Thursday, September 06, 2012

Icom launches a new handy

Icom ID-51
Icom has demonstrated a prototype of its latest dual-band handheld transceiver - the ID-51A. (The European version will be the ID-51E.)

Covering 2m and 70cm, the ID-51 can also receive FM broadcasts and AM short wave radio. It supports D-Star (of course) as well as FM mode, and boasts a large 128x104 pixels display, the largest yet seen on an amateur radio handheld rig.

Like its smaller sibling the UHF-only ID-31, the ID-51A/E has a built-in GPS which can be used for track logging to a micro-SD card. The storage card can also be used to record incoming and outgoing voice traffic. Very useful - not!

Disappointingly though not unexpectedly, this new Icom does not support APRS, though it presumably supports D-Star's rather lame version, D-PRS.

The ID-51 is being billed as the most technically advanced handheld, though it looks like you will be paying a lot for features - like the GPS and short wave receiver - for which most hams will have little use. I doubt that the large display - never mind the GPS - will do much to extend battery life, though Icom will offer an extended battery pack (at the usual inflated Icom prices no doubt.) However it is nice to see a manufacturer breaking the mould for HT user interfaces which have changed little for the last 20 years.
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