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Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Icom IC-T70A Help

Show all reviews of the Icom IC-T70A

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AB0RE  Rating: 5/5 Jun 17, 2010 13:00  Send this review to a friend!
Great Job by Icom!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Until now, the Yaesu FT-60R has been the "staple" handheld radio, putting out a full 5W out, having a nice solid build, and having a AA Battery pack that will take 6xAA alkalines (for full power output). I recently sold my FT-60R to give the IC-T70A a try and have not regretted the decision.

The IC-T70A has a 1400mAh battery standard. Under moderate use I have to charge mine every few days. Icom says the stock battery should last 11.5 hours at 5 seconds transmit, 5 seconds receive, and 90 seconds "idle", so the battery should last all day at Dayton. :-) Worth noting is that, like the FT-60R, the IC-T70's battery latch is very hard to open and requires a coin or flathead screwdriver to pry it open. The battery comes with a very stout spring-loaded belt clip on it. One nice touch about using the stock wall-wart charger is that the radio will display "CHARGING" on the radio display and the "CHARGING" indicator will disappear when the battery is finally charged - no more guessing if the battery is charged!

The keypad to the radio is uncluttered. Programming is very intuitive. I spent an hour with the manual after I got the radio and have not had to crack it open since, even when setting up and switching between scan banks. The easy programming is thanks to Icom not packing the HT full of worthless features, such as WIRES, ARTS, CW Trainer, etc, that nobody is going to use.

Receive audio is great! It's very pleasant to listen to the IC-T70A on receive. Icom boasts it has double the AF power because of "BTL" (Bridge-tied load) to the amplifier section. Quite honestly, a VX-150 side-by-side with the Icom IC-T70A, will produce about the same volume level, albeit the T70 produces a slightly more pleasant-sounding audio. Some of the previous Icom (and Yaesu/Kenwood) HTs I've owned in the past were really lacking in receive audio, making them impossible to use in a noisy environment, so it's nice to see Icom finally got it right. Another GREAT feature of the T70 is that one can plug an earbud or extension speaker directly into the radio with no adapter required!

I've gotten good on-air reports of transmit audio. The microphone sensitivity is adjustable. When hooked to my external antenna I'm told by stations on the air they cannot perceive a difference between the T70's audio and my Kenwood VHF/UHF dualbander's audio.

The stock antenna that comes with the T70 seems to do well. I've not experienced any intermod problems with the T70 yet but, again, I primarily use it with the stock rubber duck antenna and not hooked to my outside antenna.

A few minor complaints about the radio:
1) Why not have a backlit keypad?? I suspect the buttons will become second-nature to me very soon, but it'd be nice to have the backlit keypad in the meantime.
2) Icom is a bit proud of the accessories, primarily the LiON battery and the separate charger that is required to charge the LiON batteries. (MSRP for accessories are 100% higher than what the dealer purchases them from Icom for. It appears dealers probably make more $ on accessories than they do the radio itself.)
3) Additional battery packs do not come with additional belt clips (the belt clips attach directly to the battery - it's a pain to transfer the belt clips from one battery to another when changing batteries). Belt clips, p/n MB124, must be purchased directly from Icom Parts as it does not appear any ham dealers carry them yet.
4) I have not found a way to do a cross-band split (i.e. TX UHF, RX UHF)

All in all I'm VERY happy with my decision to purchase my IC-T70A. This is one I plan to hold onto for a long time. In fact, I just sprung for a second IC-T70A, two LiON battery packs, and the LiON desk charger! (cha-ching!! $$)

Dan ABěRE  
Product is in production.
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