IC 7100 vs TS480sat

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by K4VUQ, Mar 1, 2016.

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  1. K4VUQ

    K4VUQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hello all, I am a newly licensed tech but I plan to upgrade soon. I am a mobile operator. In the very near future I plan to buy a rig. I am torn between these two. With one I get an AT (could be handy) the other rig gets me on 2m- 440 which I have privileges on. How capable of a 2m rig is the 7100? I could almost buy the Kenwood+ a 2m rig for the same price. Being new to this I dont know if I am even interested in 2m or 70cm. It might give me something to do while I wait for the lower bands to open up. I have read many glowing reviews on both units. I find myself drawn to the kenwood. I am omitting the HX version because of the power requirements. Besides 100w to me is a lot. I would love to hear your opinions on these radios or others I should consider.

  2. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you opt for the Kenwood to go mobile, DON'T BUY the ST!! Spend the extra bucks, and get the HX. If you read my article about Miniature Radio on my web site, you'll know why.

    The 7100 is fancied up 7000, without video out. If you look around you can find an IC-7000 in almost new condition for about $1k. They only thing is doesn't have is D-Star, and if you're not sure about VHF, what difference does it make?
    N8ZL likes this.
  3. KK4YDR

    KK4YDR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would suggest not going with Kenwood for mobile, even if it is a mobile radio, unless you are ok with the large control head and are able to safely place it out of the ballistics zone of an airbag deployment otherwise you are presenting a 1-2lb 250-300 mph projectile right for your face in the event of a wreck.

    I recommend either the FT-857D or an IC-7000 (far better DSP) if you want video output like Alan said. If you don't care about video output and want touch screen (monochrome) with DStar over VHF then get a 7100 (same DSP as an IC-7000).

    But the most important part you didn't ask about was the antenna system. The antenna is the single most important factor, besides grounding, bonding, and other considerations, in mobile applications. Whilst our recommendations for X or Y radio are valid indeed and can make or break your end user experience, if you couple one of these radios through a dummy load antenna you will be miserable and we WILL eventually see your stuff for sale on the forums.

    I recommend not doing the following: If it has a magnet trash it, if it uses cheap chinese CB truck stop coax trash it, if it has the words diamond and clip in it - trash it. In other words properly drilling holes, fabricating steel mounts, or buying nicely crafted Breedlove Mounts, are going to afford the best mobile performance out of your antenna.

    100 watts mobile is not nearly enough power to operate effectively unless you are 100% properly bonded, drilled, mounted, RF and DC grounded, shunted, and using a high enough quality antenna with a high enough coil Q, e.g. Scorpion SA680 with over 400 Q lab measured, or a large model Tarheel etc...

    Read K0BG.com before committing to any purchase decisions. Use quality coax as well. I use either RG-58A/U or RG-8x from DXEngineering. Both of their coax cabling is very high quality.

    The list goes on and on and on. Too many HAMs buy a $1200 cutting edge radio just to couple it with a big old dummy load joke antenna system and think WOW but I can work DX every now and then when the conditions are right. I do not hear people saying wow I can work everything, all the time, easily, with great signal reports, during most any condition except the worst, and get awesome compliments that my station sounded like a big gun on a fancy backyard antenna system. You can do this but all considerations must be met before. And then get an amplifier for your mobile. I still do not have an amplifier for mobile, but its coming soon.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
  4. KU3X

    KU3X Ham Member QRZ Page

    I could not agree more. Get the HX and if you need a tuner, get the MFJ 929 tuner. You can use the interface cable to power the tuner. When you turn the radio on and off, the tuner will also turn on and off. DO NOT run the interface. By doing so, the HX will only put out 100 watts. The way to set it up is to program the PF key on the TS 480 to send a carrier to the tuner. Once the tuner gets the SWR down, you are ready to go. If you are in SSB, when you hit the PF key it will put the radio in the CW mode, send a carrier and then, when finished, the radio will go back to SSB. It's simple. Also, you can program the tuner not to stop tuning until the SWR gets to 1 to 1. It is a much faster and better tuner than the Brand X model a lot of hams get. If the tuner is not needed, it knows to go into bypass. The Brand X model does not.

    If you want more info on the 929 tuner, read the review on this page.


    By the way, I use the TS 480 mobile and an old Kenwood TM 733A for the high bands.

    To set the 480 up for mobile, turn on the Digital Noise Limiter (DNL), noise blanker if needed and cut the RF gain back to 90%. You can also turn on the digital noise reduction but don't turn the level up too high. You are not going to work the super weak signals so turning back the RF gain will make the signal so much better with pleasant audio to listen to.

    Barry, KU3X
    N8ZL likes this.
  5. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    The only reason one would need a tuner when movie is to extend the bandwidth of a monoband antenna. Even then, it is fraught with problems. Screwdrivers? Tuner never necessary, and if it appears so, something is amiss with the mounting.
    W5BUY likes this.
  6. KU3X

    KU3X Ham Member QRZ Page

    I used a screwdriver antenna for a few years and found it to be a pain in my rear. I was always adjusting the antenna for a low SWR and that took my eyes off of the road. When I operate mobile, I mostly use two bands, 20 and 40 meters. I found it much easier and better to just put two resonantors on the mast, one for 20 and one for 40. Yes, the bandwidth is limited on 40 meters and you will need a tuner when you go over 1.5 to 1 SWR if you do not want the power to cut back on the radio. Using an antenna with a 2.5 to 1 SWR is no big deal and a tuner is needed.


    This system fits my needs 100% and I never looked back.

    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
  7. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't have an issue with that Barry. But if—sometimes this is a really BIG IF—everything is set up correctly, and you use a decent antenna controller, operating with a screwdriver has very substantial advantage. This is especially true if you with to operate over a very wide bandwidth. Yes, it is possible to use an auto-coupler to extend the bandwidth of a monobander, but that too has limitations.
  8. K4VUQ

    K4VUQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wow. Thanks for all the input.

    I didnt mention antenna because I wanted to discuss the radios only.

    The only thing that turns me off about the 480HX is having two power inputs. Its about 40 feet to the batteries in this truck so that'll mean two good sized power wires, but I'm listening.
    I also like only having one cable from the main unit to the control head unit(IC7100)

    Until I upgrade and get privileges on the lower bands I'm thinking to run two monoband antennas. One for ten and one for six( anything going on on six?)

    After the upgrade I will run a screwdriver (TH, Scorpion or HiQ)

    Currently using lmr240uf coax.

    Oh no airbags in the garbage truck maybe one windbag though.
  9. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Forget the HiQ and go with the Scorpion.

    And 40 feet! Mercy, what kind of truck? There is NOTHING wring with two feeds. If you were running an ALS-500 amplifier, you would need to for it as well. The real bottom line is, no one should EVER need a tuner while operating mobile. If you do, then something else is amiss.

    As for the coax.... Seemingly, folks think using really expensive coax is the answer. Well, in the common lengths we deal with in a mobile, the difference between 1/2 hardline and RG8X is not significant. It might be, if indeed you're really running 40 feet to something!
  10. K4VUQ

    K4VUQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is a garbage truck. It is a cab-over type truck so all wiring has to go to the front then back to the battery. I know that seems excessive but by the time you work your way outside the cab then back to the battery box youve used alomts 40 feet. I agree about the coax I had to run a new piece so I thought I'd try the "good stuff". When I use this up I'll buy plain 'ol 8x.

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