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W3PDP

Icom IC-7100?

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I currently have the following gear in my shack:

Icom ID-5100 for VHF/UHF

Icom IC-7300 for HF

ADG AT-100 Pro II Tuner for the HF rig

Bioenno 40 battery

Rig runner

(coming soon: PWR Gate)

 

In my car, I have another Icom ID-5100.

I have been thinking about how to have a cost-effective go-rig for emergency comms (MCACS, ARES, event support, etc).  Right now, it would be a hassle to pull gear out of my shack to take with me.  

 

I have been thinking about getting an Icom IC-7100 for use as an on-the-go rig.  Given its VHF, UHF and HF capability, and the fact that it is a mobile rig, I could set it up in an Otter box or the like and have it ready to go.  New it retails for around $1000.  Second hand it tends to sell for $700-800.  

 

Is this a bad idea?  Would that radio work for a field radio?  Or would I be better off setting up my shack radios in a box so I can quickly disconnect and go?  

 

I am pretty new at all this, so I'd appreciate the benefit of your experience.

 

73,

Skip W3PDP

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EXPERT ELMER

Let's see if I can get @W4DOI or @KW4TO to chime in? They both have 7100's and have used them in the field. My only beef with them in the field is that the 7100 has an awkward shape. Another option is the upcoming ICOM 705 but it's a QRP and QRPp rig with a max of 10W 😞 And then there's my HF rig, the Yaesu 891, I love its TX/RX capabilities. The menus take a bit of getting used to and, unfortunately, it's HF only. But I love it. The real question is the phrase: 'disconnect and go'. Does that mean on foot, bicycle, motorcycle or car. If it's car, then the sky's the limit. If it's anything less, then weight and size, obviously, become a consideration...

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I'm a big fanboy of the IC-7100 as it's one of the only radios that offers VHF, UHF, HF all band all mode plus DSTAR.

I have 2 of them - one for the car, and one for home shack.

However, one weakness to keep in mind for portable operations is that the IC-7100 in my experience is very sensitive to

voltage, it does not seem to tolerate fluctuations, and will shut down.  Remember it was primarily designed as a mobile rig, so it likes a steady 12.7 volts.

IF you could provide a reliable power source with constant steady voltage, I think the 7100 could make an excellent go kit type radio.

If not, there may be other radios designed for field use that tolerate wider voltage ranges.  My yeasu ft-817 (QRP radio) for example easily works from 13v down to about 9 volts happily.

Best of luck and let us know what you decide.

 

  • Thanks 1

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PS

After some brief research most 100W radios have a 13.7v plus/minus 15% voltage tolerance, including the 7100 and Yaesu 891.  So assuming you want a 100W radio, you could consider the ic-7100, Yaesu 857d, or the yeasu 891 - all good options.  The Yaesu have advantage on compact form factor.  The 857d, although older vintage, does offer HF, VHF, UHF.  

 

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These are great suggestions.  I guess my biggest question is whether it is a good and useful radio for portable ops and then as a secondary matter whether it is worth the investment to have a radio that would really only be used for being on the go.

Right now, it would take me a little while to disconnect grounds, antennas, power, etc and pull a radio out to take it with me somewhere.  That is what I mean by "disconnect and go".  On field day, I saw one guy who had a musician's gear box rigged up with his radios in it, along with an antenna tuner and some other stuff.  He can just take the whole box out of his shack and go.  I would assume that the radios are grounded inside the box, so that there is only one ground connection for the box itself.

Still, the 7100 seems like a pretty simple, compact, and portable option.  I guess the key would be to find a good deal on a used one.

Skip

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EXPERT ELMER
28 minutes ago, W3PDP said:

These are great suggestions.  I guess my biggest question is whether it is a good and useful radio for portable ops and then as a secondary matter whether it is worth the investment to have a radio that would really only be used for being on the go.

You're asking the wrong two people 😁 @KW4TO and I do lots of portable operating. A go-system is a given for us!!

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Please let us know what you decide, I agree the IC-7100 is an excellent value radio, and unique in it's all band capabilities.

You could certainly incorporate a 7100 in a portable box, with the control head external.  It does not have an internal tuner, so you'll probably want an external auto-tuner.

As an added bonus, you'll be able to use the 7100 as a remote head radio (see http://www.remoterig.com).

Just remember to keep a well regulated power supply as part of your design.

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If I recall correctly, the 7100 also has data capability without using a SignaLink.  That would be good for Emcomms deployment requiring Winlink.

As far as a power supply, would I want to put a DC power supply in the box?  I was thinking more of a Bioenno battery (whether in the box with the radio or in a separate box).  Maybe I would want to have the option for using commercial power?  But I assume most applications would be ones where commercial power was not available.

This is starting to sound like a (fun) project.  I hope my wife does not read this message board.

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EXPERT ELMER
1 hour ago, W3PDP said:

I hope my wife does not read this message board.

I know where you live!! Hmm... methinks this might cost you... 😈

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