Icom 9300

Icom 9300 DEFAULT

IC-9700

144, 430/440, and 1200 MHz All Mode Transceiver
Including Satellite, DV, and DD Modes

The IC-9700 is an all mode Tri-band transceiver, covering 2 m, 70 cm, and 23 cm. In addition to the traditional SSB, AM, FM, CW, and RTTY modes, the transceiver also incorporates D-STAR (Digital Smart Technology for Amateur Radio) DV and DD modes. A full featured Satellite mode is built-in! There are three antenna connectors, one each for 144, 430/440, and 1200 MHz.

The Icom’s Digital Expertise

RF Direct Sampling, for 144 MHz and 430/440 MHz, is utilized in the IC-9700. For 1200 MHz, the Down Conversion IF Sampling method is adopted. In this system, signals are digitized by the ADC and processed in the FPGA. The signals are processed in the digital domain, thus eliminating distortion and other nonlinear elements seen in the legacy superheterodyne receivers. The outcome is that the signal purity is very high, and clear audio can be generated.

Real-Time Spectrum Scope and Waterfall Display

Example

This is the first time for an Icom VHF/UHF transceiver to have a real-time spectrum scope and waterfall display comparable to an HF high tier transceiver. With the high-speed spectrum scope, you can instantly see the operating band condition. With a simple touch of the scope, you can tune the radio to the desired signals frequency. You can also view the receive signal history using the waterfall display.
Scroll mode automatically keeps the operating signal within the scope range.

Intuitive Touch Screen Display

The beautifully designed MENU screens enable you to navigate settings and functions with a simple touch. The expanded menu provides quick access to the Satellite and D-STAR functions. Additionally, a touch on-screen keyboard is available for entering alphanumeric memory channel names.

Menu screen 1

Menu screen 2

One-Touch FT8 Mode Preset

Preset memory offers smooth FT8 mode operation. You can start FT8 mode operation only by selecting [FT8] from PRESET menu. Up to five preset memories can be stored.

Independent Receiver, Full Duplex Operation

Example

The IC-9700 can simultaneously receive on two different bands, and two different modes. For example, you can receive on the 1200 MHz band in the SSB mode while receiving on the 144 MHz band in the FM mode. This function can be a significant advantage when participating in contests or searching for weak signals. Furthermore, the IC-9700 is Full Duplex, which enables you to transmit on the main band while receiving on the sub band.

Audio Scope Function

Making good use of the Audio Scope function, various audio characteristics, such as microphone compressor level, filter width, notch filter width, and keying waveform in the CW mode can be monitored. Transmit or receive audio can either be displayed on the FFT scope and the oscilloscope.

Newly Designed Power Amplifier

This is a comparison between two transceivers' rear chassis temperatures when continuously transmitting for 15 minutes. The IC-910* rises to 65°C while the IC-9700 rises only to 45°C.
* Japanese version example when testing at 50 W.

The power amplifier outputs stable power with high efficiency (144/430 MHz band: 100/75 watts). The cooling system prevents the PA from overheating, even when operating for a long time. That ensures reliable operation during contests. This amplifier is more energy efficient than previous models.

D-STAR Operation Friendly Functions

Example

The IC-9700 has the D-STAR Repeater (DR) function that has been well received by D-STAR enthusiasts. The DR function can be used on both the Main and Sub bands simultaneously to listen to two separate DV signals. Moreover, by using the DD mode, you can browse the Internet through a repeater station.

Built-in DV Gateway Functions

Example

A static IP address can be set to the transceiver. If you set a global IP address to your router, you can use the Terminal mode or Access Point mode without any software applications.

■ Connection example (AP mode)

* These functions can be used only when using through D-STAR G3 repeater.
* See the instruction manual that comes with the transceiver when operating.

Almost Identical User Interface to the IC-7300

The layout of the dials and keys, and the menu screens are almost the same as the IC-7300. If you are familiar with the IC-7300, you can operate the IC-9700 without hesitation. The IC-9700 is the perfect side-by-side companion to the IC-7300, enabling operations from HF to the 1200 MHz.

Comprehensive Menus for Satellite Operation

The IC-9700's Satellite mode makes Satellite operation very easy. Even in the Satellite mode, you can use the high-quality spectrum scope.

Normal and Reverse Tracking Functions

In addition to the Reverse Tracking function there is also a Normal Tracking function. Both functions simultaneously increase or decrease both the downlink and uplink frequencies in the same steps.

AFC Function

Automatic Frequency Control follows the frequency change caused by the Doppler effect, thus maintaining a stable receive condition.

Up to 99 Satellite Memory Channels

The IC-9700 has 99 satellite memory channels that enable you to store both uplink and downlink frequencies and operating mode. By just selecting a satellite memory channel, all of your satellite settings are completed.

UDP Hole Punch Function

The UDP Hole Punch function enables Access Point mode or Terminal mode communication (limited function), even if you cannot forward port 40000, or a Global IP address is not assigned to your device. This function is convenient when you are using a free Wi-Fi hotspot.

Note:

  • When using the IC-9700 Internal Gateway function, IC-9700 version 1.10 or later is required.
  • When using an application software, RS-MS3W/RS-MS3A version 1.30 or later is required.
  • You can communicate with individual stations, or stations that are listening to a repeater, whichever you set in “TO.” Once your transmit signal passes through a punched port, a reply (receive) signal can pass back through the port.
  • You cannot hear calls from stations that initiate a call to you.
  • See the RS-MS3W or RS-MS3A instruction manuals for precautions and setting details.

Send, receive and show pictures, the IC-9700 does it all

Pictures stored on your smartphone or other device can be sent through the IC-9700. Using the ST-4001A/I/W picture utility software, you can select a picture to be sent, and then transfer it to the IC-9700 through a LAN. The IC-9700 does the rest. Image data is transmitted during voice communication, or transmitted in the DV fast data mode, by pressing a button on the display, too. The IC-9700 can also show the received picture on its LED display.

Picture Utility Software

*Operating environments

For Android: Version 5.0 or later

For iOS: 12 or later / For iPadOS: 13 or later

For Windows: Either 32 or 64 bit versions of Microsoft Windows 7, 8.1 or 10

Screen shots of the ST-4001A

Picture TX setting screen on the IC-9700

TX Picture setting screen on the IC-9700

Other Functions

  • Loud and clear audio
  • Compatible with the RS-BA1 Version 2 and CI-V commands
  • Built-in server function
  • Digital Twin PBT
  • CW functions: Full break-in, CW memory keyer, CW reverse, CW auto tuning
  • SD card slot
  • TX/RX audio recording
  • Screen capture ...and more.

Rear Panel View

Sours: https://www.icomjapan.com/lineup/products/IC-9700USA/

Sam Jewell G4DDK has the lowdown on the much-anticipated IC-9700 VHF/UHF transceiver from ICOM.

Like many others I have waited patiently for my IC-9700 to arrive, having finally decided to order one in mid-2018. I bought an IC-7300 three years ago and was delighted at its performance, ease of use and the convenience of the single USB connection for PC control. My hopes were high for the IC-9700. 

Overview
The IC-9700 has many of the features of the IC-7300 but in a 3-band VHF/UHF transceiver. As well as the colour touchscreen display and a very comprehensive settings menus, the transceiver also has real-time spectrum scope and a waterfall display. The transceiver covers the 2m, 70cm and 23cm bands as standard. It also includes Satellite mode, with any combination of two of the three bands. It features three separate antenna connectors: an SO239 socket for 2m, and separate N-type connectors for 70 and 23cm. It also includes D-STAR digital voice (DV) on all three bands and the higher speed Digital Data (DD) mode on 23cm.

The IC-9700 is described as a VHF/UHF Software Defined Radio (SDR) using direct sampling. This is not completely correct, however. In order to cover the 23cm (1296MHz) band the architecture incorporates a conventional heterodyne conversion with a 310 to 370MHz first IF. This IF is then direct sampled, like the 2m (144MHz) and 70cm (430MHz) bands. Direct sampling avoids the limitations of mixing non-linearities and the need for crystal roofing filters which, in turn, can introduce other performance impairments. The IC-9700’s SDR architecture allows a great many other advanced facilities to be incorporated, including wideband, real-time, spectrum and waterfall displays, an extensive range of bandwidth resolution filters and expanded computer control. One of the most anticipated performance improvements, over conventional superhet (superheterodyne) based transceivers, was the potential to significantly reduce the noise added to both transmit and receive signals by the often-noisy conversion oscillators in superhet-based receivers and transceivers.

VHF and UHF enthusiasts have waited a long time for a new, modern, dedicated transceiver to appear. Recent introductions have generally been of the ‘shack in a box’ type, with HF and VHF/UHF coverage and often incorporating receiver general coverage of the complete HF bands and selected portions of VHF and UHF. Of necessity these rigs often use superhet up-conversion to a first IF in the VHF range. The then-necessary VHF first IF crystal roofing filter can exhibit limited performance, putting the remainder of the receiver under greater performance constraints. The true SDR doesn’t need this roofing filter. 

Does the IC-9700 live up to the hopes and expectation of the many VHF and UHF amateur radio enthusiasts who have bought or plan to buy one? Read on to discover if this is the radio you have been waiting for.

Features 
The IC-9700 is housed in the same compact case as the IC-7300. The front panel features a 4.3in TFT LCD colour touchscreen with several ‘soft’ buttons controlling various menu selections. These are complemented by several encoder rotary controls and pushbuttons as well as the microphone, headphone and SD Card reader/writer sockets.

At first sight it looks identical to the IC-7300 but closer examination shows that there are two receiver controls, one each for the main and secondary receiver; slightly different labelling on the press-to-select buttons at the top right-hand side of the panel and instead of saying ‘D-STAR’ below the screen, as on the American version, the UK (and probably EU) version has the word ‘Digital’.

On the rear panel, Fig. 1, are three separate coaxial antenna sockets, a 10MHz reference frequency input socket; an 8-pin, full-size accessory socket; USB-B socket; a LAN (Ethernet) socket, power socket (13.8V) and various loudspeaker and keyer sockets. The rear panel is dominated by a rather large cooling fan.

Fig. 1: Rear panel view (from brochure)

 

While the IC-9700 can be used as a single band transceiver on any of the three bands, it can also be used single band but with simultaneous independent receiver (Dual Watch) on either of the other bands. But note, it cannot be used with both receivers on the same band. As well as the normal band selection options, the IC-9700 can be used as a full duplex (transmit and receive simultaneously) transceiver on satellite mode. Offset (conversion frequency) and normal or reverse tracking of the satellite frequencies is catered for in this mode. 

The LCD screen can be set to show one band only or both bands simultaneously. Frequency, spectrum display and waterfall, together with receiver S-meter and relative power output meter can also be displayed. In addition, the status of parameters such as AGC, noise blanker, receiver filter, VFO A or B and Passband-Tuning, as selected, is shown. The time, in local or GMT, is also displayed.

ICOM claim 100W of transmit RF is available on 144MHz, while the power on 432MHz is 75W and just 10W on 1296MHz. A Japanese friend told me that the most popular Japanese licence type requires that the 1296MHz output is limited to 10W. These power levels can be adjusted independently on each of the three bands to suit the operator and mode. A useful facility to limit power to a set value is also incorporated. Reports indicate that there is no power spike, unlike many other transceivers that use ALC (automatic level control) to control output power.

As well as the usual CW, FM, SSB (USB and LSB), and data modes such as FT8, the IC-9700 provides for D-STAR voice on any of the three bands plus D-STAR data at 128kb/s on the 1296MHz band.

Inside the IC-9700
The basic architecture of the IC-9700 is shown in Fig. 2.

Fig. 2: IC-9700 internal architecture.

 

In a direct sampling receiver, a high-speed ADC (Analogue to Digital Converter) is clocked (sampled) at a rate at least twice the highest frequency of its coverage. To cover up to 52MHz, the sampling oscillator would need to operate in excess of 104MHz (commonly around 122MHz). Since the IC-9700 covers up to 1300MHz, you might expect the sampling clock to run at a frequency in excess of 2600MHz. Not so.

The sampling frequency, known as the Nyquist frequency, requires that the sampling clock only needs to operate in excess of the highest frequency encountered in the bandwidth of the signal of interest, not the whole bandwidth from DC to maximum frequency.

The US 70cm band, as an example, extends from 420MHz to 450MHz. That is a bandwidth of 30MHz. The sampling clock only needs to operate in excess of 60MHz to meet the Nyquist requirement. Provided the ADC input can process the highest RF frequencies encountered, the sampling clock can operate at moderate frequencies. In the case of the IC-9700 the sampling clock operates at 196.6MHz. This process of sampling the bandwidth rather than the whole DC to maximum signal frequency range is known as bandpass sampling or under sampling. Since bandpass sampling introduces a problem known as aliasing, good quality ‘anti-aliasing’ bandpass filters are used to closely define the band to be sampled. Increasing the frequency of the sampling clock to well above the required Nyquist frequency can ease some of the filter requirements. This filtering limits the radio to operating just within the amateur bands. No extended receive is available.

In the IC-9700 the 23cm amateur band covers from 1240 to 1300MHz. That is 60MHz bandwidth. Logically that would require a sampling clock frequency of over 120MHz. In practice the ADC used by ICOM has a bandwidth extending to 1250MHz, but that is not enough to be used (reliably) to operate to 1300MHz. The IC-9700 solution is to convert the whole 23cm band down to a ‘tunable IF’ of approximately 311 to 371MHz and then bandpass-sample that 60MHz wide band as you would the 70cm band. 

The IC-9700 uses an LTC2156-14 dual-channel, 14-bit, 210MHz (maximum) sampling ADC with a full power bandwidth of 1250MHz. Dual-channel enables the two receivers to operate simultaneously.

Unlike the conventional superhet architecture used in most receivers and transceivers, the direct sampling architecture doesn’t need a VFO to select the operating frequency. The ADC (on receive) sampling clock is, in effect, the VFO, but has the advantage that its frequency doesn’t need to change with tuned frequency. In a superhet radio synthesised VFOs are usually the major source of unwanted noise in the radio path, apart from the inherent noise of the receiver early stages and the antenna noise. The noise on the VFO is a mixture of phase noise and amplitude noise, with phase noise usually dominating. It is introduced onto each received (and transmitted, in the transmitter case) signal and causes an effect known as reciprocal mixing. This is the effect you notice when tuning close to another signal and start to hear modulation from that signal due to it ‘beating’ with the noise from your VFO. It is hard to make a truly low-noise synthesised VFO. Since the direct sampling receiver uses a single fixed sampling frequency, it is much easier to produce a very low noise oscillator and therefore to significantly reduce the effects of reciprocal mixing. The IC-9700 main sampling oscillator is a low-noise module designed originally for sampling audio sound cards. It operates at 49.152MHz before being multiplied to 196.608MHz and sampling the ADC.

On transmit the audio is sampled in an ADC and processed in the FPGA before a 16-bit, dual-channel DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) IC, sampled at 1179.648MHz, derived from the same source as the ADC clock, is used to produce the 2m and 70cm transmit signals. These are then amplified to the appropriate transmit output power levels.

The 23cm transmit signal is generated as a 311 to 371MHz IF before being converted to the 23cm band in a conventional (transmit) upconverter. An Analogue Devices synthesiser IC is used to generate the 1179MHz sampling clock. A separate LMX2581 synthesiser, with integrated VCO, is used to generate the conversion oscillator frequencies for the 23cm up and down converters.
All modulation and demodulation modes are generated and controlled by the FPGA and an ARM processor.

IC-9700 in Use
My main interest is DXing on 432MHz and up, with some 144MHz FT8 and occasional SSB operating. In order to give the IC-9700 a good ‘airing’ I also used it in satellite mode, made D-STAR and FM voice contacts, as well as listened off the moon on 23cm EME.

My first impression, when listening to beacons on the three bands, was that the signals sounded much cleaner than on my TS2000X, K3 with transverter (2m only), or my FT-847 (2m and 70cm only). This is a common observation by SDR users and is probably because of the low phase noise on the receiver oscillator and lack of distortion that can otherwise occur due to the presence of crystal filters in the superhet receiver path.

After running several test measurements on my IC-9700, I took advantage of the early May 432MHz and Up contest to do a few hours operating during what is normally a very busy contest on both 432 and 1296MHz. However, poor propagation conditions meant there were few 23cm stations to work but 432MHz was busy. I discovered that there was a 144MHz contest on as well and switched to that band on the Sunday in order to find some DX to work and to see how the 144MHz receiver coped with the many more strong signals present. Despite the poor conditions there were many German stations active, together with several Dutch and Belgian stations.

In each case I used my usual antennas, consisting of a 9-element YU7EF on 144MHz, WiMo 23 element Yagi on 432MHz and WiMo 44 element Yagi on 1296MHz. All antennas are horizontally polarised and mounted on my 10m Versatower. A single coaxial cable feed was used on each of the three bands. No masthead preamplifiers or power amplifiers were used, although later I was able to switch in my DG8 144MHz masthead preamplifier in order to test the effectiveness of the external preamplifier facility on the IC-9700.

The IC-9700 transmitter output is quoted by ICOM at 100W on 2m, 75W on 70cm and 10W on 23cm. Table 1 shows the measured power using a 30dB/150W Narda attenuator, 10dB HP attenuator and an HP435 power meter with calibrated HP8481 power meter head.

 

Table 1: Measured transmitter output. RTTY mode, at 30, 50 and 100% power settings.

Band         30% setting    50% setting    100% setting
144MHz     25W                 48W                98W
432MHz     14W                 34W                72W
1296MHz   1.9W                4.5W                9W

 

My impression was that the receiver was quite sensitive on all three bands and this was confirmed my measurements of between 4 and 5dB noise figure, depending on band. This was with the internal preamplifiers (LNAs) turned on. Without the preamplifiers, both 2m and 70cm receivers were exceptionally deaf. The 23cm noise figure, without preamp, was reasonable.

The receiver on 2m and 70cm has a reasonable dynamic range and although the Sherwood receiver comparison tables (URL below) show a relatively poor dynamic range this has so far not been borne out in my on-air testing. The superhet conversion used in the 23cm section, ahead of the direct sampling section of the SDR, works well although the dynamic range is slightly reduced compared with the receivers in the other two bands. Unlike some other 23cm receivers, while beaming directly at it with my 44 element 23cm Yagi, I was able to tune within a couple of kilohertz of the Martlesham GB3MHZ 23cm beacon before the receiver started to respond audibly to the very strong signal. The spectrum display was already showing some ‘distress’ at this spacing. This is regarded as a very good result. The beacon signal level was −53dBm at this point as measured on the S meter.

www.sherweng.com/table.html

I asked several of the not-so-busy contest stations for comments on the quality of the transmitted signal on 2m and 70cm. These reports were good to excellent. I used the hand microphone supplied with the radio. Recent measurements by several experienced RF engineers have indicated that the transmitter composite noise output (phase, amplitude and IMD noise) is perhaps not as good as we might have expected from the SDR architecture. More testing is required to confirm the measurements, together with on-air experience.

Testing the transceiver on narrowband FM I was unable to find any local stations to work, so I switched to FM repeater mode. This was easy to set up. The default repeater shift in the UK model on 2m is already −600kHz so I only needed to find the CTCSS tone encode and I was able to access the local Ipswich 2m repeater, GB3PO. I had chosen to test just as the Leiston Radio Society club net was beginning, so was able to solicit audio reports from several club members. They all reported good audio quality. Holding in the ‘XFC’ transmit frequency button I was able to check each signal on the repeater input frequency. Everyone was quite audible, although at slightly lower signal strength than the repeater signal. 

I was able to persuade Tony G0MBA to appear on the Clacton-on-Sea 145MHz D-STAR voice repeater, GB7TE C. We were able to chat over the not-too-long 20km path from my QTH to the repeater, with Tony located near to the Clacton repeater. He reported the signal sounded fine, as you would expect with digital voice. We were joined by M0DYS, in Harwich, who also reported a good signal. Both stations were perfectly readable on the repeater input by pressing the XFC button on the IC-9700. From this we decided to change over to direct DV simplex on 145.350MHz. Again, the signal held up well at an indicated level of S5 on the S-meter. It was, however, necessary to use 50W for the QSO. This was with cross polarisation. I used my 9-element horizontally polarized Yagi and G0MBA was using a vertical multiband antenna from a ‘poor location’. Thanks to both Tony and Dillon for the test QSOs.

In order to test the satellite mode, I used my Es’Hail-2 satellite equipment with the IC-9700 in satellite duplex mode. Signals from the narrowband transponder were received at 10.489GHz and converted to 739MHz in my Octagon LNB on a 1m diameter dish. A homebrew down-converter then meant I could tune the transponder passband on 145MHz on the IC-9700. The transmit side on 432MHz was used as the IF for an SG Labs 2400MHz transverter and then into an add-on power amplifier feeding about 10W into a small flat plate antenna.

I found it easy to set up the two frequencies and ‘normal’ tracking. When SATELLITE mode is selected from the MENU button two frequencies are displayed. These can be any two from the three bands available. The two bands can be swapped over and either set as the main band with the other as the sub band. Normal or reverse tracking can be selected by further screen touches on soft buttons.

In this case 145MHz and 435MHz were the two satellite ‘bands’ required. The mode and filter bandwidth are displayed for each band and can be changed, as required, just by touching the appropriate soft ‘button’ on the touchscreen. By touching the frequency display, for either band, that band is shown underlined in yellow and allows the frequency to be changed independently of the other band.

Once the frequency offset is set, the selected band is deselected, and normal or reverse tracking then follows the main tuning dial. 
It was convenient to have the spectrum display on to see what signals were present and then to be able to tune to a specific signal and call the station without having to ‘sweep’ around the frequency in order to find your uplink signal and then net onto the called station. Again, reports were favourable with no adverse comments about signal quality.

I used FT8 on 2m to make contacts across nearer Europe under relatively flat band conditions. I was particularly concerned about the frequency stability of the transmitter in narrowband modes such as FT8. Reports have suggested, and confirmed in my own measurements, that there is an apparent flaw in the thermal design around the main clock oscillator, that can lead to a small but noticeable change in the transmission frequency from the time the fan initially switches on during transmit. On 144.174MHz this amounts to a few Hertz. On the higher bands, especially 23cm, the change is significantly larger. The concern is that this change may cause the first few, critical, symbols of the digital transmission to fail to decode correctly at the distant receiver and then again at the local receiver. As the contact progresses the frequency gradually traces back close to the initial value. On 144MHz the effect appears minimal and I was able to enjoy many FT8 contacts. On 432MHz the effect was more pronounced and may have caused several weaker signals not to initially decode. On 23cm it is unlikely that a slow, narrow digital mode such as FT8 would be used very often as the effects of path dispersion would make decoding difficult much of the time, anyway. Wider, fast, modes such as JT9F should be fine because the absolute frequencies are much less critical to successfully decode.

Since the IC-9700 has an external reference frequency input (10MHz at −10dBm) it would not be unreasonable to believe that the clock frequencies in the IC-9700 would be locked to this external reference. This is not the case. The external reference input is merely a modern equivalent of the old crystal marker, where a good internal crystal, with markers every 100kHz or so, is used to check the internal VFO offset. In these older radios the offset could be removed by mechanically adjusting the main tuning dial while holding the VFO on the marker frequency. In the IC-9700 the mechanical setting is replaced by an automatic system based on pressing a ‘soft’ button on the radio touchscreen and letting the radio automatically make the setting correction. The problem is that the main master oscillator is then free to drift again, against the radio operating temperature. Although a 0.5ppm specified 49.153MHz TCXO is used, the thermal design originally did not consider the increased airflow when the fan comes on during transmit. In firmware revision 1.06 it appears that the fan speed may now be better (speed?) controlled. It doesn’t look like an easy job to convert the existing external reference input to work continuously or quasi-continuously, as in the Elecraft K3/K3S transceivers. ICOM are aware of the apparent frequency stability weakness and may bring out a further official modification. We will need to wait and see. 

To put it into perspective, the small change in frequency will probably not be noticed when working the traditional CW, SSB, AM and FM modes and most unlikely to be noticed when using the radio’s excellent D-STAR mode. But it is an annoying weakness in the design for use with some narrow digital modes. If it is noticed, it will most likely be on the two higher bands.

MGM modes on the IC-9700 
One of the big advantages of the IC-9700, and its HF cousin the IC-7300, is that it can be computer controlled over a single USB connection rather than the usual collection of soundcard interfaces and connecting leads. Provision is still made for the ICOM CI-V interface if required, but the USB connection is both quicker, accommodating up to 115kb/s baud rate, and very comprehensive. It does require the user to download the ICOM USB driver software. Initially plugging in the USB lead into a PC USB socket could result in the installation of Microsoft’s own drivers and consequent loss of some functions. With the USB connection the radio can be both computer-controlled and act as a USB sound card for use with digital modes such as those in the WSJT-X suite of programs. 

I set up my IC-9700 as an IC-7300 since WSJT-X version 2.0.1 didn’t recognise the IC-9700. By the time you read this it’s likely that the necessary links for the IC-9700 will have been provided by the main computer control program writers.

With the correct COM port and baud rate selected, to match what I had set on the IC-9700, I was immediately able to use the radio on 144.174MHz, FT8 mode. It did require a bit of adjustment of the sound card audio drive levels so that the radio was just driven to the commencement of ALC. In this mode I was able to work many stations and didn’t observe any frequency drift when reverting to receive between 15 second transmission overs. Most FT8 contacts were made at the 20W level but for a few I turned up the power to around 50W to see if the frequency stability was affected. No decode problems were observed.

Summary
The IC-9700 is a very VHF and UHF capable transceiver. In this short review it is impossible to do justice to all its features.

It does have a few niggling omissions such as a single ‘send’ output pin shared by all three bands. If you have three separate linear amplifiers connected, one for each of the three bands, all three will key up at the same time even though only one is wanted. This is a serious error and looks like an oversight by the ICOM designers. All previous multiband transceivers from ICOM have some form of band decode, in the form of a separate send pin on the accessory socket. 

For some reason the audio output has not been connected to the centre pin of the microphone socket, even though some headset adapters expect to receive their audio output at this point. The socket wiring diagram shows the connection made but it has been omitted from the production radios.

It is probably not too important for most operators, but I noted that the IC-9700 does not have XIT (transmit incremental tuning). This is particularly useful for me for EME operation when the transmitted signal needs to be placed onto the Doppler frequency shifted echo from a calling station. RIT (receiver incremental tuning) is still provided.

The reference frequency input has already been mentioned.

The sensitivity of the radio is more than adequate for normal use, and the provision to turn off the internal preamplifier and divert DC to power an external preamplifier is a nice touch that overcomes the temptation to ‘pile on the preamplifiers’ with disastrous results for receiver dynamic range.

All in all, while serious weak-signal DXers will probably still opt for a top-of-the-range HF transceiver and pricey VHF/UHF transverters to get the level of performance they demand, the IC-9700 is a lot of radio for the money (bands, modes, features) and, hopefully, will bring more activity to the three bands it covers, especially 23cm. Being software-defined, it should also be future-proofed to some extent – there will undoubtedly be firmware updates as time goes on, in response to user feedback. ICOM should have a big success on their hands. It complements the IC-7300 extremely well, providing coverage of all the UK bands from 472kHz to 70MHz in the IC-7300 and then 144, 432 and 1296MHz in this new radio. 

The IC-9700 currently retails for around £1795 from all the major UK dealers. The full specification can be found on the ICOM UK website, along with news of new firmware releases, downloads of the brochure and manual, a video overview and details of complementary accessories. The images in this article are courtesy of ICOM UK.
https://tinyurl.com/yyvwvfyq

Thanks
I would like to thank G7OCD, G8ONH and PA5Y for discussions, measurement assistance and general help with the IC-9700’s SDR architecture. I’d especially like to thank my friend VK7MO for sharing his findings on the radio’s frequency stability issues.
 

Table 2: IC-9700 receiver noise figures, with and without internal preamplifier.

Band    Noise figure, preamp off    Noise figure, preamp on
144      17.3dB                                     4.2dB
432      15.9dB                                     4.8dB
1296    9.22dB                                     4.8dB
    
    


 

Sours: https://www.radioenthusiast.co.uk/articles/review-icom-ic-9700-vhf-uhf-transceiver/
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I would choose the Icom IC-7300

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul, who writes:

This came to me from a friend; he is curious about choosing between the Xiegu G90 and the Icom IC-7300 for his first rig. He has money to buy the Icom which is $999 right now after rebates, but wants to know if he is really getting twice the radio for the Icom, vs the Xiegu, or are there other good reasons to get the 2016-introduced Icom, vs the newly introduced Xiegu.

Maybe this can be a posting to ask your readers? Greatly appreciate it.

Thanks very much
Paul

Thank you for passing along the question, Paul.

While I almost consider this to be an “apples to oranges” question, let’s approach this from a couple of different operator perspectives and truly explore the decision.

I like both radios for different reasons, but first, I’ll tell you what my decision would be if I were in in his shoes…

The Icom IC-7300 SDR transceiver

While the Icom IC-7300 does cost twice the amount of a Xiegu G90, it’s a much more versatile transceiver. There are almost too many IC-7300 features to list here, so I’ll mention a few that immediately come to mind, focusing on features the G90 lacks.

For one thing, the IC-7300 is a 100 watt radio, thus the max rated power output is five times that of the Xiegu G90.

The IC-7300 doesn’t require an external sound card for digital modes. Simply plug the radio into you PC with a USB cable, and with your favorite application (like WSJT), you can operate any number of digital modes. (I found configuring the G90 for digital modes to be a bit frustrating.)

The IC-7300 also covers the 6 meter band–the G90 tops out at 10 meters.

The IC-7300 has useful features for contests and field operation like:

  • voice and CW memory keyers with beacon mode,
  • native transmit and received audio recording,
  • a large touch screen display to quickly enter frequencies and adjust settings,
  • audio EQ on both transmit and receive,
  • a built-in bail
  • notch filters and Icom’s twin passband tuning

Again, by no means is this a comprehensive list–just some of the features that come to mind.

As a first rig, the IC-7300 can take you into any aspect or mode of the HF band your friend cares to explore. It must be one of the most popular HF radios on the market right now, so there’s also a massive user and knowledge base out there on the web.

The IC-7300 also has better transmitter specs, producing a cleaner signal than the G90, especially in CW (the G90 is known to produce key clicks and not recommended for use with an amplifier). It also can handle close-in signals better than the G90 and has a higher dynamic range. Overall, it has better specs than the G90.

For a more detailed look at the IC-7300, check out my full review.

The Xiegu G90 with upgraded encoder

Let’s get an an obvious point out of the way first: the G90 costs half that ($450) of the IC-7300 (generally $900-1,100). This could leave your friend with even more money to invest in an antenna. As I’ve said so many times before, a radio is only as good as its antenna!

If your friend plans to operate primarily in the field, the Xiegu G90 is much more portable option. The G90 is very compact and weighs a fraction of the IC-7300. The G90 also draws less current in receive mode, so is much kinder on a battery. It also has built-in side extensions to protect the front and back panels while being transported.

The Xiegu G90 has a detachable face plate which would come in handy for mobile installations (although, admittedly, there are a number of better mobile transceivers on the market).

My full review of the Xiegu G90 is in this month’s issue (Aug 2020) of The Spectrum Monitor magazine. It’s nearly a 4,000 word review so is one of the longer ones I’ve produced. If your friend wants to make a decision soon, he/she might purchase this issue to fully explore this rig.

If your friend is seriously considering the Xiegu G90, then I have to assume he/she has portable operation in mind.

Making this assumption, I would also suggest they check out the Yaesu FT-891. Like the IC-7300, it has a full 100 watts output and also covers the 6 meter band. Like the G90, the front panel can be separated from the radio body for easy mobile installation.

Although I have never reviewed the FT-891 (although I plan to before the end of the year), the radio has an almost cult-like following among SWLing Post readers. It’s also a favorite rig of Parks On The Air (POTA) activators because of its 100W output, relatively compact footprint, and great audio characteristics. The G90 and IC-7300 both are based on SDR architecture, the FT-891 is a triple conversion superheterodyne general coverage receiver.

Unlike the IC-7300 and G90, however, the FT-891 lacks an internal antenna tuner (ATU) and I’m guessing your friend wants one based on the fact both the G90 and IC-7300 have one.

The LDG Z-11 Pro 2 ATU

No problem! The Yaesu FT-891 is one of the best bang-for-buck transceivers on the market. The price at time of posting is $609 after rebates. That leaves room to purchase a benchmark portable HF+6 meter antenna tuner. I personally love the LDG Z-11 Pro 2 which would only set them back $169. I’ve owned one of the predecessors of this ATU for nearly a decade. It’s located outdoors, in an enclosure and serves as a remote antenna tuner for my multi-band sky loop. It has operated flawlessly through seasonal temperature extremes and powered by a 15 year old  12V gel cell battery that is charged off of a 5 watt PV panel and Micro M+ charge controller.

The FT-891 and Z11 Pro 2 ATU combo would total $778 which is a nice compromise between the $1,000 IC-7300 and $450 G90.

If your friend wanted a more compact option than the IC-7300, and better specs and more power output than the G90, this FT-891/Z-11 Pro 2 combo would be hard to beat.

As I mentioned before, do your friend a favor and remind him/her to set aside a budget for an antenna.

If you build your own wire antenna, you can create an amazing one for $50 or so in quality ladder line and wire–at least, that’s about what I put into my sky loop antenna. Retailers like Universal Radio, HRO, and Gigaparts stock quality pre-made wire antennas that cost a bit more, but are pre-tuned, durable and very easy to deploy. The type of antenna you can install is totally dependent on the environment around your home, access to your radio room, and any local interference you might need to mitigate.

Of course, all of the radios mentioned above need a DC power supply. There are many on the market from lightweight switching power supplies to heavy linear supplies.

I would not choose one of the cheapest ones you can find because switching power supplies especially can inject noise. I’m a big fan of the Powerwerx SS-30DV which will typically cost around $110 at ham radio retailers (although, at present, it’s one of the many items out-of-stock due to the Covid-19 pandemic). It hits the sweet spot for me and is a little workhorse!

As I always say: radios are a personal choice. Specifications and features make for convenient points of comparison, but often choices are made based on a user’s own needs and operating style.

Between the Xiegu G90 and Icom IC-7300, which would you choose as a first rig? Can you think of a better compromise?  Please comment!


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This entry was posted in Ham Radio, News, Shortwave Radio and tagged Best First Transceivers, FT-891, G90, General Coverage Transceivers, IC-7300, Icom, Icom IC-7300, Icom IC-7300 v Xiegu G90, Xiegu, Xiegu G90, Yaesu, Yaesu FT-891 on by Thomas. Sours: https://swling.com/blog/2020/08/which-would-you-choose-as-a-first-radio-the-icom-ic-7300-or-xiegu-g90/
My thoughts on the Icom Ic-7300 after one year of use

Icom 9300

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IC9700 VHF/UHF Transceiver Features Icom America

7 hours ago Built with the VHF/UHF weak signal operator in mind, the IC-9700 is an RF direct sampling receiver for 2m and 70cm. The IF receiver consists of a single, down conversion for 23cm that is between 311 – 371MHz. This design provides a quiet receiver due to Icom’s DSP technology. The robust PA provides 100W on 2m, 75W on 70cm, and 10W on 23cm.

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Icom IC9700, IC9700 GigaParts.com

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Rating: 100%(3)

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ICOM IC9700 Transceivers Other, IC9700

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Availability: In stock

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3 hours ago The Icom IC-7300 is Icom's latest SDR HF/50 MHz Transceiver. It offers 100W of output power and receieves from 0.030 to 74.800 MHZ. It operates on SSB, CW, RTTY, AM and FM modes. The Icom IC-7300 features a RF direct sampling system, 15 discrete band-pass filters, a real-time spectrum scope and a large 4.3" color touch screen display.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ICOM IC-7300 real time spectrum scope?

The high resolution real-time spectrum scope comes loaded with the IC-7300. Its real-time spectrum speed and dynamic range. RF direct sampling system - a first in an amateur radio transceiver. This technology is seen in Software Defined Radios and other radio equipment. RF offer a high performance real-time spectrum scope in a compact body.

What kind of transceiver is the ICOM ic-9700?

ICOM IC-9700 VHF/UH/1.2 GHz All Mode Base Transceiver Specifically built for the VHF/UHF weak signal operator in mind, the IC-9700 is a RF direct sampling receiver for 2m and 70cm, with a single, down conversion for 23cm with an IF Sampled receiver between 311 – 371MHz.

How does the waterfall function on the ICOM IC-7300 work?

A second touch of the scope screen changes the operating frequency and allows you to accurately tune to the desired signal. The combination of the waterfall function and the real-time spectrum scope assists in maximum receive performance of IC-7300 radios and increases QSO opportunities without missing weak signals.

How to get extra discount on ICOM IC-7300?

£65 EXTRA DISCOUNT – enter code HAM65 @ checkout !! Some features of this very exciting new transceiver include :- HF/6/4m + new 5 MHz amateur band already enabled!

Sours: https://convertf.com/icom-9300/

9300 icom

Reviews For: Icom IC-9700

G4AONRating: 2021-09-12
2 years and it’s still greatTime Owned: more than 12 months.
2 year update.

Since the original review I added a Leo Bodnar board (it uses a Leo Bodnar GPSDO on 49.152 MHz) and now the 9700 is within +/- 1Hz on 23cm (that’s as good as my GPS locked frequency counter displays in a reasonable gate time). I am also using later firmware that features the ability to send voice (or CW) from memory 1 or 2 by tapping the up/down buttons on the microphone. I also built a 4 button memory playback box, the circuit is in the Icom manual.

The radio is in daily use on 2m SSB and is regularly used out portable on a nearby hill in contests. It is rarely used on D-Star or FM, it has been used a few times on FT8 and meteor scatter, which work well enough, but these modes do not appeal to me.

Omnirig and Hamlib now include the IC-9700, so no need to edit the settings. I use Log4OM at home for logging and also for casual portable operating. For contests I use Minos, a log program specifically written for RSGB VHF/UHF contests.

The voice playback is excellent and a really useful SSB contest throat saver.

On 70cm I use an SSB Electronics SP70 mast head preamp and on 23cm an Icom AG1200 mast head preamp, both powered by the IC-9700.

——— original review below————

The 9700 is a complex radio with a lot of features. It takes a few days to both work out how to access various settings and to program memories/settings. There are some hard to remember settings that require a few button/screen presses, those who complain about the "tap/hold" buttons on an Elecraft K3 should try an IC-9700, it's a lot less user friendly... However, pretty much everything you need is in there.

Initially, the radio came with ver 1.06 firmware and was easy to update to 1.20. The free programming software is easy to use although there are quite a few parameters to discover, such as entering ^AR into the Morse keyer memory to send the "AR" without a gap.

It's not obvious that FM narrow is set by using the receiver filter FL2 (tap the filter on the screen to change), some radios have FMN as a mode. The memory programming has provision to set these to suit various analogue repeaters.

Speech quality on receive on D-Star is often excellent, equal to FM, although a lot depends on the sending station. There are two vocoders, so you can listen on 2m and 70cms at the same time on D-Star, even listening to your own transmission on another repeater as it operates full duplex.

CW on reduced power levels gives a perfect wave shape, there are no "spikes" or overshoot, and the rise and fall edges of the waveform are smooth and around the rise/fall times set in the menu.

I have only found one "birdie" and that is on 1249 MHz. Receive sensitivity is good, MDS is at the limit of my signal generator (-140dBm) and at that level a signal is easily seen on the spectrum scope. It is slightly more sensitive on 23cms. S9 signals reach the top of the 'scope display. Incidentally, setting a green trace with the "fill" black, gives a pleasing trace on the 'scope which resembles a spectrum analyser display. Power output as measured on a Bird Thruline is as per specification and tracks the percentage output indication fairly well.

Using an external 10 MHz reference puts the 9700 within one or two Hz of the correct frequency, although unless you use digital modes, or have long 23cms SSB QSOs, it's probably not an issue.

Many log programs currently lack a setting for the IC-9700, those that use Omni-Rig can edit the IC-7300 ini file to change the CI-V address entries from 94 to A2 and rename the file to 9700.ini, there might be some subtle differences to the 7300, but it works OK for basic frequency/mode logging. Equally, you could change the radio to 94, although search and replace with the ini file is easy enough.

Overall a nice transceiver, but it would be nice to have dual receive in the same band, which should be straightforward with an SDR, maybe that will only appear in a MK2 version at an increased cost?
GW1HNGRating: 2021-09-12
Worst RadioTime Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I got my IC-9700 to go with my IC-7300, thinking it would be a comparable radio but covering VHF and UHF with the added bonus of Dstar.

Well do I ever regret that decision, I sold my FT-991 and TS-2000 to fund the 9700, I'm now looking for a TS-2000 and an FT-991 as the IC-9700 is the worst radio I have ever used.

The user interface is crap in comparison with the 7300, you can't swap modes as easily in fact nothing is as easy to do, the speaker volume has to be turned up almost fully before I can hear anything (external speaker is the same), the damned radio is no better on receive than my old TS-2000 was in fact it's not as good.

The 9700 is a real let-down, I love my 7300 and my 7000, but the 9700 is just not up to the mark and it could have been so much better.
K8WQKRating: 2021-08-25
Great Radio but remote control mode is very lackingTime Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The IC-9700 is a great operating radio with one giant exception: The remote control mode using the RS-BA software is a real disappointment. I purchased this radio primarily to operate remotely to take advantage of a hilltop location that is not my home. The RS-BA software was relatively easy to set up, and yes it works, basically. However, this radio will not scan in the remote mode. Does not exist. Really disappointed that a $1,500 Vhf base radio will not scan.
Sours: https://www.eham.net/reviews/view-product?id=14225
Icom IC-7300 HF/50mhz transceiver complete review demo

IC-7300

IC-7300
IC-7300 HF/50/70MHz TransceiverThe IC-7300 is a revolutionary compact radio that will excite HF operators from beginners to experts. This new model has a high-performance real-time spectrum scope and employs a new RF direct sampling system. The IC-7300’s real-time spectrum scope provides top-level performance in resolution, sweep speed and dynamic range. While listening to received audio, the operator can check the real-time spectrum scope and quickly move to the intended signal. The combination of the real-time spectrum scope and waterfall function improves the quality and efficiency of HF operation. The new RF direct sampling system employed by the IC-7300 realises class leading RMDR (Reciprocal Mixing Dynamic Range) and Phase Noise characteristics. In addition, the IC-7300 features the 70MHz band (European versions only), a large touch screen colour TFT LCD, convenient multi-function dial knob, automatic antenna tuner, voice recorder function and more.Class Leading Real-Time Spectrum Scope
You no longer have to choose whether to listen to the audio or have the spectrum scope sweep for signals as the IC-7300’s real-time spectrum scope offers the simultaneous operations found in higher tier models. This means you can use either the spectrum scope or the waterfall to quickly move to an intended signal while listening to the receiver audio. The IC-7300’s touch screen introduces a “Magnify” function. So, when you first touch the scope screen around the intended signal, the touched part is magnified. A second touch of the scope screen changes the operating frequency and allows you to accurately tune.High-Resolution Waterfall Function
The combination of the waterfall function and the real-time spectrum scope assists in maximum receive performance of the IC-7300 and increases QSO opportunities without missing weak signals. The waterfall function shows a change of signal strength over a period of time and allows you to find weak signals that may not be apparent on the spectrum scope.Audio Scope Function
The audio scope function can be used to observe various AF characteristics such as microphone compressor level, filter width, notch filter width and keying waveform in the CW mode. Either the transmit or receive audio can be displayed on the FFT scope with the waterfall function and the oscilloscope.RF Direct Sampling System
The IC-7300 employs an RF direct sampling system. RF signals are directly converted to digital data and processed in the FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array), making it possible to simplify the circuit construction. This system is a leading technology making an epoch in amateur radio.New “IP+” Function
The new “IP+” function improves 3rd order intercept point (IP3) performance. When a weak signal is received adjacent to strong interference, the AD converter is optimized against signal distortion.Class Leading RMDR (Reciprocal Mixing Dynamic Range) & Phase Noise Characteristics
The IC-7300’s RMDR is improved to about 97dB* (typical value) and Phase Noise characteristics are improved about 15dB (at 1 kHz frequency separation) compared to the IC-7200. The superior Phase Noise characteristics reduce noise components in both receive and transmit signals.
* At 1 kHz frequency separation (received frequency: 14.2MHz, MODE: CW, IF BW: 500Hz)Large Touch Screen Colour TFT LCD
The large 4.3 inch colour TFT touch LCD offers intuitive operation. Using the software keypad of the touch screen, you can easily set various functions and edit memory contents.Multi-Dial Knob for Smooth Operation
The combination of the multi-dial knob and the touch screen offers quick and smooth operation. When you push the multi-dial knob, menu items are shown on the right side of the display. You can select an item with a touch of the screen and adjust levels by turning the multi-dial knob.SD Memory Card Slot for Saving Data
The IC-7300 can store various contents into SD card such as received and transmitted audio, voice memories, RTTY/CW memories, RTTY decode logs and captured screen images. Personal and firmware updating data can also be stored to the SD card for easy setting.15 Discrete Band-Pass Filters
The IC-7300 has 15 discrete RF band-pass filters. The RF signal is only passed through one of the band-pass filters, while any out of range signals are rejected. High Q factor coils are used to minimize the loss in the RF band-pass filters.Built-In Automatic Antenna Tuner
The antenna tuner memorizes its settings based on your transmit frequency, so that it can rapidly tune when you change operating bands. The Enforced Tuning function* allows a wide range of temporary antennas to be tuned.
* Do not use the Enforced Tuning function except in case of an emergency. Transmission power may be reduced.Superior Sound Quality
To offer superior sound quality, a new speaker unit has been incorporated and is allocated dedicated space in the aluminium die-cast chassis.Other Features
• New HM-219 hand microphone supplied
• Effective large cooling fan system
• A Multi-function meter
• 101 memory channels (99 regular, 2 scan edges)
• Optional RS-BA1 IP remote control software (the spectrum scope with the waterfall can be observed)
• CW functions: Full break-in, CW reverse, CW auto tuning
Sours: https://icomuk.co.uk/ic-7300/amateur_radio_ham_base_stations

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