GM4ULS ham radio station

a QRM-free zone!

Well actually, Boromir…

Posted by gm4uls on May 28, 2020

one can simply plug in an IC-7300 and start to operate. On the other hand, though, it does pay to spend a day watching the YouTube videos by WA2IVD to get to know all the touch-screen bells and whistles.

Here’s my new IC-7300. It’s monitoring Shannon Volmet, 5.505MHz, on a memory channel.

I decided to blow some savings and buy myself an early birthday present / reward for passing my 1st year PhD upgrade. My HF station was getting a wee bit tired. Odd inconvenient (if non-fatal) faults had developed on my FT-101ZD and my FT-847; my Ten-Tec Jupiter hasn’t transmitted at full power for a long time. Asking round the dealers, the choices seemed to be the Yaesu FT-991A and the Icom IC-7300. The Yaesu is a wonderful rig, but my UHF/VHF activities didn’t really warrant a rig that versatile, and it is on HF that I go for multimode operation. The attraction of the IC-7300 is, for me, the superb receiver – this morning I’ve been listening to WWV on 10MHz AM, a very weak signal that might have been below the noise on some of my other rigs. And to contradict Boromir again, yesterday I plugged it in, switched it on, and had a QSO with KL7KK in Alaska on 20m. He heard me on my second call, in a pile-up just as propagation was changing. Now, I know that this was 99% propagation in my favour, but when it happens on a new rig, you’re hooked!

The band stacking display on the rig doesn’t show either the 5MHz or 70MHz bands, This means one has to programme the 5MHz channels and some handy 70MHz spot frequencies into the memories. I’ve done that, along with such things as RAF Volmet, Shannon Volmet, WWV/WWVH, the bottom edge of short wave broadcast bands, and 27.555MHz USB – the latter is the calling frequency of the unlicensed 11m “freebanders,” and I use it as a handy indication of whether there is sporadic E propagation. As soon as I hear signals there, I switch to VFO and tune around 28.500MHz. It’s a lazy alternative to monitoring the beacon sub-band. I still have to programme 10m FM and AM channels, including repeaters, and spot frequencies for 70MHz.

The only real niggle I have – and it’s a tiny one – is that there is only one antenna socket. For a rig that covers HF, 6m, and 4m, that is a bit inconvenient, and either involves fiddling around behind the rig or setting up a coax switch. I prefer to have as little as possible between rig and antenna.

I love SSB, but I fancy trying some different modes. I have an SSTV programme on a Macbook, but as I don’t own a Windows PC I’m finding software for various data modes difficult to access. I want to try FT8, but the one WSJT programme for Mac seems to crash on my laptop and on my iMac. A friend has promised to lend me a Raspberry Pi after lockdown, so we’ll see…

PS. This is the first Icom rig I have had since a second-hand IC-215 in 1983. It can be seen in the rather fuzzy shack shot below. It was a lovely rig. I went from that to a Belcom Liner 2.

shack cb Icom 215 wessie pcr

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