Tag Archives: Icom IC-7300

Disabling transmit on the Icom IC-7300 or Kenwood TS-590 series transceivers?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Muthu, who writes with the following inquiry after reading our Xiegu G90 review:

Very nice review. I have a question.

I’m preparing for a restricted ham license in Hong Kong and may try transmitting for a couple of months. However, in the long run I plan to use the rig just as a receiver mainly for shortwave broadcast listening once I return back to India next year.

I’m considering Icom IC-7300 or an almost new Kenwood TS 590-S[…].

You said that there is no way to completely disable the transmitter on the Xiegu G90. Is there a way to completely disable transmit on the Icom IC-7300 or Kenwood TS-590?

Thank you for your question, Muthu. My hope is that SWLing Post readers who own the IC-7300 and/or TS-590 series transceivers can confirm.

I only had the IC-7300 on loan a few weeks during my evaluation/review period. While I feel like I recall the ability to disable transmit (or perhaps lower the output power to 0 watts), I’m not sure if that also applies to the internal ATU. I have no clue if this is possible with the TS-590S as I’ve never spent meaningful time with this fine transceiver.

Post readers: If you own either of these transceivers and can you confirm if transmit can be disabled on the IC-7300 or TS-590? Please feel free to comment!

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Which would you choose as a first radio–the Icom IC-7300 or Xiegu G90?

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

I would choose the Icom IC-7300

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.

Why one might choose the Xiegu G90 over the Icom IC-7300

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.

Another option: Yaesu FT-891 and LDG Z-11 Pro 2 external antenna tuner combo

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.

Don’t Forget Antennas and Power

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!

What do you think?

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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Ham Radio Outlet open for online and call-in orders during pandemic

(Source: Ham Radio Outlet via Dan Robinson)

Coronavirus Update
March 24, 2020

As you are aware, stores across the country have closed their doors to the public or restricted access to curb-side pickup only. During these times Ham Radio Outlet has stayed open and conducted normal business in areas that do not have federal, state, or city mandates.

States such as Ohio, Louisiana, Delaware, California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, Michigan, and others have ‘Shelter-In-Place’ orders. Other states are very soon to follow.

This morning the Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, spoke to the nation and indicated the following:

“I want America to understand, this week it’s going to get bad! The disease is spreading because many people — especially young people — are not abiding by guidance to stay at home and practice social distancing. Right now, there are not enough people out there who are taking this seriously.”

In order to protect the staff and customers of Ham Radio Outlet and to continue to operate in a safe manner HRO will be closed to walk in traffic at all locations effective 3/25/2020. Stores will continue to take phone calls, online orders, and ship product so long as we are legally allowed to operate. We encourage curb-side pickup where you may call in an order and then call into the store when you arrive at the facility. One of our staff will bring out the product to your vehicle.

Ham Radio Outlet will continue to monitor local, state, and national guideliness and adjust our store policies accordingly. HRO may change to something more restrictive in the near future. Our sincere hope is that we can return to business as usual as soon as possible, but until then we want to ensure the safety of both our staff and you, our customer.

For up-to-date information of any store’s status please visit our Coronavirus Status Page on our website located at: https://www.hamradio.com/coronavirus

If you have any questions regarding this policy you may direct those questions to Steve Gilmore, National Sales Manger, Ham Radio Outlet, 14803 Build America Dr. Building B, Woodbridge, Virginia 22191, Phone: 800-444-4799 | email: woodbridge@hamradio.com

Sincerely

-Ham Radio Outlet

HRO is still open for online and call-in orders–click here to check out their online catalog.

I did note that the Icom IC-7300 is now only $879.95 after rebates. That a lot of radio for the money!

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Radio Deal: HRO Black Friday sale Icom IC-7300 $899.95 after rebates

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans (W4/VP9KF), who notes that HRO’s Black Friday sale features the Icom IC-7300 for $899.95 after rebates. That’s the lowest price I’ve seen on the IC-7300!  Thanks for the tip, Paul!

Click here to view this deal at Ham Radio Outlet.

Check out all of our holiday sales tips by bookmarking the tag  Black Friday Radios 2019

Do you have a deal tip?  Please share them via email, or simply leave a comment!

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Black Friday Radio Deals: Icom IC-7300 $959.95 after rebate

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, James (W4AMP), who notes that the excellent Icom IC-7300 general coverage transceiver (click here to read our review) is currently $959.95 after coupons and rebates at GigaParts, DX Engineering and Ham Radio Outlet. 

DX Engineering

Click here to view at DX Engineering.

Ham Radio Outlet

Click here to view at Ham Radio Outlet.

GigaParts

Click here to view at GigaParts.

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