Tag Archives: IC-705

Jim’s Icom IC-705 travel kit housed in a Nanuk 915 rugged waterproof case

Recently, I was in in touch with Jim (WA7VFQ) who was trying to decide which radio to take on a vacation to the North Carolina coast. He replied with details about the field kit he put together for the trip which will require air travel. Jim writes:

Last year in one of your QRPer posts you mentioned your search for a case for one of you radios. I commented that I had a Nanuk case that I liked and promised pictures.

Well, we are finally there!

It wasn’t until yesterday that I decided to take my Icom IC-705 over my Elecraft KX3 [on vacation]. I had new foam for the case and last night I did my “foam plucking” and I’m pleased with the outcome. I had a couple of Icom decals and since it wasn’t the Elecraft, one of them wound up on the exterior. Some guy on the internet was touting the Tom Bihn Travel Trays; we have 4 on them, 3 large and one small. All are headed to NC with us. One of them will carry my extra radio gear.

The Nanuk 915 (above) houses the Icom IC-705 (with cage), a RigExpert 230 Stick analyzer, Bioenno 4.5 Ah battery and Mat 705 Plus ATU. Continue reading Jim’s Icom IC-705 travel kit housed in a Nanuk 915 rugged waterproof case

Bob’s new stainless key and stealthy speaker wire that snags serious QRP DX !

Many thanks to Bob (WD4EWZ) who writes:

Thomas,

Let there be no doubt that your speaker wire antenna is awesome! I have been licensed for 46 years but was inactive during much of that time. I finally pulled the trigger, largely on your reviews, on a new Icom IC-705, AH-705 and PowerWerx PS.

I live in a very HOA restricted area so antennas were my bane. I built your speaker wire antenna not expecting much, and for the first few days I got nada. The bands were terrible and the antenna was looped around my lanai.

On Friday I had an inspiration. I made a throw line, moved an unused bird feeder anchor post and got the antenna about 40 feet up into a tree. The wire is invisible from the street, and we have more latitude in the backyard. My wife likes it so much she wants me to just leave it there, and make another for POTA/SOTA.

Does it work? Oh my goodness… Last night I nailed 9K2BM in Kuwait on 20m SSB, and this morning the JAs were melting the face off my IC-705.

This antenna is a wonder. As is the 705, after a week of learning how to optimize the settings.

Joe, at HRO in Winter Springs warned me that the 705 had a learning curve, and I foolishly said ‘yeah, sure.’ I do this (computer science/IT/data science) for a living. Don’t worry about me.’ Wrong! A huge learning curve, but I’m getting there.

Also, my new paddles recently arrived. I love this little stainless paddle — the magnets are strong enough to hoist a car, and the price is amazing… $69 on Amazon [affiliate link]!

I am using a 4″ square steel forging plate I had from my days of making metal jewelry. (Too many hobbies). It works a treat.

Thanks so much for your writings and 73.

Bob (WD4EWZ)

Thank you for sharing this, Bob! Loads of readers have asked me about those stainless paddles, so it’s great to get a report on them. 

I also love how you’ve implemented the speaker wire antenna in such a stealthy way! And the DX you’ve snagged? Simply amazing.

Thanks again for sharing!

Scott’s Icom IC-705 “Shock Box”

Many thanks to Scott (KA9P) who writes:

Enclosed are a few detailed pictures of the system I’m using to protect my Icom IC-705 in the wild.

I wanted a system that would protect the radio from shock and vibration when I dropped it in use, or tripped over a cable, as well as when in transit.

Some research lead me to Sorbothane, a commercial vibration damping material available in small lots on eBay, and to a Sorbothane applications engineer. The engineer recommended that a good way to protect electronics is to use a “box-in-a-box” concept where the equipment resides in an inner box with vibration dampers between the inner box an outer box.

Sorbothane’s on-line calculators suggested that for the IC-705’s weight, some relatively small pads on each wall would be adequate.

So I started with the bottom 4.5 inches of a Harbor Freight ammo box, and added four 1/4 inch thick, 1 inch by 1 inch Sorbothane pads to the bottom and two long sides.

Then I added an aluminum plate to the inside side surfaces of the pads, and lined the plates with neoprene (see the drawing above). The neoprene adds a bit of additional padding, but primarily lets the 705 slide into “the inner box” while putting a little bit of pressure on the pads. The manufacturer recommends a slight loading pressure on the pads for proper damping.

The radio is fastened into the box with an adjustable depth 1/4-20 threaded locking knob, positioned to put a little force on the back wall vibration pads when tightened down.

The cover is made of aluminum angle stock and Lexan, and provides good protection for the front of the radio when not in use.

This “shock box” solves a lot of problems for me.

1) I can leave the cage on when operating, using dongles out the front for things I want to change like the antenna, mic, battery power, headphones or paddles. Leaving the radio in the box avoids field handling errors, to which I am prone.

2) If the internal battery needs to be changed in the field the radio comes out quickly by removing the single 1/4-20 knob and screw. But the battery can be charged in the case with a USB or power plug dongle, again avoiding handling.

3) The depth of the box protects the entire periphery of the radio front, much like the handles do for the sides of a cage, and the radio remains enclosed/covered on all sides except the front. I’ve used it in snow and rain without issues when the wind isn’t bad.

4) Impact protection is really high other than for a direct frontal panel hit within the box. The plastic box takes the first hit, deforming a bit and transferring the rest of the energy to the vibration damped inner box. Not worried about dropping the radio anymore.

5) The use of Sorbothane’s “box-in-a box” with vibration pads concept leaves a channel surrounding the radio to promote air flow and heat dissipation. For me this is much better than using the radio in a box cushioned with foam, which blocks air flow and can trap moisture.

6) The box provides a handle, which the 705 really does need in the field.

7) The footprint of the Harbor Freight box is just about a hand and glove fit in the bottom of most serious packs, making it easy to carry when backpacking.

On the downside, it’s a bit ugly, but it’s cheap, maybe $40 US to build. Other than wanting a gasket to provide better weather and dust proofing when closed, I’m happy with it.

-Scott (KA9P)

A bit ugly? Scott, I think it looks great!

I feel like shock absorption is one of the things lacking in many of the IC-705 cage solutions out there. I always feel like when a metal/aluminum frame is paired with a hard plastic chassis, in a field drop the plastic will be the weak point. 

This adds to the bulk of the IC-705 (in terms of overall size) but likely doesn’t add a lot of extra weight. In your manpack/chest pack situation, this is a great bit of engineered insurance for your $1300+ rig!

Thank you for sharing!

Brooks’ first Parks On The Air (POTA) activation

A few weeks ago, I received an email from Brooks (KO4QCC), a newly-minted  ham radio operator who asked to tag along on one of my POTA field activations. 

Brooks, it turns out, lives within spitting distance of a number of parks I regularly activate here in western North Carolina. He mentioned he was interested in observing an activation to learn a bit about deploying a field radio kit and, of course, to learn what it’s like to be on the air.

Brooks was also plotting the purchase of his first field radio kit and was very interested in the Icom IC-705 and MFJ-1988LP End-Fed Half-Wave (EFHW) antenna. 

Of course, I welcomed him to join me but since we both have busy family lives–and my schedule especially took some twists and turns in March–it took a few weeks before our schedules aligned.

I asked Brooks if he would consider actually doing the activation himself instead of simply observing or tag-teaming it.  I’m a big believer in hands-on radio time.

Brooks loved the idea!

On Sunday, March 27, 2022, a window of opportunity opened in our schedules and we agreed to meet at Tuttle Educational State Forest (K-4861). I packed my:

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not really a “YouTuber” so I’m not actually inclined to capture every moment on video, but it struck me that others may appreciate experiencing (vicariously) what it’s like to do a park activation for the first time.

Prior to meeting, I asked Brooks if it would be okay if I made a video of his activation adding that there was absolutely no pressure to do so–just a thought. I’ll be the first to admit that if I were in his shoes, I’m not sure if I’d want a camera capturing my first activation jitters for all to see. 

Brooks loved the idea–as he, too, saw value in this sort of video–so I brought my camera along for the ride.

In the same spirit, I asked Brooks if he would write up the field report and he wholeheartedly agreed, so I’ll turn it over to him now: Continue reading Brooks’ first Parks On The Air (POTA) activation

Scott’s Icom IC-705 manpack built on a Condor MCR3 chest plate

Many thanks to Scott (KA9P) who writes:

Here’s a MOLLE-related [piece of field kit] you may not have seen yet.

My summer 2022 QRP /PM rig is built around a Condor chest plate – not really a pack although there is a plate carrier compartment that thinner things store in easily enough. And I often have a small accessory pouch in the chest plate.

The key ingredient is the IC-705 adapter plate, made from scrap 0.06 inch thick aluminum scrap.

The four tines that fit the chest plate MOLLE webbing are spaced per the MOOLE/PALS standard of every 1 1/2 inches, but the tines themselves are 3/4 inch wide rather than 1 inch to make them easier to insert in the chest plate.

 

The plate is attached to the 705 with M4 by 10 socket head screws. I first used a single quick disconnect 1/4-20 photographer’s knob, and it worked, but eventually would loosen enough that the radio would start to swivel.

The orange strap that retains the adapter plate at the top of the chest plate is riveted to the adapter plate with plastic POM rivets. The chest plate is a Condor MCR3, about 26 bucks on eBay.

The radio goes in and out of the chest plate in less than a minute, and the adapter plate can be removed in a minute or two. The radio is very stable and easy to operate.

As a bonus, the loops also hold a Buddistick mast section, then a Versatee with a Buddistick.

With the antenna in front, I can change bands and adjust the whip and coil while standing. The antenna also goes in and out of the chest plate quickly.

I’m finding it’s great fun to listen and operate on the way to and from my operating destination. Definitely the easiest /PM set I’ve had. Every control and jack, and the battery, is easily accessed with the radio attached to the plate.

It’s like the 705 was intended to be used this way!

72, keep up the great work.

Scott ka9p

Absolutely fantastic pedestrian mobile setup, Scott! I love how the custom IC-705 mounting plate makes such a stable surface for the IC-705 to be suspended as you operate. As you say, you also have very easy access to all of the station components.  Brilliant!

Thank you for sharing your design notes and photos!

QRPer Notes: QSO Today Expo This Weekend, IC-705 Current Drain Explored, and DX Commander Channel Removed from YouTube

Because I receive so many tips from readers here on QRPer, I wanted way to share them in a concise newsletter format.  To that end, welcome to QRPer Notes, a collection of links to interesting stories and tips making waves in the world of radio!


QSO Today Ham Radio Expo, March 12-13, 2020

Many thanks to Vince (VE6LK) who reminds us:

QSO Today Ham Expo is THIS WEEKEND starting on Friday evening MT and early bird tickets are only $10 until the event opens Friday evening. Drop by through the weekend and find me in the Ham Radio Workbench Lounge in between presentations of course. Your entry fee gets you 30 days of video replay for those presentations you can’t see live.

Click here to visit the Ham Radio Expo and register!


KU3X Explores IC-705 Current Drain and Battery Packs

Many thanks to Barry (K3UX) who writes:

Thanks partially to your feedback, I purchase the IC-705 and I am one happy camper.

Icom states the current drain on receive for this radio is between 500 and 800 ma. So I tested the radio.

At 13.8 volts of supply voltage, the radio draws 200 ma on receive. What? At 12 volts the radio draws 225 ma on receive and at 11 volts, like off of a 3 cell LiPo battery the radio draws 250 ma.

When I made these tests, I removed the Icom clip on battery. Now going down to 8.4 volts, the radio draws 335 ma on receive.

So here’s the fly in the ointment: At 8.4 volts from the external supply, the radio would not transmit. It would not transmit at any voltage under 10 volts.

Conclusion….. there has to be a boost circuit built into the radio that goes between the battery and the radio. So to boost the battery voltage you will draw more current.

I posted my findings on my web page.

Thank you for sharing this, Barry! Funny enough, I’ve never thought to check current without the battery attached, but that makes sense. This would give us data knowing the radio isn’t using more current to recharge the battery pack at the same time. 

Typically, the lower the voltage, the higher the current drain and vice-versa. Also, I believe you’re correct in that there would be some extra consumption with the voltage booster in play. 

Thanks for sharing this!


DX Commander channel (temporarily?) removed from YouTube

A number of friends and readers have reached out to note that the DX Commander YouTube channel hosted by Callum (M0MCX) has been completely removed from YouTube. 

Callum’s channel is incredibly popular and this removal has everyone scratching their heads, so it’s no surprise there’s wild speculation floating around out there. Don’t fall into that rabbit hole.

I fully suspect that this is simply an error on Google/YouTube’s part and that his original channel will eventually be reinstated. 

In the meantime, Callum has started a second/backup channel where he’s posting content. Click here to check it out.

When his original channel is reinstated, you’ll find it here.

QRPer Notes: Price increases from Icom and a few TX-500s in stock at HRO


Icom America 2022 Price Increases

Many thanks to Dave (N9EWO) who notes that Ray Novak with Icom America recently announced price increases we’ve already started seeing in 2022. Dave shares the following video from DX Engineering queued up to the point where Ray makes the announcement:

 

The price of the Icom IC-705 seems to have already increased to $1,369.95 at DX Engineering, and to $1,399.95 at GigaParts.

If you’ve been considering the IC-705, you may still be able to order it for the 2021 price from a couple of Icom authorized distributors.

We’ve noted that both  R and L Electronics and Ham Radio Outlet are still advertising the IC-705 at the 2021 price of $1,299.95.

Of course, this price increase likely applies to the entire Icom range, not just the IC-705 and probably applies internationally since all Icom products are produced at the same facilities. It appears the increase is roughly 5 to 6 %.

A few Discovery TX-500s in stock

Speaking of Ham Radio Outlet, I received a message from Owen (KB2QQM) with HRO who notes:

If you know anyone that wants a TX-500 we have 4 ready to ship.

They $949+ tax. Free shipping in 48 states.

Click here to check it out.

Just a heads up.
I’m enjoying your videos of POTA and the website.

73

Thank you for the heads-up, Owen. As I post the link this morning, I see that HRO may already have sold these units (that was fast!). If interested in one of these units, you may wish to call HRO and confirm if you’re interested.

POTA this morning!

As a side note, Hazel and I are hitting the trail in a few minutes and plan to activate both Pisgah Forest (K-4510) and Pisgah Game Lands (K-6937) as a two-fer.

We’ll be taking the new Xiegu X6100.

It may be too late by the time you read this (it’s 12:30 UTC, January 6, 2022 now), but readers have asked me to announce when I might be doing part of an activation in SSB and since I was making a QRPer Notes post, I thought I’d add this.

I plan to include some SSB time this morning, if I can get spotted. The area where I plan to set up has no Internet coverage whatsoever–it’s in a very deep valley–but I hope to send a text via my Garmin In-Reach Mini to have friends spot me.

Listen for me in/around 7188 kHz (+/- 5 kHz depending on available frequencies) around 14:15 UTC (+/- 30 minutes). I’ll start the activation on 40 meters CW.

You might check spots on the POTA.app website.

Thank you and have a brilliant day!

73, Thomas (K4SWL)

QRPer Notes: sBITX Prototype, Updated Icom Control Software, and Jim Stafford (W4QO) SK

Because I receive so many tips from readers here on QRPer, I wanted way to share them in a concise newsletter format.  To that end, welcome to QRPer Notes, a collection of links to interesting stories and tips making waves in the world of radio!


sBitx Prototype

Many thanks to Pete (WB9FLW) who sends a link to this article on It’s Ham Radio:

Ashhar Farhan VU2ESE demonstrated Hfsignals upcoming SDR transceiver – sBitx today at Lamakaan Amateur Radio Meet.

VU2ESE was working on this SDR Prototype for some time now. sBitx is the latest iteration of the popular homebrewer transceiver Bitx series started a couple of years by Farhan.

Keynotes

    1. Raspberry Pi instead of Arduino – No more Arduino Code, sBitx code is written from the scratch for Raspberry Pi.
    2. Power Output: 40 Watt ~ 20 Meters, 15 Meters ~ 25 Watts, 10 Meters ~ 10 Watts
    3. Ditched IRF 510 for IRF Z24N for Finals
    4. $250 for global buyers. Indian buyers would have to wait for now.
    5. Display: 7″ Raspberry Pi Stock Display
    6. Easy Digital Modes – FT8, RTTY, Free DV etc. No extra wiring is required.
    7. Simple Integration with existing Linux Desktop or Remote Login via SSH or VNC

Here’s the Github for sBitx: https://github.com/afarhan/sbitx

Click here to continue reading full article.

 

New control software for IC-705 and IC-R8600

Many thanks to Markku (VA3MK) who writes:

Icom has released new Control software for IC-705 and IC-R8600 and it is available on their Icom Japan website now.

Jim Stafford, W4QO SK

Photo of Jim (W4QO) from his QRZ page.

This week, we learned that Jim (W4QO)–a noted fellow in our QRP world–passed away.

Jeff Davis (KE9V) wrote a wonderful tribute on his blog. Jeff writes:

Jim Stafford, W4QO became a Silent Key yesterday. That news wasn’t unexpected, I had been closely following the North Georgia QRP mailing list these last few weeks dreading the announcement that arrived yesterday morning.

I had known Jim for more than 20 years. We first met in the late 90’s during a Four Days in May event back when the conference took place at the old hotel south of Dayton. I think we hit it off because we both were native Hoosiers, but his infectious enthusiasm for the hobby made everyone want to be around him.

He became my guide into the world of low-power radio and over the following years we regularly renewed our friendship on the air, via email, and in person almost every year during FDIM at Dayton. [Continue reading on Jeff’s blog…]

Field Report: Beautiful weather and three parks on the Outer Banks of North Carolina

Last week, my family hopped in the car and took an eight hour drive to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

We’ve had such a busy 2021 that we decided to take a full week prior to Christmas and fit in some proper vacation and family time.

We love going to the coast off-season to avoid big crowds. Turns out, we chose well, too: it’s as is we have the whole of the Outer Banks to ourselves. Other than a couple days with some “invigorating” weather (which we actually enjoy) it’s been absolutely spectacular.

The view from our cottage

While radio plays an important role in any travels, my family time always takes priority. The good thing about activating parks is that radio and family time often go very well together!

On Friday, December 17, 2021, my daughter Geneva (K4TLI) and I decided to spend the day together while my wife and other daughter worked on an art project at our rental cottage. We had a few loose plans, but mainly wanted to fit in a nice beach walk, possibly discover some new scenic spots, and enjoy a take-out lunch together.

She very much liked the idea of fitting in a bit of POTA, so we hit the field with two sites in mind.

The plan

My Subaru is still in the body shop getting repaired after a bear decided to open the doors and make himself at home, so we have a Toyota Camry rental car on this trip. It’s been a great vehicle for sure, but its trunk space is limited and we packed quite a lot of food knowing local restaurants would be closed this time of year.

We all limited our luggage and I limited the amount of radios and gear I took. I could write an entire article about my holiday radio and antenna selection process (seriously, I put too much thought into it) but in a nutshell I limited myself to two radios and two antennas.

Here’s what I chose for this trip: Continue reading Field Report: Beautiful weather and three parks on the Outer Banks of North Carolina

40M Activation: Pairing the Icom IC-705 and CHA LEFS at Tuttle Educational State Forest

I’ve gotten a few messages from readers lately asking, “Why no love for the Icom IC-705?

Looking back, I realize that I haven’t had the ‘705 in the field for quite some time (at least, in a video and field report).

Truth is, the ‘705 has been doing duty as a shortwave listening receiver in shack and just hasn’t hopped into my field pack recently. Since it’s important for the health of all field radios to soak in the outdoors on a regular basis, I packed it in my bag and took it to one of my favorite parks.

Tuttle Educational State Forest (K-4861)

The weather was beautiful on Thursday, October 21, 2021.

When I arrived at Tuttle, the first thing I did was hike their 2 mile loop to get the blood pumping.


This also gave me time to decide on the antenna to deploy: my Chameleon CHA LEFS.

The CHA LEFS sloper

The CHA LEFS has served me quite well in the past, especially on days with mediocre propagation.

During my hike I decided to do the entire activation on 40 meters only, just to get a better idea how the CHA LEFS’ propagation footprint might look with a larger sample size.

Gear:

On the Air

This was also the first time I’d used my N0SA paddles with the IC-705. Isn’t it cute?

Setup was quite easy.

I deployed the CHA LEFS with the feed point at about 35-40′ into a large tree.

The radiator sloped down to a point in the middle of a field and the end was elevated perhaps 4′ off the ground. I secured the end of the antenna to a length of paracord, the end of which was attached to a heavy stick on the ground, stretching the radiator.

The CHA LEFS is resonant on 40 meters, so no external ATU was necessary.

I hopped on the air, started calling CQ POTA in CW and within 10 minutes was rewarded with 10 contacts. It doesn’t get much better than this for a good start!

I continued calling CQ and, in the end, worked a total of 22 contacts in 30 minutes–almost all in CW. Check out the video below to see how it all played out.

Many thanks to KC5F and N9UNX for the Park-To-Park contacts!

Video

Here’s my real-time, real-life video of the entire activation (less antenna set up and take-down):

Click here to view on YouTube.

QSO Map

The QSO Map shows an interesting pattern: a ring with a few close regional stations (almost NVIS), and an outer ring of 40 meter skywave:

Thank you!

I believe one of the attractions of activating parks and summits is the fact that we really have no idea in advance how it might all play out. It’s a bit like going fishing.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions from readers lately about what propagation tools I use. In truth, my main propagation forecasting tool is my buddy Mike (K8RAT). Before I head out–or if he knows I’m hitting the field–he’ll usually text me current conditions and they’re quite accurate.

At the end of the day, though, propagation forecasts never stop me from doing an activation when I want to play radio. I just go out there and see what happens. As I’m sure my childhood fishing buddy–my Great Uncle Luther–would have said, “Any day fishing is better than a good day at work!” (Of course, a real quote from Uncle Luther would have included more “colorful metaphors.”)

A special thanks to those of you who are 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.

73,

Thomas (K4SWL)