Friday 21 June 2024

IC-705 REVIEW LONG TERM

IC-705 THREE YEARS LATER

Three and a half years ownership of the ICOM IC-705 have passed and I thought it might be an idea to take another look at it to see if it still rules the roost for Portable Radios in 2024. In this 'look back', I'm only going to focus on what I've been doing and how well the 705 has worked for me. My original review is >>HERE<<

What should I compare it to?  Well I guess a KX3 would be a likely candidate but boy, they are not only difficult to obtain right now, but they're also incredibly expensive unless you buy an old, early production one.

But has the Elecraft got the better receiver? Yes - there's little to beat the KX range in terms of outright performance, that's a given! If you want to hunt down the very faintest, weakest signal, then you stand a better chance of success with a KX.

But for the other 99% of the time, when you've driven, walked, hiked to the perfect take-off spot and set up your antennas, there's little practical difference between a KX3 and the 705. Or between a 705 and an 817. In fact, my $89 (tr)uSDX will probably get you as many QSO's in the log as the others from the top of a hill!

Over the last couple of years I've relied almost exclusively on my IC-705, using it outdoors, on hillsides, in the back garden, in a park, at the caravan, by the seaside and even at home as a base station. It's been utterly reliable and surprisingly tough even though it's not been wrapped in cotton wool. Unlike my Elecraft, I've never really worried about it - I guess I look upon it as a bit of a workhorse. If it gets a little scratch or a ding, it doesn't really matter. I don't believe it would substantially affect its resale price either.

The notable difference between the IC-705 and other radios  is flexibility, features and what I call 'friendliness'.... 

The Icom IC-705 is more feature-rich than any other portable radio. It puts together such an awfully good package that you don't have to buy anything else (assuming that you use resonant antennas). You can operate throughout HF, 6M, 2M and 70cm on LSB, USB, CW, AM, FM, DV and DSTAR. 

With the radios built-in server, you can operate remotely. With the built-in WiFi you can tether to your mobile phone and operate Digital Modes out in the field. Thanks to the built-in GPS, you can even ensure accurate timing for FT8, etc. 

 
Forgot to take a pen for logging your QSO's?? Don't worry - you can record all QSO's onto the SDCARD and run back through it later to get the callsigns - it even records the time and date of each individual QSO!! How good's that??

After using it so frequently and for so long, I'm now in that happy place where I know I just need to grab my small rucksack and head off outdoors for some radio fun. I don't need to carry a million bits of ancillary items - it's just my radio, my antennas and my iPad. If I'm just going out for a couple of hours, then I rely on the Icom battery, but if I'm out for the day I will take a 13.2V LifePO too.

Up on a hillside, I tend to stick with 5W and there's little need for more. Usually, the take-off is excellent and my SotaBeams Dipole works amazingly well - enough to have SSB chinwags across to America from the UK. In fact, one of my favourite chats was from a beach to two hams in America using only 2.5W (KE5EE and WD4NGB).

If I'm struggling to get a response to my CQ calls on 5W, I might move up to 10W, but once I establish contact with someone, I ask them to let me drop to 5W and get another report. If the report is very good (it often is) then I'll ask for another at even lower power. Needless to say, I don't want to make the QSO hard work for the other operators, but most people are happy to experiment with me and they often end up dropping their power to me too and because they've been so used to knocking out 400W+ for years, they've forgotten how far they can get on a tiny fraction of the power. All very entertaining (to me at least) 😂 

I have to admit that it's easier to answer someone elses CQ Call than it is to get a response to your own CQ Call at QRP levels. But patience often does reward. I find that using the IC-705's TX Memories makes light work of repetitive calling. I have a Long and a Short CQ Call recorded in memory and it's easy to set a TX-Loop going. The call is repeated over and over with a small pause inbetween to allow you to listen for any responses. 

Once I've finished with SSB, I tend to briefly switch to the 705's CW TX-Memories and put out a "CQ TEST"  for a few minutes on various bands to see how far I get on the Reverse Beacon Net before switching over to DSTAR depending on how close I am to a repeater. The IC-705 comes with a comprehensive list of repeaters already programmed in and thanks to the built-in GPS it can quickly determine which repeaters are the closest to your location and list them in order of distance (showing you the distance of each one in miles or kilometres).

After DSTAR I might switch to FT8 which gives me a chance to grab a drink and a sandwich. 

The IC-705 has proven to be a true all-rounder and can seemingly do it all, without any fuss or alterations or expensive plugin modules. The only thing that isn't included is an ATU, but neither does the KX3 come with one (unless you pay almost £300). Most of my portable antennas are resonant, so I usually have no need for a tuner, but if I want to use a multi-band end-fed, then one is required. 

I own two ATUs - the LDG Z100PLUS and the Elecraft T1. My favourite is the Elecraft T1. It's compact, light and incredibly good at finding a match - quickly!! And finding a quick match is very important when it comes to QRP equipment because many QRP Transceivers don't seem to have a very robust PA, resulting in blown transistors during long tuning sessions.

Thankfully, the 705 is pretty strong in this respect and I've never had a problem when tuning up using any of my tuners.

The success of the IC-705 in the marketplace has led to much third-party and community support. One of the most useful addons for the 705 is Marcus Roskosh's SDR-CONTROL app which not only provides remote-control operation, but also provides a host of other tools which make the 705 (or 7610 or 9700) an absolute dream to work with. It's a game-changer.

SDR-CONTROL is available on IOS or MAC and I personally use it with my iPad 11. It performs flawlessly with virtually no lag between the readings on the radio and the readings on the iPad. It's all very fluid!
 

All the functions of the radio are available on the software display and the bandscope and waterfall are superb!! It's nice and easy to adjust the bandscope to increase the signal-peak display size and the ratio of scope to waterfall. The meter is nice and clear but I was hoping for an analogue option which isn't there (in the current version). Long-pressing the "TUNE" button sets the power to 10% (adjustable in menus) and transmits in AM mode so that any attached tuner will activate safely. Long-pressing the PTT button will allow you to choose between the radio's mic or the iPad's mic.


VFO A and B are visible onscreen and it's easy to switch between the two. Everything is very intuitive and there's never a struggle to figure anything out. Take FT8 for example - you can switch to it and be making contacts within seconds! No fiddling around with cables, no special drivers or VACs - it just works. Simple!
 

Any FT8 contacts that you make are logged automatically and that brings me to the next feature in the SDR-CONTROL toolbox - the LOGBOOK. Yes, there's a logbook built-in and it has an easy export function to transfer your contacts to your QRZ, etc.


By clicking on a button, you can see the full contents of the ToolKit which includes some very handy features such as the DX Cluster. This can show you active signals on the bandscope, allowing you to quickly spot and engage desired DX. There's also a BandPlan, a set of CW Macros, QRZ LookUp and PSK Reporter. 

There's lots more to this amazing App and it adds so much to the already pleasurable IC-705. I suggest that you go read the manual by clicking on the image below to find out much more about it...

So, as you can guess, I've been very happy with my 705 - probably more so than any other radio I've owned (and that's saying something). It does pretty much everything I want and it does it all simply, effectively and without fuss. I can play on all the ham bands, in all the modes, I can do analogue and digital and I can enjoy fantastic support from third-parties and a knowledgeable community.

What do I dislike?? Not much really - in fact it seems a bit churlish to complain when a radio offers so very much. If I had to be Oliver Twist and ask for more, then.... I'd ask for CW Decoder instead of the RTTY Decoder. Having said that, the 705 interfaces very easily with my PreppComm Morse Encoder/Decoder....  

 
I do believe that the IC-705 is genuinely the best portable transceiver ever to hit the market. It offers such great value for money and has so many features and functions. And it's not just about the specification list - it's about how everything works - it's incredibly intuitive. Everything falls to hand and makes sense.

There's so many features which make life easy for the operator and where some radios end up looking like a bowl of spaghetti when trying to do something different, the IC-705 often does it wirelessly via WiFi or BlueTooth. Even small things like getting a pair of AirPods working - I've come across so many radios which have BlueTooth but then fail to connect to BlueTooth headsets! The Icom even works with Yaesu's headsets! The very fact that you get a server built into the radio to enable remote operation is pretty darned amazing - especially when you consider that even Yaesu's £3,100 Flagship 101 doesn't have such a feature 😮.

And yes, the £45 SDR-CONTROL software significantly adds to the richness of the 705 which some might say is down to Marcus Roskosch and not the radio, but the fact that the Icom is flexible enough to permit such interaction/connectivity is something that should be applauded. 

Okay, so what about something other than a KX3 or 705? Let's say you bought an FT818 or a G90 or a TX-500?

Well for a start, I wouldn't even give the Russian-built TX500 a second thought because I wouldn't want to support the economy of the disgusting terrorist Putin. Although the HF TX-500 is a very visually appealing transceiver and is around 2/3rds of the price of a 705, it lacks most of the features that I personally value. 

The G90 is a fabulous budget HF transceiver which offers lots for little, but at the end of the day, it's a cheap Chinese radio which I could never consider to be my 'forever radio'. Like the TX-500, the G90 lacks valuable features.

The FT818 is an old favourite of most hams. It's been out there for over 20 years and at half the cost of a 705 is always going to be the QRP radio of choice for people who are happy with the basics. But let's face it, it's old technology and looks like a dinosaur compared to the 705. A rugged, reliable shack-in-a-box but limited in a modern world.

So in summary, I am still over the moon with the Icom IC-705 and I'm glad I invested in it. In the past, radios have 'come and gone' but this one has stayed with me and I can't imagine a time when I would swap it for something else. Maybe Yaesu will bring out something to compete, but I can't imagine how they'd actually make something better! If they do, I'll be all over it 😁


HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Please remember that these are just the opinions of an M7 operator. My goals, desires and requirements will be different to yours. I'd be interested to hear about them. Please feel free to leave a comment below and include your CallSign if possible. 73, Tom. 




UPDATE <<<<<<<

Read THIS POST to see how I connected the 705 with an Expert Electronics ColibriNANO SDR receiver to provide a large screen panadapter.



UPDATE <<<<<<<

Read THIS POST to see how easy it is to use an external amplifier with the IC-705, in this case an MX-P50...





MX-P50M 50W AMP REVIEW

MX-P50M by BG4IGX


Most hams who love to operate outdoors, prefer to work at QRP levels. Being in the great outdoors usually gives you a fabulous take-off and provides a super-low noise-floor.  10W, 5W, even a couple of Watts can get you across the Atlantic on SSB and that’s something that just thrills me and keeps me interested in the hobby.

Back home however, all the stars need to be aligned for long distance QSO’s to take place. It’s doable of course, but it can be hard work for people at the other end of your transmission, which means that I avoid joining in on any overseas Nets. It’s the main reason that I don’t do much transmitting from the shack. No big deal, cos during Spring, Summer and Autumn it’s easy to setup outdoors. A pleasure, in fact!

I actually have a Xiegu XPA125B amp (boxed and on sale (now sold)), which produces 100W from a 5W input, but it’s useless to me (it came with a radio that I bought (X6100)). The problem with it is that you can’t turn down the power - it’s 100W or nothing!  I’d keep it if I could feed it with 1W and get 25W out. Why?? Because at the end of February OFCOM will be allowing Foundation License holders to use 25W.

What I wanted was an amp which would provide me with 25W comfortably without putting strain on it. I looked at the Neptune  50W but, for the amount of use it would get, it was more than I wanted to pay (and I couldn’t find any used models anywhere).

And then I read some reviews of the MX-P50 made by Sun Xiao in Shandong, China.  Being a very happy owner of a fabulous radio from China (FX-4CR), I'm not one of those "Let's hate China" brigade, so the MX-P50 seemed to fit the bill. It was just a case of finding a used one for a decent price. 

With the 80-10M MX-P50 being able to produce 45W from a 5W input, I knew that it would be positively coasting along at the 25W limit I’d be setting, so longevity shouldn’t be an issue. 

When it arrived, I could see that it had never really been used. It had been a backup amp to a HardRock/Hermes setup and had spent most of its short life in the box. The amp is really very compact and light - great for those who want to take it with them on a Field Day.

Apparently, it works well with a range of radios including the FT-817, KX3, IC-705, etc, but people using more obscure transceivers may experience issues. 

The amp’s power cable was fitted with Anderson Power Poles and the interface cable was terminated with a 3.5mm stereo jack plug. This was perfect for my Icom IC-705 and worked straight from the get-go.

I know I'm drifting a bit here, but I think it's important to realise that amps can send current back into your radio if a spike is generated by the relays during switching. This current might be small, but it can cause damage to your radio's keying circuitry. This isn't a problem unique to the MX-P50M - it can happen with any generic amp.

I'm guessing that most people ignore this potential problem (or just aren't aware of it) and probably get away with it, but I don't want to put my radios at risk, so I use a buffer device from a guy called RADIODAN in the USA. He calls it an RBI-1 (Relay Buffer Interface) and it can be adapted to work with virtually any radio (although he sells specific interface kits anyway). It will work with any radio that has a keying output which goes to GROUND when transmitting.

 


Using this relay buffer provides peace of mind and is (IMHO) a very worthwhile accessory for all your QRP radios - all you need to do is make up a different lead for each keying connection type - for example on many radios it will be a simple 3.5mm jack, while on others it will be phono (RCA) or even something like a multi-pin DIN.

There is also a 'mod' which can be carried out to prevent spikes into your radio involving you opening up the amp, cutting a couple of wires and soldering few small components. It's detailed HERE in this video where the construction method is better explained. The mod was designed by Kevin Loughin and his video can be found HERE. When I opened up my amp, I discovered that the previous owner had already carried out the mod.
 

So, back to the amp itself. When connected to power the MX-P50M circuit is live all the way through to the relays even though the Power Toggle is in the OFF position, so don't switch the amp off thinking that it's not draining any power from your battery - it is - only a tiny amount, but it's there.

With all the connections made between the MX-P50M, the RBI-1 and the IC-705, I switched the amp on, set the radio's power to 1W, switched to CW and briefly stabbed the key - the amp worked! I sent a few more dits and dahs before switching over to RTTY mode and keying the mic to send a more sustained output. Everything went well.

Now it was time to insert a Power Meter so that I could find out how much power into the amp would result in 25W out (to the dummy load). With the meter inline, I observed the following results...


The power-out reading on the radio pretty much mirrored the power-out on the meter (x10), so that was great. It altered slightly on different bands, but not a mile off. So 2.5W in, 25W out 👍

Obviously, for those who are licensed to use it, there's 45W available. So there you have it, a nice little amp which is just perfect for UK Foundation License holders and their QRP radios.



73, Tom, M7MCQ.


MX-P50M HF POWER AMPLIFIER


Specifications


Frequency Band : 80m 40m 30m-17m 15m-10m
Operating Modes : SSB CW AM,  RTTY and FM-Reduced duty cycle
RF input : 5W
Output power : 45W+
Band mode : Manual
Power requirement : 13.8V 8A ,  RED “+” BLACK “-”
Cooling method:passive air cooling
Antenna connector : SO-239 50Ω
Size : 155*100*35 ( mm )D*W*H
Weight : 0.55Kg




MISSION RGO ONE - "LITTLE WARRIOR"

IRISH LUCK Meets Bulgarian Excellence

I was preparing to invest in a new radio from Mission in Bulgaria and had gone as far as choosing which modules I wanted and joining the long waiting list. The total cost including delivery to the UK was around £1100.

Radio engineer (and all-round nice guy) Boris Sapundzhiev (LZ2JR) took my order and said he would send the invoice when it was ready for shipping. I was excited but was dreading the wait - I'm not good at waiting!  

Later that day I spotted some eHam Reviews and emailed one of the reviewers to see if he could offer any tips/advice on getting the most out of the radio. To my amazement, he wrote back and explained that he hadn’t used ANY of his radio equipment for many months and told me his (2nd production run) RGO ONE was stuck in a cupboard along with his new, unused TS-590SG. He didn’t even have any antennas up. The RGO ONE only had a few hours use logged.

He explained how the radio was purchased with the most desirable configuration….

  • 80-10M RGO ONE Transceiver
  • Heavyweight VFO Dial
  • 160M/60M Module
  • Auto ATU Module
  • 2.8kHz  8-pole Filter
  • Bourns Optical 128ppr Encoder
  • H-Mode HDR First RX Mixer
 
The only desirable thing he didn’t have installed was the Noise Blanker Module - something I could add later if needed. I asked him how much he wanted and £600 later, we shook virtual hands! Talk about lucky!!! ☘️☘️☘️ 

Now bear in mind that the RGO ONE is one of the most highly rated SuperHets around and there’s a long waiting list for them. On the used market they’re rarer than hens teeth!! And it seems that no one has a bad word to say about them.

I contacted Boris to cancel my order and then paid for my secondhand “Little Warrior”.  It took just a few days to arrive on my doorstep. The seller had wrapped the parcel very well and had kindly included some free accessories, one of them being a TYT hand-mic which had a HEIL HC-5 insert worth about £100 apparently. There was also a very nice Icom mic which turned out to actually be the nicer mic according to folks who were courteous enough to do some A/B tests with me. I think that the Yaesu may have beaten the Heil because it was perceived to be nicer to listen to, but I suspect that the Heil will be the better mic for "punching through" to dx stations. We'll see.


There’s something very appealing to the eye about the radio which is very contrary to modern aesthetics. It looks more like a piece of Lab Test Equipment. And that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned. It’s unique, refreshing and in keeping with Boris's top-performing, "Golden SuperHet" theme.

I think it may have been Practical Wireless who categorised it as a 'Boutique Radio', likening its old-school/new-school architecture to Sean Connery in an Aston Martin DB5 with a high performance Tesla electric engine! 😂

The Mission RGO One is a hand crafted classic Superheterodyne (9MHz IF Down Conversion to 134kHz)  transceiver covering 80M to 10M or 160M~10M if you have the optional module. It is listed in many places as being "All Mode" but the truth is, there's no AM or FM. At the time of writing, the RGO One comes pre-built and aligned, but I believe it will be available at some point in the future as a modular kit - not unlike Elecraft's 'kits'. I like this format - it makes these radios feel more 'accessible'.

There’s no scopes or waterfalls - it doesn’t even have a sound card. In fact, it doesn’t even have a manufacturer’s name or logo on the front panel (no vanity here).

The radio's compact dimensions (90x200x270mm) make it the perfect candidate for a wide range of situations ranging from a full-time Base Station in the shack, to participating in POTA events and Field Days and generally any outing which involves operating close to the car. It's not particularly suited to SOTA work though.

The radio will transmit as little as 1 Watt but I'd love to see a firmware update to permit milliwatt adjustments - there have been plenty of times where I've managed to make contacts at 100mW on my IC-705 and I'd like to do the same with the RGO.

This Bulgarian beauty is not only gorgeous but it's a very fine transceiver too, with superb ergonomics. The front panel is incredibly simple and straightforward. Pretty much everything you want to do can be done by pressing a button on the front. The only things in the menu system are those rarely adjusted settings.

The big, heavy VFO dial spins smoothly and freely - it feels superb! The other rotaries feel smooth too and the push-buttons are crisp. Each button has two or three functions and they're all clearly labelled. 



The four knobs are 3D printed and are a bit of a let down visually, but they're very easily replaced (see above) - they only cost pennies. I believe that new radios will be delivered with much smarter knobs thanks to an investment into a plastic injection moulding die.

 
The large LCD screen is uncluttered and easy to view in direct sunlight. At night it's well lit. As much as I craved scopes, waterfalls, meters and masses of information on SDR radios, I also recognise the beautiful simplicity of a good LCD design.

 
Around the back (depending on the options you paid for) you get a nicely laid out set of connectors including a single Antenna (SO-239), RX-IN, USB, SPKR, Paddle, ACC1, IF OUT, PTT, LINEAR, TRANSVERTER IN/OUT and of course, GND. Thankfully, the power-connection is via Anderson Power Poles.

In the photo below, you can see that the radio is fitted with twin cooling fans which attach to the large heatsink. I will probably remove these and store them away because I only ever run QRP, so there's no point having them - they just increase the depth of the radio. If I ever upgrade my license, I can always refit them.


 
POWER ON

I connected one of my LifePO4 batteries and switched on, resulting in the LCD lighting up and virtual silence. I turned the AF dial and still there was nothing - even at full volume, I could barely hear a noise. That was the measure of the receivers noise floor - very quiet!

Attaching my EFHW soon lit up the S-Meter and the joy of spinning that big VFO began. To be totally honest, I found the dial to be uber-sensitive and need to see if there's anything in the menu to allow me to slow it down a little. 

There's no 500Hz step available which I really do miss (it's available on most every other radio I own)! On SSB I find that generally,  people transmit on a 1K or half a K frequency. In fact, I've found more and more people using half-k frequencies (like in the video sample below). Having that size step makes tuning so much quicker

Anyway I spun the dial and found a station on 20M and the audio sounded nice and rich - it reminded me very much of the ELAD FDM DUO.

 
The audio through the built-in speaker seemed quite loud and I'm sure that it would be fine outdoors as long as you weren't in a particularly noisy environment. Having said that, I prefer a speaker to be forward facing, so at home I plug in my portable Bose speaker and it sounds fabulous! When outdoors I usually use headphones.

Having the RGO and the ELAD side by side is really handy for A-B comparisions. I have them both sharing the same EFHW and it's very easy to compare the two. Needless to say, you have to bear in mind that they are using different external speakers, so one (the Bose) sounds slightly more 'bassy'. 

I need to do more testing when conditions are better and when there are more operators on air, but for now, it seems like there's very little difference between the two receivers. I did, of course, make sure that the ELAD was being used in StandAlone mode and not benefiting from the SW2 PC software. I also switched off the NR/NB.

The ELAD is internationally recognised as being a fine receiver, so it's good to learn that the RGO ONE is on par when tuning into those weaker stations. There was just nothing between them!

I also compared the RGO ONE to my FLEX 6300 Signature Series and the RGO was much nicer to listen to in a direct A-B test. That goes a long way in my book!

Needless to say, the RGO was much easier to use than the ELAD thanks to the superb ergonomics. As much as I love and adore my ELAD, I cannot deny that the ELAD's "modus operandi" is not exactly intuitive. It's fine if it's the only radio in your shack, but when you have multiple radios, it's easy to forget which "F" button does what.

The large LCD of the RGO ONE is also a bonus - so simple, clear and well defined. There's no hunting around looking for information - it's right there in plain sight - even if your eyesight isn't what it used to be! Although I wear reading glasses, I don't really need them to operate this radio. Can't do that on the ELAD because although the screen is crystal clear, it's small 😵.

As an aside, I should perhaps mention that I connected the BOSE speaker to the RGO via a nifty BlueTooth 5 Transmitter from Amazon. 

It basically plugs into your audio device's headphone socket (3.5mm stereo jack) and then transmits the audio via bluetooth so it can be picked up by any bluetooth speaker or headphones. It works superbly!

This was a great purchase at £11 and I might actually get a spare one so that I can connect it to other equipment which lacks bluetooth connectivity. It can also be switched to RECEIVE bluetooth signals instead of transmitting them. 

Over the next few weeks, I used the RGO One as often as I could, including weekends and I was hooked with the radio's performance and ease of operation. All the time I used the ELAD for comparison. At some point in the near future I will be ordering the RGO Noise Blanker and then I can do some more Bulgaria vs Italy tests.

It's a shame, but I don't do CW and I was well aware that this radio with its clickless pin-diode switching is a CW operators dream! Like many other modern radios, the RGO has Memory-Keying which makes repetitive calling a breeze. I may lend the radio to a friend from the Radio Club to get an independent opinion on CW operation and update this page later.

At one point, I took the radio out of the shack to a well known local hillside called "Winter Hill" which is around 450M above sea level. I connected my SotaBeams 20/40 Dipole and was grinning from ear to ear at the signals booming in. The people I spoke to were mightily impressed with my 5W signal and the "excellent audio" which was commented on multiple times throughout the day. 

I am aware that some people have suffered broadcast station break-in on the ham bands when living close to a Broadcast Radio Transmitter, but I've experienced none of that even though Winter Hill is a Broadcast and Telecommunications Site pushing out up to 100kW of signals to the whole of the North West UK. Having said that, I have discovered that Boris provided a High Pass Filter for this particular radio of mine and the previous owner also carried out a "mod" recommended on the RGO Website.

The Winter Hill outing proved to me that not only was the radio fabulous at pulling in stations from around the globe with relative ease, but it could also handle environments which might normally be considered hostile to amateur radio.

I've decided that the RGO ONE will probably not live in my home-shack, but will instead live at my holiday home (static caravan) on the edge of the Forest Of Bowland. I go there virtually every weekend and that's when I play most radio, so it makes sense to keep it there. The noise levels over there are almost non-existent and there are plenty of places that you can drive up to and find a great operating spot, sometimes with a bench or even a picnic table. That's ideal for the RGO ONE because of its weight (2.3kg).

The RGO One is fairly good on battery life, using about 650mA on RX - that's obviously not comparable to the very energy-efficient KX3 (150mA) and IC-705 (250mA), but then it's not that kind of radio. You wouldn't take an RGO ONE to the top of a mountain and expect to operate all day.  With the RGO, you'll probably always be close to your vehicle and a spare battery. My Zippy 8400 lasts long enough for most of my outdoor radio sessions.


Some might be interested to know that there's a relatively cheap waterproof case from CPC that's suitable for the RGO One. It's not a Pelican, but it's certainly worth the money and keeps the radio safe when transporting it....


So, I think you can deduce from my ramblings that I am very happy with my Bulgarian radio. The company's owner (Boris) has already proved that he's very passionate about this project and it's going to be great to see it grow and be a part of it. He cares very much about his customers and always finds time to answer queries.

So, that's the good. 
Here's the ugly... there is none!

So now I am 99.9% happy and enjoying this wonderful little transceiver. If the 500Hz step size was sorted out in a firmware update, this would be 100%.


I started a FaceBook Group Page and at the time of writing it has well over 300 members who are passionate about this little gem. If you are an owner or thinking of becoming one, please do join us. We all share information, tips and advice.




UPDATE 23 MARCH : Installed Noise Blanker


 

UPDATE Apr 2024 : 

I removed the fans this weekend because I only operate at QRP levels, so no use having them fitted (I've never actually see or heard them running). It leaves me with space in the case for a microphone and power-lead.
























73, Tom, M7MCQ.


VIDEO SAMPLE…

QSO with a lovely Irish guy on 40M

IMAGES…














INTERNAL PIX & ATU PIX







SPECIFICATIONS:

  • QRP/QRO output 1 – 50W [1 watt increments]
  • All mode(?) shortwave operation – coverage of all HAM HF bands (160m/60m optional) No AM/FM modes
  • High dynamic range receiver design including high IP3 monolithic linear amplifiers in the front end and diode ring RX mixer or H-mode first mixer (option).
  • Low phase noise first LO – SI570 XO/VCXO chip.
  • Full/semi (delay) QSK on CW; PTT/VOX operation on SSB. Strict RX/TX sequencing scheme. No click sounds at all!
  • Down conversion superhet topology with popular 9MHz IF
  • Custom made crystal filters for SSB and CW and variable crystal 4 pole filter – Johnson type 200…2000Hz
  • Fast acting AGC (fast and slow) with 134kHz dedicated IF
  • Compact and lightweight body (5lbs / 2.3kg)
  • Custom made multicolour backlit FSTN LCD
  • Custom moulded front panel with ergonomic controls.
  • Silent operation with no clicking relays inside – solid state GaAs PHEMT SPDT switches on RX (BPF and TX to RX switching) and ultrafast rectifying diodes (LPF)
  • Modular construction – Main board serves as a “chassis” also fits all the external connectors, daughter boards, inter-connections and acts as a cable harness.
  • Optional modules – Noise Blanker (NB), Audio Filter (AF), ATU, XVRTER, PC control via CAT protocol; USB UART – FTDI chipset
  • Double CPU circuitry control for front panel and main board – both field programmable via USB interface.
  • Memory morse code keyer (Curtis A, CMOS B); 4 Memory locations 128 bytes each

  • Classic superhet design – with popular 9MHz intermediate frequency. Filter method DSB to SSB modulation
     
  • Coverage of the 9 HAM HF bands (160m optional)
     
  • High dynamic range receiver design including high IP3 monolithic IC in the front end and H-mode first mixer
     
  • Fast acting IF (134kHz) AGC.
     
  • Clickless operation – solid state GaAs PHEMT SPDT switches on RX, (bandpass filtersTX/RX) and ultra fast rectifier diodes (LPF)
     
  • Custom multicolor FSTN LCD (Especially developed for this project)
     
  • Custom made plastic face plate, unique and ergonomic knob controls
     
  • Custom made crystal filters – 6,8 pole, CF=9MHz, 2.8kHz, 2.7kHz, 1kHz, 500Hz

  • Double CPU circuitry control for front panel and mother board, both field programmable via implemented USB hub.

  • Modular construction with no “flying wires” inside the box. Transceiver is built up on a main – mother board which has two functions. First to serve as a “chassis” and second to fit all the external connectors, daughter boards, inter-connections and acts as cable harness.
     
  • Plenty of optional modules: Audio filters, Automatic antenna tuner (ATU), Noise blanker (NB), narrow/wide band IF crystal filters.
     
  • Linear final amplifier PA 50W with precise power adjustment especially for QRP operations. Forget noisy FANs – 25W  – unlimited time!! QRO work – with max power of 50W driving should be sufficient for a kilowatt amplifier.
     
  • Personal computer control CAT via USB
     
  • Morse code keyer (Curtis A, CMOS B)
     
  • Contest and DX-pedition operation conveniences
     
  • Both Kit & Pre-Built versions will be available for sale