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The Alinco DX70TH
The Alinco is slightly bigger than the Icom and not as well constructed. It looks and feels like one of the old 11 meter multimode rigs. However, the front panel layout is very good and the various functions are much easier to use than the Icom, with no extensive menus! The VFO knob is a little cumbersome and could have done with a thumb notch like the Icom. That said, frequency changing is easier on the Alinco, and using the sub-dial allows you to alter frequency in 1MHz or 100KHz steps, together with various steps on FM, SSB (much like a channel change switch).
The Alinco runs much cooler than the Icom and only generates large amounts of heat on TX, which is quickly dissipated by a very efficient two speed fan, which is rather noisy on the higher setting.
HF receiver performance (20 meters up) was similar to the Icom, although the Alinco seems to have a little more sensitivity on 20 meters itself. There are no pager breakthrough problems whatsoever as you would expect for a dedicated HF rig.
The Alinco performs very well on the lower bands. In the test on 40m carried out with the Icom, the Alinco was able to pull out the American stations with relative ease, with little intermodulation present. With 10db of attenuation all intermodulation disappeared.
There was little intermodulation present in the European 40m allocation, and copying weak signals was only made difficult by background static.
CW operation with the Alinco is excellent and the radio is equipped with a built in audio filter that narrows the bandwidth somewhat. Under difficult conditions a narrow ceramic filter can be switched in (fitted as standard).
TX power output on SSB is fairly good, and with some adjustment maximum talk power can be attained (see menu for details on increasing talk power).
Icom 706MK2G is a useful rig packed with features and now available at a very reasonable price, providing reasonable performance on HF. However if you are a low band enthusiast, the rig would probably not be a good choice, and a dedicated HF rig would seem a more logical choice. There are of course other multibanders available, but from what I have seen and read these too have deficiencies in HF performance which would not be found on a dedicated HF rig. Of course, your station is only as good as your antenna. I know of people who have spent over £1000 on HF radios and hooked them up to poor/mediocre antenna systems!
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