Programming the ICOM 3161/5061/4161/6061 for the HAM bands





You will need to purchase a copy of the Radio Programming software from Icom America or your local Icom dealer.


The programming software is the same for the above radios. There are just some changes that you have to make, depending on the individual radio. Those changes will be noted at the appropriate times. Some of the differences are the button functions and the continuously rotatable channel selector.


Once you have programmed your radio for the first time, you should not have to do any more other than add frequencies. Unless, however, the Golden Screwdriver starts calling your name...... ;-)


In any field, you can Right Click and pull up a help menu for that field.


This example will be using CS-F3160/F5060, Revision 5.0 software.




WARNING: First, make a backup copy of your current code plug.


Instructions: When you see a entry like "LMR > Common > Mode", that means that you will select from the left hand column of the software the "LMR" icon, then select the "Common" icon, and then the "Mode" icon.


We will not program the frequency first. We will first program some of the common fields, then we can do the frequency. Let's start from the bottom and work our way up.


LMR > Common > Common:



In the above, we can place comments that we will be able to read when we hold down the p0 and P3 buttons and turn on the radio.

Note: Holding down the "P0" and "P3" buttons, while turning on the radio, will allow you to see the current software version on your radio.



LMR > Common > Common:



l  TOT Timer to “60” seconds. (Time Out Timer)

l  Penalty Timer to “5” seconds.

l  TOT Beep to “ON”. (10 second warning)



LMR > Common > Set Mode:



l  Backlight to “OFF Auto”. It will come on momentarily then go off.

l  Beep Level to “3 (Not Linked! Example is wrong!)”. Beep Notification Level.

l  Ringer Level to “3 (Not Linked! Example is wrong!)”. Ringer/Notification tone level.

l  Mic Gain to “5”. You will notice the difference in analog mode.

l  Battery Voltage to “ON”. A quick display of battery voltage when the radio is turned on.





LMR > Common > Key & Display:

We are going to skip this for now. You will see why later.



LMR > SCAN > Scan Settings:



Here we adjust the scan settings. If you don't like the speed of your scan, or the Hang-On-Channel timing, here is where you can adjust it. The below settings seem to work well; you can always “tweak” later.

Watch(Sec) = “2.0”

Watch Unmatch(Sec) = “2.0”

Resume(Sec) = “3.0”

Talk Back(Sec) = “7.0”

Fast Scan(Sec) = “0.025”

Slow Scan(Sec) = “0.40”

Mode Dependent Scan = “ON”



LMR > Continuous Tone > Continuous Tone Settings:


We will not change anything here.



LMR > Continuous Tone > Continuous Tone:


Here we can populate a list with CTCSS tones that are common to our area. When using the radio in the analog mode, we will be able to select one of these tones, in addition to the tone that is programed on the channel. Be advised that you will need to remember what tone you assigned to what No. (Number). Example: Number 5 is 97.4. The radio will only display the Number (5), not the tone number (97.4). (Hopefully ICOM will give us the ability to enter/display text, like “METRO 1”, “METRO 2”, etc. in the future. It could effectively quadruple the capacity of every zone.)



LMR > MDC > System > PTTID:



If we want to use MDC on any of our Analog channels, here is where we set it up. MDC does not work on the digital channels.

In the above example, we are setting “PTTID No. 1” (MDC system 1) to enable transmission and reception and display of MDC ID's. We will transmit our ID when we release the PPT button (PTTID Up = Enable). We are setting “PTTID No. 2”, (MDC system 2), to receive and display MDC ID's, but we will not broadcast ours (PTTID Up = Inhibit”).




We want the ID display to remain on our screen for 10 seconds (Post Display Time = 10.00)



 LMR > MDC > System > General:



Here is where we turn on MDC and assign our MDC, Not Digital, radio ID.

(MDC ID is not the same as Digital ID. We will do the Digital ID later).

We turn on “Sys No. 1” and “2” (MDC ON) and then we assign our Radios' MDC ID number. In the above example, I set my ID to 4567. Valid entries are 0 to 9 and A to F. You could, for example, have an an ID of F00D. There are other MDC options that you can experiment with at you leisure.

We will assign our MDC Systems to individual channels later.



 LMR > Digital > Option:



Talkgroup Display on Receive = “ON”

Unit ID Display on Receive = “ON”

Extended Display Timer(Sec) = “10.00”. Keep the ID on our screen for 10 Sec.

Over Ringer = “ON”. End of Transmission beep. (Will not work if Beep level is set to "Linked. See earlier note.)



Talk Back Timer(Sec) = “7.0” How long after activity do we have to talk back.

l  Talk Back ID Display = “ON”. Display the ID of the last caller.

l  Analog Talk Back Text = “TALKBACK”. Display the word TALKBACK during our timer period.


LMR > Digital > Option:


Unit ID = “Global”. We want the same digital ID on all channels.

Global ID(Edit) = “xxxxx”. Put your Digital ID number here, 5 number max.

l    Call Type = "Talkgroup"




 Note: if you are using this radio for both business and Ham, you can set “Unit ID” to “MR CH Individual”. You can/must now program a different ID number on each individual channel.


WARNING: You can not have the same ID as anyone else, or the radio will block the incoming transmission, thinking that it is just an echo of its own transmission. Somehow, somewhere, there needs to be established a system of issuing ID numbers to insure no duplication of ID's. PLEASE, don't be an ID number hog. Unless you rent out your radio's, you only need one ID for all of your radios. The ID is you, not your radios.



LMR > Digital > RAN CH:


We may want to be able to select different RAN's when we are on a digital channel, so we will list them here. Like the CTCSS, the radio will only display the number under the NO. column, not what we populate the TX/RX column with. For example, the radio will display No. 11, not RAN 23. (Hopefully ICOM will give us the ability to enter/display text, like “METRO 1”, “METRO 2”, etc. in the future. It could effectively quadruple the capacity of every zone.)

Be sure to turn ON the selection (Sel) for each one.



 LMR > Digital > Remote Monitor:


Unless you want others to be able to monitor you anonymously or you want to monitor others, leave this alone.



LMR > Digital > Kill:

Allows you to turn off (Kill) other radios or allow them to Kill your radio.



LMR > Digital > Stun/Revive:

 Allows you to temporarily turn off the transmitter of another radio and for them to do the same to you.



LMR > Digital > Radio Check:


RX = “Enable”. Allows others to “ping” your radio to see if you are there.

TX = “Enable”. Allows you to “ping” other radios to see if they are there.



LMR > Digital > Call Alert:


RX = “Enable”. Allows you to receive a Call Alert signal from another radio.

TX = “Enable”. Allows you to sent a Call Alert signal to another radio.

Ringer = “PiPi/R”. You can change the alert tone here.



LMR > Digital > Talkgroup > Talkgroup ID List:


Here we build the Talkgroups that we will be using. (Remember, Talkgroups are decoded at the radio, not the repeater). I have populated this table with a few Talkgroups. Some exist, some are just for example. Check with your local users to see if you are using a local Talkgroup in your area. As you can see, it is possible for each state to have it's own talkgroup (12000), such as FL, or for a region to have a talkgroup (25000), such as New England. Another idea could be a Statewide talkgroup, such as 16000 for New York State and then a sub-talkgroup, 16001, for New York City.


 REMEMBER: RAN's are decoded at the repeater. Talkgroups are decoded at the end radio. If another talkgroup is active on your frequency, with your RAN, the frequency will show busy, but you will not hear the audio. (There are exceptions, which we will discuss later.



LMR > Digital > Talkgroup > Talkgroup Settings:


Here is where we set what talkgroups we will have the possibility to hear and which ones we will always ignore.


“Block Decode Enable”: You have two options.

l  “Inhibit”: You will only hear talkgroups that you have entered into your “Talkgroup ID List”. You will not have the ability to hear others. If a new talkgroup becomes active, you will have to reprogram the radio to add it to your talkgroup ID list.

l  “Enable”: You will have the ability to hear all Talkgroups between the range of “Block Decode(Min)” and “Block Decode(Max)”. Use the default Min & Max.

For ham radio use, I would recommend using “Enable”. This way you will not have to remember to come back to this table every time a new Talkgroup is added. You will only need to add it in the channel selection, which we will discuss later.



LMR > Digital > Individual > Individual ID List:


We will place our Radio/User ID in field “No. 1”, and Callsign & name in the “ID Name” field. In this example, the owner of this radio is WG1U, with an ID of 12345.

The rest of the list is optional. We populate this list with aliases for received User/Radio ID's. When we receive an incoming digital transmission, the radio will look up the received ID number in this table and display the alias (ID Name) on our screen. If the radio does not find a corresponding ID number here, it will just display the received ID number. You are limited to 12 characters, including spaces. (Kenwood sends the alias name in the transmission, which, IMHO, is a much better idea. Unfortunately, currently only radios made by Kenwood can send and display the Over The Air (OTA) alias name. Kenwood users have to turn off this feature when talking to ICOM radio users, because ICOM does not know what to do with the alias bits being sent by a Kenwood).




OK, Now here is where we make changes based upon what radio we are using, Mobile, portable, 3161, 4161, 5061, 6061, etc.


LMR > Common > Key & Display:


These settings are just recommendations. There are literately hundreds of variations. These are just a few to get you up and running. You can always come back at a later time to experiment.

Here is what the screen will look like. We will do each type of radio separately.



NOTE: Under the column “Mobile / Portable” you will notice “P0 /   P0”, “P1 /   P1”, “P2 /   P2”, etc. These are the button designations on the mobile or portable. The button designation to the left of the “/” mark is for mobiles, to the right for portables. For example, to program scan into the mobile radio, we set the button to use “P4”.If this was a portable, that would be our “Side1” button. "Side1" is the button just above the PTT; "Side2" is the first button below the PTT; "Side3" is the second button below the PTT.



LMR > Common > Key & Display:


For the 3161 and 4161 portable radios:



l  P0 = “Zone Up”. Some manufactures call this “Mode”. We will be creating different zones for different channels, so we need a button to select the different zones.

l  P1 = “Talk Around”. Unlike some digital radios, we can do Talk Around / Direct in the digital mode. Digital communication is not 100% dependent upon the availability of a repeater. This is critical in disaster operations.

l  P2 = “Tone/RAN CH Select”. Using this button allows us to change CTCSS or RAN's on a channel by selecting the CTCSS or RAN's that you programed earlier in the Continuous Tone and RAN CH tables. You will select by using the “Side2” button.

l  P3 = “Moni”. If we are using CTCSS decode on an analog channel, this will allow us to monitor the frequency before transmission.

l  Side1 = “Scan Start/Stop”. This button, located just above the PTT, allows us to start and stop scan. Locating it just above the PTT makes it easy to find without having to down.

l  Side2 = “CH Up”. This is the up button, located just below the PTT, that we will use to scroll through the CTCSS list or RAN list. Select your choice with the PTT.

SiSide3 = “Digital Button”. Using this button, the second button under the PPT switch, along with the CH UP button, while in he digital mode, will allow you to select digital options such as Call Alert, Radio Check, etc.

l  Emer = “High/Low”. This is the red button located on top of the radio. Since we don't normally use the emergency button on the ham bands, we can use this button to toggle between High power or Low power output.


 Select = “ID Enter(Digital)”. This will allow us to direct enter a User/Radio ID from the from panel to call someone while in the digital mode. It will function as a regular DTMF pad in the analog mode.



l  Opening Text: Here we can enter up to 2 lines of text that will be displayed when the radio first powers up. You can have up to 12 characters on each line.

l  Opening Beep: If you want your radio to beep when you turn it on, turn this option ON.

l  Display Lines = “2 Lines”. We want to display 2 lines of information.

l  MR/Code Display = “Zone + MR CH”. The 2 lines of information that we want the radio to display in normal operation are the current zone and the current channel name.

l  Rotary Selector: By default, we will leave this as the channel selector (MR CH).

l  EMPTY CH Indication = “ON”. If we accidentally turn to a channel that is not programed, we will get a warning beep.


WARNING: If your programing software shows 2 additional fields, “MR CH/Zone List Cycle Indication” and “Continuous Rotary”, make sure that they are both set to OFF. If they are not set to OFF, your channel selector will not function properly. The only time that you will turn these on is if you are programing a 3261 or 4261. The 3261 and 4261 radios have a continuously tunable channel selector and no channel number markings on the selector.



LMR > Common > Key & Display:


For the 5161 and 6161 mobile radios:


l  P0 = “Zone Up”. Some manufactures call this “Mode”. We will be creating different zones for different channels, so we need a button to select the different zones.

l  P1 = “Talk Around”. Unlike some digital radios, we can do Talk Around / Direct in the digital mode. Digital communication is not 100% dependent upon the availability of a repeater. This is critical in disaster operations.

l  P2 = “Tone/RAN CH Select”. Using this button allows us to change CTCSS or RAN's on a channel by selecting the CTCSS or RAN's that you programed earlier in the Continuous Tone and RAN CH tables. You will select by using the “Side2” button.

l  P3 = “Moni”. If we are using CTCSS decode on an analog channel, this will allow us to monitor the frequency before transmission.

l  P4 = “Scan Start/Stop” .

l  UP = “CH Up” .

l  Down = “CH Down”.

l  OPFO = “Null” .


Select = MR CH. If you have a DTMF Microphone, then you can set this up like the portable. Since it is dangerous to try to do all this while you are driving, it is best left alone, unless you are using this in a base environment.


 Same as the portable.



LMR > Memory CH > Zone Operation:


Here we will establish our zone names. Each zone can hold 16 channels.



LMR > Memory CH > 1:


We program our transmit and receive channels here. Under W/N column inserted a W to transmit in the wide mode on analog channels. As you will see, we are using 4 & 5 in this example as an analog transmit channel.




l  C.TONE: Here we assign a CTCSS tone to our analog transmit channel (Frank City).

l  TEXT: Enter names to display for our channels. In Zone 1, Channel 1, I am using K2ABC and designating it as Talkgroup 65000.



 Here we are assigning all the channels in this zone to scan list 1. We will build the Scan List table later. Yes, we can scan analog and digital channels at the same time.



CH Type: Here we set channels 1 to 4 as Digital only. We set channel 5 to “Mixed-Digi” which means that we can hear both Analog or digital transmissions, but we will transmit digital. This is good if your repeater also has analog traffic. If you set this to “Mixed-Ana”, you would hear both analog and digital, but would transmit analog. We set channel 6 as a standard Analog channel.



l  We set our our TX & RX RAN to “1” on channel 1, 2, and 3. On channel 4, our local repeater operator also opened RAN 5 for local talk, so we programed that here. Channel 5 is RAN 1, since will be receiving both analog and digital, but transmitting digital. Channel 6 is our analog channel, so no RAN.

l  Our Unit ID should already be populated, since we declared Global ID(Edit) in our digital options settings.

l  Individual ID List No.: We will leave it at the default “1”.

l  Talkgroup ID List No.: Clicking in this field will allow us to select our talkgroup (TG) for this channel. In our Talkgroup ID List, we built ID 1 for Talkgroup 6500, 4 for TG 1400 and 9 for TG 00. (00 is the equivalent of open receive of all TG's).

l  Squelch Type: Channel 1 & 2 we set to SEL. The receiver will not UN-mute unless it hears the correct RAN and TG. Channel 3 & 5 will open on any RAN or TG. Channel 4 will open on the reception of the correct RAN. Channel 6, the analog one, is controlled by the CTCSS settings.



If we are going to use MDC on our analog channel, we would enter the System No. that we built earlier here.

Fast Unmute: = “ON” Turn this on for all digital channels.





Here we build another zone. This is to monitor our local Fire Department.

l  Atr: We set channel 3 with A and channel 6 with B. When we build our scan list, channel 3 will be our priority A channel and 6 will be our priority B channel.

l  TX Inh: = “i”.We want to inhibit our ability to transmit so we can stay within the law. If you build a zone with the weather channels in it, you would also inhibit transmitting there. Advoid the urge, temptation, and the fines. 

l  Scan List: We would add this to its own scan list, List 4.



LMR > SCAN > Scan List:


List 1:

l  Display Text: Whatever you want displayed on your screen when you press the scan button. Here I entered “SCAN NJ LCL”. You can enter your own text, but are limited to 12 characters, including spaces.

l  Scan Type: For starters, I selected “Normal”. If you want a Priority scan, you can select that, but you will then need to declare the the priority channel in the “Primary CH” field. In List 4, you can see that I selected Priority, then declared my Primary CH and Secondary CH. Those were selected in the channel programing under the “Atr”column.



l  TX CH: = “Last”. Radio will transmit where scan stopped, if we press the PTT within 7 seconds.

l  TX Action: = “Cancel”. When we transmit, it will cancel scan. We will have to press the scan button to resume scanning.

l  Cancel CH: = “R. Sel”. When we cancel scanning, we want to go back to what ever channel our channel selector is on.

l  Text: = “Text”. When we go into scan, we want the display to what we placed in the “Display Text” column.

TX CH: The default is “LAST”. This means that you can transmit on the channel that the scan stopped on. You have 3 seconds (Resume(Sec) in Scan Settings), or the scan will resume. Other options are to transmit on the Priority channel you declared under “Scan Type” or on your currently elected channel.


Talk Back: Used for “Analog Only” channels. If you selected a priority channel, you can enable “Talk Back” on that channel. You set the “Talk Back” time in the “Settings” (Talk Back(Sec)) to 7 seconds. Although the scan will resume in 3 seconds, you have 7 seconds to respond to the call on you Priority channel.

TX Action: When you press your TX button, I set the scan to “Cancel. This way you can have a chat, without the radio going back to scan. At the end of your conversation, you will need to press the Scan button in order to back into scan.


Text: I entered ”Text”. When scanning, display what we put under “Display Text”.


Now select "File" in the upper left hand corner and save a copy of this .icf file on your local computer. Take a few moments to review all your entries. When you are satisified, write this code plug to your radio. Be sure that you made a backup of the original before writing this new code plug.

 There are many other options available. Commercial users may have other needs that this radio is able to address. This is just a start. GPS, RSSI voting, Auto repeater handoff, Digital messaging, etc. Have fun learning and experimenting with different options. Just be sure to make backup's before you make changes.