I bought an ID-5100

I am so pleased with this radio!

For anyone who has an ID-51 or ID-31, programming the radio is a breeze. I downloaded the latest repeater list from the Kentucky D-Star Facebook page and imported the file into the Icom CS 5100 programming software. I updated the callsign information and saved the .icf file to my desktop. I uploaded the new configuration to the radio and it just plain works. I couldn’t have asked for an easier process!

As many of you have seen already, I was using a CDM-1250 for my primary driver at home to work 2 meter repeaters around my QTH. It is a great radio but it is limited because it has to be programmed for every channel you wish to work. So, if you get a new offset or frequency you would like to work, break out the laptop and start programming. There is no such thing as quick tuning or front panel programming (that I am aware of) for the CDM-1250. I had to switch up my hardware!

I’ve been wanting to get an Icom IC-9700 and I had it within my means to get the 9700. However, I just couldn’t sell it to myself at nearly 2 grand for a tri-band radio, and only really use two-thirds of the bands (2m and 70cm). I don’t know anyone within earshot that has 1.2Ghz, and only after I got the 5100 did I learn about satellites on 1.2Ghz. I am not regretful for the 1.2Ghz satellite work, frankly. Seriously, $2000 bucks, I just couldn’t swallow that for what would essentially be a dual band radio.

I looked at the 7100 and fiercely compared the function of the 7100 versus the 5100. At $1000, the 7100 adds all of the HF band plus 6m. Well, heck, that sounds much better than the 9700, but I don’t have any HF feedline or an antenna or tuner. So, I’m not OCD or anything like that, but I’ll be clear; I’m not going to have an empty antenna jack on the backside of a radio. That seems incomplete to me. For the 7100 to be in my possession, the $1000 price point would be left behind as I added a tuner, antenna, and feedline. Now that gets me closer to the price of the 9700 for the 7100. I ditched the 7100 idea and decided the 5100 was going to be my new rig.

I bought the 5100 from Gigaparts because they would do the MARS mod for $35 and they gave me a $10 coupon for email subscription. I don’t need the MARS mod but once again, I want my radio opened and complete. It’s my responsibility and I’m going to have the radio with its full capability. I also got the Bluetooth module, once again, I want the whole works.

I’m in for a lot less than the pricepoint I once dreamed, and I’ve still got some dough in my pocket. Enough dough, in fact, that I can get some nice used gear to accomplish what I may be missing on the 9700 or 7100. With that said, I know of an FT-891 in PA for sale at the time of this writing. Even if I purchased the FT-891, which comes with a tuner, speaker and desktop microphone, I would be at least $300 in the black from my original budgeting.

I’m over the moon about my new radio. I’ve made the best decision for my immediate needs and I’ve still got cash in my pocket. That’s a win and a win in my book.

Thanks for reading!

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