Icom 5100 Review : The Ultimate Guide.

The icom 5100 is a versatile and reliable dual-band mobile radio offering excellent features and performance for both amateur and professional use. The icom 5100 is a top-of-the-line dual-band mobile radio that is perfect for those who need a high-quality and dependable radio for their amateur or professional needs.

With its versatility, reliability, and excellent features, the icom 5100 has become one of the most popular choices in the market today. This mobile radio comes with a large, easy-to-read display, intuitive controls, and a powerful transmitter that can be adjusted to suit your specific needs.

Additionally, the icom 5100 is packed with a range of innovative features that make it an excellent choice for any user, including built-in gps, d-star digital voice and data communication options, and much more. So whether you need a reliable radio for your hobby or for professional purposes, the icom 5100 is a must-have device that you won’t want to miss.

What Is Icom 5100?

Explanation Of Icom 5100 And What It Does

The icom 5100 is a mobile transceiver that offers dual-band functionality, allowing its users to communicate on both vhf and uhf frequencies. It is designed to provide a wide variety of features that makes it suitable for a range of applications, such as amateur radio, emergency services, and casual communication.

Description Of Icom 5100 Features And Specifications

The icom 5100 boasts of several useful features, including:

  • Large, easy-to-read display screen
  • Intuitive interface that makes navigation easy
  • Built-in gps functionality
  • Voice and data recording capabilities
  • D-star compatibility for digital communication
  • Multiple power settings, allowing you to save battery life when needed
  • Weather alert function that keeps you informed about any approaching storms, etc.
  • Auto repeater function for extending communication range


  • Frequency range: 144-148mhz, 430-450mhz
  • Output power: 50/15/5w
  • Channels: 1052 memory channels
  • Dimensions: 150(w)×40(h)×171.9(d) mm
  • Weight: 1.2kg

Overall, the icom 5100 is a feature-rich dual-band mobile transceiver perfect for those who require reliable communication capabilities in a compact and easy-to-use package. Whether you’re a seasoned amateur radio operator, an emergency services provider, or simply someone who enjoys staying connected while on the go, the icom 5100 is an excellent choice.

Icom 5100 Unboxing And Set-Up

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced radio user, unboxing and setting up a new radio can be both exciting and challenging. In this section, we will walk you through the process of unboxing and setting up the icom 5100 radio, ensuring that you get the best out of your new device right from the very start.

Unboxing And Contents

When you unbox your icom 5100 radio, you will find the following items:

  • The icom 5100 radio
  • Hm-207 dtmf hand microphone
  • Opc-837 separation cable
  • Microphone hanger
  • Power cord
  • Cd manual

Make sure that all the contents are present before proceeding to set up your radio.

Set-Up And Installation Process

Before setting up your icom 5100, here are some key points to note:

  • The radio should be installed in a location free from rf and electrical noise.
  • The microphone cable should be kept separate from other cables to reduce the risk of interference.
  • Grounding is important, so make sure that the radio is grounded through the power supply and the antenna.

Here are the steps to set up your radio:

  • Choose a location for your radio that is away from electrical noise.
  • Connect the power cord to the radio and the power supply.
  • Connect the antenna to the radio.
  • Install the hm-207 dtmf hand microphone.
  • Connect the microphone hanger to the radio.
  • Attach the opc-837 separation cable to the radio and remote head.
  • Power on the radio and complete the basic configuration.

After completing these steps, you can move on to using your radio for the first time.

First-Time User Experience

When using the icom 5100 for the first time, here are some key points to note:

  • The radio has a touch screen interface, which can be operated by touch or with the buttons on the microphone.
  • The radio is pre-programmed with popular amateur radio channels, making it easy to get started.
  • The radio has a user-friendly interface with simple menus and settings.

Here are some of the features that you can explore when using your icom 5100 for the first time:

  • Gps functionality
  • D-star digital voice and data communication
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Analog and digital dual-band operation

Unboxing and setting up the icom 5100 radio can be an exciting and rewarding experience. With its advanced features and ease of use, the icom 5100 radio is perfect for both beginners and experienced operators alike.



Initial Set-Up Of Icom 5100

Setting Up The Icom 5100 Radio

The initial setup of the icom 5100 radio is crucial to its proper functioning. Here’s a quick breakdown of the key points involved:

  • Ensure that the radio is set up in a location that is free from any electromagnetic interference, which can cause distortion and signal break-up in transmissions. Keep it away from other electronic devices such as tvs, computers, and other radios.
  • Connect the power cable to the back of the radio, and ensure that the voltage is appropriate for your region. An incorrect voltage can cause damage to the radio.
  • Install the microphone hanger and attach the hand-held microphone securely to the hanger.
  • Turn on the radio and set the date, time, and any other settings required to suit your preferences.

Connecting The Icom 5100 To An Antenna

Connecting the icom 5100 radio to the right type of antenna is important for optimal performance. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Choose the appropriate antenna type and gain level to match your operating requirements. A high-gain directional antenna will suit users looking to operate long-range communications, while a low-gain omni-directional antenna will suit those operating in more urban areas.
  • Use high-quality coaxial cable with minimal signal loss to ensure maximum efficiency of the transmission.
  • Install the antenna in a clear and unobstructed line-of-sight location, away from any nearby structures, trees, or other objects that may interfere with the signal.

Programming The Icom 5100

Programming the icom 5100 radio is key to accessing its various features and functions. Follow these key points for successful programming:

  • Use the icom software to program the radio easily and accurately. The software can be downloaded from the icom website.
  • Select the frequency band, mode, and other parameters depending on the type of conversation that you wish to join.
  • Ensure that you store the programmed data in the radio’s memory channels, making it easy to recall and use in the future.
  • Test the programming settings and verify the radio’s performance by making a transmission to another radio or conducting an antenna check.

The initial set-up of the icom 5100 radio is essential for the proper functioning and optimal performance of the device. Setting up the radio, connecting it to the appropriate antenna, and programming it correctly will save users time and ensure that they get the most out of its features.

User Interface And Controls

Overview Of The User Interface

The icom 5100 is a popular dual-band mobile transceiver that comes with an easy-to-use interface. Here’s what you need to know about its user interface:

  • The display is large and clear, making it easy to read even in harsh lighting conditions.
  • The buttons are well placed and arranged logically, reducing the learning curve for new users.
  • The menu-driven interface is easy to navigate, with intuitive icons and prompts that guide users through the various functions and settings.

Explanation Of The Various Controls On The Icom 5100

The icom 5100 has a wide variety of controls, each serving a specific function. Here’s what you need to know about the most common buttons and knobs:

  • Power button: Turns the unit on or off.
  • Volume knob: Controls the audio output level.
  • Squelch knob: Adjusts the noise filter to eliminate background noise.
  • Function buttons: Allow users to access frequently used features quickly.
  • Microphone: Equipped with a ptt switch and a built-in speaker for clear audio communication.
  • Touch screen display: Lets users operate the radio by tapping on the screen to select menus or adjust settings.

Tips On Using The User Interface Efficiently

If you want to make the most out of the icom 5100’s user interface, follow these tips:

  • Customize the display to show only the most relevant information to avoid clutter and confusion.
  • Take advantage of the touch screen display’s features, such as flick scrolling and drag-and-drop functionality.
  • Save frequently used functions to the function buttons for quick access.
  • Familiarize yourself with the button placement and arrangement to make it easier to control the radio without looking at it.
  • Practice using the squelch knob to adjust the noise filter for clearer communication and to save battery life.

The icom 5100’s user interface is designed to be beginner-friendly while offering a wide range of advanced features for seasoned users. With its clear display, intuitive controls, and customizable settings, any user can operate the radio efficiently.

Icom 5100 Features In Detail

Detailed Explanation Of Icom 5100 Features And Capabilities

The icom 5100 is a popular radio among hams due to its advanced features and capabilities. Below are some of the key features and capabilities of the icom 5100:

  • Dual-band radio: The icom 5100 comes with both vhf and uhf bands, allowing hams to access a wide range of frequencies.
  • D-star compatibility: The icom 5100 is d-star compatible, enabling hams to communicate worldwide through a digital protocol.
  • Wide touchscreen display: The radio features a large 5.5-inch touchscreen display that makes it easy to navigate through its features.
  • Gps receiver: The icom 5100 comes with a built-in gps receiver, enabling hams to track their location and send their coordinates.
  • Microsd card slot: The radio has a built-in microsd card slot, allowing users to record their conversations or save data to the card.
  • Weather alert: The icom 5100 has a weather alert feature that alerts users when there is severe weather incoming.

Comparison To Other Radios In The Market

The icom 5100 is one of the best radios available in the market, and it outperforms its competitors in many ways. Below are some advantages of the icom 5100 over its competition:

  • Dual-watch: The icom 5100’s dual-watch feature allows hams to monitor two frequencies simultaneously, which is not available in many other radios.
  • D-star compatibility: The icom 5100 is one of only a few radios that is d-star compatible.
  • Gps receiver: The icom 5100 has a built-in gps receiver, which is not available in many other radios.
  • Touchscreen display: The large touchscreen display of the icom 5100 is more advanced than many of the traditional buttons and knobs found on other radios.
  • Microsd card slot: Although some radios have a microsd card slot, the icom 5100’s slot can be used to record conversations or save data.

Analysis Of Real-World Use-Cases

The icom 5100 is a versatile radio that can be used for a wide range of applications. Some examples of real-world use-cases of the icom 5100 include:

  • Emergency communication: The icom 5100’s advanced features such as d-star compatibility, gps receiver, and weather alerts make it an ideal radio for emergency communication.
  • Mobile communication: The icom 5100’s touchscreen display and microsd card slot make it a suitable radio for mobile communication.
  • Base station communication: The icom 5100 can be used as a base station, with the option to connect an external antenna for improved performance.
  • Dx-peditions: Due to its wide range of frequencies and d-star compatibility, the icom 5100 is a suitable radio for dx-peditions.

Overall, the icom 5100 is a top-of-the-line radio that offers advanced features, capabilities, and versatility. Whether it’s for emergency communication, mobile communication, or dx-peditions, the icom 5100 is an excellent choice for all hams.

D-Star Digital Voice And Data Modes

Explanation Of D-Star Digital Voice And Data Modes

D-star, which stands for digital smart technologies for amateur radio, is a digital voice and data protocol used by amateur radio enthusiasts all around the world. This technology utilizes a low-power digital signal that enhances voice transmissions to digital fidelity.

Moreover, d-star enables a faster data transmission rate, allowing for more efficient communication among radio enthusiasts. Here are its notable features that every amateur radio operator should know:

  • D-star is a digital voice technology, providing clearer voice communication with less noise.
  • D-star is a digital data transmission technology that is faster than analog communication.
  • D-star offers call routing, enabling the operator to communicate directly to a specific station or through a repeater system.

Benefits Of D-Star And How To Use It

D-star has numerous benefits that amateurs should take advantage of. Firstly, it provides a better quality of communication compared to analog technology. Second, it enables efficient data transmission, allowing operators to transmit files, images, or even gps coordinates to other stations.

Third, d-star offers four different modes for communication – voice, data, gps, and dv dongle – giving a wide range of options to its users.

Using d-star technology is easy. To get started, you need a d-star compatible radio, and you have to register with a local d-star repeater system or gateway. After registration, you can use this technology to communicate with other operators within your area or worldwide.

Here is a basic guide to use d-star:

  • Turn on the d-star radio and enter the frequency of your local repeater.
  • Enter your callsign, unique access code, and then connect to the repeater system.
  • When connected, you can make voice calls, send files, or use gps synchronization.

How D-Star Mode Can Be Used For Emergency Communications

D-star technology can be used to transmit critical information during emergency situations when traditional communication infrastructure is unavailable. During natural calamities, disasters, or other emergencies, d-star is a reliable communication method. Here are some best practices in using d-star for emergency communication:

  • Connect to the nearest d-star repeater system or gateway.
  • Configure your radio correctly to ensure effective communication, contact the target operator or emergency services.
  • Utilize available d-star features such as gps position and text messaging in case voice communication is not possible.
  • Follow emergency communication protocols and frequencies to ensure smooth and accurate information transmission.

D-star is a reliable technology that offers better quality voice communication, faster data transmission, and diverse communication modes. With its various features, users can enjoy communication, even during emergencies. Amateur radio enthusiasts should consider using d-star to enhance their radio communication experience and be better equipped for emergency situations.

Gps Receiver And Position Reporting

Explanation Of Gps Receiver Feature And How It Works

If you’re looking for a versatile and user-friendly transceiver, the icom 5100 is definitely worth checking out. One of the standout features of this transceiver is its built-in gps receiver, which adds a whole new dimension to your radio experience.

Here are some key points about how the gps receiver works:

  • The gps receiver is built into the transceiver, so there’s no need for external equipment or wiring.
  • The receiver uses satellite signals to determine your exact location and displays it on the transceiver’s screen.
  • The gps receiver provides real-time tracking, showing your speed, heading, altitude, and distance to the target.
  • The gps data can be logged and saved for later analysis or sharing.

How To Use Gps Receiver For Aprs Transmitting And Receiving

The automatic packet reporting system (aprs) is a popular digital communication protocol among amateur radio enthusiasts. The icom 5100’s built-in gps receiver makes it easy to use aprs for transmitting and receiving location data. Here are some tips on how to use the gps receiver for aprs:

  • Set up your call sign and configure the aprs settings in the transceiver’s menu.
  • When transmitting aprs packets, the gps receiver will automatically include your location data and other relevant details.
  • On the receiving end, the gps data from other stations will be displayed on the map screen, showing their location, altitude, and other information.
  • You can use the transceiver’s built-in messaging function to communicate with other aprs stations, sending and receiving short messages along with gps data.

How Gps Receiver Can Be Used To Aid Navigation

In addition to aprs and location tracking, the icom 5100’s gps receiver can also be used to aid navigation. Here are some ways you can use this feature to ensure a safe and efficient trip:

  • Enter your destination coordinates or address into the transceiver’s navigation menu, and the gps receiver will guide you to your destination with turn-by-turn directions.
  • Set up waypoints along your route to mark important locations or landmarks. The gps receiver will display your progress and give you estimated time of arrival based on your current speed and position.
  • Use the transceiver’s compass function to orient yourself and keep heading in the right direction. The compass display shows your current heading, magnetic bearing, and true north, making it easy to navigate in any terrain.
  • If you’re traveling in a group, you can use the transceiver’s group monitoring function to keep track of other stations’ locations and distances, ensuring that everyone stays together.

Overall, the icom 5100’s gps receiver is a powerful tool that adds versatility and convenience to any amateur radio setup. Whether you’re using aprs for location tracking, navigating to a new destination, or monitoring your group’s progress, the gps receiver will make your radio experience more enjoyable and efficient.

Dual Receiver Capability

Explanation Of Dual Receiver Capability

The icom 5100 is a well-known dual-band transceiver that provides a wealth of features for amateur radio enthusiasts. One of its most notable capabilities is dual receiver functionality. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The icom 5100 can receive and monitor two frequencies at once, allowing you to monitor multiple channels and listen to two different conversations simultaneously.
  • Each receiver has its own volume and squelch controls, and you can toggle between them with the press of a button.
  • The dual receiver functionality is particularly useful for monitoring your local repeater while keeping an ear out for emergency communications or other important broadcasts.

How To Use Dual Receive Mode

If you’re new to the icom 5100 or dual receiver functionality, don’t worry — it’s easy to get started. Here’s how to use dual receive mode:

  • Press the “dualwatch” button on the front panel of the radio to activate dual receiver mode.
  • Use the “main” and “sub” buttons to select the frequencies you want to monitor on each receiver.
  • Adjust the volume and squelch controls for each receiver as desired.
  • When you want to switch between receivers, simply press the “main/sub” button to toggle back and forth.

Benefits Of Dual Receive Mode

There are plenty of reasons to take advantage of the icom 5100’s dual receiver capability. Here are just a few:

  • Stay on top of multiple conversations at once without having to switch frequencies or channels manually.
  • Monitor important channels or frequencies constantly while still being able to participate in local repeater conversations.
  • Keep an ear out for emergency communications or weather alerts while carrying on with other radio activities.
  • The dual receiver function is particularly handy for contests or other events where you need to keep track of multiple frequencies and conversations simultaneously.

Overall, the icom 5100’s dual receiver feature is a major asset for any amateur radio operator looking to stay connected and informed on multiple frequencies at once. With just a little practice, you’ll be able to take full advantage of this versatile and powerful feature.

Pros And Cons Of Icom 5100

Overview Of The Pros And Cons Of Icom 5100

The icom 5100 is a compact, versatile, and easy-to-use amateur radio designed for use in a range of communication scenarios. Let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of this radio.


  • High-quality audio: The icom 5100 has excellent audio quality, allowing for clear and easy communication with other users.
  • Wideband receiver: The radio’s wideband receiver can receive signals within the 0.495-999.990 mhz range, making it perfect for listening and staying up-to-date with news and weather reports.
  • Easy programming: The icom 5100 is designed with an easy-to-use interface, making programming the radio a breeze.
  • D-star capabilities: The radio supports d-star digital voice and data communication, providing clear and reliable communication over long distances.
  • Multiple display options: Users can choose between two different display options, including a full-dot, high-resolution display and a simplified, easy-to-read display.


  • Limited battery life: The icom 5100’s battery life is limited and may require frequent recharging.
  • Limited transmit power: The radio has a maximum transmit power of 50 watts, which may not be sufficient for some users’ needs.
  • Price: The icom 5100 is more expensive than other amateur radios on the market, making it less accessible for some users.

Comparison With Other Amateur Radios

Compared to other amateur radios on the market, the icom 5100 stands out in several key ways:

  • Audio quality: The icom 5100’s high-quality audio stands out from other radios, providing clear and easy communication even in noisy environments.
  • D-star capabilities: The radio’s ability to support d-star digital voice and data communication makes it a reliable and versatile choice for long-distance communication.
  • Ease of programming: The icom 5100’s intuitive interface makes it easy to program and configure the radio to your liking.

Despite these advantages, the icom 5100 does have some limitations when compared to other radios. Its limited battery life and maximum transmit power may be a disadvantage for some users, and its higher price point may not be accessible to all.

Overall, the icom 5100 is a durable and reliable choice for those looking for high-quality audio and versatile communication capabilities.

Pros Of Icom 5100

The icom 5100 is a radio that has been gaining popularity in the market due to its unique advantages and high-quality performance. In this section of the blog post, we will explore the key benefits of the icom 5100 and how it stands out from other radios.

Detailed Explanation Of The Icom 5100’S Advantages

The icom 5100 boasts a range of advantages that make it stand out from other radios available on the market. Below, we will delve into some of the most significant advantages of this radio:

  • User-friendly design: The icom 5100 has a straightforward and intuitive design that makes it easy for users, even those that are new to radios, to operate it effectively.
  • Dual-band functionality: The icom 5100 can operate on both vhf and uhf frequencies, which allows for a more comprehensive range of communication options.
  • High audio quality: The icom 5100 features clear and high-quality audio, which ensures that users can communicate effectively.
  • Large and clear display: The radio has a large and easy-to-read display, which enables users to see the information they need quickly.
  • Gps functions: The icom 5100 has built-in gps functions, which make it easy for users to track their location and navigate to their destination.

How It Stands Out From Other Radios

The icom 5100 is one of the most popular radios on the market, and for a good reason. It stands out from other radios in several ways, including:

  • Innovative features: The icom 5100 comes with innovative features such as a voice recorder, which enables users to record and play back conversations, making it an ideal option for journalists and audio producers.
  • Excellent build quality: The radio’s build quality is sturdy and durable, making it perfect for use in extreme weather conditions or rugged environments.
  • Vibration alert function: The icom 5100 has a handy vibration alert function that alerts users when a call is coming in, making it an ideal option for noisy environments where auditory alerts might not be heard.
  • Expandable memory: The radio has an expandable memory slot that allows users to store more channels and configurations, making it more versatile and flexible.

The icom 5100 is a versatile and innovative radio that stands out from other radios in several ways. Its user-friendly design, high audio quality, and innovative features make it a popular option among users, and its durability and reliability are things that make it worth investing in.

Cons Of Icom 5100

Explanation Of Icom 5100’S Disadvantages

Although the icom 5100 has many impressive features, it does have some drawbacks as well. Here are some of the most notable:

  • The icom 5100’s user interface is not as intuitive as some other radios on the market, making it harder for beginners to navigate and use.
  • It doesn’t have a built-in gps, which is a significant disadvantage for those who want to use this radio for navigation purposes.
  • The radio’s price point is quite steep compared to other mobile radios in the market, making it a considerable investment for users who can’t afford to spend a lot of money on radio equipment.
  • The radio’s size is also a bit bulky, which can make it difficult to install in smaller vehicles or tight spaces.
  • The icom 5100’s 2-meter and 70cm bands are known to experience frequency drift, which can result in poor quality audio and signal propagation.

How It Competes Against Other Radios In The Market

Despite its drawbacks, the icom 5100 is still a high-quality mobile radio that competes well against other radios in the market. Here’s a breakdown of its key advantages and disadvantages versus other popular models:

  • Icom 5100 vs. yaesu ftm-400xdr: The yaesu ftm-400xdr has a more intuitive user interface and a built-in gps. However, the icom 5100 has a larger display screen and is generally considered to have better audio quality.
  • Icom 5100 vs. kenwood tm-d710g: The kenwood tm-d710g is more affordable than the icom 5100 and has a built-in gps. However, the icom 5100 has a larger display screen and is generally considered to have better audio quality.
  • Icom 5100 vs. anytone at-d878uv: The anytone at-d878uv is significantly more affordable than the icom 5100 and has better battery life. However, the icom 5100 has a larger display screen and better audio quality.

Ultimately, the icom 5100 is a solid choice for those who are willing to invest in a high-quality mobile radio with advanced features. While it does have some drawbacks, its overall performance and functionality make it a great choice for serious radio enthusiasts who demand the best in quality and performance.

Frequently Asked Questions On Icom 5100 Review

What Is Icom 5100 Radio And Its Features?

Icom 5100 radio is a mobile radio with two separate rf decks. It comes with a touch screen display, built-in gps and wideband receiver. It has multiple functions like d-star, dv mode, voice memory, and more.

What Are The Benefits Of Icom 5100 Radio?

Icom 5100 radio offers advanced functions like gps, wideband receiver, d-star, and more. It is easy to operate and offers superior audio quality. It can be used for public safety, search and rescue operations, and amateur communication.

Can I Access The D-Star Repeater Network With Icom 5100?

Yes, icom 5100 has a built-in d-star repeater gateway function, and it can access the d-star repeater network. You can easily communicate using the repeater network even in remote areas with no internet access.

How Can I Update The Firmware Of Icom 5100 Radio?

You can update the firmware of the icom 5100 radio using an sd card. Download the latest firmware update file from the icom website, save it on an sd card, and insert it into the radio. Follow the on-screen instructions to update the firmware.

How Does Icom 5100 Radio Support Voice Memory And Voice Guidance Function?

Icom 5100 radio has a voice memory function that records incoming and outgoing calls. It has a voice guidance function that provides audio guidance for various operations. You can record and playback voice memories using the touch screen display.


After examining the icom 5100, it’s clear that it’s a versatile, feature-packed radio that caters to a wide range of users. From its intuitive user interface and comprehensive settings to its advanced digital modes and ease of installation, the icom 5100 is an excellent choice for ham operators who covet simplicity and convenience.

The device’s robust reception, outstanding audio quality, and excellent user-friendliness make it a favorite among many ham radio enthusiasts. Additionally, the icom 5100’s compact size, numerous features, and overall versatility make it an ideal option for those with limited space or need a portable radio.

This review highlights that the icom 5100 is an exceptional radio that ticks all the right boxes for any ham radio operator who wants top-notch features and user-friendliness. The icom 5100 is a radio that truly delivers on performance, ease-of-use, and flexibility, making it a worthy buy for both seasoned ham operators and newcomers alike.


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