I’ve been looking for a good com setup for a year now and I think I’ve found it.
I got the Icom A-16 last week, and have spent the last week testing it out. Here are the highlights.
Construction– Appears to be very solidly built. The buttons and screen are easy to read and manipulate. The “Lock” button is located on top beside the power/volume knob. This makes it easy to access during flight without having to look for it.
Programming– The unit came with the basic instruction manual. This is enough to use the radio, however if you want to get the most utility you will need to download the Full Manual in PDF. Link here. It is not intuitive at all but the manual is easy to follow.
Bluetooth function– I use a BT-S2 motorcycle headset to pair with this radio. This also allows me to pair my Galaxy S8 at the same time for music and phone calls. Pairing is simple and quick, after reading the manual. There is a slight time lag between hitting the PTT on the handset and the headset picking up your voice to transmit. Music cuts out automatically when transmitting or receiving.
Communication– Using this setup, transmissions are very clear and crisp. I’ve had no problems talking to other pilots 5 miles out. And I’ve picked up transmissions from 20+ miles out.
Battery Life– This came with a 2400Mh battery and charging station. Icom claims 5 hrs Tx time, much longer standby time. My longest flight has been 2hrs so I’m not getting close to the end of this battery.
Overall impression– I’m very happy with this purchase. It paid for itself the first time out while making an approach at our usually low traffic local airport. There were multiple aircraft moving on the apron, doing pattern work and touch and gos as I came in. I was able to talk with everyone from several miles out and work in safely for a landing near our fuel farm without inconveniencing anyone.