Icom 7300 Best Entry Level HF Transceiver

In Discussion, Icom 7300 by K0PIR14 Comments

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The Icom 7300 made some great advances in Amateur Radio communications. The first SDR HF transceiver with knobs and the first affordable SDR HF transceiver with LCD touchscreen and real time spectrum scope. The Icom 7300 is lower in price now and arguably the best entry level HF transceiver on the market today. If you own one, pat yourself on the back!

Best of all time? Maybe!

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Icom 7300 Affordability and Loaded with Features

Look at the price of the Icom 7300 – $1,149.95!

During the 2018 Hamvention they were around $1,000.00! Dedicated Hams with some extra cash can pick one up for portable ops and/or as a backup rig.

I think I purchased mine for $1,349.00 and I still think that was a good price.

The Icom 7300 is also loaded with features. Many of which you’ll find on more expensive rigs.

  • 100 watts output
  • Auto tuner
  • Real time spectrum scope
  • Audio scope
  • SWR graph
  • LCD touchscreen
  • Bandpass filters
  • Voice, CW and RTTY memories
  • QSO recording
  • RTTY FSK
  • Rear USB port and CI-V (Remote) port
  • SD card slot

icom 7300

Icom 7300 Ease of Use

Because a lot of Hams today use smart phones, the Icom 7300 is easy to operate. The LCD touchscreen is very intuitive. It is not hard for young or seasoned Hams to figure out how to operate this rig with the touchscreen. I don’t think I opened the manual until I was ready to start operating digital modes.

Changing bands, filters, power level and modes is very easy. The auto tuner is effective, fast and even has an emergency mode for antennas with high SWR.

This radio makes Ham radio enjoyable for many because it is so simple to use. Just add power, attach the mic and an antenna, hit the tune button and start talking!

Icom 7300 Transmit and Receive Quality

I don’t think I have ever received a poor TX audio report. The hand mic that comes with the Icom 7300 has excellent audio quality. So good, many Hams stick with it!

Inexpensive mics such as the BM800 and Yamaha CM500 sound very good and I always receive good audio reports with those mics. See the article Icom 7300 Microphone Christmas Savings Plan.

The receiver is also very good. Receive audio is good with just the internal speaker. Filtering is superb. It’s very easy to use and adjust FIL1, FIL2 and FIL3. The Twin PBT works great as does the NB and NR.

The option to adjust the tone in SSB TX and RX is also very nice to have. In addition, it’s very easy to adjust the transmit bandwidth.

Icom 7300 Digital Modes

I have never seen an easier transceiver to setup for digital modes. With the built in sound card there’s no need for any additional hardware.

Just download the USB driver from Icom, attach a USB cable between it and your computer and it’s almost ready to go.

HRD DM780, Fldigi, WinWarbler, WSJT-X and many more digital mode programs work great with the Icom 7300.

Whether you have a Linux, Mac or a Windows machine, you’ll find compatible software.

RTTY (FSK) really made the difference for me and the RTTY filtering is excellent for contesting. I used N1MM Logger+ in RTTY contests and couldn’t be happier with the performance.

I don’t use CW much, but I know avid CW operators and they like the Icom 7300.

Conclusion

I believe the Icom 7300 is the best entry level amateur radio transceiver available today. It may the best entry level rig of all time, but only time will tell.

If you own an Icom 7300, what are your thoughts on it? I’d like to hear what other owners think.

I hope to hear from you.

Best 73,

Rich, K0PIR

 

Comments

  1. Dave,

    I have been following your emails and videos for a year now and I respect your advice and could use some at this time.

    I sold my ICOM 7300 10 months ago, replacing it with an Elecraft K3S which I am very happy with. I am now trying to settle on a portable solution and have been seriously looking at the Elecraft KX3 with the companion amplifier. However, after watching your recent travel video where you used your ICOM 7300 on the road, I am wondering if the 7300 would be a better solution. Its weight is about the same as the KX3 with amplifier but, as you know, the difference in price is dramatic which I don’t mind paying if that solution is best. I greatly prefer digital modes and I was quite pleased with operating digital on the 7300.

    I would very much appreciate any thoughts and advice you have that may help me make my decision.

    Thank you!

    Tom AF4TD

    1. Author

      Hi Dave,

      Nice to hear from you.

      I have been using the 7300 in my camper and it is working great. I enjoy using it for digital modes and checking into nets while camping.

      The thing I have noticed is that when I am connected to shore power with my camper I have terrible QRN from the campers converter (power center & charger). So, I have been running the radio off of a marine battery in the camper. I have two batteries in the camper for 12v supply when I am boon docking.

      When connected to shore power I just reach over and shut off the main circuit breaker (in the power center) to the camper and operate the radio on 12v. It has been working fine and I don’t see any problem with it. My batteries charge up when I go back to shore power.

      My laptop runs off it’s internal battery.

      I don’t think this is a problem with the Icom 7300, but with the converters & power centers in campers. I’m looking for a solution so I can use shore power, but I don’t know if that’ll ever work with this particular camper.

      I notice noise coming from other campers too when I operate in campgrounds. That noise is bearable though. The NB and NR helps on some of it.

      Other than that the Icom 7300 is my favortie. It’s a nice size for my camper and it’s easy to move outdoors when the weather is nice.

      I have not had any problems with it.

      I hope this helps.

      73,
      Rich, K0PIR

  2. I tried to get to USB phone before I connected HRD. I touch the mode, select SSB and I get either USB-D or LSB. I have not seen USB ever while using he rig. Acts like it does not exist. It toggles back and forth from LSB and USB-D. Very strange.

    Firmware is 1.12 I think, not 1.3. As soon as I get a card reader for my PC, I will update the firmware but with any firmware, I should be able to get SSB USB.

    Once I figure out how to talk and send CW, I will go after the digital modes.

    I am assuming when I see LSB mode, I should be able to push LSB again to get USB BUT GOES TO USB-D

    Brad
    N6GR

    1. Author

      It’s working the way it is supposed too.

      When in USB-D, press USB-D and then touch DATA, that’ll take you out.

      I had the same trouble at first.

      Rich, K0PIR

  3. I received my 7300 yesterday. I gave up a FTDX5000 for this rig and I am having more fun. I do have one question. How to I get it in SSB USB mode. It switches back and forth between LSB and USB-D. Is USB-D good for SSB?

    Brad
    N6GR

    1. Author

      Hi Brad,

      Nice to hear from you and thank you for commenting and the question.

      Are you using it for phone USB or are you using it with WSJT-X or other digital mode software?

      USB-D would not be good for USB phone transmissions. It is a little tricky at first getting used to touching the buttons and getting in and out of USB-D mode.

      If you’re trying to stay in USB mode for phone transmissions, it should stay there for you. Unless you have some connected software changing the mode on you. Page 3-3 of the full operating manual will help you.

      If you’re using WSJT-X or some other digital mode software, let me know, because it’s just a setting.

      Rich, K0PIR

  4. I have the IC-7300, SDRplay RSP1A , Mini Winkey USB, and an antenna designed by W6NBC that I built from a Harbor Freight flagpole. It works well for an area with antenna restrictions but is what I would call a compromised antenna. I have made many contacts with ft-8 but other modes clearly show its’ limitations.
    My question is: What would be the best software to effectively use my set up to learn to use cw (probably with decoding software)- I have hearing issues) and RTTY, PSK, and other digital modes.
    At 75 this has become my main hobby and I am willing to put the time in to learn a suite like DXLab or Ham Radio Deluxe and have been using computers and software since the 80’s but I would like your input as to which direction to go. Thanks in advance.

    1. Author

      Hi Ken,

      Nice to hear from you again and thanks for commenting. Great question.

      DM780 will be very useful with CW. It will decode. While that may be good, it’s still nice to know CW. I would suggest listening to the ARRL CW code practice. W1AW Code Practice MP3 Files.

      If you have not already, explore JT9 & JT65 (WSJT-X). PSK31 in DM780 is also very good. You could look at joining the PODXS Ø7Ø Club.

      Thanks again Ken and I hope to hear you on the air.

      73,
      Rich, K0PIR

  5. Thank you for all the great videos. Thanks to one I got DM780 working with my IC-7300.
    I see you have used both DXLab and HRD. Maybe a video comparing the?
    You may also want to look at Win4Icom Suite.
    Any advice for a main software program to use with my 7300? I am mostly using ft-8 now but want to use most digital modes.

    1. Author

      Ken, thank you for the comment, I appreciate it. That’s a great idea, thank you. I may do that between the two.

      I have not looked very hard at Win4Icom, but it looks really nice. The creator does a FB job on everything he does.

      WSJT-X integrates well with a few logging programs if you are using JT-Alert. HRD, DXLAB, ACLOG and LOG4OM are some. Currently I am using DXLab Suite for everything, but all of them are good.

      If you have a paid version of HRD and some time left on the support I’d work with them and HRD getting everything working. I like HRD and it’s logbook is easiest for me. Have you tried adding JT-Alert?

      Thank you gain for commenting on my website.

      Best 73,
      Rich, K0PIR

  6. I’ve been a ham for 55 years and I’ve owned some fine rigs. The 7300 looks simple but “entry level” does nor do it justice,

    1. Author

      Hi Renee,

      Thank you for commenting and nice to hear from you. I understand.

      Yes, I picked up the term the “entry level” from Icom and they were comparing the 7300 with the 7610. They say the 7300 is entry level and the 7610 is for the DX chaser.

      I think the reasoning behind their “entry level” term is the price. Still $1,149 is a lot for entry level. LOL

      Cheaper radios are available like the Yaesu FT 857 or 891, but many of those sub $1,000 lack an auto tuner. I’d recommend any new ham have an auto tuner if they can afford it. It just makes it easier in the beginning.

      Thanks again and best 73!

      Rich, K0PIR

  7. Many, if not most, of the more esoteric, technical, advances Icom has introduced with the 7300 will likely go unappreciated by the ‘average’ amateur radio operator. However, those of us who are technically minded and trained will set this radio well above just entry-level!! It’s a keeper as well as the 7610. Once I learned the 7300, I could not resist spending the extra bucks for the 7610. Good for Icom ! ! !

    Dave – WØLEV

    1. Author

      Hi Dave,

      Very good point. I agree with you and using the term “entry level” is what Icom has placed on it and I guess mainly due to the price. It is a great radio for seasoned Hams.

      I had a really good time with the 7300 on Field Day and it’s a perfect radio for my travel trailer.

      Thanks for commenting and nice to hear from you.

      I value hearing what other Hams are thinking.

      Rich, K0PIR

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