So its a pretty exciting time over here – a new radio has been acquired for my main QTH here in Australia – the Icom IC-7300.
The plan is to setup a remote station in Cambodia so I can work digital modes etc from VK. My previous main radio, the IC-7200, was originally purchased to take to Cambodia on my previous expedition, and when I go back in November I plan to leave it there – hence I needed a new radio for my shack!
So far so good, it is an amazing radio, and I will post a full review soon. So far, my favorite features are:
- The Built in ATU. It will match 3:1 loads at 100 watts, or if the special ’emergency’ mode is activated, it will match 10:1 loads at 50 watts. This is perfect for digital modes such as JT65, where 50 watts is more than enough, and the 10:1 range is enough to match my 40/20M Fan Dipole on all bands above 40M! Efficiency suffers, but what a cool feature in a low end radio!
- The built in band scope. Whilst a lot has been said about this, being the star feature and all, it is amazing how well it works. Not only is it incredibly accurate with no noticeable ‘birdies’ (a common problem with RTL-SDR based panadapters), but it also provides a very useful view of bandwidth usage in both transmit and receive. The audio scope is also amazing – you can quickly and easily see what transmit bandwidth the other station is using.
- The extended transmit bandwidth. The IC-7300 can transmit from 100Hz to 2.9KHz. Whilst not the widest range, most radios in a similar price bracket only offer 2.3KHz of transmit bandwidth – not 2.8KHz. Naturally, you can lower the bandwidth if your chasing DX or don’t want to be considered ‘wide’.
- The ‘Antenna Analyzer’. The IC-7300 comes with a neat little feature that lets you graph your antenna’s SWR performance across a band. Whilst it isn’t anywhere nearly as fully featured as a standalone Analyzer, its an interesting gimmick.
- The Receiver. Whilst not the best receiver available, the IC-7300 is ranked pretty highly up in the Sherwood Engineering transceiver rankings. With IP+ off, it achieves a Narrow Spaced Dynamic Range (2KHz) of 81dB. With IP+ on, that figure rises to 94dB. Rob Sherwood recommends leaving IP+ off, unless needed. Also worth noting, is that Rob has previously stated that 80dB of dynamic range is more than enough for SSB work in most cases. In a nutshell, the IC-7300 is good enough for all but the most extreme contest enthusiasts. See more info here: Sherwood Engineering Transceiver Rankings.
There are many more great features, and I will cover them soon in an expanded / proper review. Let me know if there are any questions you’d like answered.