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Yaesu FT-991a VS Icom IC-7300

Both the Yaesu FT-991a and the Icom IC-7300 are popular amateur radio products in the market. But when we actually tested both products, one turned out to be better than the other.

To finally settle the debate, we did this Yaesu FT-991a vs Icom IC-7300 comparison. In our guide below, you’ll find which one is better in terms of actual performance based on our tests.

  • Versatile functions
  • Clear interface with a 3.5” touchscreen display
  • Full color
  • Backlight for night time and low light conditions
  • High resolution
  • Has an automatic scope feature
  • Roofing filter and digital signal processing help reduce signal interference
  • Compact and portable design
  • Can sync and connect with your computer for easy updates
  • Very small and compact design
  • More affordable
  • Wide range of features
  • RF direct sampling system that helps reduce noise
  • 15 bandpass filters to help get rid of signals of no use
  • Large touch screen display
  • It can save channels (up to 101)
  • Has a built-in cooling fan
  • Can operate on different modes (RTTY, AM, FM, CW and SSB)

Features of Both Ham Radios

Display

Both ham radios offer the user an easy-to-control interface with a touch screen display. The Icom IC-7300 possesses a larger screen than the FT-991A, with the Icom measuring at 4.3” compared to Yaesu’s 3.5” display.

The larger display on the IC-7300 is actually quite impressive since it’s the smaller device between the two. But in any ham radio you decide to purchase, the display is an important part because it’s where you see all the info. If it’s a touchscreen model, that makes it easier to use as well.

Size

As said, the IC-7300 is smaller than the FT-991A, which increases its portability. Depending on how and where you intend to use your new amateur radio, the size could be a deciding factor for you.

For instance, if you are purchasing a ham radio for home use, then the size wouldn’t matter as much. However, if you’re going to carry it with you outside, we would suggest getting a smaller model.

Either way, both ham radios are small and compact. The ergonomic difference isn’t too big between the two models, so you might want to consider their other features.

Real-Time Spectrum Scope

Both the Yaesu FT-991a and the ICOM IC-7300 have a real-time spectrum scope [1]. What this feature allows you to do as a user is view the location signals on the band. This will also let you move to the right signal quickly, so you can send or receive transmissions faster.

You can also see the band clearly on the multicolor displays on both models. The Yaesu FT-991A organizes the signals in chronological color order in terms of weakness and strength. That is a handy feature to have if you want to identify weaker signals with a single glance.

On the other hand, the IC-7300 also has an impressive feature for the real-time spectrum scope. It magnifies the signal to help you tune the frequency precisely, therefore improving your listening experience.

Noise and Signal Interference

To help reduce noise and signal interference, the two ham radios utilize two different features.

The Yaesu FT-991A has a 3kHz roofing filter. This feature weakens interfering signals and delivers high quality audio.

The Icom IC-7300, on the other hand, has an RF direct sampling system. With this, the RF signals are converted into digital data then filtered through the FPGA (field programmable gate array). This reduces noise and mask weaker signals while also reducing or completely eliminating signal distortion.

Output Power

Both ham radios operate at 100W of output power. This is a good standard when it comes to ham radios, so either one is a reliable device.

Cooling Fan/System

Small devices with a high power output can easily overheat, and this is especially true in hotter environments. You don’t want to have to retire your ham radio during summer months, so having one with a built-in cooling fan is important – and fortunately, both devices have one.

With a cooling fan, either the Yaesu or the Icom model won’t overheat easily. And more importantly, it can prolong operating time as well.

Operating Modes

Both models offer multi-mode operation. The Icom IC-7300 operates on FM, AM, SSB, CW and RTTY modes while the FT-991A runs on a bit more. 

For the FT-991A, it offers the variety of AM, FM, SSB, CW and the digital modes (RTTY, C4FM, PSK21 and Packet).

As you can see, in terms of multi-mode operation, the FT-991A takes the lead. So if you’re someone who needs more digital modes, then the Yaesu ham radio is the better choice.

Band Filters

On the IC-7300, the signal needs to go through 15 bandpass filters before it gets to the RF direct sampling. This ensures better quality in the signals, especially since the ones that don’t make the cut are filtered out. 

In comparison, this feature seems to be missing from the FT-991A, making the IC-7300 the better choice in this aspect.

Automatic Antenna Tuner

Both ham radios have an included automatic antenna tuner, which has the capacity of 100-101 channels (the FT-991A and IC-7300 respectively). The tuner also automatically memorizes all the data, making it more convenient.

In our tests, tuning is pretty easy with both the FT-991a and the IC-700. We didn’t encounter any problems whatsoever, so it’s ideal even for beginners.

Conclusion: Yaesu FT-991a OR Icom IC-7300?

Both are highly rated radios that perform excellently. They both have their similarities and differences, so in the end, it’s up to you which features you want to have and which ones you’re willing to sacrifice.

The FT-991A offers more operating modes, making it a great choice for more advanced users. If size doesn’t matter but you need more operating modes, the FT-991A is the better product.

However, these two models have their similarities as well. For one, they both have cooling fans to prolong operation time. Each unit also comes with its own unique noise and signal interference capabilities, making communications easier.

Both machines also have an output power of 100 watts, and they also have an internal automatic antenna tuner. 

All things considered, the IC-7300 is the winner in this comparison. It offers a compact size, band filters, and a larger display. It also has one more channel memory space than its competition.

Want to read more comparisons before you pick one? Check out our comparison of the FT-991a vs FT-991 here.

William