Wednesday 3 July 2024



For the last few years I've been using the amazing ELECRAFT T1 with my IC-705. Well actually, I've been using the Elecraft with all my QRP radios and I've been extremely happy too!

My only gripe with the T1 has been the lack of an interface cable. Elecraft have been saying for years that they are making a lead for the IC-705 and it's just never materialised - annoying!

Anyway, when Icom introduced their AH-705, I thought it would be worthwhile investing in one, but at £300, I quickly changed my mind! And apart from the silly money, they're also quite big and heavy considering the application.

I'd previously looked at the Mat-705 but the first version of it was not very highly rated, so I gave it a miss. When the PLUS model was introduced, it looked to be much more interesting, so I looked further into it. It too was a bit pricey when it was launched, but I was always going to wait for one to appear on the second-hand market anyway.


I found one on Facebook Marketplace for £100 including postage. Bargain!!

The MAT-705 PLUS brings USB-C charging to the tuner and a redesign which removes the need for an On/Off switch. The unit turns on automatically when plugged into the radio.

The unit is small, light and looks pretty robust. It is not, however, waterproof. Some people are complaining about that, but it's not something that bothers me at all - I don't work in the rain either 😂

The MAT-705 comes with a USB-C charging lead and a 3.5mm TRS interface cable. The LEDs on the faceplate are large and bright - easy enough to see in bright sunlight.

The tuner has thousands of memories, which makes tuning super fast once it has learned the antenna its connected to, but even on a fresh tune, it only takes a few seconds anyway. It's pretty quiet too (especially compared to something like an LDG Z100PLUS).

Tuning through all the bands

I've got my MAT-705 and IC-705 configured to tune on PTT which means everything is just automatic - I simply press the PTT on the mic (or the VOX button on the radio) and tuning instantly begins. It's seamless and effortless.

If I'm using my Elecraft T1, I have to make sure I'm on 5W, change mode to RTTY, press the tune button on the T1, key up and wait for a tune, then change the mode back and adjust the power (if needed). A bit of a faff.

So having played around with the MAT-705 PLUS, I have to say I am impressed! I love the compact dimensions and the integration. Some people have complained about the battery life between charges, but it's not something that bothers me too much, because I'm always careful to prepare for a day out playing radio.

I always charge things which need charging the night before and in addition to that, I'm anal enough to always carry a USB Battery Pack with me.

So in summary, I think this is a fabulous IC-705 companion and it means I can leave my Elecraft T1 in my FX-4CR case. 

73, Tom, M7MCQ.




Neil said...

Nice review Tom, like you I got one for a good price and really recommend it. I have found it matches a really wide range of impedances and works really well with random wires. So impressed that I started to bemoan the fact it was a dedicated to the IC-705. So I started to look at the switching protocol between the 705 and the tuner with the START and KEY lines and it turns out it is actually really simple. So I now have a small box that plugs into the Mat Plus with a small battery and diode and switch etc and I can use it with any transceiver portable or base. Longer term I plan to build this inside the tuner. 72. Neil. G1AAD

MadDogMcQ said...

Hi Neil, thanks for visiting the blog! I'd be interested in details (and pix) of your mod. Perhaps you'd be good enough to write something that I could add to this post?

73, Tom, M7MCQ

Neil said...

Sure Tom, I’ll dig it out and see exactly what I did. Will let you know. 72 Neil. G1AAD