We recently had the awesome opportunity to check out the Icom IC-7100 mobile transceiver and the best way to sum it up is with one word – awesome! Icom hit it so far out of the park here that we are left in a state of shock and awe over this mobile unit. It is so innovative and has super fast operation abilities all while being incredibly mobile and easy to use. We are really excited about this review and we can’t wait for you to read it and hopefully decide to give this bad boy a try. So here it is folks, our review of the rocking Icom IC-7100.
For starters we want to discuss some things that we think are very important and really showcase the greatness of this Icom IC-7100 radio. Prepare to be wowed and want to go buy this unit right away after reading our review, but make sure you read the whole thing before you go order one because we want you to get the full scope of its awesomeness. Let’s go ahead and get right down to business!
[easyazon_link cloaking=”default” keywords=”Icom IC-7100 HF/50/144/440 MHz Amateur Radio Mobile Transceiver D-Star Capable w/ Touch Screen – Original Icom USA Model” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”uv5r.net-20″]>> Click here for more great reviews <<[/easyazon_link]
The Icom IC-7100 is the first amateur radio to ever have an intuitive touch screen interface and boy is it an amazing addition to this awesome unit. The touch screen control port is positioned perfectly for the easiest view and is ideal for operation too. The touch screen control portal has a SWR graphic display that expertly features a large and in charge DOT Matrix LCD display.
The touch screen control portal is essential to the Icom IC-7100’s daily functioning in so many ways and it is pretty hard to imagine how we got along without this feature for as long as we have. The control portal not only shows you your channel display and other important information, but it also allows you to alter your feature settings and menus with ease. You can also set various functions and editing memories with the touch screen interface. It is not only nice to look at but wonderfully functional serving many different needs.
The control head makes this an incredibly portable and mobile option for radio users. It also is incredibly compact making it perfect for those users that has limited space in their homes or vehicles. The radio panels no longer need to be flat as is proven by the Icom IC-7100 and its control head. The perfectly angled view for the LCD touch screen along with spacing for big fingers and plenty of room for a might internal speaker is fantastic. There is ample space for a CW key jack, phone/speaker port, microphone and cable jack that is located in the back of it for easy access. The slant top display faces you when you are operating it for the most visibility possible, which is really great if you are in cramped quarters and really need to be able to clearly see what you are doing.
D-STAR stands for digital smart technology for amateur radio and Ham operators are going bananas about the D-STAR feature on the Icom IC-7100 and we can totally see why. It has D-STAR DV mode operation with digital voice and low speed communication for starters that is just plain awesome. The D-STAR repeater will also let you communicate over the internet and long distances with the assistance of the digital modulated clear intelligible audio.
[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00GG05F4E” cloaking=”default” height=”154″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41iwYqx69ZL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”uv5r.net-20″ width=”160″]The Icom IC-7100 comes with some great accessories already, but there are 2 that will really make the experience of using it that much better and a little easier. These additional accessories may be purchased through most online Ham radio operators as well as Amazon.com. Your experience will be made even better with the purchase of a MBA-A mobile mounting bracket and a MBF-1 suction cup base for use in a vehicle. Both of the additional accessories are pretty affordable and easy to install when the time comes.
The pros with this radio are pretty endless it seems. There are so many awesome features and capabilities that we could likely wax poetic about it for day, but we won’t because we want you to actually finish reading this review. Let’s jump right into the awesome pros, shall we?
The Icom IC-7100 is simple to use and has very easy to read instructions unlike some over models out there…*cough cough* BaoFeng * cough cough*. It is a pretty nice looking little unit that doesn’t call too much attention to itself, but doesn’t fade into the background at the same time. There is a perfect balance struck between looks and function. We feel that this unit has the ability to be a great base radio for users whether you plan to use it in a more stationary setting or while on the go.
With this unit you can listen to a variety of channels and meters with ease and great sound. A few listening options available to you are 2 meter, FM broadcast stations and AM broadcast bands just to name a few. The Icom IC-7100 does a great job of receiving week signals which is aided by the built in filtering system that it has. The functioning noise blanker, which is essentially another type of filter that lets your audio come through a bit clearer, is also really great.
The super high efficiency built in speakers will allow you to hear the audio at its best at all times and works really well with the unit’s other internal speaker too. The fan is really quiet and nearly inaudible when it does turn on and will not harm the sound quality one bit. There is a built in SD card slot for voice storage and data cloning that we found comes in pretty handy as does the built in RTTY demodulator and decoder.
The Icom 7100 has a multi-function meter that works expertly and seemingly without any issues. The DSP controller RF speech compressor is very helpful when using both the voice recording as well as the playback functions too. The dual DSP delivery is a very versatile digital processing9 performance function is totally impressed us. There is the optional RS-BA1 IP control remote software that is included and will prove to be a true benefit when tuning into the 0.5 ppm high frequency stability.
There are a whopping total of 505 memory channels, yep that’s right, 505 memory channels! Sweet deal, right?! There are also 495 regular, 4 call, 6 scan edges and 900 D-START repeater memory channels available to make this unit even better. We aren’t sure how much better it can get though, because it’s already pretty amazing. The frequency coverage is amazing and so is the stellar transmit and reception range achieved.
This radio allows you to easily connect the electronic keyer to the controller and use it right away. There are excellent digital processing features digital IF filter, twin PBT and manual notch filters. The great thing about these high grade digital processing features work on all Ham radio handhelds, HF to 70cm bands as well, which is totally awesome if you ask us. This is a very well suited radio for CW/SSB operation and pulls the signals through nice and clear.
This unit comes with some really great accessories to make the most out of your operating experience and we are sure you will be thrilled with these extra goodies when you open the box. It comes with a hand microphone, DC power cable, electronic keyer plug, spare fuses, key plug, ACC cable, separation cable, software CD, and USB cable. Once you unpack it and get yourself set up you will want to hop on the Icom website and download a PDF version of the very easy to follow manual. There are also easy to access firm ware updates available on the website for when you need to update your system.
Probably our least favorite section of a review is the cons area and that is absolutely the case in this review. There is no such thing as a perfect product, but the Icom IC-7100 is just about as close as possible and that makes finding drawbacks a bit on the difficult side. Let’s make this as quick and painless as possible by getting these cons out of the way. Ready? Here we go.
The only major issue that we could find with the Icom IC-7100 was that the first batch out of the factory had touch screen issues. The touch screen control portal was not responsive and would require the unit being replaced. This issue does seem to have been cleared up and all subsequent models aren’t showing signs of this same issue. I can imagine that this was super frustrating for those that had the unfortunate luck of getting one of the radios with this pesky screen issue, but we are glad to see that Icom replaced the defective ones and has seemingly corrected the bug.
This is probably going to seem like a silly thing to put in our cons section, but we are going to do it anyway. We are really disappointed that it sells out really fast and that it is hard to get in stock it from some retailers. Now this is certainly due to epic nature of the Icom 7100 and is not a flaw by any means, but call us softies from wanting everyone to have the option of playing around with this fine little unit.
The answer to the question of “who it’s best for” is super simple, because it is literally a radio for anyone and everyone. It has all the functions and features that users across the board will be stoked to use. We will briefly talk about the 3 main types of users for this radio to give you an idea of what a great and versatile unit it is.
For starters the Icom IC-7100 is really great for amateur Ham radio operators. The reason it is so great for those that are a little green when it comes to operation is simple. It is very easy to set up and just as easy to actually use. There isn’t anything complicated about this unit and that is why it is so wonderful for newbies.
We also think that this unit is best for those Ham users that have been around the proverbial block a few times. If you are used to handling this type of radio, you are going to be really pleased and will easily see all of the value and abilities at play here. This may not be an overly complicated radio, but it certainly isn’t a simple one either. The Icom IC-7100 absolutely will exceed more seasoned user’s expectations and suit all of their needs and then some.
We have already touched a little bit on this, but we really want to reiterate that this is an amazing selection for Ham operators that are limited on space of that are on the go frequently. This is a compact and extremely portable choice. It is able to fit unobtrusively in nearly any space as well as making it more portable than nearly any other radio of its kind. It is designed this way to reach a broader user base and we feel that it has fully achieved it with much success.
If there was a fan club for the Icom IC-7100 we would lobby really hard to be the president of it. We could easily sit here and sings it’s praises for at least another 1,000 words, but alas that would cut into the amount of time that we get to use it today. Suffice it to say that we love this powerhouse of a Ham radio and we are so certain that you will love it to. We may have a vice president spot open for you if you’d like to join the fan club with us after you play around with yours.
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