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Nuances Between IC-7300, FT DX1200 and FT-991A

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KG5NNA, Sep 14, 2016.

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  1. KG5NNA

    KG5NNA Ham Member QRZ Page


    I've been oh so patient for personal things since passing my exams in April, and am now ready to purchase my first Ham Rig. Have no idea about antenna solution yet, but leaning toward a Husterl 4BTV vertical. I don't want to climb anywhere and I think I can just stick this on a pole in a tilt based swivel.

    I have my rig choices narrowed down to:
    Yaesu FT DX-1200
    Yaesu FT-991A
    ICom IC-7300

    These vary in price from around 1000 on the low end to around 1400 on the high end. In my budget.

    Those of you that have experience with these, I would welcome input. Generally, I have been pushed either toward the FT DX-1200 (established, exemplary performance and a favorite, but older-technology), and the IC-7300 (Newer technology, great performance, limited inputs). Wide range of view on the 991A.

    Assuming that I'm beginning, and will probably also purchase a VHF/UHF rig shortly after (Prob Yaesu FT-7900R) what might you suggest of the three units? Is the extra $400 for the iC-7300 going to be worth it in the long run? (for instance)

    Thank you for your input!
  2. N7WR

    N7WR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have no experience with the 7300 as I am not now, nor have I ever been, an ICOM fan. I have, however, used both the DX 1200 and 991A enough to have formed an impression of them. I did not like the DX1200 as I operate primarily SSB and never got a decent audio report in spite of tweaking the settings to the point of frustration. It was not because of an inferior microphone since I used the same Heil mic that has served me well with many rigs over a period of many years.
    I liked the 991 for a variety of reasons. Frankly I think the receiver is superior to that of the DX 1200 which is surprising since "shack in the box" (hf/vhf/uhf) radios usually compromise hf receive. The touch screen is easy to navigate. If it were me, admittedly with no hands on with the 7300, I would pick the 991
  3. N0SYA

    N0SYA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't have experience with the 7300 but do with many other Icoms and kinda am a fanatic for Mr Inoue's products. That bias having been mentioned, the 7300 has a much better receiver than its price class usualy supports, per sherweng data.

    I know I want one.
    KC1HYH likes this.
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm not a "fan" of any brand of equipment and think they've all produced winners and losers over the years.

    I don't own a 7300, either; but Rob Sherwood's evaluation is very impressive and the ARRL Lab's evaluation bolsters that because they test transmitter performance and ergonomics as well as receivers. The IC-7300 has the best transmitter IMD performance I've ever read, of any rig using 13.8Vdc final amplifier transistors. The only modern rigs (all solid-state designs, not tubes) matching or bettering it for TX IMD -- which is a pretty big deal -- have been ones using high voltage FETs in the PAs; although the Anan SDRs with their "pre-distortion" algorithm are a great step in the right direction and I suspect most rigs will implement something like this before too long.
    W0MAS and WA8FOZ like this.
  5. KZ8O

    KZ8O Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If inappropriate to mention, please let me know. On another well known ham forum, I've been following discussion of the 7300 in the SDR section. If you're unable to get in front of a 7300 to try out for yourself. That discussion may be helpful as many of the comments are from people using the radio.
  6. K2XT

    K2XT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Steve is right, but someone may get the wrong impression from the way he worded it. The "adaptive pre distortion" is much, much more than a step in the right direction, it blows away everything else. I can spot someone using it on my sdr. For all practical purposes there is almost no energy (3rd and 5th order IMD) outside the passband of the transmitter - virtual brick wall. 20-30 db better than anything else. It is a HUGE step up from conventional transmitters.
  7. K6BRN

    K6BRN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Korky:

    You're asking some good questions.

    I have and use the Yaesu FTDX-3000, FT-DX-1200 and FT-991 and play with a buddie's Icom 7300. The FT-991 "A" version will be available in October, BTW and has not been delivered yet, to my knowledge.

    Briefly, I like the FTDX-3000, FT-991 and Icom 7300 much better than the FTDX-1200, which I have just boxed up for sale (fully optioned out).

    Why? 1. FTDX-1200 options are expensive and pump up the cost very quickly, to nearly FTDX-3000 levels - for example it requres an external USB/sound card box for digital modes, at considerable extra cost, 2. The FT-991 is fully loaded out of the box and performs as well or better (particularly NR) than the FTDX-1200, AND it includes all-mode VHF and UHF, AND it includes a built-in USB interface and sound card, 3. The FTDX-3000 has IF and RX only outputs which work very well with external USB SDR dongles like the SDRplay for use as a second (search) receiver and as a high resolution panadaper. This radio also includes a built-in USB interface and sound card

    Despite some early bad press, I've found the FT-991 to work really well and have taken it on several trips as well as used it at home. Good antennas or poor, it never missed a beat on HF, VHF or UHF and on voice or digital and high duty cycle modes. The receiver is excellent - sensitive, low noise and with top-notch noise reduction. Note that the FT-991 non-A versions are still on sale and can be had for about $1k, whereas the very mildly refreshed FT-991A, due to arrive in October, is much more but adds a real-time color spectrum scope that updates while still being able to hear the signal. The current FT-991 spectrum scope mutes RX audio when active. Yaesu says they will offer an upgrade option for the non "A" owners at some not yet disclosed price. The FT-991 would be my choice. The only option I'd add is either a desk mic or the DTMF mic.

    Regarding the Icom 7300... another very good choice. A best buddy has one that we play with. More expensive than the FT-991 (non-A) and without VHF/UHF capability, but compact, easy to use (much better menu system) and just a fun rig. Not a lot of expensive options needed, either. But then, the FT-991 is fun, too.

    Have fun!

    Brian - K6BRN
    K4HCQ, KG5NNA and K1SZO like this.
  8. KG5NNA

    KG5NNA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Brian - Much obliged on that! I think you made my mind up. My buddy here in town has a 991 and loves it, and his goals are DX and participating in RACES, which are same as mine. I'm also interested in PSK31 and others, too. I was wondering about forking out the extra $500 for the 991A but you've convinced me that I probably don't need to. Now I just need to figure out how to get a 40m antenna up on my rather small property!

    Korky (KG5NNA)
  9. K6BRN

    K6BRN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Korky:

    For the 40M antenna, you might try an inverted V configuration with the MyAntenna EFHW-4010 end-fed wire dipole. Its about 63 feet long, but it can be shaped to suit. I've used it while traveling (with the FT-991) and have been very happy with it on 10-40 M, curved into all sorts of shapes. Just bought its big brother, the EFHW-8010 in order to make an inverted-V out of it that will fit on my limited lot in SoCal.

    One other possibility is a compact rotatable dipole like the Comet H422, in the V configuration (reduces radius). I helped N6YFM put one up and its working very well for him and can be turned by a small rotator.

    Best Regards,

    Brian - K6BRN
  10. WA7DU

    WA7DU Ham Member QRZ Page

    A radio station with an excellent radio and an average antenna is a mediocre radio station. A radio station with an average radio and a good antenna is a fine radio station.

    In allocating your resources (time and money), the highest priority is the antenna or antennas. Make sure you have the antenna "equation" solved. It needs to be first class. If it eats into the dollars that you thought should go towards the radio, that's OK. In fact, its better than OK.

    Then, and only then, work on the radio "equation." If a conflict arises, make the antenna the winner. If you are wracked with indecision...make it easy...don't fret...antenna.

    Since this is new to you, try to avoid unbalanced antennas. Let the other guys mess around with end-fed all-band miracle antennas and vertical all-band wonder antennas needing no radials. Smile upon dipoles and and other balanced designs, and the world will smile upon you.
    VU2NSB, KN4LVS, W2ZR and 6 others like this.

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