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Icom: Icom IC-7100

jk77

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Feb 2, 2013
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Ohio
I currently have a Yaesu 991 (not "a" version) which I really like, but recently I've got an itch to try something new and keep one as a backup radio. The Icom IC-7100 seems to be a bargain at less than $900, and it, like the Yaesu 991, covers VHF and UHF.

I realize that the 7100 had a problem with output power on SSB and was the victim of some bad press because of it (hence the lower price). I'd rather not rehash this issue because I studied it quite a bit. I also realize that the form factor may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I'm buying it on functionality and not aesthetics.

About me, I'm a very causal amateur who just upgraded to extra a few years ago. I don't contest. I don't chew the rag.
I mainly just reply when someone calls cq. I am budget limited.

So what are your views on the Icom? Is it a good radio? If you have one, what is your experience?
 

W9BU

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If I was going to spend $900 on an HF base radio, I would spend just a little more and buy an Icom IC-7300 without question. The 7300 has been a game changer in the HF transceiver market and few other radios can touch it's performance at twice the price.

Yes, the 7300 doesn't have VHF-UHF like your FT-991 or the IC-7100 has. But, unless you really need all modes on VHF-UHF, a separate FM mobile radio combined with an HF base radio will suffice.
 

prcguy

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I had two remote controlled radios in different states and needed to upgrade them. I bought an Icom 7100 only on the recommendation it was the favorite for use with the RemoteRig boxes which I plan on using with it. I ran the radio at home for a few months and love it. I also did some research and even though its not on Rob Sherwoods receiver list it has a very good receiver, not contest quality but better than just about anything in its price class. With sales and rebates I ended up paying about $749 which is a bargain.

I liked the 7100 so much I bought a second and if the Icom 706MKIIG in my truck breaks soon I'll buy another 7100 for the truck. The 7100 does not have a tuner but the LDG IT-100 is a perfect match and pushing the tune button on the radio starts the tuning cycle just like an internal tuner would inside the radio.

Fast forward a few months and one 7100 control head is sitting in front of me in So Cal running right now with the rest of the radio sitting near Dallas, TX into an end fed HF antenna and a clone of a Comet GP-9. Its working great both on HF and VHF/UHF and nobody can tell its being remote controlled. Next month my second 7100 will be planted near Boston with a similar setup.

I should also mention I'm not a casual radio user and usually operate higher end contest type radios and easily get annoyed with mediocre performing equipment. So far I'm really happy every time I use the 7100 and it hasn't done anything to annoy me yet.

Final comment, for a shack in the box type radio with HF plus VHF/UHF I don't think you can beat the 7100 for its price and I think it will outperform some radios costing a bit more. As already mentioned, if you only need HF and VHF/UHF is not in the picture, the Icom 7300 is a $2,500 class HF radio that costs less than $1,100 these days.
 

jk77

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If I was going to spend $900 on an HF base radio, I would spend just a little more and buy an Icom IC-7300 without question. The 7300 has been a game changer in the HF transceiver market and few other radios can touch it's performance at twice the price.

Yes, the 7300 doesn't have VHF-UHF like your FT-991 or the IC-7100 has. But, unless you really need all modes on VHF-UHF, a separate FM mobile radio combined with an HF base radio will suffice.
I will admit that my tastes tend to run counter to many and that I do like HF + VHF/UHF in one radio. It's one of the things I really love about my Yaesu 991. To be honest, the only reason I'm considering the 7100 is because it incorporates VHF and UHF.

As far as the 7300 goes, I know without a doubt that it is a popular and good radio. But I'm still not sure how I feel about SDR hybrids. My interests in radio date back before computers even made the scene so, for me at this time, I prefer a regular radio. Perhaps in the future I will want an SDR hybrid, I don;t know.

I also do a lot of work on VHF. I do more on VHF than on HF so having an all mode VHF rig is important to me.

So basically, those are the reasons I am considering the 7100 over the 7300.
 

prcguy

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I use my remote 7100 mostly on VHF/UHF, both FM and SSB and constantly get people asking what I'm using because the transmit audio is so good. On the 7300 being an SDR, it operates just like any older analog radio but had features and performance you can't get with an analog radio, especially for the price.

Not sure if I would call the 7300 an SDR hybrid, its an SDR period. It happens to be a direct conversion SDR, which is a newer breed in amateur radio.

I will admit that my tastes tend to run counter to many and that I do like HF + VHF/UHF in one radio. It's one of the things I really love about my Yaesu 991. To be honest, the only reason I'm considering the 7100 is because it incorporates VHF and UHF.

As far as the 7300 goes, I know without a doubt that it is a popular and good radio. But I'm still not sure how I feel about SDR hybrids. My interests in radio date back before computers even made the scene so, for me at this time, I prefer a regular radio. Perhaps in the future I will want an SDR hybrid, I don;t know.

I also do a lot of work on VHF. I do more on VHF than on HF so having an all mode VHF rig is important to me.

So basically, those are the reasons I am considering the 7100 over the 7300.
 

jk77

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Ohio
I use my remote 7100 mostly on VHF/UHF, both FM and SSB and constantly get people asking what I'm using because the transmit audio is so good. On the 7300 being an SDR, it operates just like any older analog radio but had features and performance you can't get with an analog radio, especially for the price.

Not sure if I would call the 7300 an SDR hybrid, its an SDR period. It happens to be a direct conversion SDR, which is a newer breed in amateur radio.
I call the 7300 a hybrid because it is an SDR put in a box with knobs and buttons. I think this is to satisfy those of us who are used to radios being boxes with knobs. I think future generations will just have a box connected to a computer for ultimate control over everything. But I am of the older generation who like my radios looking like radios. For me, half the fun is playing with the knobs and buttons. I doubt I will ever get a pure SDR.

I am just wondering whether Icom produces good radios in general as compared to Yaesu and Kenwood? I am a Yaesu man myself and find that Yaesu produces quality radios with a lot of features that you don't get with the other manufacturers for a comparable or lesser price. I do have a Kenwood 2 meter rig which I like a lot, but I know nothing about Icom radios except what I read. I never had my hands on one except at the candy store.
 

prcguy

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Just for reference, a Software Defined Radio only refers to typical internal radio functions like transmit or receive information bandwidth, modulation/demodulation, AGC, etc, being done by computer simulation and being upgradable or changeable via software or firmware. The term SDR has nothing to do with external computer control or knobs, lack of knobs, etc. An SDR can take on many shapes and forms and still be called an SDR.

A USB RTL dongle can be an SDR, a superhetrodyne receiver with the final IF BW and demodulation done in computer simulation (like the Elecraft K3) is an SDR or a direct conversion radio like a Icom 7300 or Elecraft KX3 is an SDR as is a black box Flex 6700 and so on. The Icom 7100 appears to have a digitized IF with some receiver functions done in computer simulation and its upgradable, so it would qualify as an SDR.

I call the 7300 a hybrid because it is an SDR put in a box with knobs and buttons. I think this is to satisfy those of us who are used to radios being boxes with knobs. I think future generations will just have a box connected to a computer for ultimate control over everything. But I am of the older generation who like my radios looking like radios. For me, half the fun is playing with the knobs and buttons. I doubt I will ever get a pure SDR.

I am just wondering whether Icom produces good radios in general as compared to Yaesu and Kenwood? I am a Yaesu man myself and find that Yaesu produces quality radios with a lot of features that you don't get with the other manufacturers for a comparable or lesser price. I do have a Kenwood 2 meter rig which I like a lot, but I know nothing about Icom radios except what I read. I never had my hands on one except at the candy store.
 

W9BU

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I assume that the IC-7100 is like the IC-7600 in that it has a super-het first stage followed by an off-the-shelf DSP chip running the "IF filters", AGC, and demodulation functions. I see phrases like "IF DSP for filtering/interference removal/noise reduction" and "DSP-based dual-loop AGC" in the description.

Icom has moved past their DSP line of radios and is now writing their own software-based receivers running on an FPGA as in the IC-7300, IC-R8600, IC-7610, and IC-9700.

But, that's not to suggest that an SDR is the be-all and end-all of receiver design. There are a lot of super-het (plus DSP) radios that rank pretty highly on Rob Sherwood's list.

Back to the OPs comments about "shack in a box"...If that's what you want, then go for it. I'm not crazy about putting all of my marbles into one box, but that's my preference. You have to do what's right for you.
 

KD2FIQ

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Sep 3, 2014
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I have an ICOM IC-7100 and a Yaesu FT-991 (no "A"). I also have an ICOM IC-7300. I really like the IC-7100. It's awesome. I use it in the mobile and for remote operations. It's very convenient. I've used a 35 foot CAT6 shielded cable for a separation cable with no issues. It doesn't have an internal tuner which should be considered. After playing with ICOM's and Yaesu's, I like the way the control interface / operation is on ICOM's. Something as simple as the squelch setting is preferable to me on the ICOM as it is based on the S meter. So easy. Yaesu has some an arbitrary scale.

The IC-7100 does have the low HF SSB output issue. Mine has it and I think they all do. There is the "fix" or "mod" to remedy this. I have not pursued it.

Best part is the IC-7100 is a great price!!! $820 after rebate.
 

KD2FIQ

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That's good to hear. I'll double-check all my firmware. IIRC, there hasn't been a new firmware in quite a while. Last one was January 2016. My 7100 was purchased new in May 2917.
 

jk77

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I have not played with the 7100 much, but it seems to me to be simpler to use than the Yaesu 991. For those of you who have both, do you find this to be the case? Giant menu on the Yaesu plus numerous teeny-tiny buttons make it rather difficult for me, but I love it nevertheless.
 

KD2FIQ

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It's funny, I thought the 991 was the cat's meow as far as function of buttons, dials, soft buttons, etc. Then I got the 7300 and realized how much more I prefer Icom radios. Something as simple as squelch. On the Icom it's one knob. On the 991, your are hunting through menus to get a soft button to then make the multifunction knob squelch. Hilariously on the 991, there are some permanent function knobs that may be better served with a different function. Of course every operator is different though with different preferences.
 

prcguy

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The big three seem to go in cycles. In the late 70s Kenwood seemed to dominate the HF world, then it wavered between Yaesu and Icom in the 80s and 90s. Now Kenwood hardly ever puts out a new radio while Yaesu has several new models every year, but they seem to bring them to market before they are ready. Today Icom puts out a solid radio and I think they are leading the pack with smooth easy to operate radios with great performance for the price.

I think I mentioned in a different thread where I bought my 7100 only on a recommendation for its good compatibility with the RemoteRig boxes and I had no other information on the radio. It was a complete and pleasant surprise to see its actually a great all around radio with very good performance.

It's funny, I thought the 991 was the cat's meow as far as function of buttons, dials, soft buttons, etc. Then I got the 7300 and realized how much more I prefer Icom radios. Something as simple as squelch. On the Icom it's one knob. On the 991, your are hunting through menus to get a soft button to then make the multifunction knob squelch. Hilariously on the 991, there are some permanent function knobs that may be better served with a different function. Of course every operator is different though with different preferences.
 

KD2FIQ

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I'm just not sure how much I would be adjusting my RF gain via a dedicated knob. I don't think I have touch it once.
 

W9BU

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There is a school of thought that the RF gain control is the most important adjustment on a receiver. In noisy conditions, turning down the RF gain while turning up the AF gain (volume) can make the signal easier to copy. The RF gain amplifies noise as well as signal, so reduce the noise by decreasing the gain.

Give a try sometime.
 
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