There are still 2 weeks until Christmas, but Santa came early and left me something this morning.

Okay, I guess if I’m paying for something, it technically isn’t Christmas for me, but exciting nonetheless.

A few weeks ago, Scott (AK6Q) from GemsProducts.com posted a comment on my review of the Peovi IC-705 Carry Cage letting me know about an upcoming product offering.

You might know http://www.gemsproducts.com as Side KX – a company that produces protective side panels and polycarbonate face coverings for Elecraft and other radios. I have both for my Elecraft KX3 and think they are the perfect addition to that fine radio.

I’ve added the Peovi Carry Cage for my IC-705 and have enjoyed the additional peace of mind it provides me, but have constantly worried about the front face and how to protect it when placing the radio into a pack for mobile operations.

Knowing Peovi makes products for cameras, I took a cue from that world and had been using a camera wrap such as this one. Camera wraps are great ways to quickly add another layer of protection to just about anything and they come in multiple sizes. Note that they provide soft protection only – they are wraps after all.

Still though, the face of this radio is where all the magic happens.

Having already decided that the Peovi Carry Cage is a worthwhile addition both in cost and weight to protect a significant investment, seeing the new offering from Gems Products got me excited and I promptly ordered one.

Note that you must have the Peovi Carry Cage in order to use this cover – it uses the side pieces to secure itself to the radio and will not work without it.

The Side KX Cover for the IC-705 is built very much like the one for the KX3. It fully encloses the face and controls of the radio along all 4 edges with about 1.4mm thick polycarbonate (as my calipers measured it – they’re cheap so it might be accurate 😉 ). The edges have raised sections that fit securely into the openings on the side panels of the Peovi Carry Cage.

It is very lightweight, coming in at 85 grams or about 3 ounces.

All lines and edges are clean and well constructed.

One slight concern is that the tuning knob is fairly close to the right edge of the radio, and when removing the cover it tilts and can touch during the process. Probably not a big deal, but I’ve taken to putting the left edge in before setting the right in place, and doing the reverse when removing to avoid hitting it. This is more of an issue of the design of the radio and how close to the edges the knob is and not about the cover itself.

All edges mate up with the body of the radio and the cage perfectly.

I’ve had this cover for only a few hours, but my previous experience with their KX3 cover leads me to believe that this will be just as durable and protective. As such, I certainly recommend this cover to anyone who has both an IC-705 and the Peovi Carry Cage. It is another layer of protection for this excellent transceiver.

The whole setup does come at a cost that isn’t just monetary – the radio (plus battery), Peovi Carry Cage, and Side KX cover come in at a whopping 1636 grams, or 3lbs 9.5oz! Not lightweight by any means, but this is not a Rockmite or Mountain Topper. 🙂

Pick yours up here. As noted at the beginning, I purchased this item at full price with my own money and have not been influenced in any way to post this review. I have benefited from many other hams and their honest opinions about products, and I hope that this benefits you as well.

On a side note, they have also started selling side panels for the Icom IC-7300 which I also purchased. I might put a quick review of those as well if there is any interest.

Additional photos:

The side pieces are molded to fit just inside the handles, creating enough tension to stay firmly in place but not too hard to remove
Another view of the sides interlocking with the handles
There is a lot of clearance between the back of the cover’s face and the knobs/buttons