Icom ID-5100A Deluxe Review

If you’re looking to upgrade your D-STAR rig and still maintain excellent analog radio functionality, the ICOM ID-5100A Deluxe is a great option. Thanks to the intuitive 5.5-inch touchscreen, it’s exceptionally easy-to-use, and despite a relatively low price,

Good

  • Bright, clear, intuitive touchscreen – The 5.5-inch touchscreen is bright, beautiful, and easy to use. This unit also has plenty of physical buttons to control its major functions, which is good for mobile use. Messing around with a touchscreen while you’re driving isn’t the safest thing to do, after all!
  • Built-in GPS – The ID-5100A has a built-in GPS with no external antenna required. The antenna is built directly into the body of the unit. You can track your position, course, altitude, and speed, and even automatically search for nearby repeater sites using GPS.
  • Bluetooth compatible – With an optional Bluetooth board, you can unlock a ton of great features by using your iOS or Android smartphone with the Icom ID-5100A. You can link it with map apps and even send and receive messages using the digital voice mode.
  • 50w max power with 3 modes – You can transmit on 50w, 15w, and 5w with this radio. Paired with the right antenna, you’ll have no trouble making long-distance connections with your contacts.
  • Includes faceplate mount – The Deluxe version of the ICOM ID-5100A comes with a faceplate mount, which is a welcome addition considering that the body and the faceplate are designed to be mounted separately.

Bad

  • Does not include body mount – This is a minor annoyance, but the ICOM ID-5100A does not have a body mount included, despite including a faceplate mount. For mobile use in a vehicle, you’ll have to buy a separate body mount.
  • Noisy fan – The fan turns on pretty much whenever you’re using the unit, and can be quite noisy. This is not as much of a concern in vehicles, but may be annoying for use in a home ham shack.

Bottom line

Some aspects of the ICOM ID-5100A may seem a bit outdated since it’s a slightly older radio, such as the monochrome touchscreen. But it’s still a high-quality radio at a great price point, particularly for hams who want to try D-STAR and digital voice while maintaining excellent UHF/VHF functionality.

Product Specs

Frequency coverageTX
144–148MHz, 430–450MHz

RX
118–174MHz, 375–550MHz
Type of emissionF2D, F3E, F7W
ModeFM, FM-N, DV, AM (receive only) depending on version
No. of memory channels1,000 regular channels, 4 call channels, 50 program scan edges and 1200 repeater memories
Operating temperature range–10˚C to +60˚C; +14˚F to +140˚F
Frequency stability±2.5ppm (–10˚C to +60˚C on the basis of 25˚C)
Digital transmission speed4.8kbps
Voice coding speed
2.4kbps
Power supply requirement13.8V DC ±15%
Current drain (at 13.8V DC)
Transmit
Receive
Max power
13.0A

Stand-by
1.2A

Max. audio
1.8A
Antenna impedance50Ω (SO-239)
Dimensions (W × H × D)
Main unit
Controller
150×40×172.6 mm; 5.91×1.57×6.8 in
182.2×81.5×24.7 mm; 7.17×3.21×0.97 in
Weight Main unit
Controller
1300g; 2.87 lb
260g; 9.17 oz
Output power
High/Mid/Low
50W, 15W, 5W* selectable
Max. frequency deviation±5.0kHz / ±2.5kHz (wide/narrow)
Spurious emissionsLess than –60dB
Microphone impedance600Ω (8-pin modular jack)
Intermediate frequenciesA band
B band

38.85MHz/450kHz (1st/2nd)
46.35MHz/450kHz (1st/2nd)
Sensitivity
FM (12dB SINAD)
DV (1% BER )
Less than 0.18μV
Less than 0.28μV
Squelch sensitivityLess than 0.13μV at threshold
Selectivity
FM Wide
FM Narrow
DV
More than 60dB
More than 55dB
More than 50dB
Spurious and image rejectionA band VHF/UHF
B band VHF/UHF
More than 60/55dB
More than 60/60dB
Audio output (at 13.8V DC)More than 2.0W
at 10% distortion with an 8Ω load
Ext. speaker connectors2-conductor 3.5 (d) mm (1⁄8″)/8Ω
Receiver sensitivity
FM/FM Narrow (12dB SINAD)
137–159.995MHz
160–174.000MHz
375–399.995MHz
400–499.995MHz
500–550.000MHz
AM (10dB S/N
118–136.996166MHz Less than 1μV
(* Except amateur bands)
Less than 0.32μV
Less than 0.56μV
Less than 0.56μV
Less than 0.32μV
Less than 0.32μV
 
Less than 0.56μV

Expert reviews

  • Ham Radio 2.0 reviewed the Icom ID-5100A Deluxe and had a positive impression of the unit. He enjoyed the easy-to-use touchscreen and advanced analog and digital features included in the unit. However, he criticized the lack of a body mount, which has to be purchased separately, even with the Deluxe unit. He also didn’t like the fact that the microphone must be attached to the body of the unit rather than the head, which may put limitations on where you could mount the unit in a vehicle, or require you to buy an additional extension cable.
  • HamRadioConcepts called the Icom ID-5100A Deluxe “one of the coolest radios I’ve ever owned,” and noted its excellent D-Star functionality and powerful Bluetooth functionality with the optional Bluetooth board. He also liked the ability to use analog and D-STAR channels simultaneously, complete with the ability to simultaneously receive on each band.
  • In a written review from AARL, the National Association for Amateur Radio, Rick Palm was impressed by the features and functionality of this mobile transceiver. He also noted the high audio quality of the unit, and said the radio was “designed and programmed exceptionally well for user functionality and efficiency. His only quibble was the lack of a mounting bracket, which is not included with the ID-5100A Deluxe.

User reviews

  • On DXEngineering, The Icom ID-5100A Deluxe has a rating of 4.64 stars across 45 reviews. Reviewers liked the features of this mobile transceiver, including the crossband repeater feature, sizable touchscreen, and high-quality stock microphone. A few users criticized the monochrome display, and criticized the “tinny” sound of the stock speakers.
  • Gigaparts reviewers gave the Icom ID-5100A Deluxe a rating of 4.62 stars across 10 reviews. One reviewer said they would “recommend this radio to any new ham,” and other users praised its overall build quality and easy setup. A few users noted issues with mobile use in high heat, and several criticized the lack of an included mounting bracket and microphone extension.
  • On eHam.net, the ID-5100A Deluxe has an average rating of 4 stars across 50 total reviews, One user called it the “best dual band radio out there” for users who also want D-STAR functionality, and others praised the big display, great sound quality, and easy programming. However, several reviewers criticized the lack of a mounting bracket, and a few reviewers had problems with touchscreen calibration, leading to difficulties operating the unit properly.

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