706: New Setup

© 2003-2015 by Harold Melton, KV5R. All Rights Reserved. Rev.04/26/15

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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.

Mic/Audio Notes:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. Take your time! The better your list, the less fragmentation will develop over time.
  6. 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.


26 thoughts on “706: New Setup
  1. I hope this is the right place to ask but i have a IC-706MKIIG and trying to sw between usb and lsb. There are some stations i talked to in hawaii last year but when I looked up the freq it was lsb. any help would be appreciated I have spent many ours trying to get my station set up and running again. grand kids are starting to get interested

    Thank You
    Mike Dillard


    • Well, it will automatically be in lsb below 10MHz and USB above. To override that, if I remember correctly, you just press and hold the mode button for 1 second to switch lsb/usb. Or that might be how to switch filters. Anyway, pressing the mode button rotates through the modes, but if you don’t see a mode in the rotation, check in setup menu where modes can be enabled/disabled. See Initial Set Mode, Item 1, above.
      The 706MkIIG manual is available on-line as PDF, just search for it.
      73, –kv5r

  2. Hi
    Icom IC706MK11G .The rit/sub switch seems to be glowing orange will not go RED or GREEN as stated in the manual
    as this was recenlty purchached second hand .Ihave done afull reset and tried everything posible maybe I am missing something .Mch control just changes memory channel number

    • I think it will only go into RIT/Sub mode if you are in Split mode in SSB or CW, not in VHF-FM. I don’t remember as I never used split or RIT. Could be the button switch needs cleaning, too.

      • Looks like it is the swich gone intermitent it came green today and afer constant pressing on/off it went off .What do you recommend for cleaning a spray wth contact cleaner from the front

        • Caig DeoxIT D5. It’s the best. But watch out, it sprays out way too much and makes a mess, so spray some on a q-tip and squeeze a drop around the button.

          If that doesn’t get any in the switch, you’ll have to disassemble it. I’ve never had to open mine; perhaps search for a video where someone has. It might be little mechanical PCB button switch, or a bubble membrane, I just don’t know. I’ve only done switches like this video.

          73, –kv5

  3. Hi, I dont know if you can help, I bought a 2nd hand 706Mk11G, if I tune below 145.500 (S20 or the calling channel here) the rig puts in a tone and repeater offset, how can I remove this? tuning above S20 does not add the tone or shift.

  4. Hello, I have an ICOM 706MK IIG wanting to use the SignaLink USB Sound Card. Power is via USB Port 3 from Toshiba Lap Top. Radio interface is via rear 6-pin mini DIN jack. Having difficulty with CW. Not sure if using rear external speaker port of radio to USB sound card is the correct method to establish better receiving of CW? Any suggestions would be helpful.

    • One of the lines in the 13-pin acc jack is audio out. I don’t know about the mini-din jack, never used it.

      For keying, you have to use the 1/4″ key jack, set in straight-key mode, interfaced to computer serial port (or USB to serial adapter), with a NPN transistor in a simple grounded emitter circuit.

  5. I have a question on my IC-706, when transmit, SWR meter does not work.
    How to check in set mode adjustment,is everything OK. Greeting Dule YT1Q

  6. First off, What a great website! Thank you for taking the time and effort to post such a vast wealth of knowledge. Kudos!

    I have an original model IC-706, not Mkll or Mkll/G, and the VFO encoder is broken and not even in the radio.

    My question is this: can the CI-V cable and my computer still control my radio without the VFO encoder physically installed (I am awaiting the arrival of a new encoder from ICOM UK)? ICOM USA would not sell me the encoder as they have reserved all their remaining stock for “internal use only,” and my radio is “too old to repair and I should just buy a new radio”… according to ICOM USA in Washington! ?? I’ve tried using HRD and BKT but have had no luck with either of these programs.

    Thank you!



  7. I just purchased an ICOM IC-706MKII without a separation cable. But I have one for my ICOM IC-703. Will it work on the 706?

  8. I have a question on my IC-706mkIIg. It transmits full power on UHF (20) and VHF (50) and is adjusted using the main dial from L to H with numbers 1 – 9 in between. NOW, on HF using the main dial to adjust the power it seems the power peeks at 100 watts on the number 5. Numbers 6,7,8,and 9 and H there is no change. I figure there is an internal adjustment to make 100 watts while on H and reduce power as the numbers decrease. Can you let me know exactly where this internal adjustment is?? I apologize if this is not posted in the correct area.
    THANKS, 73, Mark N2FLF

    • There are 4 tiny pots that set the max power in various bands. You need the IC-706MKIIG Service Manual (that’s a BIG pdf, wait for it, then save it). See pages 4-2, 4-3. You’ll probably find that someone has cranked R1082 wide open.
      If not that, something may be wrong with the ALC circuit, which controls the power output, and it’d need bench repair and alignment.
      73, –kv5r

  9. I recently bought a used 706MKIIG. I now have an issue only getting about 7.5 watts on HF (low power on ALL modes, ALL HF bands) and low power on 2M and 70cm. I did a master reset but no luck. Then I tried looking for the issue by putting in RTTY mode and poking at any connection inside the rig, but after about 2 minutes of transmitting for about 2 seconds while prodding at connections, the radio shut off and took like 20 minutes before it turned back on, just now I went to double check if it had any power out on 2 and 440, now it will not turn on at all! I am so scared and sad (now shaking)!
    Please help, point me in a area to check if ya can!
    Thanks, John

    • Since you just got the radio, I’ll ask an obvious, did you go into the Q menu and check what the power is set to? I can see why it would be low on HF (bad load, bad SWR detector, bad relay on filter board), but VHF/UHF uses a completely different output final (with no swr checking). So if your power is set properly in Q menu in both HF and VHF you should get ~100w on HF and 50 on VHF (and 20 on UHF).

      As for going completely dead, the only thing you can check is the main fuses, and the tiny internal 8V fuse, you might have blown that or even the 8V regulator. The 8V system is what powers all the computer chips including the main processor.

      Note that when “off” it’s really in a “sleep” mode — still has 12V on the drivers and finals, and 8V on the processor. The “power” button actually grounds a pin on the processor, which then sends a signal to a tiny SMT transistor, which pulls in a little relay in the 8V subsystem, which wakes everything else up, thus turning the radio “on.”

      Beyond that 8V internal fuse, about the only thing you can check inside is make sure all the little ribbon cables that interconnect the boards are seated properly (you need to look up a video on how to open and lock those little ribbon connectors or you’ll ruin them if not done properly and carefully).

      Don’t poke at things in modern SMT electronics, in my experience that always makes things worse! And make sure you disconnect the power jack before doing anything inside — remember “off” isn’t really off.

  10. Bonjour
    Je suis a la recherche d’un kit de separation facade pour IC-706MKIIG
    si vous avez des infos pour acheter merci d’avance.
    Jean F4EFL

    • Très difficile à trouver. Meilleur pari est de rechercher eBay ou poster un “voulu” message sur qrz.com. Je trouvai un de cette façon (qrz forum) dans les 24 heures de 55 $ (environ 48 euros).

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