The Icom IC-756 Pro and the joy of buttons & controls

Last year, my friend Matt gave me his Icom IC-756 Pro transceiver.

Yep, Matt’s a very generous fellow and, trust me, one of the coolest radio guys you’ll ever meet.

Matt was in the process of moving and told me nothing would make him happier than the transceiver to go to a good home and be put on the air.  Although it’s actually rather difficult for me to accept gifts like this, I did so knowing that Matt still has some of the coolest radios on the planet. In other words, I wasn’t accepting his only HF radio!

I brought the IC-756 Pro home, attached a power cord and antenna then put it on the air.  I just wanted to check out the rig by getting to know the functions and controls much like I do when a new rig lands on my desk for evaluation and review. Thing is, I didn’t stop tuning around for well over two hours!

The IC-756 Pro reminded me how much I miss some of the larger DX or contest-grade receivers and transceivers I’ve had in my shack–most notably, the Ten-Tec OMNI VI PLUS.

For the past few years, with the exception of radios I test and evaluate, I’ve been operating exclusively from the shack with my Elecraft KX3. The KX3 is a fine rig and the ergonomics are well thought-though, but larger rigs (like the IC-756 Pro (II and III), Elecraft K3s, Kenrwood TS-890s, Yaesu FT-DX101, etc. etc.) have a sizeable front panel space that allows for more controls and a larger display. Evidently, I had been missing that.

There’s a reason why we see larger radios being used on DXpeditions even though cargo capacity is often at a premium: performance aside, spacious front panes and informative displays make it easier for radio ops to make quick adjustments without having to reference a manual. You learn how to manipulate the notch, filters, passband, RF gain, split, etc. and muscle memory takes over.

I’m sure this is why SWL DXers like our friend Dan Robinson still prefer and gravitate to commercial, rack-mounted receivers. (I would, too, if I had the room!)

As for the Icom IC-756 Pro, I’ve got it set up to to be my dedicated SSB and digital modes transceiver. I’ll also plan to play a little CW once I find the quarter inch adapter for my key! I haven’t really tested the ‘756 Pro’s performance on the broadcast bands because I have so many dedicated receivers for SWLing and MW DXing in the shack.

The IC-756 Pro is an oldie, but goodie: a very capable transceiver, and a proud resident of SWLing Post HQ.

Not sure if you’ll read this post, Matt, but thank you once again. I’m truly enjoying this rig!

Post Readers: What’s your favorite “big” rig? Please comment with details!

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5 thoughts on “The Icom IC-756 Pro and the joy of buttons & controls

  1. Milorad

    My IC 756 pro 3 is not working properly. I am YU1EF op Milorad. My problem is in the antenna tuner, it starts tuning and when it finds the best swr it never stops but starts tuning from the beginning and so on in a circle. Does anyone have any idea what could be a problem with? Please note that there is no official Icom service in Serbia.
    73 de YU1EF op Milorad.

  2. Tommy LeBoeuf

    I just sold my ICOM 756 pro, not that I didn’t like it, it came from a sk , I already had the ftdx1200 set up, with sound card, rig control, I think it would have been great to run, used it some with the hex beam and longwire, it was just second place. So I bought the IC 7100, to get vhf,uhf,and d star. I hope I made the right decision.

  3. David

    I too was the beneficiary of an Icom pro III. My neighbor sold it to me at a very generous discount. He also provided me with several antennas to use.
    I can certainly appreciate the joy you have in using a big rig like 756 series.

  4. Mark

    Yes, I can relate to having a larger rig, I recently ordered a new Kenwood TS-590SG after using my Friends 590SG for a few hours. My own rig is the IC-7300 and I also have the FT-891 and even though the 891 is a much smaller radio that isn’t so easy to use I much prefer it for it’s wonderful receiver, it’s got a really lovely Analogue sound, I always listen via headphones and it’s a real pleasure to listen to, the 7300 has a harsh sounding audio that is fatiguing to listen to, the 891 has a really quiet good sounding receiver and it’s great for MW and SW listening. And easy control via Flrig. I live in a very electrically quiet environment so I really notice the difference in receivers.

    Of course I won’t know what the TS-590 SG is really like until I get it home but I could tell right away in my friends house the audio is a lot better than the 7300 and it’s got good ergonomics and it’s nice to have the buttons in front and not have to tap a screen and go through menus.

    The 590SG also has a built in pan adapter so I can connect an sdr for the waterfall, best of both worlds, a real radio with option to add sdt, I wish more radios would come without a touch screen and pan adapter so People can decide if they want SDR and then they can add any sdr they want and buy newer sdr if they want in a few years keeping their radio or just include a monitor out because at least on the 7300 the screen is really too small.


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