Some things just belong behind bars.
In my previous post, I wrote about my newly acquired IC-705 and compared it to two other commonly used QRP radios for SOTA/POTA/QRP operating.
The IC-705 is an impressive radio, and includes a host of features. It does come, however, wrapped in plastic.
We use plastic across a broad spectrum of products that require durability. As such this isn’t a condemning criticism of the rig, rather a recognition that unlike other radios in its class it might be more prone to scratches or cracking if dropped. But, as this video shows, it really is mostly plastic at the end of the day.
We’ll focus on the strengths and differences of each below. One note up front is that both connect to the body of the radio using the lugs on the bottom of the IC-705; though one uses the four M4 screws and the other uses 2 M4s plus the center 1/4″x20 camera mount screw.
Both are designed to protect the front face and controls.
In addition, neither is a lightweight option and if added, will be something you’re carrying with you into the field. It is up to you to decide if the extra protection offered offsets that weight addition.
In my case it does.
Peovi Carry Cage
The Peovi Carry Cage is made in the USA and available through their own website and other online retailers for $135.00 USD at the time of this writing.
It is CNC machined aluminum and feels quite robust in the hand.
The Peovi Carry Cage is a solid piece of 3/4″ x3/8″ (at the widest point I measured) aluminum that wraps around the front edge of the transceiver, with screw-on risers to protect the front controls and a folding handle on top for transportation. It does not extend further back than the 3/4″ width except for at the bottom where the mounting screws/plate are to secure to the radio.
The cage comes unassembled but includes everything needed to quickly get it ready to keep your rig secure. All screws are big and beefy, giving confidence in the durability and longevity of their offering.
On my kitchen scale, the Peovi Carry Cage came out as 13.6 ounces or 387 grams.
The bottom of the cage does extend backwards approximately 3/4″ and provides a non-slip and solid foundation for the radio to be securely tilted into an optimal viewing angle. This was an unexpected surprise that delighted me since I’ve found the radio’s built-in ability to stay in that position to be tenuous at best.
The mounting plate also allows for the 1/4″x20 tripod mounting hole to still be accessed with the cage in place.
A big advantage of the Peovi Carry Cage is that there are multiple 1/4″x20 threaded holes lining the circumference of the cage. That means that if you have made any DIY or home-brewed accessories for the IC-705, you have a place somewhere on the cage to attach it with the right sized screw. This is commonly used in the photography world (which is where Peovi excels) and is an interesting idea to bring to the world of ham radio.
- Solidly built – you won’t be disappointed in the construction of this
- Allows for continued use of the 1/4″ threaded hole build into the radio for tripods, etc.
- Made in the USA
- Multiple mounting holes for your imagination to extend its usefulness
- Carry handle on top
- Side guards double as carry handles too
- Only protects the front portion of the radio
In the comments below you’ll see one from http://www.gemsproducts.com (Side KX) about a polycarbonate screen protector that is compatible with the Peovi Carry Cage. Similar to the one that I use for my Elecraft KX3, it attaches using the two side guards and provides complete coverage for the entire face of the radio.
At the time of this update they are available for order (backordered) for $39.95 USD.
You can pick yours up here. I ordered one and will review it here on my site. Looking forward to it!
(Note that I have no affiliation with this company other than being a satisfied customer. I wholeheartedly endorse their KX3 accessories and have no pecuniary interest in doing so)
Windcamp ARK-705 Shield
The Windcamp ARK-705 Shield is made in China and is available through Amazon.com for $139 USD at the time I wrote this.
Clocking in at 19.6 ounces or 557 grams on my scale, the ARK-705 takes a more encompassing approach to protecting your radio investment. Unlike the Peovi Carry Cage, Windcamp chose to create a cage that more fully encloses the radio on all sides. With the Shield in place, you can set the radio down on any of its six sides and only the Shield is touching the ground.
Per their seller site, it is also CNC machine aluminum with an anodized finish.
The ARK-705 does not use an angled mount plate to allow for positioning the radio; rather they chose to include a flip-down bar which acts as front legs for the radio. It easily moves into place and positions the rig at the right angle for viewing. When not in use, it covers two of the mount screws.
One things to note is that where the Peovi design uses 1/4″ screws almost entirely throughout the build, Windcamp has multiple sized screws that can be seen in the photo below. Everything seems to be well put together and tight, so I don’t have any reason to doubt that the construction here is solid and will last.
- Full enclosure of the radio for maximum protection (means heavier cage, but more complete coverage)
- Kickstand for getting the radio in the best viewing angle
- Side guards can be used as carry handles
- Made in China (not a weakness, I just like to support home-grown businesses)
- No carry handle
- 1/4″ mounting hole on radio is used for securing this cage and therefore not available for other uses
- Heavier than the Peovi (but also plays into the strength above)
- EDIT: After posting I realized that the angle which this cage puts the radio in is not as steep as the Peovi, and not as optimal of a viewing angle
Both of these products do exactly what they advertise – they provide protection for the front facing controls. Each one, however, brings a different set of complimentary features that are desirable.
They both only touch the radio on the bottom where the mounts are secured using the built-in holes that Icom added to the IC-705. The rest of the radio is encompassed, but not touched by the two products. This is exactly the same as how camera cages work and is commonly used in that industry.
I really like the folding carry handle and additional 1/4″x20 mounting options that Peovi added.
I also really like the fully enclosed protection that Windcamp brings to the table
At the end of the day, I am confident in the build quality of both and that they will each provide significantly improved protection for your valuable IC-705 investment.
After a few days of playing with both cages, I’m keeping the Peovi Carry Cage and will be returning the Windcamp ARK-705. Why?
- Lighter while still being quite robust
- Mounting holes all around (I have some ideas in mind)
- I neglected to mention that with the carry handle folded down along the back of the radio, and taking into account the bottom mounting bracket, the cage provides enough protection in my view
- Tripod mount hole
- Optimal viewing angle – the Windcamp was only reclined a few degrees
- Made in the USA
I stand by my previous statement that both would serve the purposes of having one of these in the first place. I’ve just had more time now to experiment and feel that one meets my wants/needs better than the other.
NOTE: I personally own both of these cages and bought them with my own income. At the time of this writing, my site is brand new and I do not have advertisers. All opinions here are my own and based on what I care about but I hope is of interest to you. Your mileage may vary.
I continue to use the Peovi Carry Cage for my IC-705, and just acquired the Side KX polycarbonate cover made specifically for this product. See my review of it here.