23 December 2020


It's long past time that the Icom IC-7300 gets its own post. It's odd that I've written about other HF radios I own, and have used far less, but I've virtually ignored discussing this excellent rig. Let's change that.

I've owned my IC-7300 for about three years now, and it's my 'daily driver'. I mean that - this radio gets used every day, and for a wide variety of tasks. I use it to talk on nets, pass digital traffic, monitor frequencies for activity, participate in informal rag chews, and when the mood strikes, participate in contests. It's had the 'MARS mod' (really, just a wide-band TX mod) and I've installed the RadioAnalog PTRX-7300 RF output board (discussed in an earlier post). Although the rig has its own built-in (and very capable) antenna tuner, I have mine hooked up to to an external LDG AT200ProII tuner so I can run digital mode communications (JS8CALL, MARS MSC2020, PSK-31 and others) at full 100 watts output. The radio is a digital mode workhorse, and has become a backbone radio for a lot of heavy duty cycle applications like message center operations and ALE within the MARS system. And it's no slouch on voice modes, either.

My dusty, smudgy IC-7300 working PSK-31 via Fldigi

With the IC-7300, Icom fundamentally changed the mid-range HF transceiver market. It is a moderately priced (currently a squidge under $1,000), high performance SDR with a very well thought out user interface and feature set. How good is the IC-7300?  Five years after its introduction the IC-7300 absolutely dominates its market space, and Icom still sells them by the boat load. Literally, by the boat load. Yaesu and Kenwood still don't have anything on the market that competes with the IC-7300. To be fair, Yaesu just announced their new FT-DX10, which seems to be aimed at the same market space. The FT-DX10 feature set is impressive, and one-ups the IC-7300 in a lot of areas. But remember, Yaesu had five years to watch this market space, study the IC-7300, and develop their response. Oh, and Yaesu's introductory price on the FT-DX10 is almost $700 higher than the current price of the IC-7300. That means Icom will still be selling boat loads of IC-7300's a year from now. 

Is the IC-7300 perfect? No, of course not. But its real-world flaws are few and far between and, on balance, insignificant. Some internet commandos gripe about a lack of 'dynamic range', or poor selectivity, or poor receive audio performance, poor auto tuner performance, or complex menu systems... well, some folks will bitch about anything. Here's my evaluation - in the real world, when you are focusing on communicating, the IC-7300 is an outstanding radio. But it's not just me saying that. Go read the ratings for the IC-7300 on eHam.net

Personally, my only gripe about the IC-7300 is the lack of back-lit buttons. That's it. 

If you are looking for an all-mode radio, and particularly if you are looking for a radio to run high duty-cycle digital modes, you really don't need to look any further than the Icom IC-7300.

Very, very highly recommended.

W8BYH out

No comments:

Post a Comment