I’ve been reading a lot of online comments about the mounting options – or lack thereof – for the control head of the Icom ID-5100. While I tend to agree that it would have been nice for Icom to include the MBA-2 control head, magnets and screws with the radio, I made my purchase knowing these items were not included. So, given that I proceeded with eyes wide open, I’m not going to rant and rave in this post about what was not provided by Icom. Instead, I wanted to share my experience in creating a mounting solution for the control head that I use in the ham shack and from time to time in our motorhome as we travel.
The control head for the ID-5100 is very big, so a sturdy mounting option was very important. I also wanted the ability to move the control head around on my desk, if necessary. As mentioned, I also wanted a quick and easy way to remove the radio and control head form the ham shack and take it on the road. As it turns out, I found one solution that will allow me to accomplish all of the above.
At the time I pre-ordered the radio, and after a little research, I decided that I would go ahead and also pre-order the MBA-2 mounting kit. While most hams could probably arrive at a solution without buying this kit, I decided I wanted to at least use the OEM magnets, screws and mounting plate. For any of you who have used the ID-880H and the IC-2820, the kit for the ID-5100 is very similar, with the only difference being the larger size of the mounting plate.
After receiving my radio and MBA-2 kit, I installed the magnets with the supplied screws. The metal mounting plate contains raised circular areas that correspond to the location of the magnets on the control head. These raised areas prevent the control head magnets from slipping on the metal plate, thus providing a secure base for the control head. Now, what was I going to use to hold the control head on my desk?
I decided that since I probably had enough parts lying around the ham shack it was worth the effort to look and see if I had anything that would work. As I dug around, I remembered that at the Orlando Hamcation I had purchased a suction cup mounting arm and bean bag base to use with a handie talkie. After looking around a bit, I found these two items. Then it was off to see if they would work.
The bean bag base is very generic and does not have a manufacturer name on it anywhere I could find. It is very similar, if not identical, to the Lido LM-25 that you can find at Ham Radio Outlet. It appeared to be heavy enough to provide a stable and secure base for the large control head.
The suction cup arm I had was manufactured by Arkon, but there are many variations of this type of mount available. I have seen several sold by Ham Radio Outlet under the Lido name, and RAM also sells a few. Importantly, the mounting arm that I had has AMPS pattern holes on a clip-on attachment. Arkon also sells a version of this arm that is not a “clip-on” version and that just terminates to a plastic plate with the AMPS holes pattern.
As it turned out, the Icom MBA-2 metal mounting plate had hole patterns that worked with the AMPS pattern on the mounting arm I had in the drawer. In order to allow the MBA-2 metal plate and the plastic mounting surface of the Arkon arm to fit flush together, I used four black wire ties through each hole. This provided a very sturdy solution without using some type of adhesive to secure the metal plate to the plastic mount. I wanted to avoid adhesive in the event I ever changed my mind about this mounting solution. All I have to do is snip the wire ties and the metal mounting plate is as good as new. NOTE: The Arkon mount I had was two pieces; a main mounting arm and a small clip-on plastic mounting head that had the AMPS pattern. To avoid any instability, I used epoxy to adhere the two pieces of the Arkon mounting bracket together.
After completing all of the above, the next step was to adhere the Arkon arm to the bean bag base with the suction cup. It worked perfectly, but Arkon also provides a disc with 3M adhesive for a more “permanent” solution. After mounting the suction cup arm to the bean bag base, all that was left was attaching the control head magnets to the metal MBA-2 mounting plate at the end of the suction cup arm. Viola! It worked perfectly and provided an adjustable and movable solution on my operating desk.
Shortly after completing this project, we took a motorhome trip and I decided to see how this mounting solution would work on the dash. I placed the control head and bean bag base on the dash of the motorhome, adjusted the angle with the mounting arm, and it remained in place and very stable for our entire trip.
There are probably as many ways to mount the ID-5100 control head as there are opinions about what “options” should be included with the radio, but I have found this solution to be perfect for my operating needs.
If you are interested in this type of mounting solution, the cost would be approximately $80. The MBA-2 is available from HRO for $39.95. The Lido LM-25 bean bag base is around $20 at HRO and the Arkon suction cup arm is less than $20 on the Arkon web site. Lido also sells a suction cup arm/mount, but I’m not sure of the configuration of the mounting holes. You may also want to check the mounts available from RAM, as they may offer similar solutions.
Good luck with your new ID-5100!