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
signals.

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
capabilities.

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.

courtesy: http://www.icomcanada.com
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

3 Responses to “IC-7300 LF / MF Receive Performance”

  • Bob KK5R:

    I have an FT-450AT, an IC-718 and an Xiegu X108G. I tried them not long ago on LF using the same antenna which was, admittedly, a much less than optimum antenna: A 75/80M G5RV. However, it had a lot of copper in the air so it does work pretty well on MW and HF so I tried it on LF, also.

    The FT-450AT is a great radio on HF and pretty good on MW but on LF, the IC-718 climbed all over it. I only barely heard a very few signals on the 450 but they were noticeably stronger on the 718. As for the X108G, it is good on the HF ham bands but otherwise, it’s not a really good performer. However, I know there are lot of variations in the radio and I think it’s mostly antenna-dependent but for what it is designed primarily to do (QRP+ on the HF ham bands), it is very good. It’s stable and very frequency controllable, much like the 718. For LF, the 718 would pull out signals but no LF broadcast signals were heard, only beacons. From my location in E KY, I picked up some in NC, SC VA, TN, KY and a few that I did not find on the charts that I have available. As a side comment, my friend in the Central KY area can only pick up the one at the university near him and he’s using an Elecraft K3. Again, this proves to me that it’s an antenna thing. If someone had a few miles of wire, say strung between two mountain peaks, the figures would be much different, I’m sure.

    I remember going to Africa and using a RS DX-350 on a trip to Africa and picking up England and France on Long Wave with pretty strong signals using only the whip antenna with a little bit of hand added to it. But that was about 25 years ago. I suspect those days are history.

  • Steve VE7SL:

    Hi Bob – I wonder if the R-75 and the IC-718 use a similar receiver? A large number of the longwave overseas broadcast stations have shut down and there are not many left these days. It seems that the band will be pretty empty in the next few years, sadly. At least there are still lots of NDBs to DX and those were supposed to have been eliminated years ago!

  • Helmut DL1HEL:

    An additional note w.r.t. alternative receivers:
    Below 500 kHz I am using an old TS-850 also with fine results.
    For LF/MF reception a RF-Space SDR-IQ software defined radio
    also serves me well. Received e.g. Grimeton on 17 kHz with a magnetic
    loop with this RX in southern Germany.
    73 Helmut

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