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!
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!