View Full Version : IC-703 or FT-817

3rd May 2015, 11:01
I would be interested to know what people think of these radios and maybe some other suggestions. Not to keen on CW only radio as my CW is very rusty.

3rd May 2015, 15:40
I would say it's better to got for an FT-857 unless you specifically want a small, QRP only radio.

If that's the case then I don't think you can beat the FT-817 for the price.

3rd May 2015, 16:32
As Matt says, the FT-817 is a great all-rounder for QRP and you can always "treat it" with additional SSB+CW filters if you want. I run an FT-857 as I found 5w from the 817 a little restrictive, plus I wanted a bit more grunt at home on 2m. Worth mentioning is the current-draw of the 703 vs 817: 1.2A vs 450mA. The 857 fares better, at around 1A. This one reason why I never bought an IC-706, it's around 1.8-2A on receive. So for /P use, it'll drain a small SLAB rather quickly.

3rd May 2015, 16:48
The Icom 703 is a beautiful radio but needs big bettery power. It also has the dreaded Icom menu system...

The FT817 is a great radio, nice Rx, eats battery if fitted internally. It has a small screen and is an ergonomic dinosaur nowadays, but it still works very well, especially when matched with the LDG autotune.

Personally, I'd go for neither now but an Elecraft K2 instead. Much better


3rd May 2015, 18:14
My 817 is feeling rather "unloved" since I got my KX3 :-) It is now relegated to local chatter box on 2m/70cms FM.

3rd May 2015, 18:34
Indeed this is the case with so many.

I elected for the KX1 (as everyone knows!!!:rolleyes:). In fact my 817 is now driving a 2m 40w linear for the FISTS CW working. A bloomin fortune I spent on 2m...how many QSO have I had? NONE.


3rd May 2015, 20:21
My first choice would be the IC-703. Reason I like Icom Radios.
I also quit like the idea of having the FT-817. Reason I have a FT-290 mk1, My first radio when I was licenced in 1988 and had a lot of fun with it.
The FT-857 is not on the list because I have an IC-706 mk 11 and also an IC-746 and as it has been mentioned the current drain is high on receive.
If I am out portable with the car it is not too much of a problem as I have a 120 Ah battery to run the radios from but I want to go /MM on a friends boat so I need compact and low current drain.

3rd May 2015, 22:44
Ive had both and apart from the dreaded Icom menus system I really, really liked the 703. I used it a fair bit, even fitted the CW filters but alas someone wanted to swap it for a K2 that didnt work so I traded it.

I'd still get the K2 in preference to either though, my first K2 is fitted with a battery so is perfectly portable but also good as a home rig. It also has the auto ATU fitted so it's very flexible. I do have a K2 Im selling. PM if you're interested.


5th May 2015, 00:17
I think the K2 could be a good choice David. Can't see it happening till next year at the earliest as funds are a bit low.
Nice 101-ZD. I see it has all the bands is it a mk 3. I use to have one until I dropped it trying to put it into the loft. I would of bought another one if I could of found a full set. It would of taken a lot of desk space. This was back in 99 and people were still hanging on to them then. The IC-746 replaced it and the first day I got it was August 11th 1999 and I didn't know what to do, I was running in and out of the house as it was the day of the eclipse.

10th Oct 2015, 22:09
A vote from me for the 703 from Icom. The issue of the current draw in reception of 1.2A is not entirely truth: it is valid only for MAXIMUM AUDIO. Usually a confusion made by 817 lovers... :p
At normal audio levels the current never exceeds 700mA on my rig. But I have a good tuner inside, and for me it's better this way.
Also good to mention that the following years will give us bad propagation, so working with only 5W will be a real challenge in SSB for example. Even 10W will be not enough sometimes.
It could be nice to have a little 20...25W transceiver fitted with an auto tuner inside. Unfortunately, no one produces something like that...

14th Mar 2017, 21:09
Well I now have an IC-703 and looking forward to getting out and about with it.

15th Mar 2017, 16:24
Until I can afford a KX3, IC-703 or a FT817 I have been using an Alinco DX70TH with the internal jumper set for 5/50 watts which gives me QRP ops and a bit of power when I need it. I use a Z11 auto tuner when I use non resonant antennas like my "fisherman's dipole" and I power everything with a 22AH slab. All the pieces of my kit are pretty compact but not the lightest of weight. Works for my style of portable ops. (^8



15th Mar 2017, 19:38
Hi John. I also have an ic706 mk 11 but now that will go in my van for mobile/portable. The 706 is nice but 2A on receive it's not the best for portable. 703 has a tuner built it so the z11 mk2 can go in the van as well.

16th Mar 2017, 03:53
I run an IC706MK2G in my mobile and it is a great rig. I got it so I could have HF, VHF and UHF with a single control head on the console. I would really like an IC703 if I could ever find one at a good price. I recently worked the south pole research station with the 706 from the mobile.



11th Sep 2017, 07:40
I have been using an Alinco DX70TH

IMO, the DX70TH is a great little radio for the price. I had one and it performed just as well as my FT-857D on the HF bands.

11th Sep 2017, 15:32
IMO, the DX70TH is a great little radio for the price. I had one and it performed just as well as my FT-857D on the HF bands.

I plan to use my DX70TH for some portable ops while at the Okie-Tex star party next week. The star party will be operating with the special event K0T. I also plan to activate the Tri State marker again.


2nd Feb 2018, 20:06

I have owned the FT817, Great Radio at the time but a very small screen. I now use a Xiegu X5105, 5w output power with built in ATU and Battery. Excellent Radio for the price.


29th May 2018, 03:47
I have both and the 817 offers the 2m and 440 bands but the Icom is heavier, a better receiver and built in tuner

I think that you will enjoy the FT-891 as it has real DSP, better receiver and can go from 5 to 100 watts very easily and its cheaper than the FT-818 and probably the same price as a used 703.

I have the FT-891 and kind of use the 817 as a back up now.

For example, I was doing some NVIS work and it turns out my 703 was putting out 5 watts at 11.1 volts as I had the wrong battery connected. The stations were 5x9 but they could hear me. If I had brought the 891 with a tuned 60m dipole or 40m dipole, I dont need the tuner but I could have cranked the power up to 50 watts and would have been heard

I think PW had a great review on the 891 recently
John ve3ips