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Reviews For: Icom IC-703

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

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Review Summary For : Icom IC-703
Reviews: 181MSRP: 400.00
QRP HF and 6 Meter all mode radio. Comes standard with Antenna Tuner, DSP, Keyer, Memory Keyer, Power Conservasion system.
Product is not in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KL7JT Rating: 2022-08-11
Solid Portable Shack Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Bought IC-703+ 7 years ago. Have used dozens of times portable on a table or a rock and a few times Pedestrian Mobile. Heavier than some other QRP+ rigs, but a pleasure to use. RX as good as most larger radios, lots of speaker audio, good display with good-sized knobs and buttons. It is self contained except for the battery.

Once set up, you are in an outdoor shack. With a 9:1 UnUn, tuner will match virtually anything 40m and above and many things on 80m.

Big setup menu is OK, but the short op menus are cumbersome; could be better.

Has been reliable; I think the blown PAs sometimes reported are ESD. I always op through the UnUn, which is a DC short and thus protective. Later rev of the PA xistor has a gate protection diode.

Wish it was a pound or two lighter, but very nice radio that is fun to operate.
W4KVW Rating: 2022-02-23
Lots of QRP FUN. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have had my ICOM 703 PLUS for about two weeks & I must say I had No Idea that I could have so much FUN with such Low Power.I usually run QRO here at home & I Love doing that as well.I have been using it with my Mosley TA-53M but still it's far less than the ICOM 7600 & ICOM PW-1 buy leaps & bounds.I have worked all over the United States,South America,Bermuda,& even Germany & most every signal report has been a 5-9 report.I even busted a pileup into Germany so I'm very pleased.It's got a great receiver & the transmitted audio reports have been very good with the stock hand microphone & the ICOM SM-8 desk microphone attached.I prefer it over all other QRP radios that I have ever seen including the New ICOM 705 which has No built in antenna tuner which is a Big extra cost for the New tuner made for it which greatly increases the price. I don't have any need for a VHF/UHF radio since I already own a lot of those so having those bands is not a Plus at all.I also do NOT have Any use for ANY radio with a Touch Screen.That's enough to make me never own one no matter what brand or model at any price that it is.I'll take my ICOM 703 PLUS over all of the rest hands down.If I found another one at the price I paid for this one I'd buy it as well.If you can find yourself one I'd suggest that you buy it before someone else gets it because it's a WINNER.Go to the ICOM America website & read the specs on this great little transceiver & get yourself one really soon.
WB0FDJ Rating: 2022-01-17
A great QRP radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I last updated in 2010. I've had the radio going on 13 years now. I've logged a lot of hours on this little guy and it's been completely reliable. Occasionally I'll put it on the shelf to use some of my other radios but every time I get it back out it surprises me. This radio has a lot going for it. With the 500 Hz filter it's a very nice CW machine. Not a big SSB user but I've always gotten decent comments on audio. It's great for WSPR and QRP digi. If you go through the menus you'll find a lot of useful "stuff": split, A/B VFO, filter, NB, memories, AGC, ANF, DNR, simple band scope and a SWR sweep function. The auto tuner is excellent. If I had to get rid of my equipment, this is the one radio I'd keep. Not because it's earth shaking, but because it's so reliable and competent.

Earlier 5-star review posted by WB0FDJ on 2009-09-17

Researched this purchase for a long time. I've been an FT-817 owner now for several years and have no complaints but really want something that will actually serve as my "main" radio. Two things helped me, the ARRL review of the newer 703plus, which was complimentary, and looking at the performance numbers. Check out the two tone third order IMD results: 74 without preamp. Not a K3 or Orion but very respectable compared to many other QRP radios. (817 is 62). So thats what the labs says...

The radio itself has enough features to make it attractive to diehard QRPers who consider such things as RIT a luxury. The DSP is useful and most effective if kept on the lighter settings. A CW filter, at the least, is a requirement. I got mine through W4RT and went ahead with the one board, 2 filter deal. While I hate menus the Icom menu on this rig has at least been thought out. It has all the "usual" stuff, RIT, bandpass, built in keyer, etc. It has excellent full break in and this comes from a Ten Tec man!

Overall it's all about how it drives when you put the phones on your ears and turn it on. Nice sound, even without DSP. Easier to listen to for long periods that my 817. Large display. All the buttons easily accessible with one hand. With the 500 hz filter and a little DSP it sounds as nice for copy as rigs costing twice as much. The additional SSB filter, which replaces the Murata ceramic filter, give clean crisp reception (not enough SSB QSO's yet to comment on Xmit). Overall the actual experience of the rig matches the labs numbers. It's a great buy. And ask any QRPer, 10 watts is plenty of power. Oh; first QSO.....W1AW. A good omen.
KG4LLQ Rating: 2022-01-07
Outstanding Rig Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've owned my 703 for over 10 years. It is my most favorite radio, and I have many. My 703 is from the original series - no 6 meter. I operate mostly CW & have the W4RT 500 Hz filter installed. This is essential for any CW operator. I had one problem with the 703 about 5 years ago: the output dropped to about 2 watts. I sent it to my favorite Icom repairman near Seattle WA. He fixed it, up-graded the radio, tuned it up and sent it back. It's been operating FB ever since. I take my 703 on outings in the spring, summer & fall. I carry it and my assortment of antenna, battery, key, cable, etc. in a back pack and simply 'get 'er done'. I set the power to 5 watts, turn-off the back-light and put the LEDs on "dim". I use a 7.5 amp-hour battery and have never run-out of juice. She's a real performer. I'd recommend the 703 over any similar rig. It's very unfortunate Icom chose to discontinue this nice little radio.

Earlier 5-star review posted by KG4LLQ on 2006-11-28

My 703 does NOT have the 6 meter capability. BUT, it's a great little QRP rig. I operate mine on battery power exclusively. I connect it to a 7aH AGM battery & it'll operate for several days prior to needing the battery to be charged. I mostly operate the 703 in the CW mode. My antenna's a 16 ft high "Flag Pole" vertical & the internal tuner will even tune it on 40 meters! Don't ask how! My signal does get out. I bought a Radio Shack 10 meter vertical which screws into the 703's antenna connector. I connect about 20 ft of counterpoise and it will give 10 meters a true workout! Great for portable/battery operation.
VE3SIF Rating: 2021-07-28
great rig Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I agree with all the positive comments posted here. It's a great radio, nice receiver, and fantastic atu. The atu tunes my random 58' wire (with a 9:1 unun) to all bands except 160. Since it remembers, I can hop between bands without re-tuning (unlike my 7300 with an external ldg tuner).

For cw, it needs a filter. Mine didn't come with one so I looked for advice on which one to get: the 500 Hz (fl-52a) or the 250 Hz (fl-53a). I opted for the 500 Hz. It's great for regular operating and I'm happy to have it. For contesting, however, it's not enough. At least, not the larger contests. I have to work the edges. In hindsight, I would have installed the 250 Hz filter. I hope this helps someone trying to decide between filters since you can only choose one.

Here's a demo of the filter:

It's a radio I keep coming back to again and again and I'm very happy I found one. It's my main QRP rig at home.
IK2QBA Rating: 2019-01-04
WONDERFUL RADIO !! (Radio Meravigliosa) Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I had in the past an ICOM IC 706 MKIIG but I did not know that the low power version ICOM IC 703 existed. One day I saw a used one and I immediately wanted to take it to see this radio unknown to me. What a pity not to have known her before !! An excellent radio from all points of view.
I put a magnetic base on the roof of the machine with a MFJ-1979 telescopic stylus. I connect the radio and I transmit it in 2 minutes. The radio tuner allows me to broadcast anywhere and I make connections with 8 watts that are incredible. For me it is a wonderful radio I love her as much as I love my YAESU FT 817.
If you find one it may cost dear but take it !!!!!


Ho avuto in passato un ICOM IC 706 MKIIG ma non sapevo che esistesse la versione bassa potenza ICOM IC 703. Un giorno ne ho visto un in vendita usato e ho voluto subito prenderlo per vedre questa radio per me sconosciuta. Che peccato non averla conosciuta prima !! Una radio eccellente sotto tutti i punti di vista.
Metto sul tetto della macchina un base magnetica con uno stilo telescopico MFJ-1979 collego la radio e trasmetto in 2 minuti sono pronto. L'accordatore della radio mi permette di tramettere ovunque e faccio dei collegamenti con 8 watt che sono incredibili. Per me è una radio stupenda la amo tanto quanto amo il mio YAESU FT 817.
Se ne trovi una forse costerà cara ma prendila !!!!!
SP9HZX Rating: 2018-07-20
Good small trx Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Perfect radio for mobile,portable and base operation.Very good receiver,audio and ATU
Extremely easy to operate.
I really enjoy using it.

OM2TW Rating: 2016-09-27
Great but! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I own this radio since 2012, mostly using for SOTA activities. It's great in their category. I made some mods, W4RT CW and SSB filter replacement helps a lot. The biggest weakness is blow-bay of the filters. The solution is very simple. You have to replace MA77 diodes with BAR64-03W (diodes D1303, D1305, D1307, D1309, D1311, D1313, D1315 and D1317). It's a remarkable improvement in curing the if-filter blow-by.
KT4NR Rating: 2016-04-07
Pretty good radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had the 703+ for over 8 years, taking it out now and then to play. Majority of use is in the field but, for a time not long ago, it was my home station with a Buddipole on my townhouse deck. I've used this on CW, SSB and PSK. I have always had good reports on the quality. Having the tuner is a great feature for that quick tweak. It is not a power pig and has a very sensitive receiver. It'd be nice to have 2/440 all mode (like the 817) but I've not really run into a situation I needed those bands QRP portable yet.

Overall, I really enjoy using the radio but, like its big brother the 706 series, I have issues with one aspect.

My biggest nitpick is the menus. I just never seemed to conquer them. It may be me but I can pick up a Kenwood or Yaesu HT or mobile after a long period of not using it and figure it out, without using the manual, within a few minutes. I break this out and I am completely lost. The structure and methodology for the menu system doesn't jive. It's not a fatal flaw, just one that precludes a perfect 5.

I've never had equipment failures but I also have not used it more than a couple hours a month here and there. I do have the Icom battery, the extension kit and the backpack. (I think the backpack was made for kids. No way it fits comfortably though it stores the rig nice.)I also did install a 500 Hz CW filter which was nice. It would be nice to have the ability for two filters but space and other considerations for a field portable radio preclude this and I understand that.

External to the rig I have a Heathkit QRP tuner that handles endfed wires and twinlead feedlines. Its a bit smaller than the radio and only handles 10w max.

If you are remotely interested in portable work for SOTA, NPOTA, EMCOM, or just the odd picnic, get one and stash it away. You'll enjoy using it just about anywhere.
G4CIB Rating: 2016-02-27
An All Time Classic Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought this rig new some 8 years ago after agonising whether to go for an FT817 instead. The internal antenna matching unit swung it for me, also the larger display and less fiddly controls. OK so no 2m or 70cm but I can live with that. This rig has accompanied me on many /P outings and has earned its keep many times over. I have never regretted buying this rig.