Some Thoughts About The IC-706MkIIG
N1GY- The simple Approach to Ham Radio
and My Model Railroad Hobby
Recently I had a significant problem with the IC-706MkIIG that I use as one of my base station radios. It began to do some really odd things like shut off for no reason (and with no control being pushed. Other times it would simply lock up and no amount of button pushing or knob twirling would make it do anything. Yet another time it decided to lock up in transmit. Each time the answer was to disconnect the radio from the DC power matrix and then reconnect it. Once that was done the radio would behave itself for a while until it's next screwy move.
After reading the available comments about the repair of the 706 online, it was obvious that no one had described what was happening to my 706. It occurred to me that each of the odd things it did were related to control functions. Normally, shut-off occurs when one pushes the "power" button at the top left of the control head. Lock-up happens when one pushes the "lock" button at the bottom left of the tuning knob on the right side of the control head. Transmit happens when you push the PTT switch on the side of the Microphone and that signal is also transmitted to the radio through the control head. Do you see a pattern here?
On the off chance that the fix might just be a simple one, I took the control head off the main body of the radio and sprayed the contacts that connect the two with a healthy dose of contact cleaner. After the contact cleaner had evaporated I wiped the area around the contacts on both units and re-assembled the radio. I have been using the radio for over 12 hours now and indeed did an almost 40 minute net with it this evening. No recurrence of the odd-ball problems so far. In discussions with other hams during the net, it was obvious that this is not a new problem. Living in coastal Florida as I do, it pays to regularly do preventive maintenance on gear that is subject to oxidation or corrosion. The contacts between a 706 control head and the main body of the radio are no different. A shot of contact cleaner once in a while can forestall problems that would otherwise have one looking for a good deal on a new radio.
As future information about the 706 series of radios becomes available I will add to this page If anyone would like to offer their personal experiences with maintaining a 706 for inclusion on this page, be aware that I will absolutely credit the author and if needed, provide a link to the author's web site or email address assuming the author desires so.
It has been a month or more since I wrote the words above so I think a recap of recent events is in order. While I was on a brief trip to Connecticut for a granddaughter's birthday, my son suggested that I borrow his IC-706MkIIG while mine was out for repair. That's right, the corrective measures I did in the above paragraphs did not solve the problems, it only delayed them for a few days. I took my son up on his offer and carried his 706 back to Florida in my carry-on. When I got it home, I was dismayed to discover that it simply would not fire up at all. Since my usual repair tech is currently unavailable I had to send my son's radio off to Mike Nadeau in Maine. He discovered that the connection between the control head and the main body of the radio was defective and replaced it. Having cured the first radio, I sent my 706 off to him. Mike found that in my unit several places had corrosion that initially created the weird things that were happening to my radio. He removed the corrosion and re soldered the defective connections and once again, my radio came to life. Even the memories in both radios were still intact. MY 706 is back in the operating position and working like a champ. My son's is awaiting his arrival for a visit this month (March) and will then go back to Conn.
Mike Nadeau's web site www.n1eq.com is a wealth of info on repairing the 706 series of radios. His prices are very fair and his work is outstanding. I heartily recommend his services for repairs on the list of radios that he will service. I have also recently added a directory of repair facilities in West Central Florida that our fellow hams may feel the need of at times. The list is by no means complete but I have verified the ones that are listed.
Recently, I had a problem with 60 cycle hum getting into the headsets that I use at my operating position. I have no solution at the moment so in the interim I have switched back to my old, old Heil Traveler headset that I stopped using because the homebrewed ones I built and sold were so much more comfortable. The RFI is being caused by something external to the headsets but I have not been able, as yet, to track it down. The home-brewed units that I have sold should not be experiencing this problem because for years at a time I have used the exact same devices here at my station with no problems. Every time the RFI crops up, it always turns out to be an external issue not the fault of the headsets. At my age and state of mobility it will be a bit of time before the cause presents itself but I am sure it will in time.