Icom IC-229A – Review of the Popular Amateur Radio Transceiver

Icom ic 229a

Are you in the market for a reliable and feature-packed two-way radio? Look no further than the Icom IC-229A. This powerful mobile transceiver is designed to meet the needs of amateur radio operators and professionals alike. With its impressive range, crystal-clear audio, and user-friendly interface, the IC-229A is a top choice for anyone in need of reliable communication.

One of the standout features of the IC-229A is its impressive range. With a maximum output power of 50 watts, this transceiver can reach distances that other radios can only dream of. Whether you’re communicating with a fellow operator in a nearby town or coordinating with a team in a remote location, the IC-229A has you covered.

Not only does the IC-229A offer exceptional range, but it also delivers crystal-clear audio. Thanks to its advanced noise reduction technology, you can expect to hear every word loud and clear, even in noisy environments. Whether you’re communicating in a crowded city or a bustling construction site, the IC-229A ensures that your message gets through.

Another reason why the IC-229A stands out from the competition is its user-friendly interface. With its intuitive controls and easy-to-read display, this transceiver is a breeze to operate. Whether you’re a seasoned operator or a beginner, you’ll appreciate the simplicity and efficiency of the IC-229A. Plus, with its compact and durable design, this radio is built to withstand the rigors of everyday use.

Key Features of the Icom IC-229A

The Icom IC-229A is a high-quality mobile transceiver that offers a range of key features for amateur radio enthusiasts. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced operator, this radio has everything you need to communicate effectively and efficiently.

1. Frequency Range

The IC-229A covers a wide frequency range, allowing you to communicate on various bands. It supports the VHF and UHF bands, making it versatile for different types of communication.

2. Power Output

This transceiver offers a maximum power output of 65 watts, ensuring a strong and clear signal. Whether you are communicating over short distances or long distances, the IC-229A provides reliable performance.

3. Dual Watch Function

The IC-229A has a dual watch function that allows you to monitor two channels simultaneously. This feature is particularly useful when you need to keep an eye on multiple frequencies or when you want to listen to two conversations at once.

4. CTCSS and DCS Encoder/Decoder

With the built-in CTCSS and DCS encoder/decoder, the IC-229A enables you to use tone squelch for selective calling and quiet operation. This feature helps reduce interference and ensures that you only hear transmissions from other radios using the same tone.

5. Weather Alert Function

The IC-229A has a weather alert function that automatically scans and alerts you to any severe weather conditions in your area. This feature is especially useful for outdoor enthusiasts and emergency situations.

6. Memory Channels

This transceiver has a generous number of memory channels, allowing you to store and quickly access your favorite frequencies. You can easily program and organize your channels for easy navigation and efficient communication.

7. Backlit Display

The IC-229A features a backlit display that provides clear visibility, even in low-light conditions. This makes it easy to read the channel information and settings, ensuring that you can operate the radio effectively at any time of the day.

8. Compact and Durable Design

The IC-229A has a compact and durable design, making it suitable for use in various environments. Whether you are using it in your vehicle or taking it on outdoor adventures, this radio is built to withstand the rigors of everyday use.

Design and Build Quality

The design and build quality of the Icom IC-229A is top-notch. The radio is compact and sturdy, making it perfect for both mobile and portable use. The black and silver color scheme gives it a sleek and professional look.

The front panel of the IC-229A is well laid out, with all the buttons and controls easily accessible. The buttons have a good tactile feel and are responsive. The display is clear and easy to read, even in bright sunlight.

The build quality of the IC-229A is excellent. The radio feels solid and well-built, with no loose parts or flimsy components. The knobs and switches have a satisfying click to them, and the overall construction feels durable and reliable.

The IC-229A is also designed to be user-friendly. The menu system is intuitive and easy to navigate, and the user manual provides clear instructions on how to operate the radio. Even beginners will have no trouble using this radio.

In terms of aesthetics, the IC-229A is a sleek and attractive radio. The compact size and modern design make it a great addition to any radio enthusiast’s collection. Whether you’re using it in your car or taking it on a hiking trip, the IC-229A will definitely turn heads.

Performance and Range

The performance and range of the Icom IC-229A are exceptional, making it a top choice for both amateur radio enthusiasts and professionals alike. With a power output of up to 50 watts, this radio provides a strong and clear signal that can reach long distances.

Whether you are using the IC-229A for communication during outdoor activities, emergency situations, or everyday use, you can rely on its reliable performance. The radio operates on the VHF frequency band, which offers better range and penetration through obstacles compared to UHF radios.

One of the standout features of the IC-229A is its advanced receiver technology, which allows for excellent sensitivity and selectivity. This means that you can receive weak signals with clarity, even in areas with high levels of interference. The radio also has a built-in noise reduction feature, further enhancing the audio quality.

In terms of range, the IC-229A can reach distances of up to 10 miles or more, depending on the terrain and conditions. This makes it suitable for a wide range of applications, including outdoor adventures, search and rescue operations, and communication between vehicles in a convoy.

The IC-229A also offers a variety of useful features that enhance its performance and range. It has a built-in CTCSS/DCS encoder and decoder, which allows for selective calling and privacy codes. This ensures that you can communicate securely and avoid interference from other radio users.

Additionally, the IC-229A supports both simplex and duplex operation, giving you the flexibility to choose the most suitable mode for your needs. It also has a built-in VOX (Voice Operated Transmission) function, which allows for hands-free operation when used with a compatible headset or microphone.

Display and Controls

The Icom IC-229A features a clear and easy-to-read display that provides essential information at a glance. The display is backlit, making it easy to read in low light conditions. The large size of the display ensures that all the necessary information is visible, even from a distance.

The controls on the IC-229A are well-designed and intuitive. The buttons are well-placed and have a good tactile feel, making it easy to navigate through the menu and adjust settings. The volume and squelch controls are conveniently located on the front panel, allowing for quick and easy adjustments.

The menu system on the IC-229A is straightforward and easy to navigate. The menu options are clearly labeled, and the user-friendly interface makes it easy to access and adjust various settings. The radio also has programmable function keys, allowing users to customize the controls to suit their needs.

The IC-229A also features a built-in speaker, which provides clear and loud audio output. The speaker is located on the front panel, ensuring that the sound is directed towards the user. The audio quality is excellent, making it easy to hear incoming transmissions even in noisy environments.

Key Controls:

The IC-229A has several key controls that are worth mentioning. The power/volume knob is located on the left side of the front panel, allowing for easy access and adjustment. The squelch control is located next to the power/volume knob, making it easy to adjust the squelch level to eliminate unwanted noise.

There are also dedicated buttons for scanning, memory recall, and call functions. These buttons are conveniently located on the front panel, making it easy to access and use these features. The scan function allows users to scan through saved channels or frequencies to find active transmissions.

The memory recall function allows users to quickly access saved channels or frequencies without having to manually enter them. The call function allows users to make a quick call to a specific channel or frequency. These features are especially useful for users who frequently communicate on specific channels or frequencies.

Overall, the display and controls on the Icom IC-229A are well-designed and user-friendly. The clear display and intuitive controls make it easy to operate the radio and access various features. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced user, the IC-229A’s display and controls will meet your needs.

Programming and Memory Channels

The Icom IC-229A comes with a user-friendly programming interface that allows you to easily program and store your favorite frequencies and settings. With a total of 200 memory channels, you can conveniently organize and access your most frequently used channels.

Programming the IC-229A is a straightforward process. The radio features a keypad and a rotary dial, which makes it easy to navigate through the menu and enter frequencies. You can also use the optional programming software and cable to program the radio from your computer.

Once you have programmed your desired frequencies, you can save them to the memory channels for quick and easy access. The radio allows you to assign names or tags to each memory channel, making it even more convenient to identify and select the desired channel.

In addition to the memory channels, the IC-229A also offers a VFO (Variable Frequency Oscillator) mode, which allows you to manually tune to any desired frequency within the radio’s frequency range. This mode is useful when you want to explore new frequencies or when you need to fine-tune your reception.

Scanning and Priority Channels

The IC-229A features scanning capabilities, allowing you to scan through a range of frequencies to find active channels. You can choose between several scanning modes, including memory scan, VFO scan, and program scan. The radio also offers priority channel scanning, where you can designate certain channels as priority channels that will be checked more frequently during scanning.

Scanning can be a useful feature when you want to monitor multiple channels or when you are in an area with a lot of radio activity. It saves you the time and effort of manually switching between channels and ensures that you don’t miss any important communications.

CTCSS and DCS Tone Encoding/Decoding

The IC-229A supports both CTCSS (Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System) and DCS (Digital-Coded Squelch) tone encoding/decoding. These features allow you to filter out unwanted signals and only receive transmissions that match the specific tone or code you have set.

CTCSS and DCS tones are commonly used in repeater systems and can help reduce interference from other users on the same frequency. By enabling these features, you can ensure that you only hear the transmissions from your intended source.

Overall, the programming and memory channel capabilities of the Icom IC-229A make it a versatile and user-friendly radio. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced radio operator, you will appreciate the ease of programming and the convenience of accessing your favorite channels with just a few button presses.

Power Output and Battery Life

The Icom IC-229A is known for its impressive power output and long battery life, making it a reliable choice for communication in various settings.

With a maximum power output of 50 watts, this radio provides a strong and clear signal, allowing for effective communication even in challenging environments. Whether you are using it for amateur radio activities or professional purposes, the IC-229A delivers consistent performance.

In terms of battery life, the IC-229A is equipped with a high-capacity battery that can last for extended periods of use. This is particularly beneficial for outdoor enthusiasts or emergency situations where access to power sources may be limited. The radio also has a power-saving mode that helps to conserve battery life, ensuring that you can stay connected for longer periods without worrying about running out of power.

Furthermore, the IC-229A has a battery indicator feature that provides real-time information about the remaining battery life. This allows users to plan their communication activities accordingly and avoid unexpected interruptions due to low battery power.

Overall, the power output and battery life of the Icom IC-229A make it a reliable and efficient communication tool for a wide range of applications. Whether you are using it for recreational purposes or professional use, this radio will provide you with the power and longevity you need to stay connected.

Antenna Options and Compatibility

In addition to the standard BNC connector, the IC-229A also features a built-in antenna tuner. This tuner allows you to fine-tune the antenna for optimal performance, ensuring that you get the best possible signal strength and clarity.

Another great feature of the IC-229A is its compatibility with external antennas. The radio has a dedicated antenna port that allows you to connect an external antenna for even better performance. This is especially useful if you plan to use the radio in a fixed location, such as a base station or a vehicle.

Overall, the Icom IC-229A offers a wide range of antenna options and compatibility, making it a versatile choice for both casual users and professionals. Whether you need a compact whip antenna for portable use or a high-gain antenna for long-range communication, this radio has you covered.

Accessories and Additional Features

One of the standout features of the IC-229A is its compatibility with various accessories. It is compatible with external speakers, microphones, and headsets, allowing users to customize their setup to suit their needs. Whether you prefer a hands-free operation or want to enhance the audio quality, the IC-229A has you covered.

Another great feature of this radio is its built-in GPS capability. With the addition of an external GPS antenna, users can take advantage of the IC-229A’s GPS functionality. This feature allows for precise location tracking, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, or boating.

In addition to its accessories and GPS capability, the IC-229A also offers a range of other useful features. It has a built-in voice scrambler, which provides secure communication by encrypting your conversations. This is especially useful for those who require privacy or work in sensitive environments.

The IC-229A also has a built-in weather alert function, which allows users to stay informed about severe weather conditions. This feature can be a lifesaver in emergency situations, as it provides real-time updates and warnings.

Furthermore, the IC-229A has a wide range of memory channels, allowing users to store and access their favorite frequencies easily. This makes it convenient for frequent travelers or those who need quick access to specific channels.

Overall, the Icom IC-229A offers a great range of accessories and additional features that enhance its functionality and make it a reliable choice for any user. Whether you need customization options, GPS capability, secure communication, or weather alerts, this radio has you covered.

Pros and Cons of the Icom IC-229A

Pros Cons
1. Wide frequency coverage allows for versatile use in various communication scenarios. 1. The Icom IC-229A can be quite expensive compared to other similar models on the market.
2. The radio has a durable and sturdy build quality, ensuring long-lasting performance. 2. The user interface and controls may be complex and require some time to learn and navigate.
3. The Icom IC-229A offers a high power output, providing strong and clear communication signals. 3. The radio’s battery life may be relatively short, especially when operating at higher power levels.
4. The radio supports a wide range of accessories, allowing for customization and enhanced functionality. 4. The Icom IC-229A may not be compatible with certain antenna options, limiting its flexibility in certain situations.
5. The Icom IC-229A has a large and easy-to-read display, making it convenient to view important information. 5. Some users have reported issues with programming and memory channel management, experiencing difficulties in storing and accessing desired frequencies.

Comparison with Similar Models

Yaesu FT-2900R

The Yaesu FT-2900R is a 2-meter amateur radio transceiver that offers similar features and performance to the IC-229A. Both radios have a power output of 75 watts, making them suitable for long-range communications. They also have a similar number of memory channels, with the IC-229A offering 200 channels and the FT-2900R offering 221 channels.

One key difference between the two models is the display size. The IC-229A features a larger display, measuring 2.3 inches, compared to the 2-inch display on the FT-2900R. This may be a factor to consider if you prefer a larger and more easily readable display.

Another difference is the programming options. The IC-229A offers more flexibility in programming and customization, allowing you to easily program and organize your memory channels. The FT-2900R, on the other hand, has a simpler programming interface that may be more suitable for beginners or those who prefer a more straightforward setup.

Kenwood TM-281A

The Kenwood TM-281A is another popular 2-meter amateur radio transceiver that is often compared to the IC-229A. Like the IC-229A, the TM-281A has a power output of 65 watts, making it suitable for long-range communications.

One key difference between the two models is the display type. The IC-229A features a backlit LCD display, while the TM-281A has a backlit alphanumeric display. This may be a factor to consider if you prefer a specific type of display or if you have specific visibility needs.


Overall, the Icom IC-229A offers a comprehensive set of features and performance that make it a strong contender in the 2-meter amateur radio market. When compared to similar models like the Yaesu FT-2900R and the Kenwood TM-281A, the IC-229A stands out with its larger display, more advanced programming options, and higher power output.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference and the specific requirements of your amateur radio setup. Regardless of which model you choose, both the IC-229A and its comparable counterparts offer reliable performance and value for money.

Price and Value for Money

The Icom IC-229A also boasts a user-friendly interface, with a clear and easy-to-read display and intuitive controls. This makes it simple to navigate through the various functions and settings, allowing for quick and efficient operation.

In terms of programming and memory channels, the Icom IC-229A offers ample storage space for storing frequently used frequencies and settings. This allows users to easily access and switch between different channels, making communication more efficient and convenient.

In addition to its impressive features, the Icom IC-229A also comes with a range of accessories and additional features that further enhance its functionality and usability. These include external speakers, microphone options, and various connectivity options, allowing for seamless integration with other devices and systems.

Overall, the Icom IC-229A offers excellent value for money. Its competitive price, combined with its advanced features, performance, and compatibility, make it a top choice for both amateur and professional users alike. Whether you are a seasoned radio operator or a beginner looking to get started, the Icom IC-229A is a reliable and cost-effective option that delivers on its promises.

Tips for Buying the Icom IC-229A

When considering purchasing the Icom IC-229A, there are several important factors to keep in mind. These tips will help you make an informed decision and ensure that you choose the right model for your needs:

  1. Read reviews and comparisons: Before making a purchase, read reviews and comparisons of the Icom IC-229A. This will give you insights into the experiences of other users and help you understand how it performs in real-world situations. Pay attention to both the positive and negative aspects mentioned in the reviews.
  2. Consider compatibility: If you already have existing radio equipment, make sure to check the compatibility of the Icom IC-229A with your current setup. This will help you avoid any compatibility issues and ensure that the radio integrates seamlessly into your communication system.
  3. Set a budget: Determine your budget before starting your search for the Icom IC-229A. This will help you narrow down your options and focus on models that fall within your price range. Remember to consider the long-term value and durability of the radio when setting your budget.
  4. Check for warranty and customer support: Look for a reputable seller or manufacturer that offers a warranty and reliable customer support. This will give you peace of mind knowing that you can reach out for assistance if you encounter any issues with your Icom IC-229A.
  5. Consider additional accessories: Think about any additional accessories you may need for your Icom IC-229A. This could include items such as an external microphone, headset, or carrying case. Check if these accessories are readily available and factor in their cost when making your decision.
  6. Ask for recommendations: If you are unsure about which model to choose, ask for recommendations from experienced radio users or professionals in the field. They can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision based on their knowledge and expertise.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you make a well-informed decision when buying the Icom IC-229A. Remember to consider your specific needs, research the features, read reviews, and compare prices before making your final purchase.

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