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 128×104 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.