Mobile unit specs, now vs. then

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Feb 6, 2017
I've looked at tons of reviews of dual/tri/quad band mobile units (has to have at least 2 bands or I'm not interested in buying it), very taxing on the eyes but I'm learning from the reviews. One area that very few reviews talk about is the sensitivity/selectivity of the modern, smaller and more complex circuitry units. I'm using "old" school thinking that says a Panasonic RF-4900 reciever will have extra filters, etc... than a RF-2200 portable and "should" be better over all (just using this to make a point in general). Does this still apply to todays mobile units? Years ago they were larger, perhaps having better shielding of various circuits. I know I've read about overload, intermod and the like for those tiny HT's that we all now love. Just wondering if I should be as concerned about buying a new mobile unit as I am, versus finding an older unit with less bells and whistles but maybe, maybe, better performance (using better and more filtering as an example)?

Any feedback from anyone, especially the more technical geeks is appreciated. Mention Web sites I can look into, reviews I can read and perhaps comments from those of you who've used old gear and now have new gear, how do they stack up against each other?


Lead Wiki Manager and almost an Awesome Moderator
Super Moderator
Jul 18, 2004
Central Indiana
If you go back to the 1980s, some mobile radios from that era, e.g. the Icom IC-28H, had helical resonators in their receiver circuits which made those radios fairly resistant to overload and intermod. But, as electronic production techniques transitioned to surface mount components and very compact board layouts, those resonators started disappearing from mobile radio designs. Of course, the general reduction in the size of these electronic devices meant that more features, such as multiple bands, were packed into the radio.

There are some mobiles today that are more susceptible to overload and intermod than others. It's helpful to look at the selectivity and image rejection figures in test reports (QST is about the only source of reliable amateur radio lab test reports in the U.S.) and study user reviews (the famous or infamous reviews) to get an idea of how a particular radio will perform in a particular environment.


Active Member
Feb 11, 2009
any receiver capable of receiving outside of the ham bands will have a receiver that is prone to desense and intermod

older radios had helical resonators in the front end that eliminated out of band interference

the new radios are like scanners that transmit

that's why repeaters like the GE master 2 and the Motorola Micor repeaters are still in demand today

the new kenwoods, icoms, and yaesu repeaters don't even come close
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