Dayton Spoils!

The Day­ton Hamven­tion was good to me. Specif­i­cal­ly, the Con­test Uni­ver­si­ty was very, very good to me. I was the lucky recip­i­ent of the Con­test­ing Din­ner Draw­ing Grand Prize: ICOM IC-7600!

ICOM IC-7600
Icom IC-7600 and it’s mine!

I just can’t believe my good for­tune. Par­tic­i­pat­ing in Con­test Uni­ver­si­ty was a treat and then this to top it off? Unbelievable!.

Frankly, I have nev­er con­sid­ered any of the Icom rigs sim­ply because they are priced out of my cur­rent bud­get. I have cer­tain­ly drooled over them – I love the aes­thet­ics of them – and thou­sands of hams swear by the 756 series hav­ing proven as great all-pur­pose high per­for­mance rigs. And now I have one sit­ting on my desk. Unbe-freaking-lievable!

I have used this in a num­ber of con­test since and find it an awe­some CW trans­ceiv­er. I have used it a lit­tle bit on SSB and hope­ful­ly can fig­ure out how to set­up using N1MM for the up-com­ing NAQP SSB con­test. This is also a great AFSK RTTY rig using the inter­nal codec via the USB cable. This is per­haps one of my favorite fea­tures: Rig con­trol AND Audio-based Dig­i­tal Modes using a sin­gle USB cable. No inter­faces required, my com­put­er sim­ply sees the thing as anoth­er sound-card and the MMTTY or DM780 grabs it and viola!

Any com­plaints I have are minor. While SO2V is pos­si­ble with the radio, it lacks a sep­a­rate tun­ing knob so it is very easy to tune off the wrong VFO if you are not focussed (which is often for me.) That writ­ten, I used SO2V to add 33 add’l same-band QSO dur­ing WPX CW so it DOES work. This is prob­a­bly more a learn­ing curve issue than an ergonom­ic one. I wished I could vary the vol­ume of the sub-VFO and assign each VFO audio left and right rather than mix. The dual-watch fea­ture, along with the scope, is very handy for DXing. I plant the VFO‑B on the DX sta­tion and use VFO‑A to tune to a clear spot in the pile-up…this works exceed­ing­ly well! While the band­scope is not ter­ri­bly high-res­o­lu­tion (like a Flex-Radio 5000) it is tremen­dous­ly use­ful and I don’t know how I man­aged to deal with­out. One wish­list item would be to have an even nar­row­er roof­ing fil­ter option. I have not yet heard the receiv­er get ugly from over­load and inter­mod, nor have I seen the AGC start freak­ing out due to a loud sta­tion out­side of my fil­ter pass­band. Not say­ing it would­n’t ever do these things, but so far this is a very nice work­ing rig. My last pet peeve is that I wished the poten­tiome­ters were just slight­ly nicer quality…I am being picky now!

So far the is a keep­er. I have not used any of the big­ger Yae­su, Icom, Ele­craft, Flex-Radio rigs so I can­not com­pare per­for­mance. Some­day I look for­ward to being a guest oper­a­tor dur­ing a con­test to try a IC-7800 or a K‑3. Until then I am very very con­tent: This is the best radio I have ever used.

Look­ing for­ward to try­ing this soon using FSK so that I can use the dual-peak­ing fil­ter for RTTY!

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