Icom IP100H WiFi hand-held transceiver

IP100HI got a few e-mails pointing out this system and wondered if I should write about it or not. After all, it’s not really ham radio related. Before I could shake off my indecisiveness, Brick beat me to it.

So, what is it? It sure looks and feels like the typical (ham radio) hand-held. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck, right? Wrong.

License-Free
The IP100H will serve as an alternative for conventional license-free radios, such as PMR (Europe) and FRS (USA). While conventional radios generally do a fine job, the bands they operate in are overcrowded. With only 8 PMR channels and 14 FRS channels interference is inevitable. Adding CTCSS or DCS will offer some relief, but can only do so much.

Instead this radio operates on 2.4 GHz and/or 5 GHz and makes use of standard WiFi channels. On one hand this will limit the range of a particular radio. It must be able to reach the nearest access point, and 100mW EIRP (NL legal limit) generally translates into 50 meters at best. On the other hand, when access points are plentiful, these radios can theoretically communicate around the globe, because roaming (seamless switching from access point to access point)  is a standard feature. Programming is done ‘over the air’ by use of a controller, the IP1000C.

ICOM IP Radio

Features from the digital world
  • SMS. The IP100H can send status and short data messages to other users. The radio will vibrate when receiving these messages.
  • Full Duplex. Half duplex at default, full duplex with optional headset.
  • Remote Monitor, Kill, Revive and Stun. If in an emergency, the IP100FS can enforce individual IP100H to transmit anything the microphone hears to identify the situation. The remote kill command disables individual IP100H, if the IP100H is used by an unauthorized person.
  • Extensive calling features. The IP100H/IP100FS can make individual call, group conference calls, ‘to all’ calls and area calls. The area call function allows you to call any user who is accessing a specified access point.
  • Mixing Function. The mixing function receives multiple user’s voices at the same time. One-to-many communication is possible and increases efficiency of information sharing.
  • Up to 100 users can be loaded on a system and all users can communicate at the same time.
  • Phone and transceiver interconnection. With a VE-PG3 RoIP gateway, the IP advanced radio system can interconnect with an IP phone, analog transceiver and IDASTM NXDNTM digital transceiver.

All in all this system could be very interesting for large companies: license-free, scalable, infinite range when configured properly, and listening secretly to their private conversations (eavesdropping) will be nearly impossible.

Any good for us hams, too? I don’t know, but wouldn’t be surprised — we have great hackers amongst us. Affordable? I seriously doubt it, this system won’t come cheap.

More information can be found at Icom UK.

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19 comments on “Icom IP100H WiFi hand-held transceiver

  1. IMHO just telephone stuff, but using two way radios. interesting thing is, that nearly everyone has a gateway (WLAN router) to use at home these days. :)

  2. Sounds like a competitor for closed-group or in-house tetra or other radio trunking systems. Pricing will probably be at a level to compete with those. Serious voice latency will be a show-stopper for use in certain situations (like communicating with an operator of heavy equipment).
    We radio amateurs already have echolink which has comparable features for as far as I know.

  3. For this to be fun for me, it would have to be cheap and require no infrastructure beyond my current wireless router. I don’t mind manually programming a couple of the units to get going.

    • I’m sure that if this takes off and the unit are reasonably priced, someone will reverse engineer the software and write something you can run on a raspberry pi. Like Hans is saying.

      That base unit of Icom’s looks to be similar enough in terms of hardware anyway. Shouldn’t need a full PC.

  4. It’s meant for businesses but then it supports only WPA(2)-PSK?? It should at least do WPA Enterprise with 802.1x radius authentication to be taken seriously in the corporate world.

    But it’s an interesting idea nonetheless.. Handier for group communication and rugged enough for emergency communications (e.g. first aid teams) Though you wouldn’t really want to be dependent on a WiFi infrastructure in cases of emergencies.

  5. Pingback: Wack new radio from Icom - The RadioReference.com Forums

  6. The first thing I thought of, that no one seems to have mentioned yet, is that this should work over a Broadband Hamnet MESH Network. So if you have a small network setup as a field day, or event – or even across your city as we are attempting to do in my area – these radios could connect to the WIFI signal and be used over that network, with no licensing required.

  7. Whats the point? Everyone today has one of those in their pocket – its called a Phone. Load VoIP app and you are set. Add BT headset and Asterisk server and its almost 100% of Icom functionality.

    At first it reminded me of AN/PRC-343 a little, but its not even all that rugged.

    • It has almost the same features but the usability and ruggedness is not the same. A smartphone doesn’t have a dedicated PTT key, isn’t rugged like a commercial handy, and usually the speaker isn’t great. Having to fire up an app and fiddling with an on-screen PTT key is just not good enough in case of emergencies.

      Thinking of what I need as first aider at work is something where I can press one button, speak, and instantly be heard by the entire team. Something that has only an on/off button and can’t be set to a wrong channel when you twist a button by mistake. Often every second counts in these cases.

      I think this product is meant for that kind of market rather than a replacement for mobile VoIP telephony.

      But having to rely on a working WiFi infrastructure is a weak point of this technology, I’m sure it wouldn’t work for our company.

  8. I do not experience overloaded PMR channels, while I am driving around the most densely populated area of the Netherlands. The odd driving school, a crane operator and a few kids playing, that’s it. Contrary, the WiFi channels are indeed overcrowded, often by stationary equipment, that was better left wired. It’s use is limited by the fact that it’s yet another piece of equipment to carry ( or to forget ).

  9. It would be nice if someone made this as an echolink hand held for those of us that travel. (Or at least give us ptt instead of push on push off in the app)

    I’m just sayin’……

  10. There’s a nice program called Zello. It works almost like a radio with your cellphone. Obvioulsy you need an interned connection, but this is not a problem nowadays.
    You can talk directly to a person, or create your own group and chat there. Pretty useful, especially when it’s free and easy to communicate.

    • I use Zello (id=callsign) and I love it! However it would be nice to have the added security of using a wifi radio on our internal network without going through or relying on the PSTN.
      Cheers,
      Paul – W7MAG

  11. Just talked to my local dealer and an Icom rep about this for the company that I work for. Yes, it is out in the US now – seems to have made it’s entry here fairly recently, since the Icom rep doesn’t have a demo kit for it yet. (He says next week for that.) Does require a “controller” at each separate site, and probably not good for areas without good and reliable infrastructure – such as emergency scenes. Still, an interesting product for the right applications.

    David – KD4TJF

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