|I ended up having to sell my first IC-7410 and regretted it for a couple years. After owning the first one for almost a year, I had used it at least once a day. So when I found one for sale on QRZ for $150 cheaper than the one I sold a year and a half ago, I snagged it up.|
Station is modest - Stock HM-36 microphone, IC-7410, LnR EF-Quad 40, 20, 15, & 10m EFHW slightly sloping from ~30 to 20 feet and a 25A Jetstream switching PSU. I also have an 1:1 isolation UnUn right as the coax goes into the shack. The built in ATU can match the antenna 1:1 completely from 60M thru 10M. I get ~110 watt peaks on 20 meters, and at least 100 on the other bands (SSB, RTTY); ~45 watts AM on 20 and slightly lower on the other bands. I receive frequent unsolicited comments on signal clarity and audio quality with MIC gain ~33%, compressor ~40%, TX bandwidth full scale, TX Bass +2 and TX Treble +1. I've owned 3 other Icom HF rigs, two Kenwoods, and a TenTec; none of them received as many comments as this rig.
The receiver is very good on 40 with my antenna. I've worked all over east of the Mississippi, a lot of southern states, the occasional west coast and Canadian stations already since I got this rig a couple months ago. Also a handful of European countries, all barefoot! The DSP Noise Reduction is the best I have ever used. Up to about 40%, it really helps calm down QSB and QRN. For QRM, the 3 adjustable filter widths with passband tuning work wonders to get that station running too much compression and a kilowatt! The autonotch nullifies carriers and tuners in about half a second and the manual notch is great for clipping off someone who is within 2 KHz of you. The DSP Noise Blanker is extremely effection for certain band noises as well as powerline noise. About the only noise it struggles with are Plasma TVs, which makes sense since that's so broadband and dynamic.
Enough with the technical stuff, how about operating? I wanted a full base radio. I've had a TS-830S and loved the build, size, layout, and amount of physical buttons. The menu system is simple: one main one for rarely changed settings, then two rows of function buttons that have small submenus of their own. Simple one button press band changing, direct frequency changing with one button push, and the knobs and buttons are laid out very logically. The built in speaker is mediocre, like almost all modern rigs but an external brings it to life! I use a 6" full range paper woofer. It also just looks great! If you want an easy to use, but extremely functional and customizable base transceiver for $800<>$1000, this is the one for you! Also, unlike the IC-746/Pros, each of the finals are rated for 100 watts and the whole back of the radio is a heat-sink, allowing it to be rated 100W full duty cycle! It is built to last.
Earlier 5-star review posted by KK4CUL on 2016-03-01
I've had this for a few months now and have not once regretted my purchase (especially since mine came with both 3&6 kHz roofing filters for under a grand!) I will say, my ONLY complaints are that the ATU isn't as wide range as hoped. Granted, it says only 3:1 and that is about right, but my previous703+ also was 3:1 and could tune my antenna 160-6, where this only does 40-6. I am not knocking a star off for this and is still working within advertised specs. Also, 60 meters is a PITA to access until you program it into memory. Now, onto the good:
Firstly, it is very well laid out. Yes, the screen is monochrome. But it is bright enough for any room / outdoor lighting and the contrast is excellent. I usually run the contrast at 50% / brightness at ~25% and have no problems with visibility. The frequency display is big and clear, and all the functions are easily visible. I love that you can see ALC, SWR, and PO gauges simultaneously. The menu system is logical and all the commonly accessed features are available with the multi-function buttons right below the screen! I have used a bunch of Icom HF rigs: IC-706, IC-7200, and the IC-703+. The menu structure and buttons are logical to me so I never had to pull the manual out.
The buttons are logically laid out also, grouped together appropriately and the ones with short and long press functions make. I love having the Power Adjustment as a larger knob, as well as all the other dual concentric knobs on the left side. The Twin Passband Tuning is a dream to use, just like the one I fell in love with on the 7200. And the IF DSP NR is magical. That is not an exaggeration -- my previous 703+ has a great receiver, but the AF DSP didn't work as well. On a really noisy signal, the highest you could use it was 30-40% before it started degrading speech intelligibility. I live in a very RFI noisy QTH and the 7410's DSP NR squashes most of it. If I come across a really noisy signal, turning the NR up to about 9-10 o'clock and the signal is magically audible! Then, use the twin PBT to knock out any adjacent signals, and even adjust the RF gain or switch on the attenuation and a signal buried in the mud appears out of nowhere. I believe those that say the receiver is every bit as good as the IC-7600 -- the noise floor on this radio is very quiet and has countless ways to dig a signal out of the mud. Speaking of that -- the filters:
For SSB, I run 2.9 kHz on Filter 1, 2.4 kHz on Filter 2, and 1.9 kHz on Filter 3. I typically use the soft filter shape, except for usually on Filter 1 I use the sharp shape. I love that you can save the IF-Shift / Twin PBT settings with the filter. For instance on Filter 3, it is pretty narrow so in standard shape, the audio is kind of harsh and sometimes is no improvement over a wider filter. However, if I move the center of the filter a few hundred Hz down, it makes the audio more pleasing and the signal appear clearer. Then, if you change back to Filter 1, change the frequency, or turn the radio off it saves your Passband Tuning preference with that filter! Now, with the stock (15 kHz) roofing filter I do notice a little more noise on the signals. However, this roofing filter works great for fidelity on the shortwave broadcast stations. Typically, I run the widest 15 kHz one for AM since it has the best fidelity for speech and music. But on noisier parts of the band, the 6 kHz roofing filter in SSB is a great (albeit mild) improvement in intelligibility due to having less noise in the passband. On really crowded or noisy portions of the band, I will run the 3 kHz roofing filter and it makes the noise floor seem quieter. Granted, the differences between even the stock 15 and 3 kHz roofing filters are mild, it does help. I am told that the change is mostly noticeable on CW or digital modes (RTTY, etc.) Granted, my HF rig usage is limited (my prior TS-830s, IC-706, IC-7200, IC-703+, then my friends' FT-857D, FT-450D, FT-817D, FT-897D, FT-950, TS-2000, and an assortment of 10 meter all mode 25 watt mobiles), this receiver is by far the quietest and most selective. The FT-950 was very close selectivity wise, but the noise reduction was not as drastic. The TS-830S had the most pleasing received audio (especially since I had the SP-230 with adjustable Hi/Lo cuts), but the selectivity was not as good.
Other positives -- 1) I love the size and heft of this. It is a full sized base radio. I used to work portable a lot but now am busier in my everyday life. I doubt this will be out /P often, but I WILL use it for Field Day this year! 2) Power out on 40-20 meters into a resonant antenna on CW or RTTY is a solid 125 watts! Granted I never do this in actual usage, but it is nice to know. I have gotten voice peaks on 40, 20, and 15 around 115 watts (the ALC fix has been applied). 6 meters SSB (through a tuner into a non-resonant antenna with about a 1.3:1 SWR was 85 on voice peaks, 95 CW/RTTY). 3) The RX EQ is a great feature. I know the FT-950 has a slightly more advanced EQ (parametric EQ, etc.), but I run mine with no low-pass and bass at -1 on an external speaker; internal speaker I enable the low-pass around 200 Hz to prevent buzzing on my IC-275 that sits atop this radio. The TX bandwidth adjustment is great -- I have not tweaked it extensively, but with the default "Wide" setting, I have received positive comments on my voice even with the hand-mic. Narrow is just typical Icom TX audio: kind of flat and boring, but effective for DX. Never received unsolicited comments in this mode. I would realistically give this radio a 4.8/5, so 5 will have to do!
Possible future upgrades: Icom AH-4 or LDG Z-100Plus ATU for portable ops. The AH-4 is supposed to be an exceptional tuner (both range and durability), that is both fast and great because it can be mounted right at the antenna. I do worry a bit about the 100 watt rating since I can hit 125 on some bands. That's where the Z-100Plus comes in. It has a 125 watt rating and I have had the IT-100 before with my IC-7200, where it worked seamlessly. Currently, I use an MFJ-949E to supplement the ATU for 80 and 60 meters. That being said, a better multiband antenna. Also, I would like to get a good desk microphone like an SM-30. However, both of those are not immediate needs. I do have a few full range 4" speaker drivers I would like to build a small enclosure for and possibly add tone controls.