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.
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.
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.