New Rig – ICOM ID-880H Digital 2M/440 Dual Band Mobile

Introducing my new radio – the ICOM ID-880H digital D-STAR dual band mobile.  After much thought, research and discussion with local hams I decided to get a digital radio to work the local D-STAR repeaters in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland.

ICOM ID-880H dual-band mobile radio

My Initial Impressions

This radio, specifically the D-STAR stuff, is a bitch to program.  Regular FM repeaters are reasonable enough to set up but the D-STAR is just nutty.  I’ve had this for a week and between the instruction manual and the menu system I’m super frustrated.  But I shall not give up.  My next step is to purchase a programming cable and set this up via software.

FM receive is very good, little problem with strong nearby stations (intermod) and the automatic noise filter is nice.  However I set the noise filter to manual, maximum setting to better control noise while listening to moderate distance stations.

FM transmit is also very good.  I found the mic gain setting in the menu system labyrinth so naturally I set it to max.  I receive excellent audio reports from other hams.

The cooling fan comes on automatically when you begin transmitting, no matter which power level is chosen, and stays on for several seconds after transmission ends.  It’s a little annoying but livable.  The fan can be set manually to stay on full time at low, medium or high speed but I see no point.

The microphone has lots of backlit buttons, and each button can do multiple functions.  I don’t use any of them.  The only thing I need is a PTT switch.

So far, so good.  I will post again when I get the D-STAR figured out and have a chance to try it.

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