ICOM 2300H 144MHz Amateur Radio Review

 

Icom is a Japanese manufacturer that makes two-way radios and receivers for use in marine applications, Airband, amateur radio applications, land mobile applications, and FRS / GMRS applications. We seldom get a chance to see them out in the wild, as their product portfolio, especially in the US, is really tiny. However, most of the devices they make are solid, with good build quality and perform when it counts. The Icom 2300H is the successor to the 2200H, which was wildly popular as well.

The new unit comes in a smaller size, but the trade-off is that you lose the UT-118 digital board, which was used for D-Star digital voice calls. Since D-star is surging ahead in popularity, this seems odd enough as a dropped feature.

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Build Quality

The Icom IC-2300H 2-meter FM mobile features a rugged design and an easy-to-read alphanumeric display. The large informative LCD may be set to green, yellow or amber. The receiver covers 136-174 MHz and the transmitter delivers 65, 25, 10 or 5 watts of output. Other features include 207 memories, alphanumeric notes, 3-way priority watch and independently programmable Rx/Tx and tone squelch. There is an external speaker jack on the rear panel. The IC-2300H is built rugged and has a convenient front mounted mic jack. The supplied HM-133V remote control mic controls everything in the palm of your hand. One more feature that comes in really handy is that we can program hotkeys to execute stuff the way we would prefer it to. The unit has large backlit keys, which helps when driving at night across long distances.

Ease of Programming

One of the problems that I have written about in a lot of posts here is that most of the radio units lack documentation when it comes to programming them. It is really anyone’s guess, and I simply do not approve of that. The god thing about this unit is that there is ample documentation for it. Not only does it appear to be short and sweet, but also gave me success on the first jab at it. It was a pleasant experience not having to troubleshoot what could have gone wrong while programming it.

The official image

When you are trying to program the unit, you first need to load the software and drivers for it. Once you are done with that, you need to type in your disks’ serial number on to it. Then, the software will go and grab the data from the radio. You need to type in your scan and menu preferences after that. You can now just save the file or modify it a bit further. Once you are done with your modifications, just send it to the radio, and it is all ready for use!

Memory Bank

 

One more thing about the 2300H is its memory bank. The user can program a set of memories in one of the memory banks for one location and another set of memory frequencies for another location! What that means is that if I am traveling across a couple of places, I won’t have to go through the hassle of programming this device a lot of times. I can just load up the correct disk and I will be good to go. It’s awesome if your job involves a lot of traveling between a lot of cities or places.

Design

As we discussed before, the device has a nice LCD which can be set to green, yellow or amber, depending on your preference of ccolorA series of seven solidly built buttons are present along the bottom of the front panel of this device. The 2300H has the labels on the illuminated display. You can select the basic functions of the radio using these buttons.

The unit when its off

A large number of the operations on this device are performed using the primary controller HM-133V. The controller is provided as a free standard accessory and comes along with the rest of the unit. For obvious reasons, you should use the mic as an accessory, and not to program the device. It is possible to do, yes, but if you are using this in a card, I’d suggest that you watch the road instead. Your preference will slowly shape up, you might like the front panel or the controller.

Features

The primary functions are SET (Set mode), MONI (monitor repeater input frequency), LOW (output power selection), TONE selection, M/CALL (select memory, call and weather channels) and V/MHz to select VFO mode. Secondary functions include LOCK, ANM (select channel names or numbers), DUP (select duplex offset or simplex), T-SCAN (scan for CTCSS tone in use by the repeater), PRIO (priority watch) and SCAN. There are many more functions on this device, and I don’t use them, to be quite honest with you. However, if you are in an industry which does use them, you can find detailed guides in the manual, which lists everything that you could possibly need.

This device also features a child mode, which will prevent transmission by accident or around children. This is a standard feature across a lot of walkie-talkies now. Another great feature is that they have weather alerts built into them. This really helps when you are traveling. There are NOAA alert based weather channels on this as well. Another awesome thing is that when you turn on the unit you can see the voltage of the power supply, which tells you about the battery level on the device.

Range

There is not much to say, except for the fact that this device is perfect. All the audio communications received on this, are flawless. The two repeater modes, ie, duplex and simplex, work fine as well. The radio doesn’t distort the sound with the background voice, and the squelch is good too. The speakers are good as well. The radio is very rugged as well, so it can really handle high stress scenarios easily.

ICOM states that the radio is tested to the MIL-STD 810 G specifications, and that it has passed the latest specifications including shock, vibration and temperature tests. Whatever be the case, it seems to me to be built like a tank. The IC-2300H is a small, high power mobile or fixed station workhorse of a 2 meter FM radio, perfect for first line home fixed, mobile and field operations.

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