The beginning of Icom
Mr. Inoue, founder and Chairman of Icom, became interested in radio when he was junior high school student, and often visited radio shops in Koriyama, Nara prefecture. He had been kept and grown up interesting for the wireless communications. He looks back on those days as “When I decided my lifework would be in wireless communications.”
After graduating from high school, he started a shop for electronic equipment at his parent’s house. But he soon joined a medical equipment manufacturer. At the manufacturer, his technical knowledge was highly valued, and he had responsibility for designing RF medical equipment. However, it was so far from his house to the office, taking 2 hours for one way. The president of the manufacturer advised to Mr. Inoue to establish a subcontract company and continue designing for the medical manufacturer. Mr. Inoue made a small shack in the yard, then started the business as “Inoue Electric Seisakusho” in 1954.
This is the beginning of ICOM
Icom Timeline & Products for Ages
Inoue Electric Seisakusho started as subcontracted works and producing amateur radio equipment. The company was a late comer for amateur radio manufacturing; therefore, it was necessary to create something new. The company adopted transistors, instead of tubes, in designing the FDAM-1 all Transistors AM radio. It was pioneer for replacing vacuum tube with transistor.
Inoue Electric Seisakusho adopted new technologies constantly after that. Designing an Analog PLL circuit was one of big changes, which ended a generation of multi-crystal frequency-controlled radios. They designed HF radio, the IC-701 (Japanese model of the IC-710) which included digital PLL synthesizer. Mr. Inoue brought it then visited Mr. Arthur Collins who was one of most famous radio engineers in the world. When Mr. Inoue presented the IC-701, Mr. Collins said “Mr. Inoue, you did everything I wanted.” Then he advised Mr. Inoue that the company will grow if you continue developing advanced engineering. His words gave Mr. Inoue additional confidence to continue developing Icom’s amateur radio business.
|1964||Inoue Electric Seisakusho Co., Ltd. established by Tokuzo Inoue|
|1970||Moved to a new headquarters building|
|Opened Tokyo sales office|
Corporate symbol mark introduced
Corporate logo mark introduced
|Export Sales department established|
|1975||Opened Kyusyu sales office|
|1976||Entered the marine radio market|
|Icom (Europe) GmbH, established in Dusseldorf, Germany.|
The first model designed and built by Inoue Electric Seisakusho. It was our legendary all-transistor 50 MHz radio, in which vacuum tubes were not used at all. It made Icom history.
The controller could be mounted on the car dashboard, and the radio unit could be installed in the trunk. It was the forerunner of in-vehicle radios.
The first amateur HF radio for Icom. Transistors were used in all stages, except for the final stage. Icom became famous for radios using semiconductors.
It was a revolutionary 50 MHz radio using high stability dual VFOs (Variable Frequency Oscillators). One each was used for the transmitter and receiver units, which challenged the mainstream crystal control radio.
A single high stability VFO (Variable Frequency Oscillator) controlled both transmitter and receiver units. The IC-71 was the first 50 MHz radio that did not require frequency calibration.
The first 12 channel 144 MHz radio. Helical resonators were used in the receiver unit to reduce intermodulation distortion.
Introduced know-how cultivated in amateur radio. It became Icom’s first business radio for the Japanese market.
Used an analog type PLL (Phase Locked Loop) synthesizer and covered the 144 MHz band with 100 channels. The original idea and technology allowed us to differentiate our product from others.
The first marine radio. A programming method using a diode matrix was adopted, and up to 25 channels could be programmed. With this radio, crystals were no longer needed for expanding channels, and it drew attention in the US market.
The first amateur radio to use a system control LSI (SC-3062). It was an Icom original CMOS LSI, which was the largest at that time, with a 6 x 6 mm, 6000-element configuration. This realized digital frequency control, and the dual VFO system.
The industry’s first HF LSI radio that employed the SC-3062 LSI, and the smallest HF radio at that time. Transistors were used in all stages, including the final stage.
Inoue Electric Seisakusho built a sales network covering not only all of Japan, but also worldwide in the 1970s, and expanded business operations.
Capital was increased for facility investment and the product category was expanded from amateur radios to Business radios and Marine radios. The IC-2N (Japanese model of IC-2AT/IC-2E) amateur handheld VHF transceiver was launched in 1980. It was a small and high-performance radio, which had thumbhole switches to set frequencies in the PLL IC. These functionalities were very well received. Over 2 million IC-2N series transceivers were sold throughout the world. Icom was really grew in the radio manufacture industry.
In these years, the company name was changed to Icom Incorporated, from Inoue Electric Seisakusho.
|1978||The company name was changed to Icom Incorporated.|
|Kami factory established in Kami, Hirano, Osaka|
|1979||Icom America Inc. established in Bellevue, Washington, U.S.A.|
|1982||Icom (Australia) Pty. Established in Melbourne, Australia|
|Entered the land mobile radio market|
The world's first amateur radio equipped with a microcomputer in its main unit. A front panel separate system established a new type of mobile radio.
Had an auto watch function controlled by a built-in CPU. It had good sales as a 50MHz SSB base station radio.
Built-in general coverage receiver from 1.8 MHz through 30 MHz. Since this IC-720, a built-in general coverage receiver became a de facto standard specification for HF radios.
This model was a huge success, with over two million units sold all over the world. User friendly thumbwheel switches for frequency change, and a detachable battery pack were adopted.
The DFM (Direct Feed Mixer) provided 105 dB of dynamic range. It had an 8-bit CPU, 32 memory channels and dual VFOs for cross band operation.
The first handheld radio that adopted a power module, achieving the maximum output of 5W. In addition, it had an LCD display. The radio had a splash-proof construction. Was an evolution of the IC-2N (IC-2AT)
Icom listed its stock on the second section of the Osaka securities exchange on December 19th, 1990. The first price was JPY 6900 which exceeded JPY 410 from the public offering price. Two days before the listing, Mr. Inoue informs to employee, “I feel a debt of gratitude to all my employees for listing, as we started as a garage manufacture.”
Icom started a new category of Marine Navigation and challenged the use of new technologies onto current categories. The IC-781 had gained prominence in these years. A 5-inch CRT in the center of the front panel became the Icom style, along with a spectrum scope and high-performance characteristics. This transceiver surprised amateur radio operators as a dream rig.
|1986||Hirano factory established in Hirano, Osaka (Transferred from the Kami factory)|
|1987||Tokyo R&D Center established|
Revised the corporate logo mark to the current one.
|Wakayama Icom Inc. (factory) established in Wakayama|
|1989||Entered the marine navigation market with radars and fish finders|
|1990||Increased capital by 953.5 million JPY|
|Listed Osaka Stock Exchange 2nd section|
|Increased capital by 7 billion JPY|
|1992||Tokyo sales office merged with the R&D section|
The first dual band mobile radio covering 144/430 (440) MHz. The “dual band radio” became very popular after this model was introduced.
Icom’s first avionics radio. It had a 4.8 W output power (PEP). It evolved into the IC-A20, which can receive VOR navigation system signals.
World's first transceiver equipped with an ATV function. Adopted a specially designed power module SC-1040 to support continuous ATV transmission. It also had a large-capacity CPU and an external RAM unit.
Equipped with the 5-tone system used in Europe, and supported various other tone systems. Explosive sales were recorded.
Equipped with a newly developed DDS synthesizer. High-speed transmission / reception switching that supported PACKET, AMTOR, and other data communications was achieved.
IC-μ2A/E, IC-μ4A/E (1987)
Provided long lasting battery life with an auto power save function, and worked with R6 (AA) type battery cells.
Icom’s first marine radar with a compact design and easy operation.
Called the “super multi-bander system”, utilized an optical fiber cable in data transfer technology. The optical fiber cable was an industry’s first and ensured transmit and receive performance by preventing the influence of external noise and interface.
A dream rig providing a large 5-inch CRT display with a spectrum scope located in the center of the front panel. Icom’s legendary layout emerged from this model.
Japanese low-power license free radio that achieved a surprising palm-sized compactness and lightness that broke the conventional wisdom.
The first generation of the brand name "Withcall" of Icom’s low-power license free radios in Japanese market. A storage antenna type that improves portability. Equipped with a function to notify reception of a call by a ringer sound.
Icom opens Narayama R & D center to strengthen middle and long-term engineering development capabilities. Dedicated to research and development on elemental technologies one step ahead of the engineering department. The first Digital amateur transceiver for D-STAR was designed in this R & D center.
In these years, Icom concluded a delivery contract with the US Department of Defense's Soldier Intercom for transceivers, becoming the first company of all the Japanese manufactures to do so. They made hard and strict tests, then selected Icom IC-F3S as the best performance radio. Icom had other contracts in public safety and utilities markets in other countries.
In addition, using RF technologies, Icom entered and expanded a new category of wireless LAN networks.
|1994||Narayama R & D center established in Nara, Japan|
|1995||Distribution center relocated to the Wakayama factory|
|1997||Icom Spain S.L. established in Barcelona, Spain|
|1998||Asia Icom established in Taipei, Taiwan|
|Contracted with the US Department of Defense for radios.|
|Entered the wireless LAN market.|
|Acquired ISO 9001 certification.|
|1999||Icom Information Products Inc. established in Osaka, Japan.|
|2000||The headquarters relocated to the new building in Hirano, Osaka.|
|2001||Listed in the Tokyo and Osaka Stock Exchange 1st sections|
|2003||Acquired ISO 14001 certification.|
It has dual band simultaneous reception as well as satellite communication capability. Incredible reception sensitivity of -19dBμ was achieved for SSB/CW.
The world’s smallest HF/50/144 MHz radio. It became a benchmark of the multiband radio and proved our advantage in wideband technology.
The world's first circuit configuration using digital signal processor (DSP) featured noise reduction and auto notch, which allows signals to emerge from noise.
Icom's first digital MCA (Multi-Channel Access; Japanese trunking system). Used a large display with excellent visibility.
Sophisticated design like a mobile phone at the time.
Data transmission unit for a 2.4GHz spread spectrum system. Adopted a modulation method that was later used for wireless LANs.
Recognized for its reliability, robustness, and operability, and was officially adopted as the US Department of Defense's Soldier Intercom. Delivered 23,000 sets.
The world's first amateur radio to use a 3-inch color TFT LCD display. Equipped with an external video input terminal, it could be used as a sub-monitor for car navigation system.
Icom's first wireless communication unit between buildings that wirelessly connects distant buildings. An innovative product that eliminates the cost of laying a dedicated wired line.
Icom’s proprietary technology 32-bit floating point IF DSP radio. Eliminated the analog filter and put IF DSP in its place.