After using this new HT
for a few weeks, I have some overall thoughts on this product. First, it is a very nice, well built, sleek little radio. I like that it is waterproof and it seems like it will take some abuse. It's obvious that a lot of thought went into making this radio very easy to use, especially when you consider that programming D-STAR isn't typically as easy to do as the analog modes. The ID-31 makes excellent use of the microSD card and I can only hope that Icom continues to add this feature to other radios. They've done GPS functionality right in this radio, as well.
It seems like they have some work to do with the TX
audio quality, though. I'm not sure if this is something that can be corrected in firmware, but I hope so. My biggest issue with this radio is that it is 440Mhz only. While there are quite a few 440Mhz D-STAR repeaters in my area, the inability to use this radio to access the 2 meter D-STAR repeaters is frustrating. I also regularly use 2 meter FM
repeaters and simplex with an HT
, which means I must carry two radios if I want to use both 2m and 70cm on both FM
and D-STAR. This is just impractical. I realize that Icom has other radios that fulfill these requirements, so I view the ID-31 as a niche type of product.
So here's the summary: D-STAR is neat, it's a quality radio, built tough, nice features, easy to use with lots of functionality, a niche product because of the single band capability, but the microSD card and the included programming software is where the innovation is.