Tuesday, January 30, 2007
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.
SUGGESTIONS FOR THE PRO VERSION
- 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