Products & Product Reviews

Ham Radio Product Review: Icom ID-52A

The Icom ID-52A VHF/UHF Multifunction D-STAR Handheld Transceiver didn’t replace the ID-51A, but it is a worthy successor with a lot of capabilities. It is the first handheld with a full-color waterfall display and the ability to send photos over the D-STAR network. The ID-52A is larger than its predecessor with a larger display—now in color—and louder audio.

Features include:

  • Simultaneous reception in V/V, U/U, V/U as well as DV/DV
  • Air band reception is expanded from VHF to UHF
  • Audio output is significantly increased from 400 mW to 750 mW
  • Able to send, receive, and view saved photos on an installed microSD card using only the ID-52A
  • Can be charged via micro-USB connector

I’m just as happy with the things that didn’t change from the ID-51A. The ID-52A uses the same batteries as the ID-51A (and the IC-705!) and the same battery chargers. The ID-51A headsets and speaker microphones will work with the ID-52A, as will most other accessories. The ID-52A also has the GPS and independent AM/FM receiver of the ID-51A PLUS, an evolution of the ID-51A.

The ID-52A also supports the Bluetooth protocol as standard so you can communicate wirelessly with a Bluetooth headset. Its built-in GPS receiver allows you to find any D-STAR repeater without programming. The transceiver has a micro-SD card slot, IPX7 waterproof construction, and Terminal/Access Point modes.

One of my favorite features is the ID-52A’s clear and bright color display. The 2.3-inch, 320×280 pixel screen includes a full-color waterfall display, which is a huge surprise in a handheld radio. Previously, waterfall displays were confined to mobile transceivers and base stations. You can also swap the screen between light and dark mode, which is huge for helping readability in all conditions.

The only thing I found missing in this radio is the APRS function. With the built-in GPS, it seems like this feature should be easy to implement. It would truly round out the full feature description of the ID-52A. Regardless, this radio is packed full of feature goodness and very enjoyable to operate.

Product Specs:

Frequency coverage (MHz)
Receiver (Working Range)
A Band: 108–174, 225–479
B Band: 137–174, 375-479
Type of emissionF2D, F3E, F7W
(WFM, AM and AM-N are Rx only)
No. of memory channels1000 memory channels, 4 call channels, 50 scan edges,
100 skip channels, 500 broadcast stations,
2500 repeaters, 300 call signs and 300 GPS memories
Frequency Resolution5, 6.25, 8.33*, 10, 12.5, 15, 20, 25, 30, 50, 100, 125 and 200 kHz
* Selectable depending on the operating band.
Operating Temperature Range–20°C to +60°C; -4°F to +140°F
Frequency stability±2.5ppm (-20°C to +60°C on the basis of 25°C)
Antenna impedance50Ω (SMA)
Power supply requirement
  Battery pack
  Alkaline cells
  External DC Power
7.4V DC (with BP-272), 7.2V DC (with BP-307)
5.5V (with BP-273)
10–16V DC
Current drain (at 7.4V DC)
  Tx High
Less than 2.5A
Rx AF Max.Less than 450 mA / 350 mA (DV/FM)
Less than 300 mA / 200 mA (DV/FM)
Dimensions (W×H×D)
(projections not included)
61.1 x 121.6 x 34.8 mm;
2.4 x 4.8 x 1.4 in (with BP-272)
Weight (approx.)330g; 11.6 oz (with BP-272 & antenna)

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