IC-703

Icom IC-703

The Icom IC-703 is a great choice for radio communications out in the wild such as when the SHTF. Not only is the size of the IC-703 attractive to preppers and survivalists alike it has a great many features that could be a great assets in survivalist and/or prepper situation. Some people will comment that the IC-703 radio is “just a QRP rig” and they might be right in a way. But a radio’s performance is based more on the antenna than on its power output. A good QRP rig such as the IC-703 works very well in mobile radio situations as well as with base station use. Running an IC-703 portable, such as a prepper or survivalist would do, is a very good application for this versatile little ham radio. Here are some of the features of the IC-703 radio by Icom:
  • Comes with a general coverage receiver
  • Many memories
  • RIT (receiver incremental tuning)
  • Preamp as well as an attenuator (although preamps are generally though to be worthless on the HF bands)
  • Dual VFO’s
  • 1 Hz display for tuning into odd frequencies
  • DSP, auto-notch, and noise reduction
  • SWR meter
There are TWO IC-703 models out there so be sure you look at a prospective purchase closely before you buy it. The last IC-703 was designated as an Icom IC-703 Plus designating it as the IC-703 with 6 meters in it. The original radios sold by Icom stated “HF/50MHz” on the front panel but that was a printing error. The early IC-703 radios did not have six meters in them so beware when buying an IC-703! As any honest amateur radio operator will tell you, a good antenna is the main part of a communications system. It doesn’t matter what band you’re operating on, what mode you are using, or even what radio you’re running. Preppers and survivalists alike need to learn to employ the best antenna they can come up with while still maintaining some sense of portability. Wire antennas, vertical antennas, and dipole antennas are good performers in the field or other portable operations. As has been mentioned elsewhere in this web site: “A dollar spent on an antenna is worth ten dollars spent on the radio.” For some reviews of the IC-703: ICOM IC-703 REVIEWS. IC-703 radio

Mobile Radios

Mobile Radios

Mobile Radios have a distinct advantage over fixed base radios in that they are smaller (easier to conceal), they have almost the same features and options as fixed base radios, and they can be used as fixed base radios simply by connecting them to readily available 12 volt power supplies. Mobile radios and even fixed base radios can readily be used for portable operations.

Mobile radios will generally operate in the VHF/UHV1 range and are best for localized operations. Depending on the gain of the antenna used in mobile operations the area of coverage for mobile radios can be anywhere from 1 to 5 miles. Should a survivalist incorporate HF or High Frequency radio in their communications gear then they can expect to dramatically expand their area of coverage.

Of particular interest to those who want a comprehensive communications system is the fact that quite a few amateur (ham) radios incorporate HF & VHF. For instance, the Icom model IC-746PRO covers the amateur bands between 1.8 and 29.7 megahertz. Along with these frequencies theIcom IC746PRO HF/VHF/UHF IC-746PRO has a general coverage receiver which encompasses the frequencies between 0.030 and 60 megahertz. An additional receive only band of 108 to 174 megahertz also comes standard in the IC-746PRO. One more attractive feature of the IC-746PRO is that in contains an onboard antenna tuner. An antenna tuner’s function is to insure the antenna connected to the IC-746PRO is matched (tuned) to its optimum. Antenna tuners protect the transmitter of radios as well as improve the received signals. Even though the IC-746PRO is considered to be a fixed base radio, it is well suited for mobile and/or portable operation.

Portable Operations

We touched briefly on using mobile radios and base station radios in portable operations. One might wonder about the differences between that of mobile radios and portable radios. The radios themselves are no different when it comes to portable operations. It is the surroundings that differentiate between fixed base, mobile, and portable operations. Portable operations generally use a large and/or more permanent antenna system than a mobile radio would require. Portable operations generally are running on either generator or solar energy as the power source for the communications equipment. The antennas used in portable operation tend to be either verticals stuck on a pole or a series of tuned wire antennas strung between structures such as trees.

No matter what radio gear a survivalist chooses they need to consider the probability that they will be using mobile or portable radio setups at one time or another.

NOTES:

1VHF/UHF indicates the radio equipment operates in the VHF, Very High Frequency, or UHF, Ultra High Frequency, ranges.

Icom Radios

Icom Radios

Icom radio makes a lot of communications equipment such as avionics communications, marine communications, communications receivers, and of course amateur radio equipment. Icom is considered to be one of the big three of amateur radio communications equipment suppliers. In regards to the needs of preppers and survivalists the equipment Icom makes for avionics and marine use will not be covered on this page.

Icom radio manufactures HF communications gear, mobile and handheld communications gear, satellite communications gear, D-STAR communications gear, as well as amplifiers for the ham bands. Granted not all of the equipment that Icom makes will appeal to that of emergency communications such as when the SHTF. The items discussed below have far too much information available for us include on this page. Therefore you are encouraged to visit their website at http://icomamerica.com for more information.

Icom has such a large selection of HF equipment available. So we will only look at HF transceivers that will appeal to the needs of those needing it for prepping and or survivalist situations. There are really only two models of Icom’s HF transceivers that would be good for portable operations. Really and truly there’s only one HF transceiver suitable for this type of work. The IC-7100 is a good unit for communications such as mobile or portable work. It is also good for the base unit. But its price would make it rather unattractive when it comes to SHTF equipment. Now the IC-718 is a good choice for these kinds of scenarios.

Don’t let anyone kid you; the IC-718 is a versatile, tough little transceiver. They sell brand new for less than $600, used you can find them around $350. As with most modern day ham radio equipment, the HF bands that is, the IC-718 (or just 718 as is known by) has a built in general coverage receiver. The 718 covers all of the HF bands from 160 m to 10 m. You can modify the 718 to work on 60 m as well. The rig puts out of to 100 W, 30 W on AM. It runs on 12 volts so you can run it off of a battery, a nearby vehicle, or from a power supply. Or you could run it off of a solar power source but that is also a bit of overkill for survivalists. The 718 operates on sideband, CW, AM, and RTTY modes. The 718 is a great rig for running on the digital modes, such as PSK/HELL/HELL/OLIVIA which would help when propagation is poor. The additional benefit of the 718 is its small size, the last thing you need is a radio that’s too large.

The IC-718 is a radio currently in production that would be suitable for portable radio communications. There are some detractors to using the IC-718 due it being billed as an “entry level” radio. All that is needed in portable communications is a good receiver and features that the operator needs and nothing more. The IC-718 is small in form, compared to the rest of the current line of Icom transceivers. There are two popular Icom transceivers that are very suitable for portable communications but they are no longer in production. They are the IC-703 and the IC-706, they are available for purchase used in hamfests, eBay, and other sources. One should be careful when buying used amateur radio transceivers because you never know the abuse people submit those radios to.

Read a short article about the Icom IC-703 radio.

Icom 718