This weekend is the Georgia Parks on the Air Contest. I will be at a park operating CW and FT8 depending on band conditions. I will not be contesting. I have participated in contests in the past, but now I look at contesting like I look at a job. Neither is really fun to me. If you see my signal, give me a call I will be uploading it into POTA and LOTW.

Radios. This weekend I will be bringing my Icom IC-7300. It is still one of my favorite radios. If I could only have one, the 7300 would be it. I still have the FTDX10 and it has become part of the home shack. It shares space with the IC-7610. The 7610 is still my workhorse and it is hooked up to the amp. It does everything well. That doesn’t mean that the FTDX10 isn’t used. I think I use them about 50/50. I like to use the FTDX10 for casual CW like hunting for POTA activators. I rarely go above 50 watts and the built-in tuner will tune my antenna well.

A side benefit of moving the FTDX10 to inside the shack, is I use it more and I am more apt to dig into the manual. There are things I like about the radio. One is the roofing filters. The filters, along with DNR do a pretty good job taming QRN and QRM. The radio is more pleasant to listen to. Another thing I like is the way split operation works. Once you set up the split, the main dial controls the receive frequency, and the outer ring controls the transmit frequency. As a chaser, I need to be able to move my transmit frequency around while keeping the receive frequency steady.

Another nice feature is the ability to transmit CW in SSB mode. The Icoms do not do this. I check into a net that also allows CW check-ins. With the 7610 I use the Memo Pad to switch between SSB and CW (with a -600 Hz transmit offset). I also use the second receiver set to the SSB freq. Once set up, when they ask for check-ins, I hit the memo pad read button, send CW and then hit the memo pad read button again to return to SSB. With the FTDX10 I set the TX Clarifier to -600 Hz and turn it on to send CW and off to send voice. Easy Peasy. The benefit with the FTDX10 is if the net moves due to QRM I am instantly ready, whereas with the 7610 I would have to reset the memo pad.

I find that I like the FTDX10 more in its role as a shack radio. It was okay in the field, but it is better at home. It sits on the left side of my desk which is ergonomically better. As I said in the past, it is a left-handed radio.

The FTDX10 is a keeper, the more I use it, the more it endears itself to me. The IC-7610 is not going anywhere. It still runs with the best of them. Is there an FTDX101 in my future? Maybe. If I get one, I would probably sell the 10 and still keep the 7610. If I make my desk just a little bit bigger…


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