I spent some time reading the manuals for WSJT-X & JTDX to ensure that I was optimizing recieve. This seems to have improved after making the following changes:
- Make sure the PC is set for 16-bit 48,000 Hz sound card sampling.
- Turn off AGC
- Properly set microphone level. This is a two step process. In my case, I dropped the microphone level in Windows to 1%. Then using the Connectors–>ACC/USB AF Level control on the rig, dropped the level until I could get to 30dB receive with the slider at mid-scale. In my case the AF level was set to 10%.
These changes have helped with receiving weak signals. JTDX in particular typically decodes 15 to twenty stations when the band is busy.
April 12, 2017
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It took long enough but I finally setup the IC-7100 for VHF/UHF use. The rig was programmed with the local repeater frequencies using RT-Systems programming software and a download from Repeater Book. Pretty straightforward overall. I should be able to use the IC-7100 on digital VHF nets run hear locally. There is a 6:30 net on Wednesdays through the repeater and a Simplex net on Thursdays at 7pm. I will still share the discone between this rig and the Yaesu FT-2900R.
One thing I noticed thus far is that he IC-7100 is hitting the repeaters in Harlingen and in South Padre Island. Not sure why this is but glad it seems to work.
Next up I’ll try and configure DStar.
August 25, 2016
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I setup the ICOM 7100 to run with Winlink Express (formerly RMS Express) software to send email over HF. The software allows direct use of the ICOM 7100 through it’s on-board digital mode interface. Overall, this was fairly simple to setup and surprisingly I was able to send some test emails in the morning hours on 40m to a server in Houston. Be sure to select USB digital mode in the software. I set my power out to 50% and connected fairly easily. I am going to play with the settings a bit and see if I can improve connection reliability. At some point I’d like to try this using the FT-817ND as well.
Anybody who would like to exchange some test email with me can send their messages to NO5V@winlink.org
Update 4/20/2017: Per request I am attaching screenshots of my RMS Express configuration. Note that you will likely need to adjust your port settings. First up is the winmor settings:
Here are the Radio Settings
July 30, 2016
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Talking to Cliff, N5CEY, at coffee today about WSPR. He pointed out that there is a power control on the WSPR software that lets me crank down the transmit power. I had been running first at 5W then down to 2W which is the minimum the ICOM 7100 can put out. I have now used this control to bring the power down to 1/2W. I am being heard the afternoon across the US on 20m.Thanks for the tip Cliff!
April 27, 2016
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I have not been on the radio much since I setup the new IC-7100. There is still a bunch of stuff I need to setup on it (DStar, VHF/UHF etc). One thing this new rig has had numerous negative comments on is a rather anemic SSB power output. My new rig has the latest firmware from ICOM that supposedly corrects the issue.I have not seen many comments from IC-7100 owners about the effectiveness of the fix. This morning I had a combination of conditions that lead me to believe that the rig is A-OK.
Tuning around today on 20m I came across a weak SSB signal from a station in Indonesia. This is a desirable contact for me as I do not have that country in the log for DXCC. Propagation has not been good. with a solar flux index of 86 and a sunspot number of 65 and K=2. Here is the prediction map for the time of the contact:
The map shows that a path was open to that region from South Texas.
I was having trouble copying the station but did make a call a couple of times to no effect. I switched to the FT-450 and had a similar result. I noticed that the 7100 did slightly better on receive and the DSP controls are a lot easier to access. I switched back to the 7100 and found the receive was slightly better to my ear. I called again after hearing his QRZ and was able to hear him copy my signal with a 57 report. We had a brief exchange and completed the QSO. Given the combination of band conditions, and switching between rigs I believe the rig is working SSB reliably. I know this is somewhat anecdotal but lacking a peak reading meter this is the best proof I have.
April 4, 2016
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I broke down this week and bought an ICOM 7100 rig this week. I have it installed with an A/B switch to the Yaesu FT-450D so that I can use both (though not at the same time). As usual, any changes to my shack wiring has caused issues with RFI. I have resolved most of these except I am noticing my HRD logbook locks up occasionally. This is a sweet rig. I have tested it on SSB on the HF bands and got the internal sound card modes working with PSK31 and JT65/JT9. It has some neat DSP features on Phone that really work. The automatic Notch filter seems to work on most birdies and the noise reduction works quite well. Still learning many of the features and doing some A vs B comparisons with the Yaesu. It has DSTAR built in so I will be trying to play with the local DSTAR repeater. Also looking forward to try and do some satellite work with it as well.
I asked Cliff, KF5INZ, for one of his Easy Digi interfaces for my FT-2900R so that I can work the weekly digital VHF net. Cliff makes these interfaces in Los Fresnos and ships them globally. I picked it up from him at the CHARRO meeting last Saturday and will likely start getting it setup in time for Wednesdays net. The 7100 has this capability built in but I will likely be using the Yaesu for for this purpose.