ICOM announced IC-756PRO II
Courtesy Nobuyuki Oba, JA7UDE
ICOM has already stopped the production of IC-756PRO and started selling IC-756PRO II in the JA market. The price is 358,000 yen, which is 10,000 yen higher than IC-756PRO.
- Digital IF filter - the user can change the filter width as well as the filter shape factor on the fly
- Got wider dynamic range and improved third IMD
- One-touch audio record/play-back
- Audio and CW memories that can be controlled with an external switch
- Improved SSB data mode including a new BPF and 1/4 dial speed mode
- Noise blanker with adjustable threshold
- The display format is selectable from 8 templates. The font is selectable from 7 fonts.
How ICOM reacted to the users' requests?
|Improved 3rd IMD characteristics.
|The sensitivity of 50MHz is not good enough.
|Changed the RF circuit for 50MHz and used SSB-SOFT filter.
|The voice recorder/player works for SSB only.
When the recorder/player is in use, other features cannot be used at the same time.
|Added a new button for recorder/player, which can be used not only for SSB but also for other modes.
Added an interface for the external logic to control the recorder/player.
|NB is not effective in some situations.
|Added a level control for NB.
|Added a DSP set mode that allows the user to change the filter shape on the fly.
|AF volume know is touchy.
|Improved the AF volume resolution.
|With NB on, the signals are distorted.
|The output level of the headphone is not loud enough.
|The VHF users commonly use USB side for CW (CW-R)
|Got it user-customizeable.
|The receive frequency is shifted when the mode is changed.
|Added an option that keeps the receive frequency even when the mode is changed.
|The repeat interval of the memory keyer should be set longer.
|The repeat interval can be set from 1 to 60 seconds.
|The power meter swings stickily in the CW mode.
|The key-speed knob is not easy to handle.
|Exchanged the positions of the key-speed and delay knobs.
|The narrow BPF does not work for SSB.
|The narrow BPF is available for SSB, too.
|The filter settings for DATA should independently be controlled.
|The user can settle the filters for SSB and DATA independently.
|The 1/4 function is not available for SSB.
|It is available for SSB, too. It is effective for digital modes, such as PSK31.
|No one touch clear of RIT.
|The monitor level is not enough.
|Raised the level.
|The wake-up/sleep timer is not easy to use.
|Improved the user interface.
I was surprised that ICOM has put the comparison chart of IC-756PROII and XXX on their web site. ICOM keeps XXX as anonymous, but clearly XXX is Yaesu FT-1000MP Mark V. Bear in mind that it is unusual for a big maker to publish such a comparison chart with competitors in Japan, though it is quite common in US. At the middle of the page, there is a figure that shows the filter shape factors. One is, of course, the 756PROII's IF DSP and the other is COLLINS 10-pole filter. As you should know, the COLLINS filter is installed in Mark V. Hmmm, ICOM becomes very aggressive, hi hi.
I am pleased that ICOM has implemented some of my and my friends' requests in 756PROII. OK, well, should I upgrade my IC-756PRO to IC-756PRO II? I do not know, but not now. At least I wait for someone's report and article on 756PROII, Hi.?
IC-756PRO (HF and 50MHz transceiver)
ICOM announced IC-756PRO at 1999 Ham fair, which was held in Yokohama Japan in August 1999. I was very pleased to hear the announce and was looking forward to its release to the market. As was the case of IC-706, it took substantial time for ICOM to actually release IC-756PRO to the market. At the beginning of December 1999, the 756PRO finally was released in the Japanese market.
I purchased one immediately after the release and have been using it for 14 months. I think it is good time to write my review on 756PRO.
Since I have been using an IC-756 for more than three years, I had no trouble in operating the primary functions. The most eye-catching change in 756PRO from 756 is, needless to say, the color LCD panel. It obviously improves the user interface.
- The color LCD definitely improves the user interface.
- The band scope is inherited from 756. The peak holding option greatly helps us to find new signals (pileups?).
- The name of memory is displayed at the upper right corner of the LCD. That's a good feature.
- The DSP IF filter has a good shape factor and therefore works great. I would name it QRM BUSTER.
- The DSP IF filter has a preset feature. For each operation mode, the bandwidth can be preprogrammed in three ways. I no longer have to buy optional crystal filters.
- The DSP noise reduction works far better than that of 756. In particular, it is very effective for PSK. It gets the target signal come out of QRN.
- The DSP IF filter can be as narrow as 50MHz. This is doing an ideal job for PSK31 because PSK31 occupies only 31MHz.
- We can name each memory by turning the main dial. It is speedy and easy to assign a name to memories. In 756, we had to push buttons many times to pick up an alphabet.
- It is a good idea to relinquish the microphone input by pressing a mode button more than 1 second. It is very useful for data communication means, such as PSK and AFSK.
- The built-in automatic antenna tuner does the job. In addition, I am very happy with the external automatic antenna tuner, AH-4. I have connected a 15m wire to it and I can operate 3.5MHz - 50MHz. Neat. What I have to do is just pushing the tuner button on the front panel of IC-756PRO.
I wish it could have....
- The receiver voice memory would have worked in the CW mode as well. I sometimes want to record CW as well as phone signals.
- The S meter is sticky. I am not sure this is box-specific, but mine is often fluttering.
- The 756PRO provides four patterns for the LCD display. Two of them are color and remaining two are monochrome. Who are using the monochrome type?
- The scratch pad memory, MP-W/MP-R, is very useful. However, I sometimes forget which contains what. It would be nice if the content of the memories are displayed on the LCD.
- I am not satisfied with the sensitivity for 50MHz. YAESU FT-655, which is more than ten years old, is still superior to 756PRO in terms of the 50MHz sensitivity.
- I personally do not like the feeling of the main dial. It is sticky. 756 is better.
- The bandwidth of the DSP IF filter is presettable. I hope I could change and preset the center frequency, too, that is to say, the IF shift.
- I use the USB-D/LSB-D mode position for the PSK operation. Many Hams will use it for AFSK. It would be nice if I can preset IF filters for USB-D/LSB-D independently of USB/LSB. It is obvious that Phone, PSK, and AFSK require different filters.
- Narrower band scope is desired (ie., AF). It should be very useful for getting the manual notch adjusted sharp at the QRM signal.
All in all, I am very happy with the new IC-756PRO. ICOM has done a great job! To play with 756PRO is fun and joy. I trust IC-756PRO is an ideal radio for digital modes, such as RTTY and PSK.
- In August 2000, ICOM has started offering a special ROM for 756PRO. The ROM makes the CW filter a bit less sharp in order to remedy the CW click problem. The procedure of the ROM replacement is not so easy but not so tough to me. I opened the box, dug out the DSP board, unsoldered the shield cover, and eventually replaced the ROM with a new one. I have been using the special ROM for a couple of weeks. Does it work? My answer is YES. With the special ROM, I can hang around in a bunch of strong CW signals with less click sound. Doesn't it degrade the selectivity? I do not think so, because I still can pull down the band pass width as narrow as 50 Hz. I do not know if ICOM is offering the special ROM outside Japan. Anyhow, ICOM have developed this special ROM by request of the users. Good job ICOM!