© 2003-2015 by Harold Melton, KV5R. All Rights Reserved. Rev.04/26/15
Brand New 706 Setup
The 706 comes with some power-on factory defaults that you will want to change. The recommended changes make the radio easier to operate. First, let’s set up the power-on defaults.
Change Power-On Defaults
Go to Initial Set Mode by power off, hold Lock button and power on. Refer to the initial setup items on pages 50-55.
Item 1 - Mode Select: You can turn off modes that you don’t want the Mode button to select in its rotation: Unless you have an external FSK RTTY system connected, turn off RTTY mode. Most of us on RTTY are now operating AFSK RTTY via a computer, where you’ll be running on SSB.
Items 2-3 - Beeps: When you get tired of hearing it beep, turn beeps off.
Items 4-5 - Backlighting: Set to High for most uses. Set to low for night-time mobile use.
Item 7 - RF/SQL: This requires some explanation! Set to RF/SQL, the knob will act as RF gain from 7-12-O’clock, and Squelch from 12-7-O’clock. Set item 7 to RF/SQL and set the knob to about 12:30 and you’ll never have to mess with it again. If set to Auto, you’ll have to crank it around every time you switch from SSB/CW to FM modes. The “RF/SQL” setting is the most convenient.
Item 8 - Sub-dial: Set it to RIT if you operate HF. This makes the Memory Channel knob operate as a RIT while in VFO-A/B modes. Regardless of where you set this setting, the knob will still operate as Memory Channel while in the MEMOry mode.
Items 9-10 - Optional Filters: Set to “No” if you have not purchased optional filters. If you add one filter, I recommend the FL-232 in slot 1, and set the “Opt. Fil 1” setting to FL-223. This will (1) give you an effective CW filter and (2) let you select “N” (narrow) while on SSB, giving you the 350 Hz filter for digital modes like PSK-31. Installing the 232 CW filter, but selecting 223 (which is an SSB-Narrow filter) fools the radio so you can use it on SSB. See the Section below on Filters.
Item 20 - Auto Repeater: This should definitely be changed from the default. Set it to “On 2” and the 2 meter band will automatically set the right offset when you are in the range of the usual repeater bands — 600 negative below 147, and 600 positive when above 147. This will save you a lot of extra offset-setting while you are programming your repeater channels. Also sets the usual +5.00 MHz offset for 440 repeaters.
Item 24 - AM NB: Set to “off” and the Noise Blanker will be disabled on AM reception, where it will otherwise cause distortion to strong AM signals.
Item 30 - VSend Sel: Set to “off,” the HSend line on the Acc’y jack will key the radio on all bands; Set to “on” (the default), HSend will key the radio on HF/6, while VSend will key it on V/UHF bands. “Off” is useful if you will key the radio from a computer interface for all bands. “On” is useful of you will key the radio with a computer on HF, but with an external TNC for V/UHF. You’ll need to study the book and do some fancy wiring on the 13-pin DIN plug…
Items 34-37 - CI-V settings: Leave the address at 58H; change BAUD to 19200, turn CI-V TRN on, and leave 731 off. To operate with computer control and digital modes, see the interface section later herein, as well as my article on the digital-modes.
The rest of the initial settings are usually OK — by preference, or as-needed.
The Quick-Set Menu
Now power off, and on, and go to the Q menu, by holding in the Display button.
Q1 - Power: Set to HI or as desired. Different power levels can be stored for HF/6 and VHF/UHF RF outputs.
Q2 - Mic Gain: Set it to 4-5, no more. Only one seting for all bands and modes.
- The supplied HM-103 hand mic has very good quality, but never talk flat into it — talk across it, with the side of the mic beside your mouth. The element is too sensitive to use flat against the mouth, and will badly distort.
- If you install a different mike, you’ll need to determine a new “best” mike gain setting. But remember, this is a “pre-pro” Icom, with the high-level (50mV, not 50μV) mic input, designed for an electret mic with a pre-amp. The audio line has 8-volts phantom power on it, and (1) shorting it will blow the 8-volt regulator's tiny fuse (inside), and (2) a dynamic mic (if used) must have an added DC blocking capacitor.
- The mic gain setting is the same for all bands and modes. The setting is not stored by band, mode, or memory channel. Setting the gain at 4-5 and talking across it is sufficient for all bands and modes.
- The speech compressor (CMP) is rarely needed, except in extremely marginal conditions. Don’t use it until you’ve used another receiver (with headphones) and calibrated the compression level. The level is set wih a tiny pot, through a hole in the case, using a tiny screwdriver. It is very sensitive, and will draw complaints if set at more than the ten-o’clock position.
- The output power level is not stored in memories. There is one setting for HF and one for V/UHF. Output power will need to be adjusted manually as you move from nearby to distant repeaters, or from strong to weak SSB stations.
- Icom radios use the ALC circuit to control power output. When you are at high power, you’ll see little or no ALC meter indication; when at low power you will see full ALC indication. This is normal operation. Do NOT adjust the mike gain to set ALC levels, as with most other radios. Leave the mike gain at 4-5, set the power as needed, and don’t worry about the ALC meter, except when running digital modes, where you never want to see any ALC.
The rest of the Q menus vary by mode — see the manual. Most of the defaults are fine, but you’ll need to go to VOX Gain and Delay to set those to your voice, and RPTR TONE (Q6 in FM mode) to set that for each repeater you’ll put in memories. While programming repeaters, you’ll switch between Q6 and M2 a lot! It’s a pain…
Programming Memory Channels
It’s important to set up your memory channels in a table before committing to fully programming the 706. I recommend you:
- Use a Word or Excel table to develop your channel list. Sort it by frequency, then install it. Make columns: Ch#, Freq, Mode, Offset, Tone, and Name.
- Group channels by band; and sort by increasing frequency. This will reduce wear on the filter board relays as you crank the memory channel knob.
- If you don’t have favorites yet, just program a channel every 50kc or so within the ham bands; you can always change them later as you operate (and you will). Also, it doesn’t hurt to leave a blank channel or two between bands.
- Don’t forget to add in some SWL stations, local police/fire/ems, NOAA weather, etc. Remember, it’s not just a ham radio, it’s an AM, SW, and FM broadcast receiver, and V/U public service scanner, too!
- Take your time! The better your list, the less fragmentation will develop over time.
- If you perform the Frequency Expansion modification (below), it will erase ALL settings and memories and return the radio to factory settings. If you REALLY want to use 60 meters and/or MARS, do it NOW and save the long process of programming everything twice.
Programming a Blank Channel
Select a blank channel. On M2, press V/M to select VFO-A. Set the frequency and mode. If this is a simplex frequency, simply press MW to write the memory. Next channel. Repeat.
For duplex (repeater) channels, you also need to:
- Set DUPlex (off/-/+) on the M4 menu (automatically set if AUTO RPTR is set to On 2, see Item 20 above). Watch out for 147.00 repeaters, they can go either way.
- Set TONe (T or TSQL) on the M4 menu (T enables PL tone; TSQL also enables tone squelch)
- Set RPTR TONE (the tone you transmit to key a repeater) on the Q6 menu.
- and if used, set the TONE SQL on Q7 (the tone a repeater might transmit to open your squelch)
…then return to M2 and press MW to write the memory. Done. Go to next channel and repeat until all your list is programmed. Afterward, you can go to G4 and give all the channels descriptive names, if desired. Note that G4 name setting is stored with Exit button, not MW.
To Overwrite an Existing Channel
Simply use the M2 menu: Set to Memory mode, select the channel to overwrite, then change the frequency, mode, Tone, whatever is needed, then press MW to update the channel to the current settings. If needed, also update Q4 name.
All this sounds complicated at first, but after you do a couple of channels you get a rhythm going and it goes pretty fast. Still, it’ll take 2-3 hours to do them all.
Disclaimer: The author assumes absolutely no responsibility, under any circumstances, for what the reader may do with this information. Building and connecting circuits, and performing adjustments or modifications, may damage your radio, void your warranty, and/or cause it to operate in violation of FCC rules and Type Acceptance, etc, unless you are very careful.