Icom 7200 is back, for Now

7200.jpg

The 7200 is back- for now- so take advantage of it. I think someone at Icom read this blog when I bitched about them discontinuing anything suitable for field use- GOOD!

This is probably the best HF set for the money out there, bar none, for its impressive receiving capability alone, in addition to its simplicity and direct digital interface. It’s simplicity is a giant asset for new users, and while not the most power-friendly set made, it’s positives far outweigh its drawbacks. Mine is the go-to base unit, and I think yours will become that too.

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60 thoughts on “Icom 7200 is back, for Now

  1. Pingback: Brushbeater: The ICOM 7200 Is Back For Now | Western Rifle Shooters Association

    1. Mine didn’t come with them- but it has them now just to give it that ‘Harris’ look.

      The advantages over the 857 are the built in TNC, the DSP (which is really, really nice) and the far higher sensitivity. Overall, its a far simpler rig to operate, especially for new folks.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Since the time of that writing, I’ve sold the 897, partly because the 857 does the same thing, and partly because for the role it played, the 7200 does it better.

      Obviously the Icom is a decade newer in technology, so the sound quality and features are better, but it’s also a far simpler rig to operate in a more durable package.

      That being said, if you can find an 897 that’s not too beat up (see it in person, operate it a bit, get the seller’s callsign) and for around $500 (a challenge, some folks think their used ones should go for new prices) they make a great rig. Being HF-6, 2m, and 70cm is nice, and the ability to place a power supply in the housing as well as bolt a tuner on the side is attractive as well.

      All things being equal though, they’re getting long in the tooth, and the Icom, although HF only, fills the role of a base unit better when paired with a VHF/UHF mobile.

      Like

      1. anon

        I agree with NCScout as above. I have a 7200 (my first radio) but also a 7100 in the rover and a 897D for portable. I bought the 897 used with all the accessories aside from the ATAS and internal filters for 900 (bracket, 2 internal batteries, 2 mics, the external charger for the batteries and the bolt in power supply that goes in the space of the internal batteries). The 897 also came with the LDG at-897 tuner that mounts to the side. So I got a deal IMO. But I did have to get a signalink for digital work. Its a good…read good radio. Not stellar at any one thing. But, its versatility is what makes it my portable go to rig. My 7200 pulls base radio duties, because it is a superior HF+6 rig. Excellent tx signal even without compression. RX is very good with a home-brew vertical. And is smooth and silky to operate and, set up and change settings.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Badger

    This is (hopefully) going to be great news for some who are fast/smart enough to grab one if they’re shopping. Completely agree with you when I found that Icom had stopped doing this one; it was a WTH were you thinking moment? If I didn’t already have a 450D as a base THIS is the rig I’d grab, bar none. Thanks very much for the news; will pass it along.

    As you point out (and military appearances notwithstanding) the typical 100w base rigs don’t make practical field radios unless one is in a situation to provide it the regular full power it wants. There is much overhead in a base rig running the other “stuff” that doesn’t relate to just turning down the transmit power. Best I’ve seen is to get down to about 40% of normal consumption & if you’re going to do that one should’ve looked for something that had less power already, lighter, less batttery requirement, etc. But the 7200 is a great radio (its receive filters kill the stock ones in its competition at that price). Hopefully Icom will keep this one in the inventory for some time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The 450 is by no means bad- I know several in use currently, and I’ve recommended a few to some folks just getting going.

      But the Icom at the moment is just too good to pass up. That, and, they seem to be receptive to what a growing segment of the market REALLY wants, which not what’s being offered by the ‘Big 3’ in their new products.

      Like

      1. Badger

        X-ring. I do REALLY like my 450D. But the way Icom handles a receiver stage is notably. Other than KX3, best CW filter I had was an add-on Collins to my FT-817. But then, against the KX3 it’s not really fair. πŸ™‚ Anyway, hopefully those sitting on the fence for a very capable base, that hears really well, will jump on this. RE what you mention about ‘Big 3’ myopia reminds of the similar disease Detroit car-makers have engaged in for decades – perhaps the deplorables can get a vote in what comes to market and Icom will be rewarded for taking a second look.

        Now off to work-up my SKYWARN-specific Moxon…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I owned both the 857d and the 7200 at the same time and the receiver in the Icom is far superior! At the time of purchase, about 2 years ago, the 7200 was also cheaper. Granted, nothing beats the power to portability factor and all band capability of the 857d. I have since sold my 857 to fund a KX2 for field/ SOTA operations and carry a HT (I refuse to mention the brand on this blog! πŸ˜‰ for all around capability. If I could have only one, it would be the 7200!

    Side note, after the great brain exercise regarding the post about greyline 160M propagation (of which upon research I found all the answers in previous posts….read the blog guys; multiple times!), anyone consider experimenting with these principles amongst ourselves?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have owned the FT-817, 857D and 897D, and the IC-7200, among many other rigs.

    7200 advantages-

    Probably the biggest advantage is good ergonomics with a minimum of menus required to get up and running. For this old-timer, this is very important. I purchased, but did not really use, the Nifty manual. For the Yaesu rigs, I use the Nifty manual all the time.

    When it comes to receiver performance, the 7200 is distinctly superior to the Yaesu, especially in noisy or crowded conditions. The twin pass band tuning took me a while to learn to use, but is VERY helpful; the notch is as good as TenTec could do.

    The IC 7200 is not waterproof, but it is damp resistant, unlike the 897 or the 857.

    It is a one cable hookup for digital or rigCAT, unlike the 897, a distinct advantage especially for portable ops.

    It is virtually impossible to overheat, with dual cooling fans.

    It is rugged, and designed to survive field use; not only the optional front handles, which I consider essential, but also the rear panel configuration, are well thought out to protect the radio. It is not a military set, but it is distinctly more rugged than the Yaesu.

    Advantages of the Yaesu family-

    Frequency coverage- the FT-817, 857 and 897 cover every band the 7200 does and 2 meters and 70 cm too, a distinct plus;

    The 857 has a detachable control head, a plus.

    All three Yaesu radios have dual antenna connectors, a plus.

    The 857 or it’sand the 817 are more friendly to battery operation, another distinct plus. You pay a price for the receiver performance of the 7200 in increased power consumption.

    The 857 is less than half the weight of the 7200, less than 5 pounds bare foot compared to 12 pounds for the 7200. This drops a bit when you include the outboard TNC and cables if you want to run digital.

    Summary-
    If I were backpacking, either the 817 or the 857 on CW would be my choice, both because of the radio’s weight and the decreased battery requirement. I would not be using digital in such circumstance, so the mess of cables required would not be an issue, and the lack of another radio to cover the VHF/UHF bands would be another plus. I’d simply have to suck up the lesser performance on receive.

    If I were using vehicular or other transport (bike, horse, etc) to support portable operation then the 7200 would be my first choice, paired with a good multiband VHF HT like the VX series or the th-F6A and a good antenna setup. I’d also want a good rugged and water resistant tablet or laptop.

    My second pick would be the 897 with both internal batteries.

    bottom line- if you do not have a IC-7200, you do not know what you are missing.

    Keypounder

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bryanjb

      still looking at the QRP 817nd and the KX3 – looks like I’ve got to do some research to see if Icom has something of the 7200 era for QRP with similar receive and UI performance.

      just want to say thanks to ncscout and keypounder (and signals31 for his lead) for the article / quiz on the NVIS setup. it’s got me back on the wire, and now studying to up from T go G with the online quizzes at qrz.com. keep up the good work you guys.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The last Icom QRP rig was the 703. For what they usually go for used, the money can be far better spent. They’re not bad, being from the Icom 706 generation (it’s the same radio, just with a 10w max output and an internal tuner that’s so-so) and receive a bit hotter than the 817, but again, they’ve been out of production for nearly a decade and still fetch near-new prices.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Badger

        For what it’s worth (and I’ve operated & enjoyed both), FT-817nd and the KX3 are apples & oranges. Just my view, but you are taking a huge leap in capability across the board with the KX3 (but at not surprisingly more money). But if performance is the question the KX3 slays the 817 (and that’s saying alot) other than the built-in VHF/UHF thing, where I prefer a separate item for that anyway. If you can find someone that has a KX3 & has explored its capabilities you should try some hands/ears on. (Also, the built-in tuner available in the KX3 will match a mop handle as they say, and many things are quickly available vs. dual-pressing small buttons with big fingers on the 817.) The hardest question sometimes in much of this is to take an honest broad mission/requirements look at what you want to do & how flexible you want to be able to do it. Sometimes hard to do when we have shiny things in front of us.
        πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      3. bryanjb

        the question about mission has me thinking further. i’m also in no hurry – with our local hamcon / swap coming up, i’ll have a chance to look at the local units available. being able to put a unit in a backpack and throw up a dipole for NVIS practice with my local group is me on a mission to get some comms capability with a group that really hasn’t done any thinking in this realm. i’d also like to be able to use this unit from my shack here, and if the best selection means getting an RF amp to use for when i want to operated fixed, that’s ok.

        i’d been looking at the ic706mk2g a while ago, and the added 2m / 70cm capabilities are attractive, as well as the ability to dial back the power with a corresponding reduction of juice used. i’m fairly up the curve on Li ion battery capabilities, so the 150ma with a KX3 compared to a 1.8A receive / standby in the 706 is not a deal killer. a 10KmAh 4s (16v) lithium pack is a lot of backpack-able power at a very modest weight. i do already have 2m / 70 HTs, and they don’t have enough punch to hit to local repeater.

        given how overloaded i get with how every damn electronic thing has its own special UI hell, i’m thinking using the same radio shack or the field, and learning it really well, will pay big if / when things get frisky. the icom radios look like a pretty nice interface, but i’ll still be waiting to buy only after having a chance to kick tires… again, no hurry.

        thanks for the feedback nc scout and badger.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. honeycomb

    For a Base Station in this price range I’d run a Kenwood TS590 .. but for field day or mobile applications I feel like the Icom 7200 is more durable. Though not as good a receiver (re: TS590).

    YMMV

    73

    PS .. Been a Ham since I was 9 years old .. I’m now 46 years old .. jus sayin so many rigs .. so little time left .. get what works while you still can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honeycomb- Completely agree that the 590SG is superior to the 7200, but it is not as rugged as the 7200, nor is is as inexpensive. Street price on a new 590SG is about 1250 bucks; that $400 is a lot of money. In it’s price class, the 7200 is a ‘best buy’. Now, if you compare the 991, the IC-7300, and the 590SG, I’d pick the 590. And I did!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All great rigs- but for a ‘survivalist’ type base unit, being fairly rugged and simple, that 7200 wins, hands down.

        That being said though, if one wants a top notch rig for indoor uses that’s comparatively little more, the Kenwood offers a lot.

        I’m a big Yaesu fan, but the 991 just doesn’t do it for me. The 891 is even worse. I wouldn’t consider buying either one of those radios, and especially not for the asking price.

        Like

      2. honeycomb

        The biggest advantage to a base station is the (ant) farm. Or it is for me. But, the TS590SG is my base qro rig. I run a metric butt-ton of kit qrp rigs from home & in the field.

        In the field it’s always a compromise .. so have as many options as you can carry [re: radio(s) & ant(s)].

        Now that Icom has revived the 7200 .. it is time to buy two more .. I have two more jeeps to out-fit (one for me and one for my brother). It’s good to be in a ham family πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Good news – they are great rigs. Hope it don’t bump up the used 7200 prices – I’ve seen like new for $600 shipped on the ham sites.

    I have the 897, 817, and the 7200 – 7200 is definitely easier to use – but they are all quality.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. NightWatcher

    I’ve been doing the digital HF thing for a long while and have come full circle since I was able to pick up an IC-7200 on clearance a couple of years ago. Despite it being the “cheapest” radio in my stable, it is my daily use and “go-to” rig.

    There are a few tweaks needed for WinMOR use, but they are “one and done” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uS5w5Wtz6UU). Also, don’t forget the USB serial port driver from ICOM (https://www.icom.co.jp/world/support/download/firm/IC-7600/usb1_20/).

    If you miss this opportunity you WILL regret it.

    PS, the handles are not included (unless Icom changed practice), so include them in your budget.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. NightWatcher

    Just wanted to second the comment about the dual bandpass filters. Learn how to use them (very easy and intuitive) and they will become your best friend for narrowband digital work.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Deplorable B Woodman

    Much as I would love to indulge, I think I’ll stick with my SGC2020 and matching SG211 autotuner. I’ll be starting classes in two weeks to get my General license. Time to string another coax for another antenna……..decisions, decisions…….fan dipole, end-fed, or mag loop?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If it’s what you use, why do you need my opinion? πŸ™‚

      It’s a simple, robust, bare-bones starter rig. The 7200 is superior, but it’s also a bit higher on the food chain.

      Like

  10. For solid, medium-range (say 50 miles?) digital comms, SSB on V/UHF, with a highly directional antenna, has a LOT to offer.

    It’s a shame that the other manufacturers don’t offer SSB in their radios. At least for the 817/857, Yaesu does.

    The menus on Yaesu are feature rich….but the default settings work pretty well most of the time. Beginners should not avoid them because they are complicated, learn to use the basic radio and then learn (via the horrible manuals that come with them, the Nifty manuals, and youtube videos) how to use them better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s about it…new. They all used to build them, but now, its a Yaesu-only deal, and the newest Yaesus don’t seem to embrace SSB over 2m/70cm.

      But if someone was really slick and wanted to walk off the beaten path a bit, they’d have a couple MARS/CAP 857Ds with SSB capability over some of the lesser-used/monitored bandspaces.

      Not that I’m telling anyone to do that…at all…just that it’s ‘possible.’

      Like

    2. If you really want to embrace SSB on VHF/UHF you can look at the TS-2000x by Kenwood, which will do not only 440 but 1296 and will do CW and SSB on these bands as well as AM and packet. They are a bit more expensive rigs than the Yaesu family, but 1296 is vastly underutilized. You can also look around for a Yaesu FT-736R; with 220 and 1296 modules, in good shape they run around a grand used.

      Liked by 1 person

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