Icom IC-V86

If you’re looking for an affordable ham radio handheld transceiver (HT) with a durable design and a surprising amount of power and features, the Icom IC-V86 may be a worthy addition to your radio collection. With a chunky, solid construction, up to 7W of radio output, and a loud, punchy speaker with 1500 mW of audio output, it’s a solid HT, especially considering its entry-level price.

Good

  • Robust and weather-resistant build – The Icom IC-V86 is IP54 rated, so it’s protected from dust and can easily resist water splashes, though not full immersion or strong jets of water.
  • Clear, loud audio output – The built-in 1500 mW speaker is very loud and crisp, especially considering the low cost of this HT.
  • 7W of transmission power – With the included “rubber ducky” antenna, you can get up to 7W of output power.
  • 200 memory channels – You can store up to 200 channels in the onboard memory for quick and easy scanning.
  • Long battery life – The 2250mah Li-Ion battery provides solid, all-day battery life with moderate use.
  • CHIRP support – The Icom IC-V86 supports CHIRP, so you can program it easily from a desktop or laptop.

Bad

  • Tiny display – The display is only 5 digits long and uses a combination of upper and lower-case characters that can be hard to read.
  • Hard-to-use menus – Your fingers have to do a bit of acrobatics for certain key presses and menu functions, especially considering the small size of the buttons.

Bottom line

You may run into some minor usability issues with this HT at first, but given its solid overall feature set and build quality – compared with its low price for a Japanese-made HT – the learning curve is definitely worth it. This is a solid EDC (Every Day Carry) radio for any ham enthusiast, particularly newcomers to the hobby who may be on a budget.

Expert reviews

  • YouTuber Expedite Overland reviewed the Icom IC-V86. In his long-term review, he called the Icom IC-V86 his “favorite radio,” and said that it had “really impressed him” with all of its features and ease-of-use, as well as its 7W of transmit power.
  • George Thomas from AmateurLogic reviewed this radio and was impressed by its antenna and rugged design, and its 7W transmission power, as well as its loud and crisp speaker.
  • Everything Ham Radio also reviewed this HT, praising its battery life which lasts up to 19 hours with the 2250mAh battery at 7W transmission power. He also was a fan of its rugged design and ability to handle shock, dust, water, moisture, and wide range of operating temperatures.

User reviews

  • DXEngineering customers have given the Icom IC-V86 a rating of 4.9 over 11 reviews. They noted that it’s a bit chunky and unsightly compared to sleeker radios, but that it has stellar overall performance in the 2m band, with a solid internal speaker and good battery life. However, the small display and intuitive menus were noted by several reviewers.
  • On eHam.net, users have given this HT a rating of 4.4 across 9 total reviews. Several reviewers called it a “bargain,” especially compared to Chinese-made radios in a similar price range. Again, however, several users criticized its small, 5-digit display.
  • Only two GigaParts reviewers have reviewed the Icom IC-V86, but it has a 4-star rating. Users noted that it’s an excellent 2m band radio, and has a higher 7W output than many comparable HTs, which have an output of 5W. Complaints included the small screen and spotty charger reliability.

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