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Icom: IC-7100

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#1
I'm thinking about getting this radio. Reading the reviews on eham is like reading tea leaves. It's either someone who hates the 7100 and rates it a 1 or 2, or it is someone who absolutely loves it and rates it a 5. I don't know what to think so I have decided to ask you good folks.

I really like the fact that it is an all-band, all-mode model even though I have VHF and VHF/UHF radios. I like the price too although the original Yaesu FT-991 is just a little bit higher right now since it is being closed out in favor of the 991A. I'm a little suspicious of the 991 because I can't understand exactly why it is being replaced so soon after release. I think there is more to it than just an updated spectrum scope with waterfall.

Anyway, back to the IC-7100. What I don't like about it is it's 2 piece design. D-Star I really don't care about since everything around here is Fusion. I've heard worrisome reports that it doesn't put out much power on SSB. That would be a big problem for me. Does anyone know if that has been solved?

Also, I'd like to ask whether it does SSB on 2 meters?
 

popnokick

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#6
I've had my 7100 for nearly two years now and it has been a real gem. Regarding the "not full output on SSB when using the speech compressor" issue, it was fixed by the most recent firmware update. Modern transceivers are the same as computers... you have to update them and stay current. And of course just like computers, people don't do the necessary updates and then complain about things that were fixed if only they'd do the update.
The thing I like best about the 7100 is its two-piece (remote head and main unit) design, providing a very compact control head for remote mounting. It's perfect for my camper. I set the remote head on the kitchen table, or route the cable to a folding table outside for Field Day and other events. The main unit is permanently mounted in one of the luggage hatches, where I can pop the hatch door and route the coax cable to antennas. However, if I was looking at something for a non-portable, non-mobile installation I'd be looking at the IC-7300. Of course, then you give up the bands above 6 Meters that the 7100 includes. It runs SSB as well as all the other modes (RTTY, DV, AM, CW) on all bands. Another nicety is that it has a built-in sound card modem, meaning all you need to run PSK and other digital modes is your computer, software, and a USB cable. No Signalink or other external mod/demod needed.
 

W9BU

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#7
Yeah, it's the $900 price that has me interested.
Interesting. A rig with a "List Price" of $1999 being sold, after all the discounts and rebates, for $900. Doesn't that strike you as odd?

I have no special knowledge of Icom's marketing strategies or product cycles, but this current price on the IC-7100 tells me that either Icom is having a hard time selling the rig or there's a replacement in the wings. Given that the IC-7300 is a much better HF rig and its list price is $1500 may mean that the 7300 has killed sales of the 7100. Given that the cheap, Chinese DMR radios are killing D-Star may mean that Icom is having serious thoughts about the future of D-Star (though their recent announcement of the ID-51A ++ runs counter to my argument). Given that Icom no longer has a mobile HF radio along the lines of the discontinued IC-7000 or recently-release Yaesu FT-891 may mean that they have a new mobile HF radio coming (in my opinion, the IC-7100 is a poor substitute for the IC-7000 as a mobile radio).

If the IC-7100 looks like it will fill the bill, buy it. As you read eHam.net user reports (aka, reviews), consider what's being said by those who give the radio poor reports. Does their complaint have any impact on how you would use the radio? Does their complaint link back to the user's lack of knowledge about the radio (Icoms are notorious for being picky about their power supply and the IC-7100's menu-driven user interface may be difficult for a knob-and-buttons user to figure out)? As popnokick points out, is the complaint coming from someone before the firmware upgrades fixed known issues? Does the complaint sound like it's coming from someone who just doesn't like the radio and who made a poor buying decision? The negative reports on eHam.net can be useful, but you have to separate the signal from the noise.
 

jwt873

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#8
Interesting. (in my opinion, the IC-7100 is a poor substitute for the IC-7000 as a mobile radio)..
Yes... I've been running an IC-7000 in the car for the last 5 years. I wanted to replace it with the 7100, but because of the size and shape, I just couldn't see any convenient way to mount it. (The flat IC-7000 remote head fits on my dash like it belongs there).

All the Japanese manufacturers provide sales and discounts from time to time so a sale doesn't mean that much. Icom usually showcases new rigs at the Japan ham fair held every August. (The IC-7300 was displayed there for the first time in August of 2015 and the IC-7610 was unveiled just last month). There were no new compact rigs shown.

As I mentioned, I did plan to buy one for the car, so I have done research. I haven't looked at the eHam reviews for a while, but I did just took a peek and see that it still gets pretty good 4.3/5 after 127 reviews. Of course on eHam some people will give a rig 1/5 because they can't figure out how to turn it on.

I definitely would have bought one if it would have fit in the car.
 
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#9
Interesting. A rig with a "List Price" of $1999 being sold, after all the discounts and rebates, for $900. Doesn't that strike you as odd?
I've been following this radio ever since it was released, and I think I know why it is selling for $900. As near as I can discern, the radio never really caught on. People didn't like its alarm-clock form factor or the monochrome touchscreen when other manufacturers were selling radios with color touchscreens.

I have to admit that I loathe the form factor also. It is so much different from what my idea of what a radio should look like that it is really off-putting. However, I have to be aware of the bottom line and that is value, i.e. the number of features and performance you get for the price.

I think the target price (as opposed to the list price which could be anything) of this rig was around $1200-1300 like its predecessor, but because it was not selling at that price point, the price fell. It was really bad for the early adopters but might be good for me.

I've read the reviews on eham, and the major problem that would affect me would be the low output on SSB but I've also heard, as popnokick mentioned, that a firmware update improved things. There is also mention of the radio going haywire if the volume is set too high and a strong single comes in. Well, I intend to put this in my shack where I never have the volume set very high.

I have absolutely no use for D-Star so that doesn't even factor into my decision. Around here, many repeaters were upgraded to Fusion since the big Yaesu repeater sale last year. There just are no D-Star repeaters in my area. Well, not close anyway.

Thank you to all who have taken the time to respond. I really, really appreciate it.
 

popnokick

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#10
Regarding the radio protectively shutting itself down with the volume turned up too high: I have seen that happen, but only prior to the firmware update (E5 I think) that I recently applied. It may not have been fixed in the last update, but I haven't tested for it specifically. What used to happen (and the only time I saw it) was when I was on either our 2 Meter FM ARES net or our local club 2M FM net there would be some stations with really low audio that I had to run the AF gain way up on. So I'd have the AF gain up high and next station to check in would have really hot audio / high deviation and blast through at high volume. The radio immediately powered itself off. Protection for the speaker / audio output stage? Maybe. But I have not seen it happen recently.
 
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#11
Thank you, popnokick. I found your posts helpful, particularly about the SSB low output being fixed with the firmware update.
 

HummerMike

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#12
I have owned two of the 7100's. Both were good radios. I had no complaints about performance with either. My thought is that for a HF rig, it kinda favors a large alarm clock. People buy it as a novelty and get tired of it quickly. Not knocking the style. It would make a great arm chair radio in the den or in very limited space shacks. If Icom came out with this style in a two meter / 440 all mode with a color screen to go along as a complement radio for ones HF rig and it be in the $400 price range, that would sale.
 
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#13
Belive it or not the 7000 , 7100, and 7300 are all the same rigs , just with some tweaking and the addition of a crappie monochrome display ( why did they think we wanted that ?) And dstar ( for a lot of places the only way to do dstar is an additional 400+ dollars for dongles) then they put in a desk based body with color screen and waterfall, I have a 7000 love the thing to death nice color screen with all the most used buttons immediately on either side of the display, it very covent and intuitive , they really made a mess of a great rig when they did the 7100, I have known a lot of pigs and lipstick doesn't help, same deal with the 51a and 5100a cheap monochrome display that is gray on gray they don't have the contrast ability to make the text black with a grey background and what kind of a bone head move the 5100a was with a 600 buck rig that everything you need like Radio Mounts and such is an expensive option , back on the rig your thinking of I would actually say save your bucks, there is a company coming out with a new rig before the end of the year that does fusion, dstar, aprs,dmr, NXDN, and p25 that's gonna be my next toy, aside from that if you want a super all band/ mode rig ,buy a used 7000 with the beautiful color display and for in the Shack hook it to an external monitor for an awesome experience ,with conveint use due to actual buttons instead of monochrome touch display, the 7000 does everything the 7100 does minus dstar, and why pay for a feature you aren't going to use ( unless of course you plan on spending 400 + on dongles and stuff that will make every radio dstar) I can honestly say every ham I know who had a 7000 and sold it for a different rig mourn it's loss and many have gone and bought another 7000 because they missed it so much.

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#14
I would actually say save your bucks, there is a company coming out with a new rig before the end of the year that does fusion, dstar, aprs,dmr, NXDN, and p25 that's gonna be my next toy
Wow, what company is that? Is it an SDR? And is it going to cost an arm and a leg?
 
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#15
They have not announced a price for it yet ,only that it will come out in thr fourth quarter of 2016 advance pre-orders can be made for $35 which will get you first rights of refusal when it premiers look it up at wirelessholgings.org , they also sell a full line of Dstar dongles with and without a raspberry pi , so you can either plug them into your windows or IOS systems and use them that way or have the box that joins your network and doesn't need your computer at all, I read about the dongles in QST went to the site to read more and got smacked in the head with the info on this new mobile rig , several friends and I are making bets on the price mine was $2000 although some guys have said $700 or less , then again the person who wagered that is younger then my ticket by a year, mine was issued March 18 1991 so I have been around a few radios in this life, my Shack has many of the new radios in it but also has some really old but good radios that he considers "boat anchors" ( in his book no go if no VFO, I would like to see him tell that to the Motorola I carried on the job).

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W9BU

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#17
The rumored price of the DV4mobile is around $1000. And, it's only 2m, 222 MHz, and 440 MHz. It does not do HF nor does it do SSB or CW which the IC-7100 does.

Let's not hijack an IC-7100 thread with too much discussion of radios that don't have the same capabilities of the subject radio. The OP is asking for opinions about the IC-7100 and is looking for validation, or contradiction, of the reviews he's read about it.
 
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#18
Sorry I thought I read somewhere that it would do hf also, my brain is like a computer garbage in garbage out.

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W9BU

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#20
Or is this your opinion?
I am the amateur radio frequency coordinator for the Indiana Repeater Association. Over the past two years or so, the number of DMR repeaters has increased dramatically in Indiana and the number of D-Star repeaters has decreased. So, it's my opinion based on Indiana repeater coordinations for the two modes.

Oh, and don't get the idea that I'm a big proponent of DMR for amateur radio. I'm not. I don't own a DMR radio, nor do I own a DMR repeater.

Nonetheless, if the OP thinks that the IC-7100 will suit his needs, whether it has D-Star or not, he's still looking for validation of the review comments he's read on-line.
 
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