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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | ICOM IC-9100 Help


Reviews Summary for ICOM IC-9100
ICOM IC-9100 Reviews: 41 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $3599
Description: Base Amateur HF/VHF/UHF Transceiver
Frequency range 10-160 m + WARC / 6 m / 2m / 70cm
23cm + D-Star optional
Product is in production.
More info: http://rigreference.com/rigs/view/4519
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N2DY Rating: 5/5 May 19, 2014 14:51 Send this review to a friend
Pleased  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned the 9100 for over a year and have not had any problems with it. I bought it primarily to use on VHF, UHF and 1.2GHz, but I also use it as a backup HF radio to my Yaesu 9000D. I wanted a radio that was a bit more sensitive than my TS-2000X on the higher bands. The 9100 does indeed live up to my expectations in that regard. It has a hotter receiver than the 2000X and that is not surprising. I love the 2000X, but receiver technology has advanced quite a bit since it was designed in the late 90s. On HF it works quite well. It is sensitive and received audio reports are excellent. It does not have the same full-bodied tonal quality that my 9000D has, but it cost a third as much. Overall, it is a solid rig.

As for the many problems other reviewers have experienced, none of those have surfaced with mine. No over-heating, no strange control issues and no receiver problems have popped up. That being said, I do sympathize with others as it does seem that Icom more than Kenwood and Yaesu seems to have quality control issues. I have experienced them with the IC-7000 (over-heating and bad driver) and the 746Pro (another bad driver circuit). Even the venerable IC-7800 has experienced many transmitter failures. I love Icom and their ergonomics, but they need to be consistent with quality and design.

As for my 9100, I am among the lucky ones thus far.
 
K7NG Rating: 5/5 May 19, 2014 14:46 Send this review to a friend
Almost perfect  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Yes, only a few weeks' use of the IC-9100. I compare it to my Orion II where it can properly be compared. I also have done on-air checks. I'm trying to be objective.

Except in the most extreme conditions the receiver doesn't give anything up to the Orion.

CW send is just great with internal or external electronic keyer.

My TX audio reports are uniformly good, when I feel like it I'll tweak around with the equalizer and see if I can make it better, but I sure don't feel any urgency.

The VHF and UHF performance is spot on the specifications.

I don't know under what conditions the rig heats up, running digital modes at 40W or SSB at full power for 3 minutes or less at a time, I don't think I ever heard the fan unless I put my ear right at the vent slots.

There are only two things I ran into I'm less than thrilled about: (1) the USB audio device receive always max'es out any of the digital mode applications There's a USB TX level menu, why isn't there a RX menu item? I work around this by using a US Interface Navigator and make use of the Navigator audio device instead of the one in the 9100. (2) The RF power control stem (knob) affects all bands. I'd surely like to see a menu item to set 'upper power limit' for the VHF and UHF bands so I wouldn't be twiddling the control for different amplifiers / different bands.

The 9100 replaces a FT736R, and it's not just a step up, it's a leap! Also my 2nd HF rig. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a station in one box.
 
N5XO Rating: 4/5 May 18, 2014 16:46 Send this review to a friend
IC-9100 Update  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Well they say the 3rd time is the charm. In the case of this Icom IC-9100 I have to admit the old saying is correct.

Honestly if it was not for the fact that I was so pleased with this last radio, I would give this a 1 or even a 0 for awful.

I was searching for a replacement to my 8 year old TS-2000 for weak signal operation on 2 and 70cm. I have dedicated radio's for 1.25 and 23 cm, so the IC-9100 would be used for Weak Signal on 2 and 70cm only.

I placed my original order early in December and after having the radio for just over 2 weeks, it began having over heating issues and until it cooled back down experinced very erratic operation and functions. After several calls to HRO and ICOM they issued me a replacement and again for a week it worked fine. Then a strange issue developed. If the radio was on 70cm on the sub-band I could not get more than 20 watts on 2 meters. I could put the sub-band on any other band or turn it off and get a full 100 watts on 2 meters.

ICOM Tech came up with a rocket of a decision of what was wrong, he felt I was on or near a 3rd harmonic and that was causing the issues. Problem was that

A: No way in hell should that create an issue with a radio and if it was, then we had an entire new complaint with the IC-9100

B: It did not matter what frequency I was located on, the problem was the same if the sub-band was on and tuned to 70cm.

After several weeks of going back and forth and demanding another replacement IC-9100 as a last and final attempt to have a working radio from Icom......they sent me one.

That was over 8 weeks ago and it has so far worked absotely flawless and I love the rig and it's performance on weak signal VHF/UHF.

I can not offer any feedback to it's performance on HF or 6 as I have yet to turn it on to those bands, not what I purchased it for. My Orion II handles HF needs perfect.

If you have pateience and determination you wil eventually get a good IC-9100. But you should not have to go through this.

The BUYING public should not be the BETA testers.

As a further comments: HRO and Mark out of the Atlanta HRO office were fantastic and I can not recommend him or them more.
 
K2OOL Rating: 2/5 May 16, 2014 14:27 Send this review to a friend
icom 9100  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought a icom 9100 from my favorite place ,HRO!
Opened the box up and was so excited to get this after the years of waiting....
Sold my beloved Kenwood tm-742a for this and man oh man did i screw up.This radio has poor receive on every band,no preamps built in???,heated up on 440MHZ and the output power went down all by itself!Smelled burnt to me.Other peeves with this are a noisy transmit\receive relay,what is it the 70s?Click click!I mean you got to be kidding me...Then I called icom,they wouldnt send me a new one.For $3000 i got me a lemon.Icom took their time putting this out in America and we thought it was going to be a winner.I lost my favorite radio to this loser.Thumbs down.
 
KB3TNZ Rating: 5/5 Apr 20, 2014 14:19 Send this review to a friend
Awesome Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had the 9100 for over a year and I can truely say this is a jack of all trades Rig and does everything well.With my location I need a good noise blanker and this rig lets me operate 100% of the time,unlike the 746Pro I had,that rig in it self a great rig.I mainly operate on 2 meters and 432 and even without a built-in preamp, I hear as well as the 746Pro and the Yeasu FT-847 and the IC-275H I had for VHF work.The only disappoint is trying to figure out how to use it in digital mode,probably my lack of experience.The noise filtering is out of the world.73 and hope to hear you on VHF,Brad
 
AA9NN Rating: 5/5 Mar 7, 2014 19:50 Send this review to a friend
I get it now!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
While this IC-9100 should be a 4.9, I give it a 5.
The HF side of the radio is excellent, not quite up to my Flex6500 but really good. I worked all over the globe today on 10 meters, South America to Japan to Europe earlier in the day.
The VHF and UHF side is absolutely Excellent! way beyond my TS2000. D-Star is interesting ;)
But what did it for me was the RT systems software to program the memories and D star.
I was frustrated at first, but I get it now! I can monitor 2 meter ssb and work HF ssb.
It has some flaws but all and all its a step up from the TS2000 (which I loved)
Its complicated but the more I work with it the more I like it.
73!
Jim AA9NN
 
G4RNI Rating: 4/5 Feb 26, 2014 07:43 Send this review to a friend
Improved  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This applies to both the IC-9100 and IC-7410.

I learned from an inside source that the ALC overshoot problem had been cured on the IC-7410 & IC-9100 and decided to investigate. It seems the area I'd suspected and written to Icom about (IC-7410 Main unit 6 & IC-9100 Main unit 1 Q3271, IC3271 region) wasn't a million miles off the mark. The new Main PCB's have some new components in that area although my tired eyes can't see 'em properly.
I risked an almost new 7410 and found the problem is well and truly cured. I saw an almost new 9100 being offered for sale and grabbed that too. Also cured.

What Icom still have not cured is the heat problem. I've written on mods.dk about this before and have redesigned my mod this past week (Feb 2014).

Actually, redesigned is a bit rich considering I used the top of a coffee jar and the shell of an old PC fan but hey, it works better than the original turned out by Icom!

Here's the link http://www.mods.dk/view.php?ArticleKey=c8e01e1d8c033bba2508b7aa5ddaa720&i=Icom-IC-7410-Improved-cooling-version-2-for-Icom-IC-7410-9100

It'll cost you next to nothing to do and is extremely effective. My 7410 before modification ran the fan up to full speed after just a few minutes at 50 Watts. It stayed at full speed for some considerable time. Same with the 9100.

Now, modded, the fans just tick over after several minutes of full power (carrier into a dummy load), reaching full speed far less often.

So, for Icom's work revamping the alc detection circuitry but considering the very badly designed cooling system I refrain from a 5. Three and a half would be more my preference but as I was so stingy in my last review I'll give it FOUR.
 
VK6RK Rating: 3/5 Feb 20, 2014 05:54 Send this review to a friend
Steep learning curve  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my 9100 approx 15months ago when it was 4 months old from a local ham.It was bought to replace a IC910 and came with the Dstar and 23 cms modules fitted.
As I have an Ft dx9000d as the HF radio here I never even tried the HF side out, just used it for local 2 and 70 cms contacts ready for my EME setup to be finished. When I eventually tried out HF I found it was deaf, I mean profoundly deaf :(.
I asked questions on the user group and found that I was considered to be ignorant of its operation and how to use it ( 35 years a ham seems to not count? ) Shortly afterwards, VHF stopped working on tx, then UHF on rx.
So I boxed her up and sent her back to Icom Australia as a warranty claim. Great people to deal with !
It seems it had never been able to work on HF rx as two diodes were incorrectly connected, also the VSWR protection on the joint VHF/UHF board was inactive. Icom replaced the complete VHF/ UHF board, and solved the problem on HF too.
It was the first one they had ever seen with problems other than user errors !
So it arrived back today and hopefully over the weekend coming I'll be able to put it through its paces.
The moral of this post is to always check every aspect of a radio you purchase is working fully when you buy it ! I know I will never take anything for granted again!.
Icom Australia have been fantastic, but to those on the yahoo user group who claimed it was me that was at fault, couldn't possibly the radio, I ask you to assume things can go wrong with a rig, and it isnt always user error before you judge people.
I wont be staying on then user group needless to say.

 
K0JEG Rating: 4/5 Jan 20, 2014 09:52 Send this review to a friend
Good "Second" Radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
If you've been operating for a few years on your first radio and are ready to step up, it is worth a look.

I bought my IC-9100 used, with the roofing filters installed. I purchased the D-Star module because the repeater directory said there's a D-Star repeater in my area (there is not). However, I had no issues with the D-Star module, just take your time, follow the instructions and you'll get it the first time too.

I wanted the IC-9100 because I was getting into satellite work at the time, but I've actually used it more on HF than anything else. Prior to this radio I had used an FT-897d and FT-817 controlled from a PC for running satellites and the 897d on HF. The IC-9100 is head-and-shoulders above the 897d's receiver. I am usually able to copy stations that don't have any S-reading at all, something that never happened on the FT-897d. In reality, I would expect this radio to perform much better than the 897 given the higher price and different task. The internal tuner does an OK job on home-brew dipoles and antennas that are "close enough." I like that I can interface an external tuner and hope to take advantage of that feature down the road since my current trap vertical won't do WARC bands. I've used it portable with a few MFJ 1979 telescoping whips in a dipole pattern and the internal tuner will bring them into 1:1 SWR if your measurements are off a little. The internal RTTY demod is a neat trick, with the output also showing on a second virtual serial port on the USB connector, but not very useful for actual QSOs since you'll need software to generate RTTY anyway. If it behaved more like the higher end Icom rigs and allowed sending as well it would be a great feature. As far as I can tell, the rear KEY jack won't accept iambic keys, only the front jack. Not a big deal but it becomes yet another cable running across my desk.

On VHF, again the receiver is much better than the FT-897d or any other 2 Meter radio I've ever used. Having 100 Watts available is nice for getting out into distant repeaters, the difference between "some sizzle in the background" and "armchair copy." I'm able to copy satellite and ISS passes using just a collinear in the attic, although using a directional antenna is of course much better.

Many of the one and 2 star reviews seem to be for extremely specific use cases or single issue problems, and if you're a casual operator you'll likely never run into them. If you think you will be using this radio for some esoteric purpose (except for the problem with the amplifier overshoot, which a lot of Icom radios seem to have), you'll likely want to go in a different direction. At the mid- and high end, there's little real world difference between radios anyway.

The only things missing that I might want to see would be different band modules. 1200MHz is a dead band in my area, and we're all very spread out so I doubt it would do much good anyway. But a 220MHz module could get interesting, even a 900MHz module would be more useful. Heck, even just having a "breakout box" that could be used for transverters or SDR interfacing would make better use of that space.

Speaking of D-Star, I finally tried connecting to a local repeater (which is what prompted this review). Once you get an idea of the functions and how to program the radio to connect to a D-Star repeater, it does work. However, the terrible call sign entry and cryptic messages don't help. I spent several minutes just attempting to verify I was actually connected to a repeater when N0VA heard me testing and came back. There seems to be a slight hiss in the background of the audio when in D-Star mode that could get annoying over time. Programming software will be a necessity if you plan on using D-Star a lot.

If you're a casual operator who wants VHF, UHF, satellite modes and a few bells and whistles this is a good radio. Is it cheap? No. Is it the best? Depending on what you want it for, not likely. Should this be your "first" radio? No, too expensive for that.

Will it do a lot of things well? Most definitely.
 
NI6S Rating: 5/5 Nov 20, 2013 01:14 Send this review to a friend
Shack in the Box - Excellent!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have owned this for about a year. Fantastic radio with all the bells and whistles! Sensitive, selective and on par with my Icom 7800.

Only downside are the following:

-No IF Output=no aftermarket band scopes/programs
-No internal wattmeter for 1.2
-No narrow roofing filter for CW

No radio is perfect, but glad to have this one.

BTW - How could N5XO give this radio a 3/5 if he's never even played or owned the 9100?!! Pretty irresponsible as it skews the overall rating average. Disregard and take the advice of true owners who know better.
 
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