Icom ID-4100A Review

The Icom ID-4100A combines a VHF/UHF transceiver with D-STAR functionality in an attractive, intuitive package that’s surprisingly feature-rich, considering its low overall price. It’s an appealing option both for new operators and veteran hams who many want to experiment with digital radio.

Good

  • Adjustable backlight setting – You can choose between a blue, green, white, and amber backlight on the head unit. You even have the option to automatically dim the screen at night, which is particularly useful in vehicles where you may not want a bright LCD screen in your field of vision.
  • Built-in GPS – The built-in GPS shows your speed, position, course, and altitude, and can be used with D-PRS to transmit your coordinates, and to send position reports to other users.
  • Expandable storage – With the addition of a microSD card, you can store a QSO log, GPS log data, a receive history log, and even memory channels and other settings. Not many transceivers have microSD storage, particularly in this price range.
  • Plenty of memory channels – You get 1,000 memory channels, 4 call channels, 1,500 repeater memories, and 300 memory channels for GPS, as well as 50 edge channels.
  • Up to 50w power output with hi, mid, low settings – You can toggle between 50w, 15w, and 5w transmit output, giving you plenty of flexibility.
  • Smartphone compatible – You can control your unit and get advanced functionality with the optional UT-137 Bluetooth board. You can send and receive messages over the DV mode, and even transmit pictures taken by your smart device.

Bad

  • Poor LCD viewing angle – The relatively dim backlight and glossy display mean that this unit only has a vertical viewing angle of about 30 degrees horizontally and 60 degrees vertically. Depending on how you mount the unit and where you use it, though, this might not be an issue.
  • Always-on fan – The fan kicks on whenever you use the radio for more than a few minutes. You can set it to low, medium, or high, but there’s no way to turn it off, and it is quite loud, even on low settings.

Bottom line

The ICOM ID-4100A is an excellent entry point for any ham who wants to try out D-STAR without overpaying. And thanks to its excellent build quality and dual-band design, it still offers great analog performance on the UHF/VHF bands.

Product Specs

Frequency coverageTX
RX
144–148, 430–450 MHz
118–174, 230–550 MHz*
 *Guaranteed range 144–148, 430–450 MHz
Type of emissionF2D, F3E, F7W
ModeDV, FM, FM-N, AM (RX only), AM-N (RX only)
No. of memory channels1000 regular channels, 4 call channels, 50 program scan edges, 1500 repeater memories and 300 GPS memory
Operating temperature range–10°C to +60°C; 14°F to +140°F
Frequency stability±2.5 ppm (–10°C to +60°C on the basis of 25°C)
Voice coding speed2.4kbps
Power supply requirement13.8 V DC ±15%
Current drain
Transmit
Receive
13.0 A
1.2 A/0.9 A (Max. audio/Stand-by)
Antenna impedance50 Ω (SO-239)
Dimensions (W × H × D)
Main unit + Controller
Controller
150 × 40 × 171.9 mm; 5.9 × 1.6 × 6.8 in
122 × 40 × 29.9 mm; 4.8 × 1.6 × 1.2 in
(W×H×D, Projections are not included.)
Weight Main unit
Controller
1.1 kg; 2.4 lb
100 g; 3.5 oz
Output power50 W, 15 W, 5 W (Hi, Mid, Low)
Max. frequency deviation±5.0 kHz/±2.5 kHz (W/N)
Spurious emissionsLess than –60 dBc
Microphone impedance600 Ω (8-pin modular)
Intermediate frequencies
46.35 MHz/450 kHz (1st/2nd)
Sensitivity
FM, FM-N
DV
Less than 0.18 μV (amateur bands at 12 dB SINAD)
Less than 0.22 μV (at 1% BER)
Squelch sensitivityLess than 0.13 μV (threshold)
Selectivity
FM/FM-N
DV
More than 60 dB/55 dB
More than 50 dB
Spurious and image rejectionMore than 60 dB
Audio output (at 13.8V DC)More than 2.0 W (10% distortion, 8 Ω load)
Ext. speaker connectors2 conductor 3.5 (d) mm (1⁄8ʺ)/8 Ω
Receiver sensitivity
FM/FM-N (12dB SINAD)
137–159.995 MHz
160–174.000 MHz
230–259.995 MHz
260–321.995 MHz
322–374.995 MHz
375–399.995 MHz
400–499.995 MHz
500–550.000 MHz
AM/AM-N (10dB S/N)
118–136.991 MHz
260–321.995 MHz*
230–259.995 MHz*
322–374.995 MHz*
Less than 0.32 μV
Less than 0.32 μV
Less than 1.8 μV
Less than 0.56 μV
Less than 0.56 μV
Less than 0.56 μV
Less than 0.32 μV
Less than 0.56 μV
 
Less than 1.0 μV
Less than 1.8 μV
Less than 5.6 μV
Less than 1.8 μV

Expert reviews

  • In a written review, Radio Amateur called the Icom ID-4100A a “feature-rich dual band mobile transceiver” and noted its ability to operate without any issues even when mounted in a truck during the hot Florida summer. They also praised its sensitive GPS receiver, robust feature set, and its great D-STAR support. They did criticize the relatively small screen and dim backlight, though.
  • Eric from Ham Radio Concepts reviewed the Icom ID-4100A and praised its built-in GPS and intuitive design. He also liked its detachable head, which comes complete with the extension cables you’ll need to hook it up to the base unit, though he did note the fact that a mounting bracket is not included. He also liked the Bluetooth functionality, which lets you connect to an iOS or Android smartphone, and use a supported Bluetooth headset with the unit.
  • In his overview of the ID-4100A, Everything Ham Radio had positive impressions about this mobile transceiver. He noted the generous memory capacity, integrated GPS receiver, and powerful D-STAR support, as well as the optional Bluetooth integration. However, he did criticize the fact that the mounting bracket is sold separately.

User reviews

  • On eHam.net, the Icom ID-4100A has an overall rating of 3.7 stars across 16 total reviews. Positive reviewers noted that it’s very sensitive and receives transmission clearly, and that it’s easy to program. Several users also liked its small size, which makes it ideal for mobile operation in a vehicle. Reviewers who were more critical noted the small LCD, dim backlight, and the extra cost to purchase add-ons like the Bluetooth board and mounting bracket.
  • The Icom ID-4100A only has one review on GigaParts, and the reviewer gave it 4 stars. They said that it does “everything you would expect – and more – of a modern Icom D-Star radio.” However, they also noted the lack of a few nice-to-have features, like dual band monitoring, cross-band repeat, and access to HF bands.
  • On DXEngineering, users have given this radio a rating of 4.77 across 22 reviews. Positive reviewers noted the convenient size of the unit, the detachable faceplate, and good D-STAR support. A few criticized the dim LCD, and the fact that a mounting bracket doesn’t come with the unit, and the lack of an included programming cable.

Shop

Buy Icom ID-4100A from Amazon

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.