Mobile VHF-UHF Upgrade


Icom ID-5100 Transceiver

Icom ID-5100A Transceiver

We installed a 2m / 70cm mobile setup in our Ford F-150 Truck about 3 years ago. The original installation used an Icom IC-2820H. We used this setup for access to our local repeaters on 2m and 70cm including the many DSTAR repeaters in our area. Our antenna mounts were showing some wear and I’ve been wanting to upgrade to the new Icom ID-5100A for some time now so I decided to replace the entire setup. The Icom ID-5100A was very easy to install – a virtual drop-in replacement for the Icom IC-2820H. The pedestal mount and bracket that I made for the IC-2820H worked fine for the control head of the ID-5100A.

Icom ID-5100 Main Unit Mount

Icom ID-5100 Main Unit Mount

The ID-5100A’s main unit was mounted on the driver’s side kick panel in the same place as the IC-2820H.

The display on the ID-5100A is much easier to read that the IC-2820H and the features that this radio has to locate nearby repeaters based upon the GPS position of the vehicle are also very nice. All in all, the Icom ID-5100A is a much more user-friendly radio to setup and use.

2m / 70cm Mobile Antenna and Mount

2m / 70cm Mobile Antenna and Mount

The original antenna and mounts on our truck were getting a little tired so I decided to replace them as well. We choose a Diamond K400C NMO mount and a Diamond SG-7900A 2m / 70 cm whip this time around. The Diamond NMO mount is very sturdy and should stand up well to the winters here in New England (as well as the car wash). The new Diamond whip has a bit more gain that the previous setup and is about the limit in terms of height for our location in New England, USA. It is has 5.0 dBi gain on 2m and  7.6 dBi gain on 70cm.

Antenna SWR on 2m

Antenna SWR on 2m

The new mount and antenna was easy to install in our F-150. A final checkout of the antenna’s SWR showed that the new installation was ready to go.

The new radio/antenna combination is working great and the improved usability and display on the ID-5100A is encouraging us to use our local DSTAR repeaters more frequently. The combination was a very worthwhile upgrade.

– Fred (AB1OC)

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