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Reviews For: ICOM IC-9100

Category: Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W

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Review Summary For : ICOM IC-9100
Reviews: 65MSRP: 3599
Description:
Base Amateur HF/VHF/UHF Transceiver

Frequency range 10-160 m + WARC / 6 m / 2m / 70cm

23cm + D-Star optional
Product is in production
More Info: http://rigreference.com/rigs/view/4519
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
25654.3
VE7REN Rating: 2019-11-06
incredible!! and some Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
the capability of this rig is tremendous. the ergonomics,functions,and build quality are superb. whats not to like? its a performer,and stays cool while doing its thing! ive looked high and low for one of these over the last few years,and found a brand new one for a steal of a deal. I loaded the ut121 dstar board,and the fl430/431 filters....and... it sounds fantastic. I also own the 7410,and can truly say the radio had very little learning curve. it the 9100 runs circles around my ts2000 for reception,and overall heavy dutyness feel.the reception is clear,and has the audio I like to listen to. cannot find one bad thing so far.. I use it on 2 meter and all the hf bands.. loving it.
W6ACT Rating: 2019-08-18
Absolutely suberb radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have been running this radio for about 3 years now and I have had a chance to compare it to many radio's TS-950dsp, ft-920, ft-100d, ts-480 ic-775 and the list goes on. I use it mainly on HF and 2m sideband also some repeater action. All I can say is it has never failed me, it's been just rock solid. I installed the IF output board for sdr and WOW what a receiver. The transmit audio is just as comparable as my TS-950DSP which in my opinion is the best, even in today's standards. I get nothing but compliments about how good the radio sounds. Everyone asks what rig are you running? I say IC-9100 they all say I don't know much about that radio. It's just not very well know like the IC-7800 or the IC-7600, but in my opinion it's just as good if not better. This everything you need in one box. To bad they discontinued it. Icom hit a home run with this radio.
K9MHZ Rating: 2019-05-12
Nice radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've owned the 9100 for some time, and have had a chance to wring it out and hopefully have formed an objective opinion.

First, it was an expensive radio that required the purchase of other expensive module accessories to realize its full potential. Most would purchase it for the VHF/UHF capabilities, and the HF portion is pretty mediocre and dated even back when the rig was first introduced....just a 746 Pro for HF. That's what was so baffling, as operators of VHF or UHF SSB, satellites, D-STAR probably weren't that interested in having a B- HF rig inside of their new box.

The VHF and UHF capabilities are top-shelf, no question. Moonbounce, satellites, weak signal SSB, D-STAR....all very well done in the 9100.

But it is what it is....a great rig for 144/440/1296, alongside a ridiculously mediocre HF rig that was on its way out even back then. I'm sure Icom had a marketing philosophy with this radio, but in light of their new SDR rig offerings of today, it seems pretty silly now.

N2SLO Rating: 2018-10-20
6 Year follow -up Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I reviewed this radio back in December 2012. Subsequent to that review, I added the 1.2 module, and use the radio as my VHF/UHF contest radio. I also have started to use the radio for HF- after passing General on 9/22. Would I buy again? Yes. For the value, I don't see a better option that has VHF, UHF and also HF in a box that performs as well. I have been looking at the new SDR radios, not sure I like the touch screens. The price has come down almost 33% since I purchased mine, and will probably drop one last time after the IC 9700 is released. The only issue I have is for 2M, the dreaded ALC overshoot impacts my 1KW Beko amplifier. The amp. has so much protection that it shuts amp down. I had to reduce the compression, and turn down input but the 9100 still trips amp. Now with HF, I plan on adding the Acom 1000 and I hope this amp is forgiving with the ALC. Other then this one issue, for the money don't hesitate to buy one.
N1EE Rating: 2018-08-05
Love it Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I have owned my ICOM 9100 for more than a year now. It’s a do it all radio. I have the aftermarket filters installed purchase off eBay and they seem to perform well, I have a D*module installed, and the 1.2 GHz board. I mostly use it for a VHF and UHF. It’s a great weak signal radio. I bought an ICOM 7300 for HF. And after using both, I prefer the buttons on the ICOM 9100 to the touch screen on the 7300. I have the computer software for both radios written by RT systems. The software is reasonably price and a must have in my opinion. I set up all my programming and was able to cut-and-paste my HF frequencies onto the 9100. One thing I thought you couldn’t do with display memory names at the same time as the frequency. It turns out you can but is a complicated series of keystrokes, not a simple operation. I would recommend you program those memory names in by computer. As it would take you forever to do it with the slow tedious manual process. I found the D*set up complicated and that too is better set up using the computer, and even so I find the star overly complex. The 1.2 GHz module was a thrill to get in in one year I’ve not made one contact on it. I have just a simple vertical at the present time and plan to get an M squared beam in the future. Overall I think it’s a fantastic radio and I wish I had two or three. I have had not one single problem with the radio. It also meets up with my ICOM to KL amplifier. That makes it into a 500 W radio that operates as if it was built in with 500 W. I’m a little bit stunned at how good the amplifier works with this radio and my other ICOM 7300.
G7EMK Rating: 2018-08-03
Shack In A Box Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I had one of the very first sets to hit the shores of the UK in 2011. Therefore I have had a great deal of time to experience this radio.On HF, VHF and UHF it works very well. My unit is fully loaded with the Dstar, 23cms and the filters.This radio has been a joy to operate and compared to other similar radios from competitors, the technology, quality and workmenship is evident.If you want an all singing all dancing radio, then this is the one.There is just one common issue with this radio, and that is that some times the LCD back light can take some seconds to illuminate. I understand this is due to the software.I highly recommend this radio.
VK2VC Rating: 2018-04-18
Great Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought this radio about a year after it first came out. At first I could not get it to do anything I needed, but with time and research I was able to get the usb sound card and rig control under control. I blame the manual for any problems that people are having with this radio. I am still learning the satellite modes. Ft-8 is working very well. 83 countries in the last six months on HF. Icom Australia did a great job doing the ALC overshoot upgrade in spite of not being able to find a receipt to prove the purchase date. Great radio so stick with it.
AA0FO Rating: 2017-09-12
Follow-up Review Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
In my last review, I noted that the IC 9100 is susceptible to internal spurious harmonics in the FO 29 Sat band. Tonight I found the 3rd harmonic of the transmitting frequency. Receiving on 436.800 and transmitting on 436.800/3. This time I was transmitting in FM mode with about 10 watts. I thought I might be working SO 50 Sat way off published frequency. Sad.
KD0ZV Rating: 2017-07-19
Decent all around rig Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I bought this to consolidate my 2 meter rig and Icom 8500 receiver into one rig. Figured it would make a great backup HF radio and assumed it would be a Icom 7410 with extended bands.

It does and OK job on HF but think it falls short compared to the 7410. If it was my main rig I would not be happy as the fan noise is excessive. Transmit on 2 meters for 10 minutes and you can plan on the fan running for hours.

Its hard to rate. If I was rating it for an HF receiver, it would score a 3. But I think all multifunction rigs HF/VHF/UHF are a compromise. I would much rather have this over the TS2000.
KB8DGC Rating: 2017-04-14
She's got it where it counts, kid... Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Star Wars quotes aside... as an owner of a TS-2000x, FT-847, and IC-756 ProII, as well as the IC-9100, it is my firsthand experience that the 9100 outperforms all of them on the air. Ultimately, getting me on the air in the best way possible is why I buy radios, assuming I can afford them. I've had unsolicited comments about good transmit quality, the receiver is better than the others with weak signals, even in a metro area, and the radio does not limit me in any measurable way. If it takes cutting off a couple creature comforts and re-using some prior product family ergonomics to move a great radio into a (comparatively) affordable price point, I'm willing to live with a few minor inconveniences.

Yes, a spectrum scope would be great, but no other 160m-23cm radios have one either, and there are DIY options out there. The 756's soft button layout was nicer, but I'm sure more costly, relying on a good graphic LCD.

V/U band selection is odd but not difficult. Direct entry or CI-V can be used if pushing a button 1-4 times is too inconvenient. On the other hand, you can immediately jump to any HF band except 60m with one button press, unlike the TS-2000 and FT-847 (which aren't designed for 60m at all, by the way).

Yes, you need to remember to adjust your power on a new band (or have CI-V do it), and deal with tiny mic gain and keyer speed knobs, as with other Icoms of similar vintage/family.

I use SatPC32 for frequency tracking on satellites and I've had no trouble with frequency tracking on the several sat QSOs I've made. Whether "kludged" or not, it seems to get the job done, maybe not as seamless as the 847, but I find it to be a lot less finicky than the 2000.

Memories are indeed name-able - see manual page 143.

I do agree the TS-2000's "both VFOs on the same band" trick (which only applies on 2m or 70cm, only in FM/AM) doesn't have an equivalent on the IC-9100, but I don't miss it. FM use cases usually don't require the same sensitivity or quality as SSB/CW, and they benefit from a different (vertical) antenna, so it's better performed by a cheap separate 2m FM rig anyway.

Regarding VHF modes, it should be pointed out that the 9100 doesn't support AM on 2m or above. Not that I know of many people using 2m AM any more, but if you're supporting SSB, is it really that hard to support AM too?

The USB control and audio ports work well for me. The headphone jack is "real stereo" and lets you send one band to the left ear and another to the right. How it does so can be controlled via the menus. If you have really good quality hi-fi headphones you may notice a slight mid-frequency DAC-sounding whine which stays at the same (quiet) level at any volume position, including 0. I didn't notice it until I got a really good headset. This does not show up on the USB audio.

Reliability has been good for me so far, though I hear there are some display inverter issues.

I appreciate the front-panel keyer jack and rear-panel jack that supports a mechanical key for those SKCC moments. No reconfiguration is necessary and I can grab the paddle and run if I go off to rove.

True, there's no RX-only antenna connection, but unless you're doing QSK on 80m nets a coax switch can be driven to do the same thing. Likewise it's strange to me that, being targeted at V/U/EME operation, there wouldn't be a transverter jack... but one can always go the old-fashioned route of using an attenuator and paying attention to the power.

To recap, if you find certain cross-band repeater use cases or an RX antenna vital to your needs, maybe a different (and probably a cheaper) radio will work well for that, at the expense of performance. On the other hand, if you are looking for a good 160m-23cm radio that outperforms its peers and you can live with a few minor quirks, consider the 9100. I'd agree it's more of a 4.5, but given how much it does and how well it does most of those things, I can't in good conscience give it less than a 5.

I welcome PM feedback/questions if there's anything I missed.