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Reviews Categories | Transmitters: Commercial/Military/Marine adaptable to ham use | Icom IC-F8101 (Enhanced ALE) HF Transceiver Help

Reviews Summary for Icom IC-F8101 (Enhanced ALE) HF Transceiver
Icom IC-F8101 (Enhanced ALE) HF Transceiver Reviews: 1 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $2500
Description: The F8101 is designed specifically for long distance
radio communications. It operates on HF frequencies from
500kHz to 29.9999MHz and transmits with up to 125W PEP
(Peak envelope Power). The F8101 supports SSB, AM, CW and
Data operating modes and includes the latest Digital
Signal Processor (DSP) technology for improvement in both
transmitter and receiver performance. The Clear Talk
function utilizes DSP to separate the noise from signals
for clearer audio.

The built-in ALE system automatically selects the best
channel and establishes a communication link. ALE
provides interoperability with other 2G ALE radios using
MIL-STD-188-141B and FED-STD-1045A ALE standards. ALE
individual call, net call, sounding, AMD (Automatic
Message Display) and LQA (Link Quality Analysis) polling
are available.
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the Icom IC-F8101 (Enhanced ALE) HF Transceiver.

KA3YAN Rating: 4/5 Jan 30, 2017 08:55 Send this review to a friend
Very Good HF LMR and improving!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have been using the latest iteration of Icom's Land Mobile HF radio, the F8101 Enhanced ALE version (serial number begins with either 31 or 33) for just shy of a year now. Many of the bugs that plagued the F7000, F8100 and early F8101s have been resolved with this radio.

The version 4.06 firmware is greatly improved and fixed most of the "show stoppers" from when this radio was released in Jan-Feb 2016.

Icom has been very accommodating with bug reports and feature requests when they fall in line with the company's vision of where the radio is headed.

This radio is capable of MIL-STD-188-141 ALE out of the box as well as MIL-STD-188-110A/B with the addition of an optional RapidM TC4 internal modem card. For MARS members, there's even a "MARS" option which bundles the F8101, TC4 modem, M5 M110A-only firmware, and DataPoint software. Those interested in hardware ALE and M110A in one radio will find this is one of the most economical packages available.

Now for the bad. The optional Icom fan kit is not only necessary for data communication including ALE, but it's also incredibly expensive (USD$270+). It gets better (or worse), the Icom fan kit is also incredibly loud and high pitched when it runs. The best part yet? Despite Icom's marketing, the fan doesn't give you continuous duty cycle. During long transmissions, the radio can still overheat and shut down.

Despite this being a mobile radio, it doesn't come with a mobile mounting bracket. The bracket is also optional at an astonishing USD$200+.

Due to the noise from the necessary (but optional) fan kit, I also opted for the remote mounting kit so that I could move the radio w/fans further away and still have access to the control face/head. This will set you back just over USD$230 plus a remote cable, I chose the OPC726 16.4 ft cable for an additional USD$50. The remote separation kit doesn't actually come with a separation cable.

Programming software is an additional USD$55.

Ok, so even though this sounds bad...the radio is excellent. It is marketed to the Land Mobile Radio customer, not the Amateur Radio customer. The pricing and option structure is setup accordingly. You just have to understand this ahead of time.

One of the best parts of this radio over its primary competition, the Barrett 2050, is the built in sound card. So with this radio you can do all of the MIL-STD hardware modes as well as all of the Amateur software modem modes without the need for any external modems or sound card devices.

I can't see this replacing an IC-7600, TS-590, or FT-DX3000 for Amateur Radio use, but it sure replaces all for MARS use.

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