Wednesday 5 August 2020

NEW SOCKS - IC-9700/IC-7300

"YOU CHANGE YOUR RADIOS MORE OFTEN THAN YOU CHANGE YOUR SOCKS", they say to me. And with good reason I guess. In the last 18 months of being a licensed Ham, I've been through a fair few radios. Some are still in my shack and some have been sold on to new owners.

Sure, I've lost money swapping around, just like I lose money every time I change a car or buy a new motorbike or basically any time I open my wallet. Money's for spending, not for padding out your coffin. Make hay while the sun shines!

I lusted after the 7610, fooling myself into thinking that in the absence of a "proper" antenna system, it would work miracles for me. It obviously didn't. Trouble is, 10W is fine and dandy up on the hills, but back at home with a simple wire, it was always a struggle. I'm perfectly happy with QRP (love it actually) but after last weekend, I realised that in the shack I spend most of my time waiting for gaps in pile-ups. 

I reluctantly decided that the 7610 was being wasted on me and my QTH, so I thought I'd have a clearout and just get a nice SIAB (Shack In A Box). It turns out that the last QUALITY SIAB was probably the ICOM IC-9100 but as good as that is (and it's fab), it was designed 10 years ago!  Someone suggested a new TS-2000 but that's even older technology! So in the end, I decided to buy something that is BANG up to date, FULL SDR with some degree of future-proofing, compact and good looking.

I put the IC-7610 on the market along with my FT-991A. Why the Yaesu? Because it's getting dated - it can't even connect directly to Wires-X and work as a node. My little hand-held can, but not my £1200 991A. And it also lacks Dual Band, so I can't even monitor 2M and 70cm at the same time unless I put the frequencies into memories and then scan between them.

Though the majority of my successful HF work is done outdoors, I still want HF in the shack and I want a nice panadapter and waterfall. I also want 2M & 70cm ALL MODES! I want good DSTAR capabilities and good C4FM capabilities.

Sadly, there's no such radio, so I've gone for the next best thing - a combo! The Icom IC-9700 & IC-7300 duo with matching speakers. It gives me everything I want in one neat solution - apart from C4FM - more about that in a minute.

The 7300 takes care of my HF requirements with the valuable addition of DSTAR. The 9700 also has DSTAR available on 2M, 70cm and 23cm. The 7300 is fitted with a RadioAnalog PTRX RF Interface which provides a pure RF output to an SMA socket on the rear panel, for connection to an SDR receiver such as my RSP1A. That will provide me with a large and super-detailed scope and waterfall on a separate HD screen.

So what about the C4FM?? Well I couldn't get Icom to agree to build it into their radios so I had to order a Yaesu FTM300DE. I will use this as a personal node connected to the Wires-X Network on a dummy load. I can then use Wires-X directly through the FTM300 or by using my little FT3D at 300mW.

Happy Days??? We'll see 😂😂😂

Thanks for visiting - please take a minute to leave a comment below 

73, Tom, M7MCQ.

1 comment:

VE9KK said...

WOW, two very nice radios Tom, I have really never ventured into the whole VHF/UHF thing as yet. I have had an interest in satellites but really never looked into it fully. I would like to if I went down that road to do a portable thing with contacting
satellites. Keep us posted on the 9700 adventures.