An Evening With Bob Heil Discussing SSB Transmit Bandwidth

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Zoom video session with Bob Heil. Thanks to the invite by Jon, NQ4A. As part of this meeting, we revisited some incredibly useful functionality for Icom owners—setting transmit bandwidth directly in the radio's menu. It's an amazing tool in the Icom radios, as well as other modern transceivers, and I wanted to share what I learned from Dr. Heil with you all here.

SSB Transmit Bandwidth (TBW)

First, let's define what transmit bandwidth is. It's the range of frequencies that your radio sends out when you're transmitting. This range can be adjusted based what you are using it for. For instance, are you working DX or are you rag chewing? You might want to set your Transmit Bandwidth differently in those circumstances.

The Icom radios have terrific transmit audio and it's really hard to screw it up, HIHI. Using the hand mic and default settings I got fantastic audio reports.

To adjust - In the Icom 7300 go to Menu>Set>Tone Contro/TBW>TX>SSB. The path is similar in the other Icom radios.

YouTube player

Start at 26:50 in the above clip.


Dr. Heil gives some tremendous information in his talk on TBW. For instance when we narrow the transmit bandwidth, we're pushing all of that RF into the frequency range that can be best heard by humans. (See the balloon example in the video).

So, I don't want to narrow it on the low end where it's wasted. I want to drive it closer to the 2500 Hz segment where it can be heard and copied.

My TBW settings: Narrow 500-2700, Mid 300-2700 and Wide 100-2900.

With a modern Icom transceiver don't expect to get that wide deep bass, FM radio sound out of the box because they are not built for it. I've heard Hams complain that Icoms TBW is too narrow, and it should be like Flex Radios and some others. IMO, I think Icom has it right. It is excellent quality transmit audio for Amateur Radio and with Icom's there's really no need for expensive ($300+) mics and equalizers, unless you want them. Many Hams are still using the included hand mic with their Icom 7300 and they sound terrific. Many Hams also use the inexpensive BM800 microphone ($20) with the newer Icom tranaceivers. That's my opinion.

Thank you

What are your transmit bandwidth settings? Please comment below.

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I'm an Amateur Radio enthusiast. I love the hobby and experimenting with radios, antennas and software. On my YouTube channel I upload videos on the Icom 7300 and Icom 7610 along with Ham radio software programs. I hope to inspire people to try new things in Amateur Radio.

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