Icom ID-5100 – D-Star dual-band with touch screen

Osaka Hirano, president of Icom Inc., recently announced a new VHF/UHF D-Star transceiver, the ID-5100. Two versions will be released at the end of February 2014: a 50W version, the ID-5100, and a 20W version, the ID-5100D.

Icom ID-5100Dual-band, dual receive
According to the preliminary specs this will be true dual-band radio with two separate VFO’s. This makes it possible to receive two signals simultaneously, and it doesn’t matter if the signals are analog or digital – any combination is possible.

Touch Panel
First seen on the IC-7100, now migrating to other models too: a touch panel. In an era where color touch screens are default on almost any device, Icom’s black & white screen seems a bit odd, out of place even. Readability seems to be good though.

Nearest Repeater Search
An interesting feature is “Nearest Repeater Search”, which acts a bit like the roaming function we know from cell phones and DMR radios. Strangely, this only works in analog mode.

Android support
With the help of an Android app it’s possible to control this radio from your Android device and (if my limited Japanese language skills didn’t let me down) even use it to make QSO’s. No word on iPhone support.

Bluetooth (option)
You can use a Bluetooth headset to operate the ID-5100. The necessary UT-133 interface and VS-3 headset are options, not standard.

Suggested Retail Prices (without taxes)
Icom ID-5100D (20 Watt): $779
Icom ID-5100 (50 Watt): $828

Icom to celebrate their 50th anniversary

50TH_ANNIV_LOGO_gold_250x1792014 is a very special year for the Icom family as it marks the 50th Anniversary of the founding of ICOM Inc.

Founded in 1954 by Tokuzo Inouye, the company has grown into a world renowned manufacturer of Business radio, Amateur radio, Marine radio, Aviation radio, Navigation products and Communications Receivers. The company continues to look forward and recently the company has moved into digital Amateur radio products (D-STAR), digital two way radio products and systems including NXDN, dPMR and P25 products under its IDAS digital brand.

ICOM is located in Osaka, Japan and is a rare example of an electronics manufacturer who has not shifted production to lower cost countries, it has kept its production base 100% in Japan and that commitment to quality is one of the founding precepts of the brand. The ICOM Wakayama plant has an advanced production system to produce the entire range of multi-mode wireless communication products. Design and manufacture processes are certified to ISO9001/ISO9002 and ISO14001 quality procedures.

Icom logoToday ICOM looks very different to what it was 50 years ago. ICOM Inc is now a publicly held Japanese corporation; its stock is traded on the Tokyo and Osaka Stock Exchanges. The company has an international sales and service network around the world, today selling in over 80 countries around the World Subsidiaries can be found in the US, Australia, Germany, Spain and China.

Despite their size and success ICOM’s founder Tokuzo Inoue is still a huge influence in the running of the company today.

1954 Tokuzo Inoue founded Inoue Seisakusyo in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.
1964 INOUE COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENTS CORP. established with Tokuzo Inoue as President.
1976 Icom (Europe) GmbH, established in Dusseldorf, Germany.
1978 Name changed to Icom Incorporated.
1979 Icom America Inc. established in Bellevue, Washington, U.S.A.
1982 Icom (Australia) Pty., Ltd. established in Melbourne, Australia.
1986 Hirano Plant completed.
1987 Tokyo R&D Centre established.
1988 Wakayama Icom Inc. established in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.
1990 Stock was listed on Osaka Securities Exchange.
1991 Material Centre completed.
1994 Narayama R&D Office completed.
1997 Icom Spain,S.L. established in Barcelona, Spain.
1998 Asia Icom Inc. established in Taipei, Taiwan R.O.C. Acquired ISO 9001 certification.
1999 Icom Information Products Inc. established in Osaka, Japan.
2001 Stock was listed on Tokyo Securities Exchange. Stock was listed on the 1st Section of Tokyo & Osaka Securities Exchanges.
2003 Acquired ISO 14001 Certification
2006 Mr. Tokuzo Inoue assumed the position of Chairman. Mr. Tsutomu Fukui assumed the position of President
2013 Icom Inc. celebrates 50th Anniversary. Icom UK celebrates…..that’s another story

Icom IC-7100 Worldwide Recall

Icom sent out a letter to their customers regarding a worldwide recall of their new flagship, the IC-7100. At first the reasons for this recall were unclear, until I got hold of Chris Lougee.


Chris, Icom America’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, explained:

There proved to three problems with this model which escaped our attention during development. The most urgent matter on our agenda is replacing the touchscreen by an upgraded model.

What’s wrong with the current touchscreen?

Under normal circumstances, nothing. However, when a ham radio operator is picking his nose – and believe me, many do – the dried-out nasal mucus remains will be devastating.

I don’t follow.

Nose-picking is the act of extracting nasal mucus with one’s finger (rhinotillexis). Some hams will automatically ingest the mucus (mucophagy), but many don’t. Once dried-out nasal mucus is stuck onto the touchscreen, it is impossible to remove it without severely damaging the screen. We will replace the screen by a scratch-proof one. A mucus-proof one, if you will.

The second problem we need to know about?

To attract customers who never mastered the art of attaching an N-connector to a coax cable, we decided to use SO-239 for VHF/UHF. This decision also proved to be a bad mistake.


We initially assumed that users would still use a good quality coax cable, but instead they used low quality, high-loss RG-58 which they salvaged from the time they were on CB. Immediately complaints rolled in about bad reception and bad signal reports. We will exchange SO-239 for N, and hand out a free instruction set on how to attach these connectors properly and which cable to use.

Sounds like a good idea to me. You mentioned that there were three problems. Did I miss one?

Yes, the design. Many owners complained about the fact that the radio looks almost identical to an alarm clock. On a few occasions this resulted in the total destruction of the control head.

Sorry Chris, but this sounds a bit implausible to me.

It sounded implausible to us too at first. The problem only occurs after many hours of contesting. Contesters generally fall asleep in their shack, hear the alarm clock at 6.00 am, want to silence it, but hit the Icom control head instead. Not much was left of the ones we got back for repair.

I hope D-Star still works as advertised?

Yes, D-Star works great. You still sound like a Dalek, but that’s a feature, not a bug, haha!

Any idea how much time all of this will take?

All radios will be sent back to Japan, refitted and tested by our nasal mucus experts. The control head will be encased in stainless steel. Turnaround time will be up to three months. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience caused.

Apologies accepted. Thank you for all the information, Chris, and hope to meet you again.

Thank you too, Hans. I love your blog! Have a great day!