The new Icom IC-705 QRP portable, backpackable transceiver

This weekend at Tokyo’s Ham Fair 2019, Icom announced an innovative transceiver to their line-up: the Icom IC-705 QRP transceiver.

The IC-705 introduces several industry firsts for a backpack portable radio:

  • It uses the same BP-272 Li-ion Battery pack as the ID-51 and ID-31 series D-Star handy talkies. To my knowledge, this is the only HF transceiver that uses battery packs that can be swapped so easily in the field–like one would swap an HT battery pack
  • It has a general coverage receiver that spans a whopping 0.5 to 148 MHz
  • It sports a full color, touch screen with spectrum and waterfall displays
  • It includes the D-Star digital voice mode
  • A GPS receiver
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • A MicroSD card slot for memory storage, screen captures and recordings

All of this appears to be included, not add-on options.

The only IC-705 omission, in my opinion, is an internal ATU (antenna tuner). Something I would have expected, but not a deal-breaker for those of us who could really benefit from the amount of features this radio offers.

Side and back panel view noting ports and connections.

There is no word yet on pricing or availability, but you can count on us to post these details once they’re available. If you would like to follow updates, bookmark the tag: IC-705

We will also review on the Icom IC-705 as soon as it’s available.

Video from Amateur Logic/Ham College

Ray Novak (N9JA) with Icom America did a live video interview with Amateur Logic/Ham College TV yesterday. The video includes a full announcement in English from the Icom Booth:

Click here to view on YouTube.

IC-705 Pre-Release brochure

Many thanks to Ray Novak for snapping a few photos of the pre-release brochure:

Update: click here to download the full IC-705 brochure. Hat tip to Dave Zantow!

A surprise from one of the “Big Three”

The “Big Three” transceiver manufactures–Icom, Yaesu and Kenwood–have not shown a lot of interest in backpackable QRP radios over the past two decades.

By “backpackable” I mean QRP transceivers specifically designed for portable use in the field–radios that typically have built-in battery options, internal ATUs, and designed to be lightweight shack-in-a-box units.

Yaesu introduced the FT-817 almost twenty years ago and it lives on today (with modest upgrades) as the FT-818. Kenwood has no portable/backpackable HF QRP radio at this point.

I bet the IC-705 is being introduced today because Icom sees a strong market among field-portable operators who enjoy travel and outdoor radio activities like SOTA (Summits On The Air) and POTA (Parks On The Air).  In addition, many ham radio operators live in neighborhoods that are either plagued with radio interference (RFI) or don’t allow antennas to be installed outdoors. Portable radios liberate ham radio ops from their shacks and allow them to set up a station far away from noise or home owner’s associations.

Looking forward…

Again, I’ll be in touch with Icom about the IC-705 and will share updates here when they’re available. I’m looking forward to evaluation this rig when it hits the market!

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23 thoughts on “The new Icom IC-705 QRP portable, backpackable transceiver

  1. Andre

    My wishlist for a MKII version:

    – 2 independent antenna jacks (one for HF, one for VHF/UHF
    – integrated tuner for HF
    – a 12V battery option

    The missing tuner is what is preventing me from instantly buying this otherwise really sophisticated qrp radio. Would gladly pay +200.-.

      1. Geoff Brown

        Icom UK have just issued a statement 29th May 2020
        Icom UK Press release May 29th 2020 – Factory deletes 4m Option on IC-705. Source courtesy MLS website

  2. John VE3IPS

    I am on the wait list

    Tuner? Real hams use dipoles

    Battery? I am so glad my ID-51 batteries fit

    Current Drain? My FT-891 draws too much at 5 watts and I dont worry

    DStar? Great I can sell my 9700 now and use the balance to buy an Airspy and a used Perseus

    I cant wait until Hamvention

    If you need a tuner built in the Xiegu G90 may be right for you

  3. David Stinson AB5S

    This isn’t a radio.
    It’s another $5,000 plastic,
    “Barbie and Ken” computer-with-an-antenna.
    No thanks.

  4. Mark

    The IC-705 looks good but I would have licked to see a proper 12 v battery like in the Xiegu X5105 , that can run for hours !

    Those ridiculously small 7.2 volt batteries are a ridiculous price, 64 UK Pounds ? Icom having a right laugh ! Can get a 10 ah battery for that or less ! What’s the point if you will need external battery anyway for 10 watts ?

    Who in reality needs a big fancy energy wasting screen in the field ? I find the FT-891 scope to be very convenient and does the job nicely.

    I can run QRP or 100 watts from the FT-891, and it’s a very small radio.

    There are features on the 707 that will appeal to some but it would have been better to have 50-100 watts out, again, look at the 891 , it’s very small.

    IF I want QRP I will just bring my Xiegu X5105, 12V 5000 Mah battery, tuner, antenna analyser and it fits into a Tecsun PL-660 pouch nicely , true portability !

    I love my 7300 but the 705 could have been a lot more, it would make a nice armchair , bedside SWL radio, stick up a EFHW and you’re on the air. I’ma big fan of EFHW like the EFHW 8010 and the hyendcompany antennas I get great results on them.

    No w I can only imagine the price of the 707 , lets bet 1200 Euro’s in the E.U ?

    See here a pic of the 891

  5. Roger G3XBM

    Looks a great radio – a bit like an IC-703 on steroids! I too think an internal auto-ATU, even as an option, would be good. This is my ideal radio otherwise, at the right price. ICOM have a winner here.

  6. 13dka

    This looks almost like that could be exactly the radio I’ve been waiting for! A lightweight version of the 7300 that also covers VHF/UHF and likely doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I kind of expect that it won’t do WFM for FM radio but covering the air and 137MHz sat bands is a plus, making it a real hot candidate for my next “always in the glovebox” radio!

  7. Razvan

    It’s worth mentioning the European version will also have the 4m band.

    Another critical point is the RX current consumption; while not mentioned by Icom, from the features alone (large screen, fast ADC & panadapter etc) people are assuming this might be a bit too heavy on the small 7.4V/2000mAh battery.

    Great post !

    Razvan (M0HZH)

    1. Thomas Post author

      I agree, Razvan. I would have to assume they will do all they can to reduce the current consumption, but that is certainly a concern. Those battery packs aren’t exactly massive and during QRP operations, TX will consume quite a bit on its own.

  8. Rod

    I have the Icom IC-7300 and it makes for a dandy receiver! I am sure the portability of the future IC-705 will be well liked! With my 7300 I can reduce the output power to nill or turn off the transmit completely and to be sure the same with the 705.
    With the addition of VHF and UHF, the listening range is better than the 7300. All mode reception and built-in filters will ease listening! Being a prototype there will be more to come I’m sure!

    73 Rod W8GRI

    1. Thomas Post author

      Agreed, Rob! The 7300 is a fantastic receiver and, as you point out, easy to configure so there’s no accidental transmitting. The IC-705 looks to me like a portable ‘7300 that includes VHF/UHF and D-Star. An impressive feature list!

  9. Steve

    I see two YouTube comments I don’t understand: “wish it had an internal tuner,” and “so, no tuner.” The video refers to a tuner jack (at 8:45). Do you think this is referring to an antenna tuner or something else?

    1. Ken Hansen

      Ray Novack mistakenly mentioned an internal ATU in the video, he’s later clarified that there is NO ATU.

      It was once part of the design, but it couldn’t be included for packaging concerns.

      1. Ken Hansen

        As for price, it seems reasonable once you account for the features that were pulled (ATU & 100w RF deck) and added (battery, v/uhf antenna, D-Star and V/UHF operation) compared to the IC-7300, I think the price will be closer to current retail price for the IC-7300, instead of MFG list price… around $1K seems right.


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