Manager - NA4M
Manager Notes

Reviews For: ICOM IC-701

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-701
Reviews: 17MSRP: 1600 (when new per April '79 QST
Freq Range 10-160m: Mode SSB/CW/RTTY: RF PWR 100W:
Product is not in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KC3NHE Rating: 2021-12-05
What a workhorse Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have a 701 that sits on the shelf as a backup for when my “real” rigs decide to be stupid. Truth is it needs to stay on the desk.

This thing is an absolute workhorse. I’ve abused this rig riding it hard and put away wet and yet it keeps on giving. I strung a new 132’ EFHW today and used the 701 to make a half dozen POTA contacts with solid 57-59 reports.

As others said if you can hear it you can work it, the receiver is a gem and rivals the Mark V that I have. If it’s in working order with a match power supply go for it. I’ve hit Kuwait and Hawaii twice in the last year on mine.
WB2FQI Rating: 2020-10-28
Great rig Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Bought the IC 701 at an real estate auction great -------but is queerky at first ......needs to warm up before it gets stable..may be a bad soldering joint .otherwise works great for a $100 buy
KA0JQF Rating: 2019-06-27
A solid workhorse and great value Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought my '701 five or six years back, as a quick and inexpensive shack filler. At that time, my main radios were out of commission, and I had the hankering to get back on HF. The '701 system came with the power supply and stock electret desk mic; I added the keypad frequency controller later, for fun (looks cool, marginally useful). Right away the radio impressed with its sensitivity and transmit audio. Most of the time, if I can hear it, I can work it with the '701. Not bad for sub-$200.

Even though there's now three or four other HF radios on hand here, the '701 is the one I usually turn on first for a quick spin around the band late at night. It's reasonably sensitive, the tuning knob is nicely weighted for a spin, the bandpass tuning is effective and the noise blanker works well in a variety of conditions. The speech processor on-board is effective and is something I leave on. Character? The receiver's noise floor's a bit high as compared to others, but I'll eventually get around to upgrading the front end as the British reviewer has done with his. The 100 Hz tuning steps are occasionally bothersome, but those instances are rare.

I've had no issues with the rotary relay (I've picked up a spare unit should it become an issue), and the board feedthrough repairs were done by ICOM early on in this radio's life. In spite of its reputation, the IC-701 has done well for me.
DJ7ST Rating: 2018-04-28
Wonderful rig Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I owned my first IC701 in 1980 and it cost a lot of money.
Used it 3 or 4 years an than I bought the IC720A,the TRX
with the klack,klack,klack when you change the band.
Today I get an IC701 40 years old and 20 years not in use.
Put it on a power supply,start carefully with 10 volts and after five minutes and 14 volts the rig runs fine.
I test the rig the whole night on 40 meters.
There was so much fun and I get fine rapports from all over
Europe an South America.
I was so happy with this rig like as 40 years ago.
VK5GI Rating: 2017-03-01
What a relief...! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Next year, 2018, my IC-701 will be 40 years old. It is looking a bit battered, but then, so do I. It puts out about 80 to 90 watts, simply and with no fuss, and does what it was intended to do - no more, no less. AND THERE ARE NO MENUS......what a relief! It is just a good old rig, which keeps on working. The 701 was a the first of the all solid-state rigs and was way ahead of it's time, its competitors being the hybrid offerings of Yaesu and Kenwood. Ok, they were good rigs, too (most of them) but the 701 was lighter and didn't require tuning and loading! Anyhow, mine is a goodie, and not for sale!
KE5IKC Rating: 2010-06-08
Mine has been good to me.. Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I purchased my 701 with the Icom power supply and mike and have had nothing but great reports. No problems whatsoever. Simple operation, great receive and it looks impressive. Grounded pin 14 on the accessory jack and I'm able to transmit on MARS net. I only use my other rigs when I have to. This rig feels good, forgives bad SWR and it's been solid for me.
G4TCB Rating: 2009-12-15
great old rig Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I bought the rig at the local rally, I really liked the look of the thing. It came with the remote control unit and PSU, sold as faulty, so the price was right. The fault described was band change switch fault. On getting the unit home and checking this section, I was a bit concerned, wondering if I had just bought a load of scrap. On venturing inside I noticed the switch wasn't rocket science. and on extracting it I noticed the input wire wasn't actually soldered. I stripped,cleaned and lubricated it, then installed it correctly this time. Result: rig now working as original spec. Next job was to replace the front end mosfets with BF988 and J310. This produced vast sensitivity improvement, the noise floor was lowered by swapping the front end switching diodes for BAT85 shottky low noise ones, and the first mixer diodes with HSMS-2801
microwave devices. The result was stunning, noise floor is exceedingly low now. Earlier reports on this rig described the synthesiser as having phase noise. It may have, but was swamped with diode noise. To improve audio quality, I swapped the 0.1Uf capacitor in the standard mic, with a 1Uf at the output of the electret capsule. Don't be put off this superb rig by the earlier reports, even if the band switch was unfixable, 6 small relays could be used instead. If you see one for sale grab it, It won't be mine, I'm keeping this one. As far as the LSI chips going pop, what 35+ year old rig can you get LSI chips for?. Pete Holland G4TCB.
KI6IUJ Rating: 2009-12-09
Oldie But Goodie Time Owned: more than 12 months.
With over 40 years of amateur radio experience I've had many great radios. If your looking for a high quality HF rig that will blow many of the modern day HF transceivers away when working crowded band conditions and weak signals, the IC-701 will amaze you. Yes, it's a no-frills rig and does not have all the bells & whistles...Nor does it have the $1500+ price tag. It does however get the job done very well.

Have a look at the Sherwood Engineering - receiver test data website and you'll see the Icom IC-701 receiver compares favorably and actually surpasses many of today's hi-dollar rigs. These rigs have crisp / clear sound with excellent selectivity / sensitivity. If you can't find the amplified Icom SM2 desk mic, an amplified D-104 turned way down works great. I get on-air audio compliments using both mics, with a slight edge going to the D-104.

These radios feature a large easy to read multi-function meter with a big bight LED Frequency display and well thought out controls making this 701 a real joy to operate. Couple that with a rock solid look and feel and it's easy to see why these radios sold for over $1600 back in the late 70's.

The IC-701 was built when Icom was just entering the US amateur market and this was there Flagship HF radio. They poured everything they had into the IC-701 HF and matching IC-211 VHF radio and it shows! The quality of these late 70's transceivers are unequaled today. These things are built like a tank.

I have been servicing, repairing and restoring electronics professionally for over 30 years. During this time I have had many early Icom products on my bench. I have read most of the reviews above prompting me to respond to some not quite so accurate statements.

First off, parts availability for these rigs is not a problem. Unlike modern day radios, these rigs were constructed using discrete components (individual: transistors, resistors, caps and common ICs). Other than the Icom PLL chip I can't think of anything making the IC-701 unserviceable. Even then, the PLL chip can be found in a parts rig. This makes servicing these rigs a technicians dream as most of us have over half of the parts in stock.

Second, yes some early Icoms do suffer from the circuit board feed-thru / solder issues. Kenwood and Yaesu also have been plagued with solder related issues as well. Any competent tech can easily correct these well documented problem areas.

Next I would like to point out that 90% of the problems I have seen on the IC-701 were created by the user and no fault of the design.

Bottom line, use common sense when buying any older equipment. If the seller states the rig is in good working order and will stand behind it, go for it. If the rig is untested spend accordingly, these rigs are quite serviceable.
73-de Gregg KI6IUJ
N3WXW Rating: 2008-07-02
FUN OLD RADIO Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This is a good cw radio stock out of the box. What I found with my 701 is it must be operated with the matching power supply it has a higher voltage than other power supplys. Once I switched to the Ic-701PS. The radio worked like a charm! A good old radio. Do not spend too much money on one, their isn't any parts support for these old radios. $250.00 is more than enough with a power supply. If it is more than that price, walk away. Their are plenty out on the web for sale. No need to spend too much money. Rember it could be a throw away radio if band switch fails. Or at leat you will have to buy a parts radio..( I did buy a cheap parts radio because I have a 720a also ).
I also have a tip . If one has been not powered up for a long time. the PLL will get stuck on 40 meters . Just leave it on for a while do not switch bands. Then turn the radio back off for a bout 1/2 hour then turn it back on it will reset.
have fun !

73 de Ed
KD7CAO Rating: 2007-03-13
Great EMCOM Rig Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have an IC-701 that was given to me by the widow of an SK friend. It works flawlessly and has been used on numerous Field Day and EMCOM events. With 200 Watts of Kick it can make a difference compared to some of the IC-706MKIIG that others show up with. Most of them like my rig because it is large enough to operate and small enough to be portable. If I could afford another radio I would probably get a new unit but, mine has had all of the service performed at the Icom Service Center in Bellevue, WA (I am from Washington.) All issues have been corrected. The only problem I have is that I need a power cable for battery operation. The connector is cheap the contacts for the connector however very expensive!