Controlling Your Radio With Your Phone – An ID-4100A Review

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I recently heard about a new radio that has a feature that I really wish more radios had. I talked a little about it on both the RFinder and RepeaterBook podcast episodes. What I am talking about is a way to control your radio from your phone or tablet. Both of those apps had limited functionality to it, and was limited to only a small number of radios. Also they were limited to Android devices.

Well it seems that someone at Icom has found a way to make this work on Apple devices as well.

Enter the Icom ID-4100A dual band mobile radio.

ID-4100a

BlueTooth

One of the features that is listed on the Icom ID-4100A is the ability to remotely control your radio with your Android or IOS device. This really interests me because I know that Apple does not allow serial information to pass from their devices which is why RFinder and RepeaterBook couldn’t make IPhone devices control the radios that they are able to on Android.

I guess someone at Icom, or whatever company wrote the IPhone apps, knows something that they don’t.

So this brings up the question, if Icom can do it on the ID-4100, can they and other manufactures do it on other radios? I don’t see why not. The one thing that I will say though is that you have to buy the Bluetooth module in order to do this. However, the Bluetooth module can be used for more than just interfacing your phone to your radio. You can also use it to connect a bluetooth headset!

Here are links to the mobile device

DV Gateway

Another interesting feature of this radio is the DV functionality. This radio has two parts of it. The first is the Terminal Mode. From what I understand, this mode allows you to use your radio as an interface between a windows computer or your mobile device and talk through it. Basically making it a remote station like we are going to talk about in my next episode coming up this Thursday.

The other part of it is called the Access Point mode. Again from my understanding, this mode allows you to use your radio as a DStar hotspot. Allowing you to talk on another radio, through this radio into the DStar system. This would be handy if you were at a hamfest or event or something like that and you wanted to be able to have DStar functionality to anyone that wanted to give it a try.

Other Features

This radio like other DStar radios has a built in GPS which allows you to use D-PRS. It also allows you to see the gps data right on the screen.

The screen itself it pretty easy to read, especially while it is just the frequency because it takes up the entire screen for the most part. You can even change the color of the screen to your choice of White, Amber, Green or Blue. This is a pretty nice feature itself, because typically you get Amber. There are a few radios that have a blue background as well. I think I like the looks of the Green screen personally.

It also has a detachable faceplate so you don’t have to have the whole radio mounted somewhere where you can see it. You can mount the radio under or behind your set and just have the face plate or control head out. I think this is one of the features that I love about my radio now and I honestly think that every radio should be made with one.

Speaking of mounting, this radio does NOT come with a mounting bracket! Why is that? I have seen it more and more common with new radios that it doesn’t have a mounting bracket. It is very strange to me. Whether it is because more people are building a custom mounting bracket, or whether it is just a way for the companies to get more money from the consumers, I don’t know, but I suspect it is probably the later. It does, however, come with a mic hanger.

Personally, one of the biggest cons of this radio is that while it is a dual band radio, it is only mono receive. You can only hear on the band you have selected, which to me is a major deal. If I were using this radio as a backup radio or one specifically for DStar and you had another radio that had Dual Receive, then I might get it, but more than likely, probably not.

General Specifications

Frequency coverage
TX

RX

144–148, 430–450 MHz

118–174, 230–550 MHz*

*Guaranteed range 144–148, 430–450 MHz

Type of emission F2D, F3E, F7W
Mode DV, FM, FM-N, AM (RX only), AM-N (RX only)
No. of memory channels 1000 regular channels, 4 call channels, 50 program scan edges, 1500 repeater memories and 300 GPS memory
Operating temperature range –10°C to +60°C; 14°F to +140°F
Frequency stability ±2.5 ppm (–10°C to +60°C on the basis of 25°C)
Voice coding speed 2.4kbps
Power supply requirement 13.8 V DC ±15%
Current drain

Transmit

Receive

13.0 A
1.2 A/0.9 A (Max. audio/Stand-by)
Antenna impedance 50 Ω (SO-239)
Dimensions (W × H × D)

Main unit + Controller

Controller

150 × 40 × 171.9 mm; 5.9 × 1.6 × 6.8 in

122 × 40 × 29.9 mm; 4.8 × 1.6 × 1.2 in

(W×H×D, Projections are not included.)

Weight

Main unit

Controller

1.1 kg; 2.4 lb

100 g; 3.5 oz

 

Transmitter
Output power 50 W, 15 W, 5 W (Hi, Mid, Low)
Max. frequency deviation ±5.0 kHz/±2.5 kHz (W/N)
Spurious emissions Less than –60 dBc
Microphone impedance 600 Ω (8-pin modular)

 

Receiver
Intermediate frequencies 46.35 MHz/450 kHz (1st/2nd)
Sensitivity

FM, FM-N

DV

Less than 0.18 μV (amateur bands at 12 dB SINAD)

Less than 0.22 μV (at 1% BER)

Squelch sensitivity Less than 0.13 μV (threshold)
Selectivity

FM/FM-N

DV

More than 60 dB/55 dB

More than 50 dB

Spurious and image rejection More than 60 dB
Audio output (at 13.8V DC) More than 2.0 W (10% distortion, 8 Ω load)
Ext. speaker connectors 2 conductor 3.5 (d) mm (1⁄8ʺ)/8 Ω
Receiver sensitivity

FM/FM-N (12dB SINAD)

137–159.995 MHz

160–174.000 MHz

230–259.995 MHz

260–321.995 MHz

322–374.995 MHz

375–399.995 MHz

400–499.995 MHz

500–550.000 MHz

AM/AM-N (10dB S/N)

118–136.991 MHz

260–321.995 MHz*

230–259.995 MHz*

322–374.995 MHz*

* Only AM mode.

Less than 0.32 μV

Less than 0.32 μV

Less than 1.8 μV

Less than 0.56 μV

Less than 0.56 μV

Less than 0.56 μV

Less than 0.32 μV

Less than 0.56 μV

Less than 1.0 μV

Less than 1.8 μV

Less than 5.6 μV

Less than 1.8 μV

All stated specifications are subject to change without notice or obligation.

Supplied accessories

  • Hand microphone, HM-207S
  • Controller cable, OPC-837
  • DC power cable, OPC-345B
  • Microphone hanger and spare fuses
  • Controller bracket, MBA-8 (Deluxe version only)

I found this really nice review done by HamRadioConcepts on the ID-4100A. Make sure you check it out

 

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