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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: 43 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $899
Description: Innovative 2m/70cm transceiver with touch screen and internal GPS
Product is in production.
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KE9DK Rating: 2/5 Jul 14, 2019 12:27 Send this review to a friend
ID-5100a poor design  Time owned: more than 12 months
Poor engineering.
Mic is attached to the base unit and not the head.
Fan is a high velocity model...VERY noisy.
I am putting mine in the house as a base unit and enclosing it in an insulated box with a larger quiet fan.
It does make a great home repeater.
I think the engineer was not a radio operator???
N2XG Rating: 3/5 May 7, 2019 00:36 Send this review to a friend
Not so hot  Time owned: more than 12 months
The ID-5100 does work well on DSTAR and I really enjoy that part of the radio when I can see the display. I own two of these radios and both went downhill very rapidly. The screens have faded to the point where they are barely readable. This is due to heat in the car. I've had a Yaesu FTM-400D baking in the hot Florida sun without a single hiccup. That screen is fairly easy to read and while arguably not as large as the 5100, it does have a good quality screen that I can read. The 5100 also has had chronic rebooting issues on it's own. The SWR of the antenna is 1.2, so I suspect something internal. At this point the radio is well out of warranty, so I likely will not both sending it in for repair. I have a lot hate relationship with this radio. I'm not so sure I'd buy another one of these in the future however.
N1EE Rating: 3/5 Sep 24, 2018 14:11 Send this review to a friend
Regret Purchase  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought this used for $300. Needed to buy two brackets, and plan to bitch to ICOM about it as they are now selling the head unit bracket with the new radios. It's completely ridiculous to not include cheap to make brackets. The head unit is HUGE. REALLY REALLY BIG. It is a nuisance to have it fall over constantly. The display is poor IMHO. While I like the touch screen the left side has some missing pixels--probably because it's fallen over so many times. The manual took a ream of paper and killed my toner cartridge. I regret printing it. IT's in way too much detail. Also, DStar is complicated. I had difficulty finding the software and eventually managed to transfer via SD card a Dstar repeater list onto my radio. I concluded I needed RT Software to edit it. It's cumbersome and awkward to program this radio manually. It took me two days to plug in simple FM repeaters and I only have four programmed at the moment. I have yet to make a DV contact. I'm registered for this and my other DStar radio, with suffixes, but not sure why it is still not working. It will be something simple but I find it a nuissance to fight my way though the complexity. I own five Yeasu FT-8500, a radio that take some time to learn, and now love. So far it is all hate and no love for this radio. I'm hoping that the mobile experience traveling and allowing me to stay in touch at home makes it worth it. That is not going to matter much if none of my friends are on DStar. DStar does not seem to be taking hold. I'm only trying it because I love ICOM radios, their reliability, and service. I dialed the mic gain up all the way, and it was mearly acceptable, not great. Audio quality, while listening, there is no noise but lots of missing audio. You are in or not, and dropouts are common with mobile radios--and this is a mobile radio. This looks like another one of those Icom dud radios. I will update as time goes on. I will give it a fair trial. So far, the poor rating for complexity, difficulty programming, display quality, display too big to mount anywhere, lack of mounting brackets, audio quality. Pluses? Being about to link to reflectors. I'm not terribly interested in DX on the internet, but I do like the idea of linking with a local reflector, when I'm traveling. I like the idea that all I need to do is link up to one repeater when traveling and friends can find me and call me direct, and the system will route them to me. But I don't have any friends on it yet. I have found that the activity on the ham bands has decreased, lumping the few that are left on a reflector seems kind of lame to me. Bottom line. I feel DStar is nice to have in a radio, but it needs to be in a DC-to-Daylight rig with a nice display. So far all the ICOM rigs with DStar have monochrome displays. Why did I buy this? I feel like my 23 year old Yeasu FT-8500 radios are better. I won't be selling those.
G7IRU Rating: 5/5 Aug 4, 2018 10:04 Send this review to a friend
superb radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
what can i say about this radio overall other than what a superb radio. The receive on it is excellent, i can hear far more distant stations than a Yaesu 857d 0r Yaesu 8900 or Icom 2200H which i have previously used long term.
The price of the accessories required when bought new are unforgivable Icom, take note please !!
I'm lucky as i bought my radio second hand in excellent condition with all the accessories but would NOT have bought a new one due to the accessories unreasonable price.
The other minor niggle is the noisy fan which plenty of other people have mentioned, again Icom please take note.
In conclusion i'm really happy with the radio and would and have recommended them to plenty of fellow hams.
KQ4BX Rating: 2/5 Jul 14, 2018 00:15 Send this review to a friend
ID-5100 has Worst Display   Time owned: more than 12 months
What can I say, it isn't that I didn't like the radio, it's just that the display is the worst display Icom ever put into a mobile radio that will sit in a hot car. My firs display failed under warranty, and it was fixed under warranty. That display has failed again in the same exact way, and many who have had this radio in a mobile will tell you that the display is the worst part of this radio. I am waiting on Icom support to return my call. I feel that Hams should stick together and form a class action suit against ICom for making a product that fails like clockwork. I know for a fact that other have had bad displays, because I know the owners, so anyone who defends Icom on this either works for them, or they never put the mobile in a hot car for an extended time. I did buy the ID-4100 for the mobile, but I can't toss this radio in the trash because it cost too much to get fixed for something that is not a fluke, but instead a poor design. Lastly, to program the firmware you have to hold down Quick while powering up, but I can't get to the Quick button because the display does not work. Icom Japan has a firmware update that deals with the display, but how do you load it when your display does not work correctly? Poor design again. Why put such a complicated low level function like loading firmware be controlled by such a high level part that is prone to failing.
W4BFA Rating: 5/5 May 21, 2018 20:26 Send this review to a friend
Excellent as both a base and a mobile station  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have one of these in my truck and one at my home base station. The base station is connected to a Diamond X-700 antenna on a 24 foot mast, it really reaches out with standard power. I'm tempted to install a 160 watt amp with a preamp which would extend the already impressive range, which is at least 75 miles.
K3MEJ Rating: 0/5 Feb 26, 2018 18:58 Send this review to a friend
worst mobile ever  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Terrible audio reports even when I upgraded the mic by AB5N. SD card would not load information. Got cross over transmission interference between 2m and 440. Total piece of junk.
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.)
N6RLG 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.
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