VHF/UHF with Icom

At long last the VHF/UHF part of the shack has been commissioned and now works via a pretty big dual band vertical collinear for FM up on the gable at the front of the house here in 'belle France'; next project is to get the SSB part of the two bands working with a recently gifted 9 element VHF Yagi which is to be modified/upgraded for 70cms as well (yes I know!! :-). You can buy such a beast but I have found some info online to build/modify for that level of functionality using just one feeder (run to a rig switch indoors for these two radios).

Well the local VHF repeaters are a bit on the quiet side but I suppose I should be getting on with work after all !!! It is nice to get these two old campaigners working though; the VHF IC-251e is teamed up with a Microwave Modules MML144/100S linear and I had better keep my eyes peeled for the matching or a similar unit for the UHF IC-451e I guess.

Neither of the old Icom's is particularly user friendly for FM repeater use especially if scanning (three memories on each!) but they were always intended more as SSB DX radios I suppose so prospective plan is to set up a dual band 2m/70cms beam or horizontally stacked antenna I saw a pretty neat set of instructions for; just need to find the time to 'tinker'!

To be honest though these radios are probably not best suited to FM repeater operation being intended I suppose more for simplex FM and SSB operation, particularly if you were lucky enough to secure an IC-251e with the Mutek front end board modification (mine isn't!). At the time (1983/84) the Mutek modded Icom was hailed as being about the best you could get especially as a DX machine and was likely to remain so. Its still a good radio but technology has moved on of course and these days the jury seems to be out as to whether its worth having the Mutek modification or not. Well lets just say if one pops up I may be tempted but otherwise I adore my Icom duo, just wish I had more time for experimentation and aerials and to try some proper VHF/UHF DX'ing!

It would be nice to go for the Icom 'hat trick' with a matching IC-551 (I already have a suitable 3 element beam antenna) but they are pretty rare animals these days though I did see a 'mint' example on good old eBay for sale in the USA but it was kind of pricey.

The 'standard' IC-551 (about 10 watts output) above, the more powerful IC-551d below. I remember when these were new and originally not available in the UK as the 6m/50MHz band was new and experimental with only 100 or so UK NoV licensees and restrictions on working hours. By the time the band was able to be fully used this was frankly outdated but still a nice rig and I would like one even now!! For now though the IC-7000 has been pressed into service as my 6m radio.