AOR AR-DV1 "Digital
The very unique AOR AR-DV1 "Digital Voice
Receiver" (Made in Japan). Decent
supplement "Stand Alone"
receiver for the ICOM IC-R8600 to cover the digital voice modes it
lacks (like DMR). There is no other "Stand Alone" desktop receiver on
the market that can decode
as many digital voice modes as does the AR-DV1. Has many bugs in the
pudding with it's mediocre "MW / SW" RF performance in our testing. This is NOT a scanner ! 2
samples were tested for this report (12 months apart). Except for the
frequency display being much improved with sample # 2 (with it being much more accurate), there
near no difference between them in our "Hands On" testing. (N9EWO Photo)
Review : AOR AR-DV1 "Digital Voice Receiver". You will see comparisons
made in this report to the Icom IC-R8600 (our review located here) .
Important Note : We will be looking at this receiver more on the "Short Wave" HF side of the fence below 30 MHz.
Model : AOR AR-DV1 "B" (USA Cell Blocked version)
Manufacture : Japan
Included SWITCHING power supply (SRP1201500P, 12 volts 1500ma) : China
Number # 1 Test Sample February 2018 (PC Board Rev 2) : 0956017x
Number # 2 Test Sample February 2019 (PC Board Rev 2) : 0956019x
Versions Tested :
Sample 1 : v1803A, v1801A, v1710C (most testing with v1801A and v1803A)
Sample 2 : v1903A, v1812A , v1805A
Accessories Tested :
- Astron RS-7A Regulated
Linear Power Supply [Made in USA]
- 3.5 to 30 MHz "Band Pass Filter" [Made in China]
Test Antenna's :
- Comet DS150S Discone Antenna (30 ft height, 100 feet RG-8 coax)
- RF Systems MLBA-MK2 long wire (55 ft length - 24 ft height at peak)
- Comet H-422 Dipole (24 ft height - Straight Configuration)
Software Tested :
DV1 Manager [Free]
DV1" (Basic Version) [about $ 50. USD]
espyonard - AOR AR-DV-1 Computer Control [about $ 55. USD]
- A True 'Software Defined - Direct Sampling"
to 18 MHz (is not another one of the so called superhet SDR sets).
Above 18 Mhz is a Hybrid SDR design just like with the Icom IC-R8600
- Small Solid Attractive "White" metal cabinet with
Excellent Front Riser Feet (see Con)
- Decodes Most (but not all) of the most Popular Digital Voice
Modes used By Public Service Communications and Amateur Radio
- Excellent sensitivity across it's tested frequency
range. Comparable to most other Communications Receiver / Scanners
- Excellent selectivity (see Con). 15 kHz setting also works on
HF / SW when conditions warrant
- Good Performing 3 setting AGC that also includes a useful RF-G
mode (Turns the Squelch Control into a manual RF Gain Control)
- Excellent audio "voice" recovery (see Con)
- FM Broadcast has 100 and 200 kHz bandwidth settings
- 2 VFO's plus one called Z which is also used for tuning memory
channels (just hit ENT when on a Memory Chanel)
- Above average "Bar Graph" S-Meter that also gives a very useful
- Provided LCD even if small, has an excellent LED backlight
and the single step dimmer is at a perfect level for most indoor
use (See Con)
- 24 hour clock with seconds
- Two Search Modes (Between VFO A to B and 40
Pre-programmed Frequency Limits)
- 2000 Total Memory Channels (40 Banks / 50 Channels Per Bank)
- Built in SD Card Audio Recorder that works well even if only
one quality setting provided (can be toggled with the squelch) (See Con)
- One Event timer (also can be be used for timed SD card
recording) / Up to a 120 minute Sleep Timer
- Useful "NR" Noise Reduction Feature (above average)
- Excellent Auto Notch Filter
- Standard CTCSS / DCS / Voice Squelch Built in
- Keypad tactile adequate and can be Backlit if Desired (see Con)
- Rear AUX Jack can be used to feed Unfiltered Audio into a Host
Computer for Other External Decoding / Programs (See Con)
- Local MW and FM Broadcast Station Breakthrough
into SW Coverage (common with long/larger outdoor antenna's). May need the addition of a "Band Pass
Filter" in the antenna line (location-antenna dependent).
Limited HF Dynamic Range with larger outdoor antenna's (after any MW/FM Breakthrough issues
are taken care of). Adding a small amount of EXTERNAL attenuation at the antenna
connector cleared this issue up 100%.
Tiring audio quality when listening to MW and SW
broadcast stations (external speakers NOT helping to improve it, it
also has no tone control) / FM Broadcast etc. audio pars better
- Bandwidth choices are limited
and dependent on mode
- No traditional antenna attenuator provided (internal automatic
one works differently)
- SLOW scanning and searching modes (even worse when dealing with
- Unacceptable Sync Detection Performance (which
also includes 2 totally useless Too Narrow Bandwidth selections)
LOUD disconcerting "POP" (or tone) at power up and again at power down (see text)
- Typical AOR Sour Ergonomics. Lots of button pushing to archive
- Test samples included a noisy switching type power supply, 12
volt DC at 1500ma current rating (earlier production included a
unregulated linear supply)
- Test samples included a 8 GB MICRO SD card with a micro to
standard SD Card adapter (earlier production came with 4 GB "standard
size" card, more preferable)
- Receiver drop outs on NSQ squelch setting (cured by selecting LSQ squelch setting even
if set at zero)
- When in digital voice modes, lacks audio punch / No Audio AGC for Digital Signals
(audio level is all over the place).
- Volume when receiving digital signals requires MUCH higher
setting over analog Broadcast stations
- Digital decode quality is generally mediocre (the right external speaker can help) and not 100 % reliable when
scanning or VFO mode digital signals (even when strong)
- FM Broadcast in Mono only
- Slightly wobbly volume / squelch / tuning knob encoders. Tuning
knob also has a low cost feeling when rotated
- Warm to Hot operation (heat greatly depends on ambient room
temperature and mode used)
- Large and ugly FCC Part 15 sticker on bottom (US Domestic Version, this almost falls
off in use when the cabinet gets warm enough) The sticker is
printed on low cost paper / adhesive
- LCD Multi-Plex noise, not noticeable when viewing straight on
Test sample 1 frequency display off approx 300 hz (low) at 15 MHz (no
customer way to correct this unlike the Icom IC-R8600 which
does), sample 2 was proper.
- Keypad lighting only useful in TOTAL darkness, otherwise It
- Lacks Digital Decode of NXDN 9600 (12.5 kHz) and Yaesu Fusion
VW (Voice Wide) mode (P25 Phase 2 Conventional Mode is Planned)
Has a tendency to slide around in use when using the front flip
up feet (especially with when turning off as more force Is required)
Very finicky on what SD Cards it will work with
- No standard audio "Line Out" jack
- Memory Channel Bug with Digital "Auto" Entries (fixable in "Memory Edit" mode)
The "B" (Cell Blocked) US Consumer Domestic Version - A very poky seller
The 2 new test samples were
of the AOR AR-DV1 "'B" USA Domestic version (800 MHz Cell Frequencies blocked).
Serial numbers start with 0956 with these. One can easily see with our
serial number information (see the top of this page) that total sales
since it's release in mid 2015 to February 2019 have been less than 200 total units. Less
than 30 (thirty) "B" version receivers were sold between February 2018 to February 2019.
Of course the unblocked "U" version are sold elsewhere in the world and
to the US Government/Military etc., so these are sold in much greater
in numbers/serial numbers. But this shows you how few are sold to the
hobbyist market in the USA. This make sense as it's very specialized
receiver (and is NOT a scanner).
As it has been said elsewhere AOR's major overall sales are with
Government's and Military etc, and not with radio hobbyist. So for
radio hobbyists it is extremely fortunate that AOR makes available a
version that can be sold to the general public in the USA.
N at Power Up (or no N at Power Up)
When the AR-DV1 is powered up it will display a "boot" start up screen
as the displayed firmware is loaded. Sometimes one will also see a N in
the lower left hand corner of the LCD. We can't say what this N is
actually indicating (that we do not know). Our observation in testing
is that the N will only appear with a FRESH connection of operating
voltage to the receiver. After that it will not display the N again
until power is completely removed (and then reapplied and powered up
Cabinet / Knobs / LCD
Display Multi-Plex Noise / Manual
First item that hits you with the
AR-DV1 on its box and front panel is it says “Digital Voice Receiver”.
This is NOT a scanner type receiver and how it works is different. It
is indeed “Made in Japan” which is becoming more and more rare
Cabinet is in a very attractive solid
metal shell and is WHITE in color with light blue accents on the plastic front
bezel. One can see the tiny panel markings well too (no black cabinet
with GRAY lettering on this receiver to have to struggle with).
One can backlight the keys in a
number of different colors (LCD Backlight is a only one color). But we
found if not in TOTAL darkness, this is a hindrance and actually makes
it hard to see (here it’s better with it off). All buttons have a good
tactile response (just slightly mushy in our view).
Two flip down front feet are provided
and work well. If these were not there would have made the receiver
very hard to use. Downside is that the cabinet tends to slide around
when turning the receiver on / off with the flip down feet in use (you
need to push on the volume control to do that and takes some force).
There are 4 excellent rubber like feet on the bottom (2 rear ones are
only in use with the flip down feet).
The hard plastic Volume / Squelch and
Main Tuning Knob (click encoders) work adequately. However they all
have slight wobble / rotational play and the un-weighted tuning knob
feels low cost when rotated (we assume this is a mechanical type
encoder being used here?). They all have detents, with the tuning knob
one being of the soft type, so no annoying CLACK – CLACK – CLACK as
it’s rotated. They all also have a slight rubbery feel (coating ?) to
them as well. I seen one user comment that it's main tuning knob feels
like a cap on milk bottle (that being a fairly accurate statement).
Speaking of the Squelch control, we
found that ONLY using the LSQ (Level Squelch) mode works properly. NSQ
(Noise Squelch) makes the receiver cut in and out even if the
squelch control is set at ZERO. This is set by pushing and holding the
Squelch control in for a second. There is also a separate Voice Squelch
mode (not tested).
Connection to a PC is provided on the
front panel via MICRO USB port. Default baud rate is 115200. There is a
AUX 1/8 inch mono phone jack on the rear panel for alternative "discriminator" type low
level that can also be used for connection to external decoders (say to
a computer). This is NOT for a standard audio line out signal (it does not have one which is pity).
The LCD is small and has a limited
viewing angle. But it has a good "even" backlight and includes a one
dimmer selection. This dimmer is greatly appreciated too as with full
brightness will make for some major eye pain (is way too bright). With
the dimmer in use one will notice at the far right edge (running
horizontal) where the LCD will be slightly brighter (normal and
A teeny clock with seconds displayed in the upper right corner of the
LCD display. This RTC (Real Time Clock) must have some kind of back up
battery or super capacitor as it continues to keep time for awhile with
it's power disconnected.
In testing we detected minor LCD
display “scanning” noise (that is one will see a scanning dark flutter
operation, detectable with darker contrast settings and dimmer on).
normal and not a fault. We noticed this slightly greater with test
sample 2. When viewed directly in from of it or below (not at any other
angle) this was not detectable.
Frequencies are displayed in kHz up
to 3000 kHz (3 MHz) in LARGE digits. MHz after this, with all digits
becoming smaller and the last 5 becoming thin and more difficult too
see for tried old eyes. Not sure the point is with this weird scheme ?
Included 68-page English manual while
being helpful for proper operation sorely lacks in others leaving the
owner in the dark on many topics (if covered at all).
Under The Hood / A True Direct Sampling SDR up to 18 MHz
The AOR AR-DV1 is a 100% direct sampling receiver up to 18 MHz.
Yes a true blue SDR. Beyond that it turns into a hybrid (as does the Icom IC-R8600). That is uses
triple conversion superhetodyne circuity, last stage being a down
converter (31 MHz) so it goes into the ADC / FPGA / DSP etc.
Here is a quick run down of it's main components :
- A/D Converter - Analog Devices AD9244 (14 bit)
- FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) - Altera Cyclone IV
- DVSI Vocoder - AMBE 3000F
- Microprocessor - Renesas HD64F7144 32 Bit
- DSP - Analog Devices "Blackfin" ADSP-BF533
- RF PLL Frequency Synthesizer - Analog Devices ADF4113
For a number of good internal photos and a better rundown of it's internal components, please see this Google "Czech" translated AR-DV1 review from late 2017 (Martin) (Please Note : It's a bit hard to follow in the conversion).
Adapter / Astron RS-7A To The Rescue / LARGE UGLY FCC Part 15 Sticker on
With the test sample “US Consumer”
version (800 MHz blocked segments), a 12 volt 1500 ma SWITCHING type
power supply was included. Originally an unregulated 800ma linear
transformer supply was included. Those tended to run extremely hot. Is this included switching supply RF noisy at all on the
HF bands ?? If you are using the included whip antenna, you bet it is !
With an outdoor external antenna it pars better, but why even deal with
a noisy switching supply at all when receiving HF signals, indoor or
Operating the receiver with an Astron
RS-7A linear "transformer" regulated power supply worked perfectly (no
ZERO). We do not recommend going to a lower current Astron model. This
might seen like overkill, but trust me after few hours on (digital
reception) even the RS-7A's rear heat sink is near hot to touch (but
is OK). One will have to be handy enough to CAREFULLY make a (fused at say 3 amps) DC power cable
I will NOT be held responsible for any info that
is listed here.
ALL DONE AT YOUR OWN
The power input socket is of a
standard DC “round” type and is 2.1 ID x 5.5 OD mm size (+ positive
While operating the receiver with any
digital decode modes and scanning creates the maximum amount of current
consumption and the maximum amount of cabinet heat. Depending on
ambient room temperature, it can operate very warm if not near hot. So
the usual stuff here, don’t stack anything on top or near the cabinet.
It has NO internal cooling fans thank goodness.
On the bottom of the cabinet with both
test samples of the USA Consumer Domestic Version, there was a large and very ugly FCC Part 15
sticker. It covers a good part of the bottom side. Printed on very low
cost paper / adhesive and with a warm cabinet it nearly falls off on
it’s own after awhile.
|N9EWO Test : AOR AR-DV1 Current Test (second sample)
|Test Meter : Fluke 77 IV
Power Supply : ASTRON RS-7A (transformer type/regulated)
Voltage : 12.05 Volts DC
- 8 GB SD Card (Class 6) installed
- Moderate speaker volume (internal)
- LED Backlight ON (Full or Dimmer, made no difference)
Test Frequencies :
- 1000 kHz (AM Mode) : 540 ma
- 15 MHz (AM Mode) : 540 ma
- 155 MHz Analog : 665 ma
Digital : 700 ma
- 850 MHz Analog : 700 ma
Digital : 750 ma
- 1200 MHz Analog : 700 ma
Digital : 750 ma
With LED Backlight OFF : less 20 ma
When OFF (stand by) : 23 ma
“POP Goes the
As indicated in the owner’s manual
(is normal and not a defect), while the receiver is being powered up
and also when being powered down a very LOUD and disconcerting POP is
heard in the speaker. One does not want to have a pair of headphones in
use while powering the set up or down.
Once in great while (this is more rare and happening only at power up)
instead of the "Pop" we experienced a VERY LOUD tone for a second.
Again this is not a defect and just a "very strange" normal trait.
Other than with this bug(s), the audio
is loud and hiss free (crystal clean) . Small fine “electronic” volume adjustment steps allow
for good nighttime listening ,say at a bed side.
Sensitivity / Excellent MW - SW AGC and RF-G Mode / MAJOR Difference
Between Analog and Digital Volume Levels
Talk about sensitivity. It's proper across its tested “Wide Band” tuning range. In fact
maybe just a bit too much (see the Dynamic Range paragraph later in
this report). Its antenna jack is one lone BNC female connector on the
rear for all bands.
In side by side testing with the Icom IC-R8600 (pre-amp ON),
the AR-DV1 sensitivity was comparable
(including the audio recovery). The better performing AGC with the AOR also
helped here. But in general it was a pretty close horse race. However the IC-R8600 did better in the 800 MHz > area (with the preamp on). Downside
is with the shrill-sharp audio quality on MW / SW bands (more on this
Once again we must say the AGC with
the AOR AR-DV1 is a stellar
performer with MW / SW signals that are all over the place. Not just
because it has 3 selections (Fast-Medium-Slow), but generally excellent
all around performance. If one places the AGC selection in RF-G mode
then the squelch control becomes a RF Gain control. Again we found the
AGC performance actually
performs a bit better over the Icom IC-R8600 in our testing. We must
also say that normal SW fading AM mode distortion is near non existent.
In fact its downright excellent. This is without using manual ECSS too
(which also worked excellent on the second sample of our AR-DV1 test
sample), more on this later.
WARNING : The nasty is with Digital signals,
there appears to be is NO "Audio" AGC here so the volume is all over the place.
Also the volume between MW / SW and other analog signals is greatly
LOWER over Digital Decoded ones. So one needs to be careful not to
stress the audio amplifier and or the speaker when switching back and
forth (say from VFO / Memory Channels etc).
Modes / Digital
Decode Bliss / Decode Quality and Sometimes not 100% When Scanning / Lacks NXDN
9600 (12.5 kHz)
“Non-Digital” modes include
- SAH (Synchronous
- SAL (Synchronous
When it comes to voice digital modes
the AOR AR-DV1 versatility is unbeatable in a "standalone" receiver (at
the time this report was compiled). Not that it covers all of the
popular modes, but pretty close.
- Digital Auto Mode
- Tetra / Tetra-TC (No Auto
- DMR / MOTOTRBO
(Tier I and II, it will decode Tier III but no data-as tested)
- Alinco Digital
- Yaesu Fusion (DN
- D-CR / NXDN (4800
- P25 Phase 1
- P25 Phase 2
Major Digital Modes lacking is NXDN
12.5 kHz 9600 (which is now fading away) and Yaesu Fusion in VW (voice wide). Again being this is
NOT a scanning type receiver, it does not support standard trunking.
Decode quality while quite acceptable
not at any stellar standing. IMPORTANT UPDATE : With the right external 2-way (woofer and tweeter) small hi-fi speaker, this helped greatly with digital audio (P-25, DMR etc).
When scanning it sometimes does not stop
with digital signals (even if super strong). Doesn’t happen too often,
but is one that needs to be pointed out. I would say it was good about
90% of the time in our testing (this of course could be highly variable issue with any given signal).
Memories / VFO’s /
Scanning / Searching
2000 total memory channels are
provided. These are divided up as 50 channels in 40 banks. What is
stored with each memory channel is hazy and incorrect in the manual. It
does store more than Frequency. Mode, Tuning Step and 12-character
alpha tag, AGC setting, Bandwidth among others.
Issue with Memory Channel Entry :
A bug we came across was with "AUTO" Digital mode "Memory Channel"
entries (this is not always happening). It enters a 200 kHz
bandwidth (which is of course WRONG !). One can touch this up this up
in the MEMORY EDIT mode manually after (just push and hold the ENTER
key for a second while on that memory channel). Toggle off the
selected digital AUTO mode and back again and boom the right bandwidth
then appears (15 kHz) and to save the right one on that memory channel
just hit enter again.
See below for a number of computer programs tested (for memory management and CAT control)
As with it is with most AOR
receivers, there are 2 very useful VFO’s. Additionally there is one
called VFO-Z. This is again is vaguely covered in the manual on what it
really does. For one is used for tuning the memory channels, So yes the
memory channels are indeed tunable. One just hits ENT key while on a
memory channel to accomplish this.
Operational Tip : If you hit the F
(function) key while in a VFO mode the tuning step increases by a
factor of 10. (Example: 5 kHz becomes 50 kHz). The F button has no time
out, so remains active until you hit it again. That is a bit different
than the norm and is a plus or negative depending on how one prefers it.
Scanning speed of the memory channels
is poky at best. If you scan digital channels that contain Digital
modes it becomes even pokier. Even another step worse if the “Auto”
mode is used. However the “Auto” mode select is a super neat feature
with the AR-DV1. There is a PASS feature that allows the receiver to
not scan these marked channels (same as Lockout on
scanners). If you only scan a limited number of channels (say 10 or so), it does just fine.
Searching has 2 modes. A very
convenient fast VFO Search, where it searches between VFO A and VFO B and
Program Search, where it searches between pre-programmed limits (up to 20 groups
The Scan and Search "DELAY" time and "FREE" settings (time it sits on
channel before it moves on even if the signal does not drop out) are
global that is "ONE" setting(s) for all.
Choices A Bit Limited But OK and Excellent
There are a number of Selectivity
choices for all modes. The ones available varies dependent on mode. FM
Broadcast normally uses the 200 kHz bandwidth, but a 100 kHz is
also available and is good for dx’ing. The Icom IC-R8600 doesn't even
offer a second bandwidth with FMBC band. By the way the FM Broadcast
in MONO only (also like the IC-R8600).
With AM Synchronous Detector Mode, 2
poor narrow choices of 3.8 and 5.5 kHz were chosen, It’s not a huge
the Sync Detector is a utter disappointment anyway. It has a very LOW
audio output (have to turn up the volume WAY up to hear anything at all) and again the filter
selections are just too narrow.
Available Filter Bandwidths:
FM: 100, 200, 30, 15 and 6 kHz.
FM Digital P25: Fixed at 15 kHz
FM Digital other ?: Fixed at 6 kHz
AM: 15, 8, 5.5 and 3.8 kHz
AM Sync: 5.5 and 3.8 kHz
SSB: 2.6 and 1.8 kHz
CW : 500 or 200 Hz
Steps / # 1 Test Sample Frequency Display Approx 300 Hz Low
Tuning steps are proper and what’s
available is dependent on mode selection. The finest tuning step and
display resolution is 10 Hz . Stability is excellent all around.
Those "Tuning Steps" steps are:
10, 50, 100, 500 Hz
1, 2, 5, 6.25, 7.5, 8.33, 9, 10, 12.5, 15, 20, 25, 30, 50, 100 and 500
(3.125 kHz step was not provided at the time this report was
With test sample # 1, the frequency display was off
up to around 300 hz (low). As it always goes in these situations, the
error is worse as one increases in frequency. Sadly there does not
appear for a way FOR THE CUSTOMER to correct this error (with the ICOM IC-R8600 this is easily done in the menu’s).
This error also throws off the
Synchronous AM mode with normal tuning, but as we have already covered
in this report above, when even when properly tuned the Sync detector
sorely lacked with sample 1 and the only 2 poor bandwidth filtering
provided are too narrow anyway. NOTE : Unknown if firmware updates
would have improved this issue with Sample 1 as it was no longer
Good news is with test sample # 2, this "off frequency" bug was not
an issue (only off 10~15 hz on the SW bands), see chart below.
SSB and Manual ECSS modes are excellent even with the only one "useful"
2.6 kHz bandwidth provided. But again with sample 1 the frequency being
slightly off makes that not as nice tuning around in 1 kHz tuning
steps for SSB. One has to change the tuning step and fiddle with off channel fine tuning (a major chore).
Of course AOR provides NO service
information (not even a decent accurate block diagram) of this receiver. AOR USA did
respond back to us when we reported the display error with sample #1, but gave no resolution or answer.
(USB / LSB mode)
on Test Sample 1
Firmware : v1803A (this was a unofficial beta release, but similar to v1805A)
Actually Received on on Test Sample 2 (warm)
Firmware : v1805, v1812A
As you can see with the second test sample it was more than acceptable with being on frequency with HF
(only about 10~15 Hz off - high). For some very strange reason with the first test sample frequency became "off" LOWER
with the increase in tuned frequency, whereas with the second sample it was higher.
Weird is right ! We were unable to see if later firmware updates would have improved the first test
sample here (it was no longer available), so unknown if #1
was a sample issue variation with internal components ?
Do NOT confuse the above information being "off frequency" as drift, the AR-DV1 is actually quite stable.
MW and FM Broadcast
Breakthrough Issues / Manual Preselector For Certain Situations
If the AOR AR-DV1 is used anywhere
near a MW of FM broadcast station(s) one can expect these signals to
breakthrough into the SW bands. This is more of a concern when longer /
larger outdoor antenna's are in use (this may not be a issue if short
indoor or the included whip is used).
It just lacks the proper internal pre
filtering with proper antenna's are put into use. The easy way to cure this is to add a external Band Pass Filter to
the input of the antenna line so to cut off the interference.
We experienced this issue at HQ (in
our case it was a local 1 KW MW station). To cure this issue, a Chinese
3.5 to 30 MHz “Band Pass Filter” was added that allows signals only in
this range and it terminated the offending local MW station 100%.
However just using a VARIABLE attenuator also cleared up this issue up
but also reducing all incoming signals slightly as well.
Testing was not done with a manual HF
pre-selector. This would add another tedious step
in the tuning process and is desirable to avoid that altogether.
However if one is near HF amateur radio station a manually tuned PASSIVE (no preamps) preselector may be a requirement (such as the MFJ-1046, not tested).
3.5 to 30 MHz “Band Pass Filter” with SO-239 connectors (check on ebay or amazon)
Depending on where you live and antennas used , this may be a required purchase for the AOR AR-DV1
HF Dynamic Range : Not Excessively Bad / Variable Attenuator Another Useful Accessory
Once the MW / FM breakthrough Issue
is taken care of (if you need to deal with it), the next gremlin that
can occur is receiver overloading on the HF bands with any decent outdoor antenna. Actually behaved itself fairly well
with the test 55-foot long wire antenna. But alas during peak “very
strong” band conditions (say the 49 Meter SW Broadcast Band at night)
we indeed experienced overloading with a decent antenna. If it was less
than very strong band conditions, it was not a problem at all.
Cure was to add a 20 db EXTERNAL
attenuator in the antenna line (ours was a homemade variable type so just enough
to get the job done). This cured the problem 100%. Why an external one
you ask? It has no traditional antenna attenuator. NOTE : There is an
automatic "inboard" attenuator used for ADC overload protection, but this attenuator
circuit does not work in the same way.
A variable attenuator was also
tune in the MW band at any time at the test location to reduce the
local signals JUST ENOUGH to keep overloading at bay with a long outdoor antenna in use (was not much). This situation
will of course vary at any given location and antenna used.
At time this report was compiled, the USA scanner retailer
"ScannerMaster" sells a nice variable attenuator with BNC connectors
and has wide frequency coverage (model ATT-20). We have tested this and works well. Downsides are construction is
generally weak, strange feeling when knob is rotated and is a bit
pricey. We also built one in a metal box and worked very well (see below), operation at least up to 100 Mhz.
Crude schematic for a easy to build variable external attenuator.
If built in the recommended metal enclosure, then makes for easy
grounding to desired connectors. We used a 10 turn Bourns "wire wound"
type variable resistor which made for more precise adjustment. Ours was useful well past
100 MHz, but consider it for HF use up to 30 MHz. (N9EWO Photo)
Quality with MW and SW Broadcasting Stations / Excellent "Voice" Audio Recovery
One major “Bug-A-Boo” with the AOR
AR-DV1 is with its shrill-sharp “tiring” audio quality with MW or SW
signals. It has ZERO bass response and external speakers will not help
with this disconcerting issue. With the sharp "extremely clean" audio quality and being a
SDR on these bands, a huge plus side of this is for EXCELLENT voice audio
recovery (can hear the spoken work better). With FM Broadcast (and all
other signals) it pars better in this department (much more Bass response). There are no tone
controls provided on the AR-DV1 (none).
If AOR were to improve on these MAJOR
MW / SW “AM Mode” audio issues (firmware ?), we feel they could very
improve sales perhaps greatly, but don’t hold your breath ? We have
talked to a number of AR-DV1 owners and this was the MAIN reason they
did not like it (of course this is a very subjective topic).
Even with the sub par audio quality
with MW and SW broadcast stations the use of an external speaker in
testing was a huge plus to help point the audio to the user.
"You Tube" Video's that show this shrill audio quality listening on MW and SW :
AOR AR-DV1 on the AM Broadcast Band
AOR AR-DV1 on the SW Broadcast Band
To make audio matters even worse, for any "Strong Signal" AM mode
broadcaster that uses
heavy bass (WTWW on 5085 MHz for example), the AR-DV1 can break up with
audio distortion on those bass peaks. This thankfully does not occur
Is SW/HF Performance as Bad as the Yaesu VR-5000 ?
I will say the AOR AR-DV1 has better standing with SW/HF
reception when compared to the Yaesu VR-5000 (see our VR-5000 review
here). Even with the possible local MW and FM break through (that is
easily fixed as covered above), overall dynamic range is more controllable with just a
tad of external attenuation required with better antenna's. The VR-5000
took much more attenuation to tame it so was much less sensitive after. It
also does better with it's frequency display being more accurate (with
test sample 2), much better overall SSB performance, less quirky microprocessor
and other issues. One needs to keep in mind that the VR-5000's are very
prone to display failure in it's old age (repair is no longer possible).
Main downside with the AOR AR-DV1 for HF/SW broadcast listening is again with it's shrill audio quality.
Noise Reduction /
Auto Notch Filter
The AOR AR-DV1 includes a 3-Step
Noise Reduction feature (accessible in the "options" list, Function +
The LOW and MED settings work near excellent and above the average. Equally decent is the "Auto Notch"
available in the same “option” list.
Excellent On Board
SD Card “Off Air” Recorder / Finicky With SD Cards
As found with the Icom IC-R8600 we
have a standard SD card slot on the front panel which allows for making
internal “off air” audio recordings as well as to store backup the
memory files and receiver preferences.
Audio recordings are made in the
"wav" format (19200 kHz 16 bit Mono). There is only
the one quality setting but works well. They can be played back in the receiver
itself or in a computer.
It's very "finicky" on what SD cards
it accepts and operates properly. The single page July 2017 "manual addendum"
included with current samples indicates this (has to do with the IC
used in the SD card). EXAMPLE: We tried a high quality
SanDisk 32GB Class 10 card and it would NOT accept it. However with a
SanDisk 8GB Class 6 Card worked perfectly.
The included "standard size" 4 GB SD
card was changed to an 8 GB MICRO size card with a micro to standard SD card
adapter (both are class 10 cards). This is not the best way with these card adapters
for any extended use like this, use of a standard SD card is best (but this works OK).
Only way that we were able to erase files off the a card was in the PC.
We could find no way to do this in the receiver. Owners manual barely
covered on how to record.
We must say (required) to ONLY use SD Card formatter program to properly format the SD card. Do NOT use the raw Windows application to do this. Also be sure and do a complete format of the card (not just a quick one). This is from experience in testing. By the way, there is no SD card format function in the AR-DV1.
Important finding in our testing with the built in SD card audio recorder (info that is NOT found in the owners manual) : The
AR-DV1 will automatically split files at 97665 kbs
(97.665 MBs). This is at 43 minutes and 24 seconds in a recording (and
for the pause in playback). At
this point it will start a new file and will be named one number up.
This is a good feature as this prevents the files/recordings from
getting too large. As it goes, too large of a file(s) can make for more
difficult editing with computer audio editing software.
Tip : If your AR-DV1 starts to do strange things, shut off the receiver
and remove the SD card. If that clears up the problem, you should then
try and reformat the card using SD Card Formatter program (Full
Format). If this does not clear up the issues, then replace the SD
card. Even if the card works properly in other devices, a particular
card may not be suited for the AR-DV1. It is VERY sensitive to ANY SD
Card gremlins and can make the set not work properly.
"Backup Data To SD Card" : 6 Step Process
Most modern day "Receivers/Transceivers" that use SD cards for backup
use one , two or even up to 3 files for the backup of memories/search
frequencies and configuration. The AOR AR-DV1 uses SIX files to get the
job done. Those 6 are and the csv file names :
SRCH BANK (Search Bank) : SRCH.CSV
SRCH GRP (Search Bank Group) : SRCHGRP.CSV
MEM CH (Memory Channel Data, large size file) : MEMCH.CSV
MEM BANK (Memory Bank) : MEMBK.CSV
SCAN GRP (Scan Group) : SCANGRP.CSV
SYSTEM (Receiver Configuration Data, large size file) : SYSTEM.CSV
Firmware Update Confusion
Unblocked versions (most samples
worldwide) Serial Numbers start with 0952xxxx, USA "Blocked" Consumer
Domestic versions Serial Numbers versions start with 0956xxxx. There
are 2 different PC Board versions (as indicated in the firmware
instructions) where 2 different firmware versions starting with v1710C
(the 2 different PC boards). The split is at 09523001 and firmware
instructions say nothing about the blocked 0956xxxx versions on which
one to use at the time this report was complied.
AOR USA had indicated to us directly
that blocked consumer versions use the .DV1 file extension. Well guess
what.....with the 2 test samples (received in Feb 2018 and Feb 2019) does NOT recognize
the .DV1 file (but does the .DV2 file).
We successfully completed firmware updates
using the .DV2 files with the 2 test samples (2nd PC Board Rev.). Where the serial number
split is with the US Consumer "blocked B" version is unknown.
one can do is see what a sample recognizes which file and go from there
(put them both on the card and the receiver will recognize the correct
one). As already covered at beginning of this review, US consumer
“domestic” blocked versions have much LOWER
Serial numbers, nowhere near 3001 (NEW B version samples serial numbers
09560160> as of early 2018 and 09560190> as of early 2019).
I will NOT be held responsible for any info that
is listed here.
ALL DONE AT YOUR OWN
So What’s the Word
With the AR-DV1 ??
The AR-DV1 is a very unique and exciting “Wide Band” receiver even with it RF warts (albeit with it’s steep
price tag for the general consumer).
What other “standalone” radio
receiver on the market can decode most of the widely used digital modes
with the neat side to also listen on the HF / MW or FM broadcasting
bands with the SAME radio (with having half way decent RF performance)
The AR-DV1 is excellent for hunting
new unknown digital signals with its auto mode. Dedicated scanners can
decode DMR and NXDN, but lack all others like D-Star and Yaesu Fusion.
Yes one can use a low lost “SDR dongle” and the DSD+ program tied to a
computer, but that is royal pain in the rump to make happen (plus even
more marginal decode quality) and of course is not a standalone
However one definitely needs to
understand what the receiver is including what it can do and cannot do
before making a purchase. We need to stress AGAIN (one more time) that
it is NOT a traditional scanner and does not try to be one.
If one is ONLY into SW/HF/MW
monitoring, the AOR AR-DV1 is probably NOT for YOU. We strongly feel
that a candidate MUST have a primary interest in the radio-monitoring
world above 30 MHz (including having "standalone" digital voice decoding) with
everything below as more secondary.
We wish the shrill audio issues as covered
in the review above with MW and SW bands was fixed. As it stands is a
pretty sour pill for MW/HF broadcast listening (even if it has stellar
audio voice recovery as it is). The other nasty was it
being off frequency by 300 hz in the HF bands with test sample 1, this
was very annoying (but this was NOT an issue with test sample 2). AOR
should provide a way to allow THE USER to tweak any display display
the menus and this feature could be easily added in firmware. NXDN support for 9600 is lacking (12.5 kHz), but that is not so important anymore as it's slowly being phased out in the USA.
© N9EWO, all rights reserved
is riser stand I made for the AR-DV1. Even with it’s flip down front
feet its rise is still a bit lacking on a tabletop for proper viewing
of the LCD. This is a nice finished piece of plywood (size in inches :
7.0 width x 9.0 length x 0.5 thick), stained and attached 4 SCREWED ON
larger REAL “rubber feet” from the hardware store. Stick on type feet will
NOT work (well at least not for very long). Also must be real CLEAN
RUBBER feet and not plastic so to grab the CLEAN tabletop surface.
Works great, this little added rise goes a long way (and not too
much as not be able to easily reach the main tuning knob). (N9EWO Photo)
|N9EWO's AOR AR-DV1 "Wish List"
doubtful any of this will ever happen, here is N9EWO's "Wish List" of
improvements and tweaks to the AOR AR-DV1's firmware we would like to
see. Dave N9EWO
FIX the "shrill" (no bass) AM MODE audio quality with SW / HF / MW
bands. AOR this is near unacceptable even with it's superb voice audio
recovery. Perhaps make the fix selectable.
- Add an additional LCD Dimmer brightness setting that is in between NO Dimmer and Dimmer ON.
- Add a 3.125 kHz Tuning Step.
Add at least one additional Wider Bandwidth (say 8 kHz) for the AM Synchronous
Detector mode. Currently the 2 lone ones provided are woefully inadequate
(make it usable here AOR).
Add one wide additional SSB Mode Bandwidth (6 and or 8 kHz).
This would improve manual ECSS audio by leaps and bounds.
- Add a volume MUTE function.
Programs for the AOR AR-DV1 (tested on a "Windows 7" 64 Bit computer)
NOTE : Tested in "Full Version's" ONLY (we do NOT test "demo" versions of software)
Proper "Silicon Labs" driver required for use with all programs below.
DV1 Manager [Free]
This program does not install.
One just copies the files into a directory. No errors to speak of but
it was total disaster in our testing. Half of the program is in
French. We were able to do some basic control of the front panel
functions and that was about it. Memory / Search functions did not
respond to the receiver (at all). No instructions and we gave up in
quick order. It's Free and should be as it was totally unusable, is also is a pain in the rump to download. It is
a terrible program in our testing, actually is recommended by AOR
DV1" (Basic Version) [about $ 50. USD]
(Tested "Basic" Versions : 1.2 build 001 and 1.3 build 001 and 002)
tested the "Basic" fully paid version of the ARC DV1 which is for programming of
the radio's memory and search frequencies. It will also allow for you
to listen and manage the SD card recordings. It's first rate and very
easy to use. We
have experienced Butel's software in the past and keeps the same entry
method, GUI style and entry uploading-downloading etc. This is must
have for programming the memories, especially if you become frustrated with the AOR "on-line"
AR Data Editor programming application. Butel's "ARC DV1 Basic" is worth the
investment. There is a PRO version available for $ 90. USD, which adds CAT
(Computer Assisted Tuning), this version was not tested. With Version 1.3 PRO there is also a new (0.1 beta) bandscope function (also not tested).
Important Notes (at stated in the user agreement when you install it) :
This program will (may ?) report back to HQ once in awhile via the
internet and may stop working if it does not like what it sees, or perhaps more
importantly can't see. So we have to wonder IF the purchaser that does NOT
have internet access with a proper and legal PAID VERSION of this
program it will become (or is from the start) inoperative ? In our view
IF this is the way it's set up then is a HUGE drawback to it (we did
not test this part of it) ! They allow consumer (non professional)
paid users of this program to be installed in 2 different computers for
every serial number. The Demo version only allows for for Bank 1 to uploaded to and operates for 30 days.
Yes the "Basic" software works
(other than it's small GUI for old tried eyes), but a few interesting
bugs we found below in testing with Version 1.2 (Build 001). But we
contacted Gommert at Butel with our observations and these issues were
totally fixed with Version 1.3 (Build 001) released in late March 2019
(except the WRONG driver continues to be included with it) :
Yes, the USB drivers that Butel includes (located in the program directory after
installation) are WRONG ! They include the “ftdi” ones here and of
course as all AR-DV1 owners know, it uses the Silicon Labs one.
The bugs that 1.2 version (build 001) had allowed for the SAL and SAH modes IF bandwidths of 3.8, 5.5 AND 8 kHz. Of
course the receiver only allows for only 3.8 and 5.5 kHz. Now
wouldn’t be nice if AOR allowed 8 kHz bandwidth in the SAL and SAH
modes, as the 2 provided are just too narrow to be of any use. Also
with the LSB and USB modes the ARC DV1 software allows 1.8, 2.6 AND 3 kHz.
Here the actual receiver only allows 1.8 and 2.6 kHz. Again it would be
excellent IF the receiver had a 3 kHz bandwidth for LSB and USB (all
Another bug is where the 15 kHz bandwidth selection was missing for the
mode. One MUST AVOID selecting the invalid
bandwidth selections if you continue to use Version 1.2. Again these
bugs were all fixed with Version 1.3 (build 001), and yes thanks to ME
for unearthing these and our thanks to Gommert who put fixes to the
TIP : With
version 1.3 build 001 in our testing, when DOWNLOADING FROM the
receiver TO the program, we INTERMITTENTLY lost parts of data, that is blank-missing and with valid properly entered data in the receiver. Example: We lost the "Bandwidth
Settings" for JUST the HF entries once in a download. But more times than not
it's fine. So if any data turns up missing, just do the download again.
espyonard - AOR AR-DV-1 Computer Control [about $ 55. USD]
I have not been able to do an in depth review of eSPYonARD for a
variety of reasons including inadequate test computer horsepower. It
certainly appears to be very comprehensive. A lot of thought and work
has gone into its production.
There is a free trial program available, which contains a full
instruction Manual, which is required reading, and covers all the many
functions the program has to offer.
Was the first program available to control the AR-DV1 which offered a
Band Scope facility, and also a suite of functions called 'Q' exclusive
to this Receiver.
General comment with ANY computer connected operation on the AOR
AR-DV1 is don't expect any speedy uploads/downloads of data or real
responsive CAT control. It's just the nature of the beast (go have a
sandwich). If you are loading/downloading memory information to all 40
banks, count on a good part of an hour to complete (it takes MUCH
longer to upload data to the receiver than download). Using a computer for programing the internal memories still
beats doing it by hand (an understatement).
© N9EWO, all rights reserved
AR-DV1 Links For Additional Information (all subject to change without
AOR AR-DV1 "Yahoo Groups" (old firmware versions are archived here)
David Norris AOR AR-DV1 Review (Dec 2015)
Mike Richards AOR AR-DV1 Review (RadioUser Jan 2016)
AOR AR-DV1 Receiver - UpstateHam.com Resource Page
AOR AR-DV1 on Facebook (Public Group , so anyone can read the posts)
Google "Czech" translated AR-DV1 review from late 2017
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