IC-705 TWO YEARS LATER
Two 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 2022. 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 originally had an Elecraft KX3 but ended up selling it. You can tell yourself all day long that the KX3 is the king of portables (I did), but reality soon hits you in the face when you start to add desirable accessories which increase the cost of the radio to a staggering £2,800 and you still haven't got a fraction of the features of the Icom.
But has the Elecraft not got the better receiver? Yes of course - 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. It's a stunner!
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 will be virtually no difference between a KX 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!
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.
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!