Yesterday I posted some very disappointing news about the MAT-705/MAT-705Plus antenna tuner, from MAT Tuner. Well I’m happy to say, there’s absolutely no reason to even consider the MAT-705 or MAT-705Plus anymore, since Icom has just released an update to its AH-705 for the Icom IC-705. Here’s the word from Icom.
Icom has announced details of its forthcoming portable automatic antenna tuner for the IC-705. The AH-705 is a palm-sized portable antenna tuner that has been designed to work between the 1.8-50MHz bands. It can be powered either by alkaline batteries or DC 13.8V supply.
AH-705 HF/50 MHz Automatic Antenna Tuner Features
- Covers the 1.8 MHz to 50 MHz bands, using a long wire element
- 2-way power sources using alkaline batteries or 13.8 V DC (13.8 V DC should be taken directly from an external power supply, not through the IC-705.)
- Latching relays used for saving power consumption
- IP54 dust-protection and water-resistant construction for outdoor use
- Compact design that neatly fits in the optional LC-192 multi-function backpack
Icom also says: Further information about the AH-705 HF/50 MHz automatic antenna tuner can be found by clicking on the downloadable PDF on the side of their page.
My take on all this might be interesting. Until todays announcement, the Elecraft T1 tuner was in first place for its performance and portability. Unfortunately, it lacks the Integration with the IC-705, as it has with the FT-817/FT-818 radios from Yaesu. It is an incredible tuner, but if you’re looking for that tuner automation (no button pushing) for rapid band switching, it may not be the right tuner, until an T1/IC-705 interface cable is released. How about it Elecraft?
The AH-705 is fully integrated with the IC-705, with tuning integrated into the radios touchscreen controls. If the AH-705 works like the LDG-z100 plus (and there is no reason to think it won’t), the IC-705 and AH-705 will operate as one, without any user interaction. This after initially plugging in the tuner, then enabling the tuner functions. After that, the AH-705 will find the lowest SWR, every time there is a big frequency/SWR change, or change of bands. You can see how the IC-705 & LDG Z100 plus integration works, in the following video.
The AH-705 is also interesting because it has a publish IPx Rating of IP54. IP ratings also known as Ingress Protection or International Protection ratings. Ingress Protection ratings are recognized worldwide, and can be used by anyone. These standards let radio operators know what protection the equipments enclosure has, from water to solid object ingress. We have talked about this many times on the channel, but almost always regarding false claims by Baofeng sellers, trying to get you to think you’re getting “value” for your money. Icom doesn’t play around. Their AH-4 Tuner, which is the older sibling to the AH-705, also has a tested, published and proven IP rating, in part responsible for the massive following and reputation the AH-4 enjoys.
The reason the IP rating is important is the something you rarely hear from Tuner manufacturers. The best place to put your antenna tuner, is at the feedpoint, of your antenna. Not between your coax cable and radio! When you place your tuner, between your radio and coax, you are actually tuning the coax cable as part of the antenna. The is a bad thing! When you place your tuner between your coax and antenna, you are only tuning your antenna. This is HUGE! It is also a good thing. 🙂
For the portable operator, a control cable and coax cable will allow us to place the AH-705 at the base of our antenna, using it as the cobra head of our dipole, or using it to replace what might be a lossy transformer, of our end fed wire antenna.
The AH-705 also uses latching relays to reduce current consumption. This is excellent for the portable radio operator, who wants long battery life, and not be bothered with constant fiddling around with charging or battery swap outs. Alright, I can keep on going, but someone will eventually call me out as a fanboy. I promise you all, I am not! I am simply pragmatic to a fault! These IC-705 puzzle pieces have been in play since its release. Whatever radio we are talking about, I want to have all the pieces in place, before I give my final opinion about the radio, as a system.
Finally, if you are one of the Icom AH-705 resellers, and would like my appreciation, consider sponsoring an AH-705 for the blog and channel. You’ll get your logo up on the blog for a year, and recognition in the videos published with the Icom AH-705, as a sponsor. It doesn’t guarantee a positive review, but shows my subscribers and followers you actually care about what we are doing with the blog/channel. For the rest of you, if you would like to help the channel get an AH-705, use the Tip-Jar link at the bottom of this post.
If you have not seen my Icom IC-705 video yet, please have a look. Even if you’re not interested in this radio, it’s feature-set is a wake-up call for ALL the portable ham radio manufacturers, to date!