ROB SHERWOOD TEST: ICOM IC-7300

 

Here are the test files from Rob Sherwood.

 

BONUS:  In December of 2016, Rob used the TS-7300 in the ARRL 160m CW Contest  and was quite pleased with its On-The-Air performance.

His review of the IC-7300 under contest conditions is below the downloads.

 

DOWNLOADS:

Full Test Report of the Icom IC-7300 SDR Transceiver
This is the measured data from the radio. Rob has not had time to play with it and use it on the air, but once he has done that and written his comments, we will update this file.
Icom IC-7300 A.pdf
PDF-Dokument [69.0 KB]
IC-7300 Transmit Noise
Here is the measured Transmit Noise Data of the 7300.
IC-7300 Transmit phase noise.pdf
PDF-Dokument [93.4 KB]
IC-7300 CW Rise Time
Here is the measured CW Rise Time of the IC-7300.
IC-7300 CW Rise Time.pdf
PDF-Dokument [224.2 KB]

USING THE ICOM IC-7300 IN THE ARRL 160m CW CONTEST

 

I really enjoyed using the IC-7300 during this weekend’s ARRL 160-meter CW contest.  320 Qs, 55K points, a little under last year’s 63K points (all search and pounce).  No fault of the radio. 

I have zero complaints about using it in a CW contest.   While I wish the Bandscope / waterfall display had more options, the Bandscope did the job very well.  It needs an option to make it taller vertically in some mode and leave out the waterfall.  It could also use a 5 dB / division scaling since few stations ever go near full scale.

 

I hope Icom fixes the transmitter’s “key-up tail” one of these days, but my Alpha 89 or Acom 1000 won’t un-key until all RF is gone so they have no problem with this, but that isn’t the way to solve the problem.  Users may have problems with other types of amplifiers that don’t have this feature.

 

I setup the radio as follows:

  • BW 250 Hz
  • Audio HPF 500 Hz
  • Audio LPF 800 Hz
  • AGC Slow 3.0 seconds
  • NR set to 4 which really reduced fatigue with no obvious “bad cell phone” sound.
  • I never use IP+, a totally useless feature.
  • During nighttime hours I backed off the RF gain so band noise was just showing up on the Bandscope.
  • Bandscope gain set at +10 dB

 

At  8 a.m.  I updated firmware to 1.14 and after that made a few more Qs.   I didn’t notice anything different.  I had never updated from what shipped in April.

 

With the narrow CW bandwidth, impulse noise capturing the AGC is a non issue.  Unfortunately on SSB it can be annoying.   I will run the 7300 during next weekend’s ARRL 10 meter contest.  Hope for the sun to wake up. 

 

Comparing the 7300 to the TS-590S or SG, the Eagle or Orion II, etc. I would say the 7300 is better than all of these as far as being easy to use.  The Bandscope is an absolute necessity in a contest, 160 or 10 meters or any band in-between.  Same would be true on an E skip opening on 6 meters. 

 

I have heard on the air and seen on the 7300 reflector that the 7300 isn’t good enough to be a contest radio.  After this weekend I totally disagree.  Its weak point, however, would be in Field Day*  without external bandpass filters.   More than one station on a band during FD will also be a problem.  Of course a near-by neighbor could have the same issues.  The front end isn’t good enough in worst-case scenarios.

 

Assuming the 7610 has a better front end, possibly with the tracking preselector out of the 7851, plus much sharper half-octave filters, dual receiver, etc. it will likely be another enormous seller.  I expect I will replace the TS-990S with an IC-7610 if it is really what one would expect as an intermediate-priced radio.

 

With sales in the US and Canada around the 7000 mark, and 4000 in Europe, I would think sales of the 7300 is impacting every other OEM. 

 

There is the term “disruptive technology”.   The 7300 has certainly been that.

 

73, Rob, NC0B  

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*NOTE:  Unlike European Field Day which is one transmitter and one mode, Field Day in the states is all modes and multi-transmitter.  Most stations have 3 to 6 transmitters on the air at one time, sometimes even two on the same band – one on CW and one on SSB.  Rob contends that the IC-7300 might not fair so well in this environment unless you use external band filters.  (Rick, DJ0IP)