Shack in boxes

Shack in boxesThere is currently not much happening in the radio area, all the radio stuff is packed in boxes these days (shack in boxes). The reason for this is a renovation in our attic. This spring an extra dormer will be placed and the attic will be split up in two separate rooms. Those will be the new rooms of the two boys. The internal move will free up a room which is now the old baby room. This will be my new ‘man-cave’ Continue reading “Shack in boxes”

ICOM IC-7300: new rig from ICOM

ICOM IC-7300I follow the news about Icom’s new rig: the IC-7300 closely. Actually I’m more a Kenwood lover but there is something with the IC-7300 that I love. It’s predecessor (IC-7200) also is a interesting radio, especially for portable use (holidays etc.). My friend PH4M bought an IC-7200 a few years ago and loves it. I got the change to play with it from time to time and I start to grow a little love for Icom. But I didn’t see much use for an IC-7200 in my current shack.
Back to the IC-7300. In a certain way it’s a revolutionary radio, it’s the first of the big three (Icom, Kenwood & Yaesu) which comes with a complete digital sampled RF-path (aka SDR). Sure, it’s not the first amateur SDR-rig. We know FlexRadio has SDR’s for years now and even Elecraft has it’s KX3. But Icom is the first of the big three to come out with a fully SDR-capable rig.

I kinda like the idea of SDR. It makes the device very flexible because future updates can be feed in as software and you don’t need to do much upgrades of the hardware. And if the software (and processor) is fast enough, it will beat good old hardware in performance. Downside of most SDR’s in my opinion is the “new” look & feel of the rig itself. I don’t want a button-less box on my desk and do all the operating from my PC. I don’t like the thin display from Elecraft either. I still want my SDR-rig to be a good old box with button’s on it, but a little smaller then regular rigs. It’s cool to be able to operate the rig via PC if I want to, but not necessarily.
ICOM seems to understands this completely and build the IC-7300! I’m very curious how the rig will operate. From the various reports I found on You-tube, I got a first impression. At a price of around a 1000 euro’s it is a very interesting rig to expand my shack with. I don’t want to get rid of my beloved Kenwood TS-590 for it, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a IC-7300 next to it… According to some sources, the IC-7300 will be available in The Netherlands in January 2016 (it’s already available in Japan).
So I created a money-box to put in savings. I already have saved 100 euro’s. I figured it will take me a year to get the money for this rig. In the meantime I will follow the news closely and if someone buys a IC-7300 I hope I will be able to spend some time operate one.

Ham Radio NOW | K5ND

I read K5ND, Jim’s blog for a while now. Jim (K5ND, not me) is an excellent writer and knows how to give Ham radio good PR! Sometimes I comment on his posts and he always replies very friendly. So funny to watch Jim in a video report of Hamvention in Dayton together with N9JA, Ray from Icom. Suddenly you see and hear a voice (I’ve listened to Jim’s podcasts), a face (pictures on his blog) and facial expression come together into one person.

Please watch the video interview (from 17:01 Jim is on) for a view minutes and hear what great things Boy Scouts of America and Icom are doing for Ham radio!

Icom IC-756PRO-3, Signalink & Ham Radio Deluxe

SignaLinkUSBLast weekend I offered a friend of mine, Fred PA3YH, some help with his shack setup. He owns a Icom IC-756PRO-3 radio. Since a few months he bought a Signalink USB and works all different digital modes with it. Actually this combination works really well! He is doing great in QSO’s! The only thing missing was a good logbook. He did connect the rig via the Signalink to his laptop, but didn’t yet use rig control (Cat-V).

So these two things I want to help him with. First, rig control. Fred did already bought a cable for rig control. It is a USB – ACC-connector cable. After installing the driver for the cable, the laptop did see an extra com-port. Now download and fire up the latest copy of Ham Radio Deluxe. No problems so far. Imported his logbook from LogPA (his current log program). Also no problems. What surprised me was the super duper integration of HRD with the radio. I myself do not yet have a Signalink, but men what cool features do you have then! You are able to record sound of the rig, almost all options are controllable from the program.
Also figure out for him how to let Windows use the internal sound card and let the HAM-programs use the Signalink. I wasn’t able to fully test his new setup because he pushed me out of the way, that enthusiastic he was! 😉
The cool thing about this new setup for Fred is that he makes enough time to investigate all the options and tricks. Hopefully I can benefit too from his investigation 😉

Fix repeater bug in Icom 910H

Icom IC-910HSome while ago I bought a beautiful second hand Icom 910H. Very nice radio to work with! Only one little problem: to work some repeaters over here in The Netherlands, you have to send a CTCSS-tone. Of course this rig is capable of sending a CTCSS-tone. But….. The original configuration for Europe is sending only one 1750 Hz tone when enable the tone-squelch.
But that is a bit of a problem since non of the repeaters send a tone back. So I was able to open some of the local repeaters, but unable to listen to them.
After posting my problem on a Dutch forum K6APR rushed in to help me out.
He posted a Icom 910h Repeater mod to enable the American/Korean repeater settings of my Icom. I did used the mod and it works! There are more options to work the repeaters and now I’m able to work all the local ones.
One little thingy to remember: when you’ve made the change, when you first put on the radio, all your memories will be reset. So please write down anything important!

New radio in the shack: Icom 910H

Icom IC-910HI was looking for a new radio for a while. For 2m and 70cm I used my good old Yeasu FT-817. Actually my first radio. A perfect radio for mobile and backpack use, but not for the QTH.

For in the shack I wanted something a little bigger, multiband capabilities and the most important: more output power. Since I only use Yeasu and Kenwood I was curious for Icom. When I went searching for a good 2m/70cm transceiver from Icom I quickly stumbled on the 910H. Very interesting radio, good performance. And also capable of heavy duty ssb traffic. Something I don’t do often right now because I don’t have the right equipment.

So a second hand Icom 910H it wil be. Last week I found one on the internet. I went over for a good look and liked what I saw. So I bought the rig and now it’s humming in my shack! Welcome 910 🙂