Also on the list were features that neither of those two radios had - the chief item being some degree of weatherproofing. Any amount would be a vast improvement over both the KX2 and the mcHF.
Evidently, Icom was also keeping a list.
I am told by two attendees of the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo that Elecraft mentioned that there are no current plans underway for a KX4. That now makes complete sense - with the IC-705, there is no need. It would be a hard sell indeed.
Having the IC-705 for 6 weeks now, I'm now trying to imagine what features a KX4 could contain that would make it a valid competitor to the IC-705. That list contains only two items: solid-state QSK and built-in ATU.
In those six weeks:
- I've made a number of park activations on both phone and CW, QRP and QRO (with Hardrock-50)
- Used built-in GPS to check my gridsquare during those activations
- Charged the battery (with USB cable/car jack) as I drove home from parks
- Switched from CW to FT8 and back again, effortlessly and with very few steps/cabling involved
- Worked several DX stations operating split on CW
- Operated a CW contest (ARRL DX)
- Made my first 6m contact with Q65A (no drift, no overheating issues)
- Recorded QSO's to radio's SD card
- Listened to (and enjoyed!) Radio Northern Europe International on 5850 kHz
- Made MDS measurement of HF ham and SWL bands, finding no sacrifice in receiver sensitivity outside the ham bands
- Made test QSO's on 2m and 440 MHz via area repeaters
For one rig - and a small one at that - to be able to offer such a variety of features in a KX3-size package is nothing short of amazing. But the fact that it does all these things superbly is what makes the IC-705 truly remarkable and, I think, untouchable in the foreseeable future.
My initial hesitation in buying the rig was due to the lack of an ATU, primarily for use during outdoor operation in parks. Although I use a 3-band resonant antenna, I don't trust the "This antenna is resonant" part of the ads to be true in every type of installation one might encounter: low to the ground, nearby metal roofs/awnings, etc encountered at parks. An ATU has always been my insurance policy that the antenna will work regardless of installation.
Also, I often used my 20/30/40m antenna on 15 and 17 meters with rigs that had a built-in ATU.
My solution with the IC-705 is a ZM-2. I take it but seldom use it since both 15 and 17 meters have been poor, in terms of propagation or activity level. But it works and even tunes antenna types that may not be match-able with an inbuilt tuner's more limited range.
The relay keying? I can hear it if I listen for it but to do so, I have to put my ear close to the radio with the paddles at arm's length. Otherwise, I hear the paddles rather than the rig's relays. They're that quiet and the radio is that well-sealed (sound isolated).
So the things I was most concerned about that might cause me to not like the rig are, in reality, non-issues.
As a result, I now have a power-efficient QRP portable, all-mode, 160m to 440 MHz radio that, when home, becomes a QRO main rig, thanks to the Hardrock-50 or the KPA-500 (or both!). Furthermore, the radio has a big touch screen that presents a wealth of useful info (in a customizable way) and serves as a way to intuitively access other functions.
Who would have thought that Icom would make an Elecraft-like rig? In many ways, that is exactly what they've done. The IC-705 is the most Elecraft-ish rig on the market...and it's actually available.
And no extra charge for a microphone and battery!