A Foot in Both Camps

I like to keep a foot in both camps. The Icom and Yaesu Camps. When you blog or YouTube and voice an opinion, You should be as straightforward as possible. It’s hard to be objective when you use one radio (or brand) for years, and the other for a couple of weeks. On many levels, it does no one justice. That’s where I found myself a while back.

To be fair, I have used radios from both brands over the years. From the Yaesu camp, I had an FT-817, FT-950, and FTDX3000. From Icom I had an IC-706MKIIG, IC-7000, and IC-746 Pro. Over the last 7 years until now, I have an IC-7300 and an IC-7610. I found myself making comments about the FTDX10 while not actually having one. I decided right then, that to be fair, I needed to own one and not just for a couple of weeks. In October of last year, I bought my FTDX10 and put it to work. First as a field radio and then as a home shack radio. I make sure it gets regular exercise along with my IC-7610. I recently purchased a Yaesu FT-710. I want to try it as a field radio. My initial impressions are pretty good but time will tell. Over the next couple of months, I will be taking it to the field as my primary radio.

How do they stack up? In my opinion, the FT-710 competes and compares with the IC-7300. I would go so far as to say that they are fairly even in actual use. In other words, if you are married to the Yaesu system, then get the FT-710, if you are married to the Icom system, get the IC-7300.

While it is not fair to compare the IC-7300 with the FTDX10, it is also not fair to compare the FTDX10 with the IC-7610. Me, I use the IC-7610 for all my heavy lifting. It is my main shack radio. The FTDX10 I like to use for causal CW and for things like POTA. Each has its pluses and minuses. A while back, I did a comparison between the FTDX10 and the IC-7300, during the CQWW CW contest. Using the same antenna, every signal I heard with the FTDX10, I heard with the IC-7300.

Where does everybody fit in? Like I said earlier, I feel the FT-710 and the IC-7300 are rather comparable. Time will tell as I get more acquainted with the FT-710. The FTDX10, in my opinion, is better than the IC-7300 but not as good as the IC-7610 when looking at the whole picture. The IC-7610 is probably more in line with the FTDX101D.

So far, I like all 4 radios. I don’t plan on selling any of them soon. I like that I can speak from experience when talking about the differences or similarities of the radios. Over the next couple of months, the FT-710 is going to get a workout. I will probably have two trips in May and one trip in June and I plan on using it for Field Day.


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…