Hello all, it has been awhile since I wrote anything. Not sure this one will be useful, but here goes. I purchased my IC-7100 at the local A.E.S store in Orlando FL. Felt I needed to show some support to our local store and pay the taxes on this one. I am a Volunteer Examiner at this particular location and that is the main reason why since they provide a place to put on the exams.
It has been a very long time 30+ years since I purchased anything near a state of the art rig. I did get a FT-100D when they were discontinued and got that one new. I have had a ID-800H DStar for a while and was 2 years before I really started using it. So I sold my ID-800H and Yaesu FT-100D to make things a bit cheaper; although, I did need to add about another $800.00 to that sum to get the ICOM. After getting it home and unboxing it, it has been a somewhat painless, except for one experience. I first got use to the VHF/UHF side of the radio since it does HF/50/144/440 MHz frequencies as did my FT-100D except the FT-100d was not able to do DStar without additional equipment and also uses the new touch screen technology just getting into the Amateur Radio market place.
Now I did not like the control head, and still do not, but it is very nice for the ham shack and I am able to place it on my computer desk and not take up too much footprint. It is at a nice angle to read when sitting at my desk and the controls are very intuitive compared to what I have used from ICOM, KENWOOD and YAESU radios in the past. OK, well fairly intuitive anyway. I do not like the control head for mobile use and I did not intend for this rig to be mobile, but after getting use to it I really would not mind having another one, except for the control head for my car.
I had removed all but one of my trees on the property about a year or so ago and that took my HF antenna with them as the trees had grown around the supports, but not the antenna. I put up an AI4JI – Multi Band OCF (Off Center Fed) Dipole antenna (http://www.ai4ji.com/default.asp?action=antennas) , not very high, maybe 7 feet off the ground along my back fence. I place two of the three 8 foot fence posts along the back yard. I have about 160 feet of back yard and about 50 feet at the curb, kind of a pie shaped lot with the end chopped off. This antenna is 83.5 feet on one leg and about Antenna does seem to work better with the IC-7100 better than the GR5V Dipole I had up at about 20 feet before, but it was somewhat in the trees then and on the Yaesu FT-100D. I also purchased two 25 FT LMR-400 cables and 1 75FT LMR400 cable all with PL-259’s on them from eBay.com (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=271408210190&ssPageName=ADME:L:OU:US:1120) I had the Ameritron RCS-4 from several years back, but had to order a new wall-wart power unit for it from now MFJ (http://www.ameritron.com/support.php?productid=RCS-4) product ID: 407-1072.
I am using the older LDG AT-11MP auto-antenna tuner which does fine.
I had to order an ICOM cable for the tuner.
Now on to the rig! Long way to get here, but here goes. Very nice little rig, I do not live the fact it does not have two active VFO’s and that is my main fault with the rig. It does have VFO A/B, but I’d like to use them separately like for DStar and HF while traveling and listen to them both, but as I said I did not get for the car, but would have been nice in the ham shack. Again the control head is a bit bulky for the car, but works perfectly in the ham shack. Now the only thing I’ve had real difficulty with is getting it to transmit on CW. In the past and many rigs, I just turn to CW and you are ready to go, but not the IC-7100. It took me quite a while and reading to find how to get it to do CW transmit. I’ve had several HF rigs before and finding out the trick of when in CW mode you have to get into the MENU button and go to M-3 then the screen button BK-IN and place the rig in BKIN or F-BKIN to get rig to transmit CW. Actually once I found it, then it was kind of a God Send as a simple hitting or bumping the key does not transmit if not in Break-IN mode and I leave out of break-in mode while not actually transmitting CW.
My 1st CW contact actually happened by accident as I was just testing and checking the two keys I have here, a Bencher Paddle and a Bencher straight keys. I inadvertently left the BKIN mode on and I was listening to a KA5JRX, Dan, so I thought I’d practice sending his call on the paddle. Low and behold I actually transmitted his call so I thought I had HRD and DM-780 online so I thought OK, I’ll have some backup with the computer copying. When I started to call him for real this time, the RF caused my computer to crash and kind of through me for a bit, definitely messed up my sending with the paddle so I quickly shifter over to the straight key and did a little better, but messed up a lot of letters (a lot); although, he was very kind and did not complain and I was a bit long winded and sure I put him through a lot of pain in receiving me. Finally making it through the QSO which was my first CW contact since I got my General Class License back in the late 80’s. Now I had taken a CW refresher course at the local LMARS (Lake Monroe Amateur Radio Society) with Carl AA4MI, about a year and half back, it helped tremendously. BTW since I was unprepared, my desk was a mess from wiring up a GPS and both the keys along with other papers lying around. I actually did not have any paper for copying and just grabbed what was close by which was a bank receipt from a transfer I had done for a recent roof repair/replace that we had done here. On the back of this receipt there is a bunch of what looks like chicken scratches, no order on rhyme to how I received things, till I noticed in my receiving, that I only needed the pertinent information, such as RST, QTH, Name etc. and some niceties.
Additional information added: 2014/04/24: I added in a female PS2 mouse to USB converter for power from a USB since I use a GlobalSat Br-355S4, that has an 6 pin din on it to a Serial cable breakout and then used the PS@ mouse converter to supply power to my GPS-puck. I had to make us a 9-pin converter to swap the pins 2 & 3 into the ICOM-OPC-1529R and now all works. I have a similar setup for my TH-D700A that uses the BR-305, but has a cigarette lighter plug, which I could not find for the ICOM-7100, so went with the PS@-Mouse-USB converter to power the GPS unit.
Benny D. Miller Jr. ARS w4qed