ICOM IC-746PRO HF/VHF Transceiver
ICOM has bestowed the digital magic already applied to its IC-756PROII to this updated economy model—which continues to offer all-mode HF, 6 and 2-meter capability. The IC-746PRO also incorporates some novel features not yet available elsewhere.
A Poor Man's IC-756PROII?
The original IC-746 represented the next logical step after their innovative and extremely popular IC-706 compact/ mobile transceiver series. For the '746, ICOM bundled HF plus 6 and 2 meters in a desktop package with a big display screen and lots of creature comforts. It recalled ICOM's top-end IC-781 and closely resembled the much more recent IC-756. With its full reliance on DSP, the new IC-746PRO seems now to owe more to the IC-756PRO and 'PROII, however. Indeed, ICOM's ads have been touting the fact that the '746PRO shares "the same powerplant as the '756PROII," and—particularly for the budget-conscious—this makes the choice between the '746PRO and the '756PROII all the more difficult.
No, there's no delicious color screen or throwback (nostalgic?) analog meter, but the IC-746PRO offers performance (see Table 1) that's comparable with that of its pricier sibling, and includes all-mode 2-meter capability that even the IC-756PROII neglected to add. The IC-746PRO features essentially all of the same bells and whistles found on the original model plus most of those that the '756PROII offers. There are a few new wrinkles too, and ICOM fixed at least a couple of things we'd faulted on the original model.
Outwardly, a couple of labels have been changed on the front panel. Where the '746 had an APF/ANF (automatic peak filter/automatic notch filter) button label, the '746PRO now bears an A/NOTCH label. The APF is history—but with the new DSP system, you won't miss it. Additionally, the SPEECH button on the '746 now is a CALL button (to let the operator quickly access a favorite frequency); the old LOCK button—now labeled LOCK/SPCH—serves a dual function. The discerning eye will notice some cosmetic changes too. The MENU button, once black, now is gray; the four buttons adjacent to it, once gray, now are black (yes, we had the same reaction). Keypad button labels are more prominent. The XFC key is now a fashionable teal shade. The bold, easy-to-read monochrome LCD display remains.
The '746PRO incorporates several niceties we soon won't be able to live without. These include enhanced trans-mit-audio tailoring, a receive audio "equalizer" (of sorts), an adjustable noise blanker, an SWR plotter and "sharp" and "soft" filter shaping—something we first saw on the '756PROII—plus excellent DSP noise reduction and auto and manual IF-level DSP notches.........