We have all heard the stories of King Midas and the “Midas Touch” since we were young. While we would all love the ability to touch something and turn it into gold, we feel we’ve done just that with the introduction of the IC-7300!
While it may not be financial riches, the IC-7300 allows you to actually “touch” spectrum. As wild as that may sound, the touch screen gives you control of the 7300 much faster than a click of your mouse.
Had King Midas been a ham operating the IC-7300, we would hear tales in the ham world of the “QSO” touch — that every signal he touched, turned into a QSO!
So What Does the Touch Screen Allow You do Do?
Here’s the high-level list:
- Real-Time Spectrum Scope
- High-Resolution Waterfall Function
- Radio Navigation
- Filter adjustments
- Software Keypad and Menu Selection
So let’s work our way down that list, but first let’s address the screen itself.
Color TFT LCD Touch Screen
TFT LCD stands for thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal display. This type of display provides the resolution and images you use to navigate the IC-7300. While the body of the radio is rather compact, display is a large 4.3 inches, providing plenty of room for all the images required for the rest of functions.
Real-Time Spectrum Scope
There are two ways to look at spectrum with the IC-7300. The first is a simple Panoramic Adapter or panadapter style spectrum scope, that gives you a signal awareness view. This display is available in a centered or fixed mode.
The “Center” mode, is centered on the frequency displayed on the the VFO Frequency. In the “Center” mode, you can select between 5kHz – 1000kHz in 5 preset span configurations, which is great for watching the spectrum around your operating frequency.
The “Fix” mode is more flexible as you can set the range you want to see, then use the RX/TX Markers and tune to various signals shown on the display. This will be helpful during events like Field Day, where you tune around a band to make as many QSOs as possible with Search and Pounce.
While we have seen this on other radios, even on computer screens, this is where the “QSO” Touch comes into play. All you have to do is touch the portion of the spectrum you want to hear on your receiver!
If you do not have the correct range to fine tune or select a specific signal within a bunch of other signals, no problem! Just touch the screen and the scope automatically zooms in on the section of spectrum you touch. To see how easy this function works, check out this video:
High-Resolution Waterfall Function
In addition to the panadapter style band scope, the IC-7300 has a Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) waterfall mode, which displays both spectrum scope types. This takes the spectrum scope to another level. It shows the signal on a waterfall below the spectrum display and does so over time.
For example, in the image below you can see the small spikes of signal on the spectrum scope and directly below see the blue lines that actually show the CW signal being keyed on and off. Additionally, the color intensity indicates the strength of the signal. So weak signals may show on the waterfall where they may be too weak or too fast to trigger a spike on the panadapter.
As you can see, the front panel of the IC-7300 is missing a lot of buttons that are traditionally on the front of a radio for quick access. That is where a touch screen has an advantage, you select the “Virtual” buttons for the feature or adjustment you want.
Just as buttons on many radios, the virtual button has more than one function. A momentary touch toggles the function on/off, while a brief “touch and hold” will go deeper into the function settings for additional control as needed.
The IC-7300 continues the IF-DSP filtering loved by many Icom users. Across the top of the screen you can see the virtual button labeled as FIL. As with the function screen, just touching the FIL button will toggle through FIL1, FIL2, Fil3. If you touch for more than 1 second, you will open up a filter setting screen.
Audio Scope Function
So with that large 4.3 inch Color TFT LCD display you can see a frequency spectrum display as well as a waterfall display. But there’s more. We’ve included an audio scope function that provides an oscilloscope display of either the received signal or your own transmitted signal. This adds tremendous insight into what you’re hearing and what you’re transmitting.
This allows you to actually see the effects of adjusting your receiver’s filter width along with the notch filter frequency and width. On transmit you can see the impact of your microphone compressor level as well as the keying waveform in CW mode. This can help you set up the IC-7300 correctly to avoid audio distortion and splatter as well as key clicks.
Software Keypad and Menu Selection
You’ve seen that the touch screen can help you zero in on a signal on the spectrum scope. It can also open up all the menu functions as well as direct frequency selection and so much more.
Here’s a top-level view of the menu – simple and straightforward to get to where you need to go.
Directly entering your frequency is a breeze with the buttons shown below. Note, too, the “split” mode button when you’re chasing that DX station’s pileup. And the “memory” button allows you to update the 100+ memories.
We really like the multi-function meter screen, shown below. Switch over to this screen to get an at-a-glance overview of what’s happening with all the important aspects of your transceiver.
We’ve also provided a multi-dial knob that ingeniously integrates the best of both worlds – a hands-on knob along with touch screen flexibility. This video shows just how incredible this combination is in action.
You’ve Got to See the IC-7300
Have you ever spent time in front of your radio with headphones on listening with all your might, with eyes closed, trying to dig out that weak signal? This rig is meant to open your eyes to all that’s going on across the entire band and allow you to zero in on the one signal of interest. Once it’s in your shack, you’ll actually wonder how you got along without a spectrum scope.
Add the Midas Touch to Your Ham Shack
As you can tell, the IC-7300 is a revolution in entry-level amateur radio transceivers. Check it out at your local dealer and take one home with you. It will expand your amateur radio vision and bring the Midas “QSO” Touch into your ham shack.