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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
K0FTC Rating: 2008-01-19
QSK problem Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have a new IC-703+ and I have to verify what W9AC has said in his review. Operating full QSK I received the following signal reports, "terrible" "unbearable" and the one that hurt the most "disgusting". Those long words pounded out in CW for the world to hear. Not one contact on full QSK that didn't tell me I had a bad signal. The frustrating thing is that you can't hear how bad it is on your own headset, another station has to tell you how bad your signal really is. Two CW operators allowed me to go from full QSK to semi during the same QSO. One said much improved, the other said the signal was clear. My experience with the radio in semi QSK was great. 10 watts was netting me 579's from all kinds of places US. I would also say that it was very evident that had I kept the radio, a CW filter would have been a must. I like ICOM radio's, and will replace this one with another, but it won't be a 703. For all those folks who have great reports, I think it great that you've had good experiences with yours, this is just my personal experience with this one out of the box. So it is headed back to the company I bought it from for an exchange for another ICOM.
2E0TZM Rating: 2007-10-03
Top radio Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I bought this as my 1st radio after i passed my m3 and made many good contacts on it with a half size g5 in the loft.
Nice sounding on receive none of the harsh sound like on my 857, also found it very easy to use.
Used on ssb mainly 20m.
Changed to 857 when passed my 2e dont like the radio as much.
Got to be worth a 5 out of 5.
WA6MOW Rating: 2007-08-31
Great rig, beware of EBay sellers. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
OK, here we go. I have owned five 703's. Icom sold a batch of 703's called refurbished. There is a lot that goes into a 703, and if you get a bad one, you are in for grief. Keep in mind that the refurbs had intermittent problems, very difficult to trouble shoot. I recently bought two 703's off of EBay sellers and both were lemons. I had two flawless units that I sold and wish I had them back. Only buy from reputable sellers who will provide some kind of warranty. This is a wonderful rig, with very low current drain, and great performance.
AE4TO Rating: 2007-08-03
Excellent qrp radio Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I being having a lot of fun with this radio. I performed the bias adjustment and the keyer grounding and never had any problems with this radio.It is sensitive, small, light, the tunner works very fast. The receiver seems to be better than my 706.
I use it mainly in cw and the keyer is good, makes some noise but is the perfect radio to take to the beach, park, vacation. I am going to add a small linnear for those times when 10 watts is not enough. Over all a very practical radio. Icom does it again...AE4TO
K4EQ Rating: 2007-08-03
No Problem Here Time Owned: more than 12 months.
After reading W9AC's reviews, I just had to respond. I'm very sorry he's having the keying problems with his 703, but I don't believe it is fair to characterize 703s in general with having this problem. It may, indeed, exist elsewhere, but I've never heard one sound like that. Mine definitely does not have this problem. I have heard my signal many times and I have received excellent reports from others. BTW, my 703 is not the plus model and I have had it nearly three years now. --Dale, K4EQ
FP5CJ Rating: 2007-08-02
best back up cheapest RIG Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Had three units ! Sold one, and almost regret to have done that !So,well, nothing else to add, I guess!!!..(:-)
NG9D Rating: 2007-08-02
Awesome Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
After using the IC-703 for another four months, I would like to report that it is a great little rig. Absolutely no problems, and most importantly I am getting great signal reports using simple wire antennas. This review applies to CW mode only, although I did make one phone contact (80m AM) just to make sure the microphone supplied with the rig actually worked.

W9AC Rating: 2007-08-02
Needs Improvement Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
As a follow-up, this is a design issue, pervasive with all 703/703+ units I hear on the air -- it is not isolated to my 703+. Let me emphasize that the radio does get warm to the touch but it is not excessive -- it's just not nearly as energy conservative as some other QRP transceivers. But in all fairness to the 703+ there's a lot of complexity in the radio to generate some heat, including DSP.

Listen to the keying on a separate receiver, ensure adequate front end attenuation and that the NB is off, then compare the QSK v. semi-break-in CW. This does not manifest in the headphones; it is an on-the-air problem.

At first, it appears that the "dit shortening" problem can be corrected by engaging added compensation time from an external keyer. This does in fact correct the dit shortening issue. However, the root QSK issue is that the synthesizer becomes destabilized during T/R transitions -- and unlike other transceivers, the synthesizer in the 703+ cannot stabilize fast enough when quickly keyed as in the case of CW QSK. The result is a slight chirp that is exacerbated with dit shortening. The QST reviewer definitely did not listen to his own transmitted signal when writing his product review.

If QSK is of no concern, then the 703+ is a perfectly adequate CW/SSB radio. But if you value QSK -- as well as your reputation on the air -- steer clear of this one.
K8DXX Rating: 2007-05-29
Prefer Over 706... Possible? Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have the 160-10 meter (only) version and am very pleased. Somehow, the receiver seems quieter than my (old) '706 MKII. DSP NR set to "4" takes care of most of the local power line QRN

My '703 has been used extensively in two locations:

(1)On my Lightning, 19 foot sailboat. Through a home made balun with one side to the rigging and the other to the centerboard, we made many contacts on 40 - 17. For some reason, 40 seemed the easiest. The tuner worked great.

(2)In the backyard, again using the tuner to a DK9SQ portable loop. As long as the band(s) were open, contacts were available.

For power, I use a 4.5 amp hour pack of NiMH C cells. Voltage starts around 13.8 and has dropped as low as 12 after an 8 hour run. Still, both transmitter and tuner operate as expected.

At $400 new, there's nothing to dislike!
G0RIF Rating: 2007-05-21
I'm loving it! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.

I've been in possession of my HF only IC-703 for 3 days now and I'm already smitten with the thing!

I got the rig with a view to operating while on vacation from apartments & hotel rooms so battery issues and current drawn weren't really considerations. My primary requirement was for a small rig with multi-band capability (built in auto tuner is a REAL plus in that regard) and modest power output to limit size of power supply required. My unit has the DSP option fitted which works well and is a definite nice to have.

The look and feel of the unit is to my mind that of a quality bit of kit. I'm used to larger format "button/knob for every function" type transceivers (I have JST-245, IC-740, FT-901D towering over the 703) so the menu system was initially a little "different" but having overcome that I'm impressed with how easy the rig is to use once you get a few of the basic settings configured to your liking. The receiver is very good and the DSP works well, however, on a crowded band with lots of strong signals the narrow filter options do look attractive.

I have only used the rig on SSB this past weekend and I have limited it to max 5 watts output. With mic gain set to 4 and compressor on (level 5) and using the stock microphone my attic mounted zig-zagging 20m dipole got me 59 reports from stations across Europe. Working a station close to the Austria/Slovenia border he suggested a 1 watt test - this yielded a 56 report. It should be noted that the station in question did have a 5 element monoband yagi his end but I was still pleased with the 56 report.

All things considered I have to rate this radio a 5 - in it's intended market it represents very good value and offers great performance from a small package. The built in tuner (which tunes VERY quickly and seems to itself work very well) is a huge plus! I seem to have got bitten by the QRP bug as a result of this purchase and I look forward to seeing what I can do on CW over the coming months.

If you're thinking of getting one of these radios, stop thinking about it - get one!

73, Dean - G0RIF