Shortwave listening in the field with the Icom IC-705 transceiver

Yesterday, I took the new Icom IC-705 to the field for another Parks On the Air (POTA) activation. My goal at this particular activation was to make a couple of posts for QRPer.com: first, to test the new mAT-705 ATU on loan from Vibroplex, and secondly, make a short video about full break-in CW operation.

I also wanted to do a little shortwave listening after completing the activation. I had no idea what propagation would be like, but thought I’d tune around below the 20 meter band where the antenna was currently resonant.

I deployed the CHA Emcomm III Portable random wire antenna which, I must say, is a superb shortwave listening antenna for the field.

Since you can’t see the antenna in the first photo below, I marked up the second one. The blue line represents the 73′ radiator, and the green line the counterpoise:
Here’s the short video I made around the 22 meter band:

I had planned to make a few audio recordings via the built-in digital recorder but I left my MicroSD card at home. No worries, though, as I plan to make some recordings for readers to compare in the coming days if time allows.

If you have any questions about the IC-705, feel free to ask in comments.

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11 thoughts on “Shortwave listening in the field with the Icom IC-705 transceiver

  1. 13dka

    Yesterday evening I took the 705 to the dike for the first time (got it on Thursday and spent a lof of time with familiarization). Since it was already too dark, wet and cold for all the fuss with antennas, I decided to just put a telescopic whip on a tiny magmount on the car roof, curious what the 705 would make out of that. That magmount is the worst thing ever, too much cheap RG-174 seems to attenuate the signal from the whip (possibly some impedance catastrophe), my portables don’t like that thing at all.

    So the antenna was as bad as it gets but..it demonstrated what the 705 can do with extremely faint signals! I had really good and quiet reception even when signals were not at all showing up on the S-Meter or much on the waterfall. I had to turn on preamp 2 and crank up the scope “Ref” gain up to see anything, but SNR was great, I didn’t have the feeling that I’m missing many stations and it even worked pretty well on medium wave to longwave, with the signal really tapering off only below 500 kHz and I learned why omnidirectional whips never caught on on MW! 🙂

    AM band scan:
    https://youtu.be/v_ACifeDgho

    31m band scan:
    https://youtu.be/r0hcodwnkwE

    So yes, as an SWL/BCL receiver it will likely perform as good as it possibly gets with literally any antenna or anything that could stand in for an antenna, the only thing it doesn’t have is sync but since it can tune in 1 Hz steps it can truly zero beat in ECSS, it has notch/autonotch (indispensible also on congested broadcast bands), passband tuning, if I didn’t get that wrong it has 10,000 memories and the 32 GB SD card I was putting in is good for more than 3 weeks of recording 24/7. With some regular BNC whip it’s still a cool bedside radio in a hotel room (no alarm function tho), also good for some VHF/UHF in-house good night 88s between licensed dads and daughters if you plug in the mic, which you don’t have to. 🙂

    What a cool toy, I’m sure I will still love it when the honeymoon is over!

    Reply
  2. John

    Deferred gratification lost out… I now own an IC-705, it arrived yesterday.

    Just something to be aware of…

    After unboxing the unit and inserting the BP-272 Li-ion battery pack I pushed the power button…nothing happened.

    Okay I thought, maybe the battery is completely discharged and just needs recharging, though with new gear supplied with a Li-ion battery that’s unusal and I’ve never encountered that before, usually they arrive in a 40-50% charged state. I tried another BP-272 I had lying around, again nothing. Okay, maybe that’s completely discharged too so I placed it in it’s charging cradle for about 30 mins and tried again…nothing.

    Beginning to panic now…

    Then, when I tried re-inserting the original BP-272 the screen briefly flickered to life and went dead. Pressing the battery slightly again brought the screen temporarily back to life.

    The bottom line, the battery may appear to be in place but have to press the battery firmly until you hear a clicking sound which indicates it’s completely locked into place.

    After doing that there were no problems and sighs of relief all round.

    Reply
  3. Giuseppe

    Yes I too am interested in the SWL performance for this rig…

    Specifically, I would be interested in how this compares to the RC-8600. Would the IC-705 work well as a desktop receiver? The RC-8600 wideband is essentially useless to me. The only thing above SW I use it for is the FM broadcast band. Wondering if these IC-705s could effectively replace an RC-8600….?

    Cheers thanks for sharing the info.
    Giuseppe

    Reply
  4. Geoff Brown

    Audio Tip: TIP: I like the speaker on the unit but as soon as you plug in the speaker/mic the internal speaker is disabled, don’t plug in the 3.5mm jack from the Mic, you then have tx and tx audio via the 2.5mm plug but the receive audio comes out of the main speaker! nice!

    Reply
  5. Ron F

    Errr… so how did it perform for SW listening compared to, say, anything else?

    (You completely forgot to mention that!)

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      I just haven’t had a moment to do the comparisons yet. However…I’m working on blind comparisons. 🙂 It just takes time to do it right.

      Reply
  6. Mark Goldhawke

    I just got a replacement wellbrook 1350ln…
    Connected it to my 705 and have been blown away by the audio quality and sensitivity of the receiver…it’s a great combo…for field work I’m going to go with the chameleon cha lite once it’s available.
    My radio along with a bioenno lipo4 and a nano vna lives in a maxpedition proteus…and a comet hfj 350m toy box strapped to the top of it…I’m tempted to try my goal zero nomad with this for a camping kit

    Reply
    1. John

      I understand the ICOM 705 item above. I’ll have to research the other jargon, cha lite? bioenno? lipo4? nano vna ? maxpedition proteus, etc. I don’t have a clue what he is talking about. Am I alone? W3JJB

      Reply
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