QRO Power in a QRP Shack


Six years ago, at the peak of the solar cycle I decided I would operate only QRP, and in 2010 I replaced the ICOM 706MKIIG with its QRP brother: the ICOM 703-Plus.

Now, as we approach the bottom of the solar cycle, I decided in favour of the return to the shack of the ICOM 706MKIIG:

ic-706mkiig

Together with the 703 it will share the Elecraft WII Watt/SWR-meter, the LDG RT-100 remote tuner and antenna up the maple trees in the yard as well as the new SEC1235 Samlex-America switching power supply rated at a maximum of 30 Amp continuous (the ICOM 706 uses as much as 21 Amps at maximum transmitting power).

QRP will continue to be my preferred mode of operation and I will continue to use the 703 from the shack and the KX3 and KX1 Elecraft radios when operating portable. However, the 706MKIIG will mainly be used to participate in SSB HF nets where QRP power, when propagation is down, often forces relays or precludes making it into the log.

The 706MKIIG is also a VHF/UHF transceiver allowing in these bands both FM and SSB modes and it will be put to use to call local repeaters. Together with the SCS PTC modem or via an external sound card will also allow for digital communications via VHF (Packet). The W3FF Buddipole in its 2m configurations will also return to use in the shack as the main 2m antenna.

The 706 and the 703 share many similarities. Their main differences, further than their output powers, are the fact that the 703 does not have a VHF/UHF module while in exchange it sports an internal tuner. The receiver is better in the 703 and so is also the filter it uses (the 703 accepts a single large crystal filter, while the 706 allows for two smaller ones). There are also some differences in their menus as the 703 has a full CW keyer with programmable memories. However, anyone used to the menus in either of these radios would have no difficulty in operating the other. A major difference in this regard is that some of the CW parameters that in the 706 are accessible via the “Display” button, in the 703 have been transferred to the “F-2” button in the “M4” menu, and the “Mode” button, while in CW, allows access to the keyer memories. Also, the 703 provides for SSB-D mode while the 706 does not.

Welcome back!

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