Icom Introduces the IC-705 portable QRP transceiver

Note: this is a cross-post from our other radio blog, the SWLing Post.

This weekend at Tokyo’s Ham Fair 2019, Icom announced an innovative transceiver to their line-up: the Icom IC-705 QRP transceiver.

The IC-705 introduces several industry firsts for a backpack portable radio:

  • It uses the same BP-272 Li-ion Battery pack as the ID-51 and ID-31 series D-Star handy talkies. To my knowledge, this is the only HF transceiver that uses battery packs that can be swapped so easily in the field–like one would swap an HT battery pack
  • It has a general coverage receiver that spans a whopping 0.5 to 148 MHz
  • It sports a full color, touch screen with spectrum and waterfall displays
  • It includes the D-Star digital voice mode
  • A GPS receiver
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • A MicroSD card slot for memory storage, screen captures and recordings

All of this appears to be included, not add-on options.

The only IC-705 omission, in my opinion, is an internal ATU (antenna tuner). Something I would have expected, but not a deal-breaker for those of us who could really benefit from the amount of features this radio offers.

Side and back panel view noting ports and connections.

There is no word yet on pricing or availability, but you can count on us to post these details once they’re available. If you would like to follow updates, bookmark the tag: IC-705

We will also review on the Icom IC-705 as soon as it’s available.

Video from Amateur Logic/Ham College

Ray Novak (N9JA) with Icom America did a live video interview with Amateur Logic/Ham College TV yesterday. The video includes a full announcement in English from the Icom Booth:

Click here to view on YouTube.

IC-705 Pre-Release brochure

Many thanks to Ray Novak for snapping a few photos of the pre-release brochure:

Update: click here to download the full IC-705 brochure. Hat tip to Dave Zantow!

A surprise from one of the “Big Three”

The “Big Three” transceiver manufactures–Icom, Yaesu and Kenwood–have not shown a lot of interest in backpackable QRP radios over the past two decades.

By “backpackable” I mean QRP transceivers specifically designed for portable use in the field–radios that typically have built-in battery options, internal ATUs, and designed to be lightweight shack-in-a-box units.

Yaesu introduced the FT-817 almost twenty years ago and it lives on today (with modest upgrades) as the FT-818. Kenwood has no portable/backpackable HF QRP radio at this point.

I bet the IC-705 is being introduced today because Icom sees a strong market among field-portable operators who enjoy travel and outdoor radio activities like SOTA (Summits On The Air) and POTA (Parks On The Air).  In addition, many ham radio operators live in neighborhoods that are either plagued with radio interference (RFI) or don’t allow antennas to be installed outdoors. Portable radios liberate ham radio ops from their shacks and allow them to set up a station far away from noise or home owner’s associations.

Looking forward…

Again, I’ll be in touch with Icom about the IC-705 and will share updates here when they’re available. I’m looking forward to evaluation this rig when it hits the market!


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This entry was posted in Grab And Go, News, Portable, Product Announcements, QRP, QRP Radios, Software Defined Radio and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Icom Introduces the IC-705 portable QRP transceiver

  1. frank Lagaet says:

    Hi,

    The radio looks super but a bit big for backpacking, Icom intends to sell an optional backpack for it which is a good idea, they also did this with the IC-703, this will be a very handy asset for backpackers, SOTA people or park activators. However I think the radio is not weatherproof (like so many others) and have connectors at both sides which make it less handy to use it like a “handy”.
    Low power usage, being weatherproof and an internal tuner would make this radio a challenger for the KX2/KX3, but selling my KX3 to buy this radio will never happen. Probably promising for Japanese operators who have a low power licence.

    73

    ON6UU

  2. k4swl says:

    Hi, Frank,

    I’m willing to bet that the IC-705 current drain in RX will be higher than the KX3/KX2 since it sports a color touchscreen, etc. I certainly wouldn’t sell my KX3, but the IC-705 is still tempting in that it includes so many modes and bands. Since it has an internal sound card, it would run digi modes natively (w/out the need of an external sound card interface) like the ‘7300. I think the size would be fine for backpacking–1kg is pretty reasonable and roughly what the KX3 weighs with batteries.

    You mention “However I think the radio is not weatherproof (like so many others)…”–I’m curious what other QRP transceiver models are weatherproof. The only one to my knowledge is the yet-to-be-released TX500.

    Thanks, OM, for your comment!
    Cheers & 73,
    Thomas
    K4SWL

  3. frank Lagaet says:

    Hi Thomas,

    As said, “Low power usage, being weatherproof/waterproof and an internal tuner would make this radio a challenger for the KX2/KX3” in which I want to say I miss weatherproof radio’s from all big vendors. It is not always fun to put a 1200€ costing radio in the rain on a sota top (as my KX-2), and knowing the radio is not waterproof. Of course there are ways to prevent water/dust going into the radio’s…but it is always a hassle. I also find that the kx2/kx3 is not waterproof is a design error.

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