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ICOM IC-T70A Review

Discussion in 'Ham Equipment' started by Happy_Hamer, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. Happy_Hamer

    Happy_Hamer Administrator Staff Member

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    Have you just wanted a basic HT that is easy to program and easy to use?

    How about adding durability and a great battery life?

    I have had the pleasure to check out an Icom IC-T70A that gives you everything above.

    http://www.icomamerica.com/en/products/amateur/handheld/t70a_e/default.aspx

    This review was done by me as a simple user who has no fancy test equipment.

    This radio will be one of our give aways on WWDX.

    My first impression of the appearance was that it looked like a commercial type HT.

    I was in Rock Island, IL traveling for work. I decided to try programing WITHOUT reading the manual, it's a guy thing. :LOL:

    Don't be fooled, I have had more HT's in my life than underwear so I was quite familiar with basic programming. This HT was no different.

    Programing for simplex use and repeater use is easy. The keypad has 4 simple multi function menu selections on the top and 3 on the side. A quick tap or hold of the menu button is all that is needed to choose the function you want.

    I programmed a local repeater and was able to key it from my hotel. Unfortunately there was no-one on the repeater or I was not making it strong enough and I could not be understood. I started scanning, (another easy task) and found a few guys on simplex. There location was about 8 miles from my hotel and they said the audio was strong and I was making a solid contact without dropping off. (y)

    The following week I was in De Pere Wisconsin (Suburb of Green Bay).

    Again at the hotel I scanned for any stations. I came across a repeater net. So the auto repeater duplex set my plus or minus and all I had to do was get the PL. This is yet another simple task, scanning for the PL. Once it was programmed I heard the net controller ask for any other check ins. I tried and BAM, they heard me.

    I did the standard check in with my name and call. Net control asked where I was and his response was, You're on an HT?!?!

    After I replied that I was, they became more inquisitive as to the antenna I was using. Of course I was using the rubber duckie that came with the radio.

    The net controller then told me he was shocked I was making it because the repeater was in Appleton, WI. This was about 20 air miles away! :eek:

    I will admit I was on the third floor of the hotel and I am sure conditions must have been favorable that day, but none the less, I was impressed, and so were they. They asked me to try the 440 machine and see if we had the same results. After programing it, sure enough, I had made contact with them, they did say it was a little scratchy though.

    I got a hold of Moleculo by phone to try the local Green Bay IRLP. I was able to use the DTMF functions but I had to read the manual for that. DTMF was a bit more of a challenge, the manual gave directions but they were a little confusing to me. We were never able to make the contact because the repeater had a access code for the IRLP node and no one was on to tell us the code. Moleculo said the node also was not accepting any requests at this time. So I never got to connect to IRLP, but I was able to use the DTMF easily.

    The display lights up and is timed which can be adjusted for battery conservation. For my vision it is a bit small, I can read it, just need it a bit close to my eyes. Getting old sucks!



    One thing I do not like, the keypad does not light up. Couple that together with my poor vision and it being dark out when I tried to program it became a pain in the ass for me.

    Battery life though is AWESOME with this thing. I charged it on a Monday and with light use was still using the HT on Friday on my trip home from Green Bay.

    While charging, the display blinks "Charging" and when finished, it disappears from the screen. Takes about 6-8 hours for a full charge with the stock wal wart charger. You can buy an optional drop in fast charger, but this is good enough for me. I just charge overnight while sleeping.

    More to come,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
     
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  2. ranger56528

    ranger56528 Member

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    Thanks for the review Hamer i just bought one and have been playing with it but where i live its tuff to get anyone with the stock duck antenna,the two closest repeaters are 26 and 30 miles away 147.060 is the most used arond here and then its the D.L repeater after that,have not heard anyone on simplex yet but that is used more for local events......
    Right now Iam looking at witch antenna to get so banging my head on the reviews,going to get a SMA-BNC addapter tomorrow and go from there or do you have any sugestions.......................
     
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  3. Happy_Hamer

    Happy_Hamer Administrator Staff Member

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    YES! When buying the adapter, Get the adapter cable, NOT THE 1 PIECE.

    The one piece puts to much stress on the SMA connector for the antenna.

    This is what you want

    4454.jpg

    Comet HS05 Comet HS10 Amateur HT Antenna Adapter

    Are you looking for a mobile or home antenna?
     
    #3
  4. Happy_Hamer

    Happy_Hamer Administrator Staff Member

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    #4
  5. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm glad that you validated my findings with the battery life. That is probably the single most impressive thing about this rather basic radio. A lot of times, basic is better :)
     
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  6. ranger56528

    ranger56528 Member

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    Thanks,I did not buy the solid one but instead orderd the SRH77CA sma antenna then will go from there..I was leary about the adaptor breaking the SMA off but now the cable type gives me some options...
     
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  7. ranger56528

    ranger56528 Member

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    Update.........went with the MFJ 1712s antenna,works way better then the SRH77CA i bought.also went with a MFJ-1729 mag mount antenna for veh and hit repeaters with little problems,also got the MH-131 handheld mic....All in all i have a nice set up now for a moble/handheld........Ordered a TM-271A for my trk with a MFJ-1729 also...More power.
     
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  8. ranger56528

    ranger56528 Member

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    I should say that when in veh i do hook up the T70A to my mag mount dual band antenna and at what 5w Iam hitting repeaters 25-30 miles away on a good line of site..
    Living in lakes country with all the high and low areas 70cm/2m(5w) can be a real challage for a handheld when the repeaters are so far away......
     
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  9. ranger56528

    ranger56528 Member

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    Quick pic....
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. RonW

    RonW New Member

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    I know I might be a few yrs too late however I just bought a T70a and really enjoy it however my question is, can it do satillites? I scoured thru the owners manual and it doesnt say how it can be set up for cross band.
     
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  11. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    It can't operate two bands at once, so the only way it would work is if you can do cross band split programming. The only way that I can think that might work with this radio is by using software to do that, but I'm not sure even that will work. I don't believe you can program the TX/RX frequencies for satellites by using just the standard radio programming.
     
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  12. RonW

    RonW New Member

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    Basically what I mean is, can it be set up to transmit on 70cm and recieve on 2m? I know on my Alinco DJ-V57T can do it thru the menu but I can seem to figure out if the T70a can do it as well...
     
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