Tag Archives: Icom IC-705 Shortwave

The Icom IC-705 is about to achieve ‘Holy Grail’ status

In 2019, shortly after Icom announced the Icom IC-705, I speculated that this rig might be a contender for “Holy Grail” status.

I must admit…the more I use this radio, the more I love it. It is a proper Swiss Army Knife of a radio. Even though I’ve owned and operated it for a few months, I still haven’t explored all that it can do, and I keep finding features I love.

Case in point

Yesterday, I upgraded my IC-705’s firmware. Unlike other devices I’ve been evaluating recently, IC-705 firmware updates aren’t fixing numerous bugs and issues, rather they’re adding more functionality.

After completing the upgrade, I hooked the ‘705 up to my main antenna and worked a few Parks On The Air (POTA) stations off of the supplied battery pack (instead of a power supply). While I worked on other projects in the shack, I checked the POTA spots and work a few stations with a whopping 5 watts of output power.

After a couple hours on the air (mostly listening), the internal battery pack still had a good 60-70% capacity.

At one point, I tried a little daytime mediumwave DXing and cruised past 630 kHz which some of you might already know is the home of one of my favorite hometown radio stations, WAIZ.

From my home, WAIZ is a tough catch, so it was weak, but I could hear it.

This reminded me that I had made a recording of WAIZ with the IC-705 when in my hometown earlier this month.

Normally, I pull the MicroSD card out of the IC-705–which almost requires needle nose pliers and is one of my few complaints about this rig–and view the files on my PC or MacBook, but I was curious if perhaps the IC-705 software had a built-in file display.

Of course it does!

Simply press the MENU button, then the RECORD button on the touch screen, and you’ll see the following selections:

Press “Play Files” and you then see a list of folders organized by date:

Click on a folder and you’ll see a list of recordings made that day:

Here’s the genius bit for those of us who like to archive broadcast recordings…the IC-705 embeds the following meta data:

  • Date of recording
  • Start time of recording
  • Recording length
  • Frequency
  • Mode

These are some of the most important pieces of information I use to index my audio recordings and the IC-705 does this automatically.  In fact, if you allow the IC-705 to gather its time information from the internal GPS, the time stamp will be incredibly accurate.

The only thing I add to the file name after export is the broadcaster name/station callsign.

If that wasn’t enough, if you touch one of the recording files, the IC-705 will open it in an audio player:

The built-in player displays the meta data, and even includes a number of controls like fast-forward, rewind, skip to next or previous file. and pause.

I’m sure this is the same audio player found in the IC-7300, IC-R8600 and other late-model Icom SDR rigs. But in a portable battery powered transceiver? This is a genius feature.

As I type this post I’m listening to the audio from the WAIZ file shown above. I can imagine when I’m able to travel again (post-pandemic), how useful this will for one-bag air travel.

(If you’d like to listen to WAIZ, check out these ‘705 recordings.)

Not only is the IC-705 a QRP transceiver and wideband multi-mode general coverage receiver, but it’s a recorder and audio player with a built-in front-facing speaker. I can set this transceiver at my hotel bedside and listen to recordings I made in the field earlier that day or week.

Keep in mind that the IC-705 is an expensive radio–certainly one of the most pricey QRP radios ever produced at $1,300 US (at time of posting although I’m sure we’ll start seeing lower pricing this year). But if you’re an SWL and ham, you’ll find the IC-705 is the most versatile portable transceiver on the market. If you’re an SWL only, you can disable the transmit on the IC-705 and essentially have a portable battery-powered SDR receiver with built-in audio recording and playback with color touch screen spectrum and waterfall display.

Despite the price, this is Holy Grail territory in my book.

Icom IC-705 Review

If you subscribe to The Spectrum Monitor magazine, you’ll be able to read my (4,000 word!) review of the IC-705 in the upcoming February 2021 issue.

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Taking the Icom IC-705 on a shortwave and mediumwave field trip

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, 13dka, who shares the following:

Yesterday evening, I took the Icom IC-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:

31m band scan:

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 (indispensable 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!

Thanks for sharing this, and for those band scans. Wow! And I love the “also good for some VHF/UHF in-house good night 88s between licensed dads and daughters”–! Ha ha! That is a real possibility.

Your IC-705 experience on MW and SW is similar to mine. I’ve used the IC-705 a number of times in the field and find that it has a superb and capable general coverage receiver. I’ve also coupled it with my homemade NCPL antenna and have been very pleased with the results. I couldn’t be more pleased.

You’ll find the twin passband filters are incredibly effective at knocking out adjacent signal spill-over. And, yes, the auto notch feature is excellent for killing hets in your audio. I’ve even used the notch manually and like many of my PC-connected SDRs, the filter can be adjusted in width.

I think you’ll continue to enjoy the IC-705 well beyond the honeymoon phase and I’m hoping you might even post some more comparisons at the dike!

AS I mentioned in previous posts, I had fully intended to sell the IC-705 after my review period, but I’ve grown to love this radio so much, that is no longer going to happen.

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More field time with the new Icom IC-705 general coverage QRP transceiver

I’ve been using the Icom IC-705 pretty heavily since I took delivery of it a couple weeks ago.

The more time I spend with this radio, the more I like it.

Serious functionality and features

I originally stated that I’d probably sell the IC-705 after my review/evaluation period because it simply doesn’t have the design characteristics I like in a field QRP radio.

I tend to prefer simple field radios with a basic high-contrast LCD or analog display, and a protective cover over the display. I’m not personally the biggest fan of pressure sensitive touch screens in field applications.

Earlier this week, I stopped by Lake Norman State Park for a quick Parks On The Air (POTA) activation.

I wrote a field report on QRPer.com noting the fact that the IC-705 is a superb SSB transceiver. It truly is. I included a video showing the IC-705 as I worked a few stations on the 40 meter band, and another video demonstrating SSB memory keying (politely overlook the fact I had the rig set to LSB on 20 meters in that video–!).

Listening in

When I finish a park activation, I often spend a little time on the broadcast bands tuning around and enjoying the low-RFI setting.

At Lake Norman, I decided to make a short video highlighting the wide receiving range of the IC-705. The video only highlights a few bands–the IC-705 can actually receive from 0.030–199.999 MHz and 400.000–470.000 MHz.

The EFT-MTR end-fed antenna I had connected to the IC-705 that day was not ideal for reception above 15 MHz, but as you’ll see, it was adequate for a little radio fun. I was using the Emtech ZM-2 external antenna tuner that day because my mAT-705’s battery died.  I highly recommend the ZM-2 for shortwave listeners and QRPers alike because it makes it so easy to tweak wire antennas for optimal matching and reception. In the video, however, I left the tuner in the last matched configuration. This isn’t exactly a pro video, but I hope you’ll enjoy it anyway:

The Icom IC-705: A keeper

This transceiver is so versatile, I don’t think I can let go of it. I really appreciate the IC-705’s frequency versatility and excellent performance. With this compact rig, I can do some proper SWL DXing and possibly even FM and MW DXing.

As simple as it is, the built-in digital recorder clinches the deal.

The IC-705 is a pricey piece of kit at $1300 US, but I suspect Icom will lower the price or start offering rebates once the supply/demand curves normalize. At present, retailers are struggling to keep up with customer demand and most purchases are on back-order.

Blind Audio Test results

I’ve just closed the surveys for our IC-705 blind audio tests. The response was overwhelming and the results?  Well, you’ll soon find out. I hope to present all of the findings in a post within the next few days.

Boomark this link to follow all of our IC-705 posts.

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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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Icom IC-705: Let’s see how long it’ll receive with supplied BP-272 Li-ion battery pack

The shortwave radio listener part of me might actually be more excited about the Icom IC-705 than the ham radio operator part of me.

The IC-705 has a number of features for ham radio operators who also enjoy broadcast listening. For example, it sports:

  • a general coverage receiver,
  • good performance specs,
  • notch filtering (both manual and automatic),
  • Icom twin passband filtering,
  • an AM bandwidth filter maximum width of 10 kHz
  • built-in digital recording of both received and transmitted audio,
  • audio treble/bass adjustments,
  • and battery power from Icom HT Li-ion battery packs

The Icom IC-705 ships with an BP-272 Li-ion battery pack and since the announcement last year about the IC-705, I’ve been curious how long the BP-272 could power the IC-705 in receive only.

A real-world RX test

Yesterday morning, I resisted the urge to hunt POTA and SOTA stations with the IC-705 and, instead, spent the day simply listening.

I started the experiment with a fully-charged BP-272 7.4V 1880 mAh battery pack (the pack supplied with the IC-705). At 9:00 in the morning, I unplugged the IC-705 from my 12V power supply and ran the receiver all day on just the battery pack.

I made some practical changes to maximize play time: I turned on the screen saver, turned off GPS, set the LCD backlight auto adjustment to 2%, and set the screen timer to turn off after 1 minute.

I ran the volume somewhere between low and moderate and only raised it to what I would consider very loud a few times to copy weak signals. I listened to AM, SSB, and FM signals across the spectrum, but primarily cruised the HF bands.

Of course, I never transmitted with the IC-705 during this period (saving that for the next test).

I probably could have done more to decrease current drain, but frankly I wanted this to be based on how I’d likely configure the rig for use on an SWL DXpedition.


I unplugged the IC-705 from the 12V power supply at 9:00 local and the radio auto shut down at 16:39 local: a total of 7 hours, 39 minutes.

Honestly? I’m fairly impressed with this number mainly because it’s based on the smaller battery pack. The supplied BP-272 pack has 1880 mAh of capacity. The optional BP-307, on the other hand, has 3150 mAh of capacity.

If I decide to keep the IC-705, I will be very tempted to purchase a ($130 US) BP-307 pack as well.

Next test: How long can the IC-705 last on battery during a POTA activation?

As early as today, I will see just how long the BP-272 pack can operate the IC-705 during a POTA activation. This will be a true challenge on the smaller battery pack since POTA activations require a lot of transmitting (constant CQ calls and exchanges). There’ll be no lack of calling CQ on a day like today when propagation is so incredible poor.

Follow the tag IC-705 for more updates.

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New Icom IC-705 videos and few answers to your questions

I’ve been getting a number of inquiries from readers lately about the new, yet-to-be-released, Icom IC-705 QRP portable transceiver. Here are a few quick answers to frequent reader questions:

  • “Will you review the IC-705?” Yes, I certainly will. If the loaner unit from Icom has a long lead time, I’ll plan to purchase one from the first production run and may sell it after the review. (Only since I already have *way* too many QRP transceivers!)
  • “When will the IC-705 start shipping to customers?” That’s a tough one to answer and, of course, I have no affiliation with the manufacturer so really can’t comment. As we’ve mentioned before, IC-705 production like other products this year has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact on supply chains. I do know that Icom hopes to start shipping the IC-705 within the next few months. Availability may vary based on where you live since Icom has regional market headquarters.
  • “Does the IC-705 have an internal ATU?” No, it does not. However, Icom recently announced that they will produce an antenna tuner for the IC-705 with the model number AH-705. There are no details available at time of posting, but we must assume this is an external ATU.
  • Will it ship with a battery pack, or do we have to buy it separately?” The IC-705 will include a  BP-272 Battery pack, HM-243 Speaker-microphone and OPC-2421 DC power cable.
  • With a color touch screen display, won’t the IC-705 current drain be too much for operating on a battery?” Since I’m primarily a field operator, this was one of my first questions as well. Turns out, Icom has employ some agressive techniques to make that display as efficient as possible. Check out the promising numbers from their recently-published specifications page:
  • Will the IC-705 double as a portable shortwave radio broadcast receiver?” The short answer is yes, but we have yet to actually put this general coverage transceiver to the test. What we do know is that the AM bandwidth can be widened to 6 kHz according to the specifications sheet. We also know that its receiver range is 0.030–199.999 and 400.000–470.000. The IC-705 will cover the entire AM broadcast (mediumwave) band and the entire HF/shortwave spectrum with no gaps. How sensitive the IC-705 will be outside the ham radio bands remains to be seen.
  • Will the IC-705 include the 4 meter band?” I’ve gotten this question from a number of our UK readers. The answer is no. There were conflicting reports early on, but Icom UK posted this message on May 29, 2020 noting: “We regret to inform you that contrary to our earlier messages, the 70MHz (4 Metre) band will not be included in our much anticipated IC-705 QRP SDR transceiver.

Icom IC-705 Videos

A number of YouTube channels have been posting videos of pre-production IC-705 units in operation. Many thanks to a number of SWLing Post contributors who’ve shared links to these.

Bob McCreadie (G0FGX) of TX Films via Icom UK

Ham Radio Concepts

Amateur Logic: IC-705 Minimum Current Tweaks

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Could the Icom IC-705 be a shortwave listener’s Holy Grail receiver?

I just published an announcement about the new Icom IC-705 portable transceiver, but omitted an important question for SWLing Post readers:

How well could the IC-705 serve shortwave listeners and DXers?

Keeping in mind that the IC-705 is not yet in production, we can only go by the features and few specifications Icom has revealed so far.

Since the IC-705 is a general coverage receiver with a frequency range from 0.5 to 148 MHz, it covers all of the shortwave bands and more.

We also know the IC-705 is based on the same direct-sampling architecture as the excellent IC-7300 (click here for our review), thus I expect the IC-705 will sport a capable receiver.

Icom’s other direct-sampling radios have excellent sensitivity and selectivity, so I assume the IC-705 could as well.  I would also hope that, like the IC-7300, the AM bandwidth could be widened for full-fidelity AM audio–this has been one of the few criticisms I’ve had using the Elecraft KX3 and KX2 for shortwave listening.

The IC-705 sports other features that could make it an outstanding package for for DXers:

  • It has built-in audio recording to a MicroSD card. (Woo hoo!)
  • It has a useful, full-color, configurable spectrum and waterfall display
  • It uses the same BP-272 Li-ion Battery pack as the ID-51 and ID-31 series handy talkies. In receive-only, I would expect long battery-powered listening sessions. Of course, you can also plug in an external 13.8 V battery to increase off-grid listening time.
  • It’s incredibly portable and lightweight

In short, the IC-705 has all of the makings of a fully self-contained shortwave listening station–a grab-and-go DXpedition-grade rig. The IC-705 even has an (optional) custom Icom backpack!

The Icom LC-192 backpack (Source: Universal Radio)

Let’s just hope the IC-705 performs as well as its larger siblings and that its price is competitive.

Again, I plan to review the IC-705 once it’s released and in production. Both pricing and shipping are yet to be announced. Follow the tag IC-705 for updates.

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