Icom IC-706mkii Manual
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User reviews and opinions
|vtcarl||6:06am on Wednesday, September 8th, 2010|
|The silicone fittings are changeable so you can choose the right size for your ears. Bad thing about that is that they tend to fall off now and then. Not only do I like bacon, but I love the way it smells when it is cooking Inexpensive, but sound great The wire is a little thin. Not a big deal.|
|JohnBend||2:02am on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010|
|My first IEM were "Koss Spark Plug" ( 2 pairs ) and I thought they were good, but after trying EP-630 I forgot "Plugs" like a horrible nightmare.|
|PaulNudd||10:54pm on Friday, August 27th, 2010|
|Sound quality??? After reading other review I am extremely surprised at what I am listening to. Small price for big sound For $16.00, what can you say! I was quite pleased with the sound for such a small price.|
|bmerida||5:57pm on Saturday, July 31st, 2010|
|Heralded by the headphone enthusiast community as the KSC75 of ear buds. Creative EP-830 Noise Isolating Earphones Very disappointed with these earphones, i bought them off the back of very good reviews i had read.|
|Gérard||1:42pm on Monday, July 26th, 2010|
|These came with my Dell XPS 1530 and I tried them for the first time and really was impressed. These came with my Dell XPS 1530 and I tried them for the first time and really was impressed.|
|John_Sithe||8:39am on Tuesday, July 20th, 2010|
|Very good....when they work! Bought my 2nd pair of these in February. Great value, and a decent sound... Headphones Arrived quickly. Earphones work very well but no good if your lug holes are smaller than the average person.|
|Clever Anjos||4:51pm on Thursday, July 1st, 2010|
|The only issue that I have found is that the rubber ear buds can compress at times - I simply pull them back out, but it can be anoying at times.|
|fraXis||2:40am on Friday, May 28th, 2010|
|"This is my 3rd tape adapter for my iPod - first was Monster Cable, then Dynex (?) - which was the worst, and now this Sony one. "This sony cassette player with the attached ipod wire works really well. It is also easy to use.|
Comments posted on www.ps2netdrivers.net are solely the views and opinions of the people posting them and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of us.
Product Review Column from QST Magazine
July 1999 ICOM IC-706MKIIG HF/VHF/UHF Transceiver The AOR AR7000B Wide Range Communications Receiver
Copyright 1999 by the American Radio Relay League Inc. All rights reserved.
Edited by Joe Bottiglieri, AA1GW Assistant Technical Editor
ICOM IC-706MKIIG HF/VHF/UHF Transceiver
By Rick Lindquist, N1RL Senior News Editor Recently I was scanning the automobile adsa vain exercise in wishful thinking when I spotted a writeup for the latest model of my current vehicle. Some of the features of the 1999 model were exactly the ones Id often wished my car possessed. My vehicle was the first of its line, however. This got me thinking about the time I bought my first 2-meter all-mode transceiver back when I was active on the satellites. It was a fine little transceiver, and I only recently parted company with it. But I never quite got over the fact that not six months after Id bought my latest and greatest radio, the manufacturer came out with a new and improved version that incorporated all the features Id come to wish that my rig had. By now it should come as no surprise that I own an original IC-706 transceiver. We original owners have become greener with envy with each incarnation of the IC-706 line. Some have happily traded up. Since the original debuted in 1995 to the oohs and aahs of the Amateur Radio community, ICOM has continued to up the ante (but not the price) almost each succeeding year, almost like model years in the auto industry. But while the Amateur Radio industry is not like the auto industry, ICOM has distinguished itself in recent years by trumping its own aces and by correcting in subsequent models shortcomings that we have revealed during the course of our product reviews. Getting yet another look at this hugely popular model gave us the opportunity to dig a bit more deeply into the basic unit, and to see how the various enhancements over the subsequent two models have made the IC-706 a better radio. So, it is trade-in time again? Lets see what the IC-706MKIIG brings to the table.
Whats New, Pussycat?
The primary new features of the MKIIG are the addition of the 70-cm band, the inclusion of DSP, and more power50 Won 2 meters (history buffs will recall the original 706 put out 10 W on 2, the MKII 20 W). Yes, there are some other features that some users will consider significant or important, but for most folks, these are the big three. Well get to the others in due course. They are largely incremental improvements, however. DSP was an approximately $150 option in the initial MKII. Now, its standard. If for nothing other than competitive reasons, this was a wise move on ICOMs part. We
recently praised the Yaesu FT-100 for having superb DSP featuresincluding the ability to digitally tailor your transmit audio on SSBsomething you wont find on the MKIIG. The DSP features on the IC-706MKIIG are not quite as rich, but they are competent as far as they go. The DSP menu offers two primary features: noise reduction and an autonotch filter to zap heterodynes while operating SSB. The IC-706MKIIG lets you adjust the level of noise reduction you prefer. While overall noise reduction was measured in the vicinity of 10 dB, as with the FT-100 we found a bit of rolloff at the high end plus a substantial amount of frequency ripple. With the NR cranked up full tilt boogie on SSB, the digital processing noise becomes much more apparenteven annoying at times. But, it might very well be far less
With the addition of yet another band (70 cm), more power on 2 meters and the incremental improvements made with each new version of this popular transceiver, perhaps the 706 has reached its zenith. Theres not much left to improve.
annoying than the noise youre trying to reduce, so its one of those trade-offs. One characteristic where the DSP in the 706 excels is the autonotch. Lab measurements revealed a notch depth for a single tone at greater than 50 dB. This is considerably better than the 20 dB notch depth on the FT-100. Something new for FM-lovers: The MKIIG lets you set the automatic splits for repeater operation for HF, 50, 144 and 430 MHz, a real plus for repeater users. These settings are part of the initial set mode menu. This split is the one youll get when you press the DUP button in FM mode. The IC-706MKIIG knows the split direction too, depending upon the band segment. The MKIIG also includes tone scan capabilitysomething thats optional in the nearest competitor, the FT-100. The Instruction Manual is a little unclear about this, but you have to be in repeater mode and have TON enabled. The SWR Graph mode is a new and potentially useful feature that generates a little graphic representation of your SWR over a selectable range of HF or 6-meter frequencies. The menu lets you set the number of sample points to graph (3, 5, 7 or 9) and the step size between each point (10, 50, 100 or 500 kHz). The resulting graph is a set of vertical bars. The number of bars correFrom July 199 QST ARRL
Table 1 ICOM IC-706MKIIG, serial number 01674
Manufacturers Claimed Specifications Frequency coverage: Receive, 0.03-200, 400-470 MHz; transmit, 1.8-2, 3.5-4, 7-7.3, 10.1-10.15, 14-14.35, 18.068-18.168, 21-21.45, 24.89-24.99, 28-29.7, 50-54, 144-148, 430-450 MHz. Power requirement: Receive, 2.0 A; transmit, 20 A. Modes of operation: SSB, CW, AM, FM, AFSK, WFM (WFM receive only). Receiver SSB/CW sensitivity, bandwidth not specified, 10 dB S/N: 1.8-30 MHz, <0.15 V; 50-54 MHz, <0.12 V; 144-148, 430-450 MHz, <0.11 V. Measured in the ARRL Lab Receive, as specified; transmit 1.8-2, 3.5-4.1, 6.9-7.5, 9.9-10.5, 13.9-14.5, 17.9-18.5, 20.9-21.5, 24.4-25.1, 28-30, 50-54, 144-148, 430-450 MHz.
Receive, 1.4 A; transmit, 21 A. Tested at 13.8 V. As specified.
AM sensitivity, 10 dB S/N: 0.3-1.8 MHz, <13 V; 1.8-30 MHz, <2 V; 50-54,144-148, 430-450 MHz, <1 V.
FM sensitivity, 12 dB SINAD: 28-30 MHz, <0.5 V; 50-54 MHz, <0.25 V; 144-148, 430-450 MHz, <0.18 V.
Blocking dynamic range: Not specified.
Two-tone, third-order IMD dynamic range: Not specified.
Third-order intercept: Not specified.
Second-order intercept: Not specified.
Receiver Dynamic Testing Noise floor (mds), 500-Hz filter: Preamp off Preamp on 1.0 MHz 124 dBm 130 dBm 3.5 MHz 137 dBm 142 dBm 14 MHz 136 dBm 142 dBm 50 MHz 139 dBm 142 dBm 144 MHz 138 dBm 142 dBm 432 MHz 138 dBm 143 dBm 10 dB (S+N)/N, 1-kHz tone, 30% modulation: Preamp off Preamp on 1.0 MHz 3.3 V 1.7 V 3.8 MHz 0.68 V 0.44 V 50 MHz 0.25 V 0.21 V 120 MHz 0.91 V 0.39 V 144 MHz 0.68 V 0.39 V 432 MHz 0.67 V 0.37 V For 12 dB SINAD: Preamp off Preamp on 29 MHz 0.39 V 0.20 V 52 MHz 0.25 V 0.17 V 146 MHz 0.29 V 0.16 V 440 MHz 0.29 V 0.16 V Blocking dynamic range, 500-Hz filter: Preamp off Preamp on 3.5 MHz 125 dB 118 dB 14 MHz 122 dB* 120 dB* 50 MHz 116 dB* 112 dB* 144 MHz 111 dB* 101 dB* 432 MHz 109 dB* 106 dB* Two-tone, third-order IMD dynamic range, 500-Hz filter: Preamp off Preamp on 3.5 MHz 89 dB 87 dB 14 MHz 89 dB 86 dB 50 MHz 89 dB 82 dB 144 MHz 88 dB* 83 dB 432 MHz 85 dB 82 dB Preamp off Preamp on 3.5 MHz 3.4 dBm 13 dBm 14 MHz 1.3 dBm 11 dBm 50 MHz 4.9 dBm 15 dBm 144 MHz 3.0 dBm 16 dBm 432 MHz 8.7 dBm 18 dBm Preamp off, +36.4 dBm; preamp on, +38.5 dBm.
Reference Level: 0 dB PEP
4 Frequency Offset (kHz)
Figure 1Worst-case HF spectral display of the IC-706MKIIG transmitter during twotone intermodulation distortion (IMD) testing. The worst-case third-order product is approximately 30 dB below PEP output, and the worst-case fifth-order product is down approximately 33 dB. The transceiver was being operated at 100 W PEP output at 21.25 MHz.
Figure 2Worst-case VHF/UHF spectral display of the IC-706MKIIG transmitter during two-tone intermodulation distortion (IMD) testing. The worst-case third-order product is approximately 25 dB below PEP output, and the worst-case fifth-order product is down approximately 40 dB. The transceiver was being operated at 50 W PEP output at 144.2 MHz.
Figure 3CW keying waveform for the IC-706MKIIG showing the first two dits in fullbreak-in (QSK) mode using external keying. Equivalent keying speed is approximately 60 wpm. The upper trace is the actual key closure; the lower trace is the RF envelope. Horizontal divisions are 10 ms. The transceiver was being operated at 100 W output at 14.2 MHz. Note the considerable shortening of both dits.
From July 199 QST ARRL
Manufacturers Claimed Specifications
FM adjacent channel rejection: Not specified. FM two-tone, third-order IMD dynamic range: Not specified.
Measured in the ARRL Lab
20 kHz channel spacing, preamp on: 29 MHz, 66 dB; 52 MHz, 64 dB; 146 MHz, 70 dB; 440 MHz, 71 dB. 20 kHz channel spacing, preamp on: 29 MHz, 66 dB*; 52 MHz, 64 dB*; 146 MHz, 70 dB*; 440 MHz, 75 dB; 10 MHz channel spacing, preamp on: 52 MHz, 91 dB; 146 MHz, 78 dB; 440 MHz, 80 dB. S9 signal at 14.2 MHz: preamp off, 34 V; preamp on, 11 V; 52 MHz, preamp off, 14 V; preamp on, 6.6 V; 146 MHz, preamp off, 18 V, preamp on, 4.1 V; 432 MHz, preamp off, 17 V, preamp on, 5.7 V. At threshold, preamp on: SSB, 14 MHz, 1.4 V; FM, 29 MHz, 0.11 V; 52 MHz, 0.06 V; 146 MHz, 0.06 V; 440 MHz, 0.06 V. 2.1 W at 10% THD into 8. Range at -6dB points, (bandwidth): CW-N (500 Hz filter): 200-1000 Hz (800 Hz); CW-W: 182-3077 Hz (2895 Hz); USB-W: 182-3077 Hz (2895 Hz); LSB-W: 182-2667 Hz (2485 Hz); AM: 275-2860 Hz (2585 Hz). First IF rejection, 14 MHz, 120 dB; 50 MHz, 54 dB; 144 MHz, 64 dB; 432 MHz, 108 dB; image rejection,14 MHz, 112 dB; 50 MHz, 121 dB; 144 MHz, 71 dB; 432 MHz, 80 dB.
S-meter sensitivity: Not specified.
Squelch sensitivity: SSB, <5.6 V; FM, <0.3 V. Receiver audio output: 2.0 W at 10% THD into 8. IF/audio response: Not specified.
Spurious and image rejection: 1.8-30 MHz, 70 dB; 50-54 MHz, image rejection, 65 dB, IF rejection unspecified; 144-148, 430-450 MHz, IF and image rejection, 65 dB.
Transmitter Power output: HF & 50 MHz: SSB, CW, FM, 100 W AM, 40 W (high); 144 MHz, 50 W (high); AM, 20 W (high); 430 MHz, 20 W (high); AM, 8 W (high).
Transmitter Dynamic Testing HF & 50 MHz: CW, SSB, FM, typically 103 W high, <1 W low; AM typically 29 W high, <1 W low; 144 MHz: CW, SSB, FM, typically 53 W high, <1 W low; AM, typically 19 W high, <1 W low; 430 MHz: CW, SSB, FM, typically 20 W high, <1 W low; AM, typically 6 W high, <1 W low. Spurious-signal and harmonic suppression: 50 dB HF, 53 dB; 50 MHz, 67 dB; 144 MHz, 61 dB; 430 MHz, 68 dB. on HF; 60 dB on VHF & UHF. Meets FCC requirements for spectral purity. SSB carrier suppression: 40 dB. As specified. >59 dB. Expanded Product Review Report Available Undesired sideband suppression: 50 dB. As specified. >64 dB. The ARRL Laboratory offers a detailed test result report on the ICOM IC-706MKIIG that gives Third-order intermodulation distortion (IMD) products: Not specified. See Figure 1. in-depth, technical data on the transceivers perforCW keyer speed range: Not specified. 6 to 50 WPM. mance. Request the IC-706MKIIG Test Result ReCW keying characteristics: Not specified. See Figure 3. port from the ARRL Technical Department, 860594-0278; e-mail email@example.com. Members Transmit-receive turn-around time (PTT release to 50% S9 signal, 21 ms. can see this on-line on our Members Only Web site. audio output): Not specified. Receive-transmit turn-around time (tx delay): Not specified. SSB, 20 ms; FM, 210 ms. Unit is suitable for use on AMTOR. Composite transmitted noise: Not specified. See Figures 4 and 5. Bit-error rate (BER), 9600-baud: Not specified. 146 MHz: Receiver: BER at 12-dB SINAD, 2.2103; BER at 16 dB SINAD, 4.6105; BER at 50 dBm, <1.0105; transmitter: BER at 12-dB SINAD, 4.6103; BER at 12-dB SINAD + 30 dB, 2.1104. 440 MHz: Receiver: BER at 12-dB SINAD, 2.3103; BER at 16 dB SINAD, 8.4105; BER at 50 dBm, <1.0105; transmitter: BER at 12-dB SINAD, 2.8103; BER at 12-dB SINAD + 30 dB, 1.9104. Size (HWD): 22.214.171.124 inches; weight, 5.4 pounds.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all dynamic range measurements are taken at the ARRL Lab standard spacing of 20 kHz. *Measurement was noise-limited at the value indicated. Third-order intercept points were determined using S5 reference.
Reference Level: - 60 dBc/Hz Vertical Scale: dBc/Hz
sponds to the number of sample points, the height of each bar indicates the SWR at that point. This is a very neat featureespecially if youre trying to figure out where your antenna system is going wrong.
What Got Better?
One of the nice little touches on this transceiver is how the IF bandwidth icon pops up in the menu keys area as soon as you touch the IF SHIFT knob. The bandwidth narrows appropriately if you switch in a narrow filter too. Another nice touch is the backlighted buttons. Even the P.AMP/ATT, RIT/SUB and TUNER/CALL buttons are visible in darkness. When not activated, they emit a dull, orange glow. An annoying and potentially damaging problem that wed spotted in the earlier models in the IC-706 line appears to have been eliminated for the most part in the MKIIG. In From July 199 QST ARRL
Frequency Sweep: 2 to 22 kHz from Carrier
Figure 4Worst-case HF spectral display of the IC-706MKIIG transmitter output during composite-noise testing. Power output is 100 W at 14.02 MHz. The carrier, off the left edge of the plot, is not shown. This plot shows composite transmitted noise 2 to 22 kHz from the carrier.
Figure 5Worst-case VHF/UHF spectral display of the IC-706MKIIG transmitter output during composite-noise testing. Power output is 20 W at 432.02 MHz. The carrier, off the left edge of the plot, is not shown. This plot shows composite transmitted noise 2 to 22 kHz from the carrier.
the earlier incarnations, if you cut back the powersay to match the required input for an amplifierthe transmitter still would put out a very brief spike of up to full output power when the transmitter was first keyed that lasted until the ALC took hold and reined in the output to the desired level. Some users reported that amplifiers sometimes would kick off as a result. ICOM apparently was listening. The leading-edge spike on the MKIIG is much less prominent and should not cause the same sorts of problems.
The IC-706MKIIG continues the worthy tradition of being an easy-to-use and (almost as important) easy-to-mount subcompact radio. As with all the previous 706s, this versions control buttons and knobs are logically positioned and adequately spaced and sized for convenient operation. The tuning speed automatically increases with faster knob rotation and a well-designed knob spinner and a drag adjustment lever is provided. The built-in speaker in the last two iterations actually sounds pretty decent. The thermostatic control for the cooling fan, also added with the MKII model, was a welcome improvementespecially for fixed-station operation. ICOM offers a nice selection of optional IF filters. Two slots are available (up from one in the original 706), and the plug-in sockets make the filters easy to install or swap out. Unlike the competition, the radios in the 706 series only require a single quick-release separation cable for remote mounting of the control head. The head includes a connection point for the mike, and a switch on the back of the front panel allows you to use the phones jack for either headphones or an external speaker. This is a real convenience if you intend to use the radio in multiple applications. Two notable weak points present in both of the earlier units, unfortunately, have also remained unchanged in the G. From the advent of the IC-706 series, one of the things wed complained about was fact that turning on the noise blanker can impart a lot of crackling artifacts, especially on a busy band or in the presence of nearby strong signals. Yes, it does work to eliminate pulse noiseI checked it out on the engine noise of passing vessels while operating marine mobile one weekend, and it worked just fine. Only when the band started to fill up a bit later did I start hearing the characteristic crackling noiseand realize Id left the NB on. The AGC is another thing thats the same across the entire model line. It can be fast or slow (no display indication means its in the slow mode), but not off. For my tastes, the fast AGC is too fast for comfortable SSB listening, and I wasnt crazy about it for CW either. My tendency was to leave the AGC in the slow mode at all times. The AGC is accessible via the main menu.
First-time users of the IC-706MKIIG (or From July 199 QST ARRL
of any of the 706 lineage, for that matter) will encounter a bit of a learning curve getting used to all the menus. The IC-706MKIIG has not one, not two, but four menus; unfortunately, the Instruction Manual does not cover all of them in the same place. Lets take a look at the layers of menus. First, theres the M menua primary menu set that includes four sets of three choices apiece. These have not changed from the previous model. Successive quick presses of the DISP button get you to the S menu and the G menu. The S menu includes the Memo Pad, the Scan Func, the B.S.R. (bandstacking registers), and the D.S.P. functions. The G menu includes the Band Scope, an SWR Graph mode, a TX Freq readout mode, and a Memory Name mode. But wait, theres more: press and hold the DISP button and you get to the Q or Quick Set menu, which sets a variety of mode-related functions in addition to power output. There are some changes in this menu set, owing to the fact that ICOM has shifted some settings that were manual adjustments on the MKII are now menu adjustments on the MKIIG. The VOX GAIN and ANTI VOX used to be little trimpot adjustments on the side of the transceiver. Putting them into the Quick Set menu is a giant step toward greater convenience. The only trimpots on the side of the radio now are COMPression GAIN and the BEEP/SIDE Tone adjustments. To top it all off, the 706 series provides whats called an Initial Set menu. The Initial Set menu in the MKIIG contains 37 choices as opposed to 28 in the MKII, so there are some changes in the Initial Set menu from the previous model. One possibly convenient settingits the first one in this set of adjustmentsis called Mode Select. It lets you inhibit the selection of unneeded modes. This eliminates the admittedly minor annoyance of having to step through, say, RTTY, when switching modes when you have no intention of operating RTTY. Since the buttons now are backlighted on the MKIIG, the Initial Set menu provides a way to set the backlighting at either the HI or LO brightness level. The MKIIG is 9600 bps capable; you set the packet speed1200 bps or 9600 bps via the Initial Set menu. In the 9600 bps setting, the signal from the TNC passes through an internal limiter to maintain bandwidth. This brings up another new item from the previous model. The MKIIG has a new 6-pin mini-DIN DATA jack on the rear apron for packet connections to a TNC for either 1200 bps or 9600 bps operation. Something thats really handy for FM repeater ops is that the Initial Set menu on the MKIIG also lets you select a DUP offset9.999 MHzto set the standard repeater split on HF, 50, 144 and 430 MHz. You still can set a standard split that you then can retrieve at the push of a menu function button. Once enabled via the Initial Set menu, the DUP offset makes available the onetouch repeater function. As it suggests, it
allows you to set repeater operation with the push of one switch. Something new on the MKIIG, the auto repeater function, also is enabled via the Initial Set menu. This automatically activates the repeater settings (duplex direction and tone encoder on or off) when the operating frequency is within a repeater subband. This means, for example, that the duplex direction automatically will be + if youre in the 147 MHz range of 2 meters and within the repeater subband. The upside of the individual menus is that not all items are in one big menu and, as a result, are more accessible. The downside is that all menu items are not in one big menu. It can be difficult to remember which menu function is where, and the groupings are not always intuitive. In addition to other information, the convenient Operating Guide that accompanies the manual includes a Menu Switch Flow Chart that certainly is a step in the right direction to simplifying matters.
Lets do the Numbers
In performance terms, did anything important change between the MKII and the MKIIG? SSB and CW sensitivity numbers are about the same across the boardHF and VHF. The 70-cm band falls into the same ballpark as well. Blocking dynamic range was slightly betteras much as 12 dB better and not noise-limited on 3.5 MHz this time. Two-tone, third-order IMD dynamic range measurements were ever so slightly better than the previous modeland only noise-limited on 144 MHz this time, not on all bands. There was one difference. On the MKII we looked at early last year, thirdorder intercept had been in the positive numbers (preamp off) on 3.5 and 14 MHz. All third-order intercept numbers were negative on our MKIIG. AM sensitivity appeared to be significantly improved on the MKIIG we tested. On 3.5 MHz, it went from 1.0 V to 0.68 V. In the aircraft band, it went from 2.0 V to 0.91 V. FM sensitivity numbers between the MKII and the MKIIG were comparable on 50 and 144 MHz and slightly better on 10 meters.
In the two earlier IC-706 models, wed noted some limitations on the CW keying, especially when transmitting at speeds in excess of around 30 WPM using full-break-in, with or without the internal CW keyer. Our Lab measurements (see Figure 3) backed up the on-air reports wed received of clipped characters. Dits were all shortened with highspeed keying. In the semi-break-in mode, only the first dit was shortened. The on-air reports I received from my CW connoisseurs on 40 meters were not especially flattering of the IC-706MKIIG while using full-break-in and the internal keyer at or above 30 WPM or so. By the way, the IC-706MKIIG menu reads out CW
sending speed using the actual number (or a rough approximation) of words per minute. On the FT-100, you have to guess, since the number is only a relative indicator of sending speed.
Compared to the Competition
The IC-706MKIIG seemed to appear in response to the Yaesu FT-100, the first radio of the subcompact genre to offer the 70cm band and announced at Dayton Hamvention 1998. Their features and street prices are similar, but there are some differences that go beyond the merely cosmetic. Whether these will matter to you depends a lot on how you plan to use the radio. Wed strongly suggest you take a close look at the product review for the Yaesu FT-100 (see
Product Review, QST, Jun 1999) as well as our earlier reviews of the IC-706 (see Product Review, QST, Mar 1996) and the IC-706MKII (see Product Review, QST, Jan 1998). Pay especially close attention to the numbers in the respective technical data tables from our ARRL Lab testing. Some of the things we like on the IC-706MKII side: a single remoting cable that snaps to the faceplate and to the radio body; dual microphone connections; bulkhead-type SO-239 antenna jacks; and a relatively quiet cooling fan.
The Final Chapter?
Overall, this latest IC-706 incarnation is a competent transceiver for mobile or portable operation. The incremental improve-
ments in this version give rise to speculation that, with the MKIIG, ICOM has written the final chapter in this line of little transceivers. Theres not much left to improve. Manufacturer: ICOM America, 2380 116th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004, tel 425454-8155; fax: 425-454-1509; http://www. icomamerica.com. Manufacturers suggested retail price: IC-706MKIIG, $1680. Typical current street price, $1390. MB-62 mobile mounting bracket, $25; OPC-581 separation kit, $60; MB-63 front panel mounting bracket, $18; FL-100 500-Hz CW filter, $133; FL-101 270-Hz CW filter, $133; FL-103 2.8-kHz SSB filter, $123; FL-223 1.9-kHz narrow SSB filter, $105; FL-232 350-Hz RTTY/CW filter, $113; CR-502 high-stability crystal unit, $95; UT-102 voice synthesizer, $74.
The AOR AR7000B Wide Range Communications Receiver
Reviewed by Joe Bottiglieri, AA1GW Assistant Technical Editor Of all the advances that weve seen in communications equipment over the last few decades, perhaps the most noticeable changes are in control and display technology. The AOR AR7000B wide range scanning receiver uses a 3.1-inch diagonally measured rectangular color LCD display similar to those used in handheld television receiversto provide a new level of flexibility in alphanumeric text and graphics display. All front panel controls, with the exception of the main tuning dial, are push buttons. An infrared remote control is included, and allows duplicate control of nearly all of the front panel operations. While the bright, busy, colorful display is certainly the first aspect of this unit that catches the eye, this receiver also sports an extensive list of capabilities and features that should attract the attention of those whose radio listening interests might range nearly anywhere between dc and daylight. (OK, so Im exaggerating a bit100 kHz to 2000 MHz, cellular blocked, of course.) Modes include WFM, FM, AM, CW, USB and LSB.
A combination of cutting-edge display technology and impressive spectrum agility make the AR7000B an attractive and versatile tool for the widerange communications enthusiast.
Table 2 AOR AR7000B, serial number 050011 Manufacturers Claimed Specifications Frequency coverage: Receive, 0.1-2000 MHz (cell blocked). Power requirement: Receive, 1.5 A;
Receiver SSB/CW sensitivity, bandwidth not specified, 10 dB S/N: 0.1-0.7 MHz, <1.6 V; 0.7-20 MHz, <1.5 V;20-1200 MHz,. <0.5 V; 1200-2000 MHz, <2.0 V
Measured in the ARRL Lab As specified.
Receive, 1.2 A. Tested at 13.8 V.
Modes of operation: SSB, CW, AM, FM, WFM. As specified.
AM sensitivity, 10 dB S/N: 0.1-0.7 MHz, <4.2 V; 0.7-20 MHz, <3.5 V; 20-1200 MHz, <1.3 V; 1200-2000 MHz, <4.0 V.
FM sensitivity, 12 dB SINAD: 0.1-0.7 MHz, <4.0 V; 0.7-20 MHz, <2.0 V; 20-1200 MHz, <0.56 V; 1200-2000 MHz, <1.6 V.
Second-order intercept: Not specified. FM adjacent channel rejection: Not specified. FM two-tone, third-order IMD dynamic range: Not specified.
S-meter sensitivity: Not specified. Squelch sensitivity: Not specified. Receiver audio output: 1.0 W at 10% THD into 8. IF/audio response: Not specified.
Receiver Dynamic Testing Noise floor (mds), 500 Hz filter: 1.0 MHz 127 dBm 3.5 MHz 129 dBm 14 MHz 131 dBm 50 MHz 137 dBm 144 MHz 135 dBm 432 MHz 140 dBm 10 dB (S+N)/N, 1-kHz tone, 30% modulation: 1.0 MHz 3.67 V 3.8 MHz 3.16 V 50 MHz 1.23 V 120 MHz 1.33 V 144 MHz 1.88 V 432 MHz 0.676 V For 12 dB SINAD (15 kHz bandwidth): 29 MHz 0.305 V 52 MHz 0.489 V 100 MHz 0.489 V 146 MHz 0.402 V 223 MHz 0.320 V 440 MHz 0.214 V 902 MHz 0.335 V 1270 MHz 0.421 V Blocking dynamic range, 500-Hz filter: 3.5 MHz 95 dB 14 MHz 98 dB 50 MHz 69 dB 144 MHz 67 dB 432 MHz 69 dB Two-tone, third-order IMD dynamic range, 500-Hz filter: 3.5 MHz 78 dB 14 MHz 78 dB 50 MHz 80 dB* 144 MHz 102 dB* 432 MHz 98 dB 3.5 MHz 12 dBm 14 dBm 14 MHz 50 MHz 17 dBm 144 MHz +18 dBm 432 MHz +7.0 dBm +51.4 dBm. 20 kHz channel spacing: 29 MHz, 44 dB; 52 MHz, 43 dB; 146 MHz, 46 dB; 440 MHz, 36 dB. 20 kHz channel spacing: 29 MHz, 44 dB*; 52 MHz, 43 dB*; 146 MHz, 46 dB*; 440 MHz, 36 dB*; 10 MHz channel spacing: 52 MHz, 73 dB; 146 MHz, 91 dB; 440 MHz, 63 dB. S9 signal 1 at 14.2 MHz: 242 V; 146 MHz, 237 V. At threshold: SSB, 14 MHz, 2.5 V; FM, 29 MHz, 0.45 V; 52 MHz, 1.0 V; 146 MHz, 0.71 V; 440 MHz, 0.35 V. 0.8 W at 10% THD into 8.
Press and hold the SCAN/9 key to access the Program Scan memories. Each contain settings to set up a memory channel scan between selected upper and lower memory channel limits. A setting in the memory menu allows you lock out specific memories from the scan modes. The scan speed in either search or scan is 20 channels per second. One priority channel is also included. With the priority feature activated, the selected memory channel will be checked for activity at an adjustable time interval between 1 and 60 seconds.
The rear panel includes a jack for 12 V dc inan external ac power supply is provided. The antenna connector is a BNC type. Theres an 8-pin DIN auxiliary socket, a female DB-9 jack for direct connection to your PC COM port for computer progamming or control and a 3.5 mm external speaker jack. (Youll find a second 3.5 mm jack on the front panel for headphones.) The remaining items mounted here are two RCA type connectorslabeled VIDEO and AUDIO, and a small slide switch marked PAL/ NTSC. The 8-pin auxiliary socket contains connections for switching circuitry tied to squelch activity, a mute control point, a fixed level audio output, a 12V dc (10 mA) voltage source and ground. The VIDEO and AUDIO jacks and the associated switch allow some interesting possibilities. You can connect the video output to TVs or VCRs that have auxiliary NTSC or PAL inputs (in the US, video equipment typically uses the NTSC format). The receivers display will now appear on your TV. You can even connect the audio output of the 7000B to the audio input of your home electronics. Much to the consternation of my spouse, I connected the audio and video jacks to the television in our living roominstant big screen receiver! While I couldnt get away with this arrangement long enough to run further tests, Im confident that similar interconnection with our VCR would have resulted in a great system to capture frequency activitysuch as the local public service trafficfor later review. Pop in a tape, set the VCR for LP, hit record and youre in business. Not only will you have a record of the radio communicationsyoull also capture the full front panel displayfrequency, signal strength, date/time, etc Sitting there in my living room, remote control in hand, enjoying one of my favorite pastimes was tremendous fun. It didnt last longI was soon once again banished to my basement shack. If DX listening is your passion, youll be happy to find that the AR7000B includes five separate clock/date displays. You can program in local and UTC time/date and still have space to set information for three distant locations. You can assign any three letter alphanumeric tag to identify the displayed time zone (EST, UTC, PST, for example). A
Range at 6dB points, (bandwidth): CW-N (500-Hz filter): 526-1111 Hz (585 Hz); USB-W: 222-2666 Hz (2444 Hz); LSB-W: 222-2666 Hz (2444 Hz); AM: 176-3317 Hz (3141 Hz). Spurious and image rejection: Not specified. First IF rejection, HF, 89 dB; VHF, 65 dB; UHF, 48 dB; SHF, 71 dB; image rejection, HF, 114 dB; VHF, UHF, SHF, N/A. 2 Size (HWD): 126.96.36.199 inches; weight, 7.7 pounds.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all dynamic range measurements are taken at the ARRL Lab standard spacing of 20 kHz. *Measurement was noise-limited at the value indicated. Third-order intercept points were determined using noise-floor reference. 1S-meter is color based, so S9 figures were taken at the maximum limit of the green region. 2The image rejection for these frequencies is outside of the ARRL Labs measurement capabilities.
Figure 6The display screen of the AR7000B showing the contents of memory channel 2 of bank 1. Graphic representations of the signal strength and volume level appear at the top of the screen. The selected squelch level is indicated in S units.
Figure 7Most programming operations are carried out using a system of menus does this arrangement look familiar?
Figure 8The AR7000B band scope in the search mode. The band limits, search name (40 Mtrs in this example), mode, step size, bandwidth, sweep direction and pause duration can all be varied in a setup menu.
on the remote or the front panel cycles you through the selections. Five receiver on/off timers are also available. These are programmable for both the time and date. Use these in conjunction with the squelch activated relay control and the fixed level audio output (accessible from the 8-pin auxiliary jack), and you can set up a tape recorder to capture scheduled communications. You could also use these timers and the audio/video outputs to tape with your VCRjust program identical stop/start times into both units.
Back to the Shack
The AR7000B is a triple conversion superhet with digital signal processing applied at the 10.7 MHz IF. This allows a wide range of DSP-based selectable filter bandwidths and an IF shift featureboth very handy for fighting off nearby interference. Fast and slow AGC settings are available, and theres a 10 dB attenuator included as well. Tuning around in this wide a chunk of frequency spectrum is a blast. You can use the front panel tuning knob, the tune buttons on the remote, or enter frequencies into the VFOs directly on the front panel or the remote keypad. The main tuning knob rotation action is detented. I did run into some instances where the rebound of the switching action bounced the frequency back a step as I cranked. While this was a bit unusual, it was not a major annoyanceI did most of
my tuning with the remote control. I started out on the lower end of the range tuning through the AM broadcast band. Although the AM sensitivity in this frequency range is greater than 3 V (see Table 2), there were still plenty of distant stations to explore between the big locals. I tuned past a weather report from Toronto, a talk show in Buffalo and finally settled on listening to a ballgame rebroadcast from an Ohio station. AM audio quality, even when using the built in top-firing speaker, is quite goodon both broadcast and shortwave AM. Tuning up into the HF ham bands and listening in the SSB and CW modes revealed decent overall performance. While not quite up to the standards weve come to expect in radios designed specifically for the Amateur Radio market, this unit compares favorably with some of the other communications receivers weve looked at recently. The ability to tune in 10-Hz steps, the wide variety of available DSP-based filters and the IF shift feature worked very well for casual HF listening. In the SSB modes, you can select digital filter bandwidths of3, 2.5 or 2 kHz. For CW, you can choose from 5 bandwidths ranging from 800 Hz all the way down to 50 Hz. AM choices are 8, 6 and 3 kHz. Lab tests revealed two-tone, third-order IMD dynamic range in the HF bands in the high seventiesperformance does suffer a bit under busy band conditions. Moving up into the VHF region and beyond, the tremendous memory capacity, the
band scope and the automatic frequency storage system make it easy to find and collect interesting subjects for your listening library. Sorting through the accumulated frequencies, choosing which ones to keep or delete, assigning alphanumeric tags and deciding which bank to archive them in will keep you occupied for hours. If your main listening interests center around local FM activity in this upper end of the frequency spectrum, you may be a bit disappointed the lack of CTCSS squelch.
The AR7000B lures you in with its pretty face and its user-friendly programming scheme. What true electronics buff could possibly resist the opportunity to connect yet another audio/video device to the home entertainment system and add one more remote to the ever-growing pile on the coffee table? The AR7000B falls slightly short of the performance benchmarks set by some of the other tabletop receivers currently available in the AOR line. That saidits likely that some may be willing to compromise a bit of performance for the unique display and control arrangement and the interesting interconnectivity options offered by this receiver. Manufacturer: AOR USA, Inc, 20655 S Western Ave, Suite 112, Torrance, CA 90501; 310 787-8615; fax 310-787-8619; http:\\www.aorusa.com. Manufacturers suggested list price, $1460. Typical current street price, $1150.
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