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Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | ICOM IC-7100 Help

Show all reviews of the ICOM IC-7100

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WB7EPQ  Rating: 5/5 May 18, 2019 22:14  Send this review to a friend!
A relative bargain with little current competition  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This radio was $1600 when it came out in 2014 but now is a relative bargain with discounts and special pricing. Its closest current competition is the Yaesu FT-991A which is significantly more expensive but doesn't offer much more functionality besides a real time bandscope, limited antenna tuner, and color display.

The IC-7100 also has most of the same functionality as the well reviewed IC-7300 but you also get 2M and 70CM which the IC-7300 inexplicably lacks. And the IC-7100 is in a smaller and more versatile package. Icom has gone backwards in some ways with the IC-7300 over what they had with IC-7100.

The IC-7100 got some early bad reviews due to a few design issues Icom has since corrected. The most well known was low power output on SSB. That was was corrected years ago and is no longer an issue. Some have also complained about the audio quality of the supplied microphone but I've received a lot of unsolicited praise for my transmit audio quality with the supplied mic. So perhaps Icom improved the stock mic as well. Like the Yaesu FT-991A you do have to upgrade the microphone if you want a DTMF keypad but ebay offers some reasonably priced options.

This radio is very easy to use with the touch screen and intuitive controls. It knows about amateur band plans and sets everything up accordingly. If you punch in a frequency for a 2 meter repeater it automatically applies the correct negative or positive offset for transmitting. If the repeater needs a tone that's a really simple option to apply. You can also program memories with the very popular free open source Chirp programming software as well as other software options.

It seems far more sensitive than my Yaesu and the DSP noise reduction works really well. You have the option of no preamp, preamp 1, preamp 2 and an attenuator. The RF performance is excellent including being very sensitive in the presence of strong adjacent signals and being immune to overload. The ARRL test also had good things to say about the RF performance.

The two piece design is wonderful. The "base" unit and head unit are WAY smaller than something like at FT-991A or IC-7300. The base unit is the size of a small basic single band VHF mobile radio. The "head" unit is brilliant with its angled design and touch screen. The design offers a much bigger screen and room for more and bigger controls than most compact mobile radios. Icom also intelligently put a speaker and microphone jack in the head unit which is a point of failure with many two piece mobile radios. The two pieces are linked with a simple RJ45 shielded Cat 5/6 cable that some have reported extending beyond the generous supplied length.

The base unit does have a cooling fan but it's very unobtrusive and isn't needed at lower powers. It also has an SD card slot allowing audio recording which is a great feature. Power drain during receive is impressively low. The IC-7100 isn't designed for portable battery use but it's very efficient and battery friendly.

There are not that many choices for current "shack in a box" HF/VHF/UHF radios. If you don't need a color waterfall real time bandscope the IC-7100 provides 95% of the functionality of the significantly more expensive IC-7300 and also does 2M and 70CM which is a huge plus over the IC-7300. It also provides similar functionality, minus the color bandscope, to the Yaesu FT-991A for a lot less money. The IC-7100 is especially a great choice if you're space challenged as it offers the front panel and screen real estate of a much bigger radio in a very compact and versatile 2 piece package.

In summary I'm not aware of anything that offers 160M to 70CM transmit with similar power levels at anywhere near this price let alone with a touch screen, two piece design, great DSP, impressive RF performance, etc.  
Product is in production.
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