Faulty IC-9700 checks in to the Icom hospital

Icom IC-9700

Faulty IC-9700 checks in to the Icom hospital

Last Updated on May 15, 2021

At the time of writing (January 20), I know of two faulty IC-9700 transceivers. These radios are new to the Icom lineup and obviously do have some teething issues. Andrew, VK3LTL, had a supply rail problem a few months ago with his radio, and I had a mainboard failure. Both were fixed by Icom under warranty so there’s no problem there.

My Faulty IC-9700

On powering up the radio, my IC-9700 would work as expected. After a random period of time, anywhere between 15 seconds and one minute, the receiver would just stop. There was a telltale pop in audio as the radio fell silent, as well, the waterfall froze. I could repeat this every time I powered up the 9700, but on each occasion, the time until radio silence would be a little different. At no stage either before or after the receiver or transmitter failed (this happened simultaneously) did I lose control of the radio. All controls remained functional as you’d expect them to work. You can see what happened in the video below

My first thought was that it may be a firmware related issue and that the radio needs a reset. I performed a full factory reset which didn’t resolve the issue. My next option was to roll back the radio to firmware 1.20, the previous version, then roll forward to the current version, 1.21 again. The updates were both successful and happened without any errors. The fault persisted.

The radio spent 9 days at Icom in Clayton. What I did learn from the experience is that you must register your radio with Icom to take advantage of the 5-year warranty. This can be done by mail, or as I did, on the Icom service website. Icom swapped out the mainboard on the IC-9700. In this day and age of disposable surface-mounted boards. removing and replacing boards that go faulty is the case. Icom communicates via email during the repair process. Having reinstated the radio back into the shack, it’s back as good as new.

It’s also worth noting that the drift issues which have also been reported are still quite noticeable on 23cm. Using firmware 1.21, Andrew VK3LTL and I worked on 1296.1 for an hour or so recently and spent a bit of time chasing each other up and down the band. The RIT had a good workout, and this is SSB. I can certainly see why those who work digital modes need to lock their radios. If what we experienced with two IC-9700s is anything to go by, then the option of one of the locking kits is a necessity.

Check out my first impressions view of the Icom IC-9700 and the 6 months on review.