20180527_160750
Display on the screen of the IC-7300

I recently bought an Icom IC-7300 SDR transceiver, and finally got a chance to start looking at it. My hope is to use this as a Mobile rig, although it is a bit large. Not sure how I will mount it in my F-150 yet, but I will give it a try.

Since I have been active in contesting, I wanted to see how this radio worked with N1MM+ which is my favorite contest logger. They still call it a contest logger, but N1MM+ is so much more. The features now in that software just boggle my mind.

N1MM+ recently introduced their Spectral Display window. I have been publicly called-out for this horribly incorrect comment. Just so nobody at N1MM+ is upset, THEY ADDED THIS FEATURE IN APRIL 2017. From my reading, all I had to do to get a spectral display from the IC-7300 to my PC display, was to connect the USB interface and select the correct baud rate.

N1MM+ documents say you need to setup the IC-7300 to use an interface baud rate of 115,200 to get the spectrum display. This was just a little tricky. When you start reading the IC-7300 manual, it sounds like you can use AUTO for the baud rate setting. But for rates that high, you actually have to manually set the baud rate. Be sure to read the N1MM+ docs on using the IC-7300 spectral display. They tell you exactly what to do.

Here is the display. The red squares show stations that are stronger than the current noise floor setting. You can quickly move from station-to-station using SHIFT-UP and SHIFT-DOWN.

IC7300 Spectrum N1MM
N1MM+ Display with IC-7300 Spectrum Window

Once I set the baud rate, and restarted N1MM+, the Spectral Window appeared. The display updates rapidly and adds callsigns to the signals as you spot them (or from external spotting networks). There are some contests where I just can not effectively RUN, and am often forced into Search & Pounce mode. This display makes S&P incredibly fast.

This alone, makes the IC-7300 investment worth the money for me. I am putting in a few hours in the CQWW WPX CW contest this weekend using the IC-7300.  There is only one small issue I found so far. When I was using CW keying via the USB interface, there would be an occaisional delay or hiccup. I had to go to using a WINKEYER to get clean, fast CW. Most contesters seem to use WINKEYERS because it allows you to offload the CW timing from the computer CPU.