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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: 132 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $1600
Description: A new Mobile HF,VHF and UHF Tranceiver from ICOM,.
Product is in production.
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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.
N0ZNJ Rating: 4/5 Apr 5, 2016 07:11 Send this review to a friend
USB Power Output   Time owned: 3 to 6 months
After being strictly a Yaesu guy for 15 years, I bought the 7100 due to wanting to get into D-STAR and also for it's all-band performance. I use it on a ham desk as my main radio and love the looks and the slanted touch screen. But I too was very disappointed with the SSB performance on 10 Meters. For those wishing to "fix" what ICOM apparently won't, there is a simple fix that was performed and tested by a Ham in Athens Greece who also happens to work on ICOM and other radios. NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL ICOM FIX AND WILL LIKELY VOID THE WARRANTY. However, to my understanding, many hams have tried this and it does fix the anemic output power on SSB without any harm to the radio. This is done after you do the latest Ver E5 update. You simply add a jumper between the collector of Q1504 to ground. One mod shows a 0 ohm chip placed between some caps on that collector and ground. However, you have to scratch off some of the resist on the board ground. I prefer to use a small jumper from the caps to the nearest ground point which is very close anyway, and not have to scratch the board in any way. There is also a second mod for adding a cap to change the ALC timing, but after emailing the mod author Mario, he suggested doing the E5 update, and the jumper ... and not bothering with adding the tantalum cap to the ALC timing circuit. The jumper does indeed fix the low power output on SSB. And once this was done, there's no complaints about the radio in my mind.
KC4ZVA Rating: 2/5 Mar 29, 2016 14:59 Send this review to a friend
Low power SSB  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just purchased a new IC-7100. I set it up beside my IC-7000 to do a comparison test. The first thing was to check power out due to all the previous complaints.
Settings on both radios were: 20 meters, Mic and Pwr gain at 100%. 50 ohm dummy load and external watt meter set to PEP. Compression off.
I got 100W on FM. On USB while finding that sweet spot of a whistle tone I got about 80W. Using my normal loud talking voice I only got about 15 to 20W. I then performed the same test on my IC-7000. It got about 110W while whistling and about 75W while using my normal loud talking voice. Back to the IC-7100. Set compression to full, middle, low all without increase in observed power. I then connected my IC-7000 to my Ameritron 811H amplifier. With my normal loud talking voice I regularly hit about 700W. I then connected the IC-7100. Same voice loudness and only averaged around 250W on the external amp.

I love the design, touchscreen, and menu system, but the anemically low output on sideband was a deal breaker. Thank goodness my local ham store took it back in full.

The think-so after having played with it for a day is that the transistors have the ability to pump out the fully advertised 100W, but it appears that the ALC circuit is limiting it. That's just a guess because you can see the ALC peaking just as it tries to go above about 25W when speaking in a loud normal voice.

I am disappointed in Icom for not fixing this issue as I think the radio could be a winner. It's sad.
G0SCX Rating: 5/5 Feb 12, 2016 01:15 Send this review to a friend
Firmware Update  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
For those not happy with the output on SSB there is an update available
This was issued on 15th Jan this year
I like my 7100 it is a jack of all trades and master of none but it works for me.
N5RL Rating: 5/5 Jan 25, 2016 17:49 Send this review to a friend
works well !  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought this radio several months ago for occasional mobile operation and back up fixed station use. Since unpacking it, it has yet to make the mobile and I've used it almost exclusively for my HF, VHF, and UHF operation. I work SSB, FM, CW, digital (JT9, JT65, & PSK31) and though I have yet to use it on AM it sounds good on another local receiver. Unlike some others, I have not experienced problems with weak modulation or low power out. PEP output on my array solutions power master II is above 90 watts and with a CW carrier, 100 - 105 watts. It has been replacing a Icom 756 Pro II, FT-100D, and a TS-140S I keep for back up as well. Noise reduction and noise blankers have been very effective in this noisy radio world of today. I did not buy the radio for D-Star, nor was it a heavy interest for me .. but I have used it locally and it does work. This was not my first exposure to digital voice as a matter of fact and its not something that enthuses me really .. I'm happy with the noise of analog operations and standard FM. okay, so the bottom line is I like this radio and I have no gripes. I get good reports on SSB, FM, and CW .. digital works well with little power. I've checked the receiver using an Elecraft XG3 signal source and the receiver is at least as good as anything I own, and that includes the VHF/UHF bands. On VHF/UHF I've used it to monitor the satellites (AO-29 for one) and even with my mediocre antennas .. I'm able to hear some good downlink signals on SSB and CW. FM operation has worked well for me on both simplex or with a repeater. The lower output (50 watts on 2 meters/35 watts on 70 cm) is not a factor in any way. Sometime we doubt what we have done but in this case, I'd buy another if I needed one.

K4PVA Rating: 2/5 Jan 11, 2016 16:13 Send this review to a friend
Rig 5 ICOM 0  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After 2 months I really have a love/hate relationship with my new IC-7100. It is a beautiful work of electronic engineering. It is small, covers all of the hf/vhf/uhf bands and modes that I wanted plus built in D-STAR. I love the filters and the ability to set your own bandwidth in the transmit mode. The speaker is great with excellent fidelity. The rig also works digital modes without an extra interface between the rig and your computer. Sounds like a dream, right?

It is until you use ssb. The ssb output is anemic at best. Peaks of 50-55 watts are common with my rig even though I had the microphone modification. This is not a new problem. It has been repeatedly identified in reviews here and on line. This problem has been cussed and discussed on many social media sites and forums.

The low ssb output is a definite problem for me. If you read through the forums you will see anecdotal references to ICOM technicians, engineers, and management being aware of this problem and that they are working on it. No one at ICOM seems to know or openly acknowledge for sure. One of the You Tube videos introducing the IC-7100 is presented by N9JA who heads ICOM North America. I sent N9JA an e-mail about this issue 2 weeks ago and asked him to clarify what ICOM was doing about this. To date I have not received a response.

Those of us that have spent a kilo$ or more deserve attention and correction of this issue. I hope that this is not the usual corporate BS of ignoring and denying a problem while still manufacturing this rig.

ICOM fix your problem.
W4FBI Rating: 5/5 Dec 17, 2015 18:23 Send this review to a friend
Great!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
OK, some of the reviews poo-poo the display. OK, I agree that it isn't the best. However, the other aspects make up for it. This is a do-it-all (and more) transceiver. HF, VHF, UHF (all mode) AND Digital Voice (D-STAR). I never tried D-Star until this transceiver - Germany, UK, Australia: sound like they are in my driveway! Better than DMR, and 10X the repeaters. Bargain for less than $1K today.
K1TWH Rating: 5/5 Dec 17, 2015 07:11 Send this review to a friend
Nice radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Ownership; 3 to 6 months

Filters; Good, a bit better than IC-7000, and with Receive Tone controls I am able to use 'soft' filters and still have treble and bass response, which allows me to avoid the harsh filter edge sound at the high frequency bandpass edge.
QRN & AGC: Radio does not seem to overreact to static crashes as some other Icom models have in the past.
FM Broadcast reception: Given just a 2M half-wave vertical, it beats any Ham Transceiver I've ever used. The preamp's impact is easy to discern on weak signals.
Tranmit audio; More adjustment flexibility than the 7000. No "in a barrel" sound when TX bandwidth is less than the full 100<>2900 Hz. I use 100<>2900 for rag-chew and 200-2900 for regular operating (Net check-in, running net control).
Mics; HM-198 is servicable with the available BW and tone adjustments, HM-151 still needs AB5N mod to sound best, but once mod'd works very well.
Display; Clear and easy to read. Went to Amazon and found that they had a vendor sell screen saver overlay specifically for the 7100, and
its been in place since the radio was 2 days young. Maybe someone will market tinted screen protectors so you can choose amber or green?
Heat; Low level fan on all the time, speed adjusts per temperature. Hmmm, after all that debate with IC-7000, users should take note, this radio has larger chassis / heat sink and much better cooling strategy than the stock IC-7000. Has handled every duty cycle in SSB & PSK31 in stride thus far.
The manual never defines what is being measured by the ID metering. The voltage and current are shown as bar graphs and there is no numeric
readout mode available as with other radios. It's nice to have the graph but it doesn't give any 'real' readout.
The previous model (IC-7000) seems to have had a bit more SSB punch, seems that the 7100's DSP is not as effective at compressing to increase average modulation.
Filtering; an improvement here would be to incorporate the tone control adjustments on a per bandwidth basis (both Tx and Rx). As it stands,
one set of tone adjustments apply to all bandwidths.
MultiMeter; Add a feature so that a long depress and hold of 'MENU' or 'SET' brings up the multimeter display. (You can program the F1 or F2 key to do "Meter" and then when you press that HM151 key and hold, the multimeter will appear.)
Why two layers of menu for VSC? Push 'QUICK' and then just push VSC to alternate on/off. No need to 'drill down'. Also, if you're in the multi-meter screen,and go to Mic/Pwr, Menu, Set or Quick, why doesn't the software return to
the multimeter display when you exit that mode?
Memories; As inexpensive as memory has become, why don't the band stacking registers
remember everything (like preamp settings, AGC speed, filter...) Why don't the memory banks remember the last channel used per bank instead
of placing you in the same memory number for all banks?
Screen; Why not use multi color backlight LED's as others have, to allow setting the backlight color (amber might be great, I'll never know).

PA1CW Rating: 5/5 Dec 13, 2015 08:25 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic and compact radio  Time owned: months
I am using the 7100 for two years,
I like the compact size and all the HF, VHF and UHF bands.
With the external speaker he sounds great.
This one is a keeper in my shack.

73 Theo PA1CW
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