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Show all reviews of the Icom IC-T70A
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of the Icom IC-T70A.
Dec 22, 2013 00:51
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A great simple radio
Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought my T70E used from someone who appeared to have used it mostly as a scanner with an external antenna. I know because the SMA connector looked like someone had used bolt cutters on it. It also came preprogrammed with an insane amount of repeaters and it was modified for full receive coverage.
Anyway I ordered a new SMA connector from my local dealer, in the mean time I dropped it and snapped the rotary encoder shaft, fortunately my dealer had that in stock so I repaired it using the service manual and the official parts and was up and running two days later with a new SMA connector and a new encoder.
Anyway, after having had this radio for a little over six months I do not regret buying it, and I don't regret repairing it when I broke it (despite that repair costing more than the difference between my used one and a brand new T70).
The radio is easy to use, has a solid receiver, audio is excellent on both transmit and receive. If you're upgrading from China Export radios, the menus are fast and intuitive, although the mechanics of enabling subtones and squelching are a bit confusing at first.
The receiver is a big upgrade from my KG-UV6D, which would often pick up interference when at sea where radios like the FT-270 didn't, the T70 is also free from interference from these spurious signals.
I have found the FA-S270C antenna to be a solid performer for the size, but if you want more range I like to use the Comet SMA-24 as it's very springy and extremely light, I still haven't managed to permanently bend it.
As for batteries the radio lasts more or less forever, the included battery is a little pathetic as it's a very low capacity, my solution was to get the AA battery pack and stuff it with 2.5Ah Varta AA Ni-Mh cells and put a piece of foil tape over where the charging indicator connector is (there's a matching leaf spring contact on the radio, connecting it to chassis ground enables charging via the internal charger). This solution is fairly compact but pretty heavy (gives the radio a nice feel but not good for hiking), I found performance in cold weather a bit lacking though. If you use a popular online china engineering outlet site, there are some batteries for sale with the model number RY-BP-265 which are 2.7Ah Li-Ion batteries, charger included.
While I haven't checked the capacity, I have never unexpectedly ran out of power with these batteries, the price is cheap enough that buying two makes sense.
They have good performance in cold weather and are much lighter, unfortunately due to the energy-volume density of Li-Ion they end up physically larger so they stick out a bit more, mechanically it's a good fit but it makes the radio a fair bit thicker. I still haven't done a full field test with those batteries but they've worked flawlessly with normal use for the last six months, so I'd say cautiously recommended. Charging them off 12V is not readily possible and IP54 compliance would be my biggest concerns, bring the Ni-Mh pack for extended stays without AC power.
For programming I use an eBay programming cable and CHIRP, the user interface is not the most polished thing, but the software programs radios just as well as any other and it's still under development.
Product is in production.
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