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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Icom ID-5100A Help

Reviews Summary for Icom ID-5100A
Icom ID-5100A Reviews: 35 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $899
Description: Innovative 2m/70cm transceiver with touch screen and internal GPS
Product is in production.
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KK6YLW Rating: 3/5 Apr 13, 2017 15:34 Send this review to a friend
Great concept - some dramatically poor design flaws  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
By and large, I like this radio. Easy intuitive menus, touch screen, great Tx/Rx, ability to fine tune the little things.

Would give it 5 stars but for (and these 'but fors' are HUGE):

1. As noted elsewhere, the mic cord is too darn short. This is a nickle piece. Make it a usable length, Icom.

2. The speaker in the radio is hard to hear in the car, even with the windows just barely cracked and the volume cranked all the way up - not much oomph there. I had to buy an external speaker.

3. $89 for a bluetooth board that costs $3/$4 all over the Orient? Seriously? Bluetooth has been a built-in requirement in everything else (phones, tablets, PCs, TVs . . . the list goes on) for close to 10 years now. C'mon Icom. Quit nickle-and-diming customers, especially for a radio of this quality and price.

4. I mount my mobile units up in my line of sight (dashboard, gauge recesses, etc). This display is shockingly bad from a view perspective when so mounted. You're forced to mount the radio down in the depths of the front of your vehicle. Doing that forces you to shift your eyes off the road. When mounted for 'heads up display,', the screen is generally unreadable unless you're using the app on your bluetooth phone mounted where you can see it. Like the whole bluetooth thing, why is the screen not color? Icom probably had to order this display special since every device in the world has been color display for, well, 10 years or more now. Compared to my Yaesu mobile, this display is, no other way to say it, atrocious!

Apart from these little things (ok,the display issue is not little) it's a solid well-built radio that works well. I am glad I own it, but will probably move it inside to my shack.
KT4NR Rating: 4/5 Jan 8, 2017 09:46 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
So I have had the ID-5100A DLX for about 2 weeks now. I use it in my truck when traveling about both locally and over moderate trips. I've used the rig on DStar and Analog both day and night. It is the best Icom I have ever used.

Let's start with what I don't like.

- Mic cord. Seriously folks. You couldn't make it a foot or so longer? You have a remotely mounted radio that the mic must integrate with the body. Stop being silly greedy and add a half meter to the mic cord.

- Display. It's not a deal breaker and I will write more later but the monochrome screen is a bit old. You had to go out of the way to use that screen. Get with the times.

- Mobile bracket. Seriously I think enough has been said on this.

- I hate Icom menus. I love Kenwood menus as they are so much easier to use. This Icom learned from its past mistakes. I think the the only major item I had to read the book on was using the SDCard because the menu's made sense and could be easily found!

- Display: I use bifocals and prescription sunglasses. I have had zero problems with the display. Set up of the brightness and auto dimming was easy and effective. I have driven with it in snow storms and at night. My wife commented the screen was too bright. A split second later it dimmed and she was impressed. Good job.

- Audio is fine. I've not had issues with it and have not had to do any changes to settings. I use an MFJ little speaker and that works fine. I've had no complaints on my audio out either.

- Magnetic Mount: Here is a weird thing. I mound quite a bit with Velcro so I can quickly remove the head of a rig and bring it inside. The magnetic mount is really neat. As my install evolves I will be making better use of that.

- SDCard: When I bought the rig I had not thought much about the SDCard. After tinkering and reading I think realized I am not buying any programming kit for the radio because the SD Card is so easily used to program the radio. Use the Icom software (really easy to use) and voila!

- DR Mode: Where have you been my whole life!! I've gone and done a lot of programming of repeaters from DStar info's files. (TYVM DStar info.) I like doing off road trips, long car trips, etc. I expect to be doing more. Having the ability to no longer spend days pre-programming repeaters along my routes is so nice. I use what they have on DStar info and integrate that into my repeater list. Fantastic!

Remote head: Wow! I am guessing they listened to the complaints about visibility. The size of the head and the aforementioned display improvements make it so nice to use. Excellent.

I am not an Icom guy. I do like DStar but never liked Icom stuff. This radio has been an eye opener. Good job Icom. Thank you for your effort.
K4NBC Rating: 5/5 Feb 13, 2016 18:14 Send this review to a friend
Love it  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just got it from the local hamfest and love thi radio, for me love to learn dstar radio plus touch touch works great. Easy to program Lots of user groups if you get stuck no problem
M0MTJ Rating: 5/5 Dec 20, 2015 10:06 Send this review to a friend
Effective and Easy To Operate - It's definitely grown on me.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I am going to update my previous review of the ID-5100 and up its score since the ID-5100 is really growing on me.

While my previous comments stand, the more I use the radio, the more I have come to love the radio and the way it operates. Ergonomics are excellent.

The two receivers are a real boon and the touch screen makes general operating a real whiz.

I still think that Icom should have fitted a better quality / higher contrast screen (not necessarily a colour one), a quieter fan and included some basic mounting accessories in the box.

Having said that, I have been able to make a super desk stand for about 5.00 and a mounting bracket for the car consisting of two mounting plates and Velco for less than 10.00. This makes for very easy, interchangeable operating.

The transmitted audio quality has received consistently good reports whether using the stock Icon hand mic, or my own "home-brew" hands-free electret condenser microphones.

I now use an external loudspeaker both at the home QTH and mobile, and can report that the audio is very clear and of good quality. An improvement on the small internal loudspeaker - which isn't bad in itself.

Reception quality, sensitivity and selectivity is, as expected, very good.

As mentioned previously, those already familiar with D-Star will find everything there - and more I suspect. The D-Star system is a truly outstanding system of digital audio, inter-linked repeaters, Internet gateways and reflectors.

So, foibles aside, the ID-5100 is a very good radio. I recommend that go and have a look at one at your favourite radio dealer and visit Icom's website to find out more.


KM6CQ Rating: 3/5 Oct 1, 2015 20:06 Send this review to a friend
Adequate  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had owned this for 3 months when the TX audio failed. I sent it back to Icom and they replaced the choke in the audio line. The color display on the IC-7000 is better. What I don't like is the display does not dim when it gets dark. Because it is so big and bright ,a light sensor should have been designed into this. Icom's work around is timer they pushed out in firmware, well okay that's better than nothing. There have been two firmware upgrades in the 16 months this rig has been on the US market. If it was Elecraft or Flex there would have been to many to count however, I did not expect Icom to be involved with their user base. Overall the the rig works fine in my mobile. It's not a great rig, its not bad. So I give it a middle of the road rating.
M0GNA Rating: 5/5 Aug 12, 2015 01:00 Send this review to a friend
The way ahead.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Pricey yes,but isn't that the case for most off the shelf Ham stuff.It s my first D-Star radio so its a learning curve for me.The huge touch screen makes for easy navigation of everything.The fan can be a little noisey but you soon get used to it.A desk mount would be a nice inclusion,i use an I-pad stand which works fine.All in all I am more than happy with this one and I look forward to using for many years.
G6GPF Rating: 5/5 Aug 1, 2015 04:14 Send this review to a friend
Great radio with a great display  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got this radio having seen it on You-Tube and realised the display was just what I was looking for. Nice and big, with clear mechanical knobs and electronic touch "buttons". As a professional electrical engineer I have been presented with many human-machine interfaces, including on nuclear power plant, and this one is right up my street. So good on ICOM. I also like the short Operating Guide they provide. I have printed a spare one off from the electronic version provided on the CD and laminated it so I have it to hand to remind me which menu item I need to do stuff. Currently, my other VHF/UHF radio is a FT-8900 and comparing analogue voice receivers between the two the 5100 is much better on the weak signals, which is good as I like to listen to the marine band and airband - I hold a private pilots licence and do voluntary emergency support, so knowing whats likely to bite you before the call comes is useful.
Just to be clear my model is the 5100E, but on the stuff I am talking about there is no difference to the 5100A, for the US.
N5DTC Rating: 5/5 May 30, 2015 04:59 Send this review to a friend
Install The Latest Firmware Update  Time owned: more than 12 months
I agree with many of the comments, but it really is a great radio. I complained to Icom and they gave me a mounting bracket. The best option for mounting on the desk is the Nifty Stand. It works perfect. If you install the latest firmware updates the fan issue will go away. It also includes more display brightness controls. It is expensive, but it truly is a great radio to operate. Little need for the expansive manual. It is good that they offer the large manual so that most all subjects are covered. I recommend the radio.
WZ4K Rating: 2/5 Mar 29, 2015 11:54 Send this review to a friend
Embarrasingly bad on the most basic of features  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The display is the worst I've seen in a modern radio. Worse, for what we all paid for the 5100 - it's an insult. Don't even get me started on the lack of a head unit mounting solution... or the fan! The radio itself, a 3 of 5.

Folks, The display IS your interface with this radio. As such - it should be a 5 outta 5. It's a 1 of 5 primarily based upon the poor rendering of the characters which should be black, not grey, against a murky, grey background.

In comparison, my Yaesu FT-7900r, costing about 50% of the ID-5100, has a crystal-clear display with jet-black characters. The FT-7900r can be viewed at virtually every reasonable viewing angle. Amazing! How did Yaesu do it for half the price of the 5100? No, I am not comparing radio features - I am comparing the displays. My Yaesu FTM-350? Same story - an outstanding, readable display that can be set to many different colors. Even the alerts can be set to a unique color. Again, I am not comparing radio features....I just happen to have these 2 Yaesu radios to compare with the ID-5100 display.

Prologue: I wouldn't dare show the ID-5100 to a potential Ham as an example of what amateur radio has to offer and what our radios can do - they would never get past the horrible display. If you're a Tech and this is your foray into long-distance comms via D-STAR - do yourself a favor and upgrade to General and get on HF. I've found D-STAR to be a complete bust for me - with, perhaps, the exception of emergency comms - not compelling enough for me to put up with this high-priced piece of junk.
AE7G Rating: 5/5 Mar 20, 2015 07:54 Send this review to a friend
Advanced radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have had some time to get used to this radio and it has become my favorite vhf/uhf rig.

The main advantage is that it is really easy to use, which is a major plus when you use it while driving. Big screen, easy to see numbers, extremely easy to figure out what to push or tap when you want to do something.

The built in GPS and the ability to automatically spot and configure for local repeaters is a huge advantage, especially when traveling. The feature itself works well, the problem is that most of the downloadable repeater lists are woefully weak on analog FM repeaters. There is probably a good downloadable list out there, I just have not found it yet.

There is an issue with the screen brightness when used in a vehicle. While mounted above the dashboard, the screen is barely bright enough for use in bright sun. For night driving the screen is way too bright and needs to be manually dimmed or turned off for safety. I think this could be cured in firmware and I hope ICOM does something about this in a firmware update.

The GPS unit is built into the head, so the best location for the head is with an unimpeded view of the sky such as on top of the dash. The GPS itself works well and finds location quickly.

There are many complaints here about the cost of accessories, including mounts and extension cables. If you mount the main unit in the trunk you will need to purchase extension cables for the microphone and control head.

While ICOM accessories are high priced, you do not need to use their accessories. You can use standard modular six pin wires and connectors for the control head extension and standard CAT 5 cabling extenders for the microphone. Mounting brackets can be easily and cheaply made, or simply use adhesive backing foam or tape.

I did have initial problems with receiver sensitivity after a month of ownership. I initially thought it was a defective unit, but the factory told me I had fried the front end of the receiver with excess RF. I have since traced the problem to a defective antenna mount, so I think they are correct. The radio was repaired at a reasonable price and has been working fine ever since.

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