Satellite Station 4.0 Part 5 – New IC-9700 Transceiver

Portable Satellite Station 4.0

Portable Satellite Station 4.0

The new Icom IC-9700 transceiver has begun shipping, and we’ve recently added one to our Portable Station. The addition of the IC-9700 completes a key part of our Satellite Station 4.0 upgrade plans.

New IC-9700 In Satellite Mode

New IC-9700 In Satellite Mode

The IC-9700 is based upon Icom’s direct sampling SDR platform. It supports all modes of operation on the 2m, 70cm, and 23 cm bands. The radio also supports satellite modes and D-STAR.

MacDoppler Controlling the IC-9700

MacDoppler Controlling the IC-9700

The new IC-9700 replaced the IC-9100 in our Portable Satellite Station. An updated version of MacDoppler is available, which supports the IC-9700, and we tested MacDoppler using both the USB and CI-V interfaces. In both cases, MacDoppler properly handled the new radio, including band and mode selection, doppler correction, and access-tone setting. Our setup uses an iMac running MacDoppler and MacLoggerDX for radio control, antenna control, and logging, and a Windows laptop running UISS and MMSSTV for APRS and SSTV. Our setup was easily accomplished by connecting the IC-9700’s CI-V interface to the iMac and the USB interface (for audio and PTT) to our Windows laptop.

IC-9700 Display and Waterfall - Working FO-29

IC-9700 Display and Waterfall – Working FO-29

We’ve made about 50 contacts with the IC-9700 so far. The radio is a pleasure to use. The touchscreen layout and functions are very similar to the IC-7300, and one does not need to spend much time with the manual to become comfortable using the radio. The Spectrum Scope and associated waterfall are really nice for operating with linear transponder satellites. The screenshot above shows the IC-9700 display while working contacts using FO-29. As you can see, it is very easy to see where stations are operating in the passband of a linear transponder. The Spectrum Scope also makes it very easy to locate your signal in the satellite’s downlink and then adjust the uplink/downlink offset for proper tone.

We’ve also done a bit of APRS operation through the ISS using the IC-9700 and the UISS software. The direct USB interface was used on a Windows laptop for APRS. Setting up PTT and the proper audio levels was straightforward. The combination of MacDoppler controlling the VFO in the radio and the PC doing the APRS packet processing worked well.

The IC-9700 can power and sequence our external ARR preamplifiers, and we plan to use this capability to eliminate the outboard sequencers we are currently using with our preamps. We’ll need to climb our tower to change the preamps to be powered through the coax before we can complete the preamp control changeover.

All in all, we are very happy with the new IC-9700 for Satellite operations. We’ve also noticed that quite a few satellite operators have the new IC-9700 on the air.

You can find other articles about our Satellite Station 4.0 project here:

Fred, AB1OC

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13 thoughts on “Satellite Station 4.0 Part 5 – New IC-9700 Transceiver

  1. My IC-9700 and UISS works fine with decoding packets. I can’t figure out what I need to do to get it to transmit/send a APRS? Any help? Thanks

    • Hello Jim,

      Thank you for reading our Blog and congratulations on your IC-9700. You’ll need to set up PTT in UISS via the COM port for you IC-9700. You’ll also need to make sure that the radio is in FM-DATA mode.

      Fred, AB1OC

      • AB1OC,
        I have IC9700 using uiss and UZ7HO (V1.114) soundmodem program. I can receive 1200 baud packets on the soundmodem screen, but not the uiss screen. Also Can not get the IC9700 to key (PTT) have added the cat.dll and PTT.dll files to soundmodem.exe location. The advanced button goes active but works intermittently only. Is it poss to get a snapshot of the IC9700 menu settings that apply. Ed W6AOA Pensacola, FL

    • Hello Kris,

      Thank you for reading our Blog. I use a separate laptop for digital and SSTV decoding here. We take the USB connection from the IC-9700 into a windows laptop running MMSSTV and connect the IC-9700’s CI-V jack to our iMac via a separate USB to CI-V cable. This allows MacDoppler to control the IC-9700’s VFOs and the windows laptop to receive the audio channel for decoding SSTV.

      – Fred, AB1OC

      • Hello Kris,

        like also to use the IC 9700 with MMSSTV have installed the driver ok. See at my laptop the usb codecs fou microfon as well as loudspeaker, but transmit is nor working. Do you have a hint for me about the correct configuration at the IC 9700.

        73 Joachim DJ7WL

      • Hello Joachim,

        Thank you for reading our Blog!

        You’ll need to put your radio in FM-Data mode to get it to accept the SSTV audio tones through the USB interface. Make sure that the IC-9700 is configured to connect audio to the USB sound card when its in Data mode and then set your levels inside the IC-9700 menus for both Tx and Rx. Finally, you’ll be using the PTT capability of the COM port associated with the USB interface to key you Tx. Make sure that MMSSTV is configured to use the sound card associated with the IC-9700 USB interface for both Tx an Rx.

        I hope that this helps you.

        Best and 73,

        Fred, AB1OC

  2. Hi Fred,
    I was reading your blog with interest about your station setup – very impressive. Although I aspire to someday have that, I’m at this point just getting started, and something of particular interest in your blog got my attention. You mentioned that the 9700 can power and sequence your mast mounted pre-amps. I have figured out how to power them, but am not quite sure about the sequencing – does it happen automatically if you enter a TX delay? Does the 9700 know to kill the power to the preamp before transmit without anything else? Trying to avoid having to get a sequencer in there…thank you for any guidance that you can provide.

    • Thank you for reading our blog. I am glad that it is helpful to you.

      The IC-9700 will sequence your preamps if you enable them to be powered through your coax cables in the 9700 menus. When the radio goes into Tx, it will first power down the preamps to protect them. For this to work properly, you’ll need preamps designed to be powered and sequenced this way.

      For simple stations such as those which typically are used for satellite communications, the radio controlling the sequencing works well. I have used preamps from Advanced Receiver Research that are designed to be powered through the coax this way and they work well.

      Note that more complex setups that might use an amplifier such as EME stations will need to use an external sequencer to properly handle the more complete sequencing scenarios for such stations.

      Fred, AB1OC

  3. Hey Fred! Glad you like the 9700, I’m thinking about getting one for myself. I’m slowly putting my satellite station back together after many years. In the middle of cleaning & servicing my rotors now. Got a neat rotor controller from Most of my focus at the moment is still on repairing my house. Getting close to being done after Hurricane Dorian put 2 feet of water in it in 2019.


    • FB Tom. I think that the IC-9700 is a great rig for Satellite work. Hope to hear you on the birds soon!

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