The choice of radio

7100Probably the most important decision when pulling together a mobile station is the radio. You need to understand what you want to do with it and the radios capabilities.. I was looking for one that could handle HF, VHF and be all mode.

For about the last decade the only radios I’ve had were ICOM radios. The most versatile ICOM radio I could find that aligned to what I want to do is the IC-7100.

This radio is fairly small with a separate control head that can  be mounted in a range of positions, away from the box that does the heavy lifting. It can transmit across a wide range of ham bands and modes (CW, SSB, digital and FM), that I am interested. At home, I operate mostly digital but I think single sideband will be more common when operating portable. That’s also the mode most of the mobile stations I hear run on 17M. Hopefully the bands will behave well enough to keep 17M open for a while, since it is a great band that balances antenna size and propagation.

One thing intimidating thing about this radio is the instruction manual. It probably weighs in more than the radio, if you print it out. The 7100 is complex and wonderful, where all the buttons have multiple functions and it has a touch screen as well. It is definitely going to take a while to get comfortable operating this thing.

I was able to load in all the DSTAR repeaters in the world on the SD card and program numerous repeaters across north, central and southern Texas as well as a few of my favorite HF frequencies. I did end up buying some software to help load up the frequencies though.

I’ll have to go into the details a bit more in future posts but this is enough to get started.

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2 thoughts on “The choice of radio

  1. One thing I forgot to comment on is that if you really want to be portable, receive power consumption should be a factor you investigate closely. Your time is spent receiving many times more than transmitting.

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