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Reviews For: ICOM IC-756

Category: Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - non QRP <5W

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Review Summary For : ICOM IC-756
Reviews: 71MSRP: 2799.00
160 thru 6 meters TX, Gen coverage RX, 100 W, SSB,CW, AM & FM
Product is not in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W0UX Rating: 2000-09-06
Nice starter radio Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
A nice starter radio, but I wouldn't recommend it to a friend.

Things I liked about the radio:
1. Had a nice layout, nice size and some easy to use menus.
2. Front panel not busy, or ergonomically confusing.
3. Don't need a manual to figure out how to use it.
4. Two pre-amps were nice. A welcome feature

Things that I didn't like about the radio:
1. Display stinks. Takes a while to "warm" up to an "acceptable contrast" but never really gets where you want it. Always adjusting the thing.
2. Limited filter installation. Not the best accessibility to filter slots. Come on guys
3. Monitor function: Useless. Turned up full "volume" still isn't comfortable.
4. Where's the manual notch ?
5. DSP. Ha ha. Audio Filter. Did provide some improvement, but didn't really "float my boat". The external boxes do a better job.
6. Unit I had would distort the transmit audio frequently, intermittently. Same hook up with two other HF radios, didn't exhibit this problem (used same cables and installation).
7. Can't remember if it had a digital recorder in it. I don't think so.
8. Split operation. Easy to miss it as the display isn't obvious to see unless you study it. A colored LED or indicator would have been nice.
9. Spectrum Display: Nice toy, somewhat limited in functionality as it takes about a S-4/5 signal to display and noise often is what is displayed. Nice to see a signal on a quiet band though.

Overall, I considered it a nice radio, but for the money ~$1500, I expected a lot more in operation and features.

I would recommend a different radio for that price range.

K1BRF Rating: 2000-07-27
First Class Solid Rig Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Used fixed base on HF SSB and CW (not on 6) continually for over a year without an amp, I have to rate this rig as something I would recommend highly to a good friend. So this is not like one of those fluff 5 x 9 reports.

Things to like: Swore I would never use a scope because of "ear training" but it is so useful hunting for DX it is like a cell phone -- hard to realize how you got along without one. The PBT, APF and autonotch make accessory filters redundant - you do not need to use them. Split work and most of the rest of the set reminds me of my 737 -- no big changes there. Switching modes and monitoring screens quick, intuitive and easy. Copying code under the worst possible conditions is a snap. The radio is a match for the toughest SSB conditions. Stable. Solid. Very dependable. Haven't challenged the tuner because my CIA meter says the antenna used is pretty flat & low across the bands worked. With the Heil goldline mike, lots of dx contacts volunteer "exceptionally clean, clear audio."

Things to improve: the lettering on the five dial controls at the bottom should be on top of the controls so you do not have to lay your head down on the table to read them. I would like a little DSP/dynamic control on the NB and NR circuits instead of on/off buttons. These are preference comments, not quality issues, however.

Out of the box and onto the table, a power, antenna and ground connection and you are ready to go for years.
K9AM Rating: 2000-07-20
A good value for the money Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought mine secondhand. I have used it on six meters over 50% of the
time, with the rest split between the HF bands and 160 meters.
On six meters, it runs with preamp 2 on all of the time - it seems
necessary when pulling out the weak ones. I run with 70 feet of 9913
coax and if that were upgraded to 7/8" Heliax, some difference might
be made in hearing ability up on six meters. The spectrum display is
quite useful on six meters during quiet conditions to spot other
stations which may indicate an opening. That feature has been used to
my advantage on seventeen meters also.
I have generally received reports of good audio and that is true even
when I journey down to ten meter AM, just for fun. To tailor the mic
audio, you would enlist a nearby ham friend and adjust the software
controls over the air until you achieve the response you are after.
So you might switch from 'FM station' to a more piercing contest style
audio by simply readjusting the parameters (as long as you had
remembered to note them down during your previous testing!).
I run with preamp 1 enabled, when operating on seventeen and ten
meters (I do not operate much on the twelve meter band).
The radio has driven my SB-230 amplifier to 600 watts output with no
problem in the two times I have tested it on forty and twenty meters.
However, I do have the Harbach 'Soft-key' module installed the in the
amp to prevent welding the relay contacts shut in the '756.
The 'Dual Watch' feature is very useful to listen to two in-band
frequencies at once. I find that it works on forty and thirty meters
at the same time (probably due to the high-pass filter scheme), so I
am able to listen to my favorite CW frequencies on those two bands
simultaneously. Good deal.
Oh, yes, the auto-tuner works fine with all of my antennas (my six
meter antenna is flat on the weak signal portion of the band) but my
previous rig's auto-tuner worked well, so that feature is more or
less transparent to me.

Could be better observations:
No single radio can do it all. To fight noise of all descriptions, I
use the Timewave 59+ and the JPS ANC-4 at various times. The DSP
in the Timewave seems superior to that in the '756 on certain noises.

On Field Day '99 the display was too easily washed out in the sun and
we switched to a radio with fluorescent display technology. That is not
a problem in the typical shack however.

Only two filter slots available - so you have to be a CW or Phone man
but not both.
To me, these are minor niggles and not show-stoppers.

Bottom line - if you cannot afford an the latest FT-1000 or IC-756PRO,
but can shake loose $1300 or $1400 dollars, this radio is the one to
go for. Especially if you operate six meters in addition to HF.
Jakarta Mark K9AM
KC2DIA Rating: 2000-07-05
Excellent Radio For Money Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
The ICOM 756 is built like a tank! The boards are easy to reach, final compartment is superb (as are the finals) and board soldering is excellent- nice & bright! After a 20 minute warmup the radio doesn't seem to drift at all relative to WWV ..without the crystal oven!

DSP noise reduction is good..not excellent. Yaesu's FT-920 beat it there. The twin passband tuning is VERY sharp, like a Kenwood 900 series slope tune.

The cooling system is impressive, like the ICOM 706's: It uses a PRESSURIZED cooling system superior to most other rig's. Why harp on cooling? Cool=long life. End of story.

Internal components are very high quality. The EL backlight for the LCD could last forever!

Unibody construction is a definite plus.
W0LD Rating: 2000-06-06
Excellent Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had my 756 for almost 4 years, and it has been an excellent radio. I use it on HF but mostly on 6 meters. It is the best 6 meter rig that I have ever owned. The band scope is superb for spotting openings. The DSP is marginal, but the blanker works well. The display is a delight to work with, easy on the eyes. The 756 drives my kw amp on 6 with ease, and then some. The audio reports on SSB are superb. I have the 500 hz. and 1.8 khz. filters, and both really sharpen up the radio. The 1.8 khz. SSB filter sharpens up the bandpass and works well for crowded band contesting conditions on 6 meters.

All in all, I am very pleased with the rig.
VE3EFJ Rating: 2000-04-04
Not one of Icom's better efforts Time Owned: unknown months.
I bet that got your attention. I didn't quite know how to title this one. I was *very* disappointed in this radio. Now... before I explain, allow me to set some background. The band scope is great. The receiver on SSB/CW is just fine, and I liked the Dual Watch too. The internal coupler is *very* fast and quiet. The specs are 'right up there'. So whats the problem? Its simply an incomplete radio. I felt that this radio should not have gone out the door without further user testing. The Monitor is enemic. The non adjustanle noise blanker is useless because it just trashes the receiver. Some fool put edits in the filter selection (WHY?), and you can only add in one filter in each IF. Perhaps worst of all, its filtering on AM is barn door wide and the default tuning step at 1 kHz is *way* too fast. Together, its use on SW AM is at the level of an FRG7 at best. Individually, these may not be killers, but collectively its indicative that Icom failed on details on this one. How long has Icom been putting Noise Blankers in radios? 20 years? The blanker in the R71A is wonderful. The one in the 751A is very good. What happened to the 756? Why is the sharpest AM filter 9 kHz? To the radios credit, it will ECSS SW broadcasts just fine. But what happened to the AM filtering?

Now, I can see how folks would fall in love with the 756. I tried... but just could not do it. I just could not help but get the feeling I was nothing more than a beta tester. I think that part of this has to do with previous Icoms I've owned. While the 756 may be a 'better' radio than a 751A, I just cannot understand how the attention to detail fell apart so badly. I offer no argumaents on which is the higher spec radio, but the 756 was just a constant irritation to use.

The radio has a lot of innovation, and Icom is to be applauded for their bold step with the 756. However, high bench specs, a band scope and audio DSP do not in themselves make up for some backwards steps in the execution. I expected everything that went before from a 10 year old radio AND some 1995 Icom innovation. I only got the innovation.
W2EH Rating: 2000-02-22
What a nice surprise. Time Owned: unknown months.
Having finally upgraded to a newer technology than my trusty FT-990 & Timewave 59Y DSP, I can honestly say what a nice surprise the IC-756 is. The IF- DSP is the most effective that I have ever used, and the screen menu the easiest to figure out. The Yaesu FT-990 is a great radio and the Icom-756 is even better, good job ICOM!.
AB7RG Rating: 2000-02-14
The BEST Radio Ever Made!!! Time Owned: unknown months.
Well time for me to start adding some of my reviews on Amateur equipment that I either own or have owned in the past five years of being an Amateur. You name it, I've probably owned it.
If it's stayed in my shack for over two years, you know it's good! Well, I've owned my Icom IC-756 for just over two years now and simply love it! The display is by far the best to be found. It provides you with anything and everything that you want to know about the radio, and gives you something to really look at while you're operating. (How many hams DON'T stare are their rigs when using them?) Well, you can adjust the real time spectrum scope from 12.5 KHz to 100 KHz, which is very nice for checking band conditions and finding stations. Especially nice on the "quieter" bands. Hey, it even has a built in 24 hour clock right on the display too. Great for logging the UTC time of all your contacts! The built in pre-amps really do an excellent job, and the receiver even without the use of pre-amps will out-hear any HF radio that I've ever tried, and when I went to buy a new base HF rig, I tried the Yaesu 1000MP, 1000D, 920, 847. The Kenwood 950, 870, 850. And Icom's 775, along with the 756. Guess which one won out? That's right, the 756, hands down! I bought two internal filters for the radio, along with the SM-8 Mike and SP-20 Speaker. The internal speaker works quite well though. It's rated at 100% duty cycle, and runs extremely cool under any circumstances. The Twin Pass Band tuning controls are unparralled in their ability to reject QRM. The auto notch works extremely well, and quick, as does the built-in auto tuner, which will tune in any reasonably reasonate antenna 160-6 meters. The ablity to tailer the tranmitted audio on this rig is great! Broadcast to Contest! The monitor function will quickly let you hear just how good you really sound, and hear the added punch. I get FM quality audio reports on the air, and I can always tell a 756 on SSB, as they sounds so much better than any other rigs out there. I've yet to find an unhappy owner! I will upgrade to the SM-20 desk mike soon, as the current mike I'm using requires 100% anti-vox to work good, unless you're wearing headphones. The DSP in this radio is by far the best I've ever used. Incredible is the only way to even begin to describe it. The analog S-meter is a huge plus to me over bar graphs. There's so many features on this rig, that you can tailor it exactly to your liking. I rarely ever have to refer to the manual, and the front panel is laid out nicely, and is very easy to use, as is the menu system. The triple bandstacking feature, along with dual recieve (a HUGE plus), is great for DX'ing. Nothing like being able to tune around while waiting to break that DX pileup. No wasted time with this radio! My only "complaint" would have to be the RF and squelch control being the same control knob. But that's very minor. Having two antenna output jacks is also an excellent touch. So is the direct frequency entry and auto band switching. This is by far the BEST radio ever made in my opinion. I can't say enough about it! It's my main base station, and will be until Icom incorporates most of the 756's features into the 781. If you want the best, look no further than the Icom IC-756. Can I give it TEN stars?
KK7TT Rating: 1999-12-18
GREAT RADIO ------- BETTER SERVICE Time Owned: unknown months.
FORMER_WA_4RX_ROB Rating: 1999-11-11
The best thing to enter my ham shack in many years Time Owned: unknown months.
I've always been a supporter of ICOM ham gear. The IC 756 is no exception! In a word--I love this radio. All of the controls are ergonomically placed and I never even had to use the manual. Although I'm considering adding filters at a later date there really is no need to add them for the casual operator or DX'er. Features I find very handy--the auto notch (it simply works!) If there's heterodyne or QRM tuning up, etc.. just touch this button and it's gone!

I love the display. The LCD does take a minute or two to warm up and does require some initial adjustment to get it to your liking but once tailored to your individual preference it's great! It literally shows you everything you need to know about the rigs operational status right on that ATM-like screen.

But for me the most desirable feature is the real-time scope! I LOVE IT! Acutally, I can't imagine doing without it. It's great for spotting activity on the band--especially when the band is dead, it's nice to spot the subtle peaks to find at least some activity.

I'm finding myself using the 756 more than more Yaesu 1000MP(a great rig in its own right). In fact, in my ham shack, I have the 756 positioned in the center of the shelves on my desk. So it get the most use and greatest exposure. The 1000MP is to the right and is used often but not as much. I also like the standard S meter needle on the 756--a nice retro touch. I admit it.. I love to watch those jumpy meters rather than looking at an LED bar graph..maybe that's just me though.

CW is sooooo FUN on this rig also. The memory keyer lets you enter all data in 4 sub groups so all you need to do is sit back and let the rig call out CQ with your callsign. It even repeats for you depending on the time you enter.

Great rig. I bought mine used with the SM 20 base microphone all in mint condition. It sure beats the standard current retail price. I couldn't pass up the offer.

The DSP is great, monitor feature is helpful and CW pitch and CW reverse mode is a nice touch. Kudos, ICOM! This rig is staying in my ham shack indefinetly.

Any questions I can answer feel free to email me at

For DX, casual ragchewing or any other need this rig is the way to go!

I love it!