IC-R20 to give it its full model name, is one of the best analog receivers. It has quality and features way above the Uniden and of course it is more expensive. Lee Andrews is having a sale and I believe the R20 is discounted.

Unlike the AR-8200D the R20 does not have ACPO 25. The AOR is very pricey even with discount.

You get what you pay for.

Your choice is governed by where you live and what your listening preferences are and not forgetting how much cash you wish to spend!

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