So the long and short of it is that I scored a fine example of an Icom IC-725 at a local radio rally a few weekends ago. The rig is complete with an AM/FM option fitted and as I don’t have a higher end receiver for monitoring 27 MHz (the DX394 does a half decent job, but no FM RX), I plugged the 725 into my usual CB antenna to see how it compared to my normal CB setup.
This was for non TX work as even with the power turned right down, the IC-725 still puts out 10 watts (which is a little naughty on 11 meters).
Also in its current configuration as a ham radio it only transmits on the 28 MHz amateur allocation anyway. I believe there’s a way to give general coverage TX, but I’m not ready yet to mess with this radio, as its too nice to go monkeying around inside.
That 11 Meter Thing
27 MHz is a hit and miss propagation nightmare, although you’ve got to love it when finally opens up as the band can throw some great stuff your way.
Time of day is a major factor also and although I started this post during the week, it wasn’t until the weekend that enough time in the ‘right’ part of the day was available for a good play around with this radio.
A Different Feel
CB rigs don,t usually come in anything but the channelized form as this makes it much easier for novice CB users to get to grips with the sets from the get-go.
I have to admit that this seems like a good idea because I’ve not monitored 27 MHz with anything but a traditional CB for that long, I couldn’t even remember the core frequencies (CH 19 etc) and had to look them up on the Internet.
Finding my way around the HF bands is second nature now, but ask me where you should start if your looking to listen to normal FM CB radio and you’ll get nothing 🙂
You’d expect the CB to be a little more lively on a holiday although peoples time is most likely being spent visiting family or getting away for a few days. That said there was a fair few signals coming out of Birmingham (about 15 miles from my QTH) and its only a shame I missed all the usual Sunday night nets as I was away from home myself.
Did get the odd spike across the EU FM band throughout the afternoon, but these were very short and it was hard to resolve much of what was being said. This isn’t unusual for this time of year and the way our sunspot cycle is a little messed up at the moment.
Got to say that the sound from the 725 is solid and I’d have to attach an external speaker to any of my current CB radios to get the same kind of quality.
I’ve always thought that the standard speaker in the base design of most mobile rigs really drags the audio down, but this does the job for most mobile CB uses.
I’m in the process of finding a reliable ATU that will take the 100 watt full output of the 725 and although there’s plenty to choose from, I’m very tempted to hold out for the matching ATU that was designed for the 725. Getting the feeling this may not be easy, as a good look at all the usual online auction sites hasn’t turned up anything usable (yet!).