There’s a lot of different UHF brands sold in Australia, with people often raving about a particular brand, and the loyalty often remains as you upgrade vehicles (unless you get paid to promote items, like lots of travelling families and influencers do).
For us, we ran an ICOM UHF in our 80 series Land Cruiser for about 5 years, and then purchased the newer unit in our Dmax, and have been running it since. The newest is a remote mount setup, with the actual head unit hidden in the dashboard. We are not associated with ICOM, and like always, love to do an independent review based on real life experiences.
Why did we go with ICOM?
When it came to getting a UHF many moons ago, I spoke to a couple of mates, and was told that ICOM make commercial grade UHF’s, instead of the consumer level that so many other brands do today. You won’t find too many independent people saying ICOM isn’t a seriously good quality brand.
A typical UHF is 2W and can be upgraded if you have a commercial license, which the ICOM units are capable of. On top of this, a good mate of mine has been running a fleet of ICOM radio’s in his trucks for more than a decade, and spoke very highly of them, and his opinions have always been legit.
Where are ICOM radio’s made?
ICOM radio’s are made exclusively in Japan, which is reflected in their level of quality.
ICOM UHF review
I can’t say a single bad thing about the ICOM radio. The first unit that we had in our 80 series was a little quiet, but that was due to a fairly loud vehicle, the fact that it was mounted down near the transmission tunnel and that it wasn’t remote mount. I could have installed an external speaker, but we lived with it.
The remote mount UHF in the Dmax has been a dream to use. The controls and speaker are on the handpiece, and its easy to use, loud, clear and a pleasure to use. I actually arranged to get my Dad the same unit and antenna as we’re usually those with the best reception.
It’s funny, as we can be travelling in a group together spread over a big distance and I’ll be able to talk to people that others in our convoy can’t even hear a word from. There’s been plenty of occasions where I’ve been talking to my Dad on the other end of the convoy perfectly fine, and those in the middle haven’t been able to hear the replies!
What antenna do we use?
Today, we are running the same antenna as we had on the 80 series Land Cruiser; an RFI CD5000. I didn’t change a thing as we were extremely happy with its performance, which often stood head and shoulders above anyone else in our travelling group, and it hasn’t disappointed at all on our travels.
I even got it stuck in a boom gate in Darwin and had it bent to about 90 degrees before it flung back and nearly put a hole in our bonnet, with no obvious decline in performance.
Where do we get our UHF gear?
Prestige Communications have been our go to for UHF gear. They are very helpful, have great pricing and will always go the extra mile when needed. Again, no association with them but they’ve been great in the past.
If you are in the market for a new UHF radio, and want something that is going to do a good job for years to come, we really like the ICOM gear, but are not here to sell you anything; buy what you are comfortable with.