Icom 7300 First Impression

In Icom 7300, Reviews by K0PIR6 Comments

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icom 7300 first impressionMy Icom 7300 first impression in general – this is a fantastic little SDR transceiver. I had very high expectations and most were met! There were a few disappointments, but no deal killers. I am very happy I paid what I did, and got it early on.

However, I have had it less than one week. Hopefully nothing major creeps up in the future. At this time I don’t have any complaints.

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People who make technical reviews will be posting some hard numbers on the receiver in the future. I’ll update as they come in. This is proving to be a popular transceiver, so I am sure our Ham radio magazines will be doing technical reviews also.

My Icom 7300 first impression

As I was hoping for, the touch screen is awesome. The TFT touch LED has many different viewing options. Make it to your liking. Good size, responsive, no glitches. I don’t find the 4.3″ screen too small for my fingers, but using a touch pen is perfect. The touch screen is better than I expected!

Spectrum and audio scopes are great. The spectrum scope is easy to configure/customize. For instance, just pressing the EXPD/SET soft button on the screen for one second allows me to change the “averaging”, “waveform type”, and “waterfall speed”. You can even change some colors. I don’t think it can get much better.

On the spectrum scope it’s easy to see signals and it’s not too small in my opinion, but I do wear my glasses when viewing it (I also wear reading glasses when viewing my 19″ monitor). I am already comfortable with it. The other screens are quite large, especially the meter screen, so it’s very easy to read! This little SDR would be great mobile if I had room for it. Maybe someday.

Menu: Easy to use, intuitive. It is excellent!

Digital mode: Very easy to setup using one USB cable and the driver downloaded from Icom. PSK31 is very good and I’ve made numerous contacts with 25 watts. The transmit signal looks perfect on the spectrum scope. No splatter. I have never had so many stations calling me.

I like the auto screen saver feature. It will put the radio (touchscreen) to sleep after 30 minutes or more of inactivity. (User defined time).

My Icom 7300 first impression – Transmit

Transmit audio is excellent and the stock mic gets many compliments. My dynamic mics get unsolicited complimentary audio reports too. I use a Heil AD-1I headset adapter with DC blocking cap and a foot switch. One mic is a Audio-Technica ATR 30 (see video clip below). The other is a Heil BM-10 with HC5 element.  Users can control transit bass and treble as well as transmit bandwidth (TBW).

A friend of mine, Andy WB0OAF, recorded me using the ATR 30 and here is the audio sample.

 

(The color in the clip does not do the radio justice. In person it is beautiful color.)

UPDATE: I purchased new condenser microphones.

My Icom 7300 first impression – Receive

The receive audio is very good and the internal speaker is also very good. It is a quiet receiver with the proper filters enabled and I have picked out a couple of weak signals and made contact with them. One was KQ6QB and he was activating NPOTA unit RC11. He was so weak I could barely pull him out, but with a few adjustments with RFG and PBT I made him out. I got the QSO! I was very impressed.

I personally like the internal speaker. However, it sounds better with my Bose Companion 2 series III speakers that I used with my Flexradio. Other users have mentioned using external speakers to boost audio quality. In the Icom IC-7300 menu, users can control receive bass and treble. That’s a big plus!

Twin PBT (passband tuning) filters: Similar to the Icom 7000. This twin passband tuning works very well and I use it often.

The manual notch filter in this transceiver is terrific because I can see it when viewing the audio scope. I can see where to place the notch. I am a visual person and this suits my needs very well. I have already used it to my benefit numerous times. Great filter with three settings!

Noise blanker (NB) and noise reduction (NR) are both very effective. I haven’t heard 75 meters sound so good.

My Icom 7300 first impression – Cons

I can’t really call them cons because my first impression is: this transceiver doesn’t have any real major problems. I’m just a little disappointed in a few things. I’m not complaining. After waiting so long for the radio, my expectations were very high. These are in no way deal breakers for me.

Clock won’t show UTC as a default clock up in the right hand corner. There is a workaround or two, but it wouldn’t be hard for Icom to fix with a software patch.

Antenna tuner: I love the PTT tuner start. Nice! It is fast and I’m very happy with that, but the built in tuner doesn’t tune my Inverted V on all bands. I have to use emergency tune mode, so I’m real glad it’s there. 40 Meters won’t tune at all, not even in emergency tune mode. I believe my inexpensive LDG tuned better, but it’s slower. I’ll have to work on my antenna some more, so just slightly disappointed.

Fan is a little loud when keying down, but acceptable. I am used to it now and I can’t hear it at all with headphones on.

I don’t believe the automatic notch filter (ANF) is as good as the Icom 7000’s, but it does work pretty good.

Quick Menu: The misspelling, Memu (Menu), was fixed with the first firmware update. Access it by pressing the hard button next to “EXIT” button. The quick menu is a great idea and it would be very useful if we could add items to it (maybe that’ll be later). Putting the emergency tuner (E-TUN) under would it be a good idea. 🙂

Cannot playback recorded audio over the air from the transceiver. Not a huge problem. I can put the sd card in my laptop and send it to people via e-mail. Probably better anyway.

IP+: I don’t know what this does and it doesn’t seem to do anything. Maybe it’ll show it’s value in the future.

There you have it. My Icom 7300 first impression. I’m very happy with it. I can’t say the receiver is any better than my Flex 1500, but it is very good and when I operate in a contest or two I’ll have a much better idea.

Thanks for coming by. Do you own the Icom 7300? If so please post your comment below or if you have any questions, please comment below.

Thanks, 73 and good DX. – Rich, K0PIR

 

Comments

  1. Hi Rich,
    I just purchased an IC-7300 and it’s hard to beat. I also have a TS-590 not the latest version which is very capable as well. I just wanted to mention on the subject of antenna tuning. Whenever feeding any antenna with coax where you’re trying to use it on a non-resonant band/frequency, the loss in the coax is substantial. If you were to change to ladder line on that same antenna and use a balun near the radio with a very short piece of coax to the radio, you would be much better off IMO. The variations you may find with the different auto tuners in situations like yours are usually based on the length of feedline. So if you were to experiment by just adding 10 or 20 feet of cable to your existing setup (perhaps with an SO-239 barrel), you would likely find the internal tuner would also tune your antenna.
    Enjoy, and thanks for the first impression.

    1. Author

      Excellent point! I have been experimenting with it some and haven’t been able to make it satisfactory. I do have some extra coax laying around and I could try that. It’s worked before for me.

      Thank you for the information. Best 73 and good DX my friend.

      Rich K0PIR

  2. Hi Rich,

    Thank you for the write up on the 7300. I’m going to be purchasing one and probably using a Tarheel vertical antenna or G5RV. Did you disable to the AUTO tuner on the menu setting when using the external LDG? Do you have to do that? Also, do you have an interface cable with your LDG to the 7300 or do you just run from the antenna out of the 7300 to the tuner and tuner to antenna?

    Thank you and 73s,
    Vincent
    N2XG

    1. Author

      Hi Vincent,

      I am using the internal tuner when needed. I have an LDG but use it on my Icom 7000 in the Hummer. I was just commenting that the LDG (I think) does better at tuning high SWR antennas. The Icom 7000 has a good internal tuner. The antenna needs to be within it’s range of tolerance though. From the manual: “The internal automatic antenna tuner automatically matches the transceiver to the antenna within the range of 16.7 ~ 150 Ω (SWR of less than 3:1).” Honestly, I just got lazy and my SWR was too high on my inverted V.

      I have the inverted V cut for 75 Meters and I have a tribander for 10, 15 and 20 meters. I don’t need the tuner using the tribander because it is resonant where I need it and if I go way down the band I can use the internal tuner. It works good. I have a nice manual tuner too and it works good with my amplifier.

      There is no need to disable the internal tuner if you are using a compatible Icom interface cable. The 7300 will recognize that it’s plugged in when the transceiver is powered on. There is a way to disable though if needed. The LDG I have included a cable for the Icom radios.

      If I were you I would try to work with the internal tuner. Using antennas with a real high SWR and then using a tuner on them is a little counter productive. The Tarheel will be fine, the G5RV will have to be put up correctly, but should be able to work.

      Thanks for dropping by. I think you’ll love the 7300. I still am excited about it and love experimenting with it.

      Best wishes, 73 – Rich, K0PIR

  3. I have had my 7300 since last Thursday. Its a wonderful little SDR radio, my first. The scope was one of the main reasons why I bought the radio. I was a bit disappointed by the fan noise at first but now I don’t really notice it. I use my Palstar AT-500 tuner instead of the internal tuner. Haven’t tried it yet maybe when I have the time to test it. Otherwise it’s a great radio. This my third HF radio in the 28 years I’ve been licensed.

    1. Author

      Hi Dave,
      Yes, I couldn’t agree more. It is a great little SDR and so much fun to use. I love the scope too and am using the audio scope a lot more now. I don’t notice the fan noise either any more and I am using either the emergency mode or my external tuner for some bands. I need to work on my inverted v this summer. It’s great for 75 Meters but not so good on 40. What I really need is a 80-30 meter wire antenna. My HyGain TH-2MK3 is great for 10, 15 and 20.

      I’ve been using the 7300 on RTTY (FSK) with MMTTY and it is a blast. I think that’s my new favorite mode.

      Thanks for commenting, hope to hear you on the air. If you can check in to the Breakfast club net on 3.973 we’re on every day 4:00 am to 8:00 am CDT. Best 73 – Rich, K0PIR

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