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Reviews Categories | Transmitters: Commercial/Military/Marine adaptable to ham use | Icom IC-F4161DT UHF HT Help


Reviews Summary for Icom IC-F4161DT UHF HT
Reviews: 2 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: 5-watt handheld, 400-470MHz (TX/RX) coverage, Analog and iDAS (NXDN) capable.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.icomamerica.com/en/products/landmobile/idas/f3161_series/specifications.aspx
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You can write your own review of the Icom IC-F4161DT UHF HT.

N5JRN Rating: 5/5 Mar 17, 2015 08:55 Send this review to a friend
Love it!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have both this HT and it's VHF sibling, the 3161.

Two things motivated me to get them:

1. My ham-grade HT (Yaesu FT-60R) has a horrible misfeature with its speaker mike: a) it easily becomes partially unseated, and b) when partially unseated, it keys the transmitter thus jamming the frequency for other users.

2. When griping about this misfeature, a fellow ham who co-owns a business selling commercial-grade Part 90 Icom gear overheard me and said "I can help you with that."

I opted for this model because I strongly prefer to use a speaker mike (it gets the RF further from my brain) and it was the lowest-price-point radio that had the flat-style (connector pins flush with the surface of the case) speaker mike connector on it.

Unlike with my Yaesu, the speaker mike connector physically SCREWS IN, and simply WILL NOT ever come accidentally unseated or partly unseated. There's also no holes to admit dirt which then cannot easily be cleaned out.

As a bonus, both the radio itself and the Stone Mountain speaker mike I have for it are a cut above (make that several cuts above) ham grade stuff in terms of ruggedness and quality. The audio is great, too: plenty loud, and good quality.

NO hardware modifications are needed to make this HT work on the ham bands. The 400-470 MHz one covers the 70cm band as it comes from the factory. Just enter the frequencies with the programming software.

Biggest downsides:

1. The price. It costs significantly more than a ham-grade HT, particularly if you can't score a good deal like I did (and mine still cost significantly more). But: you get what you pay for.,

2. Not front-panel programmable. That should be obvious, given that it's not ham-grade. FP programmable radios are the exception rather than the rule once you start using part 90 gear. But I thought I'd mention it anyone for the sake of those inexperienced with using commercial gear.

3. No dual-bander capability. Again, this is something you just don't get in commercial gear. Commercial licensees typically have one or two frequencies assigned to them in a single band. They have no need for dual-band capability.

Now if they'd only get some NXDN ham repeaters in my area up and running so I could exercize the digital features of these....
 
KD4ACG Rating: 5/5 May 7, 2012 08:39 Send this review to a friend
A great unit to utilize an emerging technology.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
First things first: This radio is not for everybody. But if you live in an area where NXDN repeaters exist for amateur radio use, this radio is a great choice. This radio is also UHF-only, capable of 400-470MHz (TX/RX). Those needing 2-meter capability, should look at the 3161 series, which aside from the frequency coverage, is identical to this unit.

With the increasing number of NXDN (both Icom's iDAS and Kenwood's NEXEGDE) repeaters popping up here along Florida's Gulf Coast, I invested in this radio a few months ago, having already owned a mobile version that I've set up for base operation.

From a size standpoint, it's larger than most of the gear built for the amateur community in the past few years. Still, it's fairly lightweight, thanks to the Lithium-ion battery, and ergonomically comfortable to handle and operate.

The -DT model features a two-line alphanumeric display, and a full 16-key touch pad (the P0-P4 keys, although not labeled as such, will send the A-D tones, for those who need them). There are variations of this radio, albeit less common, that offer a simpler, four-key pad, and/or a smaller display.

Being a commercial radio, this radio is not field-programmable. That means, you need to program all of your needed frequencies ahead of time, using programming software and a cable, both of which must be purchased separately. With room for 512 channels, there's plenty of room to add everything you might need. After a few minutes of getting familiar with the software, it is fairly easy to program the radio. Loading a database into a radio, typically takes under a minute.

Once the radio is programmed and powered-on, the audio quality is well above average. The radio features a speaker that can get loud without getting distorted. Transmitted audio quality is just as good, and I've received a number of raving (and unsolicited) reports about how this radio sounds to others.

In addition to traditional analog modes, this radio will also support NXDN digital. Having been a former D-Star user, I can say that the audio quality is far superior to D-Star, and is able to maintain intelligible quality, at greater distances. However, for those who use the repeater linking and gateway features of D-Star, you will find that these are not available on NXDN radios. The radio is also capable of mixed-mode operation, so for repeaters that support both analog and digital operation, this allows you to monitor both modes at the same time.

Both Kenwood and Icom manufacture NXDN gear, and with very few exceptions (none of which affect amateur radio operations), the radios are interchangeable with each other. So if someone has a Kenwood NXDN repeater in town, you can still use this Icom radio to access it.

Since purchasing this radio, I've used it to provide communications during a recent MS Society bike tour. While bicycle mobile myself, the radio was used heavily (analog only for this event), and enjoyed the same coverage and signal quality, as high-power mobile units on the course. Although I purchased a second battery to ensure I had enough power, I ended up not needing it. I used the radio for over 12 hours each day, and had power to spare, well after I crossed the finish line.

Having such a wide frequency coverage, this radio will enable those who are authorized to do so, to program commercial and/or GMRS into the same radio, potentially reducing the amount of equipment that one would have to carry.

Bottom line, for those who are able to take advantage of a new digital mode on the amateur bands, this is a great radio to add to your collection. Sure, it costs considerably more than most amateur-only gear, but its performance makes it well worth the investment.

One caveat: Icom makes the 4161 in a 400-470, and a 450-512 version. When ordering, be sure you're ordering the correct model.
 


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