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Unboxing the Icom IC-A6 VHF Air Band Transceiver

Wednesday, April 08, 2015 @ 8:00 AM

The iFlightPlanner Crew recently got their hands on the IC-A6 VHF Air Band Transceiver from Icom and thought it would be fun and informative to share our unboxing and setup experience with the new unit.

Icom touts the A6 as the simplest, most easy to use handheld on the market.  Its big brother, the IC-A24 shares the same frame but features NAV features in addition to COM for U.S. frequency ranges.  Both the A6 and A24 have well-labeled, large keypads that allow for user friendly operation in flight.  The large displays are capable of showing both letters and numbers making for fast frequency recognition, and both the display and keypad are backlit and will stay on until you turn it off – a very handy feature for flying at night!

The contents of the box itself are extremely well organized and hardly require the instruction manual to get started.  The unit weighs 15.2oz once the battery and antenna are installed, and the weight and water-resistant construction of the A6 instills confidence that it will withstand a few bumps and bruises without any problems.  The company website has the full specifications.  Supplied accessories include the antenna, belt clip, handstrap, battery pack, wall charger and headset adapter.  You'll need a small Phillips head screwdriver to attach the belt clip to the battery pack that is not included.

Holding the PWR button for a couple seconds will turn the unit on and you're good to go!  The left-most nob is reserved for volume, and the other (marked DIAL) is used for tuning the desired frequency, WX channel number, BANK number and memory channel.  It also controls the squelch and beep tone level.  All of the features are clearly detailed in the instruction manual with diagrams, graphics and helpful key sequences so that you can get the most out of the A6.

Additional Features Include:

  • 200 memory channels (20 Ch × 10 banks) with 6 character names
  • Dedicated 121.5MHz emergency key
  • Side tone function allows you to hear your own voice via an external aviation headset
  • Optional Ni-Cd and Li-Ion battery packs
  • NOAA marine weather channels
  • Tag scanning and memory bank scanning
  • ANL (Auto Noise Limiter) for noise reduction
  • Low battery alert

Icom does not do direct sales through their website, but they will help you find their nearest authorized avionics dealer where you can purchase one.  Most retailers have the A6 listed around $240 but the company is offering a $30 rebate through the end of May 2015.  At that price you'll be hard-pressed to find a more versatile handheld transceiver with the versatility and reliability than the Icom A6!