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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | ICOM IC-701 Help

Reviews Summary for ICOM IC-701
ICOM IC-701 Reviews: 13 Average rating: 3.8/5 MSRP: $1600 (when new per April '79 QST
Description: Freq Range 10-160m: Mode SSB/CW/RTTY: RF PWR 100W:
Product is not in production.
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VK5GI Rating: 5/5 Mar 1, 2017 17:50 Send this review to a friend
What a relief...!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Next year, 2018, my IC-701 will be 40 years old. It is looking a bit battered, but then, so do I. It puts out about 80 to 90 watts, simply and with no fuss, and does what it was intended to do - no more, no less. AND THERE ARE NO MENUS......what a relief! It is just a good old rig, which keeps on working. The 701 was a the first of the all solid-state rigs and was way ahead of it's time, its competitors being the hybrid offerings of Yaesu and Kenwood. Ok, they were good rigs, too (most of them) but the 701 was lighter and didn't require tuning and loading! Anyhow, mine is a goodie, and not for sale!
KE5IKC Rating: 5/5 Jun 8, 2010 22:04 Send this review to a friend
Mine has been good to me..  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased my 701 with the Icom power supply and mike and have had nothing but great reports. No problems whatsoever. Simple operation, great receive and it looks impressive. Grounded pin 14 on the accessory jack and I'm able to transmit on MARS net. I only use my other rigs when I have to. This rig feels good, forgives bad SWR and it's been solid for me.
G4TCB Rating: 5/5 Dec 15, 2009 14:03 Send this review to a friend
great old rig  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought the rig at the local rally, I really liked the look of the thing. It came with the remote control unit and PSU, sold as faulty, so the price was right. The fault described was band change switch fault. On getting the unit home and checking this section, I was a bit concerned, wondering if I had just bought a load of scrap. On venturing inside I noticed the switch wasn't rocket science. and on extracting it I noticed the input wire wasn't actually soldered. I stripped,cleaned and lubricated it, then installed it correctly this time. Result: rig now working as original spec. Next job was to replace the front end mosfets with BF988 and J310. This produced vast sensitivity improvement, the noise floor was lowered by swapping the front end switching diodes for BAT85 shottky low noise ones, and the first mixer diodes with HSMS-2801
microwave devices. The result was stunning, noise floor is exceedingly low now. Earlier reports on this rig described the synthesiser as having phase noise. It may have, but was swamped with diode noise. To improve audio quality, I swapped the 0.1Uf capacitor in the standard mic, with a 1Uf at the output of the electret capsule. Don't be put off this superb rig by the earlier reports, even if the band switch was unfixable, 6 small relays could be used instead. If you see one for sale grab it, It won't be mine, I'm keeping this one. As far as the LSI chips going pop, what 35+ year old rig can you get LSI chips for?. Pete Holland G4TCB.
KI6IUJ Rating: 5/5 Dec 9, 2009 20:17 Send this review to a friend
Oldie But Goodie  Time owned: more than 12 months
With over 40 years of amateur radio experience I've had many great radios. If your looking for a high quality HF rig that will blow many of the modern day HF transceivers away when working crowded band conditions and weak signals, the IC-701 will amaze you. Yes, it's a no-frills rig and does not have all the bells & whistles...Nor does it have the $1500+ price tag. It does however get the job done very well.

Have a look at the Sherwood Engineering - receiver test data website and you'll see the Icom IC-701 receiver compares favorably and actually surpasses many of today's hi-dollar rigs. These rigs have crisp / clear sound with excellent selectivity / sensitivity. If you can't find the amplified Icom SM2 desk mic, an amplified D-104 turned way down works great. I get on-air audio compliments using both mics, with a slight edge going to the D-104.

These radios feature a large easy to read multi-function meter with a big bight LED Frequency display and well thought out controls making this 701 a real joy to operate. Couple that with a rock solid look and feel and it's easy to see why these radios sold for over $1600 back in the late 70's.

The IC-701 was built when Icom was just entering the US amateur market and this was there Flagship HF radio. They poured everything they had into the IC-701 HF and matching IC-211 VHF radio and it shows! The quality of these late 70's transceivers are unequaled today. These things are built like a tank.

I have been servicing, repairing and restoring electronics professionally for over 30 years. During this time I have had many early Icom products on my bench. I have read most of the reviews above prompting me to respond to some not quite so accurate statements.

First off, parts availability for these rigs is not a problem. Unlike modern day radios, these rigs were constructed using discrete components (individual: transistors, resistors, caps and common ICs). Other than the Icom PLL chip I can't think of anything making the IC-701 unserviceable. Even then, the PLL chip can be found in a parts rig. This makes servicing these rigs a technicians dream as most of us have over half of the parts in stock.

Second, yes some early Icoms do suffer from the circuit board feed-thru / solder issues. Kenwood and Yaesu also have been plagued with solder related issues as well. Any competent tech can easily correct these well documented problem areas.

Next I would like to point out that 90% of the problems I have seen on the IC-701 were created by the user and no fault of the design.

Bottom line, use common sense when buying any older equipment. If the seller states the rig is in good working order and will stand behind it, go for it. If the rig is untested spend accordingly, these rigs are quite serviceable.
73-de Gregg KI6IUJ
N3WXW Rating: 4/5 Jul 2, 2008 17:43 Send this review to a friend
FUN OLD RADIO  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a good cw radio stock out of the box. What I found with my 701 is it must be operated with the matching power supply it has a higher voltage than other power supplys. Once I switched to the Ic-701PS. The radio worked like a charm! A good old radio. Do not spend too much money on one, their isn't any parts support for these old radios. $250.00 is more than enough with a power supply. If it is more than that price, walk away. Their are plenty out on the web for sale. No need to spend too much money. Rember it could be a throw away radio if band switch fails. Or at leat you will have to buy a parts radio..( I did buy a cheap parts radio because I have a 720a also ).
I also have a tip . If one has been not powered up for a long time. the PLL will get stuck on 40 meters . Just leave it on for a while do not switch bands. Then turn the radio back off for a bout 1/2 hour then turn it back on it will reset.
have fun !

73 de Ed
KD7CAO Rating: 5/5 Mar 13, 2007 07:32 Send this review to a friend
Great EMCOM Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have an IC-701 that was given to me by the widow of an SK friend. It works flawlessly and has been used on numerous Field Day and EMCOM events. With 200 Watts of Kick it can make a difference compared to some of the IC-706MKIIG that others show up with. Most of them like my rig because it is large enough to operate and small enough to be portable. If I could afford another radio I would probably get a new unit but, mine has had all of the service performed at the Icom Service Center in Bellevue, WA (I am from Washington.) All issues have been corrected. The only problem I have is that I need a power cable for battery operation. The connector is cheap the contacts for the connector however very expensive!
K6SDW Rating: 3/5 Jul 5, 2006 04:46 Send this review to a friend
Great when new but....  Time owned: more than 12 months
An outstanding rig when it was new...but used you'll be "screwed" when (not if!!) the rotary vfo fails. I would suggest staying away from used units unless you have one for parts rig and the vfo hasn't yet failed!

Cheers All.....
N4JOY Rating: 4/5 May 18, 2006 09:11 Send this review to a friend
Great classic Icom rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
The IC-701 is my favorite of the classic Icom rigs. Small and functional, the 701 has served me well over the past few years... I love the nostalgic red LED display! Prices for a used 701 seem to be climbing. Expect to pay $200-$300 for a decent 701 with the matching power supply. I had my rig calibrated, aligned, and cleaned by Comtek -- which is necessary if you purchase used. As a previous reviewer noted, the rotary bandswitch and the cct board "soldering issue" is a major weak point. Moreover, RF output is only adjustable on CW and RTTY, but not SSB. It also would have been nice to have AM. Otherwise, the 701 would be perfect as a backup transceiver.
KD7PNY Rating: 4/5 Oct 11, 2003 13:07 Send this review to a friend
so far so good  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
As my first HF rig, I have nothing to compare it with. There is nothing digital about the old box, no fancy bells or whistles (a little musical interlude while tuning?!!), and without the matching power supply there have been problems with operation. I guess I got lucky with my rig. I have both the matching PS and SM-4 mic. Even though their both old as well they accent the rig in its "era" if you will. I continue to receive excellent audio reports while DXing and solid reports from locals when I'm tuning up. I do wish it had AM as an option, but that was something I settled for not having due to the low entry level buying cost online. All of the controls continue to be operator friendly and work well. It does tend to receive a lot of noise now and again, as was posted previously. I can't really complain about this old beast, it just plain works for me without any real problems. I'll keep it as a backup radio or a SWL after my xyl lets me buy an upgrade to a newer 718 or 746. I guess... if you can find one like I did for around $150 and it works as well...then lucky for you.
73's from the Oregon coast,
K7VO Rating: 4/5 Aug 21, 2003 01:22 Send this review to a friend
Much better than it's reputation  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The Icom IC-701 is much better than it's reputation and much better than the reviews here would have you believe.

First off, usually when the Ledex rotary stepper motor fails it IS repairable. Scott Malcom's Malcolm Technical Service website makes this clear, and he spent 10 years at Icom America repairing rigs. I've had that confirmed by a number of sources I consider knowledgeable. If, in the unlikely event the motor really is shot, a suitable replacement is available, though it is not an exact match and you will have to do some modification to install it.

The eyelet/feedthrough problem is real, and I experienced what a pain it is to correct when my old Icom IC-245/SSB failed. The thing is, by now any good, working IC-701 would have had this repair done or it almost certainly wouldn't be working.

The IC-701 does have some parts availability issues, but show me one rig manufactured between 1976 and 1981 (the years the IC-701 was made) that doesn't. Overall, the IC-701 is no more and no less serviceable than most older radios. For the most part, unless the CMOS LSI chip goes you should be able to find spares.

The receiver performance, while certainly not up to 2003 standards, is typical of a 1980s synthesized rig: the noise floor is relatively high. You will not pull out the very weakest of the weak signals with this rig. However, for most everyday communications the receiver is fine. I certainly don't find an objectionable amount of hiss, and certainly not more than you find in many radios that get very high marks here on eHam. Indeed, I find the rig's audio fairly pleasant. Your ears may hear it differently, of course.

The bandswitch is noisy, and yes, the 100Hz tuning rate is very course by today's standards. These are minor annoyances at worst, not show stoppers.

The radio is VERY solidly built. It was years ahead of it's time, and was the very first truly synthesized, digitally tuned HF rig on the amateur market. It was a high-end rig in it's day, but yes, it's day has passed. To me the one big negative item is that the WARC bands are not covered and can't be added.

Some positives: very good filtering, including a built-in narrow CW filter standard. Very effective passband tuning. A noise blanker that works reasonably well. An effective speech processor.

IMHO, some poor reviews have created a wonderful opportunity for hams on a miniscule budget. You can pick up the radio and the matching power supply/speaker for very little money. In these tough economic times the IC-701 is actually well worth considering if you have limited means and want a very solid, decent HF transceiver.
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