Tag Archives: Icom

Guest Post: Mark’s Micro Go-Box for the ICOM IC-7100

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Hirst, who shares the following guest post:


Micro Go-Box for the ICOM IC-7100

by Mark Hirst

You’ll be familiar I’m sure with the IC-7100 base unit and separate head unit design. It lends itself very nicely for vehicle installation.

Using it in any ‘portable’ situation however has always presented something of a challenge. A FT-857 or FT-891 can be carried as a single physical package with the head unit integrated into the body. The radios can sit and potentially operate on their tail in a backpack, with products like the Escort from Portable Zero making that process even easier.

I’ve had a few attempts at solving this portability conundrum, driven by a concern that there could be long term problems continually connecting and disconnecting the component parts for transport and operation, but knowing that a permanently assembled IC-7100 will always be an awkward dispersed structure.

My first solution was a Stanley 16 inch toolbox, which is fortuitously sized to accommodate the base unit and provides enough space to loop the original connecting cable and head unit. The box is not a bad fit, but certainly bulkier than necessary and leaves enough room for things to rattle around. When tilted vertically, the head unit can start moving.

Fast forward to this week when I discovered that the IC-7100 base unit will also fit inside a 5 litre XL storage box made by Really Useful Boxes:

http://www.reallyusefulproducts.co.uk/usa/
http://www.reallyusefulproducts.co.uk/uk/

The XL version of the 5 litre box has a taller lid, and as you can see from the accompanying photos, accommodates the base unit with the head unit sitting on top of it in a ready to use configuration. The tolerances for height are also exact, the VFO knob very lightly touches the lid, so don’t put something heavy on the box:

Once the lid has been removed, the radio can operate directly from the container:

To make the whole thing fit, I used a 25cm CAT 6 cable in place of the original connection cable and a significantly shortened power lead. As luck would have it, I created the shortened power lead a while ago because I often put the battery right next to the radio.

You can see that I removed a section between the power plug and the fuses, and now use the removed length as an extension should the battery be further away. Although it wasn’t my intention at the time, the main part is about 2 feet long, the secondary about 8 inches.

For transport, the power cable is coiled behind the head unit, ensuring the fuse holders sit in the void immediately behind it, while the microphone cable is coiled on top leaving the microphone resting inside its own coil. You can see the arrangement below:

In the next photo, you can see how the cabling emerges from the back of the base unit:

There’s just enough space for the power cable to leave the base and bend around without undue pressure, and likewise for the CAT 6 cable to curve round into the back of the head unit. Two angle connectors make the antenna ports accessible from above, while a short USB external drive cable provides access to the USB port for data modes and CAT control. A longer USB extension cable is attached to this short cable only when required, and the extension uses much more substantial ferrite chokes to mitigate noise from the computer.

To complete the transport package, I’ve cut out a kaizen style foam insert to make sure the base unit can’t move back into the cabling space, and another to make sure the head unit doesn’t slide towards the front.

The last problem of course is cooling. The fan is located in the front of the base unit, with slots along the sides and top to allow air flow. The box unfortunately is exactly the right size for the base, leaving no gaps for air to circulate. In the absence of a proper workshop or professional tools, I opted to use a hole cutter designed for putting pipes through wood panels. It turns out that plastic has a tendency to deform rather than cut under the blades due to friction heating. A sharp knife was essential in dealing with the effects of that deformation to produce the final smooth edges around the holes:

While I’m happy with the port exposing the front fan, the two holes on each side do not completely expose the side slots. Do I drill out the space between them knowing how tricky and flexible the plastic can be, and would a larger hole compromise the strength of the box? For now, I’m going to keep a careful eye for any temperature issues.

The current arrangement is to carry the box horizontally in a cheap travel bag:

Could the box be tilted vertically with the base unit nose down and carried in a back pack for longer excursions? Yes, but experience has told me that the lid latches on Really Useful Boxes have a tendency to pop open when you do that, so a luggage strap around the box may be required to prevent its very expensive cargo from spilling out. I’m also mindful that the box lid gently touches the VFO knob, so might put load on it in the vertical position.

The final result is something of a Swiss watch, and there isn’t much room for error. Things have to be arranged ‘just so’ to fit, but it does mean I can pack and pick the whole thing up in a handy container. The radio only needs a battery and antenna to be connected on site and then it’s ready to go.

There’s something oddly satisfying when unrelated objects come together like this. Who knew that this box was just the right size to fit the radio?

So, what do you think?


Thank you for sharing this project, Mark!

I love your Micro Go-Box: it’s practical, affordable and makes an otherwise awkward field radio easy to deploy and use. Looking at your photos, I realize that the IC-7100 does have one strong suit for field use. The IC-7100 front panel is tilted at a very comfortable 45 degree angle for use. 

Post Readers: What do you think?  Any other IC-7100 owners out there who take their rig to the field? Please comment!

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Icom IC-R8600 added to Sherwood’s Receiver Test Data Table

Icom IC-R8600

Rob Sherwood, at Sherwood Engineering, has now published test results of the Icom IC-R8600 wideband receiver. The IC-R8600 is (impressively) second from the top of the list sorted by third-order dynamic range narrow spaced if phase noise limited:

Click here to view the full list at Sherwood Engineering.

Click here to check out Dan Robinson’s recent review and benchmark receiver comparisons with the IC-R8600.

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New-in-the-Box ICOM IC-R71A and IC-R7000 Communications Receivers Surface on Ebay

Attention: communications receiver collectors! Not one, but two vintage ICOM IC-R series receivers have been listed on Ebay by the same seller. Presumably the same individual owned and stashed away both units, and now they are offered by the Ebay store “Mikes Emporium“.

Both receivers are described as “new in box”, with a variety of photos shown, including the original sales receipt with options listed. A tag on the IC-R71A shows the receiver originated at well-known Virginia retailer Electronic Equipment Bank (EEB). The R71A is of 1988 vintage, per the receipt; the R7000 may likewise be from the same year.

Link for the ICOM IC-R71A: http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-IN-BOX-ICOM-IC-R71A-Radio-Communications-Receiver-with-Remote-MORE-W-W-/112397220884

Link for the ICOM IC-R7000: http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-IN-BOX-Icom-IC-R7000-VHF-UHF-FM-Radio-Communications-Receiver-with-Remote-/112397200299

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

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Videos of the Icom IC-R8600 in action

Icom IC-R8600

Many thanks to a number of Post contributors who’ve shared a link to links to  bcloyaji’s YouTube Channel where a few videos of the Icom IC-R8600 have been posted.  (Thank you for your patience, as well, as I’ve been traveling and way behind on posting this!)

I’ve embedded a few videos below, but I encourage you to also check out bcloyaji’s YouTube Channel for more:

IC-R8600 operation

Click here to view on YouTube.

Icom IC-R8600 vs JRC NRD-545 Part 1:

Click here to view on YouTube.

ICOM IC-R8600 vs JRC NRD-545 Part II

Click here to view on YouTube.

I’m looking forward to checking out the IC-R8600 at the 2017 Dayton Hamvention and even potentially reviewing it here on the SWLing Post at some point.

Any Post readers plan to purchase the IC-R8600?

Though we have no US pricing yet, I’ve been checking with Universal Radio regularly for any news.

Follow the tag IC-R8600 for updates.

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The Icom IC-7610 transceiver: a few details emerge

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike Hansgen (K8RAT), who shares the following post from Icom UK:

The IC-7610 (Source: Icom UK)

Icom Inc. has released more details about the launch of the IC-7610 HF/50MHz SDR Transceiver and its target price. Icom plans to release this high performance HF SDR transceiver around late May with the product being rolled out across the globe in the following months. We expect that the IC-7610 should be available in the UK early Summer with a suggested retail target price of £2,999.99 ex.VAT. Please note that this target price and UK availability may be subject to change.

We expect demand to be huge for this product. Indeed many back orders are already on our system. So if you want to be one of the first customers in the UK to own one of these eagerly awaited radios, please contact your Icom Amateur radio dealer who will be able to put you in their order books.

More about the IC-7610 HF/50 MHz 100 W SDR transceiver

Following on from the technology incorporated into the IC-7300, the IC-7610 adopts the same RF direct sampling system for signal processing. By converting the analogue signal directly to a digital signal and processing it within the FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array), it provides improved transmission phase noise and excellent RMDR of 105 dB (at 1 kHz detuning).

The IC-7610 will have two independent receivers, enabling simultaneous reception of two frequencies in different bands/different modes.

The IC-7610 will also feature high-speed, high-resolution performance. The real-time spectrum scope supports different bands and a dual display that can monitor different modes. It will also have a waterfall display function that displays received signals in time sequence. The DIGI-SEL unit will be available to both the main side and the sub side of the receiver. In addition, the IC-7610 adopts a large 7-inch full-colour touch screen panel.

Main features include:

• Further evolved RF direct sampling method.
• Excellent RMDR: 105 dB realized.
• Dual watch function can receive simultaneously in different bands and different modes.
• DIGI-SEL unit that eliminates excessively strong signals is installed in the main and sub of the receiving section.
• High-speed real-time spectrum scope and waterfall display function.
• 7-inch full-colour touch panel, outstanding operation and visibility

As mentioned earlier, demand is going to be enormous for this model, so get into contact with your authorised Icom Amateur radio dealer today.

Click here to read this full post at Icom UK.

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Icom RS-BA1: Setting up the IC-7300 for remote operation

(Source: Southgate ARC and Dave Zantow)

New video: Icom RS-BA1. Installing & setting-up remote control for your IC-7300

The TX Factor have produced a video that logically goes through the step by step process of remote controlling an Icom Amateur radio, more specifically in this case, the IC-7300 using the RS-BA1 remote control software.

The video shows Bob McCreadie (G0FGX) of TX Films demonstrating:

• Setting up your computer and radio
• Installing the RS-BA1 remote control software
• Accessing the IC-7300 remotely
• Introduction to the RC-28 remote controller encoder.

To view this video visit: 
Icom RS-BA1. Installing & Setting up Remote Control for your IC-7300 SDR Radio

To found out more about Icom’s remote control software, visit the
RC-28 IP Remote Control System page where you will also find a list of compatible Icom HF radios.

For more information about the IC-7300 visit the
IC-7300 HF/50/70MHz Transceiver product page.

Both the RC-28 IP Remote Control System and IC-7300 are available from all authorised Icom Amateur radio dealers.

Of course, you could use the RS-BA1software to use the Icom IC-7300 as a remote shortwave receiver. Click here to read our review of the IC-7300.

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The Icom IC-R8600 shipping early 2017

The Icom IC-R8600 (Image source: Icom)

This morning, while browsing the latest ARRL QST magazine, I noticed an advertisement for the new Icom IC-R8600 wideband receiver.  If you recall, last August, Icom made the announcement that it was introducing two new receivers: The IC-R8600 and the IC-R30 handheld.

The IC-R30 is the successor to the IC-R20 compact handheld receiver, but will have advanced receiving capabilities and be able to decode D-STAR, P25, NXDN and dPMR digital (conventional) modes.

Icom IC-R8600 back panel (Image source: Icom)

The IC-R8600, on the other hand, is more akin to the IC-7300 transceiver in terms of design, but has much more functionality than the IC-7300 and covers a wide range of frequencies (10kHz-3GHz).

The Icom IC-R8600 is essentially a tabletop SDR receiver.

Here are a few features mentioned on the IC-R8600 pre-release brochure:

  • Ultra-wide frequency coverage with RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication) function
  • Fast moving, real-time spectrum scope and waterfall functions
  • Decodes multiple digital protocols, including D-STAR, NXDNTM, dPMRTM and APCO P25
  • Large 4.3 inch TFT color touch screen display
  • Clear audio quality using FPGA/DSP base architecture with superheterodyne circuitry
  • Optional RS-R8600 PC remote control software allows control of all receiver functions
  • I/Q signal output for use with third-party SDR software and/or external decoding
  • The SD card slot for received log, decode log and voice recording
  • Optional SP-39AD external speaker with integrated power supply

The back panel connections are pretty comprehensive (click to enlarge):

I will plan to review the IC-R8600 once it has become available. I have no clue yet what pricing will be.

I will post all IC-R8600 updates with the tag: IC-R8600

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