The new Icom IC-7300 direct sampling SDR rig has arrived at my shack! This new rig is a radical departure from the traditional Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu superhet design and instead uses direct sampling low-IF design. The closest other rigs to compare this to are Flex rigs and the Elecraft KX3 (although the KX3 is a zero IF Direct Conversion SDR, which is a little different). The architecture used in the Icom IC-7300 allows for a variety of features to be incorporated into the rig at a reasonably affordable price point - currently $1500. Current Icom HF users will find the layout of the buttons and knobs familiar, short-circuiting the learning curve for the new rig. However, this rig also features a touch screen which is used for many adjustments, making this one of the most modernly designed user interfaces in an HF rig we've seen to date. In this first part of the review, I'm going to briefly showcase some of the many features in the 7300 and then go into further detail in subsequent posts. The direct sampling architecture makes it possible to use a real-time spectrum scope, which Icom has incorporated directly into the LCD touchscreen. This architecture allows for a very wide bandwidth display on the scope; the IC-7300 allows for up to 1 Mhz bandwidth. In this picture, you see a close-up of the spectrum scope screen showing the entire 20 meter band: There are a few different ways to view the spectrum scope. The previous screen was the expanded, larger scope screen activated using the EXPD button. If you would rather display a smaller scope with larger meters or other information, choose the shorter spectrum scope: Of course, like any good spectrum scope application, you can adjust the bandwidth to suit your needs. This picture shows it zoomed all the way in: Here's a 50 Khz span: In addition to a band scope, there's also an audio scope. Better still, the audio scope works in real-time for both TX and RX audio! This screen showing the various meters will look familiar to users of other Icom rigs. It shows the S-meter, Power output, ALC, Compression, SWR, Drain Current, Drain Voltage, and PA temperature. If you press in the MULTI knob, the menu for adjusting the power output, mic gain, compressor, and monitor pops up to the left. Adjusting these settings while using the multi-meter screen makes the task really simple. You can also show the meters with the scope at the same time: Accessing the menu to activate various screen views is done by pressing the MENU button and then using the touch screen. This is also where you manage memories, the recorder, and various other settings: This image gives you an idea of how the menuing system works to make various setup adjustments. Setting up this rig very easy - I didn't even read the manual! Another feature which I'll discuss in more detail later is the SD Card slot that is accessed on the face of the radio. This has become a standard feature on most new Icom rigs and other manufacturers should follow suit. Here's the view of the button functions on the right side of the rig. The dial has a very smooth feel with a tensioner ratchet underneath. Pressing and holding the filter indicator at the top of the LCD brings up the filter settings. The rig gives you three filters for each mode which you can preset and then tailor to your needs. The Function button brings up the menu to toggle some of the most commonly used functions needed on any HF rig: To wrap up this installment of the review, I took a picture of the IC-7300 next to the Elecraft K3 to give everyone a perspective on the rig's dimension. They're almost identical in size - much smaller than most 100 watt transceivers. It looks to me like it's a little larger than the Yaesu FT-991. My first impressions of this rig can be summed up with the following: It's very user friendly and easy to set-up (I've figured out everything I've tried so far without reading the manual). It packs a TON of features into a nice package at a price that presently can't be beat. I'm looking forward to giving the IC-7300 a workout over the next few months in order to give my impressions of the receiver and overall capabilities. In the meantime, I'm predicting that Icom is going to sell a ton of these; it made a big impression on me on my first day with it.