Icom: Thinking about getting another radio

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jk77

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I am thinking about getting another radio. I could lie and say that the primary reason that I want it is because it will be a backup radio, but I think the truth is that I just want another new toy. In any event, it will serve as a backup also.

My requirements: It has to be sub-$1000. I cannot justify anything more to either myself or my wife. It has to be new. I like new things. This is non-negotiable. Finally, I want to get an Icom because my main radio is a Yaesu. I have nothing against Yaesu; I like my Yaesu. I just want to try something different, and a lot of people seem to like Icom. The radios that I am considering are:

Icom IC-7100
Icom IC-7200
Icom IC-718

I threw the 718 in there because I like the looks of it, but the truth is that I'm deciding between the 7100 and the 7200 primarily.

Now where I'm hung up is that I love the looks of the 7200. It looks like a radio I've always wanted. I hate the looks of the 7100, but I love the functionality of the 7100. I'm a little concerned about the reports of low average output power on SSB with the 7100. Even though I don't like the looks of the 7100, I could see its usefulness for me in being able to remotely place the head (for example, near a nice big easy chair). Still, I come back to the looks of the 7200 because the 7200 looks more like the radios I wanted as a child. The 7200 also appears to be simple to use (I've downloaded the manual).

So I'm stuck and invite opinions to help me decide. I don't have to decide this immediately because I won't be able to get it until summer so there's time.
 

jwt873

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I'm an Icom fan. For HF, i've currently have an IC-7600 and an IC-7000.

The IC-7200 is an extremely rugged rig. Here's a pretty good review (Note the huge heat sink) -> IC-7200 Interior & Exterior Views If I needed a spare radio I would consider it.

The IC-7100 does have an awkward form factor. But, it has VHF/UHF and D-Star. I was thinking of getting one to replace the IC-7000 that I have in the car, but I just couldn't see an easy way to mount the strange case. Plus, I didn't want to give up the nice color display of the IC-7000.

The IC-718 is a capable radio. We have one in our ARES HQ. They cost a lot less than $1000 dollars brand new. But if you don't need VHF/UHF, the IC-7200 would be my choice.
 

cmdrwill

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I liked using the IC-7200 at Field Day. So I got one for myself. I added a few mods and am very happy with it's real wold performance.
 

popnokick

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The 7100 is a very flexible mobile design... a small remote head separated from the main radio chassis by up to 18 feet of cable. I use mine in my camper... the 7100 is mounted on the side wall of one of the outside storage hatches and wired into the campers's 12V. When I operate inside the camper, the control head goes on the kitchen table. When I operate outside under the canopy shade (such as Field Day) I just set up a folding table and put the control head on the outdoor table.
Forget what you've heard about "low average output power on SSB"... that was fixed with a firmware upgrade from Icom. But keep your firmware up to date... for that and other reasons.
The Icom 7100 is truly a multi-band, multimode transceiver that includes 2M and 70cm bands... and D-Star... the 7200 and 718 do not include VHF/UHF or D-Star. So decide what you want to give up if you get the 7200 or 718.
 

prcguy

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If you don't need VHF/UHF I would highly recommend the Icom 7300. Its a little over $1,000 but for about $1,350 you get a $3,000 radio, its that good. Its the hottest selling HF radio right now and for very good reason.

I've not used a 7200 but friends that have them say its nothing special. Icom may have attempted to attract the military radio crowd by its looks but they completely missed the boat by not incorporating any rugged features from the military types. Plus the 7200 design is nearly 10yrs old and today you see giant leaps in receiver technology every 6mo.
prcguy
 

w5rah

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I had an IC-718 and found it to be a very solid, good performing HF radio. If you want it just for a backup radio, I think you would be well served by the 718. It may not have all the bells and whistles some of the other Icom radios currently have, but I think you would find that it is pretty straight forward to operate.
 

jk77

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Ohio
Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I should have said that this radio will be used as a base. I just can't see doing HF mobile the way I operate (searching for DX).

About the 7300, not only is it more expensive but from what I understand it's an SDR which is not something I want at this juncture. Perhaps the next iteration of the 7300 but not now.

The features of the 7100 are indeed hard to beat in that price range. Just a D-STAR FM mobile is several hundred dollars plus with the 7100 you get HF.

Ergonomics, however, do come into play and I do like the 7200. Sometimes it feels like the last opportunity to get a radio as I always envisioned a ham radio to be. I was glad that they started production of the 7200 again.

I realize now that this is a classic head vs. heart dilemma. My head tells me to get the 7100 but my heart tells me to get the 7200.

Thanks for the link, jwt873.
 

prcguy

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Both the 7100 and 7200 are basically SDRs, their IF is digitized and all receiver filtering, demodulation and other receiver functions are handled with DSP. I don't think you will find any modern design that is not an SDR.

The thing I'm hoping you will avoid is buying a 7100 or 7200 then later playing with a 7300 and kicking yourself for not considering it.
prcguy

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I should have said that this radio will be used as a base. I just can't see doing HF mobile the way I operate (searching for DX).

About the 7300, not only is it more expensive but from what I understand it's an SDR which is not something I want at this juncture. Perhaps the next iteration of the 7300 but not now.

The features of the 7100 are indeed hard to beat in that price range. Just a D-STAR FM mobile is several hundred dollars plus with the 7100 you get HF.

Ergonomics, however, do come into play and I do like the 7200. Sometimes it feels like the last opportunity to get a radio as I always envisioned a ham radio to be. I was glad that they started production of the 7200 again.

I realize now that this is a classic head vs. heart dilemma. My head tells me to get the 7100 but my heart tells me to get the 7200.

Thanks for the link, jwt873.
 

AK9R

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What pcrguy says is true. Icom has been using SDR techniques in their radios since the first "Pro" versions of Icom HF radios came out years ago. In all of the current Icom HF radios, except the 7300 and maybe the 718, superheterodyne conversion is used to get the RF down to IF frequencies, Then, the signal is digitized and processed only to be converted back to analog at the AF portion of the chain.

The 7300 avoids the RF to IF conversion and goes to digital immediately. This is the future of SDR-with-knobs HF radios that I think will dominate the market going forward. Icom is following up on the 7300 with the 7610 due out this year.
 

wrath

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To be honest , not to break your heart , the 718 may not be full of bells and whistles but it just works and will probably still be kicking when the rigs with bells and whistles go to ham heaven . I have a two many radios, I have back ups for my backups , get the 718 and save your money so that in a year or two you can get whatever the 7300 3rd generation is . The 7200 has looks that people lust after , but to really make it a "hardened" field rig , you need to treat it like a boat ( bust out another thousand ) in after market upgrades to make it remotely close to the radio you think you are buying, I just loaned my 718 back up back up to friend who is a serious dx'er and contester, they laughed and sad what a cute toy, and now after using it , they say it performs and hears better than some $6,000 + radios they have used and bought themselves one , being discontinued you can easily find them new for $500 and change ,that leaves $500 in hand that you can grow larger and keep in the Shack fund and pick up something that will be mind blowing in a couple of years. And since it's back in production the 7200 will be around if your still in love down the road.


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