HF Receive Only Icom's IC-7300 vs IC-R8600?

wogga383

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Looking for a new hardware HF receiver, love my SDRPlay but not enough knobs to twiddle. Icom's 8600 looks tasty but at £2500 the price is tastier. How would a much cheaper IC-7300 compare in receive only? Anybody have experience they want to share? Is the 8600 really worth it?
 

prcguy

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The R8600 receiver measures better in important specs over the 7300 but in actual use you would probably not notice. If you only need HF its kind of wasting most of the capability of the R8600. On the other hand if you need receive only you would be wasting a fine transmitter.

My R8600 is locked to a 10MHz GPS box and has incredible frequency accuracy, not something you can do with a 7300. The 8600 also has voice activated squelch or syllabic squelch and that's not available in the 7300. The 8600 has three switchable antenna inputs including a high impedance and the 7300 has just one antenna socket. You also have to consider the 7300 is an entry level HF transceiver even though it blows away many high end units and the 8600 is Icom's flagship high end receiver.

I think any SWL would be very happy with a 7300 but the 8600 has many more features and frequency range to play with.

Looking for a new hardware HF receiver, love my SDRPlay but not enough knobs to twiddle. Icom's 8600 looks tasty but at £2500 the price is tastier. How would a much cheaper IC-7300 compare in receive only? Anybody have experience they want to share? Is the 8600 really worth it?
 

swman

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The IC-R8600 has MUCH improved audio quality for MW/HF broadcast listening over the IC-7300. Plus a useful (so called) Synchronous Detector. But don't count on it for improving fading distortion as it's not really a true "Sync Detector". Better description is a glorified synchrophase detector.

see N9EWO's review : http://n9ewo.angelfire.com/icr8600.html
 

prcguy

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Check out the link to Rob Sherwood's receiver test data. His personal 8600 scored third in important, expensive to achieve specs of any receiver he has tested and the 7300 is down around 20 on the list. Its interesting that several 8600s measured different in testing and my personal 8600 that I sent Rob is at 19 on the list. There is another 7300 that was tested and it sits a little lower at 25 on the list.

Even at # 25 the 7300 is up there with some impressive and well respected receivers.


 

kruser

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My R8600 is locked to a 10MHz GPS box and has incredible frequency accuracy,
Does the 10MHz GPS oscillator really improve the frequency stability or accuracy very much over the 8600s built in 10MHz reference oscillator?
I've never bothered playing with this as my 8600s seem dead on without any outside help but maybe you found different results.
 

prcguy

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Yes. The 8600 is very frequency stable but won't hold within a few hundreds of a Hz or better over its lifetime like a GPS disciplined oscillator will. You can get a 10MHz GPS disciplined oscillator for well under $100 these days.

Does the 10MHz GPS oscillator really improve the frequency stability or accuracy very much over the 8600s built in 10MHz reference oscillator?
I've never bothered playing with this as my 8600s seem dead on without any outside help but maybe you found different results.
 

kruser

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Yes. The 8600 is very frequency stable but won't hold within a few hundreds of a Hz or better over its lifetime like a GPS disciplined oscillator will. You can get a 10MHz GPS disciplined oscillator for well under $100 these days.
I may hook one up.
I think it was you that gave me an eBay link quite some time ago for a couple 10 MHz GPS oscillators. I'd bought and tested them but never really used them for much other than doing a basic alignment on an old frequency counter.

Thanks for the info.

I saw Rob Sherwood post about the Icom 9700 compared to the 8600. He said the 9700 wins hands down for weak signal reception over the 8600.
Of course that is VHF and UHF as the 9700 does not do HF. I think the 9700 is more or less a companion to the Icom 7300 from what Rob Sherwood said. This was from a post Rob made in an Icom group at groups.io not long ago. I think the OP in that thread was asking for the same comparison between the 7300 and the 8600 but they did not specify the bands of interest they were looking for a comparison.
Only one person replied other than Rob and his opinion was the 8600 and 7300 were both very equal in performance on the 80 meter band.
 

wogga383

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Thanks for the impressive feedback all and the great links. I appreciate your responses what a great forum. I have much to consider.
 

prcguy

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I've not had the 8600 and 9700 on the same antenna so I don't know. My 9700 has a GP-9 at 40ft and some huge 23cm antenna and my 8600 is fed from a filtered, diplexed, amplified pair of Discones at about 30ft height. The difference in antennas alone is huge here and the 9700 picks up things the 8600 cannot under the circumstances.

Are you in agreement with Rob Sherwood that the 9700 is more sensitive over the 8600 in the bands it operates?
I've not looked at Sherwood's site to see if he tested and rated the 9700 yet. Off to take a look.
 

wb4sqi

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Check out the link to Rob Sherwood's receiver test data. His personal 8600 scored third in important, expensive to achieve specs of any receiver he has tested and the 7300 is down around 20 on the list. Its interesting that several 8600s measured different in testing and my personal 8600 that I sent Rob is at 19 on the list.

The differences between #3 and #19 are due to manufacturing tolerances?

I'm guessing that the difference are insignificant to those of us without sophisticated measuring equipment and would not notice in typical SWL or Ute monitoring?
 

prcguy

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The differences in the two 8600s on Rob Sherwoods site are significant (around 9dB for close spaced dynamic range) in that one radio measures up there with $5k to $25k radios and the other is down with the sub $3k range radios. According to Rob most people would never hear the difference, but if I had a choice I would want the better radio.

The differences between #3 and #19 are due to manufacturing tolerances?

I'm guessing that the difference are insignificant to those of us without sophisticated measuring equipment and would not notice in typical SWL or Ute monitoring?
 

wb4sqi

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The differences in the two 8600s on Rob Sherwoods site are significant (around 9dB for close spaced dynamic range) in that one radio measures up there with $5k to $25k radios and the other is down with the sub $3k range radios. According to Rob most people would never hear the difference, but if I had a choice I would want the better radio.
In that situation I would also want the better radio but with my aging ears and piss poor antennas I’ll settle for second best.

I’m considering a pre-owned 8600 at the moment.
 

bill4long

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Looking for a new hardware HF receiver, love my SDRPlay but not enough knobs to twiddle. Icom's 8600 looks tasty but at £2500 the price is tastier. How would a much cheaper IC-7300 compare in receive only? Anybody have experience they want to share? Is the 8600 really worth it?
It doesn't decode DMR (and by extension, Mototurbo), so I would say thumbs down. Given how popular DMR now is on commercial, public safety (and ham radio, if you care about that), you're going to eventually get mad at the fact that the 8600 won't decode it. Icom has no plans to include DMR in the future.
 

wb4sqi

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It doesn't decode DMR (and by extension, Mototurbo), so I would say thumbs down. Given how popular DMR now is on commercial, public safety (and ham radio, if you care about that), you're going to eventually get mad at the fact that the 8600 won't decode it. Icom has no plans to include DMR in the future.
For me, no problem. I have Anytone radios, Whistler and Uniden scanners that cover DMR if needed. While I find DMR interesting the disparity between all the amateur digital modes has me wishing for the analog FM days when someone always answered your call on a repeater.

I look at the 8600 as an extremely enhanced 8500, which I still own.
 
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