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Author Topic: Some advice on a radio purchase. " Icom IC-701 10-160M H.F."  (Read 4854 times)
N3QOU
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Posts: 29




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« on: October 25, 2012, 07:11:57 PM »

I have been looking at this radio price:125.00
Icom IC-701 10-160M H.F. W/ Icom 30 A. Matching Power Supply

I am looking for some advice as it will be my first HF rig  I am upgrading my license. Any Input would be very helpful!
73's
N3QOU
Rik
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2012, 08:47:02 PM »

The rig was designed in 1978, 35 years ago.  A lot of things have gotten better since then . . .

I haven't looked at the detailed specs, but I'd bet it doesn't cover the "WARC bands" -- 60m / 30m / 17m (and some others) . . .

On the other hand, a 100-watt power supply is worth the total cost of the rig.

Reviews are here:

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/713

and some have comments on repair issues.

_I_ would spend more money, and get a newer rig -- IC-718, IC-707, IC-706, for example.  But that's a matter of taste, and budget.

.     Charles
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W8NF
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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2012, 09:41:48 PM »

Run away, fast.

I have sold a few IC-701s on ebay.  Unlike anything else I sell on ebay, I do not fix them...they are nearly impossible to fix.

Band-switching is done with a motor driving a very complex switch.  It's mechanically nearly impossible to get to that switch.  The contacts get dirty and bands go intermittent.  You're listening on 40 meters and suddenly you hear nothing.  What do you do?  Switch to 20 meters, then back to 40 meters.  Which creates a LOT of noise.  The motor driving the switch only turns one way.  So: you're on 40 and switch to 20.  CLUNK!!!!  Then when you switch from 20 to 40, "CLUNK!!  CLUNK!! CLUNK!!  CLUNK!! CLUNK!!!" as it goes 15-10-160-80-40 and wakes up anybody in the house.

This was the first HF rig Icom ever made.  When they're working well, they're a joy to use.  They use a "hang AGC" on SSB which makes copy a real pleasure -for ragchews.  Not so great for DXing.  The box is the most stuffed box in a radio I've ever seen...horrible to service, and it will require service.

What I recommend, if you're on a tight budget and want nominally all-mode, is the Kenwood TS-520, any variation ("S", "SE", others).  This radio has 3 tubes in it, which are readily available.  It is much easier to service than the IC-701 and parts are way more available, and it fails much less often.  The Kenwood TS-530 is the same radio with added bands (WARC bands, maybe?).  You have to clean switches on them sometimes, which means pulling off a cover and spraying in some switch cleaner.  The power supply is built-in.  At hamfests, I see these rigs for about $200.  You will have to learn how to tune a pi network, due to the vacuum tube output stage but heck, those of us who started in radio in the 1970s on a budget all did it, and we never found it a nuisance.

Good luck, whatever you decide, but I think a 701 should only be owned by a guy who has lots of test gear and loves to spend entire weekends only to find out the part required is unavailable.

73,

Dave W8NF
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K5LXP
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2012, 07:35:19 AM »

I have been looking at this radio price:125.00
Icom IC-701 10-160M H.F. W/ Icom 30 A. Matching Power Supply

Actually you could buy the set and try it.  For that price you could throw the radio away and keep the power supply.

Otherwise I'm with W8NF, they're just too old to consider a primary station radio.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2012, 08:51:32 AM »

I would not suggest an IC-701 to any new amateur who doesn't have a very good workbench and a lot of test equipment, plus the skills and experience needed to fix it.

It's Icom's "first" offering of the IC-7XX series and was pretty "experimental" in nature.  I owned one, when it was new.  It was less than a year old when it started having problems, which I fixed one by one but it became almost a full-time job, like keeping a pipe lit. Cheesy

The newer models like the IC-751 are quite good and much more reliable.
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AC5UP
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2012, 09:29:05 AM »

For that price you could throw the radio away and keep the power supply.

Just for grins I ran through the reviews here on eHam and one writer claims the IC-701 has internal voltage regulators. The matching power supply is unregulated and capable of 17 volts DC @ no load which is enough to smoke most "12 Volt" accessories... Another reviewer says the radio doesn't work well at 13.8 VDC as the internal regulators are running on slim overhead below 14 volts. Someone with the knack could probably mod the matching power supply to add a regulator and make it universal, but I suspect there are easier ways to achieve the goal.

I'm as much a fan of classic hardware as anyone, but older does not imply better. Some rigs are timeless in their appeal, others are like the early digital Icoms factory programmed entirely in volatile memory so that when the CR-2032 went toes up the radio bricked itself. Or the classic 2 Meter FM rigs resistant to tone board implants.

Good times........ Good times..........  Glad they're gone.   Wink
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N3QOU
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2012, 02:52:47 PM »

Thank you all for your advice ! Yes I was hoping for a find. Grin
Yes I am a tight budget as I am disabled young guy at 49..Anyhow I contacted the
seller and I asked him if he had any service issues with the rig? He was straight forward with
me and told to keep looking for a newer radio,that the Icom 701 was not for me.

I thank you all once again for the help, So my quest continues.
73's
N3QOU
Rik
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2012, 03:23:08 PM »

Thank you all for your advice ! Yes I was hoping for a find. Grin
Yes I am a tight budget as I am disabled young guy at 49..Anyhow I contacted the
seller and I asked him if he had any service issues with the rig? He was straight forward with
me and told to keep looking for a newer radio,that the Icom 701 was not for me.

I thank you all once again for the help, So my quest continues.
73's
N3QOU
Rik

I think you found an honest seller.

For a couple hundred dollars more you can get a more trouble-free rig. Wink
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N3QOU
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« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2013, 03:44:00 PM »

Well,
    I purchased the radio for 50.00 ! with the matching power supply, complete
with the original boxes also. I have to say even though it's over 35 yrs old,I got such
a thrill opening the box.It is in very nice shape plastic still on the handles,all switches work.
And the CLUNK that I was warned about is there also. However no mic.. but going to hook up a simple long wire to see what I can hear. Any thought on what to check or how to do a check on it even with out the mic.

I could not pass on the 50.00 price..What do you guy's think  Roll Eyes
73's
N3QOU
Rick
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KK4CPH
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Posts: 154




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« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2013, 04:42:38 PM »

I could not pass on the 50.00 price..What do you guy's think  Roll Eyes

I find it hard to pass on a $50 rig.  I'm a gambling man.  I figure if it's junk I can sell the power supply and tubes.  Grin
I bought a $50 Swan and brought it back to life and it's staying.  I like it.  As long as your happy with it... if not then you learned a $50 lesson. 
Good luck and enjoy.

Eric
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W9GB
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« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2013, 05:20:39 PM »

Quote
Yes I am a tight budget as I am disabled young guy at 49.
Anyhow I contacted the seller and I asked him if he had any service issues with the rig? He was straight forward with shortcomings, etc.

BAD PURCHASE for a person in your financial situation.  EVER understand what a MONEY PIT is?
You would have been better off SAVING your $$ for a quality purchase, and meanwhile go to Goodwill or Salvation Army for a SW Receiver to listen on the ham bands at this point.
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N3QOU
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Posts: 29




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« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2013, 08:25:47 PM »

Quote
Yes I am a tight budget as I am disabled young guy at 49.
Anyhow I contacted the seller and I asked him if he had any service issues with the rig? He was straight forward with shortcomings, etc.

BAD PURCHASE for a person in your financial situation.  EVER understand what a MONEY PIT is?
You would have been better off SAVING your $$ for a quality purchase, and meanwhile go to Goodwill or Salvation Army for a SW Receiver to listen on the ham bands at this point.

Wow you sure do know how to pull the fun out of it ! 50.00 purchase price is not bad since I already have a offer on the PS for 50.00. I can resell the 701 and make some more cash back.I am Having more fun listening than I have had in long time after 3 major heart surgeries,One just last month.You are entitled to your opinion, but I don't appreciate you telling me to head to the goodwill  (charity) was an insult to me.I will choose more carefully what I ask.

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TANAKASAN
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« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2013, 03:43:08 AM »

Did the rig come with the manual?

http://www.rigpix.com/icom/ic701_manual.pdf

Tanakasan
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K0OD
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« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2013, 06:17:02 AM »

Quote
but I don't appreciate you telling me to head to the goodwill  (charity) was an insult to me.I will choose more carefully what I ask.

Well I'm healthy, pretty darn wealthy, a lawyer by education and president of my own company for 40 years. I've gone into Goodwill stores to see what they had in the way of electronics. Parked my Infiniti next to an even nicer car.  Goodwill is red hot now!

But I did wonder what I'd say if I bumped into someone from high school.
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VE3FMC
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« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2013, 06:46:06 AM »

Quote
but I don't appreciate you telling me to head to the goodwill  (charity) was an insult to me.I will choose more carefully what I ask.

Well I'm healthy, pretty darn wealthy, a lawyer by education and president of my own company for 40 years. I've gone into Goodwill stores to see what they had in the way of electronics. Parked my Infiniti next to an even nicer car.  Goodwill is red hot now!

But I did wonder what I'd say if I bumped into someone from high school.

The Goodwill store down the road from me is always busy. My wife and I dropped off a lot of stuff there the other day. The drop off room was full , so maybe it will be worth going in and looking around in the electronics area. I went in once but did not find any decent electronics.

As for the OP who bought the Icom 701/PS for $50. Hey you are not out anything, as you said you have an offer for $50 for the PS. Money back right there. Meanwhile you can listen around on the HF bands to see what you like or dislike about the hobby.

I say good for you and have fun. Not everyone has unlimited funds to toss at ham radio equipment. And there is no shame in that.

Rick VE3FMC
« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 06:56:42 AM by VE3FMC » Logged
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