Thursday 27 June 2024


Having owned some of the best transceivers in the world, is it a surprise to see what it's been whittled down to today? I guess many will think I'm an out and out nutcase, but the fact is, I've experimented and enjoyed every minute of it. Being the sort of person who loves a bargain (and the art of negotiating), I've managed to snaffle some fantastic deals over the last few years which has usually allowed me to get my money back when I've sold the equipment and even make some money along the way. Sometimes I've been able to pass on a bargain to a friend, which is also nice.  I learned that you can get a 7610 for under £2400 and you sell one for the same amount 4 years later. You can buy a KX3 for £700 and sell it later for £1700 😮

Farewell my beautiful friend 
The very best radio I've owned was the IC-7610 without a doubt. Better than my FT-DX101D and better than my EE MB1 PRIME. It was just a magnificent machine, but I had to face the fact that I barely used it since buying a holiday home. The big radios just sat gathering dust in my shack and with times being how they are, it seemed ridiculous to have all that money sat idle, so I thought long and hard about how I typically spend my radio time and made some drastic changes.

Being unable to have a 'proper' antenna at my home QTH was always the elephant in the room. I had two EFHW's oriented North-South and East-West and that's it - they were the best I could make of a bad situation. Having said that, I've managed to bag some seriously good contacts with those antennas and the 7610.

But I've also bagged some amazing contacts from the shack using a £60 QDX and a £90 (tr)uSDX. So you have to question the cost-efficiency of those big radios, especially when you are a QRP operator.

So, with the jewel removed from the crown, I decided that my IC-7100 would remain in the shack and become my main radio there. It's the only transceiver in the world which covers HF, 6M, 4M, 2M, 70cm and DSTAR. These are probably the most underrated radios of all time and it will be fine for everyday use.

Because the 7100 isn't an SDR radio with all the benefits of a scope and waterfall, I also installed a HERMES LITE 2 PLUS which is simply incredible value for money and has some of the best software available at any cost! I recently spotted another one of these on Facebook Marketplace for £200 and the day it arrived, I posted out to a buyer for £275 😁

For things like POTA and FIELD DAYS where you have the benefit of being in a vehicle, I have the stunning MISSION RGO ONE radio which is just an absolute joy to use.  For SOTA type outings I use the tiny FX-4CR transceiver which has become one of my all-time favourites. 

And that leaves the glorious IC-705 for no other reason than I love it. I very nearly sold this and then came to my senses. It's the most advanced QRP transceiver in the world - bar none! Apart from covering HF, VHF and UHF, it also has a myriad features and functions that leave you in awe of the Icom design team.

Have you changed your shack a lot? Or are you the sort of person who sticks with the same trusted rig for years? I'd be interested to know in the comments section below.

73, Tom, M7MCQ.


PE4BAS, Bas said...

I'm not really someone that changes a lot, or buy a lot. I had a IC-706 MK2G, the predecessor of the IC-7100 I think. It was a most advanced radio at the time (1999) and I had it in service for over 20 years. I still got it in the original box and probabely never sell it. I then saved money for over a year to buy the IC-7300 which I am really satisfied about. I also got a Yaesu FT-817ND which I bought secondhand and was really a bargain. Almost all my antennas are homemade, except for the Gainmaster which I almost got for free. And then the begali paddle.....really a bargain (hi), tnx a lot Tom. I always love to read you very detailed posts, that way I don't have to spend the money and exactly know what a radio can and cannot do. I love the IC-7610, a dream for never know what happens in the future. How is your CW learning going? 73, Bas

John AE5X said...

Good morning, Tom - I'm curious if you had any issues when flashing the 'gateware' to the HL2 to make it into a PLUS model? I agree with you about the radio...excellent value. I've been using my daily since getting it assembled and plan to make it a Plus in a few weeks.


MadDogMcQ said...

@BAS - Hi Bas, my CW is not going well at all, hahaha. I am having so much stress at work that I can barely function outside working hours. Roll on retirement!!

@JOHN - Hi John, I've had no issues, but I'm aware that some people have. It's a cracking bit of kit - something I think Bas would like too.

73, Tom, M7MCQ.

VE9KK said...

Good afternoon Tom, nice to see you back and blogging! I have had my fair share of radios and sold them as well. Some it was See yah later and others after time it was "what the heck did I do". I have as you know the 7610 and it truly is a great radio but if I was not retired I would be dropping the cash for an Elecraft K4D. But as the say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I am very lucky to have been able to afford the 7610 and it's a great radio for my CW contesting.

MadDogMcQ said...

@VE9KK - Hi Mike, thanks for the visit. That K4 is a beast isn't it? But I reckon you'd miss elements of the 7610 if you swapped. Such an amazing radio. If money didn't matter, mine would still be sat there regardless of the dust sat on top of it LOL.

73, Tom, M7MCQ.