Tips for using the Icom IC-7300 for CW with an external keyer


The Icom IC-7300 has a very nice built-in iambic keyer that can be used with a single lever or dual lever (iambic) paddle.

While this is a good feature, many “brass pounders” like to use their own external keyer, bug or straight key.

Some larger and more expensive radios have separate paddle and key jacks. The single key jack on the IC-7300 serves either as the input connector for a paddle, or as the input for your external keyer, bug, or straight key. Switching from one to the other requires some proper plug wiring and menu changes.

The Icom 7300’s Full Manual shows how to connect your paddle or key to the key jack in the following illustration using a ¼-inch stereo plug, which has 3 connections: Tip (dot), Ring (dash), and Sleeve (com):

Key Jack

For your straight key, bug, or output of your external keyer, connect to the “Tip” (+) and the “Sleeve” (-, or com) only – 2 connections. For the paddle input to the internal keyer 3 connections (dot(dit), dash(dah), and ground) you use the Tip for the “dot”, the Ring for the “dash”, and the Sleeve

Once the physical connections are made, you’re ready…but the internal keyer is still active! If you’re using a straight key, every time you press the key you’ll get a string of “dits” from the internal keyer. So, what do you do?

You have to turn off the internal keyer and set the key jack to “straight key” input mode. It is not readily apparent how to do this with the 7300 as it defaults to using the internal keyer. There is also no “using a straight key” section in the manual.

DX Engineering has put together a PDF file that augments the 7300’s manual for this purpose. You can download this PDF along with the full manual for the 7300 and other IC-7300 related documents here.


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