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. Since becoming 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.


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.

Tim said...

Nice rigs but the 9700 has a major technical failing. It has very poor phase noise performance, this affects both the receiver and the transmitter. It manifests itself by raising the noise floor for neighbouring hams and that’s before you speak. I’ve experienced this both as a listener and transmitting..yes I bought one and took it our portable on a local hilltop..
Such a shame as it’s so user friendly.

73, Tim M0AFJ