Eternal Keypad for the IC-705? Shane is visually-impaired and seeking advice.

Many thanks to Shane who writes with the following question:

I really need some advice.

I know you have produced many videos on the Icom IC-705, and I am wondering if there is a way to directly enter frequencies on this rig, without using the touchscreen.

Being totally blind, I really need to know this before I fork out around $1400 or so, and I figured you (or someone you know) might have the answer?

Is there a small external keypad, like the one that I use with my Yaesu FT-891. Any help you could give me would be so much appreciated, here. Best and 73

Great question, Shane. We’ve touched on this topic before, but not specifically about the Icom IC-705.

Photo shows the color touch screen of the IC-705At the end of the day, the IC-705 is a very visually-oriented radio since so many of the important features and functions rely on a dynamic, flat, color, touch-screen display. There are physical buttons, but they are typically used to open up more options on the touch-screen display.

I don’t know of an external keypad for the IC-705 that allows for direct frequency entry. I have seen external pads for controlling CW and Voice memory messages, but not for direct frequency entry.

Photo of the IC-705 on a picnic table at the Vance Birthplace.

I’ve spent the better part of a half-hour looking through the IC-705 advanced manual.

I was hoping to find that there were voice announcements above and beyond those found in the Function menu (which are somewhat limited). Unfortunately, I don’t see a way that it can announce each digit entered in the frequency input, nor a way to audibly confirm the frequency, either in voice or CW.

As for other ways of entering frequencies outside of the radio—say, via a PC—I know this can be done. I use a program with my Macbook called SDR-Control. It will wirelessly connect to the IC-705 and allows you to directly enter the frequency via your computer keyboard. Using a computer adds an extra level of complexity, though, and I’m not sure if a screen reader would work well with it. You might reach out to the developer in case others have asked.

At the end of the day, I’m not sure the IC-705 would be the best choice in terms of accessibility when you’re blind or visually impaired, since, at its core, its main interface relies on a touch screen and very few physically defined buttons and controls.

Any experience here?

Photo of the IC-705 on a picnic table at an angle. Also in the photo is a logbook and key.I would love to stand corrected, though!

Readers: If you have any advice for Shane, especially if you use the IC-705 and are visually impaired, please comment!

Shane is specifically asking if there is an external keypad out there that could be used with the IC-705. It seems with all of the connectivity of the IC-705, there might be something out there that would work.

I should add: if there are peripherals and techniques used with its 100W sibling, the IC-7300, they may also work with the IC-705 since the user interfaces are so similar.

Let’s see if we can help Shane!

11 thoughts on “Eternal Keypad for the IC-705? Shane is visually-impaired and seeking advice.”

  1. There did used to be control boxes for Icom radios, unfortunately, the Icom readers are no longer being developed for two reasons, the components are getting harder to buy, and the fellow making them is also losing his sight.
    as a White Stick ham myself, I recommend he carries around the smallest laptophe can find, and connects it to the radio and utilises the Win4IcomSuite software, as it is self voicing and privides all but complete control over all functionality of the radio. I use one here with my Icom IC7100 and the software is fantastic! I had to do a tiny bit of jiggery pokery to route the sound through the laptop so I could use a headset rather than a microphone, but I got it to work.
    I hope this helps.
    Shaun VK5ESE

    1. Shaun, it does help, Mate! I’ve been the Win4Yesu suite for quite a while. Ian Spencer produces IC-Talk, and this might be a lighter, better version. It would seem that Tom, the author of these Win4 products, isn’t updating Win4Yaesu / Icom as much as he should, or I have a severe problem with getting it to work with my laptop. Ah, well. Thanks, Mate, and 72!

  2. There are some off-the-shelf mini keyboards with fully programmable keys. These can be used to send CI-V commands. This might work as long as the interface on the IC-705 [USB or CI-V] will accept these strings. I know on the K4 groups.io group there have been many comments on this because the K4 needs a lot of macro commands fed to it…… These keyboards can be from 4 to 40+ keys, giving lots of potential, yet being compact. Just a thought, no guarantees.

  3. This brings up a larger issue – why don’t ham radio manufacturers develop OEM keypads for their radios? Ten-Tec used to do this as a matter of course, and set up all of their ‘last-gen’ HF radios to use their excellent external VFO/keypad. You could control all the important radio functions from the external keypad, and this made operating their radios so much more comfortable.

    1. Yaesu makes the F-H2, and I utilize it with my FT-891. It does not work with my 991A, I assume because of the touchscreen functionality (I do not know if I am 100% correct, here; and I would love to be proven wrong)

  4. The QRP Works SideKar has a feature for the 705 that allows wireless direct frequency and mode from any USB keyboard. You also can trigger stored CW messages from the keyboard and log QSOs. The SideKar is small and light.

    Steve Silverman KB3SII QRP Works co-owner

    1. Oh, my goodness, Steve. How do I get this, and what will it cost me? The little radio will be here early next week, and I want to try this one! It has already been recommended!

  5. I control my 705 with a laptop using Ham Radio Deluxe. I use the numeric pad on my laptop to change frequencies alot. You can make changes to text size and color in the Rig Control part of the program. You can download a 30 day trial version at the HRD website, if you think you want to check it out !!!

  6. The only keypad for the IC705 I know of is one bringing out the 8 memory buttons on the screen. I have made a few, has schematic in the manual, needs some resistors and buttons.

    Also I bought one on ebay for $20. It also had jack for key/paddle. I use with my IC705 and works great. There was another seller wanting over $100 for nice PCB, no case and no provisions for the key or paddle.

    73, ron, n9ee

  7. Thank you all, for your help. I wish these radio manufacturers recognize that there are many blind or low-vission (very significantly different categories) of amateur operator. We need access to these radios! Accessibity is a right, not an afterthought!

  8. You may find IC Talk a useful approach – go to Active Elements on groups.io
    It has been developed specifically to provide accessibility for Icom radios

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