I was lucky enough to acquire a new Icom IC-7600 this week after the passing of my IC-756PRO and one of the things I find amazing so far is the minimum number of cables needed. A USB cable carries all the audio and control signals between the radio and PC. No more third party interface needed for data. The Signalink USB and the Rigblaster PlugNPlay are going on the shelf. So far I am working plenty of JT65 and JT9 with just the connections you see below.
My beloved IC-756PRO finally died after constant service since I bought it new in 1999. I decided not to resuscitate it. It’s time for a replacement. I studied the currently available mid-grade transceivers and decided on the IC-7600. I also considered and ruled out the Kenwood TS-590S, Yeasu FT3000, and the Elecraft KX3. After some research I am led to believe the 7600 does not have the best receiver at resisting desense* but it has the most features. It’s also the easiest for me to operate given my past love affair with the 756PRO. What ICOM excels at is features and ergnomics. This radio is just plain fun to use. It calls to me to get on the air. I like the intuitive layout. For me the 7600 is a winner.
*At this price range the best are the Elecraft K3 and KX3 radios according to Rob Sherwood (sherweng.com). In the owner reviews of the 7600 no one mentioned dynamic range issues or desense.
For best dynamic range at 2KHz, I already own a K3. I hooked it up for JT65. Even with all those nice lab measurements it had trouble making JT65 contacts. I didn’t explore why. The K3 will remain on by table as the CW rig. I also hooked up my Kenwood TS-480 and made almost no contacts. Strange. The 7600 is just the opposite. With all the same software, settings and levels set I started making contacts immediately and saw my call posted on Pskreporter extensively. Go figure.
I was expecting to use my SGC SG-230 automatic tuner with the 7600 in the future until I read about the IC-AH4. I like that it’s waterproof and the 230 is not. I like that it’s matched to the radio. I am considering adding an IC-AH4 to my collection of tuners.
Looking very much at home on my operating table already. I will post separately the configuration I used to get WSJT-X working over the USB cable with no third party interface needed. The IC-7600 is a worthy replacement and upgrade for the IC-756PRO.