Manager - NA4M
Manager Notes

Reviews For: Icom IC-703

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

eMail Subscription

Registered users are allowed to subscribe to specific review topics and receive eMail notifications when new reviews are posted.
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
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
G1HQK Rating: 2011-03-29
Love it! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This is a wonderful little radio, I have an 817 also but this knocks spots of it for ease of use, the bigger display is much nicer on the eye. The Rx is very good.

I use this for HF airband and SW listening, very nice tone. DSP and If shift help with the noise, my only little gripe is the range of the ATU, mine will not touch my vertical on some bands, but then I have an external ATU for those so no real problem, comes in useful when /P or /M.

Have worked or heard all around the globe on this little beauty, with either a vertical or end fed dipole connected, nothing fancy.

Considered selling it, changed my mind after I had another play!
K4AXF Rating: 2011-03-02
THE BEST! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had my IC-703 Plus for 18 months now. Every rig has its plusses and minuses, but having used Argonaut V, Elecraft K1 & K2, and some older QRP rigs, I have hung onto this rig the longest. It's just a great, do-it-all rig.

I especially like how the antenna tuner memorizes settings for all my favorite frequencies - no tuneup needed.

The absence of keypad frequency entry doesn't bother me a bit as I have loaded every QRP frequency (new and old) for every band plus favorite SSB channels on every band into memories. That makes for real quick frequency/band hop.

I also like the quick split function for qrp fox hunts. Find the fox, hit the quick split and I'm automatically transmitting up 1 kHz. The XFC then lets me move my transmit around the pileup. Works just as well for DXing.

Yes, the menus can be awkward at times but with practice, it's easy to navigate the menu system.

In my 703, I've used both the W4RT 500 Hz filter and the Inrad 250 Hz filter and both work great. I found that I prefer the narrower bandwidth; so, that's what's in my 703 now.

I operate 99% CW. I don't use the full QSK as it shortens dits noticeably; when I need fast break, I just shorten semi-breakin delay setting down to 50. I love using the CW keyer memories for canned CQ messages. I have one set for de K4AXF/QRP after my callsign and one with K4AXF/QRPp and one just plain K4AXF for when I'm running the full gallon (10-watts).

Occasionally I check into my regular SSB net using the 706 instead of my 100-watt rig and it gets good signal reports from the net control and other members of the net.

And one other thing: The IC-703 is a really, really good at AM broadcast reception. It's a pretty darn good SWL receiver, too. The internal speaker is OK; but, with an inexpensive Sony bookshelf speaker hooked up, it makes for surprisingly good hi-fi listening.

Earlier 5-star review posted by K4AXF on 2011-02-05

I've owned a number of QRP transceivers (K1, K2, Wilderness Sierra, Argonaut 509, Argo 515, Argo 516, TS-130v) and the IC-703 Plus is the one I like the best.

Features I like:

Once you've used the rig a while, the antenna tuner remembers the settings and goes to them when you select a frequency. The tuner is fully integrated - no pressing the tune button.

Also, once you've set the rig up and have used it for a while, the menu system is quite easy to navigate.

The memory keyer is easy to set up and use and is very handy.

The power and SWR meter scales read very accurately.

The bandpass tuning, RIT, A/B VFOs, Split, and Quick Split functions all work excellently.

I've loaded in all the QRP calling frequencies for each band into memories, making it very easy to navigate up and down the bands and I don't miss direct keypad frequency entry at all.

Con. There is only one slot for a CW filter; so you have to make a choice - narrow or wide.

Con. To enter the set-and-forget menu, one must turn the radio off, then back on while holding in the LOCK button. Most settings need not be visited again; but, it is inconvenient when you do need to change one.

Con. The 13.8 v power connection is via a "pigtail" on the back of the radio. I replaced this arrangement with a connector so as not to have a wire dangling off the back of the radio (something I absolutely can't stand).

IMHO this is possibly the best-integrated transceiver ever.
9A7PJT Rating: 2010-11-07
Very nice rig Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Have 703+ 6 months , perfect radio !
Have also 817 & FT7 QRP rig but this radio is much , much better !
W1WOW Rating: 2010-09-06
A great QRP rig with the most features out there... Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've been using the ICOM 703+ for about two weeks now. The receiver is wonderful - quiet. At 10 watts the 703+ runs cool. Nothing like the other 706s... The internal tuner is probably the biggest coolness of the radio. It works well but is not a LDG or SGC tuner. It will tune to trim but will not take a random length dipole and make it work on even two bands in my experience. This is my reason for 4 stars instead of 5. If the tuner was a "smartuner" it would be just perfect in my book. All in all a very nice radio which is easy to lug with very little power requirements!
K3GM Rating: 2010-08-14
Love/Hate relationship Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This little radio is a sweet QRP rig, but I have paid dearly to have known it. My first '703+ arrived DOA. The dealer replaced it, and all appeared fine. After six years of ownership, and with a new Elecraft K3 sitting on the desk, I decided to part with it. It was quickly sold, packed and sent to a ham across the US. Ater it arrived, I was almost immediately contacted by the distressed buyer informing me that the rig was putting out less than half of its rated power. I told him to box it up and send it back to me. I refunded his purchase price as well as the shipping costs both ways. After receiving it back, I immediately boxed it up and sent back across to the Icom shop in Washington where the tech discovered a defective bandpass filter. Without any replacement part available in the US, I waited nearly 10 weeks for a new part to arrive, and missed a window to sell it at Dayton by a couple of days. So after the PayPal charge, 60 dollars in shipping costs, 4 cross continental voyages, and a 160 dollar Icom repair bill, the little rig is back on my desk. It's working better than ever now with the new bandpass filter, and the bias mod. I can only see this as fate wants me to own this radio. It's redundant, I really don't need it, but it's a fun little radio, and after all of the above, I think I'll hold onto her for a little while.

Earlier 2-star review posted by K3GM on 2004-02-11

Purchased a IC-703+ on December 26th, but just now had gotten around to installing it. Quickly realized that the final(s) were not functioning. The rig is transmitting as I can hear myself using another receiver, and I can control the power levels, but it's very, very low, probably in the milliwatt range. I have no instrumentation to accurately those suspected power levels. I pleaded my case with my local dealer, and he said "........Bring it back." so hopefully I can avoid the looong trip back to Icom.
VE7IVN Rating: 2010-07-27
Overall, A Very Good Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've had this rig for a few days now and my first impressions are that this is a very capable rig for its intended purpose. I picked this up because it has been discontinued and wanted to get one while they were still available.

Things I like about the radio:

Easy to operate...menus no more difficult to master than any of the new compact rigs.

Very effective built in tuner that matches just about anything I've thrown at it. Even 160 meters on a regular size G5RV

Excellent transmit audio according to on air reports. Good receive audio but see things I don't like.

Things I don't like:

Mic connector on bottom of radio...who's the moron that thought this would be a good idea?

Front audio jack can be used for phones or speaker but, in order to switch from one to the other, you must shut off the rig, remove the front panel and throw a little slide switch. On the FT-817, this is on the side of the radio along with the mic connector. Now, you may rightly ask, why not use the rear speaker jack for an external speaker and the front one for phones. Very logical except...the rear speaker jack outputs VERY distorted audio. This is a known problem according to various articles I've found yet was never addressed by Icom. My rig is a very late serial number so this should have been fixed. Apparently, there is a mod to fix this but it shouldn't be necessary on a new radio that has been out for a number of years.

Installing an optional filter is a needlessly complicated procedure. On the FT-817 all you need to do is plug in the filter and change a menu setting and you're ready to go. On the '703, you must unplug 2 coax assemblies, remove the main board, affix the filter with nuts and lockwashers, solder the leads and put everything back together again. Not too difficult for a competent ham but again, the '817 is WAY easier.

Other than those few niggles, this is a very good rig in all other respects and I would definitely recommend it based on my experience so far. The FT-817 is more portable but the IC-703 has that great auto tuner so do your homework if you're considering a rig of this type. They are both great radios and I'll be keeping this 703
K9ZBM Rating: 2010-03-14
Good Portable Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had this radio for over 2 1/2 years. My first modification was to install an INRAD 400 Hz CW filter, a necessary option for CW, and it works very well. I also like the internal keyer for CW operation. The passband tuning is very helpful and usable.

I had an initial problem with the PA and some diodes, causing the transmitter to fail. The ICOM repair center in Michigan did an excellent job of repairing the radio. The receive is excellent. There is no adjustment for the AGC, and the AGC action is fine with me. The internal antenna tuner seems to handle any antenna that is close to resonance. My OHR WM-2 indicates that the transmitter will put out a full 10 watts. The transmitter can be adjusted down to less than 1 watt.

My two other QRP radios use PIN diodes for T-R switching. With a radio of this price class, I fail to understand why ICOM uses a relay for T-R switching. The clatter when operating CW is annoying, but tolerable. PIN diode switching would make this radio much more in character.

Audio reports when operating SSB are very good. The supplied hand mike can be used to send slow CW, too.

I really appreciate the miserly current requirements on receive (~500mA@9.6VDC). In the event of commercial power failure, I can count on my emergency battery power to last for some time while using this radio.

Yes, the internal menu is a bit cumbersome. It can be learned with time.

Though a bit noisy on CW, this is a good radio for portable/emergency operation.

KC7YRA Rating: 2010-01-28
PRetty neat rig, just not for me. Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I liked this rig, but not enough to keep it.

I purchased it used so that I could have a radio that I could take hiking and 4 wheeling with me.

When I got the rig, I was very impressed by how well it worked. The receiver was great, the auto tuner was PERFECT, and it had a great display that was easy to read.

The Achilles heel of this rig (IMO) was the menu system. For the life of me, I could not figure out the menus. I have had every ill conceived radio for the past 10 years. I have struggled with learning the menu system of the ft-100d. But I could NOT get the 703's menu system learned. No matter how hard I tried.

I eventually sold the rig to another ham. Not only was it difficult to use due to menus, it was not really what I wanted in terms of backpacking friendliness (Not Icom's fault so I did not ding them for that).

Great little QRP rig, but not my taste. The only reason I gave it a 4 was because of the menus. And it may not be a problem for others.
W9EWW Rating: 2010-01-28
Fantastic rig! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Had this beauty for almost 6 months and continue to be impressed every time I turn it on. The receiver is magnificant on all bands 'without' any optional filters. I operate primarily on 75 SSB & 80 meter CW. The 10 watts on SSB enable me to consistently check into Wisconsin SSB nets each time without relays. That's impressive, especially with the band condx this winter. Have built & use a K1 and KX1, both excellent rigs, but the RX of the 703+ is supurb.

I highly recommend this radio to anyone. Good job, ICOM.
KF6NTE Rating: 2009-09-17
Outstanding Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I plugged my 703+ to a Diamond HV7A HF mobile antenna mounted on my car with a 20m coil, tuned in to 14,288Mhz and heard a japanese station calling QRZ all the way from California. With the output HF power set at 10W, I Hit the tune button, clickety-clackety, I gave my callsign a couple of times and jimminy crickets he came right back with a 59 !.
What can I say, I was amazed !.