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Author Topic: First HF rig Icom 7100 vs 7200  (Read 1649 times)
KM4KJH
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« on: July 19, 2015, 12:34:18 PM »

Hello all,

I recently got my general license and I'm planning my first HF rig purchase. I'm currently undecided between the Icom 7100 and 7200 but pretty sure it will be one of those two. (I had also considered the Yaesu 450D.) I am interested in SSB and digital modes and maybe CW if I get around to learning code. Smiley Currently all I have is a little Baofeng UV-82 HT. I do not plan on operating mobile, but you never know.

In terms of HF features they seem very similar so what I'm trying to figure out is the real world performance difference on HF.  I imagine the 7100 must have some compromises to fit HF + VHF/UHF into a smaller enclosure than the 7200.  I read the QST reviews on each and I see the 7200 has better numbers in some regards like 3rd order intercept but I don't have a good understanding of the practical implications of these specs.

The 7200 is certainly closer to what I want to spend as I have a limited budget.  The 7100 is currently $300 more, but it has VHF/UHF/D-star capability which would cost more than $300 to add separately.  I use VHF for local club nets so this would be a nice upgrade over the Baofeng for those. On the other hand, if I get the 7200 it would not be a big deal to add a separate VHF/UHF radio later, and having them separate would allow simultaneous use (although I doubt I'll have a chance for that).

The 7100 has a nicer screen which can display more info, such as the spectrum and SWR plots, or simultaneous power + SWR + ALC meters, etc. which the 7200 display does not have.  On the other hand, the 7200 has more physical controls so it needs less menu use.

One final consideration is that the 7200 is currently out of stock everywhere (some sites say don't expect stock until August at least), while the 7100 can be easily found.

What might turn the tables in favor of the 7200 is if its HF performance is noticeably better than the 7100, so that's what I'm trying to find out, or if there is some other radio in the $700 (HF only) to $1100 (HF + VHF/UHF) range that I should consider instead.  Any info would be appreciated!
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KE2TR
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2015, 01:06:15 PM »

Yes if you do not mind buying used the Kenwood TS590S RX would be a big jump in the TX and TX performance over the Icom 7200 and if you want to just keep it Icom a used IC7410 would be close to the 590 as well. I have seen adds for both the 590 and 7410 between $950-$1100 used from private sellers and there performance is not far off against the top tier radio's that sell for much more dollars. The 7200 would be the better of the two you mentioned but its more of a portable radio, the 7100 is 10 pounds of you know what in a five pound bag which covers many bands but its performance is kinda thin. the radio's that cover HF+6 are your best bet IMO and the only radio I have had which also covers 2 meters was the IC-746Pro but both the 590,7410's RX section bests it in there ability to copy weak station near very strong ones on SSB and CW which is a problem you may encounter when a band your on gest busy.
Jim
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W8JX
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2015, 06:39:25 PM »

For price of a used no warranty 590 you can buy one of several rigs new with warranty. I would focus less on having HF/VHF/UHF/DSTAR in one box. Shack in a boxes do not make best HF rigs for money and it is silly to tie up a HF rig with VHF/UHF duties that can easily be handled by a dual band mobile rig. I would suggest a 480HX which is 200 watts and a lot of bang for buck and can be had for about a grand new.
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You can embrace new technology and change with it or cling tightly to old technology and fall further behind everyday....
PA1ZP
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2015, 09:39:48 AM »

Hi

And I can tell you that a TS590S has its own problems.

If you would like a build in tuner and only 100 watts maybe a TS480SAT.
Do not forget the CW filter for the TS480SAT or HX if you want to learn CW in the future.

And about VHF/UHF in a HF rig a do agree, better to keep such things like VHF/UHF and HF seperated.
I do have a FT857D almost never use VHF or UHF of the FT857D, even never used SSB on UHF.

About D-star or all other digital modes, do not use any so nothing to say about that.

I am looking for another rig myself, as i do not like my TS590S at all.
For me it has a good SSB RX and bad SSB TX., and a very good CW TX and a bad sounding CW RX, all in all it is nothing to be happy with.
In SSB a bad TX in CW bad audio on the RX.

But i was not able to find a suited replacement for this rig, in about the same price range.
For CW I still have my FT857D, and for SSB I still have my 572B tubes to solve the SSB TX problem.
Untill one of the rigs dies I will have to do with this solution.

I think that both the IC7100 or IC7200 ar not bad choises at all, both are reasonable good starter rigs.
Though i would go for the FT-DX1200 instead of the IC7100 as i do not need D-star or VHF or UHF at all
I do not need the colour screen of the FtDx1200 either.

73 Jos
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K2TPZ
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2015, 05:12:45 PM »

I had both the IC7200 and TS590s. While the 7200 is a decent rig it is outclassed by the 590. They are two very different radios. At the used price the 590 is going for ($900-1050) to me it would be my rig of choice.

It is a very easy to use capable rig that will be useable for many years without needing to upgrade to something more capable. The fact is there is nothing more capable at its current price. The IC 7410 is close but not quite there.

If you belong to a local radio club see if one of the members has either of these rigs for you to play with. Sometimes the only way to know for sure is to try them out your self. Good luck in your decision.

73,

Mike
k2TPZ
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W8JX
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2015, 07:13:41 AM »


It is a very easy to use capable rig that will be useable for many years without needing to upgrade to something more capable. The fact is there is nothing more capable at its current price. The IC 7410 is close but not quite there.


I have used a 7410 and it is close enough. If you are leaning Icom and want a better receiver, it is very near 590 performance in Icom brand.
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You can embrace new technology and change with it or cling tightly to old technology and fall further behind everyday....
AE4RV
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2015, 01:09:05 PM »

I like my 7410, the receiver and DSP are excellent. But what we need, is someone who has evaluated the 7100. It might be fantastic, it's pretty new for one thing.
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W8JX
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2015, 02:19:31 PM »

I like my 7410, the receiver and DSP are excellent. But what we need, is someone who has evaluated the 7100. It might be fantastic, it's pretty new for one thing.

Never seen a "shack in the box" that was fantastic on HF. They are all compromise rigs to include UHF. I would never want to tie up a HF rig with VHF/UHF duties that a dual band mobile can do and also have cross band repeat too.
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You can embrace new technology and change with it or cling tightly to old technology and fall further behind everyday....
K6JH
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2015, 05:17:01 PM »

I like my 7410, the receiver and DSP are excellent. But what we need, is someone who has evaluated the 7100. It might be fantastic, it's pretty new for one thing.

Never seen a "shack in the box" that was fantastic on HF. They are all compromise rigs to include UHF. I would never want to tie up a HF rig with VHF/UHF duties that a dual band mobile can do and also have cross band repeat too.

I agree that it's pretty pointless for monitoring the local repeater. A mobile rig on the bench makes a lot more sense, so you can monitor at the same time you're actively using HF.

If you are into VHF/UHF sideband, a "shack in the box" is about the only way to go these days unless you use expensive transverters in front of your HF rig. But I have to admit that right now I have a desire for a TS-590SG instead of my FT-847 on HF.

I have no experience with the 7100 or 7200, although the 7100 control head just doesn't do it for me.
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N1EN
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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2015, 07:19:55 PM »

I have a 7100, and I've used a 590.

The 7100 is my portable "utility" radio.  In uncongested conditions, it's fine for phone and (once you get used to its quirks) works digital well.  Its small size and detached head gives you quite a bit of flexibility for mobile/portable situations.

Under congested band conditions (i.e., a contest) or when chasing weak signals.... the 590 wins, hands down.

If I were focused on HF, and expected to work primarily from my shack, I'd choose the 590 (and add a separate VHF rig).

For portable operation...the 7100 is a good compromise in many circumstances.

I haven't used a 7200, but my impression is that it's a physically more robust radio and there are some forms of digital work where it might be more capable (e.g. ALE), but those advantages are offset by the newer/more advanced DSP in the 7100.  I have no regrets picking a 7100 over a 7200, but your mileage may vary.
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W8JX
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2015, 05:14:52 AM »

I have a 480 with optional 1.8khz SSB and 500hz CW filter installed and on crowded bands it holds its own and can easily keep up with a 590 on crowded SSB bands. When kenwood launched 480 they designed a new generation of filters for it that have much sharper skirts than ones they used for many years in several rigs. The shape factor of both is better than 2 to 1. It is hard to beat a good tight rock filter and because of this the 590 and other rigs still use them and call them roofing filters.
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You can embrace new technology and change with it or cling tightly to old technology and fall further behind everyday....
K0ZN
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« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2015, 06:20:35 PM »

I have a 7200 for a back up rig. For the price, it is very good radio. The receiver is a gem in that price class. Sensitivity and filtering is fine for any kind of normal operating. I operate a lot of CW and have absolutely no complaints with the filter selectivity, passband tuning or DSP.
It is not a "contest" radio, but it is also not $4,000. For what it is, I would rate it highly. It is not perfect, but I feel an excellent value. I definitely would buy it again.

Read the product reviews here on eHam.

The foregoing is just my opinion.....  "Your results may vary...." 

73,  K0ZN
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KF7DS
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« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2015, 09:05:29 AM »

I have a 7200 for a back up rig. For the price, it is very good radio. The receiver is a gem in that price class. Sensitivity and filtering is fine for any kind of normal operating. I operate a lot of CW and have absolutely no complaints with the filter selectivity, passband tuning or DSP.
It is not a "contest" radio, but it is also not $4,000. For what it is, I would rate it highly. It is not perfect, but I feel an excellent value. I definitely would buy it again.

Read the product reviews here on eHam.

The foregoing is just my opinion.....  "Your results may vary...." 

73,  K0ZN

Agree with ZN. I have a 7200 as a backup to my flex 6300. The 7200 is exactly as ZN portrayed

I am a CW op and at first was going to purchase a 590sg for a backup, but after playing with one for over an hour at HRO I decided against it. The CW audio from the 590 is harsh and fatiguing, and NR is mediocre-the NR sounds like one is under water gurgling. I tried all sorts of options on the 590sg's equalizer, and could make it sound somewhat better but not as good as the 7200

Don't get me wrong, the Rx side of the 590 is very good if you can tolerate the cw harshness, but the Rx on the 7200 is no slouch either.
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WA7SGS
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« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2015, 09:05:01 PM »

Since I own an IC-7200 I'll chime in.  When it comes to bang for the buck, not being a menu-intensive radio and all you want is HF/6m (no FM), the IC-7200 is the best deal.  Should you have aspirations of doing SSB/CW on 2m/440Mhz or FM 10/6m, the IC-7100 opens up that path.  It is also easier to mount mobile due to the detaching head.

Some folks here mention the Kenwoods.  They are fine radios in their own right.  The 480HX strikes me as the #1 bargain for transmitter output at 200W.  590's are acclaimed radios too.  If your budget is flexible you should look at them.

No matter what you buy you will still need an antenna tuner (around $200), a decent desk mike (~ $150), a power supply ($200-ish) external speaker (prices vary widely as do the choices), a jumper coax, coax to the antenna and the antenna (or antennae).  Price everything out, read the eHam reviews, think about future desires, then you will gain more clarity of thought as to what is possible within your budget.  If you are not in a hurry you can watch Craigslist, eBay and the various for-sale listings in the ham forums as well as catch bargains from major suppliers like HRO, Gigaparts, et al.

Good, fast, cheap...choose two...LOL!  Best wishes for whatever you buy and odds are good you'll wind up buying more as the years go by.

Rick

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