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

Reviews Summary for Icom IC 703
Icom IC 703 Reviews: 178 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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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.
N0YXE Rating: 5/5 Oct 20, 2013 20:45 Send this review to a friend
REVISITED  Time owned: more than 12 months
An excellent low power machine. Icon quality and performance.
The on-board tuner is great like others have reported. I get a 1.2:1
SWR on 75 meters through my 36' end fed on the roof at 20'. If you need more info on my invisible end-fed and a picture of this mini station set-up, send me an e-mail:
W5FZ Rating: 5/5 Sep 18, 2013 15:32 Send this review to a friend
Installed FL-52A CW Filter  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Radio set works great, nice, terrific but...after installing the newly received FL-52A 500HZ CW filter by ICOM, when in Narrow cw,,the receive drops way down. I have to turn the volume WAY up to hear OK. It does filter, but???? Was careful not to do cold solder joints when installing it, so now what? Marked 0 to 3 months for owning the new FL-52A filter, had the radio about 3 to 6 months.
IK3BRT Rating: 5/5 Jul 21, 2013 07:35 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased the plus version since 2009, compared with the Yaesu FT-817ND (owned) in hf bands the Icom IC 703 is far superior in terms of quality and cleanliness of the signal.
Definitely good radio with the built in antenna tuner very very efficient.
KA6SGT Rating: 5/5 Dec 15, 2012 20:46 Send this review to a friend
Terrific Rig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a versatile little radio with great features! I pressed this rig into contesting service over a two year period and was amazed at how well it could be heard in the company of "big gun" stations. The FSK feature was surprisingly easy to implement with the W3YY Interface ( I even help draft the schematic for this rig ( when I was W9IP. Wish I still had it! Had to sell off my station about two years ago to help pay medical bills.
N4SAX Rating: 5/5 Sep 12, 2012 11:08 Send this review to a friend
Still a TERRIFIC Rig!!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Since I first wrote my review of the IC-703, I have had a good opportunity to get even more familiar with the radio. All I can say, after spending a couple more months with this radio, is that I echo the sentiments of N0AZZ This little radio should be put back into production! I am constantly amazed at how well the rig operates with such little power. I like it so much that I made two videos for YouTube displaying the quality and capability of the 703. The first video is from Field Day 2012 (stateside contacts) and the second video was filmed during the (Sep 2012) Worked All Europe DX contest. Both videos are based on 15-meter contesting, but the radio has worked equally well on all the bands I have tried to date. My IC-703 videos are located at:

Field Day (Stateside):

Worked All Europe (All Europe contacts):

Bottom line: If you are contemplating picking up an IC-703, I think you will find (as I have) that the rig is well worth your investment!
N4SAX Rating: 5/5 Mar 27, 2012 14:16 Send this review to a friend
Great Re-Entry Rig!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After being a "dormant Ham" for 30+ years, I decided to get back into the hobby that fascinated me through my college days. I found a used IC-703 on one of the forums and it turned out to be a great purchase! I initially encountered the RF issue which caused erratic CW locking during transmit and I made the mod (grounded the key socket) to eliminate that problem. Have been using the rig with a long wire and a 20-meter EndFedz antenna. During last weekend's SSB contest, I worked Spain, Luxembourg, England, Slovenia, Madiera Island, and France (among others!) on my little 10 watter. Had to wait my turn through the pileups but it was a blast. My neighbor (also a Ham) was amazed when I shouted "...just worked Madrid on 10 watts"...and he had to come see what my formula was. Although I know the antennas (on both ends) had a lot to do with it, the little Icom made it fun for sure. Great QRP rig and fun to operate once you get used to the menu system!
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