Receivers – I can not recommend one over the other in my limited A/B comparisons. Both seem sensitive. The FTDX-3000 receiver just seems to be very quiet, maybe due to a lower noise floor and/or roofing filter differences. The 300 Hz roofing filter in the FTDX-3000 is great for CW, and is especially welcome in crowded-bands typical of CW contests.
External IF output – only available on the FTDX-3000. Great foresight by YAESU. If you really want a big, fancy spectral display, you can’t beat that. Many are using an external SDR to generate a nice PAN display. I plan to do that. A good external display is going to be better than any internal display, in my opinion.
Firmware updates – I used to complain about ICOM not doing a firmware upgrade for the IC-7600 in 3 years. But they eventually provided a firmware upgrade with some very nice features. Kudos to ICOM for supporting their equipment well after the sale. We had an ongoing debate on teh 7600 reflector, where people claimed that mo updates were possible because all the memory was full. This just does not happen with a new commercial design. Yeasu seems to be more proactive about upgrades in general, but the FTDX-3000 is also a newer radio than the IC-7600.
External receive accessories – IC7600 has the ability to switch in a receive filter/preamp external to the unit. I have not used that yet, but I really like the feature.
Manuals – The manuals in both radios cover everything, but I think the ICOM manual does a better job of explaining some features. Of course that is why we have this Reflector – great help can be found here.
Rig Transmit Tuning – IC-7600 is better here, but this is something that could be improved on the FTDX-3000. The IC-7600 has the ability to do a “normal” Tune cycle where the power is reduced and the Mode changes to CW temporarily. There is also a feature that automatically retunes the antenna tuner if the SWR increases to a certain point. This is a wonderful feature that I now always keep enabled, especially when using the Rig remotely.
Mode selection – you will see a lot of complaining that the FTDX-3000 does not have a button for each Mode. I agree that this is a bit annoying, but hardly a deal breaker. The IC-7600 does have individual Mode buttons.
Menus – You just can’t get away from these long menus that are used for configuring radios. The IC-7600 has a very intuitive set of menus. The set of buttons below, and alongside the display make selection of many features very easy. The FTDX-3000 has a nice set of screen-buttons that are used to select common receive functions. There is also a very long list of numbered menu items on the FTDX-3000. This is a bit cumbersome, but I set most of these and do not change them. It can get a bit complicated when moving between various Digital modes.
Price – last time I looked, there was still a pretty big difference here, in favor of the FTDX-3000. You can decide about the value comparison. ICOM is now moving to the upgraded IC-7610 version. No doubt this will also be a great radio. There have been some big price discounts recently on the FTDX-3000 (at least in the USA).
Summary – If you are agonizing over which one to get, just make a move. You won’t regret it. These are both first-class radios. They both also have good support online. I have not yet had a single problem with either of these radios. They typically only get used on weekends, but they do serve Contest duty. I have also taken the FTDX-3000 mobile twice for he VA QSO Party, I just strapped it onto a storage bin, and it did just fine.
August 2016 Update
I am still enjoying both of these radios. Most of my operating continues to be on CW and most of that recently has been in contests. In that arena, both radios do a fine job. The Band scope and display on the 7600 is much better – bigger, sharper, and the Band scope is much better that that on my FTDX-3000. ICOM has done a great job with recent updates to the spectrum display. The 3000 Band scope is just too small. I know you can now make it full-screen, but then you lose everything else. the other issue with the ‘scope is that the scaling seems to be off. Even the strongest signals seem to use only about 25% of the vertical scale.