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Safety Beach Pier Icom IC-705 Icom IC-705 Icom IC-705 Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver
Icom’s NEW IC-705 All Mode Portable Transceiver

IC-705 HF/50/144/440 MHz MULTIMODE PORTABLE TRANSCEIVER

The new Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver which is a QRP rig is now out in the wild. As an owner of an IC-9700, in some ways, this radio is very similar in operation, but in other ways, it’s so very different. The menu structure is almost identical with the exception of additional options such as Wifi (WLAN) and Bluetooth. Like most modern radios these days it’s solid and well-built. Most of the functions of the radio are accessed via the touch screen which can be easily seen in direct sunlight.

The radio is supplied with a battery, mic, spare fuses a 3.5mm stereo jack and a mic clip. The mic connection is a bit like what you’d expect for a handheld radio, not a radio that looks more like a base rig and nothing like a portable. It’s certainly going to create its own niche in the market place.  The only radio on the market that sort of compares is the Yaesu FT-818, but it doesn’t.

Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver review

The IC-705 is the perfect IF radio for microwave. It’s going to leave the Yaesu FT-818 in its wake. Through the SEND/ALC port, a TX ground allows simple switching of transverters. Adding a waterfall to microwave is going to be a game-changer.  A 5 watt output is perfect for driving SG Labs transverters.

Do this as soon as you get your IC-705

Icom Australia offers a 5-year warranty on your radio but ONLY if you ask for it! If you do nothing you’re entitled to the standard warranty (3 years) as well as your rights under the Australian Consumer Law. If you want to extend your warranty to 5 years you MUST register at the Icom Australia website.

 

If you sell your radio within the warranty period, the extra 2 years does not transfer to the new owner. The same if you buy an IC-705 second hand. You only have that statutory factory warranty, not the extended 5 years.

Before you start customising your radio, apply the latest firmware. See the how-to video below. It’s almost inevitable that when you get your radio, the firmware will not be current. Not only does this add features and fix bugs, but it also saves you having to reprogram the radio as all settings are normally erased with a firmware update. Sure you can save it to the SD card before you upgrade, but only if you bought a card for the radio!

 

Set the date and time on your radio. It comes in handy for a lot of things like time/date stamps on files.

Transfering IC-9700 memories to the IC-705

If you own an IC-9700, then the hard work you’ve done in programming memories is not lost on the Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver. The memory operation is a little different from that of the IC-9700. Using the CS-9700, open up say the 2m memories in the software. Right-click and export these memories to a local file on your computer

CS-9700 software for the Icom IC-9700

Open the CS-705 and create a group called 2m or 144, then import the file you just exported into the group. Then do the same for 70cm. Job done.

CS-705 software for the Icom IC-705

Memories

The IC-705 has a capacity of 500 which can be grouped as required. It also has 2 call channels for VHF and UHF. These can’t be left black so use ’em. It’s by far easier to program by the CS-705 software, but if front panel operation is your thing, go for it.

Memory operation is a little different to the 9700, although programming is the same. Strangely the basic manual for the IC-705 doesn’t really cover memory operation, you’ll need the advance manual for details.

Wireless LAN

Icom, where’s the 5 GHz wireless LAN? The radio only supports 2.4 GHz wireless operation. This is a PITA for those operating 2.4 GHz (13cm) Microwave. You’ll have to set your channel high to avoid QRM on 2403.1 MHz or turn WLAN off all together.

The Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver can't connect to a 5 GHz network
The IC-705 can't connect to a 5 GHz network

TX Delay

The IC-705 allows TX delay on 4 bands with a separate delay for each band. HF, 50MHz 144MHz and 430MHz. The manual states “If an external equipment rise time is slower than that of the IC-705, a reflected wave is produced, and it may damage the IC-705 or the external device. To prevent this, set the appropriate delay time so that no reflected wave or timing damage occurs” This is a terrific option for those wanting to use this transceiver with microwave transverters.

IC-705 TX Delay
IC-705 TX Delay

DC Power Connector

The DC connector on the IC-705 is an L-type Φ5.5mm plug with an inner diameter 2.5Φmm. The Icom part is OPC-2421.

Icom IC-705
Last Updated on October 15, 2020

Resources

IC-705 Product brochure

IC-705 English Manual

IC-705 Advanced Manual

CS-705 Cloning Software – Instructions

CS-705 Programming Software – Download

IC-705 Firmware download – Version 1.12 released 18/09/2020

These links take you to Icom Japan.

Extra things to do and get for your IC-705

While you wait for your radio to arrive, you can contemplate and purchase a few accessories. Firstly you’ll need something to store your investment in. I nearly fell over backwards when I saw the price of the Icom backpack. At over $200 that’s a VERY expensive backpack. I can’t say whether it’s worth the dollars yet as I haven’t physically seen one. It may well be. If anyone buys one please let me know.

 

I’ve decided to go town the Pelican path and build the 705 into a very solid and proven carry case. This is the same gear that I store my professional production gear in which can stand up to any rough treatment an airline can dish out when checking your luggage!

Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver LC-192 backback

You will need a Micro SD Card. 16Gb should suffice as this is not supplied with the radio. You’ll need this to update the firmware on the radio, especially in these early days of the transceivers life. If the IC-9700 history is anything to go by, there will be a few early on.

You’ll also need a USB cable to go between your PC and the radio. The free companion CS-705 software, which can be downloaded from any Icom website, allows you to program and save all settings and frequencies to a local file on your PC. Sure, you can program the radio directly from the front panel, but it’s just so much easier from the CS-705.

What’s to like about the IC-705

Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver and FT-818
Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver and Yaesu's FT-818.

The IC-705 is a well made, quality radio from Icom. Everyone will look at this transceiver coming from different aspects of the hobby. My passion is 10m up, with an interest in microwave. I’m planning on giving the IC-705 a go as an IF radio to complement the FT-818 pictured above. Going portable on local hilltops is also top of mind. So with that in mind, here’s what I like about the radio.

  • A BIG operational touchscreen display
  • Very similar operation to the IC-9700
  • Rugged build for outdoor use
  • The display is visible in direct sunlight
  • Audio output is good and loud. (0.53w into 12 ohm load)
  • Ability to lock VFO from bumps and knocks
  • Battery life is reasonable – a couple of hours use.
  • Charge time is a few hours.
  • Firmware upgradeable
  • Computer control both remote operation and for programming
  • General coverage receiver
  • Plenty of memory space (groupable)
  • Built in Micro SD Card (you have to buy one)

To buy or not to buy…

The IC-705 is not for everyone, and this is the same for the IC-9700. It’s an expensive radio which is feature-rich. If you’re not going to use those features then there are cheaper alternatives like the Yaesu FT-818. It too is a battery-powered all mode portable radio that covers HF to UHF. There is no other radio that the IC-705 can be compared to. The nearest may be the Elecraft KX3. This transceiver cover 160 to 6 meters. No 2m or 70cm.

 

The IC-705 is a hybrid of the IC-9700 and the IC-7300 with a few exceptions. Because it’s a battery-powered radio it’s 5 watts – 10 watts if you plug it into an external supply. If you look after your radios and seek out and operate at a remote destination it’s the perfect shack-in-a-box radio. It’s not a radio to work while you’re in motion despite the Icom backpack option. If you want to talk on VHF while walking, get a handheld. It’s not designed to be mounted in a car. It’s not a beach radio. It’s a radio for SOTA. It’s an IF  radio for microwave. It’s a radio for a field day. There’s no built-in ATU, so antenna resonance will be important. There are a few 3rd party ATUs available if you really need one.

 

The receiver sensitivity for 2m and 70cm is just as good as the IC-9700. As for HF, I don’t have an IC-7300 to compare to.

 

What Icom has packed into this slightly larger than palm-sized radio is amazing. It certainly lifts the bar for portable operation. If you’re used to waterfalls and scopes, then you can’t really go back. That sounds like a first-world problem, but I do think this type of radio is going to become the new normal if it hasn’t already.

 

Power usage is important for QRP operation. The battery life is pretty good too, although I haven’t taken it out just yet. The DC connector is not your average 2.5mm DC jack, but connecting an external battery is easy if needed.

 

In conclusion, if your budget allows you to purchase the IC-705 and you’re planning on using the features on this radio, then it’s value for money. If you travel or SOTA, or even get out for field weekends, then it’s a perfect addition to the kit. If your passion is FM, this radio isn’t for you.

 

Consider how you’re going to physically transport and use the radio. Its form-factor is like a rectangular brick that sits flat. Cables come out of it from both ends. The screen is robust, but not indestructible. Storage should also be considered. Check our my storage option.

 

I’ll add to this review as I get more use of the radio.

Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver Specifications

HF/50/144/430 MHz All Mode

From HF to 50/144/430 MHz*, you can enjoy a variety of bands in D-STAR DV, SSB, CW, AM and FM modes. The IC-705 receives continuously from the medium wave broadcast band to 144 MHz band. You can also enjoy FM broadcast and air band reception.

RF Direct Sampling System

The IC-705 employs an RF direct sampling system, where RF signals are directly converted to digital data. Then processed in the FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array), making it possible to simplify the circuit construction as well as reducing internal noise that can mask weak signals.

Real-Time Spectrum Scope and Waterfall Display

Performance seen with the IC-7300 and IC-9700 spectrum scope is at the tip of your fingers for field operation. You can quickly see band activity as well as finding a clear frequency, all in the compact radio and not as an expensive add-on.

Icom IC-705 Waterfall

Large Touch Screen Color Display

The large 4.3” colour TFT touch LCD, the same size as the IC-7300 and IC-9700, offers intuitive operation of functions, settings, and various operational visual aids, such as the band scope, waterfall, and audio scope functions.

Compact and Lightweight Design

“Base Station” performance in the palm of your hand! You will quickly see how this compact radio is rugged, for outdoor use, in a small, lightweight package, weighing approximately 1.1 kg.

BP-272 Li-ion Battery Pack
or 13.8 V DC External Power Supply

Utilizing the high capacity Li-ion battery from the ID-51A and ID-31A handheld radios. A 13.8 V DC external power supply can be used for operation and charging of the BP-272

Maximum Output Power
5 W (BP-272), 10 W (13.8 V DC)

In portable mode, the IC-705 has the maximum output power of 5 W from the BP-272 which can last approximately 3 hours*. This is perfect for true 5 W QRP as well as the 0.5 W QRPp operations. Once you setup with a 13.8 V DC power source, you have up to 10 W.

GPS Functions

An internal GPS receiver and antenna enhance your operations by providing location logging*, RX/TX locations via D-PRS , “Near Me” repeater search/scan, QSO recording with metadata*, and internal clock synchronization.

microSD Card Slot

The microSD card slot enables the storage of user-profiles, QSO recording, TX voice memory keyer, RTTY logging, GPS data, screen capture, firmware upgrades, and programming.

Micro USB Connector

In addition to the two COM ports, radio control plus audio, the IC-705 can be charged via the micro USB port.

Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver Connectors

IC-705 Right Side Panel
IC-705 Left Side Panel
IC-705 Rear Panel

Check out the IC-9700 review. If you’re thinking of buying the three radios in the set, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. No other manufacturer comes close to the specifications. I guess that’s why you don’t see many if any of these radios on the 2nd hand market.

The battery pack

• Keep the battery pack attached, even when using an external power supply.
• Even when the transceiver power is OFF, a small current still flows in the transceiver. Remove the battery pack from the transceiver when not using it for a long time. Otherwise, the attached battery pack will become exhausted.
• When the temperature is around 0°C (+32°F) or below, the battery protection function automatically sets transceiver power to 0.5 W, and disables power selections (1 W, 2.5 W, 5 W, and 10 W*).
* “10 W” can be selected only when using an external DC power supply.

Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver Charging time
Storing and transporting your IC-705

How do you store your IC-705?

The shape of the Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver is like no other radio, and this lends itself to the perplexing question of how to store it, and even transport it? After all, it’s a rather expensive radio which you probably don’t want to throw on the front seat of the car.

After thinking long and hard about it, I figured I’d do the same as I do for my production equipment that has travelled the countryside for years without any incidents. Pelican cases come in all shapes and sizes, and here I’ve used a Jaycar copy due to travel limitations during this pandemic but you’ll find the Pelican 1400 case is ideal.  (WLH 30cm x 22.5cm x 13.2cm Internal Dimensions)

The case has several layers of pick and pluck foam which can carefully be removed to house the transceiver. External plugs and sockets can easily be mounted on the side of the case. The hard plastic is so much easier to work with compared to metal equivalents. I’ve extended power, RF, chassis ground and even USB and GND TX to the outside of the case.

Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver Storage options
Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver Pelican case style storage option
Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver Pelican Installation case
IC-705 storage with convenient carry handle.
Alternate storage and travel kit for the Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver showing external power, antenna, and radio ground
Alternate storage and travel kit for the Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver showing external power, antenna, and radio ground
Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver USB Pelican Installation
IC-705 USB Pelican Installation
How to update the IC-705 firmware

An update walk through

Updating the firmware in any radio keeps it running at it’s best. New features as well as engineering tweaks are added regularly, especially in radios that are new to the market. You can check the current firmware version by looking at the number in the lower right-hand corner of the display when you turn the radio on.

You’ll need a micro SD card to copy the new firmware to and you’ll have to head over to the Icom Japan site and navigate to the Firmware slash Software tab to download the latest update.

Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver storage option

Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver

The Icom IC-705 All Mode Transceiver uses the RF direct sampling method (down-conversion IF sampling method for 25 MHz and above) which greatly reduces distortion. The high speed & high-resolution real-time spectrum scope and waterfall display are incorporated in a compact design for the first time in this class. A whip antenna for VHF/UHF and speaker-microphone come standard. The speaker-microphone is equipped with programmable buttons assignable to various functions, such as frequency adjustment and volume control.

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