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115 x 59 x 29 mm
1. Smart Ring
2. Folding Antenna
3. Group Mode
4. Compact Body.
The Icom IC-446S is a compact handheld (priced currently at around £80.00) which sits somewhere between the ‘cheapie’ 446 and the semi professional sets.
The 446s is quite robustly constructed (but not as tough as the much cheaper Binatone 100 which I use as a link radio) although the fold down antenna seems a little more fragile than the fixed antennas on some other sets.
What it does have:
A selection of ring/call tones
‘Monitor’ function to override squelch
What it doesn’t have:
An ‘S’ Meter
Proper scanning facilities
This is really a basic, no frills rig apart from CTCSS facilities. There are really no ‘extras’ on this radio.
There are no memories. Scanning facilities are limited - the only way you can scan is to hold down the ‘up’ or ‘down’ key. The set will then cycle through channels 1 to 8 and stop until you carry out the same procedure again. Changing the channels manually is easy and does not require entering the menu system as with many handies. Interestingly the 446S does not have a ‘VOX’ facility and therefore is not suitable for use as a link radio unless you use a separate com port keyer. Squelch setting is not adjustable although there is a monitor feature which allows you to defeat the squelch.
Where the Icom really scores is its RF performance. The rig is very sensitive and the receive filtering is tight. For example with my 446 link radio transmitting on channel 4, no breakthrough can be heard on the Icom on channels 3 or 5, unlike on some of the cheaper sets where breakthrough onto adjacent channels can be heard. Although the squelch setting can’t be altered it seems to be set just about right. A signal which is below the squelch level is usually too weak to hear properly anyway.
The transmit audio from the Icom seems a little lower than some of my other rigs, there is an easy modification to up the transmit deviation but since in practice I’ve not had any complaints on my transmissions I’ve left mine as standard.
Overall a good basic set with a better feel to it than many of the cheaper rigs. Treated reasonably this set should last well although not as tough as the semi-pro equipment.
Added: Saturday, April 19, 2003
Related Link: Icom UK Website
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