08 August 2021

Going Wireless

Back in June I put up a post where I outlined the USB RFI issues I've had with my IC-705 and stated that I no longer recommend it.

Recently a fellow ham asked me if I still feel the same. Yes, but...

In the interim I've had the chance to test the Icom RS-BA1 version 2 rig control and interface software, and I can say unequivocally that the Remote Utility portion of the RS-BA1 suite is the savior of the IC-705. It is well written, robust, stable, well documented and is easy to install, configure and get working. When set up, I have been able to run Winlink, JS8CALL, Fldigi and WSJT-X over wi-fi. By switching to wi-fi, all the rig's RFI issues go away. This, more than anything else, proves that the issue really does lie with the USB cable and connection.

The only drawback with the RS-BA1 software, and it's a biggie, is price. You have to shell out an extra $150 for a copy of the software. My position is that IC-705 owners shouldn't have to shell out anything extra just to get their radios to work as advertised. Icom needs to provide the RS-BA1 software free of charge to all IC-705 owners. Really, all they need to provide is the Remote Utility package. It would take a smart programmer at Icom about a day to develop an IC-705-only version - just strip out the support for all the other Icom radios and make it a free download on the Icom website.

But Icom doesn't seem to think there's a problem. Actually, they've acknowledged the problem, and have admitted there's no fix, but they don't seem too bothered by it. They continue to state in their product literature that the radio can be run on digital modes via USB. So, the radio stays on my 'not recommended' list unless the potential buyer is interested in running it voice-only, or is willing to shell out an extra $150 to get the radio to run like it should. Or until Icom provides the RS-BA1 software for free.

But it's not all grim, and we'll be talking more about the IC-705 - the good points - in later posts.

And for those of you reading this and shouting "Hey, what about wfview?", we'll talk about that down the line, too.

W8BYH out

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