Thinking of buying an ICOM IC-705 All Mode Transceiver? Maybe you should reconsider. Here’s several reasons why you may want to explore alternatives.
A well known amateur radio store professes that the ICOM IC-705 is THE all purpose radio for the Ham Shack and mobile use. IMHO, I don’t think the ICOM IC-705 is a viable alternative for either situation.
It’s All About QRP:
First and foremost is the fact that the #ICOM705 is a QRP transceiver. If you are new to Amateur Radio and you don’t fully understand QRP, then spend the time to learn about QRP before laying out $1200+ on a transceiver that you may find to be a disappointment.
For novice or veteran QRPers, a way to learn a ton about the magic of QRP is to pick up a copy of Peter VK3YE’s book called Minimum QRP. Peter truly is the Godfather of QRP. If you have a Kindle reader on your phone, tablet, etc. then I believe Peter’s Kindle publication is still free. If not, Minimum QRP is also available in paperback. A link to Peter’s publications are found below.
Since the #IC705 is not IMHO an ideal transceiver for the Ham Shack nor a viable alternative as a mobile rig, what is it good for? It’s really all about backpacking for those portable, “on the air” adventures.
The ICOM brochure mentions #POTA and #SOTA among all the other features of the transceiver. Click here for my Intro to POTA or the Parks on the Air Program. Find more info on SOTA here.
At least ICOM is not attempting to mislead about the intended purpose of their awesome feat of RF engineering. Since I have no personal interest in VHF, UHF, Bluetooth, DSTAR and GPS, it’s best to use the ICOM brochure or other web sites for those details.
More Things To Consider:
The IC-705 only has one antenna port. Read my opinion called the Flawed ICOM-705 for more on that subject.
The IC-705 has no internal tuner. If you bring an antenna like the tunable Wolf River TIA System or antennas cut for the bands you plan to use then SWR is a non-issue.
Apparently Vibroplex is one of the first to rush an IC-705 tuner into production. According to the Vibroplex web site, their $220+ mAT-705 will be shipping in late October.
Sure you can rig up an amplifier for the ICOM IC-705 but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of having a QRP rig? If it’s power you are after, a Yaesu FT-991 or better yet an ICOM IC-7300 are far better alternatives.
The ICOM IC-7300 is about $300 less than the IC-705 and is capable of 100 watts. If QRP is something that truly interests you, the IC-7300 power can be easily set to 5 watts or less.
For the sake of saying it, my ICOM IC-7300 was a quantum leap from my Kenwood days. After a year with my IC-7300, I have no complaints.
One thing to note about the IC-7300 is that the internal tuner is not broad banded. The #ICOM7300 internal tuner handles antennas designed to operate on specific bands or tunable antenna systems.
Since I don’t have the space for an HF antenna farm outside of my Ham Shack, the alternative I chose was the LDG IT-100 external tuner. One nice feature of the IT-100 is that it utilizes the IC-7300’s tune button. LDG also provides live, one-on-one telephone support.
What is Your Opinion of the ICOM IC-705?
Amazon: VK3YE’s Minimum QRP
Amazon: ICOM IC-7300
Amazon: LDG IT-100 Tuner
as more and more of us get older there are a TON ofused radios looking for homes.. ic 756, any of the models are a great choice.. Ed K2EDM
Like every other radio, it depends on whether the feature set matches your needs. As my tired old FT817s age, I place a premium on a portable capable of being a VHF or UHF satellite uplink, and having SSB capability for 6, 2 and 70cms. I’ve been very happy with mine, takes a while to adapt to the unusual form factor but the ergonomics work out well in the field for me, and the front firing speaker is a real plus- other people can hear it outside, unlike most little rig side mounted speakers. Not having 2 antenna ports rarely matters in portable operation. And the big rig feature is just fun to use when portable. And that teeny weenie battery seems to do 2-3 hours with little complaint. I’d do it again.
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Thanks for your insight into one of the most innovative transceivers on the market today. Unfortunately I purchased a KX3 some time ago. As the owner of a 7300 I can appreciate the features of the 705. 73 de KE2YK
For me, purchasing an IC-705 is about trying something new and different. Id like to do some local 2 meter stuff and use the reflectors too. Yes amps can be utilized for both HF and VHF. The Yaesu FT-991A has 2 meters but too heavy to haul in a backpack for portable. The receiver on the 991a isn’t too good on HF and the transmitter has poor phase noise. In my case pretty soon Ill be getting a QTH with 10+ acres. My base rig will be an FTDX-101MP. So the IC-705 we be a great back-up rig and one to use in a power outage. 73 de WA3RSL
Everyone talks about the 705 and the 7300. I pity the 7100, sitting unloved in the corner, with a monochrome LCD and no waterfall (yetcapable of 100 Watts