Friday, February 19, 2021

Contest preps: The IC-705 meets the KPA-500

After a week of ice, power outages and unprecedented (for STX) 9F/-13C temperatures the new IC-705 is set up for this weekend's ARRL DX (CW) Contest.

Not nearly as popular as CQWW, this will be my chance to get familiar with the new rig without being overwhelmed by the hurricane of CQWW activity.

The rig arrived a few days ago and I've spent that time oscillating between it, the manual and the for the radio. My first contact was, appropriately, CW and QRP with W1FMR who was operating from a warm, sunny Florida park with a KX2 and a wire thrown into a tree.

After that, a bit of FT8 and some SWL on the 31m and 49m bands, then some 2m repeater-listening. That last part's always fun for 1 or 2 minutes, but I wanted to let the radio roam across the spectrum, so up to 2m FM we went.

So far, I'm quite happy with it. It is as easy to go from CW to FT8, and back again, with no fuss whatsoever. Initial configuration was easy as well, including updating the rig to the latest firmware.

It is absolutely loaded with features and there is much to learn. It's tough not to be impressed with all the performance crammed into such a tiny package ("Paging Michael Scott...").

Mating the rig to the KPA-500 was a cinch. The IC-705 has a 'Key Out' line, though it's not called that (it's called a 'Send' signal) and I've dialed in a 10mS delay to prevent any possibility of hot switching. Depending on band, the KPA-500 outputs from 160-190 watts when driven by 10 watts from the IC-705.

Numerous stations are on 20m CW at the moment testing their set-ups pre-contest. A few of them into the log and then a CQ from blogger K4SWL, who's activating a park with his IC-705. With Thomas now (finally!) in the log, I deem the IC-705 ready for the ether.




  1. It was fantastic *finally* working you on the air, John! I almost fell off the park bench when I heard your call.

    The IC-705 sounded brilliant, too--indeed, it was fun knowing it was a 705-2-705 contact! (They really should award extra POTA points for that!).

    GL in the contest and have fun, OM!


    1. Hi Thomas, for your past 4 or 5 activations, I've found out about them after the fact. I finally bookmarked the KFF and POTA sites where spots are posted so I can check more frequently...and there you were. I knew I'd catch you one of these days.

      Almost 24 hours into the contest now and I'm loving this radio. Learning more about it (at least from a CW perspective) as I go and gaining more and more appreciation of the features contained in the little brick! Full report Monday, then I'll be taking it on a park activation myself.

      73 - John

    2. Excellent, John! I'm curious what you think of its filtering and ability to block adjacent signals in a contest setting. Now that we've made that first POTA contact, I think it's time for the stars to align for a P2P! :) It could happen! 73 OM and I'm looking forward to your report. Cheers, Thomas K4SWL