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Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Icom ID-51A Help

Show all reviews of the Icom ID-51A

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K9MHZ  Rating: 5/5 Mar 15, 2013 07:04  Send this review to a friend!
What a great radio!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Icom did a wonderful job designing the ID-51A. What a nice radio. At last, they decided to make D-STAR easier to use. Particularly at the yearly D-STAR Forum at Dayton, the case is always made that "D-STAR isn't hard, you just need to know how to program your radio...." Very true, but very tiring and condescending to hear year after year. It's simply a matter of previous radio models not necessarily being difficult to use, but ABSOLUTELY being needlessly cumbersome to use.

So Icom has finally gotten religion on ease-of-use, and they knocked it out of the park with this latest offering. The databasing is a terrific feature. Many have mentioned the transmit audio quality. True it's not great, but with audio level (deviation) set to 3, low cut, and high increased, you get acceptable audio. It's just not that big of a deal. Yes, you can open the radio and cut the membrane in front of the mic element and get very nice results afterword.

With the ID-51A being a dual band radio, you also have some very nice extended receive capabilities.....aircraft band AM, commercial broadcast FM, weather, etc.

This is a very high end (and high priced) radio, and Icom kicked in the quality of construction. It's small, but very solid. Someone earlier mentioned a Diamond Antenna model to replace the stock Icom antenna. True the Icom stock antenna isn't anything special, but if one chooses to use a better antenna, certainly don't get another SMA connector antenna. If you're going to this trouble, get the Diamond SMA/BNC adapter, which is black and looks very good on the ID-51. You may need a small rubber washer spacer from your hardware store which will allow the adaptor to seat solidly against the radio case. Now, you have a full range of antenna options, large and small, and you can routinely remove and change antennas without and fear of wearing out the SMA connector on the radio. Getting another SMA antenna is just silly.

In summary, this is a fabulous radio. It will definitely reinvigorate your D-STAR use with all of its very fine new features and ease-of-use. 
Product is in production.
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