My Icom IC-705 is inbound…sharing my predictions

I was contacted by Universal Radio yesterday afternoon with  a tracking number for my Icom IC-705. It will arrive by Monday evening.

A number of SWLing Post readers in the US and UK have notified me that their IC-705s have also been shipped and a few have even been received already.

I’m really looking forward to checking out the IC-705. The preliminary reviews (overviews, really) have been pretty positive. I found the IC-7300 to be a fabulous rig and the IC-705 smacks of the ‘7300. The ‘705 even includes more features than the ‘7300 (multi-mode VHF/UHF, D-Star, Wifi, and built-in GPS to name a few) although lacks an internal tuner.

I’ve received more questions about IC-705 and the TX-500 than I have any other radios this year. Both, in many senses, are ground-breaking in their features, (and in the case of the TX-500) form-factor and build.

If I’m being honest, I was more excited about the TX-500 because it simply suits my field operating style better (my full TX-500 review will be in the Oct 2020 issue of TSM).

Since I haven’t received the IC-705 yet and haven’t read any truly detailed reviews or comparisons, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before and share a few of my personal predictions.


I’m human and can’t help but form a few expectations/opinions prior to a thorough rig evaluation. That and, having owned a number of their products, I’m very familiar with Icom as a company. I’ll probably regret this later, but here goes…

I suspect:

  • I’ll like the touch screen display more than I think I will. I’m not a big fan of color backlit displays in field radios. I prefer simple high-contrast LCD displays that are readable in full sunlight. I’m hoping Icom will have optimized the IC-705 display for reading outdoors.
  • I’ll be able to operate the radio without referring to the manual because I’m so familiar with the IC-7300.
  • I’ll really miss having a built-in ATU on a rig in this price class. Feels like a missed opportunity, however seeing the inside of the IC-705, there really isn’t a lot of spare room. With that said, I plan to review the mAT-705 ATU compact external tuner and hope it’ll pair nicely.
  • I’ll be disappointed with the amount of run time I’ll get from a fully-charged BP-272 battery pack. I really hope I’m wrong about this one. Icom did some serious engineering on the IC-705 to lower the amount of current needed in receive. We’ll see if that paid off and if it can compare, for example, to the run time I get from the rechargeable battery pack in my Elecraft KX2.
  • I’ll be very pleased with some of its features like CW and Voice memory keying for POTA and SOTA activations.
  • I’ll still find D-Star complicated to use even though, hypothetically, the IC-705 can connect directly to D-Star via WiFi. I hope I stand corrected on this point.
  • I’ll struggle to find the perfect padded pack to house the radio. I’m a bit of a pack geek/snob and don’t really like the Icom LC-192 backpack. I’ve no intention to order it even though it’s designed to work with the radio. So while this doesn’t apply to 99% of my readers, it’s a big deal in my world. 🙂 I’m sure I’ll sort out a solution.
  • I’ll feel some buyer’s remorse when, in 6 months, the IC-705 price drops a couple hundred dollars. That’s okay. I see it as taking a bullet for my readers (and, let’s face it, I love new radio gear). Plus, I’m banking on the notion that the IC-705 will make for a capable QRP EME transceiver.
  • I’ll love the built-in digital recorder for making off-air shortwave broadcast recordings (although I do fear I’ll find the AM audio filter too narrow).

Again, these are completely off-the-top-of-my-head predictions and based on no hands-on time with th IC-705. Next week, I’ll start to see how many of these predictions are correct and how many I totally missed.

I can tell you this: I’m not sure I want to see the invoice from Universal Radio. It includes the IC-705, two Yaesu FT-60R HTs, and some Anderson PowerPole connectors! Although I’ve had the IC-705 on order for ages, I added the HTs and connectors at the last moment because they don’t seem very pricey when you’re already at the $1300 US mark, right–? (Shhhh! The FT-60Rs are a gift for my daughters who take their Technician test this weekend!)

How about you? Do you have an IC-705 on order? What are your predictions and thoughts? Please comment!

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20 thoughts on “My Icom IC-705 is inbound…sharing my predictions

  1. Paul

    If Icom is reading or listening, please do this:

    – Introduce an Icom IC-7310 with the same internals as the IC-705 and same feature set, but at 100W output power

    – Reverse engineer the ATU in Xiegu G90 and put it in the IC-7310

    – See dollars rolling in 🙂

  2. 13dka

    Yeah let’s face it, you’re going to need another bag! Happy, happy, joy, joy! Also, crossing my fingers for your daughters! So nice to hear that you could pass your passion for radios and possibly bags and bagged radios to them! 🙂

    I know it may not be possible to not transmit with it anytime soon but I’m curious how long the 705 would last receive-only. I hope it’s sufficiently short, so the radio won’t match my predator-prey pattern so well anymore. 🙂

    1. Thomas Post author

      I, too, am very interested in battery longevity on RX. In a way, I could see the IC-705 replacing my Elecraft KX2 when I want to travel and record radio. That built-in digital recorder is some serious icing on the cake!

  3. Paul

    Thomas, one question here, just like the 7300, is whether the 705’s transmit function can be disabled completely so that the unit can be used as a receiver only. Would really appreciate it if you could find out. Thanks!

      1. David - G4EDR

        If the 705 works like my 7300 it will not TX outside the ham bands. I have the ham band edges set to stop it TXing there as well and have saved this config to the SD card so I can easily switch between ham and swl mode.

        David – G4EDR

  4. John

    Good luck to your daughters with their Technician exams!

    Good choice with the handhelds, I have one from years back.
    The Yaesu FT-60R is built like a tank and it looks like it comes with a smart-looking Yaesu ballcap from Universal Radio as well.

    1. Thomas Post author

      Thank you, John!

      I’m hoping those FT-60Rs carry them through college and beyond. Fingers are crossed that they both pass–they’ve been scoring quite well on practice exams. One daughter is already asking for the General study material! I’m incredibly proud of them.

  5. Mark Goldhawke

    I got mine from gigaparts on Wednesday…
    There is so much crammed into this little rig I feel I need a cheat sheet…
    I’m currently pairing it with a comet toy box mutiban antenna and a diamond rh770 knock off as I could find the real deal in the USA…
    Power options are factory batteries and a bioenno lipo battery for 13v

    You’ll enjoy it…but it does do a lot of stuff…
    And that’s me coming from a rsp play dx and a icom ic7000 and ic7600…

    1. Thomas Post author

      Brilliant, Mark!

      What do you think about the battery longevity–have you noticed how long it will run off of the supplied HT battery pack?

      You’re right: no doubt, a lot crammed into this radio.


  6. John

    Damn, I’m jealous!

    Now the great inner battle begins between “instant gratification” vs. “deferred gratification.

    Only time will tell which side wins out.

    Can’t wait to hear your conclusions re the Icom IC-705.

  7. Paul

    Ignoring the transmit power difference and lack of ATU between the 7300 and the 705, does the 705 have every single one of the features of the 7300, and more?


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