New ICOM 7300 SDR

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Recently, the HPSDR user group has been buzzing on news of the new ICOM SDR, the IC-7300. I just added a comment that I thought the FLEXers might find interesting (humerous?):


73 de Tom K3IO (ex W3IWI)
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Tom Clark

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Posted 3 years ago

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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Obviously. They need to change major to either Legacy or Japanese.
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Martin Ewing AA6E

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Yes, a bit of Chauvinism. (Hi Tom!)  The real story here is that all serious rigs are going to be DDC SDR designs pretty soon.  Which will both be good for Flex (bigger market) and a challenge to keep ahead of the crowd.
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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Well, if they define "major" by annual sales volume, I rather suspect they're on firm ground.

In any case, I think AA6E is right on the mark: This is good for everyone.  As DDC SDR moves from "bleeding edge" to well-established technology, we can look forward to the many different ways that various vendors will bring this technology to market.

The trick for Flex will be to continue to add their own differentiating factors and value to their products using this technology. It won't be "buy a Flex because it's the only serious DDC SDR in town" anymore.  It'll be "buy a Flex because is has a full-screen panadaptor, remote operation, the option to use knobs and switches if you want, and an open interface that numerous people are using to innovate and create cool interfaces."  Or, whatever.

Will SOME people buy an IC-7300 that would have otherwise bought a Flex?  Maybe.  But the folks who do that will be ones who want an "ordinary" radio with the performance of DDC SDR.

Peter
K1PGV
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I will be interested to see how many feature upgrades or fixes will come out for it.
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Lewis Cheek

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Bill, if it's like many other ICOM products, they will just roll out another model that addresses the fixes and leave the prior models hanging. Look how long it took Icom to even say they had a ALC overshoot on the IC-7410, years :)
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Walt - KZ1F

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Clearly marketing, which everybody does but one needs to look at customer base and R&D budget to really see the dynamics. First only counts when you're also only. I believe now a days all hf radio's operate remotely. How that's accomplished is really a moot point.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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It looks to have a $1,250 price point
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Walt - KZ1F

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HRO shows 3 models, 10w,50w, 100w.
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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I just downloaded the brochure and had a good laugh about ICOM's marketing ;-)
In the long run ICOM will be a serious competitor in the SDR field, as they tend
to produce excellent TRX (my IC-756PRO is IMO still excellent for CW full QSK).
Let's therefore wait for the TRX and test it against our Flexes. I will surely do that,
as I need a replacement for my FT-897D, which I use for EMCOMM.
Competition is always good for us hams!
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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And first could also mean to the patent office.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Historical Context:


One should never sell the Japanese short as effective competitors. Yes they are late in the game with SDR's

But look at how they destroyed the U.S. Ham Radio manufacturers in the 70's by bringing out good enough and eventually better radios at much lower price points. They did the same to the U.S. Auto industry.

I pointed out that their initial offering the 7300 has a projected $1,250 price point. On the first reading of its specs, it does not look to be close to competitive with a 6300 but at 1/2 the price they will sell a lot to uninformed hams around the world who can't read spec sheets

So I already expect them to cause serious damage to the bottom end price point products like the Elad., Zeus, flex 1500, etc.
Give them a year or two of experience and I fully expect them to have serious competition for the 6700 at very competitive if not predatory pricing to knock Flex out of the market like they did to other U.S. Manufacturers
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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Two years is a lifetime, I expect next Dayton will be the pivot point where kyie will all have mature SDR offerings.
(Edited)
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km9r.mike

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"But look at how they destroyed the U.S. Ham Radio manufacturers in the 70's by bringing out good enough and eventually better radios at much lower price points. They did the same to the U.S. Auto industry."

There was a time when this statement was a sure bet when their wages were well below western standards, however, I do not think this holds as much water as it used too. The Ford I leased prior to my current Honda was of better build quality than what I currently have. Engine, exterior and interior to some extent. As you also well know, relatively young upstart go getters @ Elecraft put a very large dent into all three JA legacy manufacturer's contest market share.

I will agree that the legacy JA manufacturers could flood the US market with a low priced SDR rig but in order for them to do this like in the past I think they would have to outsource manufacturing to countries w/ cheaper labor yet run the risk of having their tech stole in the process.

I conclude their ability to "destroy" US market share is a shadow of what it used to be. 


(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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They already outsource much of their production to low cost Chinq and likely even more in the future.
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KC2QMA_John

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That's why I buy USA when ever possible.  Like my New 6500!
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km9r.mike

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Then they run the risk of having stuff stolen. Short term possibly a good move but not a wise decision for the long term imho. Oh well their intellectual property not mine.
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Joe - KC2TN

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This brings that old quote "The Pionners get the arrows....." to mind!
http://zerista.com/2010/08/pioneers-s...

Joe - KC2TN
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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The HRIO ad is not even qualifying "A First for Amateur Radio".

Now they are a USA company that can get sued by the FTC for false advertising. Someone needs to drop the dime.
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Walt - KZ1F

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One of you guys can commission a patent search to see. Chances are very good there is a sufficient basis for that stmt.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Walt. As you know I have been thru a number of successful patent fights..

This issue is not about patents but rather it is a case of blatant false advertising designed to hurt U S companies. While I am NOT a lawyer, it would seem that the false advertising would fall under the jurisdiction of the FTC.to bring a suit against HRO. It just needs someone. To drop a dime and file a complaint with the FTC.
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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That's BS Howard. 1) you have no standing and 2) you have no idea what is the logic behind ICOM saying it'd the first. Maybe they skipped one of your generations. And yes, we all realize you are not a lawyer.

Actually, I have no knowledge of any patent fights involving you or their outcome.
Dude, since you have millions of dimes, allegedly, go for it.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Lets stop the verbal sparring and chill out.  Or I'll be compelled to take a stronger corrective action.  Thank you.
(Edited)
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Lewis Cheek

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:) that's all I can say 
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Walt - KZ1F

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Technology is hard and expensive. Even in software, take my old employer, they sit back let the startups duke out the technology and then acquire the winner keep the patents and lay off the employees. They end up with the winning technology at a fraction of the R&D cost. Maybe Icom bought some patents and/or filed their own. I am certain the language cleared legal. But, Howard, go file a law suit.
(Edited)
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Bob - W7KWS -

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I would have to think that Flex has their intellectual property position well in hand.

There may be later priority dates for improvements by many inventors but here is an application from 1997 that seems to read pretty much directly on direct conversion receivers.  Section 0046 is particularly interesting.

If it isn't already, it won't be long before what is described here is public domain, at least in the U.S.

I can't find a corresponding, issued patent but the proposed claims in this application seem very narrow while the description appears quite broad.  This leads me to think that the patent attorney felt that he had to weave his way through a lot of prior art to craft claims that he thought would fly.  There are only two proposed independent claims and both of them are a mile long.

If no patent issued after this, what it describes should be pretty much open to anyone, at least in the U.S.

I'll admit right now that I'm not planning on reading much more of this.

http://www.google.com/patents/US20010040930
(Edited)
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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Just to close the loop on this, the above cited patent application (Pub Number US 2001-0040930 A1, rights were assigned to Rockwell) was rejected by the USPTO and after some back-and-forth with the Examiner (including amendments to the claims) it was ultimately rejected and abandoned.

The Office Action letters don't appear online (this was back in 2000-2002), so we don't know WHY it was rejected... just that it was.

Peter
K1PGV

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Bob - W7KWS -

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Thanks for the follow on research. Good information.
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Assuming they see the SDR market a large slice in the ham radio world. I am not so sure they are interested in going really big into SDR but rather extending their radio line up. But it will be interesting how things develop. Are they going to develop software for it? other than whats in the box? Will PSDR work with it? and how about costumer support. I expect they will keep any SDR simple so the user will not need to really operate or understand any software for the radio. This would keep the costumer support at it's minimal. And I wonder about planed upgrades. 
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Walt - KZ1F

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I suspect this will all bring the 7000 series to market much sooner. I am very curious as to what everybody is going to be announcing at Dayton next year.
(Edited)
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KC2QMA_John

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All I can say is in the long run it's going to be the quality of the software that determines how good flex and other companies will do. Because “It's All About That Software”. You know the "S" in SDR!

What might be a good move for flex now is to kick the software development into high gear and leave the competition in the dust. The 6000 series is a solid platform to write great software for.

Japaneses Companies like Icom, Kenwood & Yaesu are very aggressive in business and they would have no problem throwing tons of money at software development just to get a BIG jump on the competition. Once the competition get's ahead it will be hard to catch up. And besides the ROI (return on investment) on software is much higher than Hardware development.

73/KC2QMA

John
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Bill -VA3WTB

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They are into high gear John, Flex is a much smaller company then the ones you named. Leave the competition in the dust? In what way, seems they have done that already.
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KC2QMA_John

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I think you might have misunderstood me, What I mean is Flex already is ahead of the competition and in my opinion is the best SDR on the market. But the Japanese companies are much larger and if they want to kill off the competition all they have to do it throw a ton of money & resources at R&D & software development they could get such a big jump ahead it would be hard to catch up.

As far as I know Flex is looking for more software engineers and fortunately the HAM radio community is full of super smart people!

Like I said the reason I bought a FLEX is because its the best :)

KC2QMA

John

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SteveJ

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This new radio by Icom is certainly a game changer. Flex better watch out.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Steve, How has it changed the game? what are your thoughts?
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Barry N1EU

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How has it changed the game?  By signalling that mainstream rig mfr's are going DDC/DUC now and are willing to bite the bullet and make the huge R&D investment necessary.  Yaesu and Kenwood will follow Icom.
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AA0KM

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I guess a flexradio isn`t so bad after all, everyone want` to copy it.

Overheard on hf one day. Just bring the IF out of the radio into the computer and you have a SDR radio like a flexradio.

I didn`t touch that conversation with a 10 foot pole. lol

Flex has no worries for several years down the road in my thinking.


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KC2QMA_John

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You know what they say..."Ignorance is bliss" LOL.
(Edited)
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km9r.mike

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Icom's marketing claim for this questionable sdr rig seems a bit flakey at best to me. I wonder if they can back up such a bold statement : )
(Edited)
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k0eoo

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We can only hope the ARRL will do an unbiased review of the 7300 so the world can see how good/bad it really is....

As all us Flex owners already know, DDC/DUC is the wave of the future in radio because you can design/mfg a cheaper/better radio in that technology than you can with the superhet or direct conversion derivative.

So unfortunately, I see the 7300 signaling the big 3 are tooling up.....

Regards, Dennis, k0eoo
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Robert -- N5IKD, Elmer

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I would like to see the magazines and podcasts call them out for this claim. Unfortunately Icom sponsers many of the podcasts, so this may be unlikely.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Icom is the first company to make an SDR radio, didn't you know that?
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Robert -- N5IKD, Elmer

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There must me some kind of mistake! The Wikipedia article on Software Defined Radios mentions Flex and other Manufacturers, but does not mention Icom.
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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#1 people have to pull out their glasses and read the fine print..
#2 stop whining
#3 read Peter's first sentence.
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KM6CQ - Dan

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I expected Icom to introduce a SDR rig like this. What I did not expect was Icom to refer to it as an "RF direct sampling system" What motivates Icom to be so cautious and not to call it an SDR? Are they concerned their customer base would not approve? I dont know.  It clearly is just another radio with knobs in a box, I did not see any mention of IQ outputs. It can not have VAC's can it? It is a different paradigm for the end user. So I don't think it is aimed at pulling away Flex or Anan customers, even the KX3 (SDR rig with knobs in a box) line can not do that. I do however find my KX3 line compliments my 6500 very well. I think maybe when the K4 comes out, it may be much more expensive then whatever Icom's current SDR equivalent rig will be. That would be a concern for Elecraft. 
These are great times with live in for Ham radio. Lots of exciting choices ahead.

One last thought. I want a Flex 6150 with a built in tuner to replace the Flex 1500, and while you're at it, give it the ability to integrate with a KXPA100. Thank you.

Dan 
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Walt - KZ1F

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Dan, its their entry model. Wait for their $1,900 model.
To be sure, some of you are accustom to the glass control surface, yet you flock to Maestro..hmm. Some of us aren't. That's not a deficiency, Ben and Jerry made chocolate as not everyone likes vanilla.

I believe I made the comment months ago, if not longer, that competition is good, it advances the field, regardless of the field.

People here are acting like their boyfriend was just insulted.
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Barry N1EU

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I'm curious whether a manufacturer will deliver a knobbed radio with a DDC/DUC dual rx engine inside, under $5000, in the not-too-distant future.  The 6700/Maestro is out of my price range.
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Walt - KZ1F

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I'll make a prediction now: Dayton 2016 will feature multiple SDR solutions, of the knob and rocker variety, for a $2,500 +/- price point. I made the trek to HRO today, there is some incredible stuff available. Unfortunately I can't comment more specifically without violating the Flex religious purity laws governing this echo chamber.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Unfortunately I can't comment more specifically without violating the Flex religious purity laws governing this echo chamber.

There are no such restrictions.
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Lee, Elmer

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Why is your not commenting unfortunate?
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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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This whole thread is like Medusa, snakes everywhere! 
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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You could buy 2 Elad. Or a SunSDR now
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Barry N1EU

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Sorry Howard, I'm looking to do stereo diversity.  I need a dual ADC rig.
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Sergey, R5AU

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On the locator for devirsity ready are F6700 and Anan200 in my knowledge however  radio`s without of knobs
Fully eqipped "suitcases" (classic style) are SunSDR MB1 as i know http://eesdr.com/en/products-en/transceivers-en/mb1-en#photo   and  Elad http://eesdr.com/en/products-en/transceivers-en/mb1-en#photo, but noboday can tell me exactly how the knobs help ? + both with one ADC onboard



 
(Edited)
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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Icom has developed and used SDR technology for quite some time. Note their Eclipse2 line of P25 radio systems.  So this isn't a new thing for them. But the fact that we're seeing ham SDR technology from Icom means that they've decided to broaden their use of SDR in their radio designs, and recognized the advantages -- both from a marketing and a technical point of view -- to bringing this approach to the ham market.

None of the major (by sales volume) manufacturers of amateur radio equipment are sinking the kind of money into R&D that they once were. Not for amateur radio or ANY of their product lines. The way I understand it, there are either very few or NO engineering teams left at ANY of the manufacturers who concentrate solely on amateur radio. Everything does double-duty. The team does a new commercial LMR design, and then move on to a new ham radio design.  Undoubtedly, much of the basic engineering is shared.  I remember one of the manufacturers (was it Kenwood?) explicitly citing this as the reason for the long time lag between ham radio releases.

Again, this is a terrific development.  I think it signals the beginning of the demise of conventional radio design in the ham radio space.  That will be a long process indeed, but one that will clearly come.

When we (Flex users) think of "SDR" in ham radio, we currently think of panadaptors and mouse clicks.  When commercial and public safety radio users think of SDR, they think about features like frequency agility, protocol flexibility, mesh networks, and the vast potential for cognitive radio. They just want to communicate.  They don't care about the technology.  It will be interesting to see of SDR continues to develop in both spaces.

Peter
K1PGV
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Lewis Cheek

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Well stated Peter.
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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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I suspect this is a trial balloon in the SDR ham market to see how it sells.

I believe there are a lot of tremendous radios out in the market and we are fortunate that any of the manufacturers make models for us (much less break new technology) because this is a teeny tiny market with little or no profit for most if not all of them. The variety provides a wide range of choice which is great because the ham usage is so broad that no one radio could possibly cover all of the bases.

Lets be excited for the guys who only want an Icom and buy their first SDR and not be smug that we have been using it 8 yeards or so, help them just like you would someone with a more traditional SDR. If they like it, they will be on this forum sooner or later!