"International friendship through amateur radio"

Author: G4YTD

Living with the Icom IC705

Having had a month of lockdown with the 705, here are a few observations and additions I would like to share.

This radio was obtained to use when weight was not an issue, that is to say, portable operations that do not involve climbing mountains and very long walks (SOTA) where weight is a big issue.

The radio is a joy to use, either as the main base radio, or low impact portable rig to be used either barefoot, or with some kind of amplifier.

Whilst the World craziness continues, beach use with the kite has not happened and will be the subject of another article, pity as the home beverage has picked up VK and ZL on 80m on many early morning monitoring sessions.

So, where do we start?

The biggest niggle with the 705 is the inherent instability, and the fact it falls over easier than a drunk on a Saturday night. Searching the forums and user groups, this is the main cause of dissatisfaction with the radio.

Luckily the answer is quite easy to implement, many people, myself included are using a tripod to camera adaptor, there are many around ranging from dirt cheap to eye watering expensive. I opted for a heavy weight anodised aluminium tilting mount from Neewer. The mount was on promo on Amazon (UK) and cost less than £20 delivered. This mount has a thumb screw integrated into the housing and is very easy to fit and remove from the radio. As it is quite heavy, I wouldn’t want to carry it on a SOTA activation, but it keeps the radio upright and stable when used in a vehicle or on a table. As a side note, on the base of the mount, there are small integrated rubber feet that stop the radio sliding if used on a smooth surface.

Neewer photo mount closed
Neewer Photo mount open
IC705 on Neewer tripod mount

The second point is Icom only (currently) sell one carry case for the radio – the super expensive sell a kidney to buy one backpack. Whilst this is the ultimate bling carry pack, for my own use, serves no purpose. It is a great idea, but lacks many of the functions of a hiking or climbing rucksack, and does not offer me enough space for the safety and foul weather kit I choose to carry. I can see the Icom bags use in short strolls, or operating from a park or beach, but I needed something that was lightweight, would fit in an existing backpack, could be used from a car or camper van, and wouldnt take much space at home when not in use. One of the other hobbies here is photography, and having several camera and lens holders from Lowepro, this was the obvious choice for my needs.

The bag had to have enough space for the battery, mic, power and data leads, everything else I would need would be carried in ex military pods and packs, or in the tote box that has wheels and doubles up as a table when on a beach or at the side of the car.

By coincidence, the Lowepro Edit 140 is exactly the right size for the job, costing about £30 in the UK at the time of writing (January 2021) it is significantly cheaper than the Icom backpack, and will fit into any of the walking rucksacks I have, the tote box, or the car. The Edit 140 also fits the radio with the mount attached. As it is a snug fit, there is little movement of the radio, ideal for portable use. Mine again was sourced on Amazon, they also appear from time to time on eBay.

Lowepro Edit140 camera bag

Lowepro Edit140 bag open with IC705
Lowepro Edit140, Neewer tripod mount and IC705

Lastly, as this is not a cheap piece of equipment, and it will be used in the field, spend a fiver and buy a decent toughened screen protector for it. A quick eBay search will return many screen protectors for this (and many other) radios, avoid the “pack of 5” listings as these are a polythene type material, you are looking for toughened screen protectors. Mine came from Germany and including postage was around £5. A cheap addition that could save you hundreds of pounds in the long term.

The more I use this radio, the more it impresses me, shack in a box with a display you don’t need a magnifying glass to read.

Hopefully the restrictions will be eased soon and we can get out portable again.

Stay safe.

73

Tim

G4YTD

Icom IC705 – First impressions

Icom IC705

After a long wait the 705 arrived.

Whilst a little disappointed that it didn’t have 4m as originally promised, and nearly cancelling the order, I am so pleased its here.

Unboxing the radio, it was quite surprising how heavy it is in comparison to the usual KX2, the feel is solid, and it looks quite honestly as though the front end of a 7300 has been sawn off and a strange looking case has been added.

First gotcha is the battery pack must be clipped on for it to turn on, even if using the supplied power lead and a desk power supply/battery.

The boot screen can be customised with your callsign, name, a picture or you also have the choice to show the battery voltage too.

I have been using the 7100 for some time, so the navigation of this radio took no time to understand, unlike the KX2 that baffles PHd holders.

The battery once hooked up to a USB charger was around 90 mins to fully charge before the charge light went off, at which point the G-Whip was attached to the trusty motor and we set off to test the performance on air.

The radio volume is loud if you want that, quite good for windy hill tops if you are not using headphones. The supplied mic is a speaker mic, and again, enough volume comes out of it to make it work well.

On Battery the radio will give a maximum of 5w output, this is variable by pressing the multi button, selecting power and twizzling the control to the desired output.

I decided to use 18m and 60m on the day of the test as the bands were hopping and 20m was completely full in the data section.

The 705 has a built in sound card and only requires a USB connection to make it work. Rig control and audio are passed down the USB cable, and as the radio is so new, WSJT does not have a dedicated radio drop down. This is easily rectified by changing the radio network address to that of the 7300 and takes a matter of seconds.

Instruction video here:https://forums.qrz.com/index.php?threads/wsjt-x-setup-on-the-icom-ic-705.724082/

Once connected up to the surface book pro, levels checked and a test transmission made into the spectrum analyser, the compact station was ready to go to air.

I decided to run the radio from an external LiFepo 16Ah golf buggy battery for the testing and run it at 9.5w. You can set the radio to charge when on a USB connection, but this appears to also take power from the laptop or tablet if used in that mode, it can also be disabled in the power settings if energy saving is the prime concern.

50+ FT8 QSO’s later and on the brink of hypothermia. a day was called on the portable testing.

ODX VK at 14k Miles, not bad for a 9.5w transmission and a mobile whip.

I intend to also use this radio as the driver for an AO-100 portable sat system as it covers all of 2m and 70cm, and the power output can be set to milliwatts if needed. Another handy TX power feature is you can set max power output by band in the menu system, the power control can then only work up to that level, a good feature in preventing transverter BBQ’s.

I like this radio a lot, it is easy to use with the touch screen, the built in battery monitor and internal temp gauges give piece of mind when out portable – as a side note the temp bar graph hardly moved in two hours of pretty constant FT8 at 95% of full power, testament to the design of the heat sink on the PA, the KX2 complains after a short time at full power on data modes.

In summing up this short review:

Likes:

Intuitive controls

Large display

Built in sound card for data modes

10w output usable on data modes at full power (On external power)

All the information can be on screen at once

Bandscope

Niggles:

You need to prop it up to use it, and it is prone to falling over unless laid on its back, at which point you cant see the screen,

Battery has to be clipped on adding weight to be able to turn it on.

Would I use this radio in the foul weather on a mountain top? Probably not, the 817 and 818, or the KX2 are much lighter to carry, and less ££ ($$) to loose if you happen to have a mishap.

The 705 in its present configuration will be for fine weather activations and other portable operations.

I am that impressed with the 705 that it may actually become the shack radio with the accompanying 100w PA/Tuner – one radio to do everything and only needing power and a USB cable to fully integrate with a laptop and the rest of the shack systems.

73

Tim

G4YTD

17M Pro-whip and tri magnet mag mount – VK FT8 9.5w on the first outing

At last, a proper web site!

Having not updated the pure HTML written web site since 2009, I thought it about time to bring it kicking and screaming into the modern era.

Lock downs and the Global madness currently going on have given me the time to sort things out and realise what is important.

You don’t realise how busy you are until you are not.

Things are in perspective a bit more than they were in February 2020, bear with me while we get this site sorted out.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén