N9EWO Review :
 ICOM IC-7300
"Direct Sampling"  SDR
 HF / 50 MHz Transceiver

The excellent ICOM IC-7300 is the FIRST "stand alone" Amateur Radio HF Transceiver that uses true "direct sampling" SDR technology PLUS also includes an internal antenna tuner and 100 watts RF output. Super fast "Real Time" spectrum display, no lagging "doggy" ones here. It's Bug-A-Boo for me is with general audio quality on receive. It's flat communications audio while great for Ham use (of course what it was made for) falls "flat" on it's face for MW and HF / SWL broadcast listening after awhile (adjusting it's menu tone controls or external speakers not helping the cause at all). The Icom IC-R8600 receiver is night and day improvement in this area (see our IC-R8600 review here) ! (N9EWO Photo)

Model : ICOM IC-7300
Country Of Manufacture : Japan (Osaka)
HM-219 Hand Microphone (as included with transceiver) : China
OPC-2361 DC Power Cable (as included with transceiver) : Japan
OPC-1457 DC Power Cable : Japan
Firmware Versions Tested : 1.12, 1.13, 1.14, 1.20, 1.30, 1.41
Serial Number (approx.) of Test Sample 1 : 020021xx
Serial Number (approx.) of Test Sample 2 : 020309xx

Optional Accessories Tested
ICOM SM-30 Desk Microphone : China
ICOM SM-6 Desk Microphone : Japan (later sample with new logo)
"SWL-Remotes" R75 IR Remote : USA (discontinued, not manufactured by Icom)

Sherwood Engineering IC-7300 Lab Numbers and Report

N9EWO's Review on the Icom IC-7300 SDR HF / 50 MHz Transceiver (for SWL Use)

Another Different Kind Of A Report Here........

We are going to have a look at it here, but more for use
monitoring general SW / HF broadcasting stations. So if you are looking for a detailed report with "amateur radio" TX / RX use, you will have to look elsewhere. However, will cover a few topics on the transmit side as well. You will see reference to the Icom IC-7600 transceiver , Japan Radio Co. NRD-545 DSP receiver , Icom IC-R8600 Wide Band HF-VHF-UHF  receiver (our full review here), 2 samples of Icom IC-R9000 HF-VHF-UHF Wide Band receiver (on HF), and the Watkins Johnson WJ-8711A receiver that I have owned or used over the years in the review below.

The Icom IC-7300's "receive" frequency coverage is from 30 hz to 74.800 MHz. We did not test any performance above 30 MHz.

You are not a Amateur Radio Operator, eh ???

I have heard of a MANY Icom IC-7600, IC-756 PRO , IC-756 PRO II and III's being sold to people that will NEVER transmit on it. Yes..."Short Wave Listeners". With manufactures curtailing tabletop "receiver" production, my gut feeling is this will be on the increase. You can usually get a better deal with more features in a Ham transceiver and the now total lack of tabletop receivers these days. Well not entirely as it is not all red roses for "SW Broadcast Monitoring" when say compared to a JRC NRD-545 (lack of sync detection to name one), But I'm sure many HF transceivers have been sold to non-hams, like it or not.

So What's The Draw For a SWL Type To The IC-7300 ? / Real Direct Sampling

What are the pluses to the Icom IC-7300 to a medium wave / short wave listener ? I would say the first on the list is it being a "Direct Sampling" Software Defined Receiver design. That’s right….no traditional mixer and IF stages. Right from the antenna input there are 15 bandpass filters then to a 14 bit analog to digital converter, after that there is a FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array). Use of a TI TMS320C6745 DSP after that which makes sense being this is standalone SDR device.
As Adam VA7OJ said: “The IC-7300 is not a "hybrid". One looking at the simplified block diagram is all it takes. It is a fully-architected direct-sampling / DUC SDR, in which the baseband port of the FPGA is connected to an internal DSP complex rather than an external PC. By converting the baseband to a 36 kHz "pseudo-IF", Icom have made a very clever move, which has enabled them to use their well-proven DSP hardware platform and code libraries.”

Additional Pluses on the "Short Wave Listener" List :

- Low distortion and hiss free audio (super crisp and clean) with bass and treble adjustments for each mode.
- Proper AM mode bandwidths for SWL use, right up to a nice WIDE 10 kHz one when conditions warrant.
- Icom's proper choices of tuning KNOB steps and how selected.
- Low current consumption + COOL operation with no fan operation in receive ONLY mode.

- Built in digital "off air" audio recorder that is most usable for SWL use (unlike IC-7600 and IC-756PRO models).
- Front mounted SD card slot (unlike the rear mounted and difficult to access CF card found in the IC-R9500).

- Just as it is for amateur use, EXCELLENT super fast "Spectrum Scope" that can be tweaked for user preference (up to a 1 MHz total swath).
- LCD Backlight uses LED's for Greatly Improved Display Reliability (no CCFL tubes).

- Very good (optical encoder) tuning knob that is wobble free and generally smooth operating.
- Provided tilt bail that gives proper angle in use that also includes tabletop / anti-slide protection (+ rubberish tube on bail and real rubber rear feet).
- No use of "wobbly" rubber like buttons (as used with the Icom IC-7200, IC-718 Transceivers and the IC-R75 receiver).
- Medium Wave "Bypass Attenuator" feature (selectable in the menus...no more hardware modifications required).
- Rugged metal outer cabinet (not using plastic top and bottom outer covers that the IC-7200 has).
- High "Q" 15 RF Bandpass Filters.
- TCXO included as standard (+- 0.5 PPM)
- Superb Phase Noise Characteristics (advertised as a 15 db improvement over the IC-7200 at 1 kHz separation)   

Radio’s Cardboard Internal Packing “So-So”
Transceiver arrives in a “double wall” sturdy cardboard box. It is in the usual Icom “sealed with tape” fashion style, which is OK. One can easily detect if it’s a truly brand new unit this way.
Just as it was with the IC-7200 (that we owned previously), the actual transceiver is held into place (in the carton) by a couple of thick cardboard cut out pieces (see photo below). We felt that this is a bit inadequate, as these cardboard cut out pieces were allowing the set to slop around a bit due to a somewhat loose fit. Additionally these left and right inserts in our case were noticed to be semi crunched once removed from the radios body, so PROPER reuse will be a bit difficult. This is the same way the IC-7200 model was packed.
But overall it gets the job done being the radio is not that heavy.

Icom's IC-7300 and it's somewhat wimpy cardboard internal packing (a early sample shown above). Improvements were made later with added cardboard supports on the box floor.  (N9EWO Photo Edit)
Small Lightweight Cabinet / Metal Outer Shell / Dust Duty
The Icom IC-7300 HF transceiver is housed in an attractive metal outer cabinet with an internal thicker die cast chassis that also creates the unpainted rear panel. Size in inches: 9.45 x 3.7 x 9.37 and its weight at a light 9.26 pounds (4.2kg). A very good pop-down tilt bail is included and has a rubbery-plastic protection tube that saves the desktop and helps to keep the lightweight box from sliding around in use. There are also 2 bottom rear REAL RUBBER feet (not hard plastic) to also aid with any sliding around issues.
On top of the cabinet there are a pretty large amount of air fan intake vent slots (plus this is for the internal speaker output). These vent holes are back a bit from the front panel, which is good news. Over the years (topic has been discussed around the Internet) that in the case of the more expensive Icom IC-7600, the air intake vent holes are much closer to the front and the LCD. What happens here is dust starts to collect in-between the actual display and protective screen cover and over time can make for a real eyesore (and a royal pain to clean out).
Internal cooling fan runs MUCH more in the IC-7600 being it cycles on/off even in just receive mode. Where as the IC-7300 fan does not come on at all in just receive use (more later on this). In any event it’s improved to see the PA air holes moved back a bit and the possibility of any dust LCD infiltration reduced. Additionally the IC-7300’s fan is located on the rear panel, whereas the IC-7600’s fan is internal is placed right behind the front panel, this could also help with the dust bug  ?
All knobs have a good feel and all buttons use traditional tac switches. No soft plastic “rubber feeling” buttons are used. There is the typical “Icom” slight rotational play with the AF and RF gain controls and even a bit more with the Dual PBT and MULTI encoder controls. But is nothing excessive. Most of the front panel pushbuttons are flush or near flush with the cabinet.
The main “metal” tuning knob has rubber track and uses an actual set screw for attachment to its optical encoder. This beats out the more expensive IC-7600, where here it is just a “push on” variety knob (believe it or not). The only down side here is we feel it is a bit on the shallow side (should have been a bit beefier, that is sticks out just a bit more).
We enjoyed seeing a nice separate RED transmit LED included on the IC-7300 (GREEN in receive). Not just some TX indicator icon on the LCD.

With the top fan intake vents somewhat back from the front bezel, plus the fan being rear mounted (and runs MUCH less and never in just receive use), this hopefully will eliminate any dust infiltration issues that can plague the older IC-7600 model LCD in time ?? (N9EWO Photo)
Super Spectrum Scope Display / LED Backlighting / Can See the Weaker Signals
"Spectrum Scope" Display that allows for viewing of a chunk of the HF spectrum up to 1 MHZ Max (+/- 500 kHz). This is a huge improvement to the older IC-756 PRO, PRO II and PRO III models that only did 200 kHz max. Even the IC-7600 is limited to 500 kHz Max. No it's not as wide as the Icom IC-R8600 (my review here) or expensive IC-R9500 super receiver, but is not a big loss. Works very well and helps from missing signals as you zip across the bands with the knob. The BIG improvement is the scope is super SUPER fast scanning and no hesitation jerky looking display. There are 3 different speed settings of the spectrum scope, but why anyone would want to slow this down is a good question ?
Being it is only a 4.3 inch screen, it is a bit tight for what needs to be displayed. We found the waterfall was NOT in OUR desires, so we turned it off to provide a greater viewing area of the actual spectrum scope. Even if one turns off the waterfall screen in the normal display mode, access is still easily done by just hitting the EXPD/SET button on the touch screen. 
As is the normal for Icom here, the IC-7300’s spectrum scope still allows for the 2 different types of tuning. One type where the center of the tuned frequency moves with the dial and the other and way where the scope stays fixed and you tune a red marker across the screen. The desired tuned segments are adjusted in the menu's (very easy to do). Of course the defaults are in the Amateur Radio bands. Scope sensitivity is excellent , plus with the bottom grass noise being totally absent that existed with older models (including the Icom IC-R9500).
There is an “Audio Scope” function. We did not find this feature to be that useful. More of a gee-whiz thing for me, I can live without this one.
One can change the colors of the display "scope" (personally I like green), as well as the waterfall colors. Also a timed background "ghost" display will indicate what have been received until you tune again with the knob or when it resets (this can be turned off). This spectrum scope is active full time and no receiver muting.
We changed to no-fill part of the spectrum display to make it look more “old school” (to no fill at all) , see the bottom of this page for more information..  

The IC-7300 will not have a problem with CCFL “Florescent Tube” backlight failures as it uses LED backlighting. Its resolution is also improved over the IC-7600 LCD (even being a smaller size screen). So it’s very sharp and extremely "W-I-D-E" viewable even being small.
Icom Transceiver Display Sizes and Resolution
IC-7300 : 4.3 inches (RayStar RFE430H) 480 x 272
IC-7600 : 5.8 inches (EPSON L5S30853P00) 400 x 240
Again, we found the sensitivity of the spectrum scope to be excellent as well. I can see very weak signals on the scope (with no local noise present…..and that is very important). Is the FIRST Icom set with a spectrum display I have been able to do this with. This is even comparing to the very expensive IC-R9500 receiver (my review click here). I’m sure some will dispute this, but I have used many of Icom’s sets now with a spectrum scope and this has been a treat here on the test sample. I have my own desirable old school "Spectrum Scope" settings, please see detailed information below. Please keep in mind that I do NOT care for waterfall display (but that is me of course).

Improved "Spectrum Scope" settings for the ICOM IC-7300 (in our view). The waterfall just eats away at the limited space available (not a desirable feature for us). Adjusting the "Center Type Display" to "Carrier Point Center (ABS Freq)", will give for proper "centered" showing of AM signals on the scope and will also show frequency on the bottom scale in "center" mode which is a very desirable setting. See the bottom of this page for more details. (N9EWO Photo)
Touch Screen and the IR “R75 SWL-Remote” / Stylus - Screen Protectors NOT
OK, lets get it out of the way that I’m NOT a fan of touch screens being used with a stand alone Receiver or Transceiver. Mind you I NEVER touch a set with dirty hands / fingers (and SHORT fingernails). But even with that in mind, greasy and fingerprint smearing is still going to be an issue anyway. I also strongly do NOT believe in any use of those stylus pens (popular for tablets and smart phones - rubber tip or not) with the IC-7300. That tip constantly slamming against the LCD sure can't do it any good (ditto for and fingernails hitting it).

LCD CLEANING NOTE : With the radio turned OFF, we CAREFULLY use a CLEAN MOIST
screen cleaning cloth made for LCD TV screens when it needs to be dealt with, which is not too often. We use "DISTILLED WATER" (nothing else). Also NOT dripping wet but not dry either, (getting it totally wet) however squeeze out as much water as you can from the cloth BEFORE. Using a very "light touch" is also the very important word here. We just let it AIR DRY (which is not much) after with NO additional cloth usage to help to dry it. Of course if you do this "wrong" could lead to water where you do not want it for LCD or other serious damage......"so you have been officially warned" !!  NEVER NEVER NEVER....spray any liquids directly on to the LCD !

IMPORTANT NOTE : Be sure and see the LCD "white line" issue in the links section on the bottom of this page !

I will NOT be held responsible for any info that is listed here

Some have added a smart phone screen protector to prevent scratches and other nastiness. But is this a good idea ? Five reasons why for me why it’s NOT.
1. This is going to cloud the screen a bit (I say….NO matter what the screen protector manufacture hype is).
2. It's a major chore to get it PROPERLY installed (good luck getting this looking 100% decent).
3. Stress damage created on the LCD pressing this into place (and removing). Read the warnings in your IC-7300 owners manual.
4. Possibility it could make the touch sensitivity a bit less (or MUCH less) ? As covered in the  owners manual.
Wear on it's "resistive type" touch screen is not going to make ANY difference if you have a screen protector on it or not.
So I choose NOT to make use of a screen protector and being I’m a very picky-careful dude….it has not been a problem for ME and part of the reason why is next.
To help with fewer pokes on the LCD touch screen we added a really cool IR remote control device that allows basic operation of the Icom IC-7300 via a universal TV remote control. This “R75 SWL-Remotes” model was originally to be used with the Icom IC-R75 receiver but also works with other newer Icom receivers / transceivers as well via the CI-V "Remote" jack. Just connect the included CI-V cable between a very small black control box and the transceiver. Next plug in the (also included) very small ANALOG 9-volt wall wart 120 vac power supply into the jack on the remote box. Program any universal remote control for a Sony TV's and that is it after a few setting changes on the IC-7300 (as given below).
There is bit of a learning curve and not all functions are valid as the IC-R75 is a little different of course.
This IR remote will NOT allow for any control of the spectrum scope functions (among others). However most of the basic functions are including, control the sets volume as well as muting it (one not even available on the set), tune up and down the band or zip through your memory channels. Adjust the bandwidths, AGC, PBT, Tuning Steps and even for entering the memory channels and much more. Also you have direct keyboard entry that is more straight forward and faster than on the sets touch screen. Yes, this USA made product is a bit pricey but it also allows for remote operation across the room.

NOTE : Do NOT confuse the proper R75 model with the more generic version that is for older Icom models (example : volume or muting control is not supported for the older sets with this generic model).

R75 "SWL-Remotes" after market device (left) works great with the Icom IC-7300.
(now discontinued, was not manufactured by Icom)

Low cost SONY RM-EZ4 "Big Button" remote works well with this device. You do not want a remote with lots of buttons or functions (it will make it much more confusing to use). The Volume and Channel buttons are a bit on the stiff side and not the best placement on the RM-EZ4, but it gets the job done nicely. Also good that it uses 2 AA batteries for longer life (not the less desirable AAA type) and a LED that comes on when a button is pressed. Any universal remote will do the trick , just programed to work with Sony TV's. But the simpler the remote the better.
NOTE : I no longer make use of alkaline batteries due to the high (likely in time) possibility of leakage. The use of the "low-self discharge" type (or called pre-charged) AA rechargeable nickel-metal hydride cells works fine with most IR remotes (including the Sony as indicated above) and near eliminates this possibility of leakage. An alternative would be the use of non-rechargeable AA Lithium batteries (these have a much less chance of leakage over alkaline types as well).
Settings using the “R75 SWL-Remote” with the Icom IC-7300 (Important : Using the default settings in the remote device) :

1. Change the port "baud rate" to 19200 in the IC-7300 menu’s (don’t use auto).
2. Change the "address" to 5A (from the 94h default) also in the IC-7300.

It can be a bit finicky operation at first use; especially if you punch the remote buttons a bit too fast and you get the blinking timeout indication (this is a bit dependent on the remote model used). There are timing settings on the remote that may help here, but I have not attempted those as this report was typed. Not a real drawback in anyway here.

This "SWL-Remotes" product has been discontinued and no longer available. One will have to hunt on the used market now and will not be easy as it was not a widely sold product.
Ergonomics Good / Metering
Even with the Touch Screen nastiness in the mix, overall ergonomics are good. But in our view not as pleasant as if real buttons were in use. Again direct keyboard entry is much easier to archive using the IR remote as covered above. Band stacking register function screen (and the direct frequency entry as a second tier is here too) is toggled by hitting the MHz digits on the touch sceen LCD.
Metering is displayed using bar graphs. Not as cool looking as with the IC-7600, but gets the job done and the S-Meter readings appear to be most accurate. Some reports have indicated that lower S-meter readings are anemic, with our "real use" test I have not found this to be a valid issue.
Temperature indication of the RF final section continues to be an unmarked affair. Too bad they could not put a few numbers on this bar to improve the accuracy. Ditto for the voltage indication.
One cool feature is the "SWR Graph" (Menu > SWR). This allows you to get an idea how your SWR curve is across any given amateur band. Takes a bit to make happen (plus you need to set up the step etc), but is well worth the effort.       
”Cool Operator” / Fan Does NOT operate in Just Receive Use
As commented earlier, the IC-7300 is one cool operating radio in receive ONLY use. Might sound like a "no big deal", but his this is not the normal for Icom with newer current models. Unlike the IC-7600, the fan never operates in just receive only use with the IC-7300. The IC-7600’s (and IC-7410 as well among others) fan cycles in just receive mode after awhile is is most annoying when being used as a SWL set. This relates on room temperature on how much the fan will run in these transceivers.

Of course with any transmit use the rear-mounted fan operates anytime the PTT is engaged. Here it is a bit on the noisier side with the IC-7300, but not as bad as with a December 2015 made test sample of the Yaesu FT-450D (arf !). Desk microphone operations are not too bad for any excessive fan noise (with the Yaesu FT-450D….it’s quite too noisy for desk microphones at all). As you can tell, I’m quite sensitive to ANY excessive fan noise in transmit, or ANY fan operation in just receive use. I still strongly feel that a ham transceivers fan should NEVER operate in just a receive only operation. The Icom IC-7300 fits the bill excellently (and rare with a Amateur Radio transceiver also as being used for a SWL set).
One can just look at the actual tested current measurements and understand why the IC-7600 fan runs with much more heat being produced in just receive.
ICOM IC-7300 at 13.8 volts
Receive Current : 836 ma +/- 20ma
Transmit Current  (Full Power) : Approx 17.9 Amps
ICOM IC-7600 at 13.8 volts
Receive Current : 2.7 Amps +/- 50ma
Transmit Current (Full Power): Approx. 18.8 Amps
HM-219 Hand Microphone / SM-30 and SM-6 Desk Microphones / Tight Microphone Connector
The included HM-219 “Chinese Made” hand microphone is a real aural treat. Gone are the muffled ills that plagued the older “Chinese versions” of the HM-36 that was included with the IC-7200 and IC-7600 transceivers (and many other Icom models, but I see reports around that the HM-36 issues has FINALLY been fixed ?). Of course one can tweak the mic’s frequency response in the menu’s to the operators liking.
Icom's black matching and and beautifully modern optional SM-30 desk microphone worked properly with and good audio reports. Has a lock function and with a LOCK LED indicator , It does NOT feature UP-DOWN buttons. Our brand new test sample arrived with a ratty cable where it enters the body (which we could not get 100% right reforming it). Just as with the included HM-219 hand microphone the plug removed unusually difficult. The operational pre-amp voltage is taken from the separate 8 volt power wire. Metal bottom, plastic body. The SM-30 is made in CHINA (most likely by a contracted manufacture ?).

With test sample number 2, we tested a old classic SM-6 model with the IC-7300 (with the current Icom logo, so later production). Equally decent audio reports (after some IC-7300 EQ adjustments). Again no UP-DOWN buttons. Lock function is achieved by a forward mechanical slide of the PTT button. The body is entirely made of Die-Cast metal with the bottom being anodized steel plate cover (so has bit of heft to it even being quite small), with 4 very nice screwed on rubber feet. It's operational preamp current is taken from the 8 volt phantom voltage on the microphone line (white wire, limited to around 8 ma of current) so different over the SM-30. The SM-6 was made in Japan.

TIP : As experienced with both test samples (and via Rob Sherwood NC0B), if one fully inserts the microphone plug into the IC-7300 it is then extremely difficult to near impossible to remove it (it is a very tight fit). So the suggestion here is to only insert it say 60% of the way in and then LOOSELY screw on the retaining ring. This way "&#[email protected]!!!!"  does not happen later and is still a adequate connection. We have verified this issue to be with the 8-pin socket on the TRANSCEIVER and is not on the plug end. I have also been told this bug also affects other ICOM transceivers as well (which makes sense). We are still very pleased that ICOM continues to use the 8-pin Foster type microphone connector even with this fairly well known bug. We totally despise the use of ANY modular type mic connectors on Amateur transceivers (the old line "well all professional transceivers use modular connectors" does not wash with me).

ICOM SM-6 Desk Microphone (Japan)
PROPER internal wiring photo.
Please Note: Photo above was taken from a Japan manufactured sample.
(Chinese made ones may vary from the above photo ? Unknown.)
(click on photo for larger view) (N9EWO Photo)
Proper “Tuning Knob” Steps / Other Tuning Knob Details
In the case of most current production Yaesu HF transceivers, the “Tuning Knob” steps are extremely limited to just 10 or 100 hz steps in SSB modes and 100 hz and 1 KHz in AM or FM modes.  In the case of the FT-450D this is even slower going (see my full FT-450D review here for those details). Yes…it can be a real “wrist wrecker” if you wish to move fast using the main tuning knob.
As it is with all current Icom HF transceivers, the IC-7300 has many more programmable steps for the “Tuning Knob”. So I can make it exactly proper to our desires for normal operation, which is 1 kHz for SSB, 5 kHz for SW Broadcast and 10 kHz for MW Broadcast (or can be 9 kHz outside North America). Better yet, each mode stores it’s own setting. Icom does this right here…no contest in our view. Selecting a faster or slower temporary “tuning knob” step is a breeze as it is with all current Icom HF sets. Yes, it can tune and display down to 1 Hz as well.
Tuning Knob optical encoder had a very good feel with no bearing slop (downright zero). However it is not as silky smooth as the one found in the vintage JRC NRD-545 receiver. But that one is hard to beat. From viewing the service manual, we see that it is using an actual setscrew for attachment to the encoder shaft. This is a huge plus over the more expensive IC-7600 model that uses a push on type tuning knob and of course allows for a not as stable situation. It’s a “push on knob” with the IC-7600 and has some slight wobble if you properly check it out.
It does share the same sour trait as with the IC-7600 in regards to tuning knob friction adjustment. First there are only 3 selections available. To make matters even worse, it’s very difficult to make happen. That is it’s hard to move the little lever under the knob to adjust with it's 3 clicks.
The little MULTI knob located to the upper left of the main knob, we feel was very well thought out. It allows the user to easily adjust the RF Power, Mic Gain, Compressor Level (not in AM) and the Monitor level all in seconds and with no crazy sub-sub menus. RF power can also be more precisely adjusted vs. the IC-7600 too being it’s a digital adjustment and not using a variable control. You can easily and exactly return to a previous setting just using the control, not just in the ballpark or having to using a RF power meter.     
Proper Bandwidth Choices / SSB Selections Could Be Wider / Manual ECSS Excellent
For a mix of SWL and Amateur use, the Icom IC-7300 is near excellent when it comes to available bandwidths. For AM mode the user has continuously variable bandwidths from 200 Hz to 10.0 kHz available (in 200 Hz steps). Of course we love the excellent 10.0 kHz one when conditions warrant.  For SSB modes its from 50 Hz to 500 Hz (50 Hz steps) and 600 Hz to 3.6 kHz (100 Hz Steps). As usual for Icom with current production models, the widest SSB is limited at 3.6 kHz. This is a bit lacking especially for manual ECSS use. We would have like to seen this to least 5 kHz (or even greater). Of course we have the 3-bandwidth presets that add to the excellent ergonomics as well.
Speaking of manual ECSS performance (using SSB modes at zero beat of a AM signal), it’s absolutely stellar. Not only do we have a STOCK +/- 0.5 PPM TCXO for excellent stability, it’s clean sound (zero distortion, zero DSP artifacts) and performance is just excellent. We experienced none of the bugs that plagued OUR IC-7600 test sample with manual ECSS use. A side note, with our test sample the display was DEAD ON out of the box (this can be tweaked in the Menu’s if necessary).
Of course no Synchronous Detection (with Icom striking out every time then they did try this circuit in radio....so I guess better not), but the excellent ECSS helps here greatly. Again, it’s a pity the receive bandwidths are limited to 3.6 KHz maximum on SSB modes. Unlike the WJ-8711A where one can cheat using the CW mode to gain wider SSB bandwidths for improved manual ECSS use (up to 16 kHz in fact), the IC-7300’s available CW bandwidths are identical to SSB. It's worth repeating that in the AM mode Icom allows up to 10 kHz bandwidth. Of course this is excellent news as a MW / SW broadcast receiver.
N9EWO’s Bandwidths Presets Changed From Default (in kHz)
WIDE (FIL 1) : 3.6
MID (FIL 2 ) : 2.8
NARROW (FIL 3) : 2.3
WIDE (FIL 1) : 10.0
MID (FIL 2) : 8.0
NARROW (FIL 3) : 6.0
As it has been with previous models, we also have the “DSP Filter Shape” adjustment for SSB and CW modes. SHARP and SOFT. We normally just leave it in the default SOFT selection for our operations (sounds the best).
ADC Overloading / Sensitivity  / Forget LW / Other Receiver Notes
When the receiver is hit with an extremely excessive input signal, the red OVF icon will start to flash. Unlike “dynamic range” mixer overloading that can occur with an analog superhet receiver, here it’s the ADC (Analog to Digital Converter) that gets saturated and can make the FPGA to do strange things when the OVF indicator starts to flash.
In our testing (with firmware 1.13) and antenna’s it took the receive PreAmp's (1 or 2) with a SUPER strong station for this OVF indicator to start to flash (or a extremely noisy band and or with local interference). Turning off the preamp's cured this overloading completely in OUR situation when it happened. However this scenario will vary greatly of course. In extreme cases it could take the attenuation function and or backing off the RF Gain control to stop it. Is this a drawback to the IC-7300 ? I say….strongly NO. Being this is a true SDR, this is the just part of the technology (at least at this price point).
In general being "very conservative" is the name of the game with ANY "PreAmp" use. On MW turning ON the "MW band ATT" may be REQUIRED to squash overloading depending on the frequency and antenna used (default is ON). This is especially true if one uses any active wire or active loop antenna (that is it has an internal RF amplifier).

The “IP Plus” function is advertised to improve the Intermodulation Distortion (IMD). Optimizes the Analog/Digital Converter (ADC) against the distortion when receiving a strong signal. Third-order Intercept Point (IP3) is also supposed to be improved (feature was not tested). 

In general, overall sensitivity we found to be excellent even with the preamp's off. An exception is in the long wave bands (below 500 kHz). Here the IC-R8600 performance is by leaps and bounds better (see the review here).  Preamp's not helping the cause even somewhat. If you need even modest LW performance, best to consider the IC-R8600 instead.
NOW does the Icom IC-7300 beat out the WJ-8711A for audio recovery / sensitivity with weak broadcast stations (using manual ECSS mode of course) ? Look for the detailed answer next.

UPDATE : Icom IC-7300 ver 1.14 Firmware :  With "older version 1.14" firmware, reports that there are issues with MW (AM Broadcast) reception where that band becomes very noisy and useless (severe OVF overloading that cannot be controlled properly ?). We did the 1.14 update here at HQ and works OK...however, it is more sensitive to OVF overload (MW band and elsewhere). I do indeed have the "MW band ATT" OFF.  I have no OVF indication with no preamps, some OVF with Preamp 1 with a super strong signal (and or lots of band noise) and lots with Preamp 2 with the conditions. I use a passive RF Systems 55 foot MLB long wire for MW and SW. Of course if anyone is using receive antenna's with internal preamps (say the Wellbrook Loop) this will make this OVF overload issue much WORSE !! In those situations these folks may have to keep the "MW band ATT" ON (located in the menus) and or to reduce the RF gain as required.

Broadcast Audio Recovery : "Side By Side" IC-7300 test vs. the WJ-8711A

"Is the Icom IC-7300 the best set around for pulling the audio (spoken words) from a VERY WEAK "broadcast" signal down in the mud using manual ECSS (zero beat SSB on a AM Signal) ?" Does it beat out the old "top dog" Watkins Johnson WJ-8711A "professional receiver" in this area ??

Was a pleasant surprise that the Icom IC-7300's manual ECSS performance is downright excellent in our testing. It's a extremely close horse race, however by a "very close" nose the WJ-8711A just wins in our side by side comparisons (Note : Our test WJ-8711A sample did have the internal "Preselector" option and was in use). You can have a listen to the audio file below and draw your own conclusions. The IC-7300 (and IC-R8600 receiver - our review here) is as close as we have ever come to matching the WJ-8711A for DX audio recovery with broadcasting stations (when properly adjusted). We experienced none of the ECSS bugs that plagued OUR Icom IC-7600 test sample (see that review for those details). One has to keep in mind the possible AGC "swamping" issues with the IC-7300, but that was a very intermittent bug in our testing and again is somewhat curable with adjustments (as with the tested firmware versions....see text below).

N9EWO MP3 Audio File Download :  "WJ-8711A vs. Icom IC-7300" Manual ECSS Mode (size 253k)

Recording Details (of file above) - Settings for Both
Mode Setting : ECSS (manual) USB
Antenna: RF Systems MLB Long Wire - 55 Feet Length
PreAmp Use : ON for WJ8711A / PreAmp 2 ON for the IC-7300
Frequency : 11710 kHz
SW Broadcast Station: North Korea (on a very weak reception day)
AGC : Fast (decay settings on IC-7300 as indicated below)
No PBT or other filters on
Tone : Treble set at +3 on IC-7300
Bandwidth : 2.8 kHz
Preselector WJ-8711A : In Use

AGC / Weird AGC "Swamping"Issue

We have 3 preset AGC settings:  Fast, Medium and Slow. The decay rates are adjustable for each operational mode. Generally all work properly, except once in great while CERTAIN band static and local interference can swamp (clip) the AGC down even with the FAST rate selected. Turning on the "Noise Blanker" function can sometimes help iron out this bug when this happens (or sometimes not). However and most of the time in our case, this is not an issue.

We changed the AGC SSB and AM decay settings from the default as indicated below and this helped to tame it (in the FAST setting), but not completely either. Because this is such a rare issue we find it NOT to be of a drawback of the transceiver. We have no idea what might be going on here ?

N9EWO’s AGC Decay Rate Changed From Default (in KHz)

FAST : 0.1s
MID :  2.0s
SLOW : 6.0s

FAST : 0.3s
MID : 3.0s
SLOW : 7.0s

To change the AGC setting (between Fast, Med and Slow) you have to go into the "Function" Menu’s. No touch screen available adjustment here. Another situation were the IR Remote Control comes in extremely handy. 
Low Distortion “Hiss Free” Audio / Tone Controls / Internal Speaker / Audio Tiring After Awhile for MW and SW-HF Listening

General audio quality is near excellent, especially when manual ECSS is used. Low distortion, punchy and clean with zero audio hiss and no DSP artifacts. Even the virgin AM mode is near excellent. However it was not so great as out of the box (using the defaults). We had to make a few setting changes to in the Tone Control” settings to make it sound proper (less muffled) using with our discontinued Centrios 4012000 Die Cast 2 way speaker.

Please make note that changing these settings also changes the built in SD card audio recorder audio as well (more below on that feature). It’s going to be hard to recommend any settings here, as that will vary greatly with the speaker used (but I list mine below anyway). But we found these settings to help the internal speaker as well (as limited as that one is).  

N9EWO’s Receive “Tone Control” Settings (from Default)

RX Bass : +5
RX Treble : +2

RX Bass : +5
RX Treble : +2

The TINY top firing internal speaker is a bit above average for an INTERNAL one (even has it’s own little cavity in the die cast chassis in fact). But most owners are still going to find any good large external speaker to satisfy better. External speaker jack is located on the rear panel where it should be. Unlike current Alinco HF transceivers where they have placed these on the FRONT panel. A very undesirable spot to locate a external speaker jack.

However after awhile using the IC-7300 the receive audio is so geared for voice response so audio quality suffers for listening to MW and SW broadcast. It’s sounds very flat (IMPORTANT : Based using AM Mode 10 kHz bandwidth filter setting) and very hard on the brain after awhile. No amount of fiddling with it’s tone controls helps to correct it (including using different external speakers).
We would very much like to see Icom adding a user select toggle in the menus (if that is possible) to increase the receive audio's Bass audio response. Again as it stands right now it's too "flat" communications audio quality even with the Bass adjustment turned up full in the menus and lacks greatly (Bass response is still cut way off). Our test of the older IC-7200 model was similar in this regard ! So this trait is not just with the IC-7300. However the Icom IC-R8600 is far more pleasant to listen to MW/SW broadcasts (see our review here).

Oddly in LSB / USB modes the "bass" audio response was noticed to be improved (Firmware 1.41). With AM reception it remains unchanged.

SD Card Slot for “Off Air” Audio Recorder / Jamming In Slot / Line Output  / Speech Synthesizer Notes 

Icom’s super expensive IC-R9500 wide band receiver features a built in audio digital recorder. There are a multitude of quality settings; some are great while others at the bottom are totally useless. In the case of the IC-R9500, it records to the old standard “Compact Flash” card via a trap door located on the REAR of the set. It's NOT easily accessible as you need a screwdriver to get to it and a pair of needle nose pliers to remove it. You can read our IC-R9500 full review here.

Well the IC-7300 also has such a feature too however it was not really meant for recoding broadcast stations (more designed for voice response audio). It records to a FRONT MOUNTED SD card, so much easier access. One can use up to a 32 GB size card. It needs to be formatted (in the transceiver) before use. This also adds a number of required folders on the card.

Of course this was an exciting part of the set to see when we first discovered it. It is still usable for capturing Broadcast audio mind you, but it does degrade it (cuts off the high end a bit). Using our now discontinued Sony PCM-D50 or Tascam DR-40 PCM digital recorders via the rear mounted line output jack blows it out of the water for quality of course.

128 kbps
8000 hz
16 Bit MONO

256 kbps
16000 hz
16 Bit MONO

(^ - info verified via Thomas Witherspoon)

The single "lone" WAV format used here is limited at 8000 hz. So for the not so stellar quality with broadcast stations and using wider bandwidths say at 10 kHz (again it cuts off the high end a bit). It’s a excellent feature to have in any event and could have been much worse as with the old Icom IC-R20 receiver.  Allows for audio capture of something off air that may have not have been without it. We tested up to a near 2 hour continuous file without any problems (but not recommended...I say best to keep a file to 1 hour maximum ??). You can play it back in the receiver along with fast forward / rewind feature. Or remove the card and easily transfer the file to the computer for playback or for conversion / archiving. It marks the recording with an excellent date and time stamp (starting at the second), plus the mode.

We appreciate the use of a better quality type SD card socket, that is it “clicks” into place and when also removed. IMPORTANT NOTE : When removing a SD card and the transceiver is on, one MUST “dismount” the card (located in the menus) just like with a computer.

However one issue we had with the IC-7300 testing (and we are not alone on this), was with a San Disk 32 GB SD card (SDSDUP-032G-T46) as it jammed up in the slot. We could not click it back out. Some may say we inserted it in crooked…no No NO…that is not the case. We were able to get it out safely without any issues. When using other cards (we recommended San Disk and Samsung brands) this issue was not there. Have yet to find out what was going on here (ever so slightly warped card ??)  One also stores the user settings / memory channels and the screen capture pictures on the SD card.

Also available at pin 12 of it's 13 pin DIN rear panel connector is a fixed line audio output. Level is set at default 200mv (50%), and is adjustable between 100 to 300mv's at 4.7K ohms impedance ("ACC/USB AF Output" in Connectors Menu). In our testing we found this needed to be turned up to around 90% to work properly with other external recorders (digital or analog). IMPORTANT NOTE : At 100% we detected excessive distortion more so with SSB signals. Keep in mind this also adjusts the level going to the USB cable, so if ones uses this transceiver with that function it's going to effect that as well. The Bass and Treble controls DO effect the Line Audio output , but even with "Bass" Setting at maximum +5, for our ears it was still "flat" sounding side for fidelity with broadcast stations. But has near ZERO distortion......is extremely CLEAN !!!

Pin 12 can be programmed "receive IF (12 kHz) signal output". Details covered in more detail later on this.

Please note that the included excellent "Voice Synthesizer" (speech) feature does NOT voice stamp any recording (either using the built in audio recorder OR via the Line Output jack) at default. However this is selectable in the menus so it can indeed provide that. So in the menu's find (CONNECTORS) "ACC/USB AF Beep/Speech... Output" (Default is OFF). So once toggled ON the Beep and Speech Synthesizer audio output is then put on any recording (SD card and Line Output at Pin 12). Excellent !! PLEASE NOTE : The Squelch does NOT function at the Line Output or SD Card Recorder.

One other note in regards to the SPEECH Synthesizer : The MODE SPEECH selection in the menu's ONLY turns on or off the "Mode" announcement when switching modes. It will ALWAYS give you the Mode announcement when one manually pushes the SPEECH button (there is no way to defeat that unlike the S-Meter level).

Built In Antenna Tuner – Limited Range (But OK)

The IC-7300 features a nice internal antenna tuner for transmit use. If you need to tweak your properly cut dipole etc. slightly, this should do the trick nicely. Aside from the long discontinued portable QRP  IC-703, this is the first 100-watt HF transceiver that Icom has produced that uses 100% relays with any automatic antenna tuner. So there are no motors or variable capacitors in the IC-7300 being used with it’s internal tuner. Downside is the tuning range is not going to impress anyone who needs more for a lesser antenna.   

OK….I have found a way FOR ME to get around the limited antenna tuner range with the 7300. Our Comet H-422 dipole antenna (is NOT in the V configuration which is NOT recommended, as it stresses the trap rivets) is about 3.1 SWR at 14350 kHz. Highest I can make the internal tuner work is 14300 (which for me is right at 3.0 SWR). So I tune at 14300 kHz (where it tunes fine) and is still more than enough tuned range that the SWR is only 1.3 at 14350 kHz . Radio transmits just fine with still low SWR and full output at 100 watts and the radio is not cutting back RF output.

However that is probably at the limit for operation and your mileage may vary greatly. If you have antenna’s that are anything over 3.0 SWR, then the internal tuner in the IC-7300 is not going to work. If it’s over 3.0 (and I mean 3.0 and not 3.1), it will not even try it and just drop out.

There is Emergency Mode for the tuner that will allow a greater range and deal with higher SWR, however it automatically reduces the RF power output to 50 watts. Unknown how much additional stress this places on the tuner parts either, so probably not advised to use this other than emergencies. Use an external tuner that has more range instead if you need that (or better yet improve the antenna and match).

So Are You Are Having Limited SSB RF Output ?

Here is a very interesting ICOM IC-7300 observation (as posted on eham) by Wayne W1QC. Our experience also is that in SSB modes the RF power is being restricted to about 65 watts (at 100% RF power setting / dummy load / EXTERNAL Peak Reading Watt Meter). This was driving me nuts until Wayne’s very important discovery :
“When I first bought the IC-7300 the SSB output power seemed a little low but after a few adjustments it worked up to par. I found that it put out more power on the watt meter with more low end audio but then then I had audio that wouldn't cut through the noise - no sibilants, etc. So one needs to make trade offs here. I adjusted the radio while listening to my transmission via kiwiSDR receivers in various places around the world to get to sound good.”
We did just that and I could not believe that it made such a huge difference (again at 100% RF power setting setting). Setting the transmit SSB EQ with 0 (zero) on both Bass and Treble (where before it was +1 on Bass and +5 on Treble). Difference was like 60~65 watts up to 80~85 watts on a EXTERNAL Peak reading watt meter / dummy load / compressor on / using a ICOM SM-6 desk mic at approx. 45% mic gain setting. Of course this is going to vary with any given Microphone and EQ settings and as he says it's a balancing act to find YOUR proper settings.
In testing this strange finding, N9EWO’s additional observation here is the TBW setting (transmit bandwidth) also has a HUGE play in this RF output bug. MID and WIDE are fine. However IF I select NAR the SSB RF power drops back down again. Go figure and your experience may very well be different here.

Memory Channels / MPAD

The usual Icom memory channel layout is valid with the IC-7300, that is 99 regular channels and P1 and P2 for the scan edges. One can add a 10 characters alpha tag as well to each entry. Here the touch screen makes for extremely easy entering of the tags. 

MPAD is a very useful feature (as found on other Icom sets over the years). Here the lone button located just to the upper right of the main tuning knob. 5 Memo Pads for quickly saving frequencies and operating modes for easy recall. However you need to drop into the main menu to recall these. You can increase this to 10 entries again selectable in the menu’s (Memopad Numbers).   

Noise Reduction / Noise Blanker / Notch Filter

Works the same in performance to the IC-7600 here on all 3 fronts. To adjust the manual notch (MN) the MULTI knob is used. This takes a bit getting used to. But for most Notch use, the Auto one works just fine (AN) even for broadcast use.

Easy Firmware Updates / Icom....how about a FULL PRINTED manual as a optional accessory ??

Firmware updates are accomplished via the SD Card and could not get any easier. One process does all the updates (Main CPU, Front CPU, DSP Program, DSP Data and the FPGA). This is in sharp contrast to Yaesu’s way of going about Firmware updates (ARF !!).

One of course needs to follow instructions and understand them TOTALLY before it is attempted. When one gets to the final screen: “Do You Wish To Start The Firmware Update”, be sure and tap and HOLD on the YES icon for at least 1 second otherwise it will not start it. This one is very easy to miss in the manual (but it is indicated properly).

Speaking of the owner’s manual, there is only a Basic “printed” one included with the transceiver (printed on a newsprint quality paper). The full 173-page manual is included (PDF format) with the included CD. Not as nice as including a full printed one of course (and one can print that out if desired). A pity that Icom does not offer the full printed manual AT LEAST as an optional accessory (maybe even in a 3 ring binder or holes pre-punched for that use).    

Miscellaneous Feature Notes

Real Time Clock. IC-7300 has an excellent built in clock and is displayed in the upper right hand corner of the LCD. The chassis also contains a soldered in place ML414H micro lithium-ion battery so it backs up the clock settings for a short period (say during power failures). How long this backup battery operates before it dies was not tested (1.0 mah capacity rating). NOTE : If one leaves the transceiver with no DC power connected (even when OFF) , in a couple of days the internal clock will need to be reset.   

Screen Saver. Can be set for OFF, 15, 30 or 60 (default) minutes. We left this set at the default 60 minutes and feel that should be used in normal operations. It totally shuts the backlight off if the time elapses with no control or knob being touched (has no moving display like with the IC-7600). When the screen saver is in operation, the green power LED flashes.

DRM 12 kHz output (not tested). From page 12-1 in the basic manual : "You can change the pin 12 setting in the “ACC / USB Output Select” item on the CONNECTORS set screen. If the pin is set to IF, the transceiver outputs a 12 kHz IF signal from [ACC]. In that case, you can listen to the DRM broadcast with the application software receiver that is installed into your PC.". This of course this would be the free DREAM software. 

Headphone Jack is using the smaller 1/8 inch size. This is a plastic type jack being used here. Some I’m sure will not prefer this size, but being it’s such a small footprint, I don’t find it to be a drawback. The AOR AR7030 and Yaesu VR-5000 receivers both use the smaller 1/8 jack and work fine here. Actually more suited for modern headphones, which always use this size these days anyway. It is a stereo type jack being used as well, so no adapters are required.

Screen Capture Feature. You can capture a LCD snapshot by tapping the POWER button. NOTE : This feature is NOT turned on as default. File is saved to the SD card and as a BMP or PNG type photo (selectable). See actual captured photo below.

USB Port. Just as it is with the IC-7600, there is a real USB port for direct computer connections (audio and control). As usual, it requires installation of a driver before any cables are inserted. IMPORTANT NOTE : One MUST remove all previously installed Silicon Lab's drivers before this is done. Be sure and read and FULLY follow the driver installation instructions before attempting. USB WARNING (as covered on one of the IC-7300 Facebook User Groups) : As indicated from ICOM, DO NOT disconnect and or connect / reconnect the USB cable into the transceiver when it is ON. Otherwise there is a good chance that you will you damage two internal 270 ohm USB resistors (and will require expensive service). Apparently this causes a voltage surge / spike (or something else nasty) ? ONLY  connect the USB cable to the transceiver AND the host computer with the radio OFF !  

Best [affordable] Icom HF Transceiver Ever Tested for SWL use (as this report was typed), But Take Note of It's Flat RX Audio Quality

We have not been able to test the IC-7300 up against the super big modern HF transceivers (Icom IC-7851, Kenwood TS-890 / 990 or any Flex / Elecraft etc.). We have no budget for that and never will.  As a SWL / Broadcast set I would rate the Icom IC-7300 above the tested IC-7600 and older IC-756PROII for overall receiver AND spectrum display performance AND for cool and proper fan operation (and in the final tally this is extremely important to us). For the price point it's overall performance is just stellar in our testing aside from the LCD touch screen madness that I just don't care for. However and this is very important for SWL folks.......one needs to take note of it's FLAT sounding audio when listening to MW or SW broadcast stations in AM mode (for many this will not be an issue).

Dave N9EWO
N9EWO, all rights reserved
ver 10.7


Icom IC-7300's "Screen Capture" showing the maximum size one can view the "Spectrum Scope" using the EXPD (Expanded Screen). This also takes an adjustment in the Spectrum Scope Settings Menu > Waterfall Size "Expand Screen" to Small (default is Mid). Sorry, there is no way to totally turn off the waterfall in the EXPD screen (Firmware 1.41). For more information please see below. (N9EWO Photo)

Simple Feature Comparison List :
ICOM IC-7300 vs. IC-R8600 (as a HF SWL Receiver)
IC-7300 :
- 1 hz steps with tuning knob.
- Less AGC swamping (current firmware)
- Larger tuning knob.
- Tuning Knob has "rotating" finger spinner.
- 2 Preamps ((IC-R8600 has one).
- 2 VFO's (IC-R8600 has one).
- Quick "Memo Pad" function.
- Band stacking memories.

- Lower current consumption.
- Cooler operation.
- Actual front panel noise reduction / noise blanker / notch / preamp buttons.
- Separate PBT / RF Gain / Squelch knobs.
- Less than HALF the cost of a IC-R8600.
- FREE Memory Management Software (non ICOM).

IC-R8600 :
- Wider "Spectrum Scope" span width.
- Better AM Mode audio quality (increased bass response).
- 3 antenna Inputs with front panel selection.
- Timer functions.
- Mechanical S-Meter jack.
- 1000 total memory channels (IC-7300 is 101).
- Smooth or Click step tuning knob.
- Better quality recording (with internal digital recorder).
- Backlight on-off function.
- Network operation / jack.
- Standard phone jack audio "line output".
- IQ output jack.
- FMBC coverage.
- Less bulky DC power cable.

Dave N9EWO
N9EWO, all rights reserved
ver 1.3

I will NOT be held responsible for any info that is listed here

Actual (external) N9EWO Measured IC-7300 RF Power Measurements
Full Power 100% Setting
Compressor: OFF / DUMMY LOAD
Internal Tuner Bypassed  / Power Supply : Yaesu FP-757HD at 13.5V  
Serial Number :  020021xx  POWER IN WATTS
(#1 test sample, #2 was near exact)

        Radio Shack 21-527 Digital Power Meter     
 28300     99.8  100.0   23.3   23.9
 24930   100.0  101.8   23.9   24.3
 21275   103.1  103.7   24.3   24.3
 18110   105.3  105.5   24.5   24.8
 14316   106.0  107.4   25.0   25.0
   7200   107.9  109.3   25.6   25.7
   5346.5   109.2  110.3   25.6   26.0
   3800   110.7  111.2   25.8   26.2
   1900   107.6  109.3   25.2   25.5
  “RF Power” Setting vs. Actual Power Out
Frequency: 7200 KHz  (radio settings as above) POWER IN WATTS
  Radio Shack 21-527 Digital Power Meter
“RF Power” Setting
  on IC-7300 (in %)
             0         0.6        0.7         0.4
             5         3.5        3.6        0.7
           10       10.3      10.3         2.0
           25       22.3      22.5        5.0
           50       53.9      54.1        12.6
           75       78.6      79.4         18.4
         100     107.9    109.3        25.6 
N9EWO's Actual Measured Power Output Tests.  As you can see at Zero "RF Power" setting our test sample still emits around .7 watts (3/4 of a watt)

***** Icom IC-7300 Microsoft Windows Software *****
(subject to change without notice)

ICOM IC-7300 Memory Manager (KB3HHA freeware)

Excellent Windows software for programming the memories on a ICOM IC-7300 or IC-7610 transceiver (as tested)  Please Note : It requires  the host computer to have Microsoft NET Framework 4.7.2. before installation which is KB4087364 (also be sure and do the KB4532932 security update after). Extremely easy to use, however the screen fonts are a bit too small for our liking. Of course be sure and properly install the USB drivers if not already done. This program also can set the transceivers clock if desired. The $ 20. USD paid professional version allows one to adjust menu items and many other added features including printing the list (not tested).

ICOM ST-4003W Time Adjustment Software

ST-4003W Windows software that allows you to set the radio's time from your PC's time by connecting the radio to the PC (not tested).

Compatible radios (as of November 2021, version 1.00)

***** ICOM IC-7300 Links and Resources *****
(all subject to change without notice)

ICOM IC-R8600 / IC-7300 / IC-9700
Bad LCD displays "White Lines(s)" Syndrome.

This was covered on one of the Icom IC-7300 Facebook User Groups and equally important these QRZ forum postings (also see eham reviews). It appears that Icom has received at number of BAD batches of RayStar LCD screens affecting some IC-R8600, IC-7300 and IC-9700 samples. White lines just start to appear (and do not go away). From viewing all of the user report failures this is NOT happening with just one or 2 samples (it’s MANY more than that). It seems it does NOT matter when the radio was manufactured, but seems that more current production tend to have this bug pop up more ?
With some it has been 3 lines that have appeared. I have to wonder IF abusing the LCD (say touching it too hard) or using those stylus pens (or even worse trying to use screen protectors) could be a factor in this LCD failure occurring ? Someone on Radio Reference forums made this comment : "These LCD modules were outsourced (RayStar) from someone who didn't use quality adhesive on the flex cable that connects to the contacts on the LCD substrate and thus, the "lines". One thing for sure, if this is the cause, it WILL get worse over time as that glue breaks down."

Also reported that IF out of warranty ICOM is NOT covering the replacement LCD or labor charges (which is about $ 250.~300. USD including the return shipping fee). This has now become apparent that this is much greater issue happening than first thought. Icom most likely to deny that there is not a problem at all here ? The forums and other internet sources says different. Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware), but there is not been (and never has been) a radio that does not have some QC bug-a-boo's.

This "White Line" LCD issue can appear (see QRZ forum posts here , also eham reviews here) .

Sherwood Engineering IC-7300 Lab Numbers and Report
ICOM IC-7300 Over-voltage Repair
Icom IC-7300 Over Voltage Repair #2
"The SWLing Post" Review on the IC-7300
IC-7300 eham Reviews
eham Reviews - Icom America Repair
eham Reviews - Icom Service Center Michigan
Sherwood Engineering "Receiver Test Data"

N9EWO  ICOM  IC-7300  "SPECTRUM SCOPE" Adjustments
(PDF version "Click Here")
(using Steve Ellington N4LQ data as a base, but is not exact)

Access "Spectrum Scope" Settings Menu :  (press and hold) " EXPD / SET "
(change settings below , all others are left at default)






Max. Hold

10s Hold



Center Type Display

Filter Center

Carrier Point Center

 (ABS Freq)






Waveform Type




Waveform Color (current)


R : 172

G : 191

B : 191

R : 0

G : 0

B : 0


Waveform Color



R : 56

G : 24

B : 0

R : 0

G : 255

B : 0


Waterfall Display




Waterfall Size (Expand Screen)


* Small


Waterfall Peak Color Level

Grid 8

Grid 4


Important Note: Be sure that the “VBW” (page 2/4) is selected on NARROW also located in the “scope set” menu (Default is “Narrow”).
* - This will allow for the largest viewable “Spectrum Scope” (when in “Expand Screen”) 

Icom IC-7610 - Fan Operates in just "Receive Only" Use !

The Icom IC-7610 "Direct Sampling" SDR HF Transceiver's receiver section draws around "3+ amps" of current just as with the elder IC-7600 model did (via information as indicated in the brochure). We of course had a gut feeling that the fan would operate in just RECEIVE use ??

Our concerns were found valid. Rob Sherwood NC0B reports to us that the IC-7610's internal fan does indeed cycle with JUST RECEIVE use !! So it's the same as with the IC-7600 fan operation and noise (our full IC-7600 review can be seen here). I for one will NOT be making a IC-7610 purchase now or in the future (it's off my possible purchase list permanently). But I'm sure for many (most) this trait will not be an issue at all. This is a VERY IMPORTANT factor and a total deal breaker for ME ! As we have already covered in the IC-7300's above, it's fan NEVER operates in just "Receive only" use. NO fan operation is REQUIRED with any "receiver" for our very sensitive ears to this kind of noise !! Dave N9EWO

To Main Page