Testing IC-705 from the desert

I want to check out how my new IC-705 works from the field. I drove up north close to Grand canyon where my land. It’s about 3 hours drive north from Phoenix. Land lot is 2 acres and just 15 minutes away from the south entrance to the park. There is a good elevation of 6000 ft which is perfect for HF and VHF/UHF operations. My long term goal is to build a remote radio shack up there. It’s totally out of grid and free of any industrial noise place.

Here are the all directions from the land lot. Pretty clear and nice horizon. Perfect for Moon-Earth-Moon communications.

So I took my IC-705 with me to try out from portable condition. I love operate portable and have done a lot in past. So I have some experience of working QRP. So what’s so important operating QRP from the field? Rig, power? No, antenna! Antenna is the most effective amplifier. In my experience I’ve tried a tons of different antennas and only few can be used successfully from the field. One of my favorite antennas is a VP2E (Vertical Polarized 2 Elements). This is my number one choice going out. What is the most common band to operate? Of course 20m band. This is band almost 24/7 if solar activity is moderate. I also love 40m for night operations so have extensions for 20m VP2E antenna. All of this 20/40m VP2E fits into regular backpack. For antenna mast I use the simple fishing rod (4m) or travel mast (10m) depends on conditions and overall weight.

The most common for me it’s a 4m (13ft) fishing rod. It’s light and allows me work on 40/20m bands. Remember VP2E antenna is a monoband with vertical polarization, 3dB gain and full wavelength size. So for 20m used 20m wire. There is also HB9SL antenna which is same as VP2E but most optimized for QRP and portable operations. I like it better. You can find a lot of articles in internet about VP2E and HB9SL antennas.

So this how is antenna looks and works:

20 m band size

After all antennas that I tried this one the best so far. I use a stranded 18 AWG wire and with full size for 20m band it’s very small weight. Antenna can be installed by one person within 5 minutes.

So now it’s the time to try. Please look at the photo below how antenna is installed and looks:

I used 50ohm cable with 7m length which a lambda/2*0.67(coefficient). With this cable length you have a perfect match with transceiver. IC-705 doesn’t have built-in tuner so having low SWR is very important. With monobanders I never had a need to use external tuner. It’s saves some space in backpack.

Now let’s connect antenna to the radio and try to make a QSO.

If I didn’t say yet but I love IC-705, Icom guys really come up with great solution for someone who enjoys QRP and portable conditions. Anyways said that I start calling CQ and made first contact with state of Washington. It was great to hear that my signal was S9 and operator couldn’t believe that I worked portable.

I didn’t want to stay too long here, all what I wanted to check out was done and now I will prepare a real setup for future foot/backpacking expeditions.


Alex K6VHF

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