Icom IC-7300: WSJT-X with DXLab

If you use both WSJT-X and DXLab Suite Commander, you will find that both of these programs need to use the serial CI-V interface to your IC-7300. You cannot use both the native IC-7300 setup for WSJT-X and Commander at the same time.

Fortunately, you can still use both at the same time by selecting the DXLab Suite as the radio selection from the WSJT-X Config screen.

Setup WSJT-X to use DXLab Commander CV-I Driver

Then run Commander first, followed by WSJT-X. You can even setup DXLab Launcher to do this automatically.

One the big advantages of using DXLab Commander is its ability to show the IC-7300 waterfall spectrum display on you computer monitor. To use this effectively, this means running the serial port at 115200 baud.

If you use the WSJT-X native IC-7300 settings, 19200 is the maximum baud rate you can select. This is because those settings require setting the CV-I USB Port setting to “Link to [REMOTE]” which imposes the 19200 baud limit.

When “Link to [REMOTE]” is selected, the CI-V USB Baud Rate will max out at 19200. There seems to be a bug in the V1.20 IC-7300 firmware that can still show higher baud rates even when “Link to [REMOTE]” is select. But the higher rates don’t work – 19200 is still the maximum. How to recreate this situation is not clear, but it can happen.

On the other hand, the DXLab Suite rig driver needs the CV-I USB Port set to “Unlink from [REMOTE]” which allows it to run at 115200 baud and thus support the waterfall display. This setup will still work correctly with WSJT-X.

DXLab has a page explaining how to setup the waterfall display here.


fldigi with Icom IC-7300

fldigi is a free program used for various digital modes.

Thanks for visiting this page. It seems to have become the goto reference page for setting up  fldigi for the Icom IC-7300, and I will try to keep it updated.

This post describes the steps needed to get fldigi set up with the Icom IC-7300.

  1. Setup your 7300 as described in this post Icom IC-7300 Digital Mode Settings.
  2. Download fldigi from here: fldigi – Ham Radio Digital Modem Application
  3. Each transceiver needs a Rig definition. Some transceivers can work with the (not recently updated) Hamlib library, but not the IC-7300. Instead, you use the fldigi RigCAT settings. The specific rig description is available for the IC-7300 to download. So, you need to download the rig description file from here: ic-7300.xml before you install fldigi. It is an XML text file. Keep track of where you save that file for use in Step 5.
  4. Install fldigi by running the file you downloaded.
  5. Configure fldigi for the 7300.
    1. Open the Configure menu
    2. Open the Rig Control sub-menuj
    3. Select RigCAT from the left tab on the 2nd line.
    4. Click the user RigCat checkbox at the top of the box.
    5. The Rig Description File box should be blank. Click the Open… button, and then use the file selection dialog to select the ic-7300.xml file you just uploaded in step 3.
    6. Baud Rate of 19200 or 38400 should work.
    7. CAT command for PTT should be selected.
    8. Select the correct Device (will be a COM#). The actual port number will vary depending on your computer, but will be the one connected to Silicon Labs CP210x.
    9. Click Initialize and Save, and you should see things start working on the fldigi main screen.
  6. The introduction to fldigi is found here.

Post revised 2/12/2018

Icom IC-7300 Digital Mode Settings

This post last revised: 01/21/2018

This post shows the settings I use with my IC-7300 for digital modes over the USB connection from the 7300 to a Windows computer. (e.g., BPSK31 using Ham Radio Deluxe Digital Master 780, fldigi, WSJT-X) These settings seem to work equally well with most digital modes, and digital mode software. These settings might be different for DXLab Commander and Ham Radio Deluxe. See my other posts that address the specifics of DXLab Commander and HRD.

It is easiest to connect the IC-7300 using a single USB cable. Be sure that you first download and install the Icom USB driver before connecting your 7300 to the Windows computer the very first time. Windows will try to auto-install its own driver if you simply plugin the USB cable from the 7300 to the computer, and that one doesn’t work with the Icom USB interface.

In this article, use the context to differentiate USB (PC Universal Serial Bus) vs. USB (Upper Side Band).

Set UP your IC-7300 for Digital Modes

Connectors Settings

Open the Settings -> Connectors menu. There are 4 important settings.

  1. USB AF Output Level – 40%. This affects the Audio Level heard by your computer. Depending on your software, you may want to change this. For WSJT-X, this value affects the
  2. USB MOD Level – 40%. Set this so that you get a minimal ALC meter reading when transmitting. This should assure you have a clean output signal. This value can vary depending on your software. The value is also related to your output power. See the output power description below.
  3. DATA OFF MOD – Mic. This option tells your IC-7300 which audio input source (modulation) to use when the DATA mode is OFF. This would normally be your microphone (MIC) when in regular USB/LSB modes. Note that the versions of the 7300 firmware after late 2017 have added an option for this setting called MIC, ACC. This new option was technically unnecessary, but many people were confused by the DATA OFF and DATA (ON) options, and were getting no audio when switching between Digital and Microphone modes. The MIC setting is really “correct”.
  4. DATA MOD – USB. Use the USB connector to get your audio from your computer when in data mode (USB-D).
  5. CI-V – These settings relate to the USB control interface and are controlled by the setup of your digital software. They are related to the ICOM USB port driver you must install for Windows, the serial COM port number that ends up being the one used for your particular PC, and the baud rate you decide to use. These are usually described in some detail for each digital control program you use, and can be set up so that all your software will talk to your IC-7300.
    Note: the CI-V USB Port setting should be set to “Link to [REMOTE]”. This setting seems to be required for most software programs using the CI-V function. A side effect of this is the the CI-V USB Baud Rate will be limited to 19200. You want the fastest Baud rate possible.
AF Output Level 40% (see text)

Use USB-D Mode

Now, when using a digital mode, you should use the USB-D mode. (Click the Mode label in the upper left, select USB and select DATA.) The USB-D mode is needed so that the DATA MOD option works as expected. It also lets you define a custom filter for BPSK31.

Use USB-D for digital modes.

You can set the Filters (1-3) for each mode (USB, USB-D, AM, etc.). The default for the Data modes is very narrow, and this doesn’t work well for BPSK31. So change the USB-D Filter 1 by long-pressing the FIL1 button on the screen, and set the BW to 3.0K or wider. Alternatively, if you use RTTY or other narrower modes, you can use FIL2 or FIL3 instead for BPSK31.

Set USB-D FIL1 to 3.0k.

Other Important Settings

  • No compression – this should be automatically disabled when you are in USB-D mode. You can check on the FUNCTION screen – COMP should be disabled.
  • No Notch Filter – press the NOTCH button until it is OFF
  • NB (noise blanker) and NR (noise reduction) both OFF.
Values for AGC, NOTCH, NB, NR for digital modes.

Reduce Your Transmit Power

Don’t forget to reduce your RF output power when on digital modes. The effective output power is determined by a combination of three settings:

  1. The output volume of your computer audio out (microphone). Ultimately, this is the best way to control your RF output power. Your digital mode software should have an option or on-screen setting to change this level. For example, WSJT-X has a vertical slider on the lower right labelled “Pwr”. This controls your output power by controlling the audio level delivered to the IC-7300. There are similar settings for fldigi.
  2. If you are controlling RF output power by using the audio level on the computer, then you should be able to pick a usable constant level for USB MOD level. Around 40% seems to work well.
  3. You can also leave the RF power of the IC-7000 (set from the MULTI physical knob) to 100%. If you don’t have easy RF power control from the digital software, you can instead simply use the MULTI knob to set your RF power to 30%, which will be about 30 watts.

Note that you will likely want to operate with the meter set to S/Power Out to monitor your RF output power. Remember, you don’t need more than about 30 watts to make contacts, and many people like to run with even less power.

Power Ouput Level: about 30 watts


Save Your Settings

Presumably, you will used your 7300 for other operating modes. The settings described for digital modes are not optimal for SSB or CW. Fortunately, you can save all your settings in a named file on the SD card. It then becomes a simple matter to load your settings for different modes.

To save, use Menu -> Set -> SD Card -> Save Setting -> <>. Don’t use the default name – create an explanatory name for your settings file – Digital Modes, USB, etc.

To restore, use Menu -> Set SD Card -> Load Setting. Then pick the settings file for the appropriate mode.

More Details on Power and ALC Control

There are other tutorials on the web about controlling your digital mode output power. One good one is found at: The N7XGR Audio and Transmit Settings Tutorial

The Icom IC-7300 Changes Everything


The Icom IC-7300 is a real game changer. If you’ve listened around the bands the past couple of weeks, it seems like it is impossible to not hear conversations about the 7300. And almost all of them are totally positive. There are pages of reviews on eHam.com, all positive.

Update, January 2018: The title of this article seems pretty prophetic. Since it was written immediately after the release of the 7300, Icom has sold over 20,000 units. This is essentially unprecedented. It is outselling all other radios, and has apparently caused a deep depression in prices in the used radio market. That does mean you can get a really nice radio pretty cheap, but it won’t be a 7300.

Why is this happening? It is because Icom has put almost all the technical features you can find in high-end transceivers (like those costing well over $5,000), and put them in a $1,500 ($1,200 in 2018) radio. Overnight, Icom has rendered essentially any transceiver under $3,500 obsolete, including their own. And the more expensive radios – you’d have to think long and hard to buy one now, especially since Icom is likely to introduce more deluxe models (the IC-7610 or IC-7750 perhaps) within a year or so. (1/2018: the IC-7601 is now released and available.)

I’ve just become active again after quite a few years off, so maybe I’ve missed some of the more recent radio developments. I did make one mistake: I assumed that almost everyone would have a radio with a built-in, real-time spectrum scope with a full waterfall display. I don’t think that is really true.

All the wonderful attributes of a Software Defined Radio (SDR) aside, the ability to operate with a spectrum scope totally changes the experience of operating a transceiver. It is like being blind before, but now being able to see. If you haven’t experienced using a spectrum scope, you really need to.

And it has to be a real-time scope – building a scan while the audio is off as is found in some of the transceivers that have a scope, or building a scan from HRD or other computer interface to your radio is simply not the same thing.

The 7300’s real-time scope is the only one in a sub-$2,000 traditional style transceiver – one that doesn’t require a PC interface. This by itself is huge, but the 7300 is also an SDR with a RMDR@2kHz of 103db. The receiver, in other words, is amazing. You can’t touch it for anything less than $3,000 or $4,000.

And the scope display is on a 4-inch LCD touch screen. This may seem small, but it isn’t. Even my old eyes have no difficulty seeing and using the screen. The other benefit is that almost all of the control of the radio is only a press or two away on the touch screen. Icom has done an amazing job designing the touch sequences for the commands, and it really is much easier than a whole bunch of mechanical buttons and knobs on the front of the radio.

So what we have is a transceiver with a truly excellent receiver, a transmitter that puts out high quality audio and other signals, a built-in antenna tuner, a totally amazing spectrum scope that also includes an audio scope with a waterfall, and a very easy to learn touch screen interface to control the radio. And there are a bunch of other really nice features – like audio recording, a USB interface that works with all the major PC software tools.

And all of this is in a $1,500 package. At the moment, it is really impossible to get all the technical features in another radio for even 3 times the price.

Sure, there are some things missing – only one antenna input, no video output, no direct full-size keyboard input port, no IP connector for direct remote control, only one receiver (but it does have two VFOS that are a simple button push away from switching), and probably other stuff nice for contesting. But, remember, this is an introductory level computer, and only costs $1,500. I can’t really imagine what Icom has planned for the next model up, let alone a $7,000 or $8,000 version.

Just one more thing – it is really fun to use the 7300. The spectrum scope changes how you operate, and you can hear signals you’ve never heard before.

Disclaimer: This really is my reaction to this radio. I have no affiliation with Icom or any place selling this radio.