Wednesday, 11 May 2016

IC-7300 LF / MF Receive Performance

courtesy: Icom's youtube
Ever since the LF and MF bands have become a reality for European amateurs, Finbar, EIØCF in Ireland, has been actively involved on both bands, providing UK and continental hams a somewhat 'exotic' LF DX target.

Finbar recently had the opportunity to borrow and test-drive a spanking new Icom IC-7300. Like many of those interested in the LF / MF bands, he was particularly curious about its receiving performance in this part of the spectrum. His present mainstay LF receiver is the Icom R-75, which by any standard, is an excellent performer on the broadcast band and below.

Here are Finbar's anecdotal observations made with a borrowed IC-7300:

" ... my nearest radio amateur friend really surprised
me yesterday by telling me he had bought the new Icom 7300 SDR

transceiver. He offered me a quick loan to try it out. I drove the 9 km
straight away and getting home set it up side by side with my Icom R75.

3 hours later I returned it to it's owner having gained a valuable
chance to test it.

First off, he forgot to give me the instruction manual, but after a
short interval I had it sorted out, having seen the numerous videos, on line.

I disabled the MW attenuation and made sure not to have the Pre-amps
on, otherwise, within the medium wave band, it becomes very messy,
as one would expect.

Basically my R75 produced sharper, more sensitivity in the NDB band,
with some signals on the Icom 7300 being very weak to unreadable,
whereas the Icom R75 gave a much more solid signal, on those very weak

I did not test the rig on short wave, nor did I transmit or even key
it up, in any mode. I was much more interested in it's apparent receive

I will not be buying an Icom 7300, my Icom R75 is just fine and a
great receiver.

Don't get me wrong, the 7300 is a fine set, but as I see it, it
is the first of this new generation of non PC based SDR sets, and very welcome, at that. However the screen is just too small and crowded. Anyone used to a Perseus screen would be irritated by the sheer volume of screen and sub screen, all of which deserve a proper amount of space.

The subsequent new SDR based transceivers by both Icom and other
set makers, will I expect, contain a larger screen, together with an
ability to feed the video screen into to a PC type monitor, yet
allowing the user to use an SDR type transceiver or receiver without being tied down to a PC.

I look forward to these more comprehensive sets coming on the market.
This is just the beginning of a new phase in receiver and transceiver
SDR technology, integrated in the sets without a lumbering PC having to be
run alongside. This will be a breath of fresh air. Bring it on."

Although I don't believe this is the first non-PC based SDR transceiver, it may be the first 'entry-level' radio of this type. These are one ham's observations made over a short period with one particular unit and your experiences may be much different.

Finbar would be very interested in comments on his observations as well as comments on your own experience with the IC-7300's receiver on the LF bands.

The R-75, although now discontinued, still remains one of the best performing LF receivers, dollar-for-dollar, if you're still looking.

Icom R-75

As well, from my own experience, I can vouch for the superb receive performance of the Icom 756 PRO III on the LF and MF bands.


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