ICOM IC-7300 & WSJT-X configuration for FT-8 data mode

In this article I have documented the steps I have taken to setup and configure both my ICOM IC-7300 and WSJT-X software for FT8 data mode operation.

Click on the continue button to see more.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If this is the first time you are connecting your ICOM transceiver to a computer do not connect the USB lead before installing the ICOM USB driver.

I am using Windows 10 operating system. If you are installing on a different operating system some parts of this process may be different.

INSTALLING THE ICOM USB DRIVER

Below is a link to the installation guide that explains the process for installing the ICOM USB driver on different operating systems. It is important you read this before downloading and installing the driver.

https://www.icom.co.jp/world/support/download/manual/disp_products.php?ID=20130723001

After you have familiarised yourself with the installation process, download the ICOM USB driver software from the link below.

https://www.icom.co.jp/world/support/download/firm/IC-7600/usb1_20/

After the software download is complete, run the software and follow the installation process.

CONNECT YOUR PC AND ICOM 7300 USING USB CABLE

Now the driver is installed you can connect your ICOM IC-7300 to your computer using a USB A to USB cable (1.1, 2.0, or 3.0).

CHECK COM PORT ASSIGNED TO ICOM USB DRIVER

Right click on Windows ‘Start’ button.

Click on ‘Device Manager’.

Click on ‘Ports (COM & LPT) to expand. If the ICOM USB driver has installed correctly and the ICOM IC-7300 is communicating with your PC you will see ‘Silicon Labs CP210x USB to UART Bridge (COMX), where X is the assigned port.

Make a note of this port number as you will need it later for WSJT-X configuration.

INTERNET TIME SYNCHRONISATION

FT8 and other data modes require your computer’s internal time clock be set precisely. Even if it’s out by a second or two it may result in you unable to make QSO’s.

To ensure my computer clock is kept up to date I  have installed ‘Meinberg NTP‘.

Information about this software can be found here http://www.satsignal.eu/ntp/setup.html

Software can be downloaded from here https://www.meinbergglobal.com/english/sw/ntp.htm#ntp_stable 

DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL WSJT-X

Find the latest version of WSJT-X at this URL: http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wsjtx.html

At the time of writing there had been some enhancements to FT8 and MSK144 protocols and as such these were not backward compatible with older versions of WSJT-X. These new protocols because the world-wide standard from 10th December 2018 and all users were asked to upgrade to WSJT-X 2.0 by 1st January 2019.  This will be the version I will be installing now.

There are options for both Windows and Linux. I will be installing the Windows 10 supported version.

Click on wsjtx-2.0.0-win32.exe or equivalent and download.

After the download has completed, run the executable and install WSJT-X. When prompted, tick the box to ‘Create wsjtx Desktop Icon’.

CONFIGURE ICOM IC-7300 FOR DATA MODE OPERATION

Click on the ‘MENU’ button and press ‘SET’.

Press ‘Connectors’.

Using the up and down arrow, scroll through each of the windows below and change to the same settings.

After you have finished changing the settings press the ‘EXIT‘ button on the radio to return the to the main screen.

SET ICOM 7300 TO USB-D MODE

For FT8 you will need to use ‘USB-D‘ mode. This ensures the ‘DATA MOD‘ value of ‘USB‘ (USB interface) is used (see above). Set mode by pressing the mode i.e. ‘USB-D‘ and pressing ‘SSB‘ to toggle between ‘USB‘ and ‘LSB‘ and ‘DATA‘ to toggle between ‘USB-D‘ and ‘LSB-D‘.

SET ICOM 7300 USB-D BANDWIDTH

I set my bandwidth to 3.60kHz for filter 3 by pressing and holding the filter button until the filter options open in the window. I press ‘BW‘ and use the main tuning knob to change the bandwidth. I press ‘SHARP‘ before pressing and holding the filter button until the filter options close.

SET ICOM 7300 AGC

For data modes I turn off Active Gain Control (AGC). I do this by pressing the ‘FUNCTION‘ button, pressing ‘FAST‘ and using the main tuning knob to select ‘OFF‘.

SET ICOM IC-7300 METER TYPE

When operating data modes I use the meter view.

Press the ‘MENU‘ button and click on ‘METER‘.

Besides other things I am now able to view output power, ALC and SWR.

CONFIGURE WSJT-X

Open the WSJT-X software. If you chose the option to ‘Create wsjtx Desktop Icon’ you can do this by double clicking the WSJT-X icon on the desktop.

Click on ‘File‘ then ‘Settings‘.

In the ‘General‘ tab input your callsign, grid square and IARU region. If you don’t know your grid square use WhatsMyLocator to find it. Details about IARU can be found here.

Other settings in this tab are my preferred settings.

Click on the ‘Radio‘ tab.

Click on the ‘Rig‘ dropdown and select ‘Icom IC-7300‘.

Click on ‘Serial Port‘ dropdown and select the COM port to which the ICOM USB driver was assigned and which you made a note of earlier.

Click on ‘Baud Rate‘ dropdown and select ‘9600′.

Click on the ‘CAT‘ radio button.

Set other radio buttons as per screenshot below.

If you click on the ‘Test CAT‘ button you should now hear your ICOM IC-7300 momentarily key.

Click on the ‘Audio‘ tab.

Check the Soundcard ‘Input‘ is using the ‘USB Audio CODEC’. If it isn’t, click on the dropdown and select it.

Click on the ‘Audio‘ tab.

Check the Soundcard ‘Output‘ is using the ‘USB Audio CODEC’. If it isn’t, click on the dropdown and select it.

Click on the ‘Tx Macro‘ tab.

I have made no changes to settings in this tab.

Click on the ‘Reporting‘ tab. ‘

The ‘Logging‘ section contains my preferred values. All other values are default.

Click on the ‘Frequencies‘ tab.

I have made no changes to settings in this tab.

Click on the ‘Colours‘ tab.

I have made no changes to settings in this tab.

Click on the ‘Advanced‘ tab.

I have made no changes to settings in this tab.

Click the ‘OK’ button to save your changes.


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You can also register for my website here.

Thanks

73 de M0NWK

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