I’m completing my first 30 days of using the new Icom IC-7851 HF transceiver. This new flagship entry replaced the venerable IC-7800 in the Icom HF radio lineup. I should note that I’ve never used the 7800, so the 7851 is my first foray into the high end Icom rigs. I’ve used a IC-7600 in the past, and most recently operated a Kenwood TS-990 for about two years (I’ve also used many other HF radios over the years, including the Flex 5000). I can say without reservation that the 7851 has the best receiver I have ever had the pleasure of operating. Unlike the TS-990, the IC-7851 has a very quiet receiver with noise reduction circuitry that is almost flawless. It has been a pleasure to pull out weak signals with the 7851. The filtering is first rate.
Using my EV RE27ND microphone, I have received universally good audio reports. I don’t use any outboard audio processing gear, and from the start, even my “picky” ham friends told me that the transmit audio sounded very good. I’ll post about my audio settings in the near future, although the setup was not very complicated.
The built in scope is clear and responsive. Additionally, the “dual scope” feature is unique and a welcomed addition. With dual watch active, the user can display the main and sub band scopes simultaneously on the screen. While the split scope is a bit small on the radio screen, it looks fantastic on the high definition output on a large monitor.
The layout of the front panel is intuitive and easy to quickly master. I felt comfortable using this radio within a couple of days removing it from the box.
These are my initial impressions, and I have more to use and experiment with. I am looking forward to using the built in RTTY and PSK functions. I’m also looking forward to operating the 7851 in a contest setting with crowded band conditions.
First impressions are always important, and the 7851 did not disappoint!