Icom 9700 – Leo Bodnar Stability kit

Having being able to do more work on the 9700 and its antennas recently, the ‘drift’ on frequency was getting more apparent, especially so with digital modes with the classic WSPR drift. As I want to do digital modes on the ‘birds’ having a stable frequency would seem like a good prerequisits to fix the drift issue.

WSPR Drift in WSJT-X from the IC9700

I’ve had the injection board for some time, but just never had the desire to open the 9700 until it was really necessary. I have to say that the idea of opening a radio with the price tag the 9700 has to fix an issue does seem somewhat bizzare, but equally I’m glad that leo bodnar solution requires no soldering but stil requires a good amount of care and attention.

I ordered the mini GPS clock and was pleased to see that it included a GPS Antenna and USB cable, its worth noting that you will need a SMA Cable for going between the GPS clock and the radio itself, thankfully I had several good length ones here in the shack thanks to my work on the chipwhispherer capture board.

My reference video, which is also linked from the Leo Bodnar site, is the ‘gps lock you icom ic-9700’, I watched this several times before even opening the radio.

The most excellent how-to video on fitting and tuning the GPS lock on the ic-9700

Having watched the video one last time, I set about opening the 9700.

I waited an extra day before opening the radio as I dont have any JIS screwdrivers and didnt want to wreck the screws on the 9700. I found a nice set for £12 on Amazon that done the job nicely, tho some screws may of been ‘locked’ in, a good strong ‘tap’ of the screwdriver ensured the screws came out easily.

JIS2 screwdriver for exterior screws on IC9700 base

Having got the case open, i then set about removing the thermal protector and existing wire. I was trepidatious about removing the connector, its very small with alot of components around it, with a little ‘wiggle’ it was removed. I used a bike-kit socket set to remove the connector from the chassis and stored in the board box.

I then went about fitting the board, i first sized up exactly where it would go and what screws to use, there are two pairs in the box, I went with the longers set which done the job well of holding the injection board to existing screw holes. I made a visual inspection with my phone to make sure the board was fitted correctly and should work correctly.

Once I had fitted the board, I put the power back and turned on just to ensure nothing had shorted/issues, then put the bottom case back on. I found getting the power connector on and off the 9700 really fiddly ! hopefully I wont have to remove it again ! 🙂

I then installed the software on the computer I use for the ic9700 that has PCSAT32 and HRD installed on it. I didnt see any Linux software for doing this, so was at advantage running Windows in this instance. I liked the GPS Clock had a blinking LED on it as well. I hooked up the external antenna and was soon picking up the GPS signal without issue.

For signal generation I setup my IC-705 with a 2m/70cm whip antenna, and set the power output to 0, i was able to use the morse mode to generate a repeated CQ TEST 2E0FWE as my frequency marker, I could then use this to ensure the injection board was working correctly.

I was really impressed of how well the frequency locked and the stability of it. It only took me a couple of hours tops to watch the videos and fit everything to have a radio which will work well on digital modes.

Hopefully you will see more videos of me using the digital modes on the ‘birds’ soon, but am glad the radio is up and running !

When I’m working during the day, I’m using WSPR to test the antenna and even tho its an eggbeater its doing great with WSPR.

WSPR on 2M

73 2E0FWE

IC705 USB Cable Choke

So a quick update, having received the 5M USB cable and cable ties, i then went on to test out the choke method to reduce/remove the inteference from the IC705 as shown by Temporarily Offline Ham Radio video included yesterday.

The RF Choke comes from here, as I dont suffer RF back into the shack thanks to the EFHW and RF Choke on the feedline, the PSU Choke was not being used. Winding the toride was made quite easy by the fact the choke can be opened up and wound up, once secured with a a couple of cable ties it was easier to put the turns into specifc locations, tighten the cable wraps up, then cut off the excess.

WSJTX in action – no sign of disconnects or loss of audio

I tested MMSTV and WSJTX into the 2M Comet Whip antenna, everything worked fine with no issue of disconnected audio or interference into the radio or the computer. I’m looking forward to taking the setup out and trying again with the Toybox whip antenna to see how it does this time out.

Testing the IC705 with the RF Choke USB cable and laptop with MMSTV and WSJTX


With getting reading to go POTA next step was to check the PC hardware, I previously used an apple tablet for IC705 wireless connectivity, but this lacks SSTV which I like to use. First step was to get my very old HP Pavillion laptop up and working with the IC705 !

First step was to retrack and setup the settings in the IC705, for this the first part of this video got the required settings. The app to control the radio here is Icom’s own, which I dont own a copy of, but it sets up the Wifi and necessary settings, also like that its a profile which can be easily loaded/unloaded.

setting up the IC705 for Wifi operation (first half applicable)

With the wifi setup correctly (I had to adjust the audio filter bandwidth and CI-V Echoback to OFF) I then set about setting up wfview, using this tutorial.

IC705, Wifi, VBAudio, Virtual COM port

This got me to the point whereby I could receive fine, but transmit didnt produce any audio, I rechecked the settings on the radio that Inputs/Connectors/Data MOD=WLAN and no issue there. I check wfview and the settings are correct, I did notice my version of wfview was 1.5, so check the forums, sure enough, others had the same problem and was fixed by an upgrade.

I downloaded the latest wfview and installed. I did notice this didnt overwrite the previous version, so I found the new version (C:\Program Files\wfview) and made a nice desktop shortcut, the registery settings had kept the config, so no need to re-enter all those thankfully.

I attached a Diamond RH770 2m/70cm antenna to the the 705 in the shack, just for something to transmit into, RX was flooded with QRM from all the computers and screens, but amazingly with 5W of power I was picked up by WESSEXSDR!

So.its now all looking good to use my oldlaptop with newer versions of wfview for at least WSJTX control. Hopefully just pointing MMSSTV and the virtual com port (10) and audio to VBAudio will get that working, but will wait until I have a HF antenna hooked up to test that ;o)

Egg Beaters – for the hard of hearing

Firstly Merry Christmas ! Its a relaxing day here and not the usual busyness for a Monday! Having an extra two days for the weekend has been really nice, I’ve done loads of other stuff and also playing with IC-9700 with the satellities, or attempting to, would be more accurate 🙂

So far I’ve heard zilch, as in nothing, not a tweet from a ‘bird’ I looked up Amsat’s tracking of sats other had heard, so would be confident that I should be able to hear them too, alas to no avail. I then tried FT8 on 2M, I was getting out just fine with the eggbeaters, but not hearing a thing, I did notice some very high peaks of QRM on the WSJT-X ‘scope’, so my first step was to move the antennas further from the house and a better line of sight of the sky to the horizion, which accomplished, well, nothing.

I then tried SSTV via a my hand held units into the IC9700 and MMSTV, this worked fine, so the 2M antenna was at least receiving and transmitting. I went to 70cm and found a clear frequncy and gave the same SSTV test, this worked fine… so what was going on ? Ok simple test, lets swap antennas between the Diamon X3000 which goes into the Kenwood, put that onto the 9700. Again,


No problem getting out with FT8 and no problem on SSTV. I tried WSPR with 5 watts on all three antennas, the egg beater 2M worked fine.

WSPR on 2M

I then checked thru the IC9700 settings, all good there and used the manual ATT/P.AMP switch on the front of the radio it self, what I noticed was that the internal preamp did increase the signal, but with the external pre-amp there seemed no increase in performance.

What I suspect is happening is that my mast-head pre-amp is designed for a single feed of coax into it, then into a single verticle antenna, where as I have splitters each end for taking the coax and seperating out the 2M and 70cm bands. By the reckoning I can hear local 2m fine (including MB7IPD) on the egg beater, I suspect that the 70cm RX is doing nothing, although the antennas resonent for TX, I think the multiplexer and multiband masthead are not working together correctly.

As its getting dark now, and have the luxury of another day off tomorrow, I will research which sat’s are most common and which band the RX is the most common, then I will setup a single feed for that antenna into the mast-head amp, and run two feeds from the egg beaters, then I should be able to find out if its the egg-beaters/coax/multiplexer causing the lack of ‘ears’.

Until then, 73’s


Egg beaters – SWR Troubleshooting Dec 2023

With no rain and getting the other radios on the air, it was time to tackle the errant SWR on the eggbeater antennas. I lowered the antenna on the tiltbase and with the rigexpert started going thru each connection on the antennas – there are quite a few with the single feedline solution going into the mast head amp, so there is plenty of possiblity for them not to be perfectly coupled/screwed together.

I started with directly connected to the 2m and 70cm eggbeaters, no issue there, SWR was spot on both, almost 1:1 on 2m and around 1.4 on 70cm. I then connected the mast-head triplexer and read the readouts from there, whilst this took some ‘wiggling’ it resulted in getting like-for-like direct readings. I then connected triplexer into the amp and read the output of the amp, the SWR here was higher, but not what i had seen previously, regardless, I re-tighetented all the connectors, this brought the output from the mast head down to the same results as from the output of the triplexer. I then reconnected the feedline from the transceiver back into the amplifier and measured from the far end, again good results. So the issue here was either a single or multiple loose connections. I suspect the the connection between the triplexer and the amp which is a double-barrel male N connector.

I put the title base back up and screwed all the bolts back into the base, feeling my age I was keen to get back into the warmth of the shack !

I measured the SWR from the feedline back into the rigexpert, again good results, so I went ahead and connected another triplexer to split the frequencies out into the 9700 2m and 70cm inputs.

With the results coming from the triplexer looking good i went about reconnecting to the IC-9700. The book-shelf rack proving useful again in getting the coax into the radio easily just by rotating the whole bookcase.

Both 2m and 70cm transmissions from the IC-9700 are looking spot-on – next I will try out getting the amp configured from the 9700 and start testing with some satellities !

Back from Holiday

The view from our room in Montreux

Having had a very nice holiday at the start of the month in Montreux Switzerland I had disconnected all my antennas to ensure no damage to equipment whilst away. With a busy schedule its taken several weeks to get the antennas hooked back up again, but I’m glad to be back on 2m/70cm and HF.

Thanks to the book-shelf shack rack, the anteannas were easy to reconnect for the 7300, Kenwood TM-V71 and CRT6900. I was back on the air monitoring SSTV in no time at all and had a good QSO with OE6XFX on 20m with a good signal report (595) on our transmissions. The 20M SSTV was busy as ever for a Saturday afternoon!

seasonal SSTV pictures on 14.230USB

I monitored the Southampton repeater on 70cm and 2M Poole gateway and plenty of activity, was nice to hear some good technical discussions goin on the 70cm repeater in Southampton, was nice to listen in.

I’m hoping for more good weather over the weekend so I can continue work on the eggbeater antennas and looking forward to getting those going on the 9700.

Until then, catch you on the airwaves and 73 !

Egg Beater Pre Amp – Day 2

The splendid sunny day of yesterday could of been a whole season away – the weather today (26/11/23), bleak. Drizzle, a slight bit of wind so any gaps in clothing easily penetrated, it was not a good day to be outside, but I wanted to progress the mast head amplifier !

The weather station proving useful – preceptation whilst not heavy, was irritating..

First step was to get the mast down, thankfully the barinco tilt base makes this really easy – having help to raise it first time was ace as getting it into the tilt base is great, but once in its easy enough to do on my own, although my aged bones do struggle with bending over and taking the nuts off. This time out I made note of the different spanner sizes required for each bolt which will be useful in the future.

Having got the antennas down, it was time for some ‘fettling’ on the egg beaters – they was slightly off perfect vertical with the mast, so first thing was to straight them up with the rest of the mast. I also moved the 2m antenna further away from the mast so the radials didnt come into contact with the mast.

With the pre-amplifier installation work completed, I then set about attaching the amplifer to the mast head. I let gravity help here and attached the amp in a way i wasnt fighting it trying to drop off all the time – this worked pretty well. I had some issues with routing the cables internally, but otherwise got the feedline in nicely.

The Ultraflex 10 coax from M&P really looked the business, but it took some ‘convincing’ to go thru the egg beater base. Nothing too aggresive, just a firm push into the radial support, but it did go thru thankfully ! I then had to connect all the relevant ends up, I had pre-ordered some of the connectors I know I would needed but also had plenty to choose from in the shack.

After putting everything together and getting the egg beaters vertical it was time to beat a hasty retreat to the warth and a cup of tea in the shack. The rain wasn’t helping me today !

Once back in the shack I tested the SWR on the Rigexpert sitck, which does the majority of bands, alas today wasn’t to be my day as the SWR reports were not looking good.

yikes, thats not good !

With the WX not improving any time soon and a plethora of other things to do (XYL computer upgrades being one of them) I satisifed myself with at least getting the amp on the mast, I willl have to spend some time in investigating and correcting the connectors to find where the issue is !

Still, I’m exicted to be able to start using the egg beaters with an amp, the work will no doubt be worth the effort to pull out those weak signals.

Until then, 73s !

Egg beater Pre-Amps – Day 1

It has been a splendid sunny day down here in Bournemouth, whilst the tempretures have been dropping, it was nethertheless a fine day. My original plan was to get essential bits-and-bobs done and out the way, so i could spend the afternoon working on the antennas outside, however the week had caught up with me and a much needed afternoon rest resulted in 2-3 hours lost, but at least I felt better 😀

overnight temps from the now working weather station

Having had a rest I started work on the mast head amplifier, collecting all the parts I had stored away and the dremel, ready for making some holes. I had left my 9700 on 145.500 and was very surprised to hear a call out for a radio check ! Funnily this would be my first ‘ground’ QSO via the egg beater antennas and a good way to check that everything was working as expected. I had a great QSO with M0ABI who was portable in Barton on Sea, given I was using an eggbeater antenna for satellitle comms I was very happy to make this contact, and Mike had alot of history/knowledge of Satellites as well, it was a great QSO and I got back to work on my mast head amp.

Having place the mast-head amp in the ellectrial box housing and marking out where the bolts to attach it to the beam/scaffold would go, i then drilled two small holes with a dremel do it would line up nicely once in the box. I attached velcro supplied with the box to the back of the masthead amp. Its incredbly strong stuff and affixed the amp to the box nicely. I then screwed on the triplexer via a N-Type barrel connector.

With the triplexer and amp connected, i dremelled out the side-holes for where the feed line from the radio will come and the outputs of the triplexer, I stowed the 23cm output and kept a N-Type barellel connector on the 70cm output of the triplexer, as these are all PL259, hopefully this will make attaching the correct antenna to the triplexer easier once outside.

I checked out the feedline holes and am quitely confident the LMR coax I have will fit in there quite nicely. I have M&P Ultraflex10 for the feedlines to the eggbeaters between the multiplexer, to minimize the loss as mch as possible. I’m hopng tomorrows weather is at least dry so I can get outside and get the amp on the mast, then see if I can hear those birds just a little bit better….

A fun evening on G4PRS 2M net

With the 9700 setup on the egg-beater antennas, it was time to test out the TM-V71 on 2M for some Telephony QSO’s using the Diamond X9000. The G4PRS net on Monday nights is on 2M, 145.375, and pulls in a good many callers from around the region, as my QTH is on the aft side of the ‘hump’ between Bournemouth and Poole hearing folk over Swanage and Weymouth way is very rare, but most contacts are very good to at least readable, with only a few which I couldnt make out.

I got in early on the list of callers, (3rd in line I think) and net control (Peter) as G4PRS done an excellent job in getting everyone in. As seen from my ‘scribblings’ there was alot of callers ! I was greatful for the constructive input on my audio and strength, 1st time out was to quote ‘blasting the doors off’ so I got a bit further back from the microphone a second time around, which seemed to help. I will check the manual if there is a in-built setting for microphone amplification to see if thats set, mostly I’ve been using this radio for APRS previously.

It was nice that folk on the net remembered me being in POTA, which sadly I’ve not had much time for this year, but am hopeful in the new year I will be back out again, maybe even December, will see how things go. I’ve packed the 705 in its case for now, so it is a nice ‘go bag’ setup and I do enjoy radio/POTA. Also good feedback on the blog (thanks G6AKJ) and bookcase – its nice to hear that i get at least one reader of the blog ! 😀

I have HRD running on the micropc you can see just under the monitor, the larger PC is a linux box, which I might use for the 7300 to keep the 9700 and 7300 seperate as to avoid any mistaken PTTs,etc.

All in all, the effort to get the radios set back up in the book-shelf-shack has been really worth it, with HRD driving the 9700 and the egg beater setup, as well a nice 2M/70cm radio, I’m looking forward to having more QSO’s on UHF/VHF, as well as digital modes with the 7300, although 80m is very lively of late !

73’s for now and thanks for reading if you got this far 🙂 Hope to catch you on air !

A shack tidy (work in progress)

With my shack getting some actual usage of late, as well as the G4PRS 2M call on Monday nights, it felt like a good time to tidy things up. I’d not been particualy happy with the layout of the radios in the window, in particular it was susceptiable to any rain/water ingress. With that I orderd a budget 3 tier book shelf, having measured the dimensions, it was a nice foot print and my radios should all fit…

Having move the radios from the shelving, I then set about putting them in-situ to see how it worked out – i wasnt 100% sure where I was going to put the book-case radio shack, but the corner seemed a good idea, and put the Apple iPad that was there back into the Alex Loop pack ready for my next /P or /M use. The position worked well, but there was a clear issue of routing power and coax to the radios, so Ihad to do some ‘DIY’ on the shelves. Here goes my warranty…

The cheapness of the bookcase meant the back-walls of the compatments didnt present much work for the dremel, if it was earlier in the day, I would of done this outside tho, it generate a fair amount of dust and smoke, but I kept the windows wide open and also took my time with each section. I didnt need ‘perfectly square’ holes, just enough so that I can route the coax and other cables thru, and as can be seen in the last photo, this worked out pretty well !

The main transformer now had a nice clearance for its rather noisey fan (my only complain of this transformer, its otherwise done an excellent job) then can start placing the radios in place. I started with my 11m CB+manual antenna matcher, this went in easily enough, and then I placed the Kenwood TH-V71E on top of that. I put all the necessary data/audio cables in place in case I choose to use them, but I’m going to be using this as my main 2m/70cms rig. At the moment its using the Diamond X-9000 which has excellent gain on the 2m and 70cm bands. I am looking forward to trying it out on the G4PRS net on Monday night.

I fed in the very chunky cables for the IC9700. Currently I am running a very simple setup, with no mast head amplifier and direct to the satellite egg-beater antennas. This should become a single feed with a splitter both ends once I put the mast-head amp in place.

With the radios all connected and the basic setup up and running, I then set about using the IC9700 for what it was really designed, operating satellites. Luck would have it that the ISS would be passing over, not a particularly high elevantion at 22 degrees, but worth a try. I waited for an hour and was pleased to hear QSO’s from all over europe going into and out of the ISS repeater. I manually controlled the doppler, but there was no need to rotate the yagis liked what I used to have to do. First impressions of the non-amplified eggbeaters is very encouraging and I look forward to continue to setup the annteas and systems in the coming weeks.