Icom IC-R2 communications receiver tips

Turn off pskip for faster full/bank/programmed scan

I notice if one is willing to turn off pskip, full/bank/programmed scan is then oh, twice as fast as with it on. Especially if one's pskip items don't concern the scanning range you are interested in today, then there's little excuse not to turn it off. By the way, do faster scans eat more power?

Full/bank/programmed scan faster than memory (bank) scan

I notice that full/bank/programmed scan is oh, twice as fast as a memory (bank) scan. OK, not much one can do about that.

Say we want to explore a block of 200 channels, eliminating one by one the ones we figure out which police office is speaking on. Instead of filling up 200 memory slots and marking found ones as "skip", one would be better off programming edges and marking found ones as "pskip". (Of course one cannot keep as tidy a list of what is marked as found then...)

Have you heard the "ticking" yet?

As a curiosity item, if you have never heard the "ticking" before, you might want to cuddle up to your R2 to give it a listen, as it can be heard only if you press the R2 close to your ear:

  1. turn on ("auto") 'power save' mode if not on already. Squelch on too.

  2. tune to a single frequency not likely to start blabbing just when you've got your ear pressed to the radio. Better unscrew the antenna for extra insurance.

  3. press your ear to the radio.

  4. wait a full minute etc. to hear the fast tics become slow tics etc.

The ticking is the radio in power save mode checking the frequency.

Turning backlighting on in the dark

It's night, but with backlighting=off, how are you going to turn backlighting to on or auto if you can't first see the display? Well, just remember "7-down": backlighting is located the seventh click downward ("right hand rule" (counterclockwise)) from the highest set mode item. You first rotate "plenty" (at least 17 actually) of clicks upward, and then seven back downward. You are now at the backlighting item.

If you don't live in expanded set mode, then remember "1-down". If you don't even remember if you left the radio in expanded set mode or not, then remember that expanded set mode is located at the highest set mode item, and "on" is up (FUNC+clockwise).

All the above assumes you can manage to first turn on the power and get into set mode in the dark. When we have reached backlighting, we merely press FUNC and rotate the knob (back and forth, no need to remember even more) and voila, we can see what choice to pick.

By the way, you may find later in bright sunshine you can't tell if you left backlighting on or not. Not to worry, as I recall "studies have shown that it only eats 10% more power, at least during scanning", or something. Also note that counting down from the "highest" set mode function (ex) to backlighting (li) is band and radio version independent, whereas counting the opposite way isn't. See page 25 of the manual.

Turn on backlighting momentarily with no side effects

When in backlighting=auto mode, what is the easiest way to turn on backlighting with no side effects? Hitting the squelch button will turn on the light momentarily, but it has the side effect of opening squelch, bad if the transmission has ended already. Hitting most other buttons has the side effect of halting a scan. Bob Parnass says: If the IC-R2 is scanning, twist the tuning knob. If the radio is stopped, tap the up or down arrow keys (volume).

Stop a scan with only one hand

It seems the best way to stop a scan with only one hand is to hit TS/Skip twice. Sure, if we first double check that we are doing a memory scan, then hitting BAND once will do it.

Perhaps one can learn, with the radio in one's left palm, to put their left thumb on FUNC and left middle finger at least on the down arrow button, to stop -- and start -- scans, with one hand.

Loop tether over antenna to avoid dropping from belt

After clipping the radio on one's belt, simply routing the tether loop behind the belt, then over the antenna (antenna enters eye of loop), seems a simple way to avoid dropping the radio if for some reason it comes loose from the belt.

Alternate power source

I opened the R2 up with a screwdriver and soldered one wire to the positive battery terminal, and attached another to a screw that I found was connected to the negative terminal. I drilled a hole in the front to allow the wires to exit. This I connect to a cigarette lighter 12-->3V adapter, connected to a car battery. Thus I now have the choice to avoid changing batteries if at home.

2003/12: There is a new class of stabilized wallwarts that do work, at no more cost than traditional wallwarts.

Soldering was not pleasant and I apparently only damaged some plastic. I wonder how long the wires will last, but I couldn't make good phony battery "dowels" with what I have on hand.

I slide a piece of paper between a battery contact to protect the batteries when I'm using this alternate power source.

It turns out this wire hanging out isn't very resistant to abuse. Maybe I shouldn't have bothered attaching it now in this age of 2300 mAh batteries. 2004.6: Indeed, I removed the wires as they even seemed to interfere with reception -- a great source for static with all that wire hanging on the outside with poor connections, whatever. I suppose I'll use alligator clips to the battery terminals if I want to use external power again ever, wary not to scratch the radio's case (pad outside of case with electrical tape), and wary not to let the clips short circuit.

Don't forget that you left the attenuator (ATT) on

Why haven't I heard anything for so long? No wonder, yesterday I was using the attenuator on a different band and it is still on. Therefore one had better check the entire display when powering up the next day.

Different steps in top and bottom band edges

Say we are programming scan edges into registers 5A and 5B. Well, we could say, put a 25 kHz step on 5A, and a 50 kHz step into 5B. That way any time we want to scan P5 in 25 kHz steps, with 5A on the display, we would press BAND, copying 5A into the VFO. We would then hit FUNC + BAND to select PROG 5, unless already selected, and hit FUNC + an ARROW to start the scan. Likewise for 50 kHz on 5B.

Dan Jacobson

Last modified: 2007-09-14 01:12:42 +0800