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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF+UHF models) | Icom IC 703 Help

Reviews Summary for Icom IC 703
Icom IC 703 Reviews: 184 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $400.00
Description: QRP HF and 6 Meter all mode radio. Comes standard with Antenna Tuner, DSP, Keyer, Memory Keyer, Power Conservasion system.
Product is not in production.
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OM2TW Rating: 5/5 Sep 27, 2016 12:27 Send this review to a friend
Great but!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own this radio since 2012, mostly using for SOTA activities. It's great in their category. I made some mods, W4RT CW and SSB filter replacement helps a lot. The biggest weakness is blow-bay of the filters. The solution is very simple. You have to replace MA77 diodes with BAR64-03W (diodes D1303, D1305, D1307, D1309, D1311, D1313, D1315 and D1317). It's a remarkable improvement in curing the if-filter blow-by.
KT4NR Rating: 4/5 Apr 7, 2016 12:38 Send this review to a friend
Pretty good radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had the 703+ for over 8 years, taking it out now and then to play. Majority of use is in the field but, for a time not long ago, it was my home station with a Buddipole on my townhouse deck. I've used this on CW, SSB and PSK. I have always had good reports on the quality. Having the tuner is a great feature for that quick tweak. It is not a power pig and has a very sensitive receiver. It'd be nice to have 2/440 all mode (like the 817) but I've not really run into a situation I needed those bands QRP portable yet.

Overall, I really enjoy using the radio but, like its big brother the 706 series, I have issues with one aspect.

My biggest nitpick is the menus. I just never seemed to conquer them. It may be me but I can pick up a Kenwood or Yaesu HT or mobile after a long period of not using it and figure it out, without using the manual, within a few minutes. I break this out and I am completely lost. The structure and methodology for the menu system doesn't jive. It's not a fatal flaw, just one that precludes a perfect 5.

I've never had equipment failures but I also have not used it more than a couple hours a month here and there. I do have the Icom battery, the extension kit and the backpack. (I think the backpack was made for kids. No way it fits comfortably though it stores the rig nice.)I also did install a 500 Hz CW filter which was nice. It would be nice to have the ability for two filters but space and other considerations for a field portable radio preclude this and I understand that.

External to the rig I have a Heathkit QRP tuner that handles endfed wires and twinlead feedlines. Its a bit smaller than the radio and only handles 10w max.

If you are remotely interested in portable work for SOTA, NPOTA, EMCOM, or just the odd picnic, get one and stash it away. You'll enjoy using it just about anywhere.
G4CIB Rating: 5/5 Feb 27, 2016 09:36 Send this review to a friend
An All Time Classic  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought this rig new some 8 years ago after agonising whether to go for an FT817 instead. The internal antenna matching unit swung it for me, also the larger display and less fiddly controls. OK so no 2m or 70cm but I can live with that. This rig has accompanied me on many /P outings and has earned its keep many times over. I have never regretted buying this rig.
N3KCM Rating: 5/5 Oct 8, 2015 16:38 Send this review to a friend
Best little all purpose radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought it, had it 5 years, sold it, kicked self for 3 years, bought another, will never sell again! Any radio that requires 13 volts is not field friendly. I'm a yaesu fan but ic703+ beats ft817nd hands down. Auto tuner is awesome. 10 watts is bonus for those low prop days.
AD0BL Rating: 5/5 Aug 26, 2015 10:46 Send this review to a friend
Everytime I play with it I'm making contacts  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've had this ICOM 703+ for about 1 week. It was purchased with plans to try out some QRP portable operating. I bought from a ham that decided to sell to fund a new K3. The previous owner had the W4RT one board filter installed - 500 htz CW filter and 2.8 khtz SSB filters. These are Collins mechanical filters.

The size and weight of the radio is about that of a typical 2m/70cm mobile rig. Definitely bigger and heavier than a KX3 and FT817. I settled on getting the Icom because of the generally favorable reviews on the internet. I liked the large display, internal antenna tuner, and DSP noise reduction. I know the KX3 has those but at twice the price I paid for this radio.

Every time I play with the radio I'm making contacts. The first night I had it I made two CW contacts on 40 meters first time answering a CQ. I then acquired an ICOM rig control cable and Signalink USB (great product also). With PSK, everytime I CQ or answer a CQ the other ham is coming back to me. On JT65, again, I making a contact every time I try. Bear in mind this is with my base station antenna which is a magnetic loop antenna I have on the roof of my house.

It's a very nice shortwave listening radio as well. The sound of the internal speaker is quite good - not room filling but very listenable. I'm getting familiar with the menu system which is reasonable. I've used a straight key which worked well. I haven't tried paddles yet.

All in all I really like this radio. It's a portable but it has almost all of the functionality of a regular sized rig. The only function I really miss is CW auto tuning that will zero-beat the other hams CW signal. My other rig is a Kenwood TS590S.
IU0CXU Rating: 5/5 Mar 25, 2015 13:01 Send this review to a friend
Excellent QRP Rtx  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned in the past the standard version first (no 6mt band) and, later, (year 2005) the Plus version (HF+50Mhz). In summary great receiver, outclasses in this case the Yaesu ft 817 as comparative test done thanks to my buddy Arthur who had the courtesy to let me use the small 817 for a week. Both the standard version that the Plus with the internal ATU tuned all verticals and dipole antennas that I owned. Fantastic! I still own it and I wouldn't sell him for gold!!!
AD7QQ Rating: 5/5 Jan 2, 2015 21:43 Send this review to a friend
Great QRP Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have an old non plus model I've owned for about 8 years. I've hiked all over with it and used it both with an Icom specific battery and with A123 batteries with great success. I have found the menues to be a bit tricky and so have always carried a cheat sheet with me. I have found the built in SWR meter and the antenna tuner to be quite useful in field antenna matching. It has a very sensitive receiver, better than the 817's I've seen others use, and comparable to my Yaesu 450 if not slightly better. If you can get one that works, you will not be disappointed. It is a fun, easy to use full rig with all the bells and whistles but small and easy to pack.
W2UIS Rating: 5/5 Jul 15, 2014 14:22 Send this review to a friend
My Favorite HF Transceiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
By far this is my favorite HF transceiver. If you can purchase one you won't be disappointed. I use mine with a 40 meter inverted v antenna.
KG4LLQ Rating: 5/5 Dec 12, 2013 17:11 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned my 703 for over 10 years. It is my most favorite radio, and I have many. My 703 is from the original series - no 6 meter. I operate mostly CW & have the W4RT 500 Hz filter installed. This is essential for any CW operator. I had one problem with the 703 about 5 years ago: the output dropped to about 2 watts. I sent it to my favorite Icom repairman near Seattle WA. He fixed it, up-graded the radio, tuned it up and sent it back. It's been operating FB ever since. I take my 703 on outings in the spring, summer & fall. I carry it and my assortment of antenna, battery, key, cable, etc. in a back pack and simply 'get 'er done'. I set the power to 5 watts, turn-off the back-light and put the LEDs on "dim". I use a 7.5 amp-hour battery and have never run-out of juice. She's a real performer. I'd recommend the 703 over any similar rig. It's very unfortunate Icom chose to discontinue this nice little radio.
KK4CUL Rating: 5/5 Oct 21, 2013 11:18 Send this review to a friend
Amazing value, fun rig.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have to admit I am biased towards Icom gear. But prior to finding a 703+ in 95+% perfect condition, I was sold on getting a KX-3. I had the money, I was sick of hauling around my IC-7200 to run portable (very heavy with a 22 Ah SLA), and I love the quiet and selective receive of the Elecraft. But, I voted with my wallet when a near mint IC-703+ came up for sale on the Yahoo group.

I spent months researching QRP rigs, as my QTH is so full of power line noise that I do 75% of my operation portable. So when the radio first arrived, I hooked it up to my PSU and 15m LnR EndFedz antenna. Of course, it was late in the evening so 15 was dead, but I heard some DX I couldn't quite pull out of the mud. I figured I would give the antenna tuner a workout (10 watts won't hurt anything, right?) To my surprise, the built in ATU got me ~1.5:1 on 40m, 20m, and 10m on a mono band 15 meter antenna! I made my first QSO to New York for a Fire Safety special event station on 40 meters. 59 report both ways. The noise blanker didn't help much with my line noise, but the AF DSP did help with band noise. I found NR Level 2 to be ideal for most situations. 3 works well with lots of band noise, but at 4 and above, it really starts to effect audio quality and even intelligibility. I then listened to the Maritime Mobile net (I didn't check in) on 20 meters and found the audio quality excellent. It really was as good as theIC- 7200, but the IF DSP and Twin Pass Band Tuning on the IC-7200 helps block out adjacent signals better. The OMISS net on 40 sounded great, and even with the noise reduction and noise blankers off, the audio was pleasing to listen to.

That weekend, I went to a forest to work portable. Instead of my heavy 22 Ah SLA, I just brought a 7 Ah one, the radio, a 25 ft. section of coax, and my 10/20/40 LnR EndFedz antenna. Right way, I made a 10 meter QSO to Hawaii with 10 watts. He was ~5-8, and gave me a 5-4. Not bad! I heard a few Trans Equatorial stations on 10, but I have worked enough of those in my car with an HTX-10 and Mag mount. Down to 20, and I was amazed at how quiet the receiver is in such a crowded band. My friend's 857D was hearing the stations I was, but they were noisier and muddy sounding. I didn't work anyone on 20 as he was setup on there and had the only bandpass filter.

Down to 40, and it was like tuning around local FM broadcast stations! Every 3-4 KHz was a rag chew that was clear as day. It's not as quiet as the KX3, but I paid less than half of an assembled KX3 with built in ATU. I ended up rag chewing with a station in FL, WI, GA, and IL. The band started to get noisy around 10PM so I cleared with one gentleman, but I got many compliments from my signal with 10 watts, mic gain at 5, and compression on. With the backlight on low, buttons on low, and LED lights on low, I was drawing about 320 ma RX, and about 1.2 amps TX. My voltage dropped from about 12.8-12.5 after 6 hours on a 7 Ah SLA. I was very pleased so far.

The next morning, I hooked it back up to my 15 meter EndFedz and worked 4 European stations during a contest. I got one 4-5 report and the rest were 5-5 or better. It's amazing what 10 watts will do with a resonant antenna -- the low end was about 8 FT ABG and the high end was about 20 FT ABG -- nothing fancy or high gain.

Yesterday, I set up in the drive way with an EARCHI 6-40 end-fed wire antenna. The internal ATU was able to match 60m - 6M with <2:1, and a 1.3:1 on 40, 20, 15, 10, and 1.5:1 on 6! I worked a few stations in the IL QSO party, as well as ALMOST picked up KL7LF in Fairbanks! He heard me, but didn't get a good enough copy for the QSO.

Overall, this rig has made my operation fun and lightweight again. No more am I limited to operating when the Power Line noise in my neighborhood decides to behave. No more am I required to haul around 30 pounds of Radio + Battery + Coax + antenna.

For an 817ND to compete with this rig, you would need to purchase the DSP mod and install, an external ATU (>$100), the TXCO, etc. These mods alone add >$200 to the base price and you get V/UHF. I can bring my HT if I really want to. So to me, the smaller size and V/UHF did not justify the lack of DSP, ATU, TXCO, and receive audio quality.
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