Icom IC-9700 users topic

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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK3QI » Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:25 pm

This coupler method was popularised by the late G4HUP and he actually sold a kit to that effect.

The only comment I would make is that it does require a retune of the coil to which you have coupled the signal. Given that the IC9700 produces and requires subharmonics as well, there is no guarantee that the proposed solution will reliably lock under all conditions.

Our experience with using the coupler method on IC706MK2G rigs was not as successful as was expected.

Far more elegant solutions like the one that Glenn VK1XX appears to be developing, is the way to go.

Cheers

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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK4UH » Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:46 am

Actual measurements today after installation of the newest Firmware upgrade to the IC9700 with 10MHz sync-lock
Unmodified and unopened IC9700, stabilized after 2 hours warm-up

Explanation. On-air reception of Brisbane 1296 beacon VK4RBB on 1296.440. GPS locked 2 minute cycles of JT4-CW-constant carrier

Dial set to 1296.439 USB mode so expecting an audio tone of 1000Hz

Spectran audio analysis software

Image 1.
16627998-3507-472E-9616-7F0F26255AA7.jpeg
Above: 20min horizontal waterfall with 9700 Sync-lock disables (bright white segments in lower trace indicating the constant carrier) 2 minute repeating cycles. Minimal drift <1Hz and minimal frequency jitter seen.

Note the audio frequency scale on the right hand side has resolution of 1 Hz steps. the red timing marks at the bottom of each trace are indicating 30 second periods


Image 2 and 3
387B8697-BDAD-4C36-A282-86083E891D08.jpeg
8F7ECAD1-E3F5-4CF8-BFB3-2494D1DE0196.jpeg
Above: Sync-lock disables so internal oscillators free running. Two consecutive 20 min periods. Slow rise of audio frequency but <1Hz over 40 mins. Apparent jitter unchanged - so probably not related to sync-lock action.


Image 4
0E9CA9DC-10D7-4D21-BE35-9D964BE5C56F.jpeg
Above: Sync-lock disables. Short period of jitter in three steps. Over all around 1 Hz maximum deviation over one 30-second period then stable again.

Impression
Sync-lock appears in this test to maintain frequency on 1296 within 1Hz (I cannot be sure VK4RBB beacon is that accurate). Minimal jitter within 30 seconds of activation

My other observation is that my radio , even without the new sync-lock activated, shows extremely low levels of oscillator drift even on 1296MHz band. Maybe this radio is a prime example but this observation if very different to that being reported by others.

I also checked that the sync-lock was actually turning on and off. While in the OFF state I removed the 10MHz reference signal with no apparent effect .

I stress that these measurements are made on RECEIVE only.

I intend doing an equivalent series next assessing the TRANSMIT stability under various conditions. Watch this space

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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK5AKK » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:33 pm

Running 2M WSPR after upgrading to firmware 1.10.
Checking with other GPS locked stations, and my Rx is spot on but my Tx is 1 Hz high, and zero drift.
Sync-lock on and 10 Mhz GPS in.
Also with the firmware update I needed to update to the latest CS-9700 to continue programming
Compared to the 910, selectivity is no better as I still get loud key clicks from the local beacon, chopping up my WSPR Rx at 39 Khz away.
Cheers
Phil
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Re: Icom IC-9700 firmware update

Post by VK3ZAZ » Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:01 pm

https://www.icom.co.jp/world/support/do ... 9700_1_10/

Firmware update purports to auto sync with your GPSDO reference source.
I updated and my radio changed by 5 hz.
Watching the Sync ref it has now dropped from 33% fine to 32% fine as it warmed upforwantof a better word.
GPS locks my clock why the GPSDO ext ref?
2 gps sources connect to one radio pretty useless to take out in the field IMO. :om:
Decoding VK5GF no discernable drift and I still have my 5 year unmolested warranty.
As someone said at SERG today why cant a 2500$ radio work like a $500 910tcxo.
The radio was only around for half a year before sale and no one picked the bugs.
cheers :popcorn:
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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK3ZAZ » Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:15 pm

VK4GHZ wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:10 pm
VK1JA wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:50 pm
This part is interesting 'A small coupler PC board is soldered to the top of the TCXO can inside the IC-9700'.
Any residual solder evidence from this 'mod' will no doubt void the warranty.
The first few returns to Icom might slip through as warranty jobs, but I'm sure they will be on the look out for any signs of tinkering before too long?
I am with you leave the radio alone or declare it when you sell it so we can avoid buying a molested radio thanks :popcorn:
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Re: Icom IC-9700 firmware update

Post by VK3BA » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:32 pm

VK3ZAZ wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:01 pm
https://www.icom.co.jp/world/support/do ... 9700_1_10/

Firmware update purports to auto sync with your GPSDO reference source.
I updated and my radio changed by 5 hz.
Watching the Sync ref it has now dropped from 33% fine to 32% fine as it warmed upforwantof a better word.
GPS locks my clock why the GPSDO ext ref?
2 gps sources connect to one radio pretty useless to take out in the field IMO. :om:
Decoding VK5GF no discernable drift and I still have my 5 year unmolested warranty.
As someone said at SERG today why cant a 2500$ radio work like a $500 910tcxo.
The radio was only around for half a year before sale and no one picked the bugs.
cheers :popcorn:
G'day Steve, you're looking for a bite, but you're not going to get one from me... maybe you will... :)

FYI, I'm still running v1.05 as I'm just sitting back waiting for you to do the research and then I'll go straight to the latest ver.

I've recently un-subsribed from the IC-9700 email list as it was polluting my Inbox mostly with what some folk hadn't bothered to read in the manuals, the brochures and fine print. But... I get the fine work that Rex, Glen & Mark have done thus far in understanding the rig and the way forward for weak sig DX... much more than some of the hand wringing that we've all seen lately. I'm sure Icom have been reading everything that's being said, as well as picking the flyshit from the pepper in regards to issues and possible non-invasive solutions.

Then again, who's likely to go a warranty claim after performing surgery anyway? Those that are seeking to work weak sig DX after surgery probably aren't likely to seek warranty work - these folk are true experimenters wishing to push the envelope... unlike black box operators like myself... :P

It's been interesting to note the findings of yourself & Phil re the findings of ver1.10 so things are looking up.

Where are you going with the comparison of a $2500 IC-9700 and a supposed $500 TXCO IC-910H ?? Show me where you'll find a 910H (inc23) for less than $1200, even without a VK3HZ GPSDO mod?? As you maybe aware, I've recently helped manage the transfer of an ex VK3BA -> VK3OB 2008 build IC-910H(inc23) to the Mayor of Caramut. That thing is now as straight as a die, thanks to Rod 3OB and his R&S workbench. I think the 910H(inc23) will go down as one of those legendary rigs.

IC-9700 bugs?? My Prado will be up on a hoist all day at Lakeside on Tuesday, so if I can steal a spare vehicle, I'll pop over during the day and you can show me where I'm not getting it... :P

Put the kettle on...!

Cheers,
Nik VK3BA
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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK3ZAZ » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:05 am

ok polly
you can help me terminate the ldf and my recently acquired atn 27 element lpyagi designed by klm and cloned all over vk. Now there is a story in itself.

ps my ic910a complete with 144-146 no repeater offset came off a stall at Tokyo ham fair for ¥240000 including an icom carry bag and a hat.
Tread your own path :om:

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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK3BA » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:54 am

Thanks for the shack tour, Steve. You've got a nice spot for the 9700. No more bites here - all gone quiet.

I'll let you to get up the stick tomorrow to tidy up the 6m yagi... :beer:

Cheers,
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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK4GHZ » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:23 am

FYI

Rob Sherwood
Jun 11 #3174

I did some testing as to the effect of level into the nominal -10 dBm 10 MHz input.

It will sync at -30 dBm, not that I recommend it.

I fed in 0 dBm for quite a while, and it works fine.

Also fed in +10 dBm, and the radio didn't complain.

Considering the information posted earlier as to the 6 dB input pad and the clipping diodes, operation at +10 dBm should be no surprise, but again not recommended.

I have a 20 dB Mini-Circuits in-line attenuator from the output of my Trimble Thunderbolt located at the back of the radio.
This provides -7 dBm into the IC-9700.
I also have a Trimble Thunderbolt with a DEMI '10-4' four port splitter (output level = +12.5 dBm).
(DEMI 10-4 superceded by L10-4B https://www.downeastmicrowave.com/product-p/l10-4b.htm)

My Trimble Thunderbolt GPSDO system: http://vk4ghz.com/10-mhz-gpsdo/ which was re-packaged http://vk4ghz.com/thunderbolt-gpsdo-rebuild/

The 10 MHz is fed to the IC-9700 via a 26 dB SMA attenuator, providing 10 MHz @ -13.5 dBm.

The level range accepted by the IC-9700 is quite accommodating. :thumbup:
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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK4GHZ » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:39 pm

Version 1.11 is now available.

http://www.icom.co.jp/world/support/dow ... 9700/1_11/
Changes from Version 1.10

Fixed an issue where the IC-9700 may hang up on a multifunction dial operation.
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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK4GHZ » Sat Jun 15, 2019 10:54 am

FYI
VK1XX somewhere else wrote:the 10 MHz logic output to the FPGA was constant duty and well behaved from 25mV ptp upwards.

At 0.6V ptp, the duty cycle began to vary with input level, I would regard that is the maximum recommended level.
That is, beyond the designers objectives.

The radio seems to be just fine up to 3V ptp. I think you want to be at least 6dB about minimum.

My recommendations, 50mV ptp up to 0.6V ptp

which is about -22dBm to 0 dBm
VK1XX somewhere else wrote: I just looked at the schematic- there is a diode clipper to prevent smoke, and the common base amplifier will be fine at VHF, so I think square waves are probably OK- since the output of the tuned amplifier has a LC, that will kill off VHF anyway.
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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK5PJ » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:28 pm

Hello.
would like to confirm the Rx coverage on 144 for a 9700 from some one that has one in front of them, is it strictly 144-148 or does it tune a little bit outside of the published limits, the reason I ask is that I regularly listen to the 143.050 French RADAR off the moon and losing that would be annoying I guess.

Tried all the manual downloads but they all seem, to say 144 - 148 MHz for RX.
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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK1JA » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:19 pm

G'day Peter,

I can confirm it's strictly 144-148MHz.

I was hoping that it would go down low enough to monitor the GRAVES radar, but sadly it won't.

Regards

Jayson

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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK3ZAZ » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:05 am

I have been turning shack off at night due to plethora of plug packs running for tnc gps laptop lan, hand helds, etc.
Not wishing a shack burn down as many houses are lost to crappy plug packs and ham radio plug packs are no exception.
So in morning you must turn on gpsdo ages before your 9700 and even then the 9700 drifts and self corrects and I have seen 30% fine and 1% coarse.
But no different to hearing 910 slide in on beacon as it warms its ocxo.
And now upgrade version 1.11 the old sd card and saving files, I think my 13 th save so far, and now r/t systems have upgraded their program warning you MUST download your existing configuration first so its program knows what version you are up to.
This is almost like doing Windows essential upgrades weekly.
roll on version 2.9 }:[
5zk and akk both decode on wspr ok.
I agree with Phil 2m rcv sens is no better than 910 until you fiddle with levels including IP+, and it lacks the ability when using the icom mast heads to adjust the Attenuator levels to reduce swamping high gain. Maybe that will change, not even sure what the 9700 attenuator level is?
432 rx sens about on par 1296 below par with 910.
I have compared my wspr decodes using 7 el slot @15m and 9 el @25 m 910/9700 and are withing 1 db on vk5gf.
if you check my two calls simultaneously are, within 1 db of each other receiving only.
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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK4GHZ » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:59 am

Leo Bodnar elsewhere wrote:
Here is yet another solution: inject GPS locked 49.152MHz AC-coupled signal into the the output of the X8601 VCTCXO without shutting it down.

I have used 0.1uF 0603 for AC coupling and mini GPS clock - set at 49,152,000Hz and 8mA drive.

VCTCXO seems to become either parasitic injection locked to external driver or simply overdriven with external signal - I have not spent much time measuring or thinking about it.

C8605 can be removed for proper solution if you have no plans for running the 9700 without external reference. With my solution you can disconnect the reference and keep using the rig. Icom does not like live clock switching since glitches crash FPGA or MCU.

I have turned Icom synchronisation off in FW1.10. Lock stays in place even if you drive local clock manual adjustment through the whole range.

This works for me for now. Carrier does not wobble around like with firmware tracking. Here is 50% TX/RX cycle at 100W on 2m. 1000Hz tone is from another faint GPS locked source at 144.175MHz.

I have not noticed any difference between noice floor or phase noise of the received signals. VCTCXOs of this size (is it 2.0x2.5mm package) are usually very mediocre in phase noise department so unless your external source is really noise you won't see much degradation (or improvement.) But this, of course, needs testing on PN measurement bench.

All my kit is at work so I had to make do with whatever I have at home on Sunday.
IC-9700-lock1.png

IC-9700-lock2.png

IC-9700-lock5.png

IC-9700-lock3.jpg

IC-9700-lock4.jpg


Don't blame me if this does not work for you!
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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK7HH » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:24 am

Leo's idea is a good one. I've seen a few GPS lock their rigs with his GPSDO's.

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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK4GHZ » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:17 pm

Glenn, VK1XX, has provided a schematic, BOM, gerbers, etc for his IC-9700 ref lock project.

http://www.cortexrf.com.au/IC9700lock.html

Image
16 June 2019

3D rendition of PCB with tooling strips attached for mfr.
The boards will be back from fab ~ 18 June.
It is a 2 layer 1mm FR4. with approx. 160 parts, all 0603 apart from a couple of 0402 bypass caps.
Care has been taken with not introducing noise into the XO control chain.

Interestingly, Icom have used a low noise opamp for their control circuitry, although there are no freq vs noise density numbers.

I have used a good chip ADA4500 but we may get away with something less $. I do not think a $4 shaved off is going to matter much to discerning users.

I have added a 10 MHz split on the PCB so that users can still use the internal sync if they wish. The board samples the 10 MHz input at startup.

If it is not there within a few seconds of startup, the board will assume INTERNAL reference and the user can use the Icom sync method against a reference plugged in after the few seconds.

The board will set the control of the XO to Hi-Z.

If the reference is there at turn on, then it will use the 10 MHz reference to lock and control the XO.
I am open to ideas for this selection if a variation is suggested.....

The board solders to the top of the shield cans near the oscillator, you will need a good sized soldering iron tip for that joint.
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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK4GHZ » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:13 pm

More from Glenn, VK1XX.

Drift plots: http://www.cortexrf.com.au/IC9700drift.html

:popcorn:
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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK5ZK » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:11 pm

Well I took the plunge and purchased an IC-9700 at Mt Gambier
Most of my observations have been made earlier but here goes.

I did the 110 firmware upgrade before any on air tests. Later I did the 111 firmware install. No problems.
The 110 install did reset all the radio settings but I had saved them before the upgrade so it was easy to reload them.
The 111 upgrade did not reset the radio settings.

My first surprise was that the stability on the radio was vastly better than what had been reported
earlier. WSPR was quite functional on 2mx over several hours. There was some drift but always less than
4hz during the 2minute WSPR TX cycle. 70cm drift was higher and too much for WSPR but OK for FT8 with the much shorter TX cycle. No tests done on 1.2ghz as yet.

I then purchased the BG7TBL GPSDO (2019 10MHZ OUTPUT SINE WAVE GPS DISCiPLINED CLOCK GPSDO + Antenna+ Power supply) on Ebay and it arrived within about 4 days. The GPSDO locked in a minute or so with the GPS antenna inside near the window. I made up a 10db pad to reduce the 2vPP output to about 200mvPP.
Connecting it to the Ref in on the 9700 with the "sync to ref in" setting on resulted in a solid frequency lock. 2mx WSPR now shows 0hz drift both on TX and RX with others who are ref locked. 70cm WSPR also has 0hz drift.

I shut the whole power off to the shack at night. This morning I powered up the shack but left the 9700 off. After getting the morning coffee I returned to see the GPSDO had locked so I turned the 9700 on. By the time I had stepped to the ref lock window the readings were very different to the "warmed up" figures. First figures seen were 38-68. These slowly moved up to the normal "warmed up" figures of 42-76. Obviously ref in locking was working.

My software setup is HRD, FTDX,WSJTX and JTalert. The 9700 is set to USBD and USB cable to the computer. HRD does not directly support the 9700 yet but I chose the IC7100 setting and after adjusting the CI-V address HRD connected OK and all S/W works as expected.

Initial audio reports on SSB and FM have been favorable so no issues there.

I now have two Icom SDR radios, the IC-7610 and IC-9700 so that should be it for me for quite a while.

Garry VK5ZK

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Re: Icom IC-9700 users topic

Post by VK3ZAZ » Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:59 am

Garry
confirming good decodes from you on 144.4905 close to VK5GF in drift. My 432 drift is my problem on my ocxo 910. Good job. The gpsdo from ebay is sufficient, paying any more is buying much the same thing. Next is to extract the nmea word to lock and eliminate the lead to the 9700 clock/gps dstar input.

People doing the Icom fix preserve the warranty and thus their resale value and leave the modified radios that others will expect to get cheap.
I see already someone wants a second hand 9700, a bit like the used 7300 units suddenly showing up a couple hundred dollars under new price why would you bother.
Those thinking these after market mods are somehow ellegant need to rethink down the track when someone buys the hacked radio.
A buyer will need to double check in case you buy someone elses problems.
Tread your own path :om:

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