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:
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
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.