I’m very fortunate in that over the past few years I’ve accumulated a number of QRP radios that I use in rotation when I do park and summit activations.
I’m often asked for advice on choosing radios, and as I’ve mentioned in the past, I feel like the decision is a very personal one–everything is based on an operator’s own particular preferences.
I’ve written formal reviews about most of the field radios in my collection over the years. In those reviews, I try to take a wide angle view of a radio–I try to see how it might appeal to a number of types of operators: field operators, DXers, summit activators, contesters, rag-chewers, casual operators, SWLs, travelers, outdoor adventurers, mobile operators, etc. I highlight the pros and cons, but I don’t focus on my own particular take because, again, my style of operating might not match that of readers. I try to present the full picture as clearly as I can and let the reader decide.
On that note, I thought it might be fun to take a radio out for a field activation and spend a bit of time explaining why I enjoy using that particular radio and why it’s a part of my permanent field radio collection. Instead of taking that wide-angle view of a radio like I do in magazine reviews, I share my own personal thoughts based on long-term experience.
Getting To Know You
Each new video in the Getting To Know You series will highlight one of the field radios from my field radio collection. I’ll spend time in each video explaining what I personally appreciate about each radio, then we’ll do a park or summit activation with the radio.
I’ll release these every few weeks or so–when the notion strikes me. They will not be on a regular schedule, but I hope to include each of my radios in this series over the the next year.
The Icom IC-705
The second radio in the Getting To Know You series is my Icom IC-705.
From the moment I first unboxed my Icom IC-705, I’ve been incredibly pleased with it. It’s a proper 21st century radio. Not only does it have a very wide frequency range, multimode operation, and an incredibly deep feature set, but it also sports proper wireless connectivity.
The IC-705 has become one of the most popular QRP rigs on the market despite it’s nearly $1,400 US price tag.
I originally purchased and reviewed the Icom IC-705 in 2020 (click here to read my review).
In the activation video (below) I’ll tell you about how I acquired my IC-705, why I think it’s so unique, and why I’ve no intention of ever selling it. Then, we’ll perform a POTA activation.
Keep in mind that my perspective will primarily focus on HF operating even though the IC-705 also sports multimode VHF and UHF.
South Mountains State Park (K-2753)
While driving back to the QTH on July 6, 2023, I stopped by the Clear Creek Access of South Mountains State Park–it was the perfect location to play radio on a hot and very humid day.
South Mountains’ only picnic table is located under the shade of a large oak tree. When I first arrived at the table, though, I was disappointed to find a bunch of trash on the ground from someone who had obviously enjoyed a picnic meal along with about a pack of cigarettes.
Normally, I do a site check after the activation, grab a trash bag, and pick up any litter I find as I check the site for any gear I could have possibly dropped or left behind.
In this case, it was so bad, I did the clean-up prior to the activation.
For this activation, I decided to pair the IC-705 with my MM0OPX 40 meter End-Fed Half-Wave antenna.
In the activation video below, I show my ambitious attempts to deploy the antenna.
The tree above the picnic table is one of the easiest to launch a throw line into, but in this case I set a much higher goal for a much higher branch.
I couldn’t snag the “ideal” branch–it was just too high–but I did grab one that almost rivaled it!
If I’m being honest, it was awfully fun attempting that shot. Almost like going for a basketball goal from the other side of the court!
- Icom IC-705
- MM0OPX QRP EFHW (Contact Colin for Availability)
- Key cable: Cable Matters 2-Pack Gold-Plated Retractable Aux Cable – 2.5 Feet
- CW Morse CNC Machined Aluminum Paddle
- GoRuck GR1 USA
- Weaver arborist throw line/weight and Folding Arborist Throw Line Cube
- Zebra Mechanical Pencil, Del Guard, 0.7mm
- Rite In The Rain Top Spiral Notebook (small 3×5 size)
- Camera: original OSMO Action Camera (the OSMO 3 is the current version) with Sensyne Phone Tripod
On The Air
Then there was a bit of a lull on 20 meters, so I moved to 40 meters. Note that since the EFHW antenna is resonant on 20, 15, 10, and 40, there was no need to do any sort of matching on either 40 or 20.
Forty meters was healthier. I worked an additional eleven contacts in 17 minutes for a total of 15 hunters logged.
Here’s what this activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map.
Here’s my real-time, real-life video of the entire activation. As with all of my videos, I don’t edit out any parts of the on-air activation time. In addition, I have monetization turned off on YouTube, although that doesn’t stop them from inserting ads before and after my videos.
After I started taking the ‘705 to the field, though, I realized it would become a permanent member of my QRP radio family.
I love the audio, the filtering, the keying, and the versatility in terms of powering it. Sure, I use my KX2 more in the field, but I also do way more digital modes at the QTH with the IC-705 (using the excellent SDR-Control app) than I’ve ever done with any other radio. It’s so nice to have absolutely no cables connecting my radio to my laptop via the IC-705 hotspot.
Someday, we’ll take the IC-705 to the field for some FT8 POTA.
I hope you enjoyed the field report, Getting to Know You and activation portions of the video as much as I enjoyed creating them.
Of course, I’d also like to send a special thanks to those of you who have been supporting the site and channel through Patreon and the Coffee Fund. While certainly not a requirement as my content will always be free, I really appreciate the support.
As I mentioned before, the Patreon platform connected to Vimeo make it possible for me to share videos that are not only 100% ad-free, but also downloadable for offline viewing. The Vimeo account also serves as a third backup for my video files.
Thanks for spending part of your day with me!
Have a wonderful week!
Cheers & 72,