Icom IC-718 Review

The Icom IC-718 has been in production for more than two decades, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a workhorse HF transceiver that’s not overloaded with features, and is truly built to last. It’s short on bells and whistles, but it’s sure to provide you with great performance for years – or decades – to come. Get more details in this overview of Icom IC-718.

Good

  • Simple, robust, and built to last – The Icom IC-718 is the Toyota Corolla of HF all-band radios. It doesn’t have all the latest features. It’s not the prettiest radio. But it does what you need it to do, it does it well, and it’s built to last. It’s a great option as a no-frills primary HF radio, or as a backup or mobile unit.
  • Excellent physical controls – Touchscreens, begone! With its physical user interface, you’ll be using knobs and buttons to change your settings. If you’re not a fan of more modern, touch-based user interfaces, the IC-718 is sure to please.
  • 100w for plenty of transmit power – Paired with the right antenna and ham setup, the IC-718’s 100w of transmission power will have you making contacts all around the world.
  • Plenty of add-ons and accessories available – You can find lots of CW filters, microphones, and other accessories for this unit, though some are out of production due to the age of the IC-718.
  • Great value – Since it lacks a touchscreen and lots of other features often included in high-end HF radios, the IC-718 is much cheaper. But with a little tinkering, it easily offers comparable performance with a price that’s significantly lower than other 100w HF, all-band radios.

Bad

  • Noisy stock fan – The stock fan is quite loud, and switches on frequently while the unit is transmitting and receiving. This probably won’t be a problem for mobile use, but could be annoying in a shack. The fan can be replaced with a quieter unit, but this will void the warranty.
  • Some complaints about noisy receiver – It doesn’t appear that all units are affected, but some users report significant noise when receiving transmissions with the Icom IC-718. Proper use of the RF gain control and DPS features may help mitigate this issue.

Bottom line

Rock-solid performance meets a simple design. That about sums up the Icom IC-718. If you want the very best and latest features, look elsewhere. The basic design of this radio is more than 20 years old, and that shows. But if you want to keep things simple, you’re on a budget, and you like a more “old-school” approach to ham radio, it’s hard to imagine a more appropriate option than the Icom IC-718. It does everything you need it to do on the HF band – and more – for a shockingly reasonable price.

Product Specs

Frequency Range
Rx
Tx
0.030-29.999999 MHz*1
1.800-1.999999 MHz*2
3.500-3.999999 MHz*2 (varies with version)
7.000-7.300000 MHz
10.100-10.150000 MHz
14.000-14.350000 MHz
18.068-18.168000 MHz
21.000-21.450000 MHz
24.890-24.990000 MHz
28.000-29.700000 MHz
*1guaranteed range: 0.5-29.999999 MHz
*2varies according to version
ModeUSB, LSB, CW, RTTY (FSK), AM
No. of memory channels101 (99 regular, 2 scan edges)
Frequency resolution1 Hz
Frequency stabilityLess than ±200 Hz from 1 minute to 60 minutes after power on. After that rate of stability less than ±30 Hz/hr. at +25°C (+77°F). Temperature fluctuations 0°C to +50°C (+32°F to +122°F) less than ±350 Hz
Power supply requirement13.8 V DC ±15% (negative ground)
Current drain
(at 13.8 V DC)
Receive
Transmit
Stand-by
1.3A
max audio
2.0A
max. power
20.0A
Usable temperature range-10°C to +60°C
(+14°F to +140°F)
Antenna connectorSO-239 (50Ω)
Dimensions
(projections not included)
240mm (W) x 95mm (H) x 239mm (D);
97/16in (W) x 33/4in (H) x 913/32in (D)
Weight3.8 kg; 8 lb 6 oz
ACC connector13-pin
REMOTE connector2-conductor 3.5 (d) mm; (1/8“)
Modulation system
  SSB
  AM
Balanced modulation
Low level modulation
Output power
  SSB, CW, RTTY
  AM
2-100W
2-35W
Spurious emissionsLess than -50 dB below peak output power
Spurious frequency
  below 30 MHz
  above 30 MHz
-50dB
-60dB
Carrier suppressionMore than 40 dB
Unwanted sidebandMore than 50 dB
Microphone connector8-pin connector (600Ω)
KEY connector3 conductor 6.5 (d) mm (1/4“)
SEND connectorPhono (RCA)
ALC connectorPhono (RCA)
Receiving systemDouble conversion superheterodyne
Sensitivity (10 dB S/N)
  SSB, CW, RTTY
  AM
0.16 µV (1.8-29.999999 MHz)
13 µV (0.5-1.799999 MHz)
2 µV (1.8-29.999999 MHz)
SQL sensitivityLess than 5.6 µV (SSB)
Selectivity
  SSB, CW, RTTY
 
 AM
More than 2.1 kHz/-6 dB
Less than 4.5 kHz/-60 dB
More than 6.0 kHz/-6 dB
Less than 20 kHz/-40 dB
Spurious and image rejectionMore than 70 dB (1.8-29.999999 MHz)
Audio output power
(at 13.8 V DC)
More than 2.0W at 10% distortion with an 8Ω load
RIT variable range± 1200 Hz
PHONES connector3-conductor 6.5 (d) mm (1/4“)
EXT SP connector2-conductor 3.5 (d) mm (1/8″) / 8Ω

Expert reviews

  • YouTuber Commsprepper reviewed this radio, and said it was the best radio for emergency preparedness and prepping. He recommended it as an entry-level or starter radio, since it’s relatively affordable despite its powerful performance. He liked the layout of the radio, calling it a “simple radio to operate” and that it’s “not menu intense.” He also praised the front-facing speaker, which makes the radio easier to use and mount on a shelf or in a recessed compartment.
  • In his review, YouTuber KC2USH called the Icom IC-718 a “very nice radio” due to its powerful digital signal processing, large screen size, and intuitive menu controls. He said he was “overall very pleased with the quality of this rig” especially considering the price. He called it a great radio for new hams, and also praised the quality of the speaker and the noise reduction features of the IC-718.

User reviews

  • On DXEngineering, the Icom IC-718 has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars, over 33 total ratings. They called it “reliable and easy to use,” “straightforward and intuitive,” and “a very good radio as a first radio or a backup radio.” Reviewers also praised the good overall audio quality, the simplicity of the menu system, and the quality of the built-in DSP (Digital Signal Processing).
  • GigaParts users have given this radio a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars, over 6 total reviews. Reviewers called it “the best HF radio for the money,” “very easy to use,” and “the most underrated HF radio.” They also praised the DSP and 100 watt power output. However, one user did note that they had trouble with programming and operating the unit through the menu system.
  • eHam.net reviewers rated this radio at 4.3 out of 5 stars, over 429 total reviews. Most reviewers were very positive about the Icom Ic-718, calling it “basic, simple, and fun,” saying it “meets or exceeds expectations,” and that it “has a very good receiver,” and that “transmit audio reports have been very good as well.” A few users had critical feedback about the quality of the included microphone, noisy receiver, and quiet built-in speaker, as well as the noisy stock fan.

Shop

Buy Icom IC-718 from Amazon

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.