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Reviews For: Icom ID-5100A

Category: Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held)

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Review Summary For : Icom ID-5100A
Reviews: 54MSRP: 899
Innovative 2m/70cm transceiver with touch screen and internal GPS
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
K4SRF Rating: 2022-10-30
Nice Radio Except For The Display Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I purchased this rig to replace another (non-ICOM) rig that failed. I do like the size of the display and it is very similar to my ICOM 7100 which I use in my shack. Other's have commented on the fan noise, but since I have the base unit in my trunk, I don't hear it. The radio works well, and I only have two issues that are negative in my opinion. One is the display. It washes out in bright light. I have mine mounted in such a way now that should prevent this, but only time will tell. The second issue is why can't ICOM use a standard microphone mount instead of the "hook" they use? All-in-all, I'll give this rig a 4 out of 5 rating based on the two "faults" I have mentioned.
K7NG Rating: 2022-09-14
I love this radio! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I really didn't NEED the ID-5100. I have a perfectly good Kenwood mobile dualband radio. I studied the product sheet for the 5100, decided that a great deal of the NON-DStar features were worth having the radio, and I am interested in getting my feet with with D-Star, though I may be the only D-Star capable ham in my area at the moment. The way Icom has improved the user-friendliness of each generation of D-Star radios is quite impressive... but again, the non-D Star features of this radio were what sold me. It seems to have a really hot front end on VHF, and I'm not sure yet about UHF but it's as good as the radio it replaces. The great big display panel and touchscreen make it very easy to do an installation that suits me rather than suits the radio, as in most cases. I really liked the many banks in which both digital and analog channels can be placed, as I drive long distances I can change from one bank to another or use the DR function to find repeaters for me (sometimes).

All is not perfect; there is no 'perfect' radio as there is no 'perfect' girlfriend or 'perfect' shotgun. In my case, I find that the display is either a little too bright at night or too dim in daytime without making an adjustment as ambient light changes. An auto-dim feature would be nice, but would take a light sensor. The internal GPS receiver seems to be a little feeble, my vehicle navigation system with a little 1.2" square puck antenna keeps more satellites in urban canyons or tree canopy than the 5100: I have the display (and GPS antenna) mounted on a gooseneck which puts it alongside the dash, not atop it. The outside view is good thru windshield and side windows but the GPS isn't always available. I'd like to have an external antenna connector. Even when I placed the display temporarily on top the dash I saw the GPS drop out much more than the vehicle system did.

The mic cord worked out to be just about 18" shorter than I needed, but I made a regular straight thru RJ45 cable out of CAT 5 and with a splice connector I happened to have I have the microphone hanger where I want it now.

I haven't really fallen all over myself about a radio in many a year. I have some equipment I 'really like' such as my TenTec Orion, but so far I 'love' the ID-5100.

*** Update ***
After years of use in the mobile environment, I have to say I like everything about the 5100 (almost). I've put thousands of miles on several different vehicles and have had the 5100 in them since the day I bought the radio. Its' performance has been great. But... The radio is installed in my car. Cars get warm inside, even on the Oregon coast. The display has faded out to the extent I can no longer use it except at night. This problem has been attributed to the display 'getting too hot'. How hot is hot? I am in a very benign environment compared to some other places, and still the display has faded out. Because I like the radio so much, I'll get another display or pay too much to have it repaired.
K1DWZ Rating: 2022-07-15
Good radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I am using this radio as a base station. I like the radio but have to agree with other reviews that the display should have been color .

Maybe I don't use the unit enough but I disagree with other reviews that the fan is too noisy. In my case I don't hear the fan at all.

I have the bluetooth unit installed and it works fine. The only problem I had was I couldn't loosen two screws on the case and stripped them in order to get then out.
KC1OVP Rating: 2022-06-22
Great radio, horrible display Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Great radio, I like everything thing about the radio but the display. It's the worst display I've seen so far. The display washes out in the daylight even after adjusting the contrast. For the money they get for the radio they should have put a color screen like the comparable Yaesu, or even their own ID-52. Don't recommend for that reason.
KE5MOJ Rating: 2021-12-26
Great radio. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought this last Christmas for myself as a Christmas present in 2020. I picked it up at HRO Atlanta, with an antenna and everything I needed to connect it to my 2014 Ram. I immediately set it up and bought an RT Systems software to program it.

Once in the truck, it was great. I could reach out to DStar repeaters. The scan function was a little different from my IC 4820. You have to start and stop it on the display head. Everything works through the display head, with a little effort, and the manual close by will help you find a solution to any problems.

The only con I had with this was that the display was so bright, at night I felt like I was under a spotlight. I was able to turn down the brightness to the lowest level and it was much better. I normally run with my dash lights on dim so I can see outside much easier at night. This means I need to turn off the radio at night sometimes. I have set up the display head on a gooseneck mount, accessing the display head and working it is easy.

Initially, I didn't pay attention to the fact that a memory chip could be added to the radio. Since I travel infrequently, it was nice to be able to save the frequencies for later retrieval without having to plug in a cable to a laptop.

I noticed the price of the accessories. Instead of buying an extended cable for the microphone, I used a 4 foot Cat 8 shielded network cable and a Female-to-Female RJ45 connector. The radio sits in the back of the truck under the seat with plenty of cable for the microphone.

NO9X Rating: 2021-10-31
Still the best dual band radio around Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Absolutely great reception!
Huge display with room for full names, plus you still get the frequency displayed as well.
One feature more useful than one might think, being able to set it to single receive mode (one side of the radio takes over the entire display. Didn’t thini it would be that useful, but now I use it often.
I frankly LOVE that they don’t include a bunch of crappy brackets like the other brands do. I never use those, making what works best for you rarely involves the stock brackets!
I do wish it gave the option of connecting the mic to the unit instead of the head, but that is a minor technicality.
The scan speed is very fast. Being able to put all my memories into various banks and scan one or all the banks is awesome!
D Star is an absolute breeze with this radio! Being able to adjust both the rx AND tx tone is very neat.
Will be adding the Bluetooth module soon.
The display, while not as pretty as a full color unit, it still very clear and useable. I’ve heard that letting the head display sit in a hot car can make it fade. So I don’t leave it sit in a hot car. Too tempting for thieves anyway.
All in all, it is still the best dual band radio out there. Add in D-Star and charge less than the competition and you can’t go wrong.
Just make sure you have room for that giant display.
Oh yeah, the fan noise? That’s what happens when the fan moves lots of air. I mount the radio under the back seat in the car, or in another room for base use. Problem solved!
Almost forgot, SC card programing is so much nicer than using a cable! Stock software works great!
So many more features I didn’t even touch on. This this is the complete package, even without a few more crappy brackets for a junk drawer.
WM4RB Rating: 2021-07-05
GREAT Radio! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I own 2 of these, never had any problems, easy to program and simple to operate the touch screen.
K4BJW Rating: 2021-07-04
Not Impressed Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is my first foray into a name brand radio from a known manufacturer and I'll state I'm definitely not impressed with the rig. It was purchased to replace a BTECH UV-25X2 and it's not up to the job. The control head, even after "calibrating" is difficult to work as the pressure points do not line up with the display. For example, the bottom 4 positions of Menu, Home, DR and Quick are difficult to work as pressing on the letters usually does nothing. Playing around the area will usually get the correct function unless it triggers the variable entries. Trying to hit Quick I usually get MONItor or GPS to display unless I touch at the very bottom of the control head. My HT picks up more stations than the ICOM or the BTECH operating off the same antenna as the ICOM. The speaker can only be described as lousy as it has no tone adjust so sounds extremely tinny because of its small size. I will give ICOM kudos for designing a nice looking unit but functionally, it is a pretty poor example of a unit from a premier manufacturer.
K4JQL Rating: 2021-04-30
Great Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I own a 706mk2G, 746, 746pro, 7100 and now the 5100a. I like the intuitive interface on this rig, I'm planning on installing it into a GMC Acadia using the Lido seat mount. I had to make another bracket for the Lido, my seat bolt about 1/2 inch too far recessed, but not problem. I'm using a Comet lip mount base and dual band whip. Should be ready in a few days for my first trip with it. Really like Icom products.
N0HI Rating: 2021-02-12
Display Problem Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I own two of these. One in the shack and one in my truck. I concur with all the reviews about loud fan and unusable display after exposed to temperatures in a parked vehicle.

Additionally today the display on the vehicle unit failed to respond to touch control rendering it limited to what I can do from the DTMF microphone. Can't update firmware due to inability to enter the update mode due to the "QUICK" menu button not working.

I did update the firmware in my shack unit, hopefully to avoid this issue which the "interweb" says is a problem that firmware has corrected.

So now I have one of these that is not fully functional. I will probably just replace with another radio that is more appealing and hopefully more dependable.