Icom Comparing a IC-7300 to a IC-R8600 as a HF/MW/LW Receiver Only?

iMONITOR

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If you were comparing an ICOM IC-7300 transceiver to a IC-R8600 wide-band receiver for use as a HF/MW/LW receiver only, which one would you chose and why. (Ignoring the transmitter option on the IC-7300 and the wide-band receive option on the IC-R8600). They almost appear to be built on the same chassis (and possibly a portion of the same 'receive' circuitry)?
8955689557

I fully expect for prcguy to chime in here as he owns both and has performed a lot of advanced testing on both of them. Anyone else? Formal or informal opinions welcome!
 

belvdr

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I fully expect for prcguy to chime in here as he owns both and has performed a lot of advanced testing on both of them. Anyone else? Formal or informal opinions welcome!
Put an @ sign in front of their name and it will alert them. Like this:

@prcguy
 

mbott

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I've already made that decision and opted for the IC-7300 with no second thoughts. Primarily due to the pricing that was more favorable to me as purchasing the 7300 meant I had funds left for a R71A and a JRC-NRD-535D. I rarely get above the HF-bands, even with the SDRs I have available to me. The R8600 would have been overkill.

--
Mike
 

MDScanFan

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I have used both the R8600 and 7300. From a real world performance standpoint I could not tell a difference when fed with the same antenna - both phased loops and long wire tested. This is based on a mix of listening: AM BCB, weak and strong SW broadcasts, ham SSB, and HF aero. I did not dabble below MW.

I like the ergonomics better on the 7300. It has a much better/smoother tuning knob and quick access buttons for NR, NB, preamp, and notch. Easier access to the RF gain control knob instead of having to go into a menu. It can be found for about half the price of the R8600. It has two stages of preamps vs one on the R8600 - this is not a critical feature but is nice to have the flexibility for the upper HF bands.

The R8600 spectrum scope may go slightly wider than the 7300, I can’t recall, but that doesn't matter much <30 MHz. It has three antenna inputs, which is nice, but can easily be achieved with a manual switch. I like its separate RF gain and squelch control better than how they are combined into a single knob on the 7300 - though this is more important for >30 MHz reception.

For <30 MHz only reception I would recommend the 7300 primarily based on ergonomics and price. For broad spectrum monitoring in a single box the R8600 is hard to beat.
 

prcguy

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My computer is going ding, ding ding. Hello?

I have a 7300 and an 8600 and bought them for completely different reasons, I didn't need another HF receiver and got the 8600 mostly for the VHF/UHF side. For bottom line performance digging out weak signals with huge signals either side of the weak one the R-8600 tested better by several professional testers. In fact its probably the best stand alone receiver ever tested by Rob Sherwood, although different samples have given different levels of performance and we don't quite know why.

The IC-7300 is an entry level radio but its receiver is no slouch. I have noticed a few minor things with the 7300 like on ARRL field day with a couple of multi radio sites within a mile of me, I had a little trouble receiving someone with one of the field day sites 5KHz away where my Elecraft K3 received fine under the same conditions. I also notice my 100w 2m radio will slightly affect 6m reception in the 7300, meaning its front end band pass filters could use some improvement there. My 7300 has been sent off to the travel trailer to live and I don't use it any longer on my base antennas, but it is a very good and smooth performing HF receiver that anyone should be happy with.

My R-8600 has been bullet proof on both HF and VHF/UHF where nearby strong signals don't bother it a bit. I can even full duplex on 2m using upward of 100w into an antenna on the same roof as the receive antenna for the 8600 and as long as the 2m transmitter is clean, the R-8600 doesn't care about the nearby high power transmitter in the same band. Its just amazing.

However, there is something about the 8600 that makes my 7300 seem easier or more pleasant to use. I can't put a finger on it but if the two were sitting next to each other I might reach for the 7300 before the 8600 on HF. Maybe its because I might want to talk to a friend on HF, which the 8600 can't do or maybe its something else. In the end I'm very happy with both radios and and would buy them both over again if they came up missing some day.

The R-8600 is more than twice the cost of an IC-7300 but for HF only use I don't think there is twice the difference in performance. If I only needed HF I would have to give that some serious thought and I would hesitate to give any recommendation on which one to buy.
 

NoClue48

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Nice topic... I've been poking around on the interwebs comparing the two and had exactly this question--plus one more that I'll get to in a moment.

I am and was leaning toward the 7300 on merely the price difference and this topic's responses seals the deal. I'll be getting serious about this radio depending the answer to my other question:

I am NOT a ham operator. So, is it legal for me to own a transceiver such as the 7300 without holding a ham ticket? I would more than likely not even hook up the mic to the radio so inadvertent transmission would be nigh impossible.

Thank you in advance for any opinions.
Larry
 

popnokick

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As long as you don't transmit you can own any ham transceiver you wish to own. Owning a receiver is legal in the U.S. (not so in some other countries). Transmitting on the ham bands (or anywhere else) with a ham transceiver requires an Amateur Radio license (or appropriate license for outside the ham bands). FYI - Unplugging the microphone helps prevent inadvertent transmission, but be aware that you can still transmit using the Tune button, a CW key, or a computer connected to the radio.
 

NoClue48

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Thank you. And, yes, I know/knew that transmitting on any radio frequency is illegal in the US unless properly licensed.

And, I'm aware that there may be other ways to transmit from a transmitter, but I don't foresee me hooking up the transceiver to any of the devices you mention and don't have a clue as how to transmit with the "Tune button"...
 

MDScanFan

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Go for it. You will be pleased with the 7300.

What kind of antennas do you plan to use with it? If you use an active receive antenna then be especially careful about not transmitting. I currently have my 7300 connected to an active magnetic loop antenna that would be damaged if I transmit. The mic is removed and I have the RF Power setting turned down to 0%. I have never tested what happens at 0%, but I recall seeing someone post that the radio still puts out 90 mW at that setting not 0W. A passive antenna (wire, passive loop, etc) should be able to handle that level but an active antenna may not.

As it was pointed out earlier, even with the mic removed there are button on the front that can key up the radio. The manual will point these out.
 

mbott

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I am NOT a ham operator. So, is it legal for me to own a transceiver such as the 7300 without holding a ham ticket? I would more than likely not even hook up the mic to the radio so inadvertent transmission would be nigh impossible.
There is nothing that says you cannot own a transceiver without an amateur license. Nothing at all. I didn't even unpack the microphone.

--
Mike
 

k5emg

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You can turn the power down to 0% and take the mic out. Even if you push the transmit button it will be less than an 1w.
 

NoClue48

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Research is so interesting... done correctly, one tends to learn a lot...

In researching the IC-7300 I find that it requires a power supply of 13.8 V DC output and a current capacity of at least 21 A. I'm not surprised, but when I look at the sellers' power supply availability, the PS-126 Matching Switching Power Supply has been discontinued!? What the ???? Now, this coupled with the very well discounted pricing on the unit makes me wonder just how good the deal will be in the end. eBay prices on the PS-126 are in the $400.00 range; making the resultant purchase of radio and power supply up near $1,500.00. Not a show stopper, but still...

Plus, the PS-126 appears to be dedicated power supply for use with the radio only, so no other devices can be attached.

Any ideas on a substitute to order when I pull the trigger on the receiver? Or stated another way, how are all y'all's shacks being powered these days?

Thank you in advance for any advice...
 

popnokick

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The reason for the 21 amp requirement is the power draw when the IC-7300 is transmitting... receive only operation will draw less power. HOWEVER, if you ever want to transmit.... or sell the radio / power supply as a "pair" to a ham... you'll want a 12VDC supply capable of providing 21A or higher. The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives to the $400 (?) PS-126 that are sub-$200... even sub $150. Look for models by Astron, Alinco, Pyramid, TekPower, Samlex, and others. And I'm certain other RR members will chime in telling you why one (or more) of these brands is better than the other.
 

NoClue48

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The reason for the 21 amp requirement is the power draw when the IC-7300 is transmitting... receive only operation will draw less power. HOWEVER, if you ever want to transmit.... or sell the radio / power supply as a "pair" to a ham... you'll want a 12VDC supply capable of providing 21A or higher. The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives to the $400 (?) PS-126 that are sub-$200... even sub $150. Look for models by Astron, Alinco, Pyramid, TekPower, Samlex, and others. And I'm certain other RR members will chime in telling you why one (or more) of these brands is better than the other.
BINGO! Thank you! I KNEW there were alternatives and even suspected that the 21 A was for the transmitter, but needed confirmation. I now have it.

I shall look around...
[out]
 

NoClue48

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With my non-transmitting 7300 I'm using the Astron RS-12A with it and several other pieces of equipment.

--
Mike
Thank you, Mike. I was just contemplating that. I know that back before 2004 (when I tore down my shack to move), I was running an FRG-100 and several other devices off of a 10 A power supply (if recollection serves) with no problems. I've never had a transmitter in my collection, but know (from my USN job) that transmitters are the big power users. Just wasn't sure if I could safely transfer that concept to now.
 

NoClue48

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Thanks everyone for your help. Ordered the IC-7300 today from Universal Radio and a TekPower TP30SWII 30 Amp DC 13.8V Analog Switching Power Supply from Amazon. All set--I think...
 
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