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Icom IC-F8101Using Icom IC-F8101 and Icom IC-F7000 HF Radios for Amateur Radio ALE and Selcall
Overview
The Icom IC-F series of commercial HF SSB ALE Selcall radios can be used in Amateur Radio Service. Here, we provide some helpful guidelines, information, and fill files for various versions and feature sets to enable these radios to operate on the ham radio ALE HFN and HFL nets and channels, as well as various Ham and commercial Selcall channels. Please keep in mind, that this page is a work-in-progress, and any of the information or files here are beta versions, subject to changes or bugs.

ICF8101_remote_micThis is not an official Icom site.
Not an endorsement by HFLINK of any radio.
There are known bugs in the firmware of Icom IC-F series HF radios. There is no guarantee of any kind that this information is appropriate for the user or for any specific radio model or version. The information is provided for informal educational reference purposes only. We highly recommend that you seek professional technical service for programming your radio if you are unfamiliar with the complex firmware, software, hardware, and interfacing issues involved.

Resources
Unofficial User Support Forums

Forum Group for IC-F8100
Icom IC-F8100 Reviews - Comments - Tips - Operator Settings - Configurations - Modifications - Settings - Peer Support - Nets - HF SSB Land Mobile Radio

Forum Group for IC-F8101
Icom IC-F8101 Reviews - Comments - Tips - Operator Settings - Configurations - Modifications - Settings - Peer Support - Nets - HF SSB Land Mobile Radio
Forum Group for IC-F7000
Icom IC-F7000 Reviews - Comments - Tips - Operator Settings - Configurations - Modifications - Settings - Peer Support - Nets - HF SSB Land Mobile Radio


Program_Modify_Operate_Group_Forum

Front Panel Keypad Programming
Generally speaking, it is complicated (but possible) to set up an Icom comme
rcial HF radio for ALE and Selcall via the front panel by hand jamming (keypad programming) the channels and parameters into it via the keypad. Keypad programming is only recommended if a very simple configuration is required. ICF8101_front_panelWe recommend reading the Instruction Manual and following it carefully. It would probably take 12 hours or more to program a full-featured ALE/Selcall complex configuration by hand... and when finished, it would be very difficult to debug any problems with it. The information we provide here about software programming can be used to program the radio via the keypad, or to change a few of the parameters or channels on the fly. The settings can be seen by opening the appropriate *.icf in CS programming software or viewing the *.pdf files on this page..

Programming By Computer
CS_F8101_Channels
The Icom IC-F7000, IC-F8100, and IC-F8101 radios are designed to be programmed by a radio technician using a computer, before the radio is put into commercial or NGO service. Icom radios are available in a variety of software-defined feature sets that are loaded into firmware by the radio technician. Two radios may appear the same on the outside, but the firmware inside them is what determines how they will function, and that may be entirely different for each radio.

ALE CHANNELS HFN NET
By using the Guidelines and fill files provided here on HFLINK... the channels, the Selcall, the ALE features, and complete set up of the radio for ham use can be easily programmed by a computer-savvy ham radio operator.

Keep in mind that the HFLINK fill files are designed to enable the ham operator to use all the normally-obscured features of the radio. The focus of the design of the fill files is to provide a wide variety of functional value when the radio is used by a ham operator for EMCOMM service. This means that hundreds of frequencies for ham radio service, emergency use, other services, and disaster communications are loaded in memory that might not be needed on a daily basis... but may be accessed when needed in an emergency situation.

 
The ham radio oriented HFLINK fill files are not suitable for radios intended for commercial HF or NGO applications. However, these fill files may form a foundation or example that can be modified by a radio technician for other purposes. For knowledgeable users or techs intending to modify the fill file or create a new fill file for the radio, it is extremely important to gain a very thorough understanding of the interaction, limitations, and functions in the programming available, before ever starting to program it.

ALE CHANNELS HFL NET We recommend the use of a serial port or USB interface cable with a PC or laptop computer using the appropriate CS-F7000, CS-F8100, or CS-F8101 cloning software. The software configures the Channels, Networks, Profiles, ALE IDs and nets, Selcall IDs, and Setmode programming.


Fill Files

The fill files with file extensions *.icf are necessary for programming Icoms for ALE and Selcall using the Icom CS Cloning Software. The *.icf file should be loaded after the CS software and the radio transceiver are set up and connected together via the proper USB or serial port connection. A zip file is available here for download, it includes all regional versions of the various files in one download. Please note: These fill files are set up for use in various countries of the world, so there are many channels that are selectively enabled via Network and other configuration, depending upon the region *.icf file the user decides to load.

Channel frequencies pre-programmed and available for selection in these fill files: 
  • Amateur Radio ALE Network HFN (Worldwide Data/Sounding ALE)
  • Amateur Radio ALE Network HFL (Worldwide Voice SSB ALE)
  • Amateur Radio ALE Network HFL (USA Voice SSB ALE)
  • Amateur Radio Selcall Network (Worldwide)
  • Amateur Radio Selcall Networks (Australia/New Zealand)
  • 5 MHz EMCOMM Emergency channels for various countries and regions
  • Amateur Radio IARU Centre of Activity Emergency Comms (Emcomm CoA)
  • Australia HF 4WD networks: VKS737 HF Radio Network / HF-Tel, Austravel VMD750, HF Radio Network VKE237, Radtel, HFoZ, Reids Radio Data / Bush Telegraph / Bush Phone Plus VMS469, RFDS Network, etc.
  • New Zealand Emcomm, HF 4WD, tramping networks such as: NZ AREC, NZ MRS, etc.
  • Common AM and SSB CB channels
  • HF Marine Distress channels

The programming can be edited for other applications, countries, or purposes. When using these files, it will over-write the channels and ALE programming in your radio with the new file channels and settings. Save your existing programming before loading the new file. Important: To use these files, you must follow the Guidelines below carefully. Do not skip any steps, otherwise the configuration will fail.

Downloads

DOWNLOAD IC-F8101 FILL FILES CLICK HERE HFLINK_2015P_ICF8101.zip
(release date 03 JAN 2015)
Beta version for International, Europe, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa. Primarily designed for Ham Radio use, but also includes other services.

DOWNLOAD IC-F8101 BROCHURE

DOWNLOAD IC-F8101 MANUAL

DOWNLOAD CS-F8101 CLONING SOFTWARE MANUAL

! WARNING ! Do Not Program IC-F8100 with IC-F8101 Software or Fill Files.

DOWNLOAD IC-F8100 MANUAL

DOWNLOAD IC-F8100 BROCHURE

DOWNLOAD IC-F7000 MANUAL

DOWNLOAD IC-F7000 SERVICE MANUAL
(without schematics)
 
IC-F8101 Programming Guidelines
Using Fill Files and Programming With CS-F8101 Software

(version HFLINK_2015P_ICF8101_*.icf)
(Note: these guidelines are for programming an IC-F8101 radio . Some other versions of software or firmware or other radio models may differ slightly from this procedure.)

1. Connect computer to radio using a programming cable.
2. Connect a dummy load to the radio.
3. Turn on radio.
4. Start CS-F8101 software and set up the software COMM port.

CS_F8101_COMM_PORTS

5. In the CS-F8101 top menu "Clone>Read<-TR"
Wait for the software to load from the radio.

CS_F8101_Read_from_Radio

6. In the CS-F8101 top menu "File>Save As"
Save the file name as OLD.icf

(this saves your existing radio programming in case you want to restore it later)

CS-F8101 File Save As your own callsign


7. In the CS-F8101 top menu "File>Open"
Navigate to the the file you want to load for your country/region/area.
Example: HFLINK_2015P_ICF8101_INTERNATIONAL.icf
Open it.
In the CS-F8101 menu "IC-F8101>Channel"
Check to see that the new channels have been loaded properly from the file...

CS_F8101_Channels


8.
In the CS-F8101 programming menu section "IC-F8101>SELCALL>Profile"
Change the SELF SELCALL ID from 3001 to your own selcall address. Change all the 4 digit numbers for each of the Selcall Networks listed in the profile. Normally you would enter the same selcall number for all 4 networks in each of the lines of ID. If you have a different selcall number that you use for VKS737, for example, you can enter it in the ID for that Network. If you need a ham selcall number, please post a message on the HFLINK group, and  your number will be added to the Selcall Coordination Listing for Amateur Radio.


CS_F8101_SELCALL_Profile

9. In the CS-F8101 programming menu "IC-F8101>ALE>ALE-Self Individual ID"
Line 1: ID change the NOCALSIGNHFN to your own ham callsign
Line 2: ID change the NOCALSIGNHFL to your own ham callsign
Note: do not use " / " in your ALE callsign.

CS-F8101 ALE Self Individual ID

10. In the CS-F8101 top menu "File>Save As"
Save the file name as your own callsign...
for example: W1AW.icf

CS-F8101 File Save As your own callsign

11. In the CS-F8101 top menu "Clone>Write->TR"
Wait for the file to be loaded into the radio.

HFLINK Icom CS-8101 Programming

12. Test the radio.
Check through the channels, to see that they have been loaded into the radio properly.

13. Test the scanning and calling of ALE and Selcall functions.

 
Programming Tips


Special programming may be required for some applications such as:
  • Channel change
  • Channel addition
  • Channel delete
  • Channel name
  • Network configuration
  • Setmode settings
  • Selcall or ALE ID addresses
Here are some tips on customizing the fill file:
  • Avoid changing the order of existing channels. Instead, add a new channel in a blank space or else replace an undesired channel with a new one, and then set up the network field configuration for it.
  • Always begin the name of the channel with the frequency in kilohertz or else a sequential number in the order that it should appear in the front panel display. 
  • Always insert the channel in the list in order of either frequency or sequential number in the channel name.
  • Remember to check the Network>Channels configuration for each channel after making any changes, since this can be corrupted due to additions, deletions or re-ordering.


IC-F8101 Operating Tips

How to Call a Station on ALE : The ALE Individual Call

Hold down ICF8101_Display_Phone_Button for 1 second for Network selection.
(a Network is a pre-programmed group of channels and callsigns)

ICF8101_Display_Select_Network

Press ICF8101_Display_Up_Button ICF8101_Display_Down_Button and select Network to call on.
(normally for ham radio, select Network = ALE HFN Sound World)

Press
ICF8101_Display_Phone_Button

ICF8101_Display_Call_Type

Press
ICF8101_Display_Up_Button ICF8101_Display_Down_Button and select Call Type = Individual.

Press ICF8101_Display_Phone_Button

ICF8101_Display_ALE_Individual_ID

 Press ICF8101_Display_Down_ButtonICF8101_Display_Up_Button to select the Callsign to call.
(if the callsign is not on the list, try another Network or add the Callsign to this Network)


Press ICF8101_Display_Phone_Button

ICF8101_Display_Self_ID

Press ICF8101_Display_Up_ButtonICF8101_Display_Down_Button to select your Own Callsign.
(note: if it says NOCALSIGNHFN, please program your callsign before going any further.)

Press ICF8101_Display_Phone_Button

The next step, you have 2 choices.
You can Select
ICF8101_Display_Up_ButtonICF8101_Display_Down_Button a specific Channel to call on,

ICF8101_Display_Channel_Select.png

---or---

ICF8101_Display_Channel_Auto

You may want to select <Auto> to try calling on all the channels in the Network. (Auto is usually the preferred method for ALE)

Press ICF8101_Display_Phone_Button to transmit the ALE Individual Call.

The radio transmits the ALE call now.
(this may take a few minutes, if selected <Auto>)

If you need to stop the calling sequence, press microphone [PTT] to cancel it.

There are 2 possible outcomes for ALE Individual Call:

(1) Linked
(success! connected with the called station)
(2) Link Fail
(the called station did not respond)
(possibly due to propagation, busy, or interference)
(try the ALE Individual Call again! )
Demo Videos


IC-F8101 ALE CALLING AND LINKING


IC-F8101 SELCALL CALLING


ICF-8101 SELCALL GPS POSITION CALL
(DIY Cable and GPS Interface)
 


Icom IC-F8101 AVL1.5 GPS Position Reporting Map Software Download
Free software designed for HF Fleet Management by Icom for use with IC-F8101 radios. This utilizes the Selcall GPS Call system. Works with Enhanced Version IC-F8101 radios made after November 2015.



Calling a Station on Selcall : The Individual Selcall
(this section is a work in progress)

Selcall Channel Frequencies CCIR 493-4

Selcal Frequencies International CCIR 493-4

Selcall Channel Frequencies Australia CCIR 493-4
Selcall Channel Frequencies North America CCIR 493-4


MANUAL ERRATA
IC-F8101 Accessory Pinout Documentation Errors
Errors were found in the IC-F8101 accessory connector pinout documentation in the manual. Please see the diagram below for the correct pinout. Thanks to Martin KB2CQI for testing and making the corrected diagram.
ICF8101_Accessory_Connector_Correct_Pinout









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HF Interoperability is Automatic Link Establishment techniques. HFLINK is the international resource for ALE Automatic Link Establishment High Frequency Communications, HF Digital Messaging, Emergency / Disaster Relief, Interoperative HF Communications, HF Network, Ham Radio.