Icom 7300 Panadapter With DXPatrol, Mini Circuits Splitter And HDSDR

In Icom 7300, Panadapter by K0PIR39 Comments

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The  Icom 7300 panadapter includes an Inrad RX7300, Mini Circuits ZFSC-2-1 splitter/combiner, a DXPatrol SDR, a few cables and HDSDR. See my previous post on the Inrad RX7300 modification. I have been using HDSDR as a panadapter with my Icom 7300 for a few weeks now. The SDR is the DXPatrol. I tried a cheap RTL-SDR, but got too much interference from our local AM broadcast station.

UPDATE: THERE IS A MINI CIRCUITS ZSC-2-2+ AVAILABLE ESPECIALLY FOR AMATEUR RADIO. SEE HERE.

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HDSDR displays the 7300’s scope on an external monitor (not technically correct, but sufficient). We get better resolution and a larger picture of the spectrum scope. It’s possible to see an entire band or more and we can tune the 7300 with our panadapter. Use the mouse, point and click on the desired signal in HDSDR and the radio follows. Any changes done to the VFO, band and mode made by HDSDR are tracked by the 7300 and vice versa.

With a panadapter I can see an entire band on my screen and jump from station to station ( See this short clip). This will work extremely well in a contest or even Field Day if you were searching and pouncing. It’s also just nice to have in normal operating.

The LCD on the Icom 7300 is FB, but small. It is hard to touch a signal and jump to the frequency. The Icom 7300 HDSDR panadapter setup is much better for that.

The DXPatrol receiver is no match for the Icom 7300 receiver, so I listen to the Icom 7300 receiver 99.8% of the time because it is so much better. The DXPatrol just provides HDSDR with a receiver.

Total cost for this is around $200. The DXPatrol was $108 and can be used for other things as well. You could try a RTL-SDR for $25 and it may work for you. You could also try a simple RCA “Y” cable splitter in place of the Mini Circuits splitter/combiner. I tried one, but it had too much noise and interference. See my list at the end of this article.

Icom 7300 Panadapter Installation Instructions

Steps

  1. Install the Inrad RX7300. See my previous post.
  2. Attach the cables and Mini Circuits splitter/combiner. Attach the left ( looking from the rear) RCA to the “S” SMA connector on the Mini Circuits splitter. Connect the right RCA to the “1” SMA connector on the Mini Circuits and finally, connect the SDR you have to the “2” SMA connector on the Mini Circuits. (Other configurations are possible.)

Icom 7300 Menu>SET>Connectors

Here are the screen shots from the Icom 7300. I use two cables, a CI-V for rig control and USB for data modes.

Software installation of Zadig, HDSDR and Omnirig on page 2.

Click on the image for a full view.

Sits on top of the Icom 7300.

DXPatrol SDR

 

 

 

 

 

RTL-SDR AM Broadcast Filter

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Another great set of videos Rick! Thanks!!
    I am a little confused as to the actual physical setup. The top left picture of the back of the radio will not enlarge to see the connections. Also you note the new ZSC-2-2+, do you have a picture or drawing of that setup?
    Lastly do I have to install the new update?

    Excited to get this running but I have to replace my dead dual band UHF VHF rig first. Seriously looking at the Yaesu FTM-400DR.

    Thanks again and 73!
    Steve
    KK6NTL

    1. Author

      Hi Steve,

      Good to hear from you and thank you. I think I fixed the pictures so they enlarge, thanks for mentioning it.
      http://www.k0pir.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/P6269186-e1535739338138.jpg

      The new splitter is identical to the one pictured just a slightly broader frequency range. I don’t know that it makes that much difference, but I would get it if I could.

      The firmware update? Not on the 7300 for the Inrad to work, but it’s probably a good thing. No issues have been reported.

      There are some more pictures on this page. It’s a simple setup, two cables coming from the RX7300 to the splitter and one cable from the splitter to the SDR dongle.

      Here’s a video by Steve: https://youtu.be/HBajms1EnuA

      I’m off the Yellowstone and will be operating portable from there. New article coming soon on that deal.

      Best 73,
      Rich, K0PIR

  2. Hi Rich- I’ve got two IC-7300’s and live close to a broadcast AM station that causes me lots of problems on 40 and 75 meters with the AM station showing up as harmonics. It’s 610 KHz. I bought the Inrad kit before I got a second IC-7300, because a vertical random wire with a 9:1 unun has less of the AM interference but can’t handle much power. I have a PW-1 amp and switch all my transmit antennas through that. I want to be able to use a remote cable with the CI-V so that the second radio doesn’t get overloaded on the receive side when I transmit on the other. I thought I might get better abilities to filter out the harmonics, which didn’t entirely go away with an AM filter, so I thought that with the SDR software without having to loose all my sensitivity by using the ATT. Will I be able to have band switching in the PW-1 and sync both radios without buying the interface with the USB for the SDR. Great video and Q&A. 73 de KC0FLY Jerry

    1. Author

      Thanks for commenting and the question. It’s nice to hear from you Jerome.

      I’m not sure if I understand your question. To use HDSDR you’ll need what I was using (or very similar) for the best results. There were one or two Hams I saw that got HDSDR working with the USB IF Output, but it wasn’t wide enough and I never did get it working like that, hi!

      With my external SDR (DXPatrol), I had to use a cheap AM Broadcast filter. It did the job.

      You could use one of the cheap ($25) RTL-SDR USB sticks. It worked good, but again, I also needed that AM broadcast filter with it.

      That’ll be some setup you’ve got!

      Rich, K0PIR

  3. Hello Rich,

    what happens to the sdr receiver when you transmit the ic7300
    Is the sdr receiver then protected??

    1. Author

      Hi Jan,

      Nice to hear from you and that’s a great question.

      The 7300 switches it off, so it is protected. I have heard a couple of people mention getting extra protection, but I think that is overkill. I am sure they have their reasons though.

      The 7300 does a fine job. I never had a problem with it or the extra SDR.

      Best 73,
      Rich, K0PIR

  4. Thanks, Rich!

    You are always very kind and quick.
    Again, you provide a huge help in our community and I really appreciate it!
    I hope to soon play with an IC-7610 🙂

    All the best to you and your family.
    73 de HB9DHG Fulvio

  5. Hi Richard,

    thank you so much for the great job you are doing to share your experience with the ham community! I found lot of useful information I was able to solve problems on my side. BIG Thank you!
    Just a question about this post. May I use any other SDR? I have an Airspy HF+.
    Let me know at your convenience.

    Keep up your excellent work. I do also like your videos!

    73 de HB9DHG Fulvio
    2018 WRTC Referee

    1. Author

      Hi Fulvio,

      It’s nice to hear from you and thank you for the nice comment.

      Yes, I have heard of others using the Airspy. Just look at the instructions that go with it for the install. Very similar.

      Thank you again and happy DX’ing!

      Rich, K0PIR

  6. Hi all
    This could be usefull: http://www.dxing.info/equipment/rolling_your_own_bryant.dx, just made the BB2 (2 port). I have split up rx on my IC7300 with that , and homemade rx loop, similar to the inrad one.
    I control my flex500a/pwrsdr and IC7300 using dxlaps commander. Thus having a nice panadapter on both radios.
    I have ordered a rtl-sdr donkle, and will play with hdsdr when that arrive.
    br
    oz1hdf kenneth

    1. Author

      Hi Kenneth, well I was able to do it. Thanks for commenting and this will be useful. I haven’t tried Commander but maybe I’ll have to give that a shot. Thanks again, keep us updated, 73 and good DX, – Rich

  7. Precisely. That would be great for me too. Well, the weekend has arrived. I’ll keep scouring the web. I would think that someone has posted something, somewhere.

    Keep me in mind if you run across, or think of anything. Thanks for sticking with me on this. David

  8. Can the integrity of the one I have be tested on a bench? Do you have a recommendation for one of higher quality? My aim is/was to have the same antenna in which I am listening on the 7300, be the one driving the display.

    Thank you.

    David

    1. Author

      I am not sure about that. I don’t know of a test, however it is being used in this kind of application and I haven’t heard of any problems. I use the same antenna and it works very well. The SDR’s I have are not as good of a receiver as the receiver in the IC-7300, so I am just using it (HDSDR) as a waterfall and I listen mostly to the Icom 7300. – Rich

  9. Rich,

    I’m using a Mini-circuits ZFSC-2-1 5-500MHz SMA 2-Way Coaxial Power Divider Splitter.

    David

  10. Rich,

    I am using one of those RTL-SDR with Upconverters that you can find on EBay for about $50 +/-. I also have a SDRPlay, but it was given to me, so I have no experience with it. I did have the RTL SDR working before, but with the Inrad and splitter setup, something isn’t quite right. I’m refusing to have “the Man” beat me down on this. We’ll get there! It wil be great. David

  11. Rich,

    I am using one of those RTL-SDR with Upconverters that you can find on EBay for about $50 +/-. I also have a SDRPlay, but it was given to me, so I have no experience with it. I did have the RTL SDR working before, but with the Inrad and splitter setup, something isn’t quite right. I’m refusing to have “the Man” beat me down on this. We’ll get there! It wil be great.

  12. Rich (sorry about the “Bob” thing),

    I seemed to have worked out the syncing, switched, unclicked, and restarted the software. That worked.

  13. Bob,

    One thing that seems to be occurring is that the HDSDR is not similar to the 7300 display. I have QSOs appearing on the 7300 that are not on the HDSDR display. If I understand the new setup/splitter, they should be the same, as it is the same antenna. Thoughts about that? It seems as though there’s a setting that isn’t routing the antenna RX properly to the HDSDR.

    Thanks.

    David

    1. Author

      Hi David,

      Nice to hear from you gain. The HDSDR and Icom 7300 waterfall should be similar. I see the same signals in both waterfalls. Maybe the HDSDR is not seeing signals due to brightness or contrast settings. In HDSDR those settings are located under the waterfall as sliders. Try those. – Rich, K0PIR

  14. Hello (again),

    I’m getting dangerously close to making things work. I would like to say these are my last questions, but let’s just call it a few more, for the time being. Please forgive my ignorance, but I’m a HAM enthusiast with little tech knowledge. This part of the hobby is a lot of trial and error for me because I don’t know what everything means. I just keep pushing buttons until something good happens, or smoke comes from the back of the unit…whichever comes first.

    So right now, one thing that won’t work properly is operating with the HDSR, the configurations you recommended with your photo links, and the Memory mode on the Icom 7300. Everything syncs back and forth, but when I put the Icom 7300 into memory mode to quickly move to a band/frequency, it bounces back to VFO mode. Thoughts?

    Also, can you share the configuration settings on the HDSR relative to “Front End Configurations” and “Calibration Settings”? I believe these are critical to align the IC 7300 with the HDSDR display so they are coordinated accurately. Thank you.

    1. Author

      Hi David,

      I tried mine with memory mode and it works FB. Are you using Omni-Rig? HDSDR Omni-Rig

      What SDR are you using David? The Front-End Configuration is different on each that I have.

  15. So is your SDR connected to a separate receiver antenna via the splitter and the IC-7300 antenna transmit via the the SO-239 jack? I am I understanding this correctly.

    Bob W9MO

  16. Hello,

    Would you provide the critical settings for the ICOM 7300. In other words, how do I set the CIV, USB interface, etc.? I understand the software settings as you described, but I don’t understand the transceiver part of the equation. Thank you very much.

    David

    1. Author

      Hi David,

      Great questions and it depends on how many cables you are using. I use two cables. One CI-V for rig control and one USB for data modes. This works on mine for most ham radio software apps, logging and digital modes. It will send FSK too with the right software. I made some screenshots for you of the Icom 7300 menu settings. Even if you are using one cable this should work for you, just keep an eye on USB SEND, it depends on the software too. If you have any questions, just let me know. See:http://www.k0pir.us/files/7300screenshots/
      Thanks for commenting and let me know how it goes. 73-Rich, K0PIR

  17. Hi Rich.
    Today’s technique lies many horse heads in front of me, so to be absolutely sure.
    Did I understand you correctly that a splitter makes it possible to use the same antenna for listening to my SDR receiver as to send 100 watt output from my IC 7300?
    Carl – LA8CO

  18. Hi
    Very interesting.
    I have a RSP2 from SDRplay and accompanying SDRUno software. Can I use this in your panadapter concept?
    I do not have a separate RX antenna. Will a splitter be god enough protection for the RSP2 while my ic-7300 transmitting?
    Carl – LA8CO

    1. Author

      Hi Carl,

      Yes, others have been using the SDRplay. I have been using mine (Inrad RX7300, DXPatrol) for sometime and have had no problems. I understand the 7300 receiver has internal protection and HDSDR has a mute on transmit option. I hope this helps, it’s very interesting and I like listening to a net on HDSDR while operating digital on the 7300. Thanks again carl and best 73! – Rich, K0PIR

  19. I own an ICOM 7300 and very interested in this panadapter. Pse send me information.
    Thank you
    Omar HR1OP KW4DZ

        1. Author

          Hi Carl,

          Nice to hear from you and great question. I did not. When researching this I was told that when transmitting from the 7300, the receiver antenna lead is disconnected and RF goes to ground.

          I am sure others have added protection though. Have a look at this: DXE-RG-5000

          73,
          Rich, K0PIR

    1. Do I need to buy the Icom CT-17 cv-v AT programming cable ( EBAY ) in order to use the DX PATROL setup in my IC7300.?? In other words, I want to buy the complete hardware to operate SDR IC7300 with a laptop, where to buy ??
      Thank you
      Omar

      1. Author

        Hi Omar,

        Thank you and nice to hear from you.

        That’s a very good question. I used the CI-V for rig control and the USB for digital modes.

        You can use just the USB cable to get the DXPatrol working and then decide later if you want the CI-V. Ebay is a good place and also Amazon. I use the 3 ft cable mostly.

        There’s also the opportunity to use VSPE. It’ll split the USB COM Port for you.

        See: https://youtu.be/UtB-DfBMmB0

        Thank you again and I would try the USB cable first.

        Rich, K0PIR

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