Tuesday, January 30, 2007

IC7000 review

The good the bad and the ugly !
Recently bought this TRX for travelling around for contests and to replace my 706 which did not have the adequate CW/RTTY filtering for contesting...
Weight= 2.3kgs, was also one of my motivations, taking into account the new limitations for hand-carried cabine luggage!

Tried this weekend in CQWW-160 and REF-test

- Being familiar with the 706, it did not take long to get familiar with it... a few things have changed, but the user interface philosphy, remains moreless the same.
The display is really bright and contrasted and does not require that I put my glasses on...
For a CW-contester RX DSP-Filtering is really the strong point of this transceiver, together with the usual ICOM strong points (I am also owner of 756pro2). The "strong signal" resistance is not as good as my pro2, but sure better than the 706 (ie on 706 the preamp was unusable on 20m and the attenuator often required on 40)
A few have reported temperature problems... did not see this even during long sterile auto-CQ sequences with 3s RX-time. The temp indicator always remained in the blue zone (Had even tried 4 hours of the same regime at full CW-power on a dummy load B4 the contest - no problem...). Haven't tried yet in TTY... will see!

- Do not like the RIT/XIT on the coaxial pot... even more unusable than the 706 RIT (why not the main dial when selecting RIT like in the Yaesu FT857D. It Would be far more convenient !). Of course it is possible to use the split, but there is always a risk to move the TX freq, especialy when using auto-CQ from your contest software.
- A pity that the local-monitoring (CW-sidetone and SSB-monitor) is not available from the fixed-level audio output on the ACC connector (if you record your pile-up through this line, you won't have your own signal !)
- The RF-power output is a bit "limited": From 95W on 160 down to 80W on 10m and 75W on 6m (but will check this again with a professional wattmeter). Not a problem when using a modern tetrode PA or an SSPA, but a bit just for entering LP-category (especialy in those contests for which LP is 150w

- The long spotted "audio white noise" is really annoying with a normal headphone without pots. It becomes acceptable with audio-pot around 11h, so will make an external attenuator / low-pass filter for the next contest, but it is a pity that Icom did not fix this pbm, despite all user-complaints (maybe for the PRO version!?). Maybe another solution is to use a vintage low sensitivty/limited bandwidth headphone.

- Improvement of the a/m BAD and UGLY features
- Why not make the second SO-239 connector (dedicated to VHF/UHF) usable for a second HF antenna and/or a RX antenna (it sure would be appreciated by 160m freaks !). It could be done from the main setup menu (disabling VHF/UHF, if required)
Of course this is a CW-contester/DXpeditionner point of view which may not be relevant if your main use is as mobile-rig... Despite the few a/m problems it is definitely a good choice for a small TRX, so I give it 4/5.

Regards and 73's


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

F6IRF in CQ ham-radio (JA)

Thanks to Hisami 7L4IOU for sending me the October 2006 issue of the Japanese magazine CQ-ham radio.

Monday, January 08, 2007

F6IRF/P: A bit of traffic from South Britanny

Stew Perry Topband Challenge
Call: F6IRF/P
Operator(s): F6IRF
Station: F6IRF/P
Class: Single Op LP
Operating Time (hrs): 8
Total: QSOs = 112

Total Score = 1,416
IC756pro2 -100W
inverted-L on 2x 12m fiber masts

One of the 12m mast used to support the 160m inverted-L

Part-time effort, just to enjoy the low-noise level of my secondary QRA on a band which is usualy forbidden for me due to the HT-line hi-noise level at my main location. Quite a few DX stations heard, but none logged...
Une participation en diletante, juste pour apprécier le calme radio-electrique du QRA secondaire, sur une bande qui m'est habituelement "interdite" en raison,du fort bruit de fond généré par la ligne 380kV qui jouxte le QRA principal. Pas mal de stations DX entendues, mais aucune contactée...Les condx ne semblaient pas terribles, aucune station W/VE dans le log, alorsque j'en ai assez facilement contacté qqs unes pendant la semaine...Stn: IC756 et antenne L-inverse sur 2 mats en fibre de 12m. (pas de radians...juste le grillage entourant le QRA en guise de contrepoids...)QTH: Arzon, dpt-56 (au bout de la presqu'ile de Rhuys, entre golfe et ocean...)

Above, the mast, also supporting a 30m dipole, and here the R7 antenna

I have been active all week, mostly on 160, 30 and 17m both in CW and digital modes...
waedc audio clip1.mp3 CN2DX on 160m, recorded fm F6IRF/P (CW and SSB)