From Twins to Triplet

From Single, Twins to Triplets? Three VHF/UHF all mode rigs on the shack-shelf.

IC251E (image)

I have owned my IC-251E for more than 28 years now as I bought it in 1983. It’s old tech and low-powered but I still use it almost every day. Most of the time in FM tuned on 144.675 MHz on our local NOV repeater (Noord Oost Veluwe radioclub) Still I find it useful for SSB and even made in 2010 my first 2m CW QSO on this rig. I, m using a simple 2/70 antenna in the attic and it’s still amazing how sensitive it is in the reception of weak signals. I have compared it to my “modern” IC-706MkIIG and have found that it is real close in running with modern technology. Using the 3 memories and the scanning is not easy, but I,m not using it. This rig is meant for SSB and quiet FM traffic. When using repeaters you have to tune VFO A and VFO B separately thus creating the desired shift. The transceiver will keep this setting when tuning to another repeater. It has 3 internal memories that require external DC to keep alive. This is from the days before internal lithium batteries. Sending the 1750 Hz tone call is something special. You have to lock the VFO and then push the tuning speed button! This is “solved in a beautiful way on the IC451, see below. All the key controls are on the front panel, such as mic gain, RF power, etc. You can calibrate the internal SWR meter by opening up the top cover and using a screwdriver, but I leave mine in RF power mode.

For FM, you can choose to operate the meter in signal strength mode, or center discriminator mode. Can’t find radios with a center discriminator meter any more, because they don’t make crystal mobile radios and walkie talkies anymore. This radio uses the older pre-amplifies mikes. I’m using hte HM-7 and have a sepaerate SM-7.  I have this rig it in original state, with the box and paper manual.

To my opinion the Icom 251E  it’s still  “Good” in today’s world even though, to be fair, it was “Great” in its time (the early eighties). I have used mine heavily on SSB in the early eighties (Wisi 4-el. Yagi and Tonna 16 el. Yagi) and still works great. This rig, in spite of it’s age still does what a radio is supposed to do, has a lack of bells and whistles but this makes using the radio simpler. (without all kinds of bloody @#! Menus). Real radios have knobs and not push button menus. If you own and use one, best of luck with one of these classics. They’re just fine. My Icom IC-251E will always have a permanent place in my shack. A radio that is intuative and easy to use. This radio is beginning to show its age a bit, but for me it will remain a golden oldie!


I very much like this radio, it is also very easy to use and has a lack of bells and whistles which I like. I love the appearance of the IC451 in particular. It is in a better condition as my (heavily used) IC251E. It is in original state, no noisy MOSFET front end  modifications, but until now I am not using it for SSB/CW DX with log yagi,s.  I got mine in December 2011, second hand in very good condition. It has proved its worth and is a very nice addition to my shack. After all, this was a dream in the early eighties to have a twin set for 2 and 70! If you want a high performace 70 centimeter all mode set, this was one of the best. I have compared it to my “modern” Alinco DR105 and the 451 is outperforming it on FM, but of course it has lesser power, less options and it does take some more space on the shelf. The Tone call solution is prefect with the double funtion of the microphone gain knob, just push it!


There is a 6 Mtr version of this radio and I would like to get my hands on one of them as I would like to complement my IC251 and IC451 rigs. I would like to have the EX-106 FM module installed, thus be able to be QRV on 50.400 local FM nets. There seems to be  an EX-108 passband tuning module, but until now I,m not sure about the functionality. For 50MHz I’m using now my IC756PRO or when portable my IC-706MkIIG, most of the time in my favourite mode CW. Just 10 Watts should be enough, as the 6m band is so sporadic, this rig will do me for a long time. On the other hand, the 90 Watt D-version is a nice weapon as well.

If anyone has one they would like to sell you can reach me on

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