Friday, April 01, 2011

IC-9100 USB audio issue

No, I haven't gone and bought an Icom IC-9100. Nor am I planning to. However, through the JT65-HF Google group I learned of an issue that could be a serious annoyance to anyone who owns one of these radios and wishes to use it for digital modes on a computer that runs Windows XP. The issue is that the audio output from the radio is at a fixed level and cannot be altered. I thought it deserved wider publicity, because if I had been thinking of buying an IC-9100 I would have found this out the hard way, and I don't think many people would be happy at having to buy a new computer to go with their £3000 radio.

The IC-9100 (and the IC-7600) both have USB connections between the rig and the radio. Hailed by many as the way to go (though not by me) this single connection provides both a virtual serial port for rig control and a USB sound device for digital modes. Unfortunately under Windows XP when you select the Icom sound device and open the mixer settings to set the audio level from the radio there is no slider. It is fixed. I'm told there isn't a control in the radio itself to change the level either.

Most digital mode programs don't have a level control within the software, they expect you to use the Windows level controls. So if your waterfall is bright yellow because the audio level is too high there is nothing you can do if you own one of these Icom radios (except, presumably, use the good old-fashioned analogue audio connections.)

Progress. Don't you love it?
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