ICOM special workshop on IC-7800
Tokuzo Inoue (JA3FA), the president of ICOM, and lead engineers talked about IC-7800.
As the opening session, JA3FA gave a 10-minute talk.
- Several years ago, ICOM made a special task team dedicated to the redesign of the front end of transceivers. One of the biggest targets of the team is to achieve +40dBm 3rd order intercept point. To achieve this: (1) Employ bigger inductor for amplifiers and mixers so that they are not saturated even with high input level, (2) Use mechanical relays on behalf of PIN diode for the band switch, and (3) Place high-quality roofing filter in front of the IF amplifier.
- Why +40dBm? It is because this year is the 40-th anniversary of ICOM Incorporation.
- Mr. President *hopes* to start the delivery in October 2003.
- Mr. President *hopes* to sell it at 800,000 yen (= about 7,000 US dollars). However, the cost has not been estimated yet.
- ICOM would like to make a top-notch transceiver, which the user will be able to use for over 20 years.
- ICOM has sold more than 5,000 units of IC-781. ICOM would like to sell more number of IC-7800s, Hi.
His talk was truly impressive. Between his words, I felt his strong passion to the Ham radio. I trust we are very fortunate to have such an enthusiastic person in the amateur radio world.
Discussion with ICOM lead engineers
- IC-7800 uses a real-time operating system (RTOS) running on a Hitachi microcontroller (H16 or H32, unclear as the engineer did not recall). ICOM decided not to make the OS from scratch by themselves; rather they bought RTOS.
- The user can upgrade the firmware by using CF or LAN.
- The user can record the text received in RTTY/PSK into the CF card. In addition, the data in the voice memory can be stored into CF (not sure whether it can be done on the fly or not).
- IC-7800 has an Ethernet port and controller, but the LAN port will be used only for the firmware update. The remote operation through TCP/IP is not implemented yet.
- The internal speaker is secured in a box so that it gives clearer audio.
- IC-7800 has an independent AF amplifier for headphone. IC-756, for example, shares the same AF amplifier for headphone and speaker.
- I asked Mr. President to offer the information on the firmware to the user, so that the user can customize or improve the functions. Mr. President answered, "We would like to make better transceivers in cooperation with users." I think, however, it is not easy for users to write firmware because IC-7800 uses RTOS and Hitachi microprocessor; not Windows or Intel, hi.
- A couple of users were asking about the instant AGC on/off switch. They do not like to push&hold the AGC button to get the AGC off.
- A few users were complaining about the AF audio quality of IC-756. As stated above, the internal speaker of IC-7800 is secured in a separate box. In fact, I listened to 8N1HAM signals on 7MHz with IC-7800, and they sounded "very clean."
- A fellow ham talked about the rumor that the price in US is 9,000 dollars. Mr. President immediately answered, "Rumor is just rumor, hahaha."