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Author Topic: Icom IC-7000 First Impressions  (Read 968 times)
K0BG
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« on: December 09, 2005, 10:10:42 AM »

Well, I had it (pun to follow) three days now, and here are my first impressions.

1). It is inexcusable that Icom has no remote cables or mounting kits available. I was told via e-mail that what few they had were already in dealer hands. I place my order nearly a year ago. Shouldn't I have received one? You bet, along with hundreds of others. I called 10 dealers (including the ones Icom said had the kits) and no one had received ANY accessories. One even told me this is and Icom trait.

2). The power cable is different than any other Icom radio currently available. Since there are NO accessories available, one can not purchase an adapter cable for the PS-120. A quick look at page 149/150 will show you that a compatible power supply isn't even offered! Shame on Icom for the second time.

3A). They opted not to provide video receive on channels 2 through 13. I suspect this was to answer the DOT regulation against it (omnibus measure requirement), and thus could not receive FCC approval without disabling it. I'm sure the mod will show up on the net very soon.

3B). What happened to the video in jack? Maybe they ran out of rear apron room. This was (is) one of the best ideas they had. In a mobile scenario, a rear mounted camera would be great stuff for backing up, or even for looking at your antenna when entering low garages.

3C). Instead, Icom has a video out jack. If you've already tried hooking it up to a larger screen, you already know the display looks awful, and I'm being polite. So much for the heads up display that WAS going to be offered too. By the way, even on a 5" screen it looks bad. Sort of reminds me of the original Atari computer and it's block-letter look.

4). Receive audio is no longer available from the mic jack (pin 3). Instead this is a sense pin for the HM151 supplied mic. Supposedly you can use the old 706 mic, but you can't use the new 151 on the 706 without damaging it. This is poor planning on Icom's part. The question is, how do you use a Heil Traveler headset or similar device?

5A). If you own an Icom amplifier, or AT500 tuner, or one of the many after-market devices that use the band select voltage, you have to open up the radio and make the modification yourself! Adding insult, the Accessory socket pictorial shown in the manual is that of the 746/756. The actual one on the radio is different. This faux pas is on page 140 and 141.

5B). For some unknown reason, Icom decided to have a band select "IN". I guess this is for computer control; a really good feature for mobile operation, don't you think?

6A). Icom finally got safety minded and put the fuses on the far end of the power cable. They even upgraded the gage. But at 2.5 meters in length, it is still too short! By the way, the remote kit (when it becomes available) doesn't have a power cord included like the 706 one did.

6B). I don't like to have a bunch of extra cable wrapped up, so I'll have to make up my own cable assembly. Do you think Icom has the plug available? Or even an extra power cord? You've got to be kidding!

7). The menus and the display screen are somewhat better than the 706's, except for the optional colors. Ugh! Programming it isn't any easier unless you opted for the CT-17 and software. Of course, Icom doesn't have any software for it, and those who developed software for the 706 are going to be real delighted; 90% of the commands are different!

Cool. What ever engineering team did the ergonomics, did their job well considering the small size they had to work with.

9). The DSP is as good as any 756, and superior to any 746. The noise blanker is a magnitude better than the 706, but is still to far along in the IF chain. They should have listened to Tom Rauch, W8JI.

10). The record function is good especially for contesters, but it is overly complicated for mobile use. Once programmed, I suspect it may be of some use mobile. The jury is still out on this one.

11). Icom originally was going to offer a simple hand mic, but opted for the (usually) optional HM-151. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but all of those buttons just get in the way when operating mobile. Unless I missed it in the manual, you can't disable them.

12). I'm going to keep it, although if I could get everyone in the US to return theirs until Icom got it right, I would. But I do have a suggestion. Every single purchaser who intends or intended to operate it mobile and needs the remote kit to do so, should e-mail Icom America and raise a stink. Maybe they'll get the point. February indeed!

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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K5LXP
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2005, 11:13:14 AM »

Another nit being picked over on the IC7000 yahoo group is the issue of touchtones.  Apparently you can't send touchtones 'live' from the mic during TX, only from one of four presets.  The only workarounds at this time are using an HM-118T or HM-154T and losing your remote mic functions.  Someone even suggested using two mics, the HM-151 in one jack and a DTMF mic in the other.  I guess no one in Japan uses IRLP or Echolink.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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K0BG
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2005, 12:38:17 PM »

After about three e-mails, I was ask how I liked the radio. Here is the text. Note my response is last.


I appreciate your candor Mr. Applegate.

I will ensure that your comments are viewed by the Division head here at Icom America.

Thank you for taking the time to put this in writing.  We take this very seriously and use always use consumer feedback for future projects.



Mark Jordan, KE7FEP
Sales & Marketing Assistant - Amateur Products
ICOM America, Inc.
2380 116th Ave NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
Tel: 425-586-6307
Fax: 425-450-6065
Email:markjordan@icomamerica.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Alan Applegate [mailto:k0bg@plateautel.net]
Sent: Friday, December 09, 2005 10:23 AM
To: Mark Jordan
Subject: My Displeasure

In a general sense, I am satisfied with the radio. However, I already have two base station Icom radios, and I want (wanted) to operate this mobile. With the vast majority of the purchasers, this is the case. I drive an Acura coupe, and I had problems finding a place to mount just the head of the 706. Where am I going to find room for the whole unit?

Marketing decision or not, whom ever made it, made a faux pas of the first magnitude. This isn't the only "problem with it. The power supply connection is different, and Icom doesn't offer an adaptor cable for a PS-120, or even a matching PS. Receive audio is no longer available at the mic jack negating the use of a headset. I understand the lack of TV receive, but why didn't you make the jack video in?  
The video out looks terrible even on a 5 inch screen.

I could go on, but you're going to hear it all I'm sure. I can live with the misdirections (no one ask me what I thought beforehand), but the lack of a remote mounting kit can not be forgiven. No matter the reason!

Alan Applegate, KØBG
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N5EAT
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2005, 06:37:52 PM »

K0BG - "I'm going to keep it, although if I could get everyone in the US to return theirs ...".

Oh...I see.  Bad mouth a rig, get everyone else to send theirs back, and BINGO!  - K0BG is the only guy
in the country with an IC-7000.  Don't be fooled by
this faux list of complaints.  

This rig may be another radio I'll keep 10+ years.  I
can wait for the remote cable.  Besides - if we're watching tv or other video with this radio, we're obviously not using the radio as a radio.

I've now made about a hundred contacts with this rig, ssb, fm, and cw - this radio is superb. Heck, my 7000 won't cook greaseless hamburgers as will the George Foreman grill either (unless you mount it at an angle).    
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N8EMR
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2005, 05:08:21 AM »

LIke most radio's I ll wait for the 7000MKI to come out with all the bug fixes in it. Bleeding edge can be hard.
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K0BG
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2005, 07:24:57 AM »

Mark, you misunderstood my comment. It would indeed include yours truly. It wouldn't work, of course, but it is the kind of thing that should be done to a lot of companies who value sales more than owner loyalty, satisfaction, etc. All one has to do is look at Ford or GM marketing as examples.

Icom made a marketing decision to release the 7000 just before Christmas for very obvious reasons. This knowing full well they did not have any remote kits to ship with the radios. Although it has a lot of great base station features, its primary use will be mobile.

There isn't any AC power supply available for it, so they didn't think about base station use either. I don't read Japanese, and the Babel Fish translation isn't good, but it appears there is both an AC power supply and an adaptor for the PS-120 available in Japan where the radio has been available for several months.

While the radio exceeds most expectations with respect to operational issues, not having a ready-made power supply and a mobile remote kit available is a slap at loyal users, in my opinion.

If you talk candidly with any of the Icom dealers, they'll tell you this is yet another example Icom SOP. It is the dealers who get the flack and fallout, when it aught to be Icom's Bellevue, staff that gets raked.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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N5EAT
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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2005, 01:23:17 PM »

Alan, I was just teasing, as it were.  If I needed the remote cable, I'd be grumbling as well.  For some reason, I've never used the detachable face on any rig other than in the home.  You would think that the cable would be one of the least of all the challenges of getting a new rig to market.  Apparently not.

The more I use this radio, the more I like it.  When it comes down to it, I'm just jealous of your 13 foot mobile antenna.....
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K0BG
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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2005, 03:21:32 PM »

No offense Mark. To say I'm miffed is an understatement, though. What is even more exasperating is this: There are at least two folks who wrote lengthy praise articles on the IC-7000 that are appearing all over the net. Both of these guys got mobile mounting kits with their radios. One photo attached to one of the articles even shows the retail price supposedly paid. However, he didn't because he's an Icom employee. Does that tell you anything?

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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KG6WLS
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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2005, 05:24:21 PM »

Hmmm, taxes or IC7000?

I think I'll wait to see how much money Uncle Sam will kick down my way in April. By that time the remote kit should be available. Hi! And...I'll have my privilages upgraded Smiley

So far from what I've seen, most people are pretty happy with this lil' rig. Either that or they are just tickled to death that they're the first kid on the block to own one.

After looking at Fred Lloyd's (AA7BQ) exstensive read on QRZ.com, the LCD color monitor doesn't look that bad. Doesn't look that good either. Maybe using a smaller monitor might help? SSB pass band filters with 3.6 khz, 2.4 khz, and 1.8 khz ranks up there with a handsome base rig. RTTY with decoder and waterfall? Nice feature but, who will be driving the car/truck?. Keep your eyes on the road. It's only a 2 point 5 inch display (notice that I said point and not dot).

I don't think every wiz-bang feature will be used in the mobile but, it's still a neat package.

I'll just cool my heels for now.

Happy owner of two 706 MKIIG's

73
Mike
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N5EAT
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2005, 07:21:23 PM »

Alan:  I read that particular review, noticed he was an Icom employee, and saw the packaged cable.  I wonder how hard it could be to contract that job with specifications to some experienced cable manufacturer.

Based upon my conversation with an employee of one of the large national amateur equipment dealers, I get the impression that the number of radios available was quite limited.  I'm guessing that Icom are trying to sell as many rigs as they have available prior to Christmas.  Did the Japanese get separation cables?
In other words, they weren't really ready to release the product with accessories.  
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K0BG
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« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2005, 05:57:44 AM »

Mark, I sent an e-mail to Icom Japan asking for two or three of the Japanese distributors. I got just one, apparently their own. I tried calling, but got voice mail, and I don't speak Japanese. So, I sent an e-mail and I haven't heard back.

I did read a reflector post from a Japanese amateur saying none were available there, yet three posts later a different Japanese amateur said they were. Must be some deep dark secrete.

Yesterday on 17 meters, I heard one AA7 (don't remember his call) who had his remoted. So some units were delivered. To whom is the question? And from whom?

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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K2FIX
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2005, 06:53:33 AM »

I'm really surprised at the flaming of Icom going on here.

In today's day and age, you must expect that the first production run of ANY major product is going to be buggy, and YOU are doing the R&D.  It should not be that way, but it is.  I don't care if it is a ham radio, a Mercedes Benz, or HDTV.  Today's consumer electronics are so complex that bugs are a fact of life.

I have a 706 Mk 2 G.  It has served me well for VHF/UHF and for extensive shortwave listening, along with 11 m highway reports.  If you look at the old postings for the first runs of the 706, they look and sound the same.  In time, the 7000 will be "fixed", and the second version will be rock solid.  With the 706, frequency coverage and power increased.

Half of this hobby throws money at the "latest and greatest" while the other half saves diligently to buy a 2 meter HT.  If you are the early adopter, you must expect some problems, even if you spent 1700 on a radio.  Every radio released has some bug.
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N5EAT
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2005, 06:02:23 PM »

Let me anti-flame for just a moment.  To be honest, this little radio is the finest rig of it's size I've ever used.  The receiver is superb, the transmitter apparently sounds good on the other end, the DSP is excellent, the manual notch filters work really well...  -  The cw keyer and cw and voice memories work as advertised....  I'm absolutely glowing about the rig.   I think that the real mobile
ops wanting to mount their rigs in a permanent fashion are irritated because they can't.  Some people
won't just "stick" a radio in a car like I might.  It's frustrating for these ops to be stiffled by a few cheap, missing cables which should and could have been readily available.  I have several small rigs which I swap in and out of my car based upon mere whim, and I enjoy using all my equipment.  I would not have this option if I did a mobile install correctly.  

Nevertheless, I love my 7000.  I think you're hearing the frustration of some people who were eager to put this radio in their automobiles in a proper fashion, and at the current time, can't.  
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K7VO
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« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2005, 08:52:19 AM »

I agree with those who say early production runs are best avoided.  I have an Icom IC-703 now and I really like it.  Do you remember all the grief with the early production runs?  I was a very early adopter of the original IC-706 and the very early radios were truly awful.  Icom did get it right eventually and has improved the rig with each iteration.   The newer IC-703 with its redesigned receiver is way better than any model of IC-706, including the MkIIG, but I am sure glad I didn't get one of the first 703s.  Icom has had similar history with the IC-746Pro.

FWIW, I was a very early adopter of the Yaesu FT-817 as well and mine was flawless.  OTOH, way too many early adopters of that rig ended up with blown finals.

I am sure the IC-7000 will be a fine rig.  I'm just not willing to be a guinea pig anymore.  I also suspect, Alan, that you'll be happier once you get that remote kit.

73,
Caity
K7VO
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K6LCS
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« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2005, 02:25:18 PM »

>>...Icom made a marketing decision to release the 7000 just before Christmas for very obvious reasons...

And if Icom waited until February to ship the radios - to coincide with the availability of remote cable kits - I am sure you would praise them for doing so.

Yeah, right.

>>...There isn't any AC power supply available for it...

Sorry to burst this bubble of yours, but I am running one on a 12VDC power supply right now. This comment, too, makes absolutely no sense.

Clint (early adopter) Bradford, K6LCS
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Clint Bradford, K6LCS
http://www.k6lcs.com
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