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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | ICOM IC 7100 Help


Reviews Summary for ICOM IC 7100
ICOM IC 7100 Reviews: 130 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $1600
Description: A new Mobile HF,VHF and UHF Tranceiver from ICOM,.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.icomamerica.com/en/products/amateur/hf/7100/default.aspx
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Page 1 of 13 —>

KD9CDF Rating: 5/5 Oct 26, 2016 16:02 Send this review to a friend
Very Happy with my IC-7100  Time owned: more than 12 months
I love my IC-7100 and would buy it again--especially considering the price (currently under $900US after rebate). It has become an easy reference with which to compare other radios I use.

And, overall, it is superior to any radio I've had the chance to compare it to in the price range (and even some nearly double the price). For example, I had a Yaesu FT-991 which was an o.k. radio (and solidly constructed). But in my experience, the IC-7100 consistently received HF signals at a higher level and more clearly than the FT-991.

I should clarify that I mostly use my IC-7100 for HF in the car (the control head at shifter-console level works out very well in my case). At purchase time a couple years ago, the D-Star feature wasn't a draw for me. But, I have used it more than I thought I would on VHF/UHF.

Not experienced enough to know what characteristics old Icom, Yaesu, or other radios had, I can observe the IC-7100 has a nicely sensitive HF receiver. However, I have never needed the built-in pre-amp on HF. And, I often use the attenuator. But, that's not a complaint. At least I'm getting an abundance of good clear signal.

It's not fair to compare the IC-7100 to all features of an expensive base SDR like a K3S or Flex 6300 which I've used, but I have at least been receiving almost all of the same signals--well. And, for me, the internal speaker works out really well.

As far as TX goes, I have great success (usually can work what I hear) with incredulous DX contacts often finding it hard to believe my signal comes from a mobile with 100w and an 8' antenna. I should note, from the beginning, I had sent my stock mic off to Bob Nagy (AB5N) for his mic upgrade improvement. I also use an outstanding antenna which automatically tunes itself (usually in about one second, sometimes faster).

Pros:
- the control head orientation (for desk or mobile)
- HF RX & TX performance
- Incredibly easy & efficient touch screen interface (wow, have I seen the opposite in other radios)
- S i n g l e cable from control head to unit (even a CW key can be plugged into the control head without another line running back to the radio)
- Icom menuing for easier menu navigation
- Built-in SWR meter
- HF, VHF, & UHF in one small radio (with D-Star to boot)
- The LCD seems to work just fine during Chicago winters for me (though, like all LCD it seems, response to changing displays are slightly delayed in very cold temperatures)

Cons:
- No built-in antenna tuner
- With extremely strong signal, volume up very high, RF gain up too high, and no-attenuation, my radio will infrequently freeze or reboot.
- Ancient mic hanger method (old CB's and marine radios have better button-style mic hanger systems)
- No dual HF receiver (I'm getting too picky here: What unit at this price class does?)
- No color display (which would be nice, but not really needed)

 
WP4O Rating: 5/5 Oct 26, 2016 08:15 Send this review to a friend
12 volt booster need for mobile operations  Time owned: more than 12 months
Hi Gang, I have had the ICOM 7100 in my Car for a couple of years. and every now and the when I key the radio the radio shuts off. after trouble shutting down issue and re reading the manual I found out the reason for shutting down, the Radio needs 13 volts anything less it shuts down when you key it at 100 watts output, I have always like my IC 7100 especially set up in my 2015 Acura TLX, I did some more research and found a Power booster by TG Electronics. I placed it in line and NO MORE shutting down and I get the full 100 watts out.. its call the N8xkj booster, and you can get it at stores.tgelectronics.org
they are not cheap but worth every penny I spend on it. it even cleaned out all the Noise on receive. Regards de Kk4x, Ed Tampa Fl GOOD LUCK
 
KC3HJP Rating: 5/5 Oct 2, 2016 10:42 Send this review to a friend
Great all around radio!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
When I purchased this I was a new ham but as an Electronics Technician not new to the technology or amateur theory. I purchased this radio because I wanted something that I could do 2m/440 and HF. I received my radio with the E5 firmware already installed from the factory so I can't comment on anything about the radio prior to that firmware.

On 2m/440/6m I'm using a Comet GP-15 Tri band antenna. On 2m and 440 it performs as expected. On HF I'm using this with a Utimax 100 end fed antenna modified to 44' installed as a sloper. Within minutes of connecting my HF antenna I made contacts is France and Croatia with 75w. I continue to do very well with the radio on HF. I may not win in a pileup but my antenna is only about 16' off the ground at its highest point. My furthest contact to date has been to Serbia which is 4783 miles from my QTH.

To get full power out of the radio on sideband you have to pay attention to how you set your mic gain and compression. What I do is be sure that compression is off and set the mic gain so that your peaks are about in the middle of the ALC range. Then I switch the compression on and try to stay between 10 & 20 db. That seems to allow the output meter to peg while talking on sideband at 100 watts.

Now if I had to pick a few cons, here's what those would be. The display is not as sexy looking as the IC-7300 but I knew that going in. Again, I wanted something that was an all band radio and the 7300 is not. Another issue that's taken my some time to sort out is that the SWR meter is not very accurate on 2m/440 and Icom openly admits that in the manual. I've found this to be true more on 440 than 2m. What tends to happen is that you may have great SWR with an external meter but the radio doesn't calculate it correctly and after some head scratching its because of the length of coax you are using. The radio can limit the power because it thinks it has high SWR and it does not. There is away around this though. I used a Bird meter and plotted the SWR over the entire 440 band using various lengths of short coax between the Bird and my Comet duplexer. Once I found the right length of cable that gave me maximum output across the band while maintaining good SWR on the Bird and the radio, I removed the Bird and used a coax length that equaled the length of the short coax jumper and the length of the Bird in the line. For me that ended up being a 2' piece of coax. Now the radio does not limit the power output on 440 and the SWR seems to be pretty close to what I was reading on the Bird. That sounds a little shady but I've heard that other all band radios from different manufacturers can have this same issue.

To address some of the cons listed in the two reviews below me, my VFO knob is solid. It works fine. As far as the display getting garbled, I have not had this problem. They do give you a ferrite core in the box with the radio that is meant to correct that exact complaint. I have not had to use that on my radio.

This is a great all around radio that I would highly recommend to any level of operator.
 
N1CY Rating: 2/5 Sep 10, 2016 10:25 Send this review to a friend
Wobbly Main Dial  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm giving this radio a poor 2 because the main tuning dial feels cheap and flimsy, in addition; there's a slight wobble in the dial when turning it and it even makes a noise. The feel is cheap and I'm quite disappointed. I even filmed a video and may put it on Youtube. They should have paid a lot more attention to the main tuning dial. I'm going to call HRO and see if I can get an exchange... I hope not all have this issue! Aside from that issue, I like the radio.
 
K1ZH Rating: 3/5 Sep 9, 2016 14:47 Send this review to a friend
I am seeing the exact same problem as W2JAF  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I like the radio. However, the radio can go bonkers or completely shutdown if the volume is turned up to a high setting and a strong signal is received - especially a CW signal. Maybe the audio is coupling onto the other control wires within the control-head cable. Has anyone else encountered this issue? Have you found a solution to this problem?
 
2E0WPZ Rating: 5/5 Jul 10, 2016 03:20 Send this review to a friend
Does what it says  Time owned: more than 12 months

After owning the 7100 since it was launched and having a touch screen failure the complete radio was replaced by Icom with no fuss.As things happen other equipment comes along and the older gear gets pushed back and collects dust and cobwebs. The main radio that took it`s place was to be the final large radio purchase as I am getting older and being on a fixed income. It was the Yaesu FTDX 5000, having re-inforced the working desktop to take the extra weight it became the main rig.There are so many options on the 5000 that I think sometimes we get blinded with science, it is a good radio but IMHO a bit more complicated to get the best from.I could never get the RX audio to get anywhere near matching my ageing ears after spending lots on external speakers, headsets etc.Anyway, in desperation I turned back to the 7100, purchased a Heil icm mic, plugged in a mediocre external speaker and voila! started to be able to hear all the differing audios that were coming into my rig.Want more treble? click on tones,rx and then treble and away you go, simple.I`m not saying that the 5000 is a bad radio, far from it but the 7100 is just so easy to use and configure and takes up almost no room on the desktop.Easy to understand menu system with 95% of what you need on the front of the rig or touch screen.As you can see by my callsign I`m not a long term old timer but having been an engineer most of my life I know how to construct and install an antenna to get the best out of and after listening to some of the people on the bands that have been licensed for many many years I sometimes wonder if they miss the point about the most important aspect being the antenna.I use mainly homemade single band dipoles, not up high but always cut and tuned to perfection. I run around 55 Watts from the back of the radio to make sure of my 50Watt allowance at the feedpoint and get a regular 59+10-15 on 80mtrs with the 7100. The passband tuning and filtration is superb, it`s just so easy to configure and fine tune when the need arises. I`ve got mine connected to a Icom AT-180 tuner.To be able to use the 7100 for everything I need be it hf, 4mtrs, 2mtrs, 6mtrs etc etc along with setting it up to record when I`m not around makes this a one stop pony.There are a few friends on nets that I go on that have added a 7100 to their shacks after talking to me on the air and they are more than satisfied with the results.Enjoy your radios but make sure you keep the fun aspect high on your list.
 
N0FQN Rating: 5/5 Jun 8, 2016 19:47 Send this review to a friend
A Good Entry Level Rig  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
As an entry level rig it does a fine job. You can't compare it to the top end rigs and expect it to perform the same way. I had a IC-7000 and compared to it they are the same in performance. I did perform the #1 mod, put a jumper to ground from the 3 resistors and also updated the firmware to version 5. It talks as well as the 7000 does now. Yes, the SSB output was down until the mod was done.The only issue I have is the 7000 has dual manual notch filters and auto notch filter that can be turned on at the same time. The 7100 has a single manual notch and auto notch and you can only select between one or the other. They cannot be turned on together. Minor difference to say the least. I've had the rig for just a couple days over 4 months now. I'm not sure about running the 7100 as a mobile rig. I guess it would work but, not for me. Getting used to the white screen took some time. The color screen on the 7000 was really nice. Other than these minor problems I like the rig as a replacement for the IC-7000.
 
EA5IGO Rating: 5/5 Jun 8, 2016 11:25 Send this review to a friend
Soy propietario del equipo 3 años ya. Estoy encantado.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Solo puedo decir que estoy super contento con el equipo. Super práctico y con unas prestaciones realmente buenas. Calidad precio inmejorable.
 
WA3RSL Rating: 4/5 Apr 16, 2016 07:44 Send this review to a friend
Selectivity poor  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I like everything about my IC-7100 except the selectivity is poor. Only having a 15 kHz roofing filter doesn't cut when you have large wire beam antennas on 40 meter SSB where I like be. All else about the IC-7100 I like. I upgraded to a Kenwood TS-590SG. 73 all.
 
RADIOMANN Rating: 1/5 Apr 11, 2016 13:45 Send this review to a friend
Receiver Overload  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
A s9 signal in the same band produces a higher noise level with an altering noise sound including a crackling scratchy noise all over the same band and the desired signal itself becomes disturbed too, although the desired signal is strong and well above the noise level, even more when the noise blanker (nb) is switched on at whatever nb-level. what the icom ic-7100 is missing to stop that noise is a roofing filter, its not even optionally available. with a roofing filter the big signal immunity would increase, that means the receiver wouldnt overload that easily and the nb then wouldnt make the overload problem worse, if there was no overload to begin with due to a roofing filter. there is a fifty khz wide noise here in a hf-band like a phase noise the nb couldnt filter and when the band noise is high, the dsp doesnt do anything to reduce that noise either. the nr is usefull only to a degree but at higher level the audio sounds muffled as the higher tones are attenuated much, increasing the rx-treble in the menue doesnt compensate. nb and nr work good together, good thing is, they never make the voice sound like talking through a waterfall like kenwood and yaesu.
the antenna that is used here is a 1/4 full size vertical for the 40m band, the powersupply used with the ic-7100 is a linear powersupply, not a switchmode powersupply.

the icom ic-7100 has an ip3 of 3dBm in 5khz distance. the yaesu ft-991 has an ip3 of 32dBm in 5khz distance.
the 7100 has an ip3 of 13dBm in 20khz distance. the ft-991 has an ip3 of 31dBm in 20khz distance.
(ip3 = third order intercept point)

the bdr of the icom ic- 7100 is 90dB for 5khz, the imd for 5khz is 70dB.
the bdr of the yaesu ft-991 is 123dB for 5khz, the imd for 5khz is 100dB.
(bdr = blocking dynamic range; third order intermodulation distortion dynamic range)

these bdr, imd and ip3 values as mentioned above are from the arrl test-lab. so, hard data FACT only confirms what i am writing here about the receiver overload problem of the icom ic-7100, the most expressive value of these test-lab values in regard to the receiver overload problem of the icom ic-7100 is (in my opinion) the poor ip3 of the 7100 and compared to the ip3 of the yaesu ft-991, there are WORLDS in between these two radios, yet the yaesu ft-991 costs about same. the ic-7100 has a noise floor of -140dBm, the ft-991 has a noise floor of -143dBm. the receiver overload problem in the 7100 is worse than in the icom ic-706mk2g i had, because at least the receiver of the 706mk2g didnt produce that crackling sound, despite the overload, although one would expect transceivers to get better over the years . . .

what i noticed in comparison with my old icom receiver is, that the 7100 doesnt reproduce the details in a rx ssb signal that much, the rx ssb audio is more faded (wishy washy) and not crisp & clear like on the old icom and i even had a hifi stereo amp with 2 x 5 speakers attached to the 7100 and then my good headphones, that didnt help it either. really, its no pleasure to use the receiver of the 7100 with that overloading noisy receiver with its crackling and faded wishy washy audio. i tried the digital voice transmission on 40m, a few words were intelligible but because of ther other signals in the 40m band the transmission was very distorted.

if there is no other s9 signal in the 20m band and accordingly no higher noise level including that crackling noise accross the same band, then the nb can be set to the max level, the nr to a high level and despite the faded rx ssb audio quality, very weak dx signals which get lost in the noise in the ol' icom are then due to the effective nb and somewhat nr audible and more often continously intelligible (rs 4/1) with the icom ic-7100.
in the 40m band there is almost always some other s9 signal that produces that noise across the band as explained in the beginning, and when the nb then only increases the crackling noise, that means on 40m the nb is almost always useless despite for and by itself the nb of the 7100 is very good as the effectivity of the nb proves on 20m, although if the band noise is high, the nb cant filter the higher band noise on any band.

an odd thing about the 7100 is, the voice recorder makes a clicking sound while recording, the ferrit-cores that came with the 7100 package were on the control units cable. the recorded voice from the mic has a low quality but when recording ssb, the record sounds identical to the receiver. the recorder in the 7100 records fm broadcast too but the recording sounds nothing like fm broadcast, it sounds like as if it was recorded in am mode, a much less quality.
the ic-7100 doesnt get warm at all in receive mode, unlike the ic-706mk2g, in transmitt mode the 7100 gets hot but if the transmitter is switched off, then the 7100 cools down quickly again, the heatsink and fan seem to work well. the control unit is convenient to have on a desktop, it has a good angle to view and stands alone without an extra mounting-bracket.

the treble level in the ssb transmitt is very very low, i had the latest firmware (e4) already installed. i thought the very low tx treble level is a firmware problem and wrote an e-mail to icom asking them to make a firmware update to solve that problem with the very low ssb transmitt treble level, they wrote back claiming it wouldnt be a firmware problem but a hardware issue and said to me to send the 7100 back to them. the modulation needs an external equalizer to increase the treble level alot, to not sound to muffled but then the transmitted modulation sounds well modulated throughout the whole transmitt bandwidth and smooth with a studio mic, very clear and well intelligible, that is the strong point of the 7100. the compressor adds a good strength to the modulation, it doesnt distort the modulation, further increased the modulation gets a HARD PUNCH. to get higher transmitt power in ssb, the powersupply needs to be set to the standard 13.8volt, at 12v like on a cars battery the ssb transmitt power is notably lower. in fm the transmitt power on hf is 107watt.

with the receiver overload problem the icom ic-7100 is all in all not ok anymore to rate in even 3/5 but poor as in a 1/5 rating, to keep it real with the review considering arrl test lab data and own experiences with the icom ic-7100 over here.
 
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