Thursday, February 10, 2022

Icom IC-7100 Quick Review

 


 One of my recent purchases was an Icom IC-7100. I wanted to find an all-mode, all-band, digital transceiver for my shack and this one fit my budget and needs. I have grown very fond of this radio in the time I've used it. I love the compact, remote head, USB interface, remote software compatibility, and audio quality. It really is a fun rig with it's unique control head. It is perfect for a crowded desk and the form factor is well designed.

I wanted to buy a used 7100 and after doing extensive research; I gathered some information which may be useful for others. Side note - As I was looking for a used 7100, I came across a deal that I couldn't pass up on a brand new radio for about $50 more after the manufacturer rebate.

Doing a web search, you will find plenty of complaints and compliments about this radio. You will even find modifications to "fix" some perceived shortcomings. Understanding what this radio is, when it was designed, and what it was designed for, should be carefully considered before buying one.

Form-factor/Ergonomics

  •  It was primarily designed for mobile use and can also be used for fixed stations. Many people complain about the shape of the remote control head. There is nothing wrong with it - most buttons and menu functions are laid out fairly well. It does have some quirks though for the quick keys.
  • It works well for a crowded desk or even mobile use. Considering this radio is an all-mode, all-band radio that can be used on every band between 80M-70CM.
  • The control cable length is more than adequate and the radio has several connection/accessory options.
  • One thing I would love to see is an internal ATU like the IC-7300

Power output

  • Power output is on par with other desktop transceivers.
  • Many complaints of low SSB output with the newer Icom radios can turn people off. Hours of research and my own testing concludes that Icom strives for the cleanest signal by incorporating an aggressive Automatic Level Circuit in their HF capable radios. Icom measures PEP, not AVG power output. This means the audio circuit requires more careful adjustment to ensure the ALC is not over-driven. An old trick to push more AVG power is to connect an external ALC box and manually adjust it AFTER the mic audio is set appropriately. AM operators used this technique for decades. Just be careful not overdrive the audio signal or you may get splatter on the bands.
  • There were some quirks in the early firmware revisions for the compression circuit. This has been resolved with the latest firmware.I get great audio reports with the stock microphone and adequate power output as well.

Menu/Operation

  • The menu system is ok and not too "deep" like other radios. Most of the functions are labelled without strange abbreviations and are easy to understand.
  • The quick menu is lacking some main features depending on the mode/band you're in. For example: The meter-type menu should default to multi-function meter instead of being at the bottom of the list.Common functions such as SWR, ALC/AGC, and bandscope on M1-M3 soft keys should be laid out to include the common functions on M1, not M3. The speed/pitch physical button should have been a soft key or placed it in the set menu.

Reliability

  •  I've owned it for a few months and can't give an accurate assessment on this one other than it works flawlessly.

Final thoughts

Lacking a few features and menu items however it is a solid, mid level radio and "shack in the box". I would have loved to see a color touchscreen, waterfall display, and internal tuner. It works great for digital modes, remote control, computer assisted functions, and external accessories. I would buy one of these again.


Here is a compiled list of information that that can be used for reference.


Tuesday, February 1, 2022

What have I been up to?

 Hey everyone.

I've been busy with radio repairs and some pinball machine repairs too. Now that winter is here; I've been working more on my HF station as well. I put up a fan dipole in the attic and a sloper outside. Also bought an IC-7300, IC-7100, MMDVM hotspot, Alinco DMR radio, and RPI-400. I've been chasing awards such as WAS, DXCC, and playing with digital modes.

I have a backlog of content to add to the blog such as new radio repairs and other technology guides. Hopefully updating in the next couple months. One major problem I've experienced lately is the supply chain delays for radio repairs. Parts are harder to get and take longer to arrive. Thanks for understanding!

73,

JJ, W9JES




Ham Radio On YouTube

 


 

Hey Everyone.


Here are a few links to some channels that I follow on YouTube. You are welcome to check them out.


Amateur Logic - A mix of fun, news, and tech segments

Ham Nation - A collective of Youtubers and manufacturers (Also thanks to Icom for the cool goodies they sent me)

TRXLab - Radio Repair Videos

KJ4YYI - (Ham Radio Concepts) - Reviews, Tutorials, and News

K6EGG - Digital Radio, Hotspots, DSTAR, YSF, DMR

KE0OG - Ham Radio tutorials and more

 

 

 

73,

JJ W9JES