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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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VE2DC Rating: 0/5 May 9, 2003 14:12 Send this review to a friend
Not with a 10 foot pole!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I loved mine when I owned it... it was the first "cute" radio I owned... it was so small in it's day!

But real K6LO's review below... I've seen these on Ebay... it would be a very unwise purchase today.
VE7CRA Rating: 4/5 Jul 11, 2000 04:27 Send this review to a friend
Pretty good for a 20+ years old radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Ah! Take us back to those marvellous days of yesteryear.....

I agree in the main with the sentiments of K6LO, regarding the short comings of the IC-701.

The 100hz tuning steps produced a musical interlude as you changed the vfo setting if there was a signal present on the frequency. I am unaware of any agc problem when running from a "stiff" 13.6 vdc supply, but I always operated mobile with the two 701's I owned.
The audio chip was terrible for hiss, & there was reciprocal mixing in the receiver owing to the
synthesizer phase noise. Stated from my own point of view, I did not find the noise objectionable, but I was enduring mobile noise anyway, so I expect that sitting in the shack at a quiet location might color one's viewpoint!
This radio was part of a suite of radios that Icom produced in the 78/79 time frame, & all suffered from cct board problems. They used metal eyelets as connectors from one side of the cct board to the other, & I believe there was a problem with the flux(or possibly NO flux!) when wave-soldering the board. The long & short of it was that the through-connections effected by these eyelets, were subject to electrical & mechanical intermittants owing to the solder not having hot-flowed through the eyelets.This may have been due to the plating on the eyelets...that is the solder would not adhere to the metal eyelet itself. The IC-211, & the IC-245, to name only two were plagued by these problems as well. These were, I would point out, arguably, the most advanced amateur gear of their day, & Icom quickly addressed the problems in their subsequent offerings.
The one problem that I suffered, & that nearly turned me from the Icom product line, was the PA transistors. These transistors were, I believe US$150.00 per pair. If they weren't $150, they were some outrageous price close to that, & they were not even ballasted emitter transistors. The bias regulator for the finals was a temperature compensated diode controlling a TO-220 style bias regulator transistor(a 2sd190?). The infamous "eyelets" would allow the bias regulator to lose output & the finals would self-destruct. I went through three sets of these transistors at $100 odd dollars per set, & Icom allowed I was the only person in the world with the problem!
Their "engineer" insisted that I had an antenna problem etc. I sat down & made up a board with a 723 regulator chip, bypassed it for RF, & hard regulated the finals ( 2SC1279's?) .....memory dims after 20 years! About this time, I talked with Whit, W5GG, who told me there was a replacement transistor (American made) a 2SC2049, I think, that was excellent as a replacement. I obtained a couple of sets, & ran the radio for years with no more trouble. The Ledex rotary bandswitch is no longer available I am sure, but Ledex in the UK probably has something that could be made to work. This same switch is used in the IC-720. Once I had the "final bias" problem rectified, the radio performed well for years. I bought the second one at a preferential price because Icom would not or could not fix it. Pa transistors & bias again. Icom customer service made a quantum leap forward about that time, & they became excellent people with whom to do business. I very much enjoyed my 701 & thought it was a great mobile radio, but I am afraid K6LO is correct when he says it is essentially an orphan by reason of parts availability, or correctly, lack thereof..
If you stumble onto one in good condition except for the Ledex switch, you should be aware that there is a capacitor that shorts, & prevents the Ledex motor from operating....a CHEAP fix!
As regards K6LO's final comment regarding the swr shut-back cct, there was a mod from Icom that was brought out, that involved cutting cct traces & installing a resistor kit of several resistors, I think a cap or two & possibly even a couple of diodes. Also contained in these mods was a fix for the pa bias problem, & I think two or three other little foibles that people complained about....Icom had appointed a customer service rep, & problems were being fixed..(79 or 80?) To sum up, I must align myself with K6LO's position of avoiding the radio as a "user" in the shack. If you are a collector or a tech, & the price is right..........73, Brian, VE7CRA
K6LO Rating: 2/5 Jul 11, 2000 00:16 Send this review to a friend
Way ahead of its time  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had one of the first IC-701's many years ago. It was a novel rig for its time, and Icom's first HF effort. However, let me impart some wisdom of the passing years:

Don't buy one used. The rotary relay will fail, and when it does, you'll be up %#@! creek with out a paddle. The transmitter will only operate to specification with the PS-701 supply. You see, it was unregulated and supplied about 17.5 volts under no load conditions. The rx / logic sections of the IC-701 had their own regulators.
Using a standard Astron 13.8 volt supply will cause ALC trouble.

The receiver is NOISEY. Synthesizer hissss (remember this was one of the first synthesized rigs, and, I think, Icom's first HF effort) and the audio amp was a hisser too. It was a very fatiguing radio to listen to.

It also only tuned in 100 cycle steps, so I was always riding the RIT.

They are smart looking radios, and cheap on the used market. But pass unless you have a fetish for classic gear.

Did I mention that the SWR turn down circuit was hyper sensitive? : )
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