Advanced handheld scanner, receiving frequency range 0.15-3305 MHz all-mode. Dualwatch operation, bandscope, audio recorder. Ideated in Japan, year of introduction 2004.

Reference market : ham-radio

General :
Frequency coverage [3] General 0.1500 ~ 3304.9990 MHz
Dual-watch VFO A: 0.1500 ~ 469.9990 MHz
VFO B: 118.0000 ~ 174.9990 + 330.0000 ~ 1304.9990 MHz [1]
Modulation mode [2] CW / LSB / USB / AM / FM / WFM
Tuning step 10 / 100 Hz / 1 / 5 / 6.25 / 8.333 / 9 / 10 / 12.5 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 50 / 100 KHz
Receiver :
Sensitivity SSB / CW 0.4 uV (0.495~5 MHz, 10dB S/N)
0.25 uV (5~30 MHz, 10dB S/N)
0.25 uV (50~54 MHz, 10dB S/N)
0.25 uV (118~147 MHz, 10dB S/N)
0.32 uV (330~470 MHz, 10dB S/N)
AM 2.2 uV (0.495~5 MHz, 10dB S/N)
1.4 uV (5~30 MHz, 10dB S/N)
1.4 uV (118~136 MHz, 10dB S/N)
FM 0.56 uV (1.62~5 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
0.4 uV (5~221 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
0.56 uV (330~833 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
0.71 uV (833~1305 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
5.6 uV (1330~2305 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
18.0 uV (2330~3000 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
WFM 1.8 uV (76~108 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
1.8 uV (175~222 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
2.5 uV (470~770 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
Selectivity CW / SSB > 1.8 KHz (-6dB)
AM / FM > 12 KHz (-6dB)
< 30 KHz (-60dB)
WFM > 150 KHz (-6dB)
RF attenuator 30 dB
Frequency stability ± 6ppm
Intermediate frequency 266.7 MHz (only for 340~1000 MHz)
429.1 MHz
19.65 MHz
450 KHz
Features :
Memory 1000 regular memories in banks
200 for auto-memory write scan
50 for programmed scan limits
10 priority channels
Display 15-segments signal meter bar
Antenna BNC 50Ω connector
Power supply 3.7V battery
6.0 VDC external
Power consumption 340 mA typ, dualwatch
180 mA typ, single receiver
100 mA squelch on, battery save function off
50 mA squelch on, battery save function on
Audio power 0.1 W with an 8Ω load
Audio output Jack 3.5 mm
Mechanical and environmental data :
Operating temperature from -10°C to +60°C
Dimensions 60 (W) x 142 (H) x 34.8 (D) mm, without antenna
Weight 320g

[1] CW / LSB / USB modes inctive on VFO B in dualwatch listening
[2] CW / LSB / USB modes active in 0.15 ~ 470 MHz range
[3] Cellular blocked (822~851, 867~896 MHz) in the US

Description :

The IC-R20 is among the portable scanners one of the models with the most functionality. It operates in dualwatch, that is, integrates two independent receivers that can be made active at the same time. The main section has a wide tuning range that from 150 KHz to over 3 GHz, the secondary section covers a limited range of frequencies exclusively in AM, FM and WFM. The most relevant part of the VHF / UHF and the most used modulations are included. Using independent knobs on the top panel you can tune in a new frequency while operating in reception on another. The frequencies are shown on the large display on two separate lines. The panoramic spectrum analyzer instead allows to visualize the radio activity within a range up to 100 KHz, the indication that appears on the display is proportional to the intensity of the signals.

The recognition of the CTCSS and DTCS tones allows a stand-by reception while waiting for a signal with the correct tone. This simplifies the monitoring of a particular repeater or station. Tone detection shows the code used by a given transmission. With the pocket-beep option you are warned with an acoustic signal when a transmission uses the chosen tone. The VSC function is included to unlock the squelch in the presence of a modulated carrier. Besides the retractable antenna, a ferrite antenna is incorporated to improve the medium waves reception, as an auxiliary antenna for the broadcast band of 87.5~108 MHz it is also possible to use the cable of a headset - in this last case the user can choose between stylus and cable as active element.

The device has a large number of customizable memory locations with 8 alphanumeric characters, including 5 icons for the mode, audio tone, skip information or exclusion from searches. The structure allows to manage the storage space according to the choices, 26 groups are available in the form A-Z allowing to activate the scanning of the selected banks simply by adding or excluding the links of the respective groups. 200 locations are dedicated to the automatic recording function, during a search the active channels are recorded to keep track of the frequencies in use. Several scanning options: between band limits, within memories, on specific audio tones, with self-writing. The speed reaches 100 channels / second in the VFO mode between frequency limits.

The receiver incorporates a recorder with a memory capacity of 32 Mb which guarantees a duration of up to four hours and 20 minutes divided into 32 tracks. The recording quality can be selected between HQ (high), SP (standard) and LP (low). When the audio is played, it is also possible to change the playback speed by a factor of 0.5~1.5 to perform quick searches or to slow down the speech. The recording made can be transferred to a computer using the appropriate CS-R20 software, the same allows the cloning of the contents of the memories and the PC control.

Other features: RF attenuator, noise-blanker to eliminate impulsive noises in CW / SSB modes, ANL (Automatic Noise Limiter) for AM mode, audio low-pass filter for suppression of noise allocated in higher frequencies, AFC for fine tuning in the FM band (arrows appear on the display to indicate the tuning direction), dial-speed function to increase the tuning speed by rotating the knob more quickly, pause of the scan that can be set in the range 2~20 seconds and adjustable scan resume time between 0~5 seconds, auto shut-off after 30~120 minutes or automatic shut-off if no signal is received for 3 minutes, various key lock functions, selector rotation and reversible button directions, backlit keypad, operating time of 11 hours (single FM reception) with the supplied lithium-ion battery pack.

Performance and practical notes :

As a general note it should be noted that this model has met a poor success attributable not to the performance but to the combination of size and cost, two voices that express figures considered inconsistent with a portable scanner. As far as practical use is concerned, the generous dimensions still offer the advantage of ergonomic controls, this applies to the keyboard and also to the tuning knobs that make sudden frequency shifting easier. The weak point is instead recognizable in the reduced frequency coverage for the CW / SSB modes only active between 0.15~470 MHz. This prevents not only the possible listening of radio amateurs on the bands of 1.2 and 2.3 GHz but at the same time removes the possibility of adopting techniques for analyzing / recognizing certain emissions even if they use other types of modulation. Consideration aside for the supplied antenna, it is a retractable stylus and therefore a different solution than most scanners combined with a flexible antenna instead. The yield is in favor of the choice adopted by ICOM, being able to define length and inclination the effective sensitivity of the IC-R20 is optimized, while the practicality of use is of opposite sign contributing to make the apparatus more bulky. It therefore depends on the user's listening and operating needs to translate this aspect into an advantage or not.

Valuation :

Dynamic range
Spurious response
Signal functions
Control functions
User friendly

Stars: 1=insufficient, 2=just sufficient, 3=mediocre, 4=good, 5=excellent

Review :

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