DIY Icom IC-208h remote head cable

I bought my IC-208h without a remote head separation cable, and sourcing them was like hens teeth, and cost a small fortune.  So I tried unsuccessfully to duplicate the cable ends and gave up for a while.

With renewed interest after about twelve months, I trued again, this time successfully.


I decided to add my own easily found ports to both the head and body of the radio, that I could then use a commonly purchased cable type to connect.

The connectors

The first order of business was to identify a connector type that was small enough to add to the radio, and had readily available cables.  My search led me to TRRS (Tip Ring Ring Sleeve) sockets, which were the size of standard 3.5mm audio jack.

I found the following on eBay for $1, which included a breakout board.

TRRS with Breakup board

The circuit points

The next step involved identifying the points on the head and body circuit boards to attache the new ports to.  Be sure to use a small tip on your soldering iron, because we’re working with surface mount components that are very close together.

Head unit

First the head unit.  As you can see from the board layout and photo, the pins that the separation cable uses each connect to a resistor.  As such, we need to solder a wire to each pin.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the connector in the head.  Needless to say It got mounted in the space just to the left of the IC, with the plug at the top of the head.  In fact, you can see where I’ve made the space for the socket on the top edge of the head unit in the third image.




The body was a little tricky, as we couldn’t access any exposed points easily.  As such, the simplest solution was to tap directly onto the solder joints that the connector is attached with.  To do this however you will need to remove the shield that covers the them.

circuit-bodyboard-body wp_20161125_002wp_20161125_003

When you look at the last photo’s don’t run the cable like that however, as it goes right next to an amplifier, and it caused the squelch to always be open.  Once I re-routed it the issue resolved itself.

As far as connecting the socket, I drilled out one of the air vents to make space for the cable connector, and simply hot glued the connector in place.

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Final thoughts

I’ve now had it installed for a couple of months, and it works perfectly.  I wasn’t able to find any other examples of homebrew / DIY separation kits, so hope this has helped you in some way.

Feel free to pop a message in the comments if you have any questions.


6 thoughts on “DIY Icom IC-208h remote head cable

  1. Hi Lance,
    I had the same “problem” (second hand IC-208 without remote cable) but I ended solving the issue buying a 2730. What you did is very cool, but it requires lots of time/effort.
    Carlos VK1EA

    1. Carlos, what is a 2730? If there was an easier way, I certainly would have taken it!

      Ironically, I since found the required cable direct from Japan. Though at the time of writing this article, they couldn’t be found for love or money!


      1. Sorry Lance, I did not see your message until now.

        The “2730” is a V/UHF radio from Icom. It does both bands simultaneously.

        Carlos VK1EA

  2. Nice mod, I have a 208 and have wanted to build a separation cable for a long time. When I do, the connection points that you indicate will be very helpful. 73 de YS1MS

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