Saturday, February 13, 2021

New rig arrives; redundancies to be "let go"

As a cartoon sailor once said, "I've had all I can stands and I can't stands no more".

Blog posts, YouTube videos, overwhelmingly positive reviews - and the desire to consolidate redundant functionalities - have all contributed to the upcoming sale of my mcHF and Apache Labs Anan-10E.

I've explained to them, as gently as possible, that they'll need to find employment elsewhere.

[If anyone's interested in either of these, let me know; otherwise, I'll be writing up descriptions and taking photos to post on a 'For Sale' forum after my NewRig familiarization is satisfactory.] 

An Icom IC-705 has taken up residence here and I plan to make it earn its keep.

As I learned more about this radio it became apparent that an IC-705 can, in one package, do everything my current QRP rigs do - and more. It does so much in fact, that it's become impossible to not have one.

What I like about both of my QRP radios is the ability to easily go from CW to digital modes with only a single USB cable. The IC-705 does that.

They are both 10-watt radios, as is the IC-705.

The pan display on these rigs has spoiled me - I won't have a rig without this capability and it's clear that a KX4 won't be forthcoming in any unit of time that is comprehensible by carbon-based life-forms like us.

All of the features I like most about my current QRP rigs are more than covered by the IC-705. And compared to those rigs, I'm gaining:

  • VHF/UHF
  • Built-in GPS for data-mode timing
  • More rugged, solid construction
  • WX-band receive
  • Excellent support
  • Recording via SD card

Some readers may remember that I had an IC-7300 about this time last year. I kept it for a month, then sold it. So why an IC-705?

The idiosyncrasies of the IC-7300 were such that I didn't like it for a main rig; but those are easily overlooked - heck, they don't even register on the radar - in the way I intend to use the '705.

Having said that, the IC-705 may even come to do Main Rig duty here as there are many occasions that I don't want to take the time to boot up the Flex just to check the bands. It'll be nice to have a radio that turns on with a simple flip of the switch.

And, with the Hardrock-50, the IC-705 will be a 50-70 watt rig when I want/need it to. And with the KPA-500, it's a 170 watt rig.

So there ya have it: Financial justification in a few coffee-fueled paragraphs, early on a frosty morn.

Two weeks to flatten the (learning) curve and the others will then be for sale.

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13 comments:

  1. Good afternoon John and congrats on the new purchase, I am sure you're going to get great use of it and looking forward to many posts with it.
    73,
    Mike
    VE9KK

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    1. Thank you, Mike. I'm most looking forward to more frequent outdoor ops with it.
      73 - John

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  2. Something in the text you wrote gives me the feeling you'll not keeping this rig for long. However, when you play with it I would like to know if it is very difficult to connect a tablet to the rig with WLAN to do digital modes like FT8. Instead of the USB cable... 73, Bas

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    1. I don't know, Bas - I think it will be a keeper. I think a few owner on YouTube are already to the point you mention, using WLAN networks with the rig but I haven't watched them myself yet so I don't know the degree of difficulty they may have had.

      73 - John

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    2. Here's an interesting thread related to this topic:

      https://tinyurl.com/5akyoeup

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  3. I think you'll enjoy the IC-705, John. I fully intended to sell mine after review and now I know there's no way I could part with it. I'd *almost* keep it as a portable broadcast receiver alone--it's that good. I did a park activation with it yesterday: 5 watts (just using the attached battery pack), a CHA MPAS 2.0 vertical, crap propagation, yet from western NC I snagged stations from Colorado to Italy. It'll really earn its keep when I manage to piece together my QRP EME station--it has the stability in theory! Enjoy the '705! Cheers & 73, Thomas K4SWL

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    1. Hey Thomas, I'll be eagerly awaiting your write-up of the first-ever IC-705-EME report! Seriously, as you mention, it can do other duties if the main reason for having it ever grows old. One of the things I want to do (next week, hopefully) is take it to work and measure the receive performance on the SWBC bands as compared to that on the ham bands. Many/most ham rigs have reduced performance outside the ham bands but I've read several reports, including yours, that that may not be the case with the 705.

      We are all iced-in in much of TX until Wednesday pm and I'm using the time trying to figure out how to rearrange the set-up here to more easily accommodate the rig.

      73 - John

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  4. I thought the GPS feature that will let you set time on your logging computer a really interesting feature. It turns out that when running my KX2/laptop combo when camping, I discovered the campground WiFi was blocking the NTP protocol and I was not getting FT8 contacts, because my laptop clock had drifted too far off. It normally stays right on the dot, using Dimension4 software. I ended up using my smartphone as a Wifi hotspot, which solved the problem, but it would have been nicer to not have to do that.

    The major turn-off for me, though, is the lack of an ATU in the IC-705. I really like and use the wide-range ATU in the KX2, and I think you'll find that having one is very useful in field ops. It's pretty rare to have a resonant antenna on all bands of interest in a temporary setup.

    EFHW, slopers, vertical wires, etc. seem to be the order of the day.

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    1. Hi Dave,

      I agree with you the lack of an internal ATU was my initial reason for not even considering the rig when it was announced. I like to *know* not just think, that the antenna I'm using is presenting a low SWR to the rig. And a resonant dipole at home or coiled up in the garage is not necessarily resonant in an impromptu installation in the field - there are variables that may change its Z in the field. An ATU solves that. But the 705 has the ability to display SWR so at least I can verify that the antenna is resonant, if not I can adjust it and measure again. In reality, I'll be bringing my manual tuner (ZM-2) which will allow operation on more bands.

      The pluses of the rig far outweighed all this though, IMO.

      73 - John

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  5. I have absolutely no use for this rig and nothing can justify me buying one - but I must admit I somehow am attracted to it. If this thing would put out 50W or more on VHF/UHF, I'd probably tell myself that there are contests above 30 MHz too...
    I'm looking forward to read what you have to say about it.
    73 and take care!

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    1. I know what you mean Franki and I've got a theory:
      I think that, despite our culture, language or beer preference, we all have an attraction to multi-multi-purpose gadgets. Doesn't matter if it's a Swiss Army knife, a watch that tells me the temperature and my elevation or...a radio. If it does a lot of things well, we appreciate it and are intrigued.

      When the '705 was first announced, my opinion was exactly the same as yours - but I was still looking at it out of the corner of my eye. After seeing how others were using their 705's I fell to the siren call.

      Let us know when yours arrives... ;-)

      73 - John

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  6. How will you connect to the KPA 500

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    1. Page 13-2 of the basic manual describes how to connect to an external amp.

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