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Icom RX7 memory examples

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May 28, 2009
The reviews of the RX7 are covered elsewhere, so I thought I'd concentrate this thread on memory channel programming.

The RX7 has a three-tiered layout of Categories, Groups, and Channels, along with Direct-Key toggling of these. However it is up to you to organize all this. There are many ways to accomplish it, so here are just two of my own examples. It looks harder than it really is.


The goal here is to just be able to toggle a "bank" on and off with direct-keys, much like conventional scanners. In this case, the easiest thing to do is to just program the CATEGORY as the "bank", use the GROUP for a visual display of the numerical Direct-Key, and then program the Channel as normal. Each of these "banks" of Categories can have up to 100 channels in them. (actually in a group but we'll get to that. :)

Let's say we want to make our first bank with a Category / Bank titled "AMATEUR". From the VFO mode, enter your first desired frequency and follow the normal programming procedures for naming a category of AMATEUR which you are wanting to put it into. Program this AMATEUR category to have a direct-key of 1.

This way, when you do a link-scan, you'll be able to toggle the entire amateur bank/category on or off. You only have to make this direct-key assignment once.

Since you are forced to make a GROUP, and we want to keep it simple and don't really need any sub-group organization, just the old-school banks / categories, let's put it to use since we have to.

For the name of the GROUP, use the alpha character of just "1". (no quotes) There is no need to program a direct-key for this group, since we don't need that much complexity.

Continue to program all your additional amateur radio channels into group 1 !

What will happen is that when you do a link-scan, you will have a convenient reminder of what the direct-key is for toggling when you are scanning multiple categories or "banks".

So your display would look something like this if you were monitoring 146.520 simplex:


Because of the tags, of course you could change the actual channel name to any combo:

SIMPLEX (or 52 SIMPLEX, whatever your desires)

Ok, you've added a repeater output:


So the group doesn't change, it is just a visual reminder of the direct-key for the category.

Let's put another "bank" or Category in there, but this time we'll change the direct-keys.

Do the same as above, but this time change it to AIRCRAFT, program AIRCRAFT category to have a direct-key of "2". When it comes time for the GROUP tag, just use "2". Place all your aircraft freqs under group 2. Since you don't care about groups, you don't need to program a direct-key for the group, that is already faked by the Category direct-key.


Ok, so you added the ground freq as well:


Again, you can get creative with the channel names.


Now when you do a link-scan, you can toggle either "bank" or Category of AMATEUR or AIRCRAFT on or off easily. AMATEUR with the "1" direct-key and AIRCRAFT with the "2" key. The group is not really a major concern, we are just forced to use it, so it serves as a nice reminder on the display what direct-key will toggle it on or off.

Simple now, but when you get 26 banks/categories going, you'll be glad you have it. Better yet, you can easily reprogram your direct-keys to your liking if you want a different numbering setup without a lot of hassle.

So what makes this different than going into the menu and doing a Category scan and picking one? That's just it - with direct-keys, you can toggle multiple categories on and off much like a conventional scanner.

Yes, you COULD just put the direct-key number into the Category tag itself - but this way, since you are forced to use a GROUP even if it really isn't needed, you'll save at least two alpha character spaces in the Category tag, and don't have to go through a lot of alpha editing if you want to change direct-key assignments around to different categories. What you do is change both the real direct-key assignment for the Category AND don't forget to change the GROUP numerical alpha tag.

Remember if you go beyond 0-9 for direct-keys, just use a period from the keyboard to toggle, ie for your 15th "bank" or category, use .15

Of course each channel can be assigned it's own direct-key too. If you do this, try not to make them conflict with the category direct-key assignments.

Well, hope this helps - I've got a more complicated setup later that involves the use of groups and again relies on the display to help manage it...
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Oct 3, 2009
Thanks for your explanation there hertzian. I have gotten into some problems with memory programming. Aircraft are my main interest and I rushed into programming too many frequencies too fast and got stuck trying to enter more than 6 per CH!

I have about 12 frequencies of Airline Companies each of which I have named in full and around 50 of the Aviation Centre channels and flightwatch. Most of the 50 are out of Brisbane Centre.

I will have to reset the unit and start again slowly along the lines you have described.

There's no way it will create a straight memeory list that can then be itemized into the CATEGORIES.

Also another thing...... is there a quicker way of getting the frequency to display on a memory other than laboriously entering it in using the alpha/numerical with the knob?

May 28, 2009
Full Category / Group / Channel w/direct keys

How about this more advanced scenario that ties the use of Categories, Groups, Channels and direct-key together with screen management:

Let's say I need more organization and have a layout like this for Categories and Groups:

AMATEUR (category)
- Repeaters (group)
- Simplex (group)
- Disaster (group)

In each group I have programmed multiple channels. What about the direct keys?

Like the above, I'll use the screen to help me keep track of what the direct keys are:

Let's say I want the AMATEUR category to be toggled on and off with the 4 key. Ok, but what about the groups? If a nice simplex qso appears, I want to quickly turn off the long-winded dispatchers, er repeater group so I don't miss anything.

This time, I use an additional set of direct-keys, and do a trick with the display.

1 Repeaters
Peak Mountain

The direct-key I program for AMATEUR is 4.

The direct-key for the Repeaters group is 41. But here's the trick: I don't need to put 41 in the group alpha tags, JUST A SINGLE 1 since the 4 is already displayed by the Category. I just read down from the top to see which group I'm in.

There is no direct-key for the channel "Peak Mountain", although you could put one there too if you wanted. Is this the first channel in the Repeaters group? If so, maybe assign it a direct-key of 411, although I don't normally program a direct-key for the channels in this setup - I do it with a different system later.....

So now all I do if I want to toggle the Repeaters group I use .41 (dot 41) on the keypad.

Ok, how about the Simplex group:

2 Simplex
VHF 146.520

The Amateur category is already programmed as direct-key #4.
For the Simplex group, I'll program the group direct-key as # 42, even though in the group alpha tag, I only need to use a 2. Reading from top down, it is easy to recognize as 42. Just use .42 when doing a link-scan and you are good to go for Simplex group toggling.

You could apply this same kind of thinking and grouping to public service systems, ie Dispatch, Tactical, Mutual Aid, etc.

In fact, I normally don't do huge scans. What I do is create a simple system like the first thread example that doesn't concentrate on groups and simply contains most of my "hot" frequencies. If something gets really serious, only then will I actually toggle on grouped system Categories for concentrated scanning. In this simplified "HOT" Category of multiple channels from all over the place, I'll actually program a direct-key for the channel - it now serves as a reference - and obviously as a direct-key monitor.

When you program a direct-key for a channel NAME, in the bottom right of the display you'll see the direct-key number ! This does not appear for Categories or Groups, only for Channel Names. Ok, how do I use that?

I'm scanning my HOT category only, (with simplified programming) and suddenly something interesting appears on 145.210. I have programmed a direct-key for the channel name HERE in the simplified HOT category, rather than inside the more complex Category/Group structure. Note that 142.210 is duplicated in both the HOT and AMATEUR>Disaster system

Disaster 1
No. 438 (appears on bottom right of display)

Ok, I could just continue to listen here. Instead, I instantly see that what I'd like to do now is toggle on Category 4, and monitor the third group (programmed as 43). Channel 8, (Disaster 1) is active. It is likely that I'll want to monitor everything in group 43 (Disaster), and turn off groups 41 (Repeaters) and 42 (Simplex).


Toggle Category 4 AMATEUR ON
Toggle Category 0 HOT OFF
Toggle Group 41 Repeaters and 42 Simplex OFF
Listen to Group 43 for more disaster channel activity other than channel 8.

Whew! The memory management on the RX7 is so flexible, you can create nearly any system map that you want from simple to complex. Here, I'm using some tricks to put direct-key designations on the display for quick reference. In my mind, something like this is far more useful than the huge graphic icon. Oh well.

This definitely looks worse on paper than in actual use. :)
I'm sure that what I've shown above could use a lot of improvement!
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May 28, 2009
Apologies for stepping all over your reply - I had gotten back late and wrote before I should have read the thread.

Aircraft are my main interest and I rushed into programming too many frequencies too fast and got stuck trying to enter more than 6 per CH!
I did the same! I'm still trying to figure out just exactly what they were thinking when they allowed for 6 different frequencies to be assigned to a single channel name. Racing / alternates ?? At any rate, it is confusing, so I just pretend that there is no such feature and stick to using only one frequency per channel name. :)

Also another thing...... is there a quicker way of getting the frequency to display on a memory other than laboriously entering it in using the alpha/numerical with the knob?
Yes! When it comes time to program the channel name, instead of giving it an alpha-tag, you can just opt for the frequency. Instead of programming the frequency by hand, just leave the channel name blank and hold down the ENT/MW key. That will put the VFO frequency into memory. I learned this too after a LOT of knob-twiddling. :)

There's no way it will create a straight memeory list that can then be itemized into the CATEGORIES.
It would be a nice feature to not even need the groups, but we are forced into it. I think of the scanner as an entire metal file-drawer. Each pull-out metal drawer is a Category. Folder separators aka "groups" are inside each Category . Inside the folders are the channel(s). Why we can't just toss frequencies into a drawer without using folders forces more organization than we need at times. :)

Ok, I'll start a little something here leaving out all the direct-key fanciness that might help. You probably have most of these steps down, but I'll throw these in anyway..

* From the VFO mode enter 120.500 in the keypad for the Brisbane Tower
* Scroll to "addition"
* Change the default category name to BRISBANE
* Scroll to "next", then ENT/MW
* For the group-name, you could just duplicate it, but to differentiate it just a little bit, perhaps

* scroll to "next"
* Leave the Channel name blank and just hold down the ENT/MW key. This will put the frequency into memory without you having to do any editing.
* You are dumped back into the VFO mode.
* Follow the above steps to put 121.7, (Brisbane Ground) into the memory in the BRISBANE GRP and any others frequencies you might want.

Now you could do either a normal link-scan (light tap on the SCAN button), or go into the menu system by holding down Scan for a second or two - or just use the MENU button. In this case EITHER the Category scan of BRISBANE, or the group scan of BRISBANE GRP would work. We're just forced to use a group whether we like it or not.

Unfortunately, there is no way to pre-program Category and Group names without using at least one frequency from the VFO mode.

How about the Company freqs?

Do the same as above - use AIRLINE for a Category name, and then use COMPANY for a group name. Program those 12 company freqs under the Company group.

Now you have two Categories / Banks / Systems that you scan either by link-scan, or by menu scan options - for those times when you may want to concentrate solely on company freqs or not.

Of course, you could just put those 12 company freqs under BRISBANE GRP just for a quick-start. Later, if you want more organization, you can just "copy" selected freqs from this simpler setup into a more complex setup and reduce a lot of editing.

Hopefully this helps without using all those direct-key tricks. Note that if you now want direct-keys, you can assign one to either of the Categories just created. Just HOLD on one of the memories and hit ENT/MW and you'll be allowed to edit without going through the whole VFO routine.

Happy to help, but don't hold it against me if I get long-winded (easy for me) or tongue-tied. :)
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Feb 24, 2001
Very interesting posts, I don't have my Icom RX7 any more (have upgraded to an R20) but do miss the memory layout of the RX7.

May 28, 2009
The memory layout is so flexible and customizable to your needs that it can be daunting at first.

I wonder why manufacturers don't include a "simple option" that has a more conventional setup out of the box for those that don't need the flexibility, and perhaps another switch to use the more complex memory setups. cost ??

At any rate, my fantasy Icom handheld scanner would use the RX7 as a base, have the 700mw audio output of their A14 air-band transceiver (you can definitely hear this on the tarmac when doing pre-flight checks or run-ups), and toss in the P25 digital modules from their other radios.

I was dreaming I held an R30 like this in my hands. Icom, make my dream come true! :)
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