Icom IC 705 practical use

I have some thoughts about the IC 705.

  1. It is intended for /P use
  2. It has a frequency spectrum waterfall display.
    My idea of a waterfall spectrum display is that its main use is, to locate stations and having a fast way to go to the frequency of a station.

Well is there anyone out there who can tell me what the advantage for a SOTA/GMA/WWFF activator is in the field of having such a waterfall display?
As I understand it, an activator is chased and is not chasing and searching the bands up and down himself to find stations .
My personal view is that the waterfall display adds nothing to activating a summit.
So, I am eager to learn otherwise, please tell me why the waterfall display is good for an activator.
To be orecise I am talking about the waterfall information, not about other information on the display.

It enables the activator to see activity on the band, where to avoid and where to listen.

You understand wrong.

Hi Patrick

If you are at a summit with no Net, i’am scanning over the band to get some S2S, this is what i do.

73 de hb9fvk (ruedi)

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“Pray elucidate”! I would have said that search and pounce is not a typical activator strategy though it might very occasionally happen if the activator is having difficulty in qualifying a summit.


As only use to activate I’m sure the waterfall is somewhat overkill, but as stated above it can be usefull.

An activator activates, he needs to find a clear spot in the band of his/her choise, the waterfall can be usefull for that. Also it will show where very strong stations are and where he/she might get a lot of QRM.


I see no advantage over going over the band and asking QRL? on a frequency that I guess is free??
See popularity of KX2 and KX3 for activators Waterfall display??

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True could be, waterfall on lower band? noise? weak signal detection with waterfall?

True, but waterfall? Most sota activations are on a limited number of frequencies that can be checked in the classical way? + many activators are asking any /P please, hoping the others remain silent?

an activator an start on any freq in the specifiek allocation. Mostly eg on 40 around 7.032 but no-one is bound to that freq or around. You can also go on eg 7.022 or where-ever.

If you never do an activation the display on an IC-705 is of no use to you whatsoever. Will you ever do an activation ON4BCA? If not why ask the question? Maybe it is just pre-winter bonus idle curiosity…

73 Phil


Yes, it certainly can be used for that. Personally I would have preferred a built in atu over a waterfall display?


Brian , with respect, you haven’t done any where near enough activations to know whether search and pounce is a common practice or not.

Normal VHF FM practice for me is to tune about looking for S2S opportunities then if SOTAwatch connectivity is good check for recent spots for S2S opportunities elsewhere. I don’t spot myself too often on VHF, it’s much more a case of tune about and/or call on 145.500

A waterfall would be a godsend to display a section of the band to show the typical signature of a many stations in a pileup. Could be DX or could be another SOTA station. Use waterfall, check for signature, go and have a listen. That would be great when there’s no mobile internet and spotting is one way “spot only”.

Waterfall software doesn’t weigh as much as an ATU. Or do all the extra 1’s in the FFT software weigh more?

As for an ATU, it’s just so much easier to use antennas that are essentially resonant. Setup HF system on summit, check SWR, if SWR not “good” find and fix problem. If you rely on the ATU to always get the antenna SWR acceptable you can have all sorts of problems the ATU will mask.


Yeah, an in-built ATU can be very useful, and if the choice were one or the other I’d pick the ATU for portable work. That said, if I had a rig with a waterfall display I might well use it to see where other activators are and what sort of activity they’re getting, as well as using it to find a clear spot (and avoid the sort of mess generated by a much-wanted DX station running split…).
(This was from an IOTA station just above 18.070. I was trying to work a Kenya station also running split, but the IOTA station’s callers over-ran the Kenya one…)

OTOH, Andy, with equal respect, I have chased over six thousand activators, some of them hundreds of times, and I have read every activation report that has appeared on this reflector, so although I have only activated 65 times I think I have a reasonable grasp of what is and is not common practice. I should add that your normal practice is of minor importance, you are just one datum. Your habit of disparagement does you no credit.

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Well that one datum proves the premise that “an activator is chased and is not chasing and searching the bands up and down himself to find stations” is wrong.


Buy a KX2, less money more fun :slight_smile: You don’t need the big screen as activator.


I would look for an IC-703. It’s a cracking little rig, has a superb internal ATU and will cost a lot less than a 705. Okay it is old technology, but do you really need to take the latest rig up a hill? I’m well impressed with mine… and that’s a comment from someone that has several Kenwood rigs in the home shack and has been using an FT-817 and 857 for activating over the past 15 years.

73, Gerald


“One swallow doth not a summer make, nor one fine day…”

When I see “SOTA activator” and “waterfall” in the same sentence my immediate thought is of Welsh rain streaming down the display! :grinning:


My preference would be for built in ATU instead of weak and overpriced OEM battery. No activator absolutely needs a waterfall, but some might find it useful back in the shack. Many people here use a KX3 as both mountain and main station rig; that is where the bells and whistles become more meaningful. However, the KX3 is much lighter and more efficient than the 705, and that is what most hardcore activators will be looking at.
73 de OE6FEG