Saturday, 2 January 2021

ICOM IC-705

COULDN'T RESIST!

Even though I have an Elecraft KX3, I still fancied an Icom IC-705.  When I discovered the £1300 price tag, I thought it was quite ridiculous and thought I'd never buy one, but then I remembered the KX3 cost exactly the same and the KX3 didn't have a decent speaker, a full-colour touchscreen, a Waterfall, a Bandscope, GPSBluetoothVHF, UHF, DSTAR, AirBand, Broadcast, , Wireless LAN, MicroSD, a built-in Li-ion battery and didn't even have - wait for it - a microphone!!


The 705 is like a baby 7300/9700 - it really is! But despite the size being reduced, the performance certainly isn't! The receiver is fantastic even though it's very wideband, going from 0.030-440.000. 



The famous Icom intuitiveness means you don't have to read the manual. You just kinda know what to do! And little things like progressive-tuning and touch-tuning make your workflow so easy and enjoyable. 

The built-in speaker is a bit toppy but is nice and loud. The supplied microphone is also a speaker, so it's easy to lift it up to your ear on a windy day outdoors. The mic also has tuning buttons to help you move up and down without leaning over to the radio. They're just handy little things.

An output of 5W on the internal 2000mAh battery is enough for most circumstances but an external supply (which might be another battery) gives you a useful boost to 10W. I've ordered a BP-307  3150mAh battery to extend operations, even though I would normally use a FlightMax Zippy LifePo 13.2V battery for outdoor operations.

Talking of Outdoor Operations, you might not realise just how handy it is to have a built-in GPS. Not only is it great for positioning information, but it's also amazingly helpful for time-syncing when you're playing FT4/FT8 in the middle of nowhere with no wi-fi or phone signal. By using the GPS output (in NMEA mode) and a PC App such as BktTimeSync, you can run your digital software and maintain low time-differences. Click here for setup information.
 

Here's a short video recording of a QSO into
Aberdeenshire getting as low as 100mW
If video doesn't appear, CLICK HERE

The buttons and dials all have a solid and smooth feel to them and the whole unit feels pretty rugged. You'll always be worried about banging the screen of course, but that goes for the Elecraft too.

I'm hoping that someone (WindCamp) come up with a nice perspex slip-on cover for the front of the radio when in transit. It would just help me to relax that bit more like I do with the KX3 cover.


WINDCAMP PERSPEX COVER




BUT THERE'S NO ATU!! 😲

No, there's no built-in tuner and that seems to upset a lot of people. But then there's no built-in tuner with the Elecraft either - unless you fork out an extra £270! The fact is, most of the ATU's which are included with a radio are quite inefficient and can't handle more than a 3:1 mismatch, whereas independent ATU's are capable of matching a much wider range of imbalances. So ultimately, this gives you the opportunity of choosing your own ATU.

Thankfully, I already own a little LDG Z-100PLUS which interfaces perfectly with the 705, using a simple 3.5mm stereo jack lead. After switching the ATU menu-option on in the 705, a simple quick press of the mic's PTT initiates a quick tune on the ATU. Perfect! I might buy an Elecraft T1 ATU because of the miniature dimensions and it's incredible light weight.

LDG Z-100Plus

UPDATE : I bought an Elecraft T1 and reviewed it >>HERE<<
 
ELECRAFT T1

And just in case you weren't aware, there's no need to fork out £90 for Icom's BlueTooth Headset VS-3 when the Yaesu SSM-BT10 works perfectly well for just £25. I know, because I use the SSM-BT10 with my Yaesu FT3D and FTM-300D and I tried it with the IC-705. No issues whatsoever! And yes, the PTT works too - even VOX! 😊 
 




I bought some other accessories for the 705 which are pretty cool. The first one is the MBF-705 stand which has a rubber-type strip on the underside to stop it moving around on your desk when you press the buttons on the radio - it works extremely well!



Unfortunately, it doesn't accommodate my second accessory which it the NEV RC105 antenna support, so I had to add a small spacer (washers) to allow it to work. All fine now!




And I bought  a neat carrying pouch for the IC-705. The square red sheet in the photograph is a protective 'wrap' which you can use to provide some additional padding to the radio or even use it to sit the radio onto when you're outdoors to prevent scratching. This was an idea I got from Gaz at ML&S. 


Domke 19" Protective Wrap

JJC DLP-7 Large Lens Pouch


MY FAVOURITE BACKPACK is the LowePro Tahoe BP-150. It's incredibly versatile and I've bought two of them.





I like this radio - I like it a lot! I'm looking forward to a busy 2021 outdoors with it. Some people are messaging me asking me how it compares to the Elecraft KX3. Well the simple answer to that, is I have now sold my KX3!! 😮

If I'm stuck at home or in a poor location, the Elecraft's super sensitivity is very nice to have. It allows you to pick out weaker signals. But the fact of the matter is, my main activity is outdoor stuff, walking in the hillsides or by a beach or playing SOTA and POTA. Outdoors I'm usually in a fabulous take-off location, I've got resonant antennas and finding signals is not a problem.

Apart from its Amateur Radio uses, the IC-705 is also fabulous for AirBand & marineBand fans and as a general SWL radio. This thing just works superbly at everything. Most of the time I have it connected to a quality Discone antenna and I'm constantly amazed at what it picks up. 


So when everyone's booming in, there's no real need for the KX3's sensitivity. I can hear (and usually work) everyone out there. All the IC-705 benefits of a decent speaker, a full-colour touchscreen, a waterfall, a bandscope, GPS, VHF, UHF, DSTAR, AirBand, Broadcast, Bluetooth, Wireless LAN, MicroSD, a built-in Li-ion battery (and a microphone, lol) far outweigh the benefits of slightly better ears.

Finally, I just added a HEIL HTHD-I Headset to the package. Read more about it HERE.



UPDATE : AIRPOD PRO's also work perfectly with the IC-705. Click HERE to read more about it.




RELATED VIDEOS...

Screen Noise


Yaesu Bluetooth



SPECIFICATIONS:

IC-705 HF/VHF/UHF Mobile Transceiver

The new portable HF/VHF/UHF IC-705 has many great features such as SDR platform, internal battery, GPS, Bluetooth and D-STAR, all in a compact and lightweight body. The Icom IC-705 uses the same 4.3 inch colour touch screen display as the best selling IC-7300 and IC-9700 featuring real-time spectrum scope and waterfall display.

HF/50/144/430 MHz Multimode Operation
From HF to 50/144/430 MHz, you can enjoy a variety of bands in D-STAR DV, SSB, CW, AM and FM modes. The IC-705 receives continuously from 30 kHz through the 144 MHz band. You can also enjoy FM broadcast and Airband reception.

RF Direct Sampling System
The IC-705 uses the RF direct sampling method* matured in the IC-7300, IC-7610, and IC-9700. This method greatly reduces distortion. The high speed /high resolution real-time spectrum scope and waterfall display are incorporated in a compact design for the first time in this class.
* Down-conversion IF sampling method for 25 MHz and above

Real-Time Spectrum Scope and Waterfall Display
The IC-705 inherits the performance and functions of the highly-acclaimed IC-7300 and IC-9700 scopes. You can visually figure out the band condition and check clear frequencies. It takes you to the next level beyond traditional field operation.

Large Touch Screen Colour Display
The large 4.3 inch colour TFT touch LCD is the same size as the IC-7300 and IC-9700. It offers intuitive operation of the IC-705’s functions, settings, and various operational visual aids, such as the band scope, waterfall, and audio scope functions.

Compact and Lightweight Design
“Base station radio” performance and functions are packaged in a compact size of approximately 20 cm, 7.9 in (W) × 8.35 cm, 3.3 in (H) × 8.2 cm, 3.2 in (D). The weight is approximately 1.1 kg (including BP-272). Its compact and lightweight design enables you to hold it with one hand.

BP-272 Li-ion Battery Pack or 13.8 V DC External Power Supply
The IC-705 utilises the high capacity Li-Ion battery from the ID-51A and ID-31A handheld radios. A 13.8 V DC external power supply can be used for operation and charging of the BP-272.

Maximum Output Power 5 W (BP-272), 10 W (13.8 V DC)
In portable mode, the IC-705 has a maximum output power of 5 W from the BP-272 which can last approx. 3 hours*. This is perfect for true 5 W QRP as well as the 0.5 W QRPp operations. Once you setup with a 13.8 V DC power source, you have up to 10 W.
* TX : RX : standby = 1 : 1 : 8 (The Power Save function ON, in the FM mode)

Supports Connections Using WLAN/Bluetooth® Technologies
Utilises WLAN/Bluetooth® technologies for linking and remote control*. The VS-3 headset (optional) enables more comfortable operation via Bluetooth®
* Those features will be available with future firmware upgrades.

GPS Functions
An internal GPS receiver and antenna enhance your operations by providing location logging*, RX/TX locations via D-PRS®, “Near Me” repeater search/scan, QSO recording with metadata*, and internal clock synchronization.
* Micro SD required

MicroSD Card Slot
The microSD card slot enables the storage of user-profiles, QSO recording, TX voice memory keyer, RTTY logging, GPS data, screen capture, firmware upgrades, and programming.
* microSD card is not supplied.

Micro USB Connector
In addition to audio and rig control, the micro USB port allows charging capability, making digital modes easy with minimal cables.

D-STAR Functions
Enjoy the latest G3 Gateway and DV mode features with the IC-705. Have direct access to the D-STAR network with Terminal/Access point modes. Additionally, the IC-705 has the Photo Share feature introduced with the IC-9700. Share photos, without the need of a computer with other users with an IC-705 and IC-9700.

Programmable Speaker/Microphone
Enjoy portable operations with the supplied HM-243, programmable speaker/microphone. Perfect for operation with the IC-705 safely secured in the optional LC-192 backpack. User assignable buttons put functions like frequency and volume adjustments at the tip of your fingers, without removing your backpack.


UPDATE :
I just received an email from a very kind gentleman...

Hi Tom,

 

Firstly let me say congratulations for getting your license and achieving so much in such a short space of time running 10w or less! Very well done. You have achieved more in that time than I have and I got my license quite a few years before you did.

 

Your blog articles are also very well written and informative. You really have embraced the hobby with both hands.

 

I just read this comment of yours on the 705 FB group : “I've owned/own some of the very best radios out there including Elecraft KX3, IC-7610 and FT-DX101D and the 705 is my favourite all-rounder! I just LOVE that thing”

 

I recently signed up for ham alerts and have been doing some SOTA chasing. I operate my 7300 remotely and work from home so sitting at my PC it’s really easy to just jump in there and work whatever pops up either SSB or CW via the keyboard.

 

It’s got me interested in doing some portable ops so been doing lots of research mainly to do with antennas.

 

My 7300 antenna is a home brew 49:1 efhw which works incredibly well.

It the 66’ length one so I only have 4 bands.

In looking at a portable antenna I want to have access to more bands.

I am thinking of a 41’ wire vertical on 31’ Jackite mast with some radials without a 9:1 to start with running to an LDG100 tuner. I have none of this gear yet.

Thinking about getting a 705 but want to get an antennas setup working first.

 

Are you have with your LDG Z-100 plus?

You have owned a whole host of gear, what is it that separates the 705 from the rest making it your favorite all-rounder?

 

By the way having been born and raised in Rhodesia I also learned the Queen’s English.

I think that you, me a Kiwi and an Ausie need to get on at the same time so that the locals can hear firsthand that we actually do have very different accents!!

 

All the best from sunny San Diego.

 

Joel

 

W6TC ex ZS6CBA


I replied with....


Well Joel, it sure is great to hear from you and THANK YOU for your very complimentary comments!


Yes, I've had all sorts of radios and enjoyed all the buying and swapping and experimenting. My wife is much less enthusiastic about it 😂

Currently, I have an IC-7300, an IC-705, an FTM-300D, an FTM-7250D, an FT3D and an FT-DX101D. If lovely wife said I had to sell them all apart from ONE radio, I would keep the 705!

Why?? Well it is just a joy to play with. On Tuesday night I had a chat with YU1XA in Serbia on my 705 connected to a VERY poorly sited half-size G5RV. It was a good chat and we could hear each other perfectly well. On Thursday I chatted with him again on my FT-DX101D connected to an elevated EFHW and we had another good chat. There was little or no difference between the two conversations. The very biggest difference was one radio cost £2,000 more than the other!! 😱

The 705 is (in my opinion) every bit as good as the 7300 on receive! But it also has VHF & UHF. It's also every bit as good as the Elecraft KX3 I had. It cost me exactly the same as a KX3 but came with superb filtering, a FAR better screen (full colour, touch), VHF & UHF, Scope & Waterfall, a loudspeaker that works(!), BlueTooth (that works with AirPod Pros and even with Yaesu's cheap BlueTooth earpiece), Wireless LAN for super simple remote work, built-in battery and a FABULOUS speaker-mic! The KX3 didn't even have a microphone!!

The 705 is tough too! When I had my KX3 I was always worried about how fragile it felt. Another thing I like about the 705 is the wideband RX coverage - coming from an SWL background, there's lots of other things to listen to when the bands are quiet or if you just fancy monitoring the Broadcast stations, the AirBand or Marine Band in the background. It's the most versatile radio out there. And we've not even mentioned the DSTAR capability yet!

The 705 is also very easy to program frequencies into memory - without even reading the manual. Like the 7300, it's just very intuitive.

When outdoors, I have a 20/40M Linked Dipole in my little rucksack and it works magnificently. I was recently on holiday on the North-Eastern coast of England and with just 2.5W I was talking to KE5EE and WD4NGB in America. Great antenna purchased from SotaBeams here in the UK. I also have one of their EFHW which I use with a little Elecraft T1 ATU. www.sotabeams.co.uk

With regard to the Z-100PLUS, yes, it's a fabulous tuner and interfaces PERFECTLY with the 705 using nothing more than a simple stereo lead with 3.5mm jackplugs on either end. It's cheap and can be used with your higher power rigs too. I only bought an Elecraft T1 to save a little bit of weight when doing long hill walks.

Well I hope that's been of some use to you Joel. Like I said, it's real nice to hear from you and I wish you the very best.

From rainy Bolton!  :-D
 
 
 
 
Thanks for visiting - please take a minute to leave a comment below 

73, Tom, M7MCQ.

5 comments:

  1. Excellent informations Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very good! Well, I'd rather choose to take an ATU if I am playing with non-resonant experiments. But otherwise, with 1/4 wave verticals that are likely to be any portable user's bread-and-butter antennas, there is no problem. That plastic cover is now available on ebay, BTW!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really?? I searched eBay and can't find a perspex cover like the one for the KX3 (WindCamp). Can you send a link??

      Thanks for your input.

      Delete
  3. I really love my 705. I 3D printed a protective cage for it. And it looks like I also got the same lens soft chase you did. I found a backpack that I can fit the radio/16Ah battery, WRC vert antenna and di-pole in. Love doing SOTA and POTA with it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great stuff! Thanks for the visit - I appreciate it.

      73, Tom, M7MCQ

      Delete