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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: 36 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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G4AON Rating: 4/5 Jan 11, 2018 07:36 Send this review to a friend
Expensive accessories  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is my first venture into D-Star, although I am experienced with other (commercial) digital systems.

In common with other reviewers, I am disappointed that once again Icom do not include essential accessories with the radio. However, I was aware of this and made a plasticard (Perspex) head mount, for home use, to the dimensions provided on the web by M0MTJ.

Other cheap and easy accessories are an RS232 programming cable (2.5 mm stereo jack plug to 9 way “D” plug, easy 10 minute job, again details on the M0MTJ site, and a 6 foot RJ45 Ethernet extension cable for the mic, eBay).

The radio came ready programmed, just needing my callsign entering, and I was QRV.

The radio itself is very easy to program/configure and to use. The supplied software is also easy to use.

The GPS allows the radio to show the nearest repeaters wherever you are.

One irritation is the cooling fan, even on “auto” and low power, it runs most of the time...

Audio quality is excellent on both FM and D-Star.
KT4NR Rating: 4/5 Jan 10, 2018 09:21 Send this review to a friend
Updated: 1 Year + Review  Time owned: more than 12 months
The IC-5100 is an excellent rig....even if you never use DSTAR. It is not cheap and it is not perfect.

The single most important feature in this and all newer Icom DStar radios for any ham (DStar user or not): DR MODE

The 5100 has a mode that uses the GPS to help you program your radio. You can scan repeaters near your location that are Analog or Digital. You can program your own preferred channels. It is not a cheap radio but I think too many people overlook the DR Mode's importance in favor of pro/con-DStar.

Using the DR mode: Download the data base from and then edit it using Excel. I have a 5100 with all the W1, W2, W3, some W4, some W8 repeaters in the rig right now. I can drive 12 hours in any direction and have repeaters at the ready. I can update that database with short notice so long as I have a laptop, a wifi connection, and maybe 15 minutes time on the side of the road. You can dictate what percentage of your memories you want the database to occupy. You can specify how much of your database you want analog versus DStar. Further, once you have this installed, you can run the rig in DR mode and it works well. I'd also note I never use a cable or buy external software for the radio. I use the Icom software and an SD Card for everything.

If you want to use DStar you will need to add in your call sign and register. Depending where you are a local club/repeater owner/HRO can help with this.

Also some other likes:

Ability to record a QSO is great. If you ever decide to do, say, satellites, just hit record and you could keep a copy of your efforts.

The awesome touch screen. I HATE most of the radios ICOM has made because of their lousy menu interface. Dear Lord they paid attention and fixed that. The touch screen is easy to use, intuitive and worked at all temperatures (we got down near 0F here recently and the touch screen gave me no issues.) Great work!

Now I have had my 5100A DLX for a year now and here is what I do not like based on what I own and use of the radio:

1) Control Head Color: The color of the control head is the single biggest stupid thing known to man. You can make it work and position for easy reading but who in their right mind thought grey and blue was a good choice? Probably an accountant.

2) Mounting bracket or the lack there of: A $500 radio without a simple piece of bent metal? WTH ICOM!?!?!?

I have tried to rationalize selling this radio to get something else. Frankly, I can't. As someone who loves long drives and going off he beaten path, the radio has too much flexibility. Frankly, the only missing bit is DMR because one area I frequent only has DMR or analog. Even then, it simply is not enough to validate taking this rig out of the car and selling it. This radio has joined my TS480 as radios I will never part with. It's only the 3rd radio in 25 yrs I have put in that category. (The third being my Dad's old TS820s.)
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.
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.
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