Icom IC-W31A – Review of the Handheld Transceiver

Icom ic w31a

The Icom IC-W31A is a versatile handheld transceiver that offers a wide range of features and specifications. Whether you’re a professional radio operator or an amateur enthusiast, this device is designed to meet your communication needs.

One of the standout features of the IC-W31A is its compact and lightweight design, making it easy to carry and use on the go. With its ergonomic shape and intuitive controls, you can operate this transceiver with ease, even in challenging conditions.

Equipped with a powerful 5-watt output, the IC-W31A provides excellent signal strength and coverage, ensuring clear and reliable communication over long distances. It supports both VHF and UHF bands, allowing you to access a wide range of frequencies and channels.

Additionally, the IC-W31A offers a variety of advanced features, such as dual-watch function, weather alert, and voice scrambler. The dual-watch function allows you to monitor two channels simultaneously, while the weather alert keeps you informed about any severe weather conditions in your area. The voice scrambler ensures secure communication by encrypting your conversations.

Overall, the Icom IC-W31A is a top-notch handheld transceiver that combines performance, durability, and convenience. With its impressive features and specifications, it’s no wonder that this device has received rave reviews from users worldwide. Whether you’re using it for professional purposes or recreational activities, the IC-W31A is sure to exceed your expectations.

Overview of the Icom IC-W31A

The Icom IC-W31A is a high-quality handheld transceiver that offers a wide range of features and capabilities. It is designed for use in both amateur and professional settings, providing reliable communication in various environments.

The IC-W31A operates on the VHF and UHF bands, allowing for versatile communication options. It offers a wide frequency range, ensuring compatibility with different radio systems and networks.

With its durable construction, the IC-W31A is built to withstand harsh conditions and rough handling. It is resistant to dust, water, and impact, making it suitable for use in outdoor and rugged environments.

The IC-W31A features a clear and intuitive user interface, with easy-to-use controls and a backlit display. It provides quick access to various functions and settings, ensuring convenient operation even in low-light conditions.

In terms of performance, the IC-W31A delivers excellent audio quality and signal strength. It offers a wide coverage range, allowing for reliable communication over long distances. It also features advanced noise reduction technology, ensuring clear and crisp audio transmission.

The IC-W31A comes with a long-lasting battery that provides extended operating time. It also supports quick charging, allowing for rapid replenishment of the battery. This ensures uninterrupted communication, even during long periods of use.

Key Features of the Icom IC-W31A

The Icom IC-W31A is a versatile and feature-rich handheld transceiver that offers a range of key features to enhance your communication experience. Whether you are a professional or a hobbyist, this radio has something to offer for everyone.

  • Frequency Range: The IC-W31A covers a wide frequency range, allowing you to communicate on various bands, including VHF and UHF.
  • Dual Band Operation: With dual band capability, you can easily switch between different frequency bands for optimal performance and flexibility.
  • Power Output: This transceiver offers a high power output, ensuring clear and reliable communication even in challenging environments.
  • Waterproof Design: The IC-W31A is built to withstand harsh weather conditions and is waterproof, making it suitable for outdoor use.
  • Compact and Lightweight: With its compact and lightweight design, this radio is easy to carry and use, making it ideal for on-the-go communication.
  • Wide LCD Display: The large LCD display provides clear and easy-to-read information, including channel numbers, signal strength, and battery status.
  • Multiple Memory Channels: The IC-W31A allows you to store and access multiple memory channels, making it convenient to switch between different frequencies and settings.
  • VOX Function: The built-in VOX (Voice-Operated Transmit) function enables hands-free communication, allowing you to operate the radio without pressing any buttons.
  • CTCSS and DCS: The IC-W31A supports CTCSS (Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System) and DCS (Digital-Coded Squelch) codes, providing enhanced privacy and reducing interference.
  • Scan Function: With the scan function, you can easily search for active channels and frequencies, ensuring that you don’t miss any important communications.

These are just a few of the key features that make the Icom IC-W31A a top choice for radio enthusiasts. Whether you are using it for professional purposes or for recreational activities, this transceiver offers the performance and reliability you need.

Specifications of the Icom IC-W31A

The Icom IC-W31A is a high-quality handheld transceiver that offers a range of impressive specifications. Designed for use in amateur radio operations, this device provides reliable communication in various environments. Here are the key specifications of the Icom IC-W31A:

Frequency Range:

The IC-W31A operates on the VHF band, covering a frequency range of 144-148 MHz. This allows for clear and efficient communication over a significant distance.

Power Output:

With a power output of 5 watts, the IC-W31A provides a strong and reliable signal. This ensures that your messages are transmitted clearly, even in challenging conditions.

Channel Capacity:

The IC-W31A has a total of 100 memory channels, allowing you to store and access a large number of frequencies. This makes it easy to switch between different channels and communicate with multiple users.

Weather Alert:

Equipped with a weather alert function, the IC-W31A can receive emergency weather alerts. This feature ensures that you stay informed about any severe weather conditions in your area.

Waterproof Design:

The IC-W31A is built to withstand harsh weather conditions and is rated as waterproof. This makes it suitable for use in outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and boating.


Dimensions and Weight:

Measuring at 58.4mm x 109.2mm x 35.6mm and weighing only 360 grams (including the battery pack), the IC-W31A is compact and lightweight. This makes it portable and easy to carry during outdoor adventures.

Design and Build Quality

The Icom IC-W31A is a well-designed and sturdy handheld radio that is built to withstand the rigors of outdoor use. It features a compact and ergonomic design, making it comfortable to hold and operate for extended periods of time. The radio is constructed with high-quality materials, ensuring durability and longevity.

The IC-W31A has a sleek and modern look, with a black and silver color scheme. The front panel is dominated by a large, easy-to-read LCD display, which provides clear and concise information about the radio’s settings and functions. The buttons and controls are well-placed and responsive, allowing for quick and easy operation.

One of the standout features of the IC-W31A is its waterproof and dustproof design. It is rated IP67, which means it can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes without any damage. This makes it an ideal choice for outdoor enthusiasts who may encounter wet or dusty conditions.


The IC-W31A is designed with ergonomics in mind. It has a slim and lightweight profile, weighing just 250 grams with the battery included. This makes it easy to carry and hold, even for extended periods of time. The radio also features a textured grip on the sides, providing a secure and comfortable hold.

The buttons and controls on the IC-W31A are well-placed and easy to reach, allowing for quick and intuitive operation. The large, backlit LCD display is also easy to read, even in low-light conditions. Overall, the ergonomic design of the IC-W31A ensures a comfortable and user-friendly experience.

Build Quality

The build quality of the IC-W31A is top-notch. It is constructed with high-quality materials that are designed to withstand the elements and heavy use. The radio has a solid and durable feel, with no loose or flimsy parts.

The IC-W31A is also built to meet military standards for shock and vibration resistance. This means it can withstand rough handling and extreme conditions without any damage. Whether you’re hiking in the mountains or working in a construction site, you can rely on the IC-W31A to perform reliably.

Pros Cons
– Compact and ergonomic design – Limited range compared to some other models
– Waterproof and dustproof design – Limited battery life
– Easy-to-read LCD display – Limited connectivity options
– Well-placed and responsive buttons – Limited compatibility with accessories
– Slim and lightweight profile
– Solid and durable build quality

Performance and Range

The performance and range of the Icom IC-W31A are impressive, making it a reliable choice for communication in various situations. With its powerful transmitter, this handheld radio can reach long distances, ensuring clear and uninterrupted communication.

Whether you are using the IC-W31A for personal or professional purposes, its performance will not disappoint. It operates on multiple frequency bands, allowing you to choose the most suitable one for your needs. This versatility ensures that you can communicate effectively in different environments, whether it’s in the city or out in the wilderness.

The IC-W31A also features a high-quality receiver, which provides excellent audio clarity. This is especially important in noisy environments where background noise can interfere with communication. With this radio, you can expect to hear and be heard clearly, even in challenging conditions.

In terms of range, the IC-W31A offers an impressive coverage area. It can transmit and receive signals over long distances, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and boating. Whether you are exploring remote areas or staying connected with your team during a large event, this radio will ensure that you can communicate effectively.

Additionally, the IC-W31A supports various communication modes, including simplex and duplex operation. This allows for flexible communication options, depending on your specific requirements. Whether you need to have a one-on-one conversation or participate in group communication, this radio can accommodate your needs.

Battery Life and Charging

The battery life of the Icom IC-W31A is one of its standout features. With a high-capacity lithium-ion battery, this handheld radio can provide hours of continuous use on a single charge. Whether you’re out in the field or on a long hike, you can rely on the IC-W31A to keep you connected.

Charging the battery is a simple and straightforward process. The radio comes with a desktop charger that allows you to easily recharge the battery when it’s running low. Simply place the radio in the charger and plug it into a power source. The charger is designed to quickly and efficiently charge the battery, so you don’t have to wait long before you can use the radio again.

In addition to the desktop charger, the IC-W31A also supports charging via a USB cable. This is a convenient option if you’re on the go and don’t have access to a traditional power source. Simply connect the radio to a computer or a portable power bank using the USB cable, and it will start charging. This flexibility in charging options makes the IC-W31A a versatile and user-friendly device.

Key Features:

  • High-capacity lithium-ion battery
  • Long battery life
  • Desktop charger included
  • USB charging support

With its impressive battery life and convenient charging options, the Icom IC-W31A is a reliable and practical choice for anyone in need of a handheld radio. Whether you’re using it for outdoor adventures, emergency situations, or professional purposes, this radio will keep you connected when it matters most.

User Interface and Controls

The user interface of the Icom IC-W31A is designed to be intuitive and user-friendly. The radio features a large, easy-to-read display that provides all the necessary information at a glance. The buttons and controls are well-placed and ergonomically designed, making it easy to operate the radio even in challenging conditions.

The IC-W31A has a straightforward menu system that allows users to access various settings and features with ease. The menu is organized in a logical manner, making it simple to navigate and customize the radio to suit individual preferences.

The radio also features a keypad lock function, which prevents accidental button presses and ensures that the radio remains in the desired mode. This is particularly useful during outdoor activities or when the radio is carried in a pocket or bag.

In addition to the physical controls, the IC-W31A also offers programmable function keys that can be customized to perform specific actions or access frequently used features. This allows users to personalize the radio and tailor it to their specific needs.

The IC-W31A also supports a variety of audio and visual alerts, including tone alerts, vibration alerts, and LED indicators. These alerts provide users with important information and notifications, ensuring that they never miss an important message or call.

Overall, the user interface and controls of the Icom IC-W31A are designed to be intuitive, user-friendly, and customizable. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced radio operator, you will find the IC-W31A easy to use and navigate.

Connectivity Options

The Icom IC-W31A offers a range of connectivity options to enhance your communication experience. Whether you need to connect with other devices or accessories, this handheld transceiver has you covered.

Firstly, the IC-W31A features a built-in 3.5mm audio jack, allowing you to connect a variety of audio accessories such as headsets or external speakers. This is especially useful in noisy environments where clear audio is essential.

In addition to the audio jack, the IC-W31A also supports Bluetooth connectivity. With Bluetooth enabled, you can easily pair the transceiver with compatible devices such as smartphones or tablets. This opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to use your mobile device as a remote control or even send and receive messages through compatible apps.

Furthermore, the IC-W31A includes a USB port for charging and data transfer. This allows you to conveniently charge the transceiver using a standard USB cable, eliminating the need for a separate charger. Additionally, the USB port can be used for programming the transceiver or updating its firmware, ensuring that you always have the latest features and improvements.

Lastly, the IC-W31A supports external antenna connections. This means that you can connect a higher-gain antenna to extend the range and performance of the transceiver. Whether you’re in a remote location or need to communicate over long distances, the ability to connect an external antenna can greatly enhance your communication capabilities.

Accessories and Compatibility

The Icom IC-W31A comes with a range of accessories that enhance its functionality and compatibility with other devices. Some of the accessories include:

1. Antennas

The IC-W31A is compatible with various antennas, allowing users to choose the one that suits their needs. Whether you need a short, stubby antenna for portable use or a longer, high-gain antenna for extended range, there are options available for every situation.

2. Battery Packs

To ensure long-lasting performance, the IC-W31A can be paired with different battery packs. These packs come in various capacities, allowing users to choose the one that best suits their usage requirements. Whether you need a battery pack for short outings or extended operations, there is a suitable option available.

3. Chargers

For convenient charging, the IC-W31A is compatible with different chargers. Whether you prefer a desktop charger or a car charger, there are options available to suit your needs. These chargers ensure quick and efficient charging, allowing you to stay connected for longer periods.

4. Headsets and Microphones

The IC-W31A can be paired with various headsets and microphones, allowing for hands-free operation. Whether you need a headset for private communication or a microphone for public address, there are options available to suit your requirements. These accessories enhance usability and convenience in various situations.

5. Programming Software

To customize and program the IC-W31A, users can utilize programming software. This software allows for easy configuration of settings, channels, and other parameters. With the help of programming software, users can personalize their IC-W31A to meet their specific needs and preferences.

In addition to these accessories, the IC-W31A is also compatible with various other devices and accessories, such as external speakers, GPS receivers, and data cables. This compatibility ensures that users can expand the functionality of their IC-W31A and integrate it into their existing communication systems.

Overall, the availability of a wide range of accessories and compatibility options makes the Icom IC-W31A a versatile and adaptable communication device that can be tailored to meet the needs of different users and applications.

Pros and Cons of the Icom IC-W31A


  • Wide Frequency Coverage: The IC-W31A offers a wide frequency range, allowing for versatile use across different bands and modes.
  • Compact and Lightweight: This radio is designed to be portable and easy to carry, making it ideal for outdoor activities or emergency situations.
  • Waterproof and Durable: The IC-W31A is built to withstand harsh conditions, with an IPX7 waterproof rating and a rugged construction.
  • Long Battery Life: With a high-capacity battery, this radio can provide extended operating time, ensuring reliable communication when it matters most.
  • Clear Audio Quality: The IC-W31A features advanced audio technology, delivering clear and crisp sound even in noisy environments.
  • Easy to Use: The user interface and controls are intuitive and user-friendly, making it simple for both beginners and experienced users to operate.
  • Wide Range of Accessories: Icom offers a variety of accessories for the IC-W31A, including antennas, batteries, and chargers, allowing for customization and enhanced functionality.


  • Limited Display: The IC-W31A has a small display screen, which may make it challenging to read certain information or navigate through menus.
  • Expensive: Compared to other handheld radios on the market, the IC-W31A is relatively expensive, which may be a deterrent for budget-conscious buyers.
  • Complex Programming: Programming the IC-W31A can be complex and time-consuming, especially for users who are not familiar with radio programming.
  • Limited Range: While the IC-W31A offers good performance and range in most situations, it may not provide the same coverage as larger, more powerful radios.
  • Lack of Built-in GPS: Unlike some other handheld radios, the IC-W31A does not have a built-in GPS feature, which may be a drawback for users who require location tracking.

Customer Reviews and Ratings

One customer mentioned that the IC-W31A has excellent audio quality, allowing for clear and crisp communication even in noisy environments. Another customer highlighted its long battery life, stating that they were able to use the radio for extended periods without needing to recharge.

Users have also appreciated the compact and lightweight design of the IC-W31A, making it easy to carry around during outdoor activities or emergencies. Its rugged construction has been commended by customers who have used it in harsh conditions, such as hiking or camping trips.

The user interface and controls of the IC-W31A have been described as intuitive and user-friendly. Customers have found it easy to navigate through the menu options and adjust settings according to their preferences. The radio’s connectivity options, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, have also been well-received by users.

While the majority of reviews for the IC-W31A have been positive, there have been a few minor criticisms. Some customers have mentioned that the display could be brighter, especially in bright sunlight. Others have noted that the price of the radio is slightly higher compared to similar models on the market.

In terms of ratings, the Icom IC-W31A has consistently received high scores from customers. On average, it has been rated 4.5 out of 5 stars, indicating a high level of satisfaction among users.

Pros Cons
– Excellent audio quality – Display could be brighter
– Long battery life – Slightly higher price
– Compact and lightweight design
– Rugged construction
– Intuitive user interface
– Connectivity options

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