IC-7800 Comments

by Jack Merrell W5AKW

Based on an e-mail dated 7/18/2004

I had the the very unexpected chance to play with an IC 7800 today for a short time. While I did make several contacts, my focus was on the receiver and the overall quality of construction. I explored only the SSB mode on 20 meters and did not have time to exam the menus etc. First let me say the construction is Outstanding. All the knobs turn effortless and with good feel. The control shafts seem solid, very professional. The major function buttons have an LED that lights up when the function is activated. Solid feel again. The "audio out" of the built in speaker is the best I have ever heard from a rig's internal speaker. 

As for the receiver. ICOM finally designed a noise blanker that really works as a noise blanker. Very effective instantaneously against pulse noise. The DSP noise reduction is equally outstanding, and very significantly better than the already very good design in the 756 Pro II. On the Pro II when you activate the noise reduction, as you increase the amount of noise reduction the signal changes and becomes noticeably distorted (rather a hollow shallow sound) The signal with noise reduction seems to also be attenuated. Not so with the 7800 the noise just goes away leaving a clean easily heard signal. I was really impressed. By the way, the band scope is impressive also. I did not have the time to change the screen presentation but I understand that users' flexibility in what you want on the screen is ample. 

I tested it side by side with a Yaesu FT-1000 series rig, and signals in the noise level and less than 50% copy on the Yaesu were clear and totally "armchair" copy with the 7800 ( same antenna) . The display is outstanding also, and when you plug in an external monitor it is FANTASTIC. The digitally- imaged meters are as real as any analog meter I have ever seen. The overall screen resolution is very clear. As has always been the case with ICOM, the front panel is configured well; controls are logically placed, and while there are lots of them, it doesn't have that "busy" look that Yaesu seems to gravitate to. 

The microphone I used was the [now-discontinued] Heil Traveler, which is quite good. I did not adjust the audio controls at all, and assume they were at default. The audio reports I got were excellent, and in the monitor circuit my voice sounded normal and as good as my voice sounds. The monitor circuit also is better than on previous rigs. I also did not adjust the receive audio equalization, but was very happy with the sound.... the internal speaker is great to say the least. 

Twin Passband Tuning, filter selection and the notch filters are equally superb. It is definitely the leading-edge rig. By the way, it looks even better in person than any pictures I've seen, and appears big. Width and height are very close to the dimensions of the IC-775 and IC-765, but the case is deeper. The IC-7800 is a solid radio that is like a fine jewel. I was totally impressed and appreciative of the opportunity to play with it.

I also tried the roofing filter against a strong signal only several kHz from my center frequency, and it is amazing. Unfortunately I had but a few minutes to play with the IC-7800, so I was not able to try all its many features. As more IC-7800's get into operators' hands we should learn more about the radio.

I thought I would share these observations with you. 

Jack W5AKW

Page created and edited by A. Farson VA7OJ/AB4OJ. Last revised: 09/25/2019