Icom IC-7600 - Setting up for WSPR with Windows 10 and XP

Introduction: The Kenwood TS-590 and the Icom IC-7600 have a USB port which can be used transfer the audio signals to and from the radio. Other transceivers without a similar USB connection may need an external data interface device with built-in USB Sound Card such as the ZLP Electronics Data-Link, MiniProSC or Pro3 data interface from G4ZLP or the Tigertronics SignaLink USB for example. I have previously used a Tigertronics SignaLink USB with my Icom IC-706mk2g. I now use the excellent G4ZLP Data-Link with my Yaesu FT-891 (see my separate post for those settings)

Time: Accurate computer time (within 2 seconds!) is required for WSPR to operate. I downloaded and installed an Internet Time Sync Interval utility from here: http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_inet_time.htm This allows the PC time to be corrected hourly or daily. I selected hourly.

Icom IC-7600 Set Up

Drivers: Firstly I downloaded and installed the Icom USB drivers; Silicon Labs CP210x USB to UART Bridge. Check the instructions for your particular PC operating system as for some versions the installation must be done first, before connecting the radio.

Icom Downloads Page :
http://www.icom.co.jp/world/support/download/firm/

USB Drivers for IC-7600 / / IC-7100 / IC-7200 / IC-7410 / IC-7850 / IC-7851 / IC-9100 :
http://www.icom.co.jp/world/support/download/firm/IC-7600/usb1_20/

USB Drivers for Windows® 98SE/Me/2000 :
http://www.icom.co.jp/world/support/download/firm/IC-7600/1_00/index.html

Once the software had been installed on to the laptop, the USB cable could then be connected between the IC-7600 and the laptop. The laptop will then detect the presence of the USB sound card within the IC-7600 and install the Audio Codecs and drivers automatically. These sound drivers will be needed for the WSPR program. My old Fujitsu laptop running XP allocated COM port 5 while my new HP ProBook running Windows 10 allocated COM port 3 for CAT control, so check your Windows device manager to see which COM port has been assigned to the Silicon Labs CP210x USB to UART Bridge. This COM port will be used by WSPR for PTT control, and other programs will, similarly, need to know which COM port to use for rig control etc.

Sound Playback and Recording properties may also need to be checked and levels adjusted to ensure optimum performance. Simply click right on the speakers icon in the task bar, or from 'Sound' in the control panel, to access this. From the 'Playback' and 'Recording' tabs you'll see the different devices installed in the computer; in each identify the USB Audio CODEC being used for the radio, right click on it and select 'Properties'. Levels can be adjusted from here if necessary.

WSPR Program: Next, I downloaded the latest K1JT WSPR program from here and installed it. A shortcut was placed onto the desktop: http://www.physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wspr.html

Note (!) - Ensure that the latest version of WSPR is downloaded since CAT control is required to operate the Icom IC-7600's PTT. Version 2.0 of the program does not include Rig number 363 for the IC-7600. I used version 2.12 which does include Rig number 363 for the IC-7600 in the drop-down list. (CAT control of PTT is required because Icom radios do not internally link USB audio to VOX, so VOX PTT will not work).

Double clicking the shortcut starts the program. A console window opens followed by the GUI window. Next click on Setup --> Station Parameters and enter the appropriate station parameters - the port numbers for Audio and PTT may vary from those shown below depending upon the individual PC - for example:

On my old Fujitsu laptop running Windows XP:

Station Parameters:

Call : M0MTJ
Grid : IO82VO
Audio In : 1 USB Audio CODEC
Audio Out : 5 USB Audio CODEC
Power dBm : 37 (i.e: 37 dBm = 5 watts; 33dBm = 2 watts; 30 dBm = 1 watt)
PTT Method : COM
PTT port :

Tick Enable CAT - Because the IC-7600 and other similar ICOM transceivers do not internally link VOX to USB audio CAT control is required to activate the PTT so that the WSPR program can automatically activate TX. Therefore ensure that the Enable CAT box is ticked. Ensure that the correct CAT Port is selected to match the COM port that has been allocated to the radio - the COM port can be checked in the Windows Device Manager - look down the list for the Silicon Labs CP210x USB to UART Bridge, it should identify the COM Port number.

CAT Port: COM5
RIG number: 363 Icom IC-7600
Serial rate: 9600 set WSPR program and radio to the same baud rate (From IC-7600 Settings --> Other --> CI-V Baud Rate)
Data bits: 8
Stop bits: 2
Handshake: Hardware

On my HP ProBook 455 running Windows 10:

Station Parameters:

Call : M0MTJ
Grid : IO82VO
Audio In : 1 USB Audio CODEC
Audio Out : 2 USB Audio CODEC
Power dBm : 37 (i.e: 37 dBm = 5 watts; 33dBm = 2 watts; 30 dBm = 1 watt)
PTT Method : CAT
PTT port :

Tick Enable CAT - Because the IC-7600 and other similar ICOM transceivers do not internally link VOX to USB audio CAT control is required to activate the PTT so that the WSPR program can automatically activate TX. Therefore ensure that the Enable CAT box is ticked. Ensure that the correct CAT Port is selected to match the COM port that has been allocated to the radio - the COM port can be checked in the Windows Device Manager - look down the list for the Silicon Labs CP210x USB to UART Bridge, it should identify the COM Port number.

CAT Port: COM3
RIG number: 363 Icom IC-7600
Serial rate: 4800 set WSPR program and radio to the same baud rate (From IC-7600 Settings --> Other --> CI-V Baud Rate)
Data bits: 8
Stop bits: 2
Handshake: Hardware

In the WSPR user interface, ensure that the Upload Spots box is ticked. This will then ensure that the program uploads any other WSPR stations that it receives to the WSPR website as 'Spots'.

While the frequency must be set in the WSPR GUI window, the program does not control the radio. Therefore the radio must be manually and accurately tuned to the correct frequency. Refer to the table of WSPR frequencies for the correct transceiver dial setting.

Once everything is set up, save the Station Parameter settings from the File Menu. The program will Wait. After a while it will begin Receiving - listening for other WSPR stations. Then it will transmit for a couple of minutes, before returning to Receive.

From the front panel of the IC-7600 one of three Digital Modes can optionally be selected by pressing and holding the SSB button. The advantage of this is that the narrower IF filters are then implemented. These can then be selected and configured, as with any other mode on the IC-7600, from the FILTER button. A short press to cycle between three preset filter options. A long press to enter the setup screen so that each of the three preset filter parameters can be adjusted.

There are three digital modes, D1, D2 and D3. This will be indicated on the display as shown in the above image, "USB-D1". Each of the three digital modes (D1, D2, D3) can have their associated parameters changed from withing the SETtings --> ACC menu (DATA 1 MOD; DATA 2 MOD; DATA 3 MOD).

To return to standard USB operation simply press the SSB button momentarily. The display will indicate this by changing from "USB-D1" back to "USB"

Links that may be useful:
http://www.dxlabsuite.com/dxlabwiki/ConnectingIcom72007600
http://www.dxlabsuite.com/dxlabwiki/ConnectingIcom
http://www.g4zlp.co.uk/unified/IcomCAT.shtml
http://www.silabs.com/products/mcu/pages/usbtouartbridgevcpdrivers.aspx
http://community.silabs.com/t5/Interface/CP210x-USB-to-UART-Bridge-drive...
http://www.ab4oj.com/icom/ic7600/main.html
http://kd0bik.com/blog/windows-10/

Icom Downloads Page:
http://www.icom.co.jp/world/support/download/firm/
USB Drivers for IC-7600 / / IC-7100 / IC-7200 / IC-7410 / IC-7850 / IC-7851 / IC-9100:
http://www.icom.co.jp/world/support/download/firm/IC-7600/usb1_20/
USB Drivers for Windows® 98SE/Me/2000:
http://www.icom.co.jp/world/support/download/firm/IC-7600/1_00/index.html

I hope that all helps a bit! 73, Mike. M0MTJ