A review of the Icom IC-705 QRP Portable SDR Transceiver

The following review was first published in the February 2021 issue of The Spectrum Monitor magazine:

It sometimes seems that one of the biggest enemies of a radio enthusiast these days is RFI (radio frequency interference), which is to say, human-originated noise that infiltrates––and plagues––vast chunks of our radio spectrum.

Yet I believe RFI has, in a sense, also managed to energize––and even mobilize––many radio enthusiasts. How? By drawing them out of their houses and shacks into the field––to a local park, lake, river, mountain, woodland, or beach––away from switching power supplies, light dimmers, street lights, and other RFI-spewing devices.

Shortwave and mediumwave broadcast listeners have it easy, comparatively speaking. They can simply grab a favorite portable receiver, perhaps an external antenna, then hit the field to enjoy the benefits of a low-noise environment. In that a portable receiver is something of a self-contained listening post, it’s incredibly easy to transport it anywhere you like.

Ham radio operators, on the other hand, need to pack more for field operations. At a minimum, they need a transceiver, an antenna, a power source, not to mention, a mic, key, and/or computing device for digital modes. Thankfully, technology has begun miniaturizing ham radio transceivers, making them more efficient in the use of battery power, and integrating a number of accessories within one unit.

Photo from the 2019 Tokyo Ham Fair

Case in point: in 2019 at Tokyo’s Ham Fair, Icom announced their first QRP (low-power) radio in the better part of two decades: the Icom IC-705.

Introducing the Icom IC-705


It was love at first sight among fans of Icom when the 2019 announcement was made. Why? The instant thrill came courtesy of the IC-705’s resemblance––in miniature––to the IC-7300, one of Icom’s most popular transceivers of all time. Not only that, but the IC-705 sported even more features and a broader frequency range than the IC-7300. What wasn’t to love?

But of course, unlike the IC-7300, which can output 100 watts, the IC-705’s maximum output is just 10 watts with an external 12V power source, or 5 watts with the supplied Icom BP-272 Li-ion battery pack. Nevertheless, enthusiasts who love field radio––this article’s writer being among them––were very pleased to see Icom design a flagship QRP radio that could take some portable operators to the next level. Power was traded for portability, and for field operators, this was a reasonable trade.

And since, again, the IC-705 has even more features, modes, and frequency range than the venerable IC-7300, I felt it important to note them up front. Here are a few of its most notable features, many of which are not available on its bulkier predecessor:

  • VHF and UHF multimode operation
  • D-Star mode
  • Built-in GPS
  • Built-in Wifi connectivity
  • Built-in Bluetooth connectivity
  • Portable size
  • Battery power

The receiver design is similar to the IC-7300 below 25 MHz in that it provides a direct conversion. Above 25 MHz, however, it operates as a superheterodyne receiver. While the user would never know this in operation, it’s a clever way for Icom to keep costs down on such a wideband radio.

At time of publishing, there are no other portable transceivers that sport all of the features of the Icom IC-705. It has, in a sense, carved out its very own market niche…At least for now.

I’ve owned the IC-705 since late September 2020, and I still haven’t fully explored this radio’s remarkable capabilities. It’s really a marvel of ham radio technology, and I’m having fun exploring what it can do.

One conspicuous omission

Let’s go ahead and address this promptly. The IC-705 does have one glaring shortcoming.  It lacks one feature that is standard on the larger 100-watt IC-7300: an internal antenna tuner (ATU).

To be frank, I was a little surprised that the IC-705 didn’t include an internal ATU, since it otherwise sports so many, many features. Not having an internal ATU, like a number of other general coverage QRP transceivers in its class, definitely feels like a missed opportunity. With an ATU, the ‘705 would truly be in a class of its own.

I’m sure Icom either left the internal ATU out of the plan due to space limitations––perhaps wanting to keep the unit as compact as possible?––or possibly to keep the price down? I’m not sure.  At release, the price was $1300 US, which is undoubtedly on the higher side of this market segment; at that price point, it might as well have included an ATU.

With that said, not having an internal ATU is still not a disqualifier for me. Why? Because I have a number of resonant antennas I can add on when in the field, a remote ATU at home, and a couple of portable external ATUs, as well. Yes, it would be helpful to have it built in––as on my Elecraft KX1, KX2, and KX3, or on the ($425) Xiegu G90––but for me it’s not a deal-breaker.

One other minor omission? A simple tilt stand or foot. I do wish Icom had included some sort of foot on the bottom of the IC-705 so that it could be propped up for a better angle of operation. Without a tilt stand or foot, the IC-705 rests flat on a surface, making its screen a bit awkward to view. Of course, a number of third-party tilt stands are available on the market. And if you have a 3D printer or access to one, you can find a wide variety of options to simply print at home. I printed this super simple tilt foot, which works brilliantly.

But why not include one, Icom?

My 3D printed tilt foot

But while the IC-705 lacks a tilt foot, it actually sports a number of connection points on the bottom, including a standard tripod mount. Thank you, Icom, for at least including that (other radio manufactures please take note)!

Initial impressions

Funny: the IC-705 is the first new transceiver I’ve purchased with a color box.

If you’ve ever owned or operated the Icom IC-7300, you already know how to operate many of the functions on the IC-705. The user interfaces on the touch screens are identical. Features that are unique to the IC-705 are easy to find and follow the same standard Icom user-interface workflow.

Having less front faceplate real estate, the IC-705 has less buttons than the IC-7300––about 11 less than its big brother, to be exact. However, the twin passband, gain, multi-function knob and encoder are in the same positions and layout as on the IC-7300.

And if you’ve never used an IC-7300 before, no worries: this is one of the more user-friendly interfaces you’ll find on a ham radio transceiver.

The build of the IC-705 is excellent. It’s not exactly hardened for the elements––there is no waterproof rating or dust rating, for example––but it gives the impression of a solid little radio, likely to withstand a bit of less-than-delicate handling. Yet even though it’s designed to be a portable field radio, I’ll admit that the front panel and especially the color touchscreen feel a little vulnerable. I do worry about damaging that touchscreen while the radio travels in my backpack.

The Icom LC-192

On the topic of backpacks, Icom released a custom backpack (the LC-192) specifically for the IC-705, Icom AH-705 ATU, antennas, and accessories. I did not consider purchasing this backpack, although I’m sure some operators would appreciate it, as it has dedicated compartments for supplies and the radio can be attached to the floor of the backpack’s top compartment. Again, I passed because I’m a bit of a pack fanatic and tend to grab gear that’s more tactical and weatherproof.

IC-705 and Elecraft T1 ATU at Toxaway Game Land

While its in my Red Oxx or GoRuck backpack, I house the IC-705 in a $14 Ape Case Camera insert. Eventually I want to find a better solution, but this does help pad the IC-705 while in my backpack and certainly fits it like a glove––hopefully protecting that touchscreen.

A number of third-party manufacturers have designed protective “cages” and side panels for the IC-705, but I’ve been a bit reluctant to purchase one because I feel they may add too much weight and bulk to the radio.

To the field!

Sandy Mush State Game Land

The day after I received my Icom IC-705, I took it to the field to activate Sandy Mush State Game Land for the Parks On The Air (POTA) program. Typically, when I review a new radio, I spend a few hours with it in the shack before taking it to the field. In this case, however, I felt comfortable enough with the IC-705 user interface, so I decided to skip that step entirely––I was eager to see if this little radio would live up to expectations.

The previous evening, I’d connected the IC-705 to my 13.8V power supply, so the BP-272 battery pack was fully-charged and attached to the IC-705. There was no need for an external battery to be connected.

[Tip: Click here to view my YouTube playlist of field activities with the IC-705.]

Getting on the air that day was very straightforward; indeed, the set-up couldn’t have been more simple: radio plus antenna. I connected the IC-705 to a Vibroplex EFT-MTR end-fed 40, 30, and 20-meter resonant antenna, thus an external antenna tuner was not required.

The Vibroplex/End-Fedz EFT-MTR antenna

Next, I plugged in the included speaker/mic, spotted myself to the POTA network, and started working stations. I asked for audio reports and all were very positive using only the default audio settings. Obviously, the small hand mic works quite well. I did quickly decide to unplug one of the two connectors of the speaker mic (the speaker audio side) so that the received audio wouldn’t be pumped through the hand mic, using the much better IC-705 front-facing speaker.

In the field that day, I had a few objectives in mind:

  • See how well the supplied hand mic works for SSB contacts, thus intended to ask for audio reports
  • Check out full break-in QSK operation in CW mode
  • Measure exactly how long a fully-charged Icom BP-272 Li-ion battery pack would power the IC-705 under intense operation


SSB at Lake Norman State Park

I was very quickly able to sort out how to record and use the voice memory keying features of the IC-705. There are a total of eight memory positions that can be recorded to the internal microSD card. It’s very simple to use one of the memories in “beacon” mode––simply press and hold one of the memory buttons and the recording is transmitted repeatedly until the user presses the PTT to disengage it. This is incredibly helpful when calling CQ; I typically set mine to play “CQ POTA, CQ POTA, this is K4SWL calling CQ for Parks On The Air.” I’ve also set a five-second gap between playback, allowing for return calls. As I’ve mentioned before, voice-memory keying is incredibly useful and saves one’s voice when calling CQ in the field.

The voice and CW-memory keying features of the IC-705 are robust enough that they could be used in a contest setting to automate workflow. One important note: voice-memory keying saves recordings to the internal MicroSD card. If that card is removed, formatted/erased, or if the file structure is altered, the voice-memory keyer will not recall recordings.


CW at South Mountains State Park

Next, I plugged in my paddles and started calling “CQ POTA” in CW.

As with the voice-memory keyer, CW-memory keying was incredibly easy to set up. Once again, the user once has eight memory positions. As the keyer plays a pre-recording sequence, the IC-705 will display the text being sent.

One of the questions I’m asked most by CW operators about the IC-705 is whether the radio has audible relay clicks during transmit/receive switching. Radios with loud relay clicks can be distracting. My preference these days is to operate in full break-in QSK mode, meaning, there is a transmit/receive change each time I form a character––it allows me space to hear someone break in, but results in much more clicking.

The IC-705 does have relay clicks, but these are very light––equal in volume to those of other Icom transceivers, neither louder nor softer. These clicks, fortunately, are not too distracting to me, and to be fair, I find I don’t even notice them as I operate. With that said, transceivers like my Elecraft KX2 and Mission RGO One use PIN diode switching, which is completely quiet.

Battery Life

Tapping the battery icon will open a larger battery capacity monitor.

My third objective at the first field outing was to test how long the Icom BP-272 Li-ion battery pack would power the IC-705 while calling CQ and working stations in both SSB and CW for an entire activation.

After nearly two hours of constant operation, the BP-272 still had nearly 40% of its capacity.

I didn’t expect this. I assumed it might power the IC-705 for perhaps 90 minutes, max. Fortunately, it seems at 5 watts, one BP-272 could carry you through more than one POTA or SOTA (Summits On The Air) activation. I was pleasantly surprised.

Four months later…

POTA activation at Tuttle Educational State Forest

Since that initial field test, I’ve taken the IC-705 on easily thirty or more individual POTA activations. I’ve also used it at home to chase POTA stations and rag chew with friends.

In short, I’ve found that the IC-705 is a brilliant, robust portable transceiver for SSB and/or CW and a pleasure to operate.

Herein lies the advantage of purchasing a radio from a legacy amateur radio manufacturer: it’s well-vetted right out the door, has no firmware quirks, and is built on iterations of popular radios before it.

I’ve found that IC-705 performance is solid: the receiver has a low noise floor, the audio is well-balanced, the AGC is stable at any setting, and it’s an incredibly sensitive and selective radio.

Digital modes

POTA activation at Lake Jame State Park

One huge advantage of the IC-705 is that it, like the IC-7300, has a built-in sound card for digital modes. This eliminates the need for an external sound card interface. After you’ve read the installation guide, and installed Icom’s USB drivers, simply plug the IC-705 into your computing device via USB cable and you can directly control the ‘705 with popular applications like WSJT-X.

I have not used the IC-705 for digital modes while in the field, but I have done so in the home shack. It was one of the easiest radios I’ve ever set up for FT8 and FT4.

I’m not the biggest digital mode operator, but if you are into it, I expect you’ll be very pleased with the IC-705. It must be one of the most portable, uncomplicated transceivers for digital mode operation currently on the market. I know a number of POTA activators have been using the IC-705 for FT8 and FT4.


Being perfectly honest here, I have a chequered history with the D-Star digital voice mode. I purchased an Icom ID-51a and D-Star hotspot several years ago because a local ham pretty much convinced me it was the coolest thing since sliced bread.

And in truth? It is rather amazing.

But at the end of the day I had to admit to myself that I’m an HF guy, and found the user interface and operating procedures just a bit too other-worldly. I kept the ID-51a for perhaps a year, then sold it, along with the hotspot.

Although I knew the IC-705 had D-Star built in, I really hadn’t given it a second thought. But since I’m a reviewer, I simply had to check it out. I still had my D-Star credentials from some years ago, so I set up the IC-705 and connected the transceiver to the Diamond dual band antenna on top of my house.

Fortunately, I was able to hit our only local D-Star repeater and connect on the first go. Note that, like the ID-51a, the IC-705 can use your GPS coordinates, then automatically find the closest D-Star repeater and load the frequency and settings from the default database on the IC-705 MicroSD card.

After reviewing a YouTube video demonstration, I was on the air with D-Star and found the user interface much easier to use than that of the ID-51a. It really helps having a large touch screen.

I’ll admit it: I’m warming back up to D-Star, and I have the IC-705 to thank for that.

Some day, I plan to use D-Star on HF, as well. I acknowledge that it might take some pre-arranging, but perhaps I could even make a D-Star POTA––or better yet, SOTA––contact, if the stars align. It’s certainly worth the experiment.

Let’s talk about broadcast listening

Radio Exterior de España’s interval signal on the IC-705’s waterfall display

Although I’m a pretty active ham radio operator, I’m an SWL and broadcast listener at heart. One of the appealing things about the IC-705 is its excellent receiver range (0.030-470.000 MHz) and multiple operating modes, as well as its adjustable bandwidth.  Broadcast listeners will be happy to know that the AM bandwidth on the IC-705 can be widened to an impressive 10 kHz, which is certainly a stand-out among general coverage transceivers.

After turning on the IC-705 for the very first time, I tuned to the 31-meter band and cruised the dial. I felt like I was using a tabletop receiver: for such a small transceiver, the encoder is on the large side, and the controls are ergonomically designed. The spectrum display and waterfall are amazingly useful.

The front-facing speaker on the IC-705 is well-designed for audio clarity on the ham radio bands. It’s not a high-fidelity speaker, but it’s adequate and has enough “punch” to perform well in the field. Speakers on portable QRP radios are typically an afterthought and are terribly compromised due to space constraints within the chassis. The IC-705’s speaker design feels more deliberate, akin to what you might find on a mobile VHF/UHF rig. Broadcast listeners, in other words, will certainly want to hook the IC-705 up to an external speaker––or, better yet, use headphones––for weak-signal work.

While the received audio isn’t on par with a receiver like the Drake R8B, it’s pretty darn good for a portable general coverage transceiver. The audio is what I would call “flat,” but you are able to adjust the received audio in EQ settings to adjust them to your taste. Audio is well-tailored for the human voice, so I’ve found weak signal IDs are actually easy to grab on the air.

Audio samples

One of the brilliant things about the IC-705 is the fact that it has a built-in digital recorder. Both transmitted and received audio can be recorded in real time and saved to a removable MicroSD card. I made audio recordings of two broadcast stations on the 31-meter band as samples: the Voice of Greece (9420 kHz) and Radio Exterior de España (9690 kHz). The Voice of Greece was moderately strong when I made the recording and Radio Exterior was quite strong. Click on the links to download the .mp3 files for each recording:

Voice of Greece

Radio Exterior de España

I’ve also used the built-in digital recorder to record long sessions of my favorite shortwave, AM, and FM stations. Even with the recorder on, I can typically achieve hours of listening on one battery charge and need no other power supply.

Want more audio samples?
Check out our survey results from an Icom IC-705 blind audio test.

In short? The IC-705 makes for an excellent portable shortwave, mediumwave, and FM broadcast band-recording receiver.

Charging ahead…

The supplied BP-272 battery pack snaps snugly on the back of the IC-705

Power supply is always a concern when taking a transceiver on travels. Most transceivers need a 12-13.8 volt external supply, or an external battery, one that will eventually need to be charged.

This is not the case with the IC-705, because while it can be charged or powered via a 12-13.8V source, it can also be charged via a common 5V USB power supply. Simply insert any USB phone-charging cable into the MicroUSB port on the side of the IC-705, and it will charge the fully-depleted attached BP-272 battery pack in just over four hours.

Indeed, I traveled to visit family one week, and had plotted two park activations both en route and on the way back home. After my first activation, I quickly realized I forgot the supplied IC-705 power cord that I’d normally use to hook the IC-705 up to one of my LiFePo batteries. I was quite disappointed, expecting that I’d missed this opportunity.  Then I remembered USB charging: I simply plugged the IC-705 up to my father’s phone charger, and in four hours, the battery was completely recharged.

To my knowledge, there are no other transceivers that have this capability without modification. A major plus for those of us who love to travel lightly!


POTA activation at the Zebulon Vance Historic Birthplace

Every radio has its pros and cons. When I begin a review of a radio, I take notes from the very beginning so that I don’t forget my initial impressions. Here’s the list I formed over the time I’ve spent evaluating the Icom IC-705.


  • Frequency range
    • TX: 160 – 6 meters, 2M, 70cm
    • RX: 0.030-470.000 MHz
  • Modes include SSB, CW, AM, FM, DV, RTTY
  • 4.3 inch color touchscreen that’s (surprisingly) readable in full sunlight
  • Multiple means to power/charge:
    • Icom BP-272 battery pack (supplied) for 5 watts output
      • Can be charged via 12V power supply or
      • 5V USB phone charger with standard MicroUSB plug (admittedly, I wish they would have adopted now standard USB-C rather than MicroUSB)
    • External battery for 10 watts of output
  • Top-shelf receiver performance (see Rob Sherwood’s assessment)
  • Wireless LAN connectivity that even allows for native remote control (not tested)
  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • Built-in GPS
  • Built-in Digital Recording
  • Full D-Star functionality
  • RTTY can be sent (using macros) and received/decoded natively
  • Multiple standard connection points on base for mounting (see con)
  • Supplied speaker mic is compact and has programmable buttons
  • Frequency stability is less than ± 0.5 ppm (–10°C to +60°C; 14°F to 140°F)
  • The IC-705 ships with an abridged owner’s manual; I recommend downloading the full version via Icom


  • No internal ATU option
  • No built-in tilt stand (see pro)
  • Some minor ergonomic issues:
    • Angled speaker/mic connectors can be challenging to insert as they are too close to the recessed area behind front face, especially for those with larger fingers and/or if in chilly conditions in the field
    • MicroSD card also difficult to access––I use needle-nose pliers to remove and insert


POTA activation of Second Creek Game Land

I purchased the Icom IC-705 with the idea that I would review it and then sell it shortly thereafter. Much to the dismay of my (rather limited) radio funds, I find that I now want to keep the IC-705…indefinitely.

I didn’t think the IC-705 would fit into my QRP field radio “arsenal” very well because I tend to gravitate toward more compact radios that I can easily operate on a clipboard on my lap when necessary. My Elecraft KX2 (TSM November 2016), Elecraft KX1, LnR Precision LD-11 (TSM October 2016), and Mountain Topper MTR-3B probably best represent my field radio interests.

But I’m loving the versatility and overall performance of the IC-705. It’s providing an opportunity to do much more than most of my QRP radios allow.

Here are just a few of the things I’ve done with the IC-705 thus far:

  • Activated numerous parks in SSB and CW
  • Connected to a local D-Star repeater and talked with a fellow ‘705 owner in the UK
  • Listened to ATC traffic (and recorded it)
  • Listened to NOAA weather radio
  • Listened to and recorded local FM stations
  • Enjoyed proper FM DXing
  • Recorded GPS coordinates during a POTA/WWFF activation
  • Made numerous digital mode contacts by connecting the IC-705 directly to my Windows tablet
  • Made a 2-meter SSB contact

POTA activation of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Indeed, there are more features on this transceiver than I can fully cover in one review; truly, I consider that a very good thing.

So if you’re looking for a portable transceiver that can truly take you on a deep dive into the world of QRP HF, VHF, UHF, and even satisfy the SWL in you, look no further than the Icom IC-705.

Well played, Icom.

More Icom IC-705 articles, information, and resources:

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15 thoughts on “A review of the Icom IC-705 QRP Portable SDR Transceiver

  1. Barry G. Kery

    I looked at the lack of an ATU and the tiny battery as a deal breaker for me some time ago. I had high hopes for the Xiegu X6100. As I follow the YouTube videos, I am learning that the X6100, for now, is not that great of a radio. I hoped Elecraft would come out with a KX4 that had a nice display, but since they have their hand’s full filling orders with the product line they already have, I figured I’d be worm bait long before I see a KX4. So now I revisited the IC 705. Two interesting things I just found out were: You can get a bigger onboard battery for the 705, and you can set the radio up to be a hot spot for D Star. As for the lack of an ATU…….since I only use resonant antennas, I can get by without an onboard ATU.
    The lack of a tilt stand is not an issue. Somewhere on Amazon I found little stick on tilt feet. They are like the ones on the bottom of a computer’s keyboard. The snap back and become flat when not in use.

    Great article. Glad you wrote it.
    Barry, KU3X/QRP

    1. Barry Kery

      Update on the lack of an ATU issue:Now that I have the radio for over a month and learned so much about it be actually, “Reading The Fine Manual”, what I found out is this. I only operate at 5 watts out so I limited the radio, by a menu item, to 5 watts max out. At that power level the radio still puts out it’s rated 5 watts into a load of up to 2.5 to 1 SWR. That’s really not that far from the IC 7300 ATU that can handle up to a 3 to 1 SWR.
      Since I only use resonant matched antennas, the lack of an ATU is no longer an issue for me. My dual band 20 / 40 meter wire vertical that I use for portable operating is below 2.5 to 1 over the entire 40 meter band and below 1.5 to 1 on the entire 20 meter band.
      As for the battery……Batteries America makes a replacement battery, for this radio and it’s rated at 3350 mah. That will really extend your operating time.
      Barry, KU3X

      1. Michael OK7SE

        Hello. I am quite happy with mAT-705 mkII ATU. It was not great to plug all the cables at the summit, furthermore in a severe weather. Finally, I have found a solution, I have a little camera bag, where I have the tuner, a power bank, spare IC705 battery, IC705, mike, key and little headphones. Everything is cabled-together, so I open the bag, unwind a short piece of coax out of it, connect to the antenna and press TUNE on my IC-705, just like I would do with KX2. Very comfortable use and the radio is quite reasonably protected in the bag too. The bag is still much smaller than the original Icom backpack.

        Of course, the portability is lesser than a QCX + wire and still a bit lesser than KX2, but it’s good enough for most of my operations, even when I walk or ride a bike. For extreme trips, I still need some QCX-like micro RIG, that’s inevitable anyway.

        The tuner is good enough to tune a randomwire, it has better tune range and it’s mugh lighter than the original Icom tuner. However, the mkII is powered by internal battery, and therefore I have a small powerbank, that can charge not only IC-705 a bit but also the tuner, because if you forget to charge the tuner occassionally, it may betray you on a summit unexpectedly. This does not happen often, but it’s easy to forget about that. The power bank however, solves this problem.

        Another quirk of the tuner is that you need to disconnect it for VHF, even bypassed, it causes high SWR on 145 MHz. On UHF band, it seems to be OK, but I rather disconnect the tuner for both higher bands.

        Taking all into account, I think that this is quite reasonable way to solve the missing ATU problem.

  2. Steven Adler

    Likewise I agree with others on your thorough and well balanced review of the IC-705 since I own one and really enjoy using it.

    The one tilt “con” you noted is an easy fix by putting a screw in the unit’s predrilled (tripod mount) hole which is solved in secs and works great.

    BTW – I also use the LDG Z100 tuner which is less expensive (and very lite weight) then the AH-705 tuner and works great. Also use an MFJ 1984 end-fed antenna that works great for CW and SWL.

    Again, great review and highly recommend the IC-705 for out/indoors QRPing.

    73 ~ Steve (K1KTF)

  3. Bob Steele

    Great article! I had narrowed my purchase down to IC-705 and an Elecraft KX2. Based on this review I’ve decided to go with the 705. I’ll be ordering it as soon as I get my Federal Income Tax Refund (already filed) or the Biden stimulus check. I will be buying the MAT-705Plus tuner, the LC-192 backpack, and a portable antenna. I’m leaning towards the CHA MPAS LITE.

    I’m very excited to get back on HF after a 16 year hiatus. That is due in large part to reading the posts here. Thanks SWLing.com!

    I will be limited to portable ops as we live in a ground floor apartment. HF wasn’t a consideration when we retired and passed on our single family home to our daughter.
    Bob Steele, W4EGJ, Greensboro, NC

  4. Bill Hahn

    WOW Tom, Great write up! You definately have the “gift” for writing interesting columns! I really appreciate the details you went into on this radio. I am seriously considering purchasing this rig for spring time portable adventures and now i am sold! I still love my KX3, it is an amazing radio considering it is (10+) years old, it still provides incredible feild performnace.
    The IC-705 will serve (2) purposes for me. The first is that I am looking for something that will simplfy digital modes with the included sound card and has a band scope which can be very helpful in finding stations to work when portable QRP. The second is that I have yet to purchase a radio with a touchscreen display as I prefer the knobs and buttons on the front panel as apposed to menues on a screen. My current rigs are the KX3 for portable and a Kenwood 590SG, I love both radios, but am considering giving the IC-7300 a go. That being said I do recoginize there are some advantages to SDR radios in terms of filtering and cost versus the traditional superhet front end and roofing filter designs.
    So anyway, I’m going to dive in on IC-705 and see where it takes me!

    Thanks again for all the effort you put into your posts and videos, I have a K4SWL play list on youtube!
    73 de N1ONE (Bill)

  5. Scott Lithgow

    Thank you for the excellent review of the IC 705, and after owning it for 4 months, I agree with everything you mention as pro and con. I really don’t consider lack of ATU as a con because I tend to use resonant antennas, whether a EFHW or WRC or my Hustler vertical antennas. I like the portable mAT 705 tuner for those occasions that I need a better match and it works great. I’ve been a ham for 37 years and was always a Kenwood fan, however when I went with the ICOM 7300, I completely converted over to and sold my Kenwood 590S. I didn’t start doing field operations until last year when I activated POTA. I eventually got a FT 891, which is a very very good radio, and pulls in weak stations much better than either of my ICOM radios. However, it didn’t have the internal speaker so I was also lugging around a SignaLink and extra wires. It also does not have a ATU, but it also is a 100 watt radio and I have nothing against it at all. For an all in one, nothing will beat the IC 705.

    The user interface is incredibly easy to use. When I got my 7300 and used it for the first time, I had 70 percent of it figured out without touching the manual. So right out of the box the IC 705 was virtually 90 percent figured out except for D-Star. If you want to do D-Star, forget the repeater, just search for Doozy by PA7LIM, he makes it incredibly easy to get on D-Star and I am thankful for it.

    I use the Neewer stand for my IC 705 at home and when I take it on a POTA activation. It gives me the proper tilt so I can see the screen. With the latest firmware update, the one CON I had about the radio was struck from my list – the ability to press the BK-IN/VOX button and the ATU tunes up and can be disabled with a short press. No longer do I have to hit the CW key or MIC and the tuner turns on…that was frustrating. Now it’s on my terms and easy to use.

    As you know, I always enjoy your videos, they are very enjoyable and I watch them usually during the day while I’m working and I feel I’m doing a POTA activation while I’m telling you what the CW callsign was 🙂

    73 Scott

  6. Jon

    Very nice review. As a shortwave listener who acquired the ‘705 for its receive capabilities, I’ve been quite favorably impressed with its performance. To date, I’ve only operated the ‘705 using the lithium ion battery packs.

    While I’m aware that that on the transmit side there are advantages to running the ‘705 off of 12 or 13.8 VDC versus the BP-272 / 307’s 7.4 VDC, is anyone aware as to whether there are any performance differences on the receive side when running the ‘705 off of 12 or 13.8 VDC versus 7.4 VDC?

  7. Don Hosmer W8SWL

    When I upgraded to General, I bought a IC-7200. I hated giving up my Drake R-8, but I had no room for both. I really like the Noise Reduction (NR) feature on the 7200. It really helps bring out signals from the static mud.

    Is that same NR feature on the 705 (and 7300), too???? I think it’s part of the DSP filtering.

  8. Mark

    An excellent review Thomas, thanks for taking the time to do this, very well appreciated. I subscribed to your youtube channel and will watch some of your videos over the next couple of days, I saw the POTA one with the MPAS 2.0.

    Did you know that the 705 can connect to D-Star via it’s built in Wifi without the need for a hotspot or repeater ? that’s pretty cool. I saw some videos over the weekend about that.

    I use my Anytone D878 and Openspot 3 and just this weekend gone I connected to D-Star for the first time on REF 30 C, it’s quite a busy channel. I even registered to be able to transmit on the D-Star network but didn’t yet talk to anyone on the D-Star. The Openspot 3 makes it so simple to crossmode. The anytone is a decent radio but horrible to program I don’t recommend DMR at all for ham use it’s a serious pain, I ordered the FT-3d after setting it up for a Ham friend it was so simple I almost couldn’t believe it so I ordered one, the Anytone will be sold.

    The 705 is a neat radio but I can’t see myself selling my FT-891 any time soon, it’s the benchmark for me for audio quality and I haven’t yet heard anything as good. I listen via headphones and the audio is truly amazing and it makes a fantastic SWL receiver along with the MPAS 2.0. + having 100 watts is really handy. Wouldn’t it be great if Icom made a matching 100 watt Amplifier ?

    I see you also have the MPAS 2.0, it’s a great antenna, super fast to set up and it works so well I decided to leave it up all winter here in Ireland and checked it yesterday and it’s as new despite all the wind and rain. I use Noalox, this is essential for the aluminium section and it states this in the manual.

    On 20m last Summer I made regular contacts from Ireland to South America with the FT-891 and 100w, single supplied counterpoise and CAP HAT which makes it more broadband, I can work a few bands without a tuner. I even made it to Chile !

    It’s a portable antenna I got to work only portable but now I will take it down only for portable use which is good because it gets a lot more use than I had intended so I get more for my money 🙂

    The 705 is a great little radio, it will be interesting to see what Elecraft and Yaesu come up with to compete or will they bother ?

  9. 13dka

    As per usual, excellent review, overview and pracitcal experience writeup, thank you for sharing this!

    Funny sidenote – Icom took care of the stand/foot situation for anyone who ordered certain accessories: The backpack contains a little screw that’s best kept attached to the 705 so you don’t lose it and that will let you tilt the radio backwards in a more stable way. If you bought the BP-307, it does the same by adding weight and more lever to the back. 🙂 But seriously, I’m sure I just heard someone in Japan slapping his forehead for the little oversight.

    1. Steven Adler

      Yes, great call out on the screw from the IC (LC-192) backpack. I use that to tilt my IC-705 all the time. Don’t need a fancy (and expensive) accessory and works great.


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