My New Toy

Icom ID51A Plus in Yellow

Icom ID51A Plus in Yellow

Icom ID51A and Yaesu FT1D

Icom ID51A and Yaesu FT1D

So I bit the bullet and bought a DSTAR capable radio. I’ve had it for about 5 hours as of this writing and so far am in love with it. It does everything I want to how I expect it to be done. Much unlike my other radio, the FT1D from Yaesu.

GPS

One of these has a GPS lock.

One of these has a GPS lock.

GPS info screen of the Icom ID51A, it shows your current Grid Location!

GPS info screen of the Icom ID51A, it shows your current Grid Location!

From a cold start, the ID51A gets a GPS lock significantly faster than the FT1D. And additional boon of the ID51A over the FT1D is it calculates your maidenhead grid location.

Size

The ID51A falls in the middle of my HT collection in terms of physical size, still dwarfed by the TYT MD380, taller than the FT1D and UV-B5, but not as deep.

Icom ID51A and Yaesu FT1D

Size comparison of the Icom ID51A and the TYT MD380.

Size comparison of the Icom ID51A and a Baofeng UV-B5.

Receiver

Works just as well as the FT1D when it comes to receiving weak repeaters from the other side of a mountain. Outperforms the Baofeng (naturally).

Feel

  • In comparison to the FT1D: Knobs are better, much easier to grip.
  • Knobs are better than the FT1D.
  • User interface makes sense and is very intuitive, I was comfortable using advanced functions of the ID51A almost instantly unlike the FT1D which after a year of ownership I still struggle with.
  • There isn’t enough clearance between the antenna connector and the GPS hump to fit a SMA to BNC connector, I’m rather disappointed by this.
  • The FT1D’s knob really sucks.
  • FT1D has a rubberized edge where you would be holding it, the ID51A doesn’t have this and slips around in your hand a bit more.

All in all I’m exceedingly pleased with my new radio, I doubt I’m really going to turn on my FT1D ever again when I have the option of a better radio.

 

Bonus safety case!

I'll never use this.

I’ll never use this.