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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | ICOM ID-31 Help


Reviews Summary for ICOM ID-31
ICOM ID-31 Reviews: 23 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $340
Description: 70cm handheld FM/D-Star transceiver with built in GPS and micro SD slot
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.icomamerica.com/en/products/amateur/handheld/ID31A/default.aspx
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Page 1 of 3 —>

KB0VVK Rating: 4/5 Dec 5, 2014 12:15 Send this review to a friend
need more info  Time owned: more than 12 months
very good if you can use it radio to radio or to
repeater but the instructions using the dv accesspoint dongle you got to find some place
else I hope I do better with the id 51
it may be easier to use with the dv dongle accesspoint dongle
 
K9CRT Rating: 5/5 Jul 3, 2014 10:56 Send this review to a friend
Loaded Features For The $  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The title to my review here about says it all. With included GPS plus all the features included it is a winner. Unlike others have mentioned my battery life ( I have the I included 7.4v 1150 ma battery) is great but I do keep the GPS turned off unless it is needed. Then you can select to only have it hit the GPS every x times per minute and this extends the life greatly. Got mine @ HRO @ their Dayton Hamfest reduced price of $ 279.95. The receive audio is good even with the speaker in the unit, and the transmit audio is some of the best if not the very best D-Star audio I hear. This is a 3rd generation D-Star product and it shows with the easy programming of the D-Star and I might add works equally well on the analog side as well. If you don't need VHF this is a can't miss home run for under $300.
 
N3CAL Rating: 5/5 May 29, 2014 13:57 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding HT  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Out of the box it was ready to use in just a few minutes! The menu's are very easy to use and navigate. One of the few rigs I've owned where I didn't need to break out the manual. With the added SD Micro card it's a real winner! Audio both on TX and RX is good as well.
 
N4XTS Rating: 5/5 Dec 16, 2013 22:10 Send this review to a friend
Best D-Star portable yet  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am not a fan of D-star, but I am a digital voice fanatic, digital IS the future. I own NXDN, P25 phase 1 and DMR radios. I've never been too impressed with previous D-star portables.

But I have to give it to Icom, the ID-31 is a great product. Out of the box I never had to crack the manual. It has a very user friendly interface, and they have made the process of accessing D-star repeaters much less effort. The radio has integrated GPS and can actually query the internal database (which can also be easily updated using the included CS-31 software) for nearby D-star repeaters.

The automatic call sign/message announce is neat. I wish my LMR P25 radios would do this, a "voice" caller ID, so you never have to look at the radio to see who is keying up. The radio has a nice sound on the air on both digital and analog, and they did make some improvements in the DSP to allow you to make changes to the tone/EQ of both RX and TX.

With the micro SD card slot, you don't need to buy a programming cable, just use your PC and load/save the files to the memory card. I was able to build a codeplug from scratch with every D-star repeater I will ever use on the East coast and all my other stuff in about 20 minutes.

Radio feels solid in the hand, a little small for my tastes, but it has good audio. I LOVE the display. Hands down, a solid HT. If you don't NEED 2 meters, save the $200 price difference of the ID-51 (which albeit looks as cool as this one).

Only gripe is the lack of a desk cradle, faster re-charge time of the included 1100mah battery is a little long. Battery life is pretty decent for a medium capacity battery.

The belt clip is also bar none of the best designs.

This is a good radio, and Icom did this one right. I am giving D-star another chance and so far this little radio has not let me down yet. It is no APX7000 or even XTS5000, but it is not a slouch and a very good performing HT.
 
VE3HG Rating: 5/5 Aug 15, 2013 05:44 Send this review to a friend
D-Star 5 Star  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Like so many others I was holding off on D-Star until prices came down so with the ID-31A selling at under $300 US at Dayton 2013 I thought why not! So I sold a TH-F6A (great Uhf/VHF) and bought the UHF only ID-31A (I've got a VHF unit which I never use.) and the recommended RT Systems programming software. As far as the rig is concerned it's 5 Star all the way. No issues on FM or DV as the rig can trip all the regular UHF repeaters in the area. Audio in and out is A+ and programming the basic functions is easy once you've read the manual. And then we come to D-Star! D-Star with its ability to connect stations from around town on local repeaters or around the world using Internet based computer reflectors is sensational. The potential to link individuals, groups or ARES members across regions is enormous. Signals when setup right sound perfect and D-Star signals have a range advantage over standard FM. But (There had to be a but!) programming D-Star remains cumbersome. The easiest way is to add a DVAP (a dongle that provides a local (300') 10-milliwatt access to the D-Star so now your D-31A can be programmed with RT Systems software to full explore the D-Star world. D-Star is a glimpse of what's to come. I'm still working on understanding how to fully program the unit to access local digital repeaters.
 
WX4GPS Rating: 4/5 May 26, 2013 22:23 Send this review to a friend
Great overall UHF radio, expecially entry level to D-STAR  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am been hee hawing about getting on D-STAR for 2 years, and Dayton this year, I decided to pick this for for the price under $300 I thought this was excellent as most machines in my area are offered on UHF for D-STAR and I can always go out on another module.

I got the RT Systems cable and was going to use the Icom CS-31 software but at Dayton I had a breif showing of the RT software and how to use it, and The Icom software was a complete confusion, so I ended up ordering the software from RT, and I was able with the help of a local ham W5IEM, was able to figure out how to program the radio and my thought process on using the radio for D-STAR.

My immediate reactions being a hand held, was I immediately went to the Diamond SRH77CA antenna and made a great difference getting into the machine 13 miles away. Love the alpha numerics and bank memories and how they can be utilized. One feature that exist is the ability to use a GPS position manually that you "capture from the GPS", but it was designed poorly. You can to go through so many steps to turn the GPS on, then do this step and then shut it off, and it should have been designed to turn the GPS, capture and then turn back off...

I will say the GPS does work well. The Diamond aftermarket rubber duck does not screw down flush to the radio, I am not sure if this was a design flaw, but I will be buying a rubber gasket to fill the small void to keep it somewhat water resistant.

battery life seems okay on the stock battery, have used the radio sparingly for several hours at a time, and recharged, never ran the battery down, even with GPS running.

Speaker audio is a little lacking when volume turned up. speech of call signs received is pretty neat!

It was a perfect decision since I been thinking of upgrading an IC-2200 with a d-star board, but that board alone was $210, and this was a mono band UHF with D-star and GPS. it just was the ultimate perfect option for entry level into D-Star. Knowing how much I like the radio I would consider the ID-51A as well if you are a heavy HT user. Do keep in mind the expense of the RT system, which is a highly recommended item right off the bat.

 
K0VH Rating: 4/5 Mar 22, 2013 15:30 Send this review to a friend
Great way to start DSTAR if local systems are 440mhz  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I debated buying an ID31 for about a year now, my two triggers:
- Our local club converted our rarely used 440 analog system to DSTAR back in (?) 2011 since there was growing Minnesota ARES communications on DSTAR. I try to buy at least one new item and try one new "thing" in ham radio every year or so after being licensed since 1967 so ARES followed by a new DSTAR offshoot seemed reasonable.

- My wife & I had to buy a new car and I sold my IC2720 2/440 mobile rig that had been in our other car that past 5 years with intents on picking up a used IC800 or 880 mobile analog FM/DSTAR at Dayton last May. After a thorough walk through at the flea market there were NONE for sale (actually there may have been an 800 but not at any sort of good deal). After attending some DSTAR sessions and successfully using the ID31 at the ICOM booth then making QSOs in < 2 mins of playing around, it's ease of use won me over. I almost bought the ID31 at a very attractive dealer mark down, but ran out of time with intentions to return there later. I later heard ICOM rumors about a 2/440 DSTAR HH out later in the summer at maybe < $500 so I waited all of 2012 for what was to be the ID51 only to see it selling for $630 way out of my budget since I already had multiple 2m rigs and HHs and a lot of interests in HF too.

So by YE2012, I had written off DSTAR for now.

But in Feb it occurred to me there would be some hams who bought ID31s and just HAD to trade up to the ID51 and sure enough, spotted a for sale on eham and got a nice slightly used ID31 a couple weeks ago. I have been playing with it and worked many DV DSTAR voice contacts locally and through our MN REF053 as far as southern Manitoba. I also have made some 440 analog FM contacts when on a trip to Minneapolis - a concern in some ID31 reviews was muffled audio on FM but this unit got a good audio report. I am happy with the receive speaker quality and volume too. A couple other comments:

- Despite my easy-to-use impression at the Dayton ICOM booth, the entire concept of DSTAR needs a fair amount of prep to really "get it". The ID31 hardcopy manual really doesn't have much DSTAR info, you need to use the advanced user manual on their CD or web site (almost 400 pages!). So far I have done programming via direct input on the radio and by using the supplied software putting the microSD card in my PC to do direct freq input and use the spreadsheets downloaded from http://www.dstarinfo.com/icom-import-files.aspx

- I knew this going in, my opinion, but ICOM charges too much for all it's accessories. $50 for just a data cable, about 2X the competing RT systems cable. DC cables, speaker mics especially the lightweight over the ear systems all add up quick. The supplied 1100mah battery drains fast too, so $75 for a 2nd LI-ON battery is a bit much.

- This comment is totally my problem, but I am going to need an external whip from my basement or 1st floor to access our local DSTAR system located 6 miles to the north; standing by a 2nd floor window seems to work fine. You can set up the DSTAR echo and hear a playback of your audio on many repeaters. Just don't get fooled thinking "digital" will improve your transmitted signal strength, at least in my case I can hear much better/farther than I can transmit on both DV and FM. If it ever warms up in our endless winter this year I will have more fun outside or on the deck.

- I setup my GPS to be on and when I transmit can see my DPRS locator on the aprs.fi map tracker just like my 2m tiny tracker. I will play with the built in GPS more while taking hikes when it is warm outside, but it does seem to get a satellite lock on even near windows inside our house.

- I have also played a bit with the voice record function on a couple QSOs. Still have not really used it sending any data streams & you need a data cable to use even low speed PC data.

So if all you need is a 440 HH to access your local DSTAR system, these units are currently priced new around $300 and you can find used ones closer to $200 as of early Spring 2013. The DSTAR "mark up" is around $50-100 compared to just FM, however if you have either an ARES reason or just want to try a newer fairly well accepted digital mode it is a good starter unit.
 
AD5GX Rating: 5/5 Jan 26, 2013 18:22 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is my first HT since I purchased my venerable VX-5. What an upgrade! I like the size of the screen and the simplicity of programming. The excellent menu structure makes up for the lack of keys.

My next radio will be the 51. I don't mind having only 70cm as the DStar repeaters in my area are mostly 70cm. Also, I do most of my DStar through a hotspot connected to my computer over 70cm.

I didn't think I'd like a plastic case over the metal VX-5. However, it was pretty cold today and the 31 plastic case was much more comfortable to hold than the cold metal case!

The GPS amazingly locks-on indoors.

I really don't have anything negative to write about this excellent radio after my first month of use.
 
NZ3Y Rating: 5/5 Jan 20, 2013 08:13 Send this review to a friend
D-Star made easy.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Like ZL2UFI, I own three D-Star radios, but it was not until I got the ID-31 that I really started to enjoy operating D-Star. The factory-preprogrammed repeater list and built-in GPS make finding a repeater very easy. The controls are much simpler to operate than my IC-92AD, and the display is better as well. This radio is very compact and the solid feel of Icom quality is there. Battery life is good with the standard battery, but I would recommend the high capacity battery if you intend to use the GPS feature extensively. The UHF only feature is not a disadvantage to me, since there are many UHF repeaters in the region. Having the cloning software included with the radio is a nice touch. Up until now, that has been a costly extra. The ID-51 dual-bander has just hit the stores, but at $600+, I won't be running out tomorrow to pick one up. The ID-31 represents a move by Icom to make D-Star more user friendly, which is much appreciated.
 
ZL1TAP Rating: 5/5 Jan 14, 2013 17:28 Send this review to a friend
still a great little radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Id31a is still going great i have the id51a turning up tomorrow this should be a great vhf and uhf radio i will write a reveiw when i have played with it
 
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