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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | ICOM IC-706 - All flavors Help

Reviews Summary for ICOM IC-706 - All flavors
ICOM IC-706 - All flavors Reviews: 470 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $IC-706MKIIG
Description: Ultra Compact HF/6 Meter/2 Meter/440MHz Transceiver
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the ICOM IC-706 - All flavors.

Page 1 of 47 —>

W8NIC Rating: 5/5 Feb 6, 2018 18:05 Send this review to a friend
Great rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
10 years and 2 months of normal use and still performing like new. Added a cw filter since new and just a pleasure to operate. I also have an ic-7700 and an ic-7300 but I always play with this wonderful radio from time to time.
To bad no longer in production.
W9MT Rating: 5/5 Feb 2, 2018 10:59 Send this review to a friend
Balanced performance for base or mobile use.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own two examples of this radio. My first was an IC-706Mk2G that I bought new at Dayton in the year 2000. The 2nd is an IC-706Mk2 that was purchased as a tech-special basket case at the "late" Williams Arizona hamfest back in 2014 or 2015 (the last year this fest was held).

The Mk2G has never caused me a hint of trouble. I fitted it with the 1.9KHz (FL223) narrow SSB filter and the 350Hz (FL232) CW/RTTY filter. I believe these two filter provide the best balance of performance on receive for the modes for which they are intended. I do own an FL100 500Hz filter that I bought on eBay for about $50, just to see how it compares with the 350Hz unit. I don't like it as much. It tends to really ring on receive. I'm told the 250Hz does not do that, but I have no personal experience with it.

It is true that VHF/UHF multimode operation is a bit of a compromise with this Mk2G radio. No, it won't work as well as a radio intended for 10m to "blue light" operation (e.g.: FT-847). But 706 series radios do work, and well enough to wet your feet to see if you want to acquire radios more optimized for VHF/UHF weak signal work. Others have complained about the CTCSS encode performance. ALL VERSIONS of the 706 series have a design problem with subaudible "PL" tone encode level. It's set with a resistor feedback gain pair across the op amp that injects this tone onto the audio path...and it's set TOO LOW. (There is NO PL-level adjusting pot.) Typical deviation levels will be found to be 200-400Hz with the fixed amplification settings across that op amp. (It's a differently part numbered one on each version of the 706 radio series, but the circuit configuration is the same.) If you solder another chip resistor across the input resistor to make the gain higher (I used 1 MOhm.) You'll get something in the sweet spot between 700Hz and 1KHz of subaudible tone transmitted. That's enough to open and keep open the tone squelch of your target repeater. I used a leaded 1/10th Watt resistor on one of these upgrades. It looked like a giant log with fire hoses coming out of both ends. Use a dab of RTV holding the resistor body to the top of a nearby surface mount IC and you won't mechanically stress any solder connections.

The Mk2G also had a bit of RF interference with my external LDG tuners. This can be tamed with using a shielded cable between the two Molex connectors on the tuner and radio.

When mobile, the Mk2G also seemed to have a feedback loop getting RF into the microphone speech amp's, but only on 40m sideband. Winding about 8 turns of the mike's coil cord around one of those brute force square ferrites fixed this problem. (It was amusing that the mike for the basket case Mk2 already had its mike cord wound 8 times around a large circular toroid coil form. I already knew why....)

So, my Mk2G was a great unit to buy and I still use it as a backup radio at my IL QTH. It easily drives a Gonset GSB-101 (4x 811A) amplifier to 700-800W dead carrier.

The Mk2 was bought with the radio not powering up nor the 2m band receive not working at all. It was a puzzle I wanted to solve and it took me several months worth of evenings to sort things out.

The power up problem was due to Icom using foam backed tape between the PLL board and the chassis to prevent shorting of componentry to ground. After about 10 years worth of heat and humidity, the adhesive eats thru the solder resist of the PLL board and then proceeds to open the copper runner that carries the "goosing signal" from the front panel power switch to the Main Board (where the processor lives). Icom Service in Belleview WA was useless in providing guidance on how to fix this. I jumpered a length of Kynar wirewrap wire from the connector where the signal comes into the PLL board and found a topside thru-hole on the Main Board on the same circuit node as the processor's goosing pin.

Viola!!! The radio now powered up and was working great on 160 thru 6 meters. 2m was still a problem.

Here's where things get really interesting. 2m transmit and receive were 15 KHz apart. There is a pot that zeroed them back on top of each other. Receive was still very, very deaf. I suspected the preamp (very necessary on 6m and 440 on the Mk2). Icom Service was very useless again and further informed me that replacement parts were NLA from them. So, I was on my own.

Figuring that the problem was one or more of four part types in the preamp, I did an internet search and found that these generic parts were available from a Hong Kong company on Amazon !!! So, I bought five of each when I only needed one. (A wise move if you've never worked with SMT that small.)

I learned very quickly that this kind of work needed 1)a lot of time, 2) a steady hand, 3) "ant burner" magnifying visor, and 4) lots and lots of illumination. I replaced the parts and the radio's receiver sprang to life.

Then I made a mistake. Probing around to assure everything was as it should be with a VOM probe, I accidentally shorted a probing point to a shield and saw a spark and let some smoke out of a component somewhere. Deafness returned.

I tried replacing all of the 4 part types again, to no avail. I finally realized two things. I blew an RF switching diode with my probing. (Radio power was turned OFF at the time, but the 706 series still has Vcc applied to the output board when powered down. So to TOTALLY kill power, for real, you have to remove your DC power supply's connection to the radio. Replacing the 4 part types was not necessary EITHER TIME. I really didn't need them at all, it turned out. There was simply BAD FACTORY SOLDERING in the 2m pre-amp circuit.

So, by replacing the switching diode, everything was working again. Receive on 2m is back to original spec's...not as good as for a single band FM 2m xcvr, but "good enough" and multimode, too.

BTW, the same CTCSS level mod needed to be done to this radio, too. There's another 1MOhm resistor in the op amp circuit in this one too.

My Mk2 is fitted with the same 1.9KHz and 350Hz IF filters as my Mk2G. I love both radios. Both are keepers.

The only thing I don't like about them is the DSP board both of them have. The ANF function works great on carriers, but the DSP noise reduction stinks. By the time one turns the attack level high enough to do decent noise reduction, the audio pumping and weird DSP artifacts make the voice sound very unnatural.

So I run both of my radios with an external audio DSP device. A standard ClearSpeech Speaker works great. So do the BHI DSP boxes. These make the 706 series radios a joy to operate without the annoying hiss and white noise that makes many weak signals uncopyable.

I applaud Icom for the cleverness of integration in the designs of their 706 series radios. Sure, they made some faux paus, but these are easily fix-able, given some time and patience.
WA1MAD Rating: 5/5 Oct 28, 2017 04:57 Send this review to a friend
Perfect mobile rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After looking and looking for a small, yet featured rig, I found a guy in Maine selling his 706mk2g. Since I was visiting near him and we were going to the same town on the same day, it was meant to be (mine) He had upgraded to the 7300 and his 706 was in fantastic condition...with the separation kit. Easy to operate mobile, good audio reports and just a nice rig to work with. I matched it to my LDG auto tuner, my Hustler verticals and off I go. Mobile contacts to Europe in my Jeep while on the highway, is fun. I just ordered the FL223, 1.9 filter to tighten up SSB. If you see one, get it. Prices on this gem may be going up as supply dwindles. I'd use it as a base rig, but it is really best suited for mobile IMHO
N9MXY Rating: 5/5 Dec 18, 2016 15:28 Send this review to a friend
Million mile radio?  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own a MKII bought new in 98 with the DSP module. Put 270,000 miles on my S10 then moved to to a blazer put 160,000 miles on it then moved it to a Buick Century put 170,000 miles on it then pot it in a Subaru outback and put 80,000 miles on it. Currently it's sitting on my dryer at my 2nd home as a backup base. Other than installing a 1.9khz roofing filter the case has not been cracked! I did some side by sides a couple years ago when I got my IC7000. The S/N on the recieve was not as good and the selectivity fell a little short but I doubt that the 7000 would stand up as well to about 700,000 miles mobile!
ZL1BAK Rating: 5/5 Oct 21, 2016 01:15 Send this review to a friend
Great compact hf rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have the original 706 and i use it as my main rig. It puts out 100 watts on hf and 10 watts on 2m, i use a computer headset with it and always get good reports.
The menu system is very easy to use compared to some other compact rigs i have tried. The receiver is very good and i rarely need to use the preamp. The only thing missing that would be nice to have is a notch filter. All in all a great compact radio.
VE8AP Rating: 5/5 May 17, 2016 14:19 Send this review to a friend
706MKIIG great radio   Time owned: more than 12 months
I own two ICOM 706MKIIG's I love them been dependable no issue's what so ever in the 5 years of owning them. I find them easy to use menu's are great easy to make adjustment when needed with out revisiting the owners manual.I am going to try on on the boat this summer Marine Mobile should be fun 73's all take care
NA5XX Rating: 4/5 Dec 19, 2015 20:13 Send this review to a friend
Using it mobile 706 original  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought this radio to install as a mobile rig and it is great. It does all I want when teamed with an LDG auto tuner and 102 inch whip antenna. I got it with the separation kit with is a plus when mobile. If you find one at a good price go for it.
KI6GOT Rating: 5/5 Aug 6, 2015 15:43 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic miniature radio.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I love this radio. I bought it used and have had it for several years for DXing on the HF bands, and a little bit of Aurora contacts as well. I've added the narrow SSB and 500Hz filters. I've also added the TCXO and an IF tap board to add pan adapter functionality.

The only issues i've encountered internal oscillations when transmitting on 15M and 12M. This was resolved by tightening the internal screws and making sure I was connected to a proper ground.

Overall a great little rig. Do buy one if you can find a good deal.
N1JFE Rating: 5/5 Mar 23, 2015 09:59 Send this review to a friend
VHF INSTABILITY  Time owned: more than 12 months

That said, I did have an intermittent problem on 2m.
The radio would self oscillate and produce output at around 120MHz when keyed up in the 144-148 range, AND ONLY with the power turned all the way down.

A slight tap on the cover would clear this up.

TIGHTEN ALL PCB SCREWS on both TOP and BOTTOM of radio. PA PCB and ANT FILTER board (opposite side). Might as well tighten up the screws on the main board while your in there.

This SOLVED the problem and the radio is now stable once again on all bands.

The screws do not have star washers, which is probably a GOOD thing as it's designed as a mobile unit, and you wouldn't want one bouncing around causing shorts, BUT the screws will eventually lose their GROUNDS from vibration and heat cycling.
Give them a 1/2 turn CCW and then tighten to reseat. No need to be a gorilla, just snug.

I think this is a good idea to do for ANY mobile radio.

PS. This particular IC-706MKIIG has always been installed as a base an never in a mobile, but it still had the VHF oscillation.

WA0UAY Rating: 5/5 Mar 14, 2015 12:25 Send this review to a friend
FL-223  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Buy the FL-223 filter. It really does make a difference!
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