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Show all reviews of the ICOM IC-7700
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of the ICOM IC-7700.
Dec 22, 2013 06:10
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Problems with PA Unit
Time owned: more than 12 months
Almost three years ago I had the opportunity to buy an IC-7700. It was a bargain offer from a dealer, just half a year old and in mint condition.
Having owned an IC-736 before, the receiver is a tremendous improvement. Pass Band filter can completely fade out adjacent signals and depth of the notch filter is very high.
You are able to pull signals out of QRM and noise where other transceivers are failing.
The display gives a lot of information at a glance. I was watching the evolution of graphical displays over the years. It first I considered them as a nice but superfluous gimmick.
But meanwhile I find it very useful and as all big vendors are offering rigs with graphical displays, one can truly say it has become a market standard.
I donīt really miss the second receiver. If this is a show stopper for you, think about using skimmer software for CW and digital modes to accomplish the same.
Being operated at 44V, the MOSFET linear gives a tube like signal. A massive heat sink allows a high duty cycle and even 200W output does not really heat up the chassis.
So why just three stars ? Recently I became BFC member. You may have heard about this club concerning Yaesu TRX, especially FT-817, but also FT-857 and FT-897 to some extent.
Yes, itīs the Blown Finals Club. I wanted to operate on 160m and erected a Butternut HF-2V in my garden. There is a special coil for Top Band operation. I have ground-mounted the
antenna, using 20 radials of various length. Iīm also using the Top Loading Kit to improve bandwidth. Tuning was not easy, but with the help of a vector antenna analyser, I managed to
have resonance on all three desired bands (160/80/40m) with reasonable SWR (2.1@1830kHz).
After connecting the coax cable to the IC-7700, I measured SWR with the internal meter at low power. The values were about the same as on the VNA before. Then I increased power
slowly up to 200W. SWR did not change and I started a CQ. But after a few seconds, smoke came out of the rear part of the IC-7700 and power supply failed ! I thought that there
must have been some problem with the built in power supply. I checked fuses, but they were not blown. I tried to switch on the TRX and it immediately came back to life. But when
I wanted to start transmitting again, I noticed that there was almost no output any more. Horrified I detected that the finals must have been blown !
Soldering iron is not a stranger in my shack, but repairing the PA unit of the IC-7700 would definitely exceed my capabilities. So I contacted ICOM Europe what to do. They said that they would not directly accept a repair order, but I have to send in the TRX to an official ICOM dealer. They named me some and I picked out the one I had the best impression of.
I wrote a letter with the fault description and asked them for some sign of goodwill, as I could not blame myself having made something wrong (afterwards I made about 100 QSOs on 160m with my
FT-897, even using a linear).
The ICOM dealer directly sent the TRX to ICOM Europe when the read my letter !
I got a quote from ICOM either to repair the PA unit (new MOSFETs but PCB just fixed and not replaced, 665), or to replace the PA unit by a new one with a new design. For this alternative,
also the filter unit has to be replaced (1254). Although the second offer would cost almost double the price of the first offer, I decided for the new PA unit. I sent back a written order,
the ICOM dealer had prepared. After more than one week I phoned him to find out the delivery date. He told me to contact ICOM Europe directly. There I learned that the
delivery time of the new PA Unit cannot be told and would be at least four to five months ! But they offered me to exchange the PA unit with a new PCB, but old design.
Because I didnīt want to wait for another half a year or so, I contritely agreed. The price would be in between previous two offers (999).
Got back my IC-7700 this week. Seems to work fine again, but I have not tested it on all band with all antennas and all working conditions (linear, tuner, digi modes and so on).
I am deeply disappointed that there was no sign of goodwill by ICOM. The fact that they have changed PA Unit design (together with Filter unit !) and that it cannot be delivered, clearly proves
me that I am not the only one and it is a series problem. Certainly they would never admit this. I have owned ICOM shortwave TRX, handhelds, mobile and VHF TRX for more than 25 years
(the list has become very long over the years). But most likely, the IC-7700 was the last one for me made by ICOM.
Product is in production.
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