IC-706 Transceiver Review
- Size: 167W x 58H x 200D mm
- Weight: 2.5kg
- Transmitter: 100W 160m to 10m, 100W 6m, 10W 2m
- Receiver: General Coverage up to 200MHz
- Modes: USB/LSB, CW, CW reverse, RTTY (FSK), AM, NBFM
and wide (broadcast) FM.
- Bells + Whistles: CW keyer, "Full QSK" (see later), FSK
- It's small size and weight. The radio is just perfect for DX-peditions. I have also bought a Kenwood PS-40 switched mode
PSU and in combination with the IC-706 results in a 100W HF station which weighs 5kg and easily fits into aircraft hand luggage. I decided against the matching Icom switched mode PSU as it's single voltage only (220 or 110V) whereas the PS-40 is switch selectable and thus more suited to travelling.
- Continuosly variable output power. The tuning knob can be used to adjust the output power to
any level. I use this feature to limit the output power to 5 watts (QRP setting).
- Chance to explore VHF bands especially 6 metres. This is my first 2m/6m rig so it's fun
to work sporadic 'E'. I find that the pre-amp has to be always turned on for VHF operation - or
maybe it's my antennas (indoor 4-el for 2m and indoor dipole for 6m)! I found it easy to work
around Europe with an indoor dipole during the 1996 Sporadic 'E' season. I only use the 2m
section of the radio for logging onto the local DX-Cluster node so I cannot comment on the
sensitivity of the radio for more serious 2m work.
- I love the menu features. Some people may be put off by the LCD menu on the front panel
which needs to be negotiated for most operations (e.g. spilt, narrow filter). However I love
it as it reduces buttons on the front panel.
- Easy split operation. I find it easy to use during spilt CW pileups. An LCD "spilt" legend
is displayed to remind you.
- Inbuilt keyer. As a CW only operator this feature saves another box on the table (although
memories would have been useful). The speed is variable (again using the tuning knob) and displayed in WPM. The weight and sidetone frequency can also be similarily adjusted.
- FSK. I occasionally operate digital modes (RTTY, AMTOR, PACTOR) on HF and appreciate the FSK feature as I have previously used AFSK. There is a 350Hz filter for RTTY available as an
- "Full QSK". I bought the radio without trying out this feature. The full QSK is very noisy
especially a relay which can be heard for each dot element. I stick to using semi-break in because
of this and find it a major drawback of the radio.
- RIT. The RIT control is turned on and off using a small front panel button which I find
difficult to use. I usually leave it switched on because of this.
- Headphone. I find that the headphone socket (3.5mm) on the front panel is fragile (my connectors wobble around in it) and would
have preferred a 6.3mm (0.25 inch) connector.
- Sidetone. The CW sidetone level is increased as the volume control is increased with no
means (not that I've found) of adjusting the sidetone to a fixed level. This means that when I
have the volume turned up listening to a weak CW station I have to turn the AF volume down as
soon as I start transmitting.
- Fan noise. The sound of the fan can be tiresome when the operating room is shared with
other people (e.g. hotel room). The fan is always running even when receiving and when
transmitting the fan doubles in speed! I cannot really hear it with headphones on so it doesn't
- CW Filter. As a CW only operator I bought the optional 500Hz filter (note that only one
optional filter can be fitted to the receiver). I have found that the filtering suffers when
loud signals are present near to the filter edges especially when compared with my
Yaesu FT1000MP. To be fair this is a portable radio so maybe I'm expecting too much.
I owned the radio for two years and have now sold it. I bought the
radio as I wanted a mobile radio as I spending 2.5 hours a day travelling to and from work and fancied trying
mobile CW. Of course a few weeks after buying it I changed job and have not used the radio
mobile. I have now replaced the radio with an FT100.
I have not used the radio on SSB/FM so cannot offer any comments. There are adjustable microphone
gain and compression levels via the menu. The microphone connector required is a RJ-45 although
an adapter is available as an accessory.
The radio has failed once (2 months after purchase) - an internal connector in the head unit
needed to be replaced. The failure meant that after the radio was switched on it would switch
itself off after a few seconds.
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