Icom IC-9700, worthit?

May 2019

Time for a small review of the Icom IC 9700 after two weeks in my hand. Is it worth the money? There is a small and a long answer on that question...

The short one:

It’s depend. Do you have the money to spend on the radio? Do you need the latest SDR and other function on V/U/SHF? If it’s a yes, well... go for it! But... there is alternative, like the IC-746 (IC-7400) that cost 1/4 of the price of the 9700!

The longer version:

Icom IC-9700 is a grate radio. End of story!
7300 was (is) a grate radio in a small package, 9700 is better...
The reason I got the radio is because I have been looking for a really good VHF/UHF radio for a long time know, and there was not really any alternative. Yes! IC746 is still a grate radio, but is 24 yeas old, and I want some newer. Yaesu FT-991A does not meet my requirements.

9700 have everything, well.. more or less. I’am a C4FM guy (when I use digital mode), so D-Star is out. But in the other hand, this radio have a gateway inbuilt, so you can connect it to the out side world. I have’t test it yet, but I will, and then I will update that question here.

The only negative I have with this radio (more or less) is the price! Really.. €2000! Seriously!..
I mean.. you can get a IC-746 for around €450, and that radio is close to this one. Yeah... it is! Of course you don’t have the new functions etc. but IC-746 is a damn good radio that can be in a serious compaction to this one. Here is mine.

:: And why can’t we have NB in FM mode? I don’t get it! Same thing on the Yaesu FT-991(A).

:: Why can’t we change the IF-filter in FM mode? Yes.. you have the Icom FIL1, 2 and 3 (that work’s really really grate), but to change the bandwidth more? Why not?

:: And why can’t you use the PBT in FM? Icom.... seriously!

:: And why can’t we receive on the same band on the secondary receiver? No we can’t... Why Icom? Or do I miss something here? No I don't. It's clear in the manual, page 3.2: The same frequency cannot be set to the both Main and Sub bands.. Icommmmm!!!!

And there... are all the negative stops! (for the moment)

Dual receiver

- Yeah yeah yeah... every radio have that!!
- No! Really, the dual receiver..
Many radios have dual receivers and they work. It’s receive on the both channels and then you transmit you transmit. So??? Well, 9700 still receives on the second receiver when you transmit! Finally a dual receiver that IS a dual receiver. When I notes this.. wow! Now you can listen to a frequency at the same time you transmit on another frequency. You don’t need the secondary radio anymore .. but you need the third, fourth, fifth ...

The scanning..

Thanks Icom for a grate scanning function. Finally a good scanner function on one radio out there! You press one button [Scan] and the what you want to scan. Yeah.. I know what you gonna say, every radio have this... No they don’t, not like this. Yaesu FT-991 have seriously many steps for a simple scan. And if you cut the power, the scan starts up directly.

The fan

The fan is pretty quiet. 7300 was to loud (in my opinion) even if it’s much quieter than many other radios. 9700 is a good sound volume.. I can handle that without to change the fan.

9700 is the radio to have. It have everything you need with a very small negative side. Icom have made a really great radio.

It works wonderful on SSB and CW (and FM of course), the filter is great (and still I haven't learned everything), the sound is wonderful, the waterfall works as grate that on 7300. This radio is nearly perfect!!

But.. is it worth it?
Yes and No. You can get a really nice radio for 1/4 of the price (yes... again the IC-746, no no no no.... not the TS-2000, you can’t compare that to an IC-746). And if you buy a 746, you gonna love that if you really go in for it and learn the radio. How to tune in the filters etc. THEN you gonna see that the 746 is a damn good radio!

But.. if you only speak on the repeaters and locally, the 746 is overkill. The 9700 is way more overkill. But if you press that [MODE] button... all the magic happen..

And yes... 7300 and 9700 look quiet nice together..

To be continued...