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Reviews For: ICOM IC-91AD

Category: Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held

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Review Summary For : ICOM IC-91AD
Reviews: 49MSRP: 628
DSTAR Digital dual band transceiver from ICOM.
Product is in production
More Info: http://
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
VE7REN Rating: 2019-07-01
love this handy Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I own 2 of these beauties.. use them on my atv.. love the simultaneous receive,and the ease of operation. I like the size,performance,and the optional accessories. I use the hm131 on mine ,also have the bp216 AA pack.. these are my goto radios.. I also own ft270 and ict70. overall I like thwe 91 series..
VE5PT Rating: 2014-03-10
Nice radio, but... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
It's an "OK" radio, but I would of not bought it if I had used one first. Several "features" bug me.
1) Does not "sit up" nicely - tips over too easily
2) The time out/sleep mode beeps and turns off right away. Why not - say wait 30 seconds, to give you a chance to extend staying alive
3) No volt meter so you can determine where you are on battery life. This is available in other radios. And don't lecture me about LION batteries!!
4) I recently measured the RX sensitivity. Whether there is something wrong, or it has always been this way, but 6 microvolts??!! My old IC-02AT is .3 microvolts.

IF I have learned anything, is that my next radio I buy I have a chance to try before I buy.
W9MES Rating: 2013-06-18
great radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
great little ht a bit hard to understand but then again dstar is a bit hard to understand. I almost gave it a 4 but just could not sounds great transmits great and is tough as nails.
W4KVW Rating: 2013-05-29
GREAT Digital & Analog HT Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have only had my IC-91AD for 5 days & have had it connected to D-STAR for 2 days & LOVE this HT.It was the perfect choice for me since I already have a dual band(2 meter/440 analog)HT & the price was GREAT.I use the 91AD just for D-STAR for now but know it works great for analog as well.D-STAR is for sure different but I think it's growing on me & many others.Now I'll just pick up the accessories for the 91AD a little at a time & be happy.ICOM is by far my favorite brand & even though the IC-91AD is no longer being sold NEW pick yourself up one used like I did & start having fun with D-STAR like I did.Hope too work you soon on the D-STAR system. {:>)

KK9H Rating: 2013-05-02
Good HT, only two gripes Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned my IC-91AD for almost six years now. I like it very much. It has good clear audio on receive and on transmit. Since I've owned it for a good length of time I am very comfortable with all aspects of how it works, both analog and digital. I feel the layout and function of the menu items are all straightforward and logical. It also feels nice in your hand.

The two items to gripe about are minor but noteworthy. The first is the heat it develops on high power during even a relatively short QSO without long winded transmissions. It does have a low power setting, but there are times where a half watt just won't get you where you need to go. I just taylor my conversations around this issue. The second is the ease at which the volume control will move when you don't want it to or don't expect it to. On a few occasions I have missed a call because it had shifted to the lowest setting without my realizing it. These are not deal breaker issues, but they are worth noting.

All in all, I have been very happy with my IC-91AD. It has given me excellent, reliable service on both analog and digital modes. I keep it in my briefcase and it goes everywhere with me, including on business and vacation trips. They are showing up on the used market now and would make good entry level D-Star HTs.

Earlier 5-star review posted by KK9H on 2009-04-09

A couple years ago my local ham club put up a new D-Star repeater system and I bought an IC-91AD to be able to use this new mode. There is an initial learning curve to understand how the HT gets programmed to utilize a local repeater system, but that aspect of operation is pretty straight forward. The HT works very well in both D-Star and regular FM modes. I found the HT's menu system to be logically laid out and easy to master. The receiver has excellent sensitivity and can operate on a frequency next to a strong adjacent signal with minimal interaction if you use the "B" band which is optimized for the ham bands. The "B" band experiences the least amount of intermod as well, There is a known "intermod alley" area in downtown Chicago where this HT exhibits only an occasional squelch break. The "A" band on the HT is the wide band receiver and as you'd expect, it is considerably more likely to exhibit intermod, but only in highly prone areas. Both receivers are just fine in normal use. The audio quality of the receivers is excellent in both D-Star and regular FM mode. The D-Star audio has a small characteristic that is unique to digital mode, but it is very close to normal sounding voice. When you have a weak signal condition, you can experience some break up of audio, but our repeater is well situated and that behavior is minimal. The transmitted audio on this HT is superb. I have had excellent audio comments in both D-Star and FM modes. The 91AD has lots of memories, with good reason. D-Star operational convenience requires this. There are only two weak areas and these have been mentioned by other reviewers. One is having only two transmit power levels, 5 watts and 1/2 watt. I would have liked something in between, say 1 watt or so. The other would be a desire to have just a little more audio output level for operating in noisy environments. Neither of these is a show stopper, though. Battery life when using the power saver function seems fine. I usually carry an extra battery with me anyway. All-in-all, the IC-91AD is a smooth operating HT and I think it would be the better economic choice for getting into D-Star if this was to be your only D-Star rig.
WZ3O Rating: 2011-10-25
Had it a day...Initial impressions... Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Got a Very Nice one in a swap deal....Wanted an HT with DStar since I have an ID-880H mobile & DSTAR is growing in our area....

Nice, Good Sized Dual Band - Dual receive HT, dual display easy to read, single diplay awesome (big LCD w/good contrast) great receive, good audio out, DStar, programming isn't all that complex & is relatively intuitive (of course I've had Icom rigs before)..I know I have way to much time on my hands if I "know" all this so soon, but this isn't my 1st Rodeo...

Not sure about battery life since I just put a full charge on it...

Not So Nice - speaker a tad tiny, AM local radio a little weak (hey it's a V/U/Dstar HT)..but no rig is "perfect"...but I still give it a 5 ...

If you want a metal case, waterproof HT w/expensive GPS speaker Mic.. go spend quite a bit more $$ on an IC-92AD but don't buy an HT you'll hardy, if ever use it's capabilities just to say I have a 92AD. Money difference sure buys a lot of Yuengling .... So for my uses & needs this is a Very Nice HT does it "all"....
N2RRA Rating: 2011-01-01
Just an Awesome HT! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Bottom Line!

Audio: Superb! External Mic's excellant!
Recieve: Great!
Features: Excellant
Band Scope: Excellant and very useful feature!
compact: Excellant!

DURABILITY: Unbelievable military grade! Takes
a beaten and keeps on ticking!

Power: Only Hi/Lo, but it gets the job done
Satellite: Excellant!

Battery Life: Fair (Could be better)

AF Volume: Excellant!
D-Star: Excellant!

As far as anybody having problems I'm sure there are very few. If they did it's to be expected with any company during running it through a production line and typical electronic component failures to a minimum.

This HT kicks ass!


Earlier 5-star review posted by N2RRA on 2007-04-04

For Amatuer equipment Icom has always done as good as job as any other Co. if not better. Difference is that their success rate is more consistant, and they done it again with this H.T.

Icom 91AD

Durable feel exceeds that of the Kenwood F6A, and Yeasu VX7R. Does not feel cheap like the other's.

Super Audio - so sensitive you can practicaly speak softly at 6" away and still get great audio reports so you can lay in bed without waking XYL. "Not" like the other's.

Anttenuator - works great in heavy splatter areas. Hmmm! splatter!(push button) Gone!

Band scope - great for when you go away to those rural area's.

Reciever - fantastic! for SWL'ing with it's wide band reciever. WFM is great for listening to local stations.

Programming & Menu funtion's - Idiot proof!

Display - Great!

Battery life - Just ok!

Power - adjustment! well wish they could've kept a 2 & 3 watt setting. No matter for me.

D-Star - Well, for some reason the east coast boys can't get it to work right like other repeater owners, but when it does it sounds real good.

It's not commercial equipment, but can commercial equipment do what this 91AD can do.

Icom reviews and popularity speaks for itself.

Make your choice! Mine's is Icom always.

Earlier 5-star review posted by N2RRA on 2006-12-24

I've only had this H.T. a few days now, but compared to other H.T.'s I've had this is what I can tell ya'.

A. Built like a tank! Not plastic looking, or feel like most others.

B. Small and compact.

C. Very user friendly. So user friendly a it's practically idiot proof.

D. Love the band scope. Comes in handy in those barren, or city areas. Never scan a band a miss out even by a second or two. Big Plus!

E. Nice size screen makes it easy to read. Dot Text is good on the eye's.

F. Great recieve audio! Hear everything crystal clear, and even use it at work has my FM radio, or walkman while I work.

G. Transmit audio is phonominal. 12" away from the grill, and it's good enough. I run it sometimes with the Icom HM-128 speaker mike and it works well also.

H. Intermod? No way! not with the anttenuator that is featured in it. What a difference this makes.

Basically whats not to love about it? Battery life seems to last a long time. Good charge and a full day of QSO'ing is no problem.

Only one problem! The Icom manual doesn't do a great job at explaining how to access D-Star area repeaters, or apparently program your H.T. for digital. A couple of hams, and I are pulling our hair trying to figure what we're doing wrong but we'll get it.

Bottom Line! I LOVE MY 91AD.
AC8JD Rating: 2010-09-16
Great HT!!! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have had this HT for a little under 2 months and have used it almost every day. First off, I noticed that even though the body is plastic, it is a dense hard plastic... I don't foresee it failing if it fell off of a table onto the floor, or even concrete for that matter. I have had it fall off my workbench in my basement a couple of times onto the concrete floor and it didn't even scratch the plastic let alone ding it. And it never missed a beat!

Other reviews talk about the heat. All I can say is that it does get warmer on TX than my previous HT which was a iCom IC-V8. The V8 put out 7 watts, this one only 5. I use it on low power most of the time anyway but it will still get warm on TX if I have a 10 minute conversation doing 2-3 minuet transmits with 2-3 minuets in between. It does get what I would call "really warm" when doing the same transmitting on 5 watts. I wouldn't call it "very warm" or "mildly hot", or even "hot". I have never felt like I wasn't man enough to hold it bare handed while using it when it gets warm.

The battery life is good. It lasts a entire day, and could go into the next day if I really limit my transmits. It does have the lithium battery and the battery indicator does not work well. It will show a full battery, for almost the entire life of the charge, then suddenly show almost nothing and it won't be very long before it dies. This is normal in Lithium batterys. They are made to give full power and drain at full power until they die, not gradually produce less and less power until they die.

I love the dual receive feature, and the memory channels it holds which is a ton! I like the memory banks as well! The screen has a high resolution so it packs a ton of info into the screen!

The entire construction from the knobs to the buttons are solid and feel very well built. I do not regret this purchase at all. I get great reports on the audio even using IRLP.

In my opinion you can't go wrong with this rig. I could not give it a 5 based on the fact I can't review its longevity. But I always buy iCom because I live fairly close to an iCom Repair facility and figure if I ever have an issue, I am not far from someone repairing it for me.
VK3GMO Rating: 2010-09-02
great value broad band and digital radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Is it perfect? Well no, what is. Yes it gets warm transmitting. I don't talk long enough for it to get too hot to touch. I bought mine on ebay for 350 aud for that price the flexibility, ease of programming which I found intuitive (having learned on a wouxun) including even setting up for dstar. I am impressed that so much is bulit into such a small package. First ICOM I have owned but no complaints. I bought it after reading the reviews here and discounting the extreme ones. A great radio and no regrets.
KB1QBZ Rating: 2010-02-12
DON'T Buy It Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Apparently the same guy who designs gas pedals and brake systems for Toyota also designs power systems for Icom HTs.

The radio turns itself off after transmissions on 440 (70cm) -- analog or digital. I sent it to Icom to look at. Their answer was basically "tough luck" -- it's a problem with their voltage regulator circuitry and the Icom batteries at the relatively high current draw of 2.1 amps on 440 and it affects about 30% of IC-91s.

Since the radio's current draw was within factory spec, the only thing they could recommend was that I replace the radio with a newer IC-92.

I replaced it all right, but not with an Icom product.