The Icom IC 705:

23/9/2020 It’s arrived in the UK and USA

What do you get with it?

It comes with fused DC lead, Mini Mic (it’s not an option like Elecraft), BP272 battery pack. The DC plug is a little odd, I have several 5.5mm/2.5mm dc plugs but they do not fit most of the QRP radios I have, however, after extensive searching I have found some that do fit and have made up some fused leads for the 705 and other QRP units.

No Tuner?

It does not have a tuner/matcher, but why use one? use a resonant antenna, a single or multi band unit, low cost and superb for /P use. If you really do need a tuner/matcher then here is a good one but hunt around for a good price $150? this one cost me £120.00 that’s half the price of the Elecraft one, the mAT-10 30 watt tuner with internal power and charger that lasts for weeks.

The mAT-10 auto tuner 1.8 > 50MHz, supplied with FT817/818 control lead but fully automatic with any transceiver, just push the button!

Base Charger and spare battery packs

There’s plenty of base chargers and spare battery packs available at really good prices, the base chargers (BC-202 genuine Icom made in Japan) are about £20 ($25) and I picked up 4 spare new battery packs for about the same price. The chargers and battery packs are used on many other Icom products. You get about 3 hours of use from the supplied pack (TX/RX). A Chinese copy of the heavy duty lithium pack BP-307 (3300ma) is now available at around £35 ($40)

Antennas (LOW COST & LOTS OF IDEAS)

There’s lots to choose from, a mobile single bander on a small tripod with a radial, a multi-band tapped mobile vertical on a tripod with a multi radial system, a resonant end fed (below) using a 49/1 matching unit would give you multi-bands from one piece of wire and NO TUNER OR COUNTERPOISE NEEDED, COST? around £15.00 > £30.00 plus the wire.

A perfectly resonant end fed using a 49/1 matching unit would give you multi-bands from one piece of wire and NO TUNER NEEDED, COST? £15.00 to £30.00,  just add a half wavelength of wire for any single frequency or 20.5 mtrs for 7/14/21/28 as per sweep above & below, so why would you want to pay £80 to £150 for a Ham shop sold version unit? when you can make it yourself.

ABOVE: 7MHz: 1.2/1: 14.1MHz 1.22/1: 21.1MHz 1.22/1: 28.5MHz 1.3/1 with great bandwidth on each band and LOW COST!

ABOVE: Using some of the techniques that are used in our commercial matching units a custom made antenna can be produced offering even more amateur bands. 3.5/7/14/18/21/28MHz @ 1.5/1 vswr

You could make your own /P kit at a very low cost. A Quality 49/1 (from RFCOMMS) plus make a throwing line/weight/spool, 20.5 mtrs of kevlar line/spool plus 20 mtrs of PTFE RG316 coax all in a nice Cameo zipped case and off you go.

        

An Ultra Lightweight & Low Cost 49/1 5 Band Resonant Version.

The antenna is resonant on  80/40/20/15/10 and has 1 inductor in the kevlar line rated at 50w pep. The length is around 22.5 mtrs. A shorter 3 band version (40/20/10) is currently in use using a 34 micro henry coil in the line and is 12 mtrs in length.

Above: The 34 micro-henry miniature coils for the 12 mtr long 7/14/28MHz. Just 60mm (2 1/2″) long and fully weatherproofed.

The 110 micro henry miniature coil 130mm long (5″) offering resonance on 3.5/7/14/21/28MHz @ 22.5 mtrs long.

Check out other options/ideas HERE

RFCOMMS matching units, Low cost, Top quality resin potted, optimised dual cores, PTFE wire wound, PTFE SO239 socket, stainless steel strain reliefs. Remember that IP rated boxes are not waterproof if they are not UV protected, this is a common misconception, as when the Sun penetrates the box it will crack it and then the water ingress happens rendering the unit useless.

Antenna Bracket

A smart bracket for £22 > £25 ($30) that fits on to the radio and will then accept a tapped multiband HF antenna and radial or ground plus you can add a diplexer to the bracket so you don’t have to change antenna connections over, a neat idea!

Bracket fits to grounding bolt on IC 705

Low cost stand options below for many QRP radios including the Icom 705

You can pick these up for £15 > £20 or make one in an hour or so, 2 end pieces and some M5 studding with nuts/washers

External Lithium Polymer Packs 8, 10 & 22 Amp Packs

Ultra lightweight, handheld, high current, Li-Po 12 volt units available in 8,10 and 22 amp packs that you can carry with ease and can be solar charged or 12 volt dc charged as they have the charging/protection circuits built in. These units are just superb and are used on many African commercial portable radio systems that I have been involved in. Ideal for lots of portable applications including lighting etc. UN Certification and can be transported in aircraft.

Hard Case

There are several nice protective cases around on eBay for the IC-705, the one below has enough room for the Radio, Mic and spare batteries etc, cost around £8. ($10 > 12)

Comparison Tests

Tests will be carried out using the Icom IC 705 and other low power transceivers to see how the new unit compares, the fun begins!

23/9/2020: Just been monitoring 7MHz @ 16.30z – 17.00z, YC9 (Bali) was S8 on IC705 and S8 on FT817ND but the difference was astonishing in the S/N ratio, IC7300 same as IC 705: Antenna used 49/1 with 20.5 mtrs wire, this will always be the test antenna with all the QRP radios for comparison tests.

IC-705 with portable antennas, this mobile unit has a “sliding” coil and there are 2 versions, 80 > 10 and 40 > 10 Mtrs, push it up and push it down for resonance.

     

1/10/2020: Nice qso with HB9CVQ on 7MHz, 5 watts to the antenna above

Early October has seen some good openings even on 28/50MHz. Many stations have been worked in Europe both on CW and SSB including EA9/CN/IT9/5B4/C31/EA/CT/F/DL/PA/EI/GM etc. Good fun with just 10w

8/10/20: 7MHz DF2VP good ssb contact 5w

Audio Tip: I like the speaker on the main 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 PTT tx and tx audio via the 2.5mm plug but the receive audio comes out of the main speaker! nice! I would have thought that the 3.5mm plug would carry AF out (Mic speaker) and AF in (Mic), but unplug it and see what happens, cannot find any mention of it in the manuals. Interestingly the 3.5mm plug has 3 poles but it seems it only controls the internal speaker as all the functions on the MIC (buttons up/down and “A” + “B”) still work when it is unpluged.

17/18th Oct: Lots of Eu contest stations worked on the IC 705 and the 49/1, SSB with 5 watts, also switched to IC 7300 and no difference on RX.

22/10/20 VK6 Hrd on 28MHz, also lots of action from Eu on FT8. 21MHz UA3EDQ QSO 57 5 watts. 21MHz 1300z open to Eu/ZS/5B4/SV/UR5/CR2………28.380MHz  13.24 FR4QT S8

So far the IC 705 shines, comparing it with: X5105, FT817 (later version) and the G90 there is NO doubt the receiver is very good and S/N ratio is far superior. I made a recording of FR4QT (Reunion Island) yesterday on 28MHz and when comparing the signal he was S8 on the 705 and audable with dificulty on the 817 & G90

23/10/20: 10.20z ZS6WAB/B 28.204.5 audable on 705 but not on G90/X5105. 10.40z. ES on 28MHz to EA4EUI/EA5 & CT. 28.380 11.00z: FR4QT/S5

24/10/20: LN8W/SE0X/OZ4NA/OV5TV/SM6W + lots more in Eu on 28MHz: IC 705 5W:ZW0 + PY stns consistantly better s/n on 705 compared with other QRP receivers.

30/10/20: ES all PM on 28MHz, IS0BSR in for hours

NOVEMBER

Cycle 25 on the go, Mega sunspot activity in the past week includes sunspots 6 to 8 times the size of the Earth, super openings on 18 to 28MHz, FR4QT is appearing in Eu on 28MHz nearly every day along with ZS6 beacons and stations, great TEP conditions. Checkout the Solar info HERE: 

So far wkd North America (160Mtrs with vertical 160/80), South America (28MHz PY), Africa and lots in Eu using just 10 watts and a 49/1 multiband unit, very impressed.

Now running a pair of the Icom 705 units

Been doing lots of tests between the 705 and: FT817ND/x5105/G90/FRG100/IC703/FX9A/FX9B and decided that they can all go as the Icom IC 705 beats the lot hands down. It is not just a QRP radio it is also a fantastic tool for finding noise problems in the 0 > 200 MHz range, I wish I could replace my car radio with one but it won’t fit in the hole!

 

GEOCHRON 4K: Having just installed a system I could not hesitate in buying one for myself, well the Wife bought it for me really as an early Christmas pressie.

It is a great tool using the mega levels of layers that can be overlaid including orbiting Sats plus wx etc etc. 

13/11: Great opening on 28MHz, 7Q7RU in 599 at times. ZS6 beacons hrd

16/11: 11.20z TZ1CE 599 28.006MHz: also copied on no tuner 1 mtr loop 559, ES?

17/11: VO1FOG S6 SSB 28.480MHz + ES in Eu: DL/S57/I/LA4………..1200 > 1500 Good ES, OE2MBN up to S9 QSO:

20/11: 13.30z 9J2RD SSB 55 TEP

26/11: 10.30z EA8NF “ES” also 5B4: EA8DHV 559: S01WS 55 “ES” Western Sahara: 11.00z FY5KE 529/559 “ES + TEP” in for 40 mins: The Radio Sun 10.7 cm flux: 104 sfu. Mega sunspot activity: More good 28MHz openings possible in next few days but I will be busy installing new GEOCHRON system

27/11: SFI: 106: 9.00z 28MHz 4X1TI/S9+: 1200z: 28MHz CU3AN S9+: FY5KE 559

28/11: 12.30z 7Q7RU/28.500MHz S6: CU3EQ/S9 28MHz: 12.40z 28.500 7Q7RU 59:

1/12: Sun Today:

30/12/2020: ZL > VK “ES” on 50MHz

SFI 84: SN 26

31/12/2020: 50MHz ES ZL > VK, VK6 > VK2 etc, Summer “ES” as usual in Southern Hemisphere

Top 250 50 MHz UTC Spotter Comment
ZL1NX 50110.0 31 Dec 06:59 VK5JN Tnx Rst Bob best 73 gud dx 2021
VK6RPH 50066.0 31 Dec 05:56 VK2XQ Bcn 559 QF37ub-OF88 2953km
VK8RAS 50046.0 31 Dec 05:53 VK2XQ Bcn 569 QF37ub-PG66wh 1693km

31/12/2020: 12.30z: 28.505 IZ6BXV/S5 “ES” de G4ICD

JANUARY:

12th Mega Aurora in Tromso Norway and detected in Preston UK, ES in EU on 28MHz and 50MHz and internal USA also

16/1/2021: 50MHz ES openings in southern hemisphere (their summer ES as always)

ZS1TAF 50313.0 ZS4TX ft8 e opening 09:05Z
ZS1TAF 50313.0 ZS4OIL ft8 e opening 08:49Z
ZS1TAF 50313.0 ZS6BUN ft8 e opening 08:43Z
ZS1TAF 50200.0 ZS6NK ssb 08:43Z
VK2XQ 50024.0 ZL2WHO bcn 419 qf37ub-rf70om 2555km 07:34Z
VK2XQ 50011.0 ZL1SIX bcn 519 qf37ub-rf64vs 2409km 07:11Z

16/1/2021: Sunspots are back after a quiet 12 days

21/1/: More sunspots arrive

SLIGHT CHANCE OF GEOMAGNETIC STORMS: NOAA forecasters say there is a slight chance of minor G1-class geomagnetic storms on Jan 21st when Earth passes through a high-speed stream of solar wind. The gaseous material is flowing ~600 km/s from a northern hole in the sun’s atmosphere. Arctic auroras, anyone?

24/1: Yet more Sunspots

FEB: THE YAESU FTDX10 ARRIVES

During Jan/Feb the sunspots were few and far between, but there were lots of mega Auroras in the Arctic plus business has been busy so not lots of time to play radio, however, a few new ideas and new arrivals. The Yaesu FTDX10 is now installed and I am trying to find time to do some more comparisons with the Icom IC7300, so far I am impressed with the units front end and the display both bigger and sharper and it gets #3 in the Sherwood tables, superb! the one thing it lacks is that loverly Icom feature of the internal antenna analyser. Icom came up with the idea in 2013 on the IC 7100, then the 7300 and now the 705, so what happened with Yaesus’ version? I have plenty of antenna analysers mostly the RIGEXPERT ones which without a doubt are the best on the market but to have one installed in the software of a transceiver is a great idea and saves you unplugging the antenna to do a bandwidth check of the antenna.

ANOTHER ADDITION

The Icom IC-705 runs on external dc as well as its own internal battery pack, however, it likes 13.8 volts dc for a full 10w output which when using it /p with a 12 volt car battery is not 13.8 volts! so here is a low cost noval idea and works very well. Our friends in the Far East produce several “BUCK VOLT BOOSTER MODULES”, these low cost modules can increase or decrease the output voltages (5 to 30 volts dc) at up to 30 amps by the use of a 100Khz inverter, there’s many types and cost of some are under £2. I have put together a unit which is rated at 4 amps (current protected and crowbar over volts protected) and is ideal for the IC-705, it also has a secondary smaller unit (£1) for 5V USB so you can charge your phone or other USB gadgets. A nice unit for under £10.

Below: USB 5 Volt socket, 5.5 mm dc output socket (fused) and dc +/- fused connectors

Variable dc outputs from 5 to 30 volts @ 4 amps and just putting together the 30 amp 5 > 30 volt dc version which has seperate digital in/out voltage and current meters……..more later.

23/2/2021:

AURORAS ALL THE TIME: A stream of high-speed solar wind has been buffeting Earth’s magnetic field for the past 4 days. “We’re seeing auroras all the time,” says tour guide Markus Varik of Tromsø, Norway. “I can’t get a night off!”

and more sunspots!

25/2/21:

DYNAMIC SUNSPOT: Sunspot group AR2804 is putting on a show. This morning, the group developed a Moon-sized spot, which raced across almost 50,000 km of solar “terrain” in a matter of hours. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the action:

Sunspot dynamics like this are a sign of instability. The magnetic field of AR2804 is quickly rearranging itself, a tumult that could lead to criss-crosses and explosive reconnection. The sunspot is crackling with minor B-class solar flares; stronger eruptions might be in the offing.

26/2/21: 

SOLAR WIND, INCOMING: A high-speed stream of solar wind is approaching Earth. ETA: March 1-2. The gaseous material is flowing 500+ km/s from a southern hole in the sun’s atmosphere. Geomagnetic unrest and Arctic auroras are likely when the solar wind arrives.

MARCH 1ST PRIZE WINNERS ARE: 

KA7/TM: SN13/JW: DE2/RC: DN31/ES: there were a few more but no FB left. Janet will be in touch and will post out the items FREE this week

MARCH 3rd:

SOLAR WIND STORM IN PROGRESS: A solar wind stream is buffeting Earth’s magnetic field, blowing faster than 600 km/s. This is causing minor G1-class geomagnetic storms. In Europe, auroras have been sighted as far south as Scotland:

“I had to climb to get above the Aberdeenshire fog, and it was well worth the effort,” says photographer Graeme Whipps, who made a must-see movie. “A double arc and brief display of rays danced above the fog on the northern horizon.”

The solar wind is flowing from a southern hole in the sun’s atmosphere. Earth should remain inside the stream for another day, with a slight chance that wind speeds could top 700 km/s, the fastest in years. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras on March 3-4

LINK TO CLEARANCE PAGE