The ICOM IC-705

Should I Buy an ICOM IC-705?

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.

IC-705’s Purpose:

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.

An Amplifier?

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

73 de KE2YK

Icom IC-705 approved by FCC: pricing and availability update

According to information found on SWLing Blog, the ICOM IC-705 finally has a release date and pricing information.

Icom ic-705

The long awaited ICOM IC-705 had finally been approved by the FCC and is soon to be sold in the USA. The price of the transceiver is about what I expected it to be.

From The SWLing Blog: Icom IC-705 approved by FCC: pricing and availability update

73 de KE2YK

The ICOM 705 Flaw?

As the owner of an ICOM IC-7300, I really like most of the features of the new ICOM IC-705. Of course taking the wraps off the radio and actually using it is different than speculating.

Automatic Antenna Tuner:

At this point you are probably wondering why I say thumbs down to the current version of the awesome radio. Right off the bat many say the missing automatic antenna tuner a deal breaker! But that/s not it!

The simple answer to the absence of an automatic antenna tuner is to use an antenna that is cut for the band in use or use a tune-able antenna system like the Wolf River Coil TIA or the Buddistick

Another option is to pick up an outboard Elecraft T1A automatic antenna tuner or wait for the mAT-705 tuner that is specifically designed for the 705.

DSTAR:

Although I have been around DMR for a few years, DSTAR would have been be a new experience for me. However, to my knowledge there are no DSTAR repeaters in my area. 

The Openspot I previously owned was an awesome device which got me on the Brandmeister network. Over time I lost interest in DMR and sold the Openspot. As a result, unless the WIFI built into the IC-705 provides a way to make DSTAR connections, that feature is completely useless to me.

GPS:

 I’d imagine that the built in GPS will sync the internal clock for use with digital modes in the field. In my mind the clock sync feature should be a no-brainer. However, the GPS may only be related to positioning for APRS, etc.  Mere speculation at this point. 

The Flaw:

With all these incredible RF capabilities built into one awesome unit, I just can’t imagine why they designed a radio with a flaw. Suppose your mobile and having a QSO on 20 meter phone. As you approach your hometown you want to jump onto the VHF band to call a friend. 

Time Out! 

Without carrying yet another piece of gear (a coaxial switch) you are stuck fiddling with antenna connections or stuck using the HF or the VU side of the rig. The alternative; jumper to coax switch, VU antenna on one switch port, jumper to antenna tuner on second port, antenna tuner to HF antenna… What a mess!

Come on ICOM Engineering! Really! Really! The Elecraft KX3 sure has been knocked for its flaws. Poor internal battery system, poor internal speaker, insufficient heat sink to mention a few but for those wanting to work out side the HF bands, Elecraft provides an SMA connector on the VHF board.

Amazon: ICOM IC-7300

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome!

73 de KE2YK