N9EWO - Dave's Radio News - Shortwave Radio
****** To send an email, you must "manually" type it out. ******
contained on this web site is subject to change without notice.
© 1998 ~ 2019 N9EWO,
all rights reserved.
Information on this web site may be duplicated for NON-commercial uses ONLY if "Dave's Radio Receiver Page" is properly credited and linked as the source. Photo's / other files contained on this web site
and used elsewhere (without
prior authorization) is prohibited.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTES : We highly recommend use of a "Pop-Up Stopper" (block ALL Pop-Ups) and "Anti-Virus Software" when viewing all pages on this website. If
annoying pop up's still occur, try a screen refresh or disable "java
script" in your browser. This entire web site may become unavailable at
times. If this happens, please try again later.
FUND DRIVE 2019
Do you enjoy "Dave's Radio Receiver Page" ?
"Thank You" for being a regular visitor to this web page.
2019 marks our 21th year on the Internet with “hard-hitting - tell it like it is”
hands on reviews regarding SW/HF and VHF/UHF radio receivers and
accessories and even an amateur transceiver once in awhile (usually as
a SWL set, except handheld radios). As we do with the New Year, a
reader "fund drive" period to at least to help cover costs of this web
page (including a little something for my time) and hopefully acquire test samples for review in 2019. This will be from “January 01 to February 28, 2019”.
If you appreciate what I do (and the way that I do it), a donation of
a few US dollars would
be fantastic. Doesn't have to be much to help us greatly, even just a "single" US dollar sent in a envelope. Please see the main page on how to do this.
If you need my US mailing address, please just email me (just put
"mailing address" in subject line...this is no problem at all , also my QRZ mailing address is valid as well). Paypal works too (here of course it does not have to be in US dollars).
Last year reader donations helped us with the purchase and review of the AOR AR-DV1
and were very much appreciated. Not that it paid for it (oh heavens
no), but helped just a bit to offset the cost. Yes with anything
expensive I must also have the desire to “purchase-personally own” a
test sample (model) and keep it, well that is if it works properly enough to our liking.
We are in the hunt for Solid State "ShortWave - HF receivers to review in
2019 (Classic or Current models). Decent- DONATED - prepaid "working" used samples. It's not limited to just these
models as listed below (just preferred idea's and none are too "high
caliber"). We have "ZERO dollars" budget for this web page these days so we must count on
loyal reader support to help either with postpaid-test sample donations or to
help offset a review radio purchase just a bit (with of course some help
for us to just be here).
Any "Solid State" radio donations are also used to pay for my time and
research to compile and write these reviews. It also does not have to be
a radio / ham transceiver item "donation" that I need to review to help
(can be say a stereo receiver etc or other electronic item of some value). If you wish to help with a direct
radio donation please contact me at the email address as above. Any
radio/radio accessory etc. donation does not to necessarily have to function
100% either, but no junk either please. So what "radio stuff" do you have just lying around ? *** THANK YOU *** Dave N9EWO (Updated : Feb 16)
“Proposed Review 2019 Idea List” - Current and Classic
(one or two of what Dave would like to review in 2019, do you have a
"decent" working sample to donate) :
- Sony ICF-2001 (the original "direct keypad" SW receiver from 1980)
- Sony ICF-2002 / ICF-2003 / ICF-7600DS (or other variants)
- Sony ICF-SW40
- Yaesu FRG-7000 / FRG-7 / FRG-7700 / FRG-100
- Panasonic RF-6300 / RF-3100 / RF-B600
- Realistic / Radio Shack DX-394 (A or B version) / DX-300 / DX-302
- Kenwood R-11 / Toshiba RP-F11 (analog portable)
- Digitech AR-1780 (which uses 4 AA batteries NOT the dreaded 18650 lithium ion battery as with the XHDATA D-808 variant)
- Uniden CR-2021
- Bearcat DX-1000
- Icom IC-R70 / IC-R72 / IC-R75 (retest)
- JRC NRD-525
- Drake SSR-1 / Standard C-6500
- TIDVIO V-115 or re-labeled variant (with firmware V1.4)
- SDRPlay RSP1A (for a more detailed comparison test, see our review here)
- Sangean ATS-405
- Kenwood R-2000
- JIL SX-400 VHF / UHF Receiver (with or without the RF-1030 SW converter)
|** Web Page Donations between January 01 and February 28, 2019 **|
| * TOTAL "US DOLLAR" DONATION AMOUNT as of FEBRUARY 16, 2019 : $ 116.95|
* DIRECT SAMPLE DONATIONS as of FEBRUARY 16, 2019 : None
- HF RFI Generator - "Electronic Defrost Timer" : We recently had a defrost timer replaced in a near 20 year old refrigerator. The mechanical one that was in it was replaced by the Supco model UET120
which is of a solid state design. It creates some pretty nasty SW/HF
interference with it's internal switching power supply (as I was afraid
of). But it could have been worse. It’s RF noise in my situation (and
is at a pretty major level) is between 2200 and 4000 kHz. It drops off greatly after that with only a very low level spur or harmonics above up to around 20 MHz.
Thomas Witherspoon of "The SWLing post.com"
reports to me that between his refrigerator and freezer are the 2 worst
HF RFI generators in his house. It appears that all new refrigerators /
freezers are using these "el-cheapo" Chinese solid state "Defrost"
timers now. These might seem more robust, but as I read around the
internet they are not. Guessing are more prone to failure from
spikes/power line surges ? Yeah, the new DX catch....the neighbors refrigerator.
Thank goodness I still have the MFJ-1026 device at HQ in case it gets too bad, but that is pain to have to deal with. (Updated : Feb 16)
Appears that "ScannerMaster" is no longer a USA AOR Dealer. Did the AR-DV10 fiasco have a play in this decision ?
Will probably never know the answer to this. FYI : The AR-DV1 has NOT been discontinued by AOR. (N9EWO Photo)
- Yaesu FT-DX1200 Nearing end of Production (almost "Last Call") - Yaesu dealers in North America were informed recently that the popular FT-DX1200
HF Amateur transceiver are going out of production due to part
availability issue(s). So the model will be fading into the sunset
soon. As it always goes, now is the time to acquire a sample if you
always wanted one a brand new one (but were dragging your feet).(Jan 29)
- “The Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame: Grundig Satellit 650 Radio”
Indeed, many are not aware of the real information with the Satellit 600/650. As the article above did point out Max Grundig sold out to Philips in 1984. The “old” Grundig had absolutely nothing to do
with the Satellit 600 or 650 (ditto for all models after including the
Sat 700). Yes, they were designed by Philips and manufactured in a Philips
plant in Portugal.
The last “REAL” Grundig designed and German manufactured LARGE SW portable was the Satellit 3400 (and the Professional Satellit 3400) to 1984.
My "RF Engineer" friend Pete Gianakopoulos KE9OA who has worked on many
of the real Grundig “German “classics including the Satellit 3400, was
not even that crazy about that model.
“The 3400 was a cheap "dumbed
down" version of the classic wooden case models and nowhere near the
tone quality. A low cost drum bandswitch was used. Gone was the ceramic
turret bandswitch with silver plated contacts. Of course, not to
mention the poor FM performance, even though there was a separate board
for the FM band. Let's not forget the cheap mechanical construction,
with lots of play in all of the switches. Additionally with the older
designs used a ground plane on the I.F./demodulator board. No more high
Q coils in the I.F. strip with the Sat 3400. OK, the Satellit 3400 did
have digital readout!. To add insult to injury, when the back is
removed, the cabinet has all kinds of mechanical flex. I have seen
ghetto blasters that had stronger construction than this radio.”
Of course the much later Satellit 800
was designed by R.L. Drake in the USA, and manufactured by Tecsun in China. In our view the
Grundig name on the front means nothing. Worked well enough with decent Sync Detection and RF performance, but no
classic Grundig audio quality with the deep bass either (see our full "Satellit 800" review review here). (Updated : Jan 22)
Uniden's NEW SDS200 Base / Mobile I/Q Scanner.
Became available for sale in the USA early February 2019 at around $ 700. USD (Universal Radio Photo)
- Yaesu FT-70D Notes : A few notes from our Yaesu FT-70DR "Fusion" test sample hand held transceiver (sorry we are not planning a lengthy review on this radio).
- Operates well enough all around with plenty of decent undistorted receive audio.
- Fusion "Yahoo Groups" have reported excessive receive failures since it's release, that is internal speaker fails but still works with speaker mic OK.
- Internal microphone sensitivity between analog and fusion
transmit audio is still far apart and Yaesu should consider separate TX
level adjustments for digital and analog, otherwise TX punch is good.
- Very good ergonomics and very easy to see LCD display and backlighting.
- Many may not prefer the electronic volume control (The FT2DR has a top mounted dedicated volume control)
- No extended receive above 579.995 MHz (nor MW or FM broadcast).
- Receive coverage lacks SW broadcast (which the FT2DR has, AM mode only).
- The biggest "Bug-A-Boo" with the FT-70DR involves "stand by"
current when off. Many Chinese handhelds suffer from this bug and the
Japanese made Yaesu FT-70D is nasty BAD here as well in our testing.
It's receive current consumption in regular operation is OK provided
it's RX LED's off and battery saver is in use (however the FT-2DR fares
MUCH better overall here as shown in the
specifications). ONLY way around the excessive "stand by
is to totally remove the battery when not in use (a royal pain in the
rump !). Yes, this is even after the recommended firmware update !
- Cabinet is on the "chubby wide" side. For anyone with small
hands you know what I mean. Not easily placed in ones shirt pocket
either (unless you are a lumberjack).
- Included plastic antenna continues the Yaesu tradition here (that is a bit on the "ugly-thugly" side and only so-so performance).
The Yaesu FT-70DR "Fusion" Dual Band Handheld (left). (Yaesu Photo's)
Attractive price these days but in our view one should consider the FT2DR model (right) instead (see text above).
- NEW Updated Sangean DAR-101 Review : Our "Sangean DAR-101 MP3 Digital Audio Recorder" review
has been totally updated. First test sample failed in October and we
have now received a latest production replacement unit with new
findings and well as few new pictures as well. Mostly good news for this standalone digital audio recorder
(improvements), but a couple of new gremlins have appeared as well (nothing that serious). (Updated : Jan 01)
Sangean's DAR-101 "Stand Alone" MP3 Digital Audio Recorder. Click on photo for latest updated review. (N9EWO Photo)
- TIVDIO V-115 has "Shuffle Mode" : The TIVDIO V-115 (and all of it's relabeled variants) does have a "Shuffle Mode" with it's MP3 player. Please see the updated TIVDIO V-115 review page for details.
Our thanks to Omer E. in Canada for this great undocumented discovery
(firmware V1.2 and V1.4). He also said that his latest sample has
firmware V1.4. Both of our test samples were V1.2. Sorry, we do not
know it the battery CHARGE indicator bug has been fixed ? If we acquire (donation ?) a test sample with firmware V1.4, I of course will retest it. (Updated : Jan 01)
The TIVDIO V-115 (and it's relabeled variants) MP3 player does indeed have a "Shuffle Mode".
- NEW Page - "Icom IC-R75" Review : We
located our Icom IC-R75 review text and updated where possible in the
re-write (I no longer have a IC-R75 here to compare notes, review was
done around 15 years ago). This is totally new posting as before it was
just a few notes. Click here to read our detailed Icom IC-R75 review.
Sorry that it is bit on the long side. In our view the Kiwa "Hi-Fi"
Audio Filter modification is a REQUIREMENT for broadcast listening (otherwise it's just too muffled for our ears), Enjoy.
(Updated : Dec 16)
- C.Crane "FM REFLECT" Antenna - Discontinued : The C.Crane "FM REFLECT" indoor antenna has been discontinued. A real shame as it was a general winner as far as INDOOR FM antenna's go and PASSIVE (with NO noisy RF amplifiers). Have made updates within my JVC R-S77 receiver review
on this (antenna review is near the bottom). Guess one can have a hunt
over on "evil bay" (and pay excessive prices) ? What alternative is
there for as DECENT PASSIVE FM Broadcast INDOOR antenna now ? Some folks like the "Magnum Dynalab - SR100". Around $ 50. USD and also works for UHF TV signals. NOTE : We have not tested this antenna. (Dec 06)
C.Crane "FM REFLECT" FM Broadcast PASSIVE Antenna
Sadly it's no longer being manufactured (N9EWO Photo)
- Restored JRC NRD-301A and NRD-93 Reviews : In
the web page move back to angelfire, a few old / outdated pages were not
copied over from the old host (and will not make the move here).
However a number of readers wanted me to bring back the Japan Radio Co.
(JRC) NRD-301A and NRD-93 reviews. So we did just that and made a few minor updates and typo corrections in the process.
Mind you these reviews are not in any huge detail. Expensive
and very well made premium receivers, but we felt (and still do) that these and even the DSP JRC NRD-630
were overall disappointments to our ears , even more so when compared
to todays modern "direct sampling" SDR technology and features (and MUCH better audio quality). (Updated : Jan 01)
Updated NRD-301A review from 1999 here. Indeed is a extremely well made
HF receiver except for it's excessively hot and noisy internal AC power transformer (at least
it was in our test sample). But why even consider an expensive used
sample today (that is by the way unrepairable by JRC now) when the latest and lower cost Icom IC-R8600 SDR
receiver generally performs better (later firmware) on HF and has a
stellar spectrum scope, variable bandwidth filtering and excellent
notch filter to boot. Oh yes direct keyboard entry too sorely lacking on the NRD-301A. For additional
information please see the 2000 edition of "Passport To World Band
Radio", pages 146 to 150. (N9EWO Photo)
- N9EWO's Icom IC-R8600 "Wish List" : As doubtful any of
this will ever happen, here is N9EWO's "Wish List" of improvements and tweaks to the IC-R8600's firmware for MW / HF
USE that we would like to see (below 30 MHz). Many will say that having bandwidth's above
10 kHz are totally useless for MW and HF listening, I say different. We have also added this list to the bottom of our detailed IC-R8600 review. (Updated : Dec 08)
N9EWO's "Wish List" of improvements and tweaks to the Icom IC-R8600 receiver (N9EWO Photo)
- Provide a "second" VFO (or better yet a third or forth)
- Make the RC-28 (Remote Encoder Knob)
operate with the IC-R8600 standalone (without ANY computer connection
as like with the IC-7610). I would understand an additional interface
box and or cable / accessory may be required for connection to the the
Incorporate a REAL "Properly Operating" Synchronous Detector (instead
of the less optimum "Synchrophase" type currently used).
- Allow 1 Hz
tuning steps with the tuning knob (now only accessible with direct
keyboard entry or computer / CI-V control). The lesser IC-7300 HF transceiver can tune 1 Hz steps with the tuning knob.
- Provide Wider Bandwidth Selections
- Increase AM Mode Bandwidth up to 12 kHz (or better yet 16 kHz). For MUCH improved audio with good band conditions.
- Increase SSB Mode Bandwidths up to 6 kHz (or better yet 8 kHz). This would improve manual ECSS audio by leaps and bounds.
Icom released new 1.33 firmware on July 31 : USA 02 version linked here.
Changes in v1.32 firmware
Fixed distortion that sometimes occurred when receiving a signal in
certain situations (has our audio distortion issue been addressed ?).
- Improved parts of the speech function.
Changes in v1.33 firmware
Fixed an issue where the digital mode's audio is not output after
starting a memory scan with analog and digital modes in the memory
- Fixed an issue where the CI-V baud rate may not set properly when receiving a CI-V command when turning OFF the receiver.
Latest Firmware v1.33, the "audio distortion / harshness" returns to our ears ! : With v1.32 firmware
the audio distortion / harshness issues
to MY ears with 1.30/1.31/1.33 has been truly fixed. We strongly
recommend V1.32 if you desire the best audio from the receiver. Even
cleaner / sharper than what 1.20 did......excellent indeed
Icom..."thank you" ! Yes with the latest v1.33 firmware the nasty
distortion / harshness returned in our view. I will say
that it's has to be the cleanest and most pleasant sounding
communications receiver we have
EVER used with the 1.32 firmware installed, yes it's that good. Icom
now needs to fix what I call the "AGC Swamping" bug. See my
updated version 11.0 review for the updated information on all of these topics (added mode and NXDN information).
Dean Bianco reports with his comments on the audio between v1.32 and 1.33 :
"I did a careful audio quality
comparison between 1.32 and 1.33. I did all bandwidths, but
concentrated on the 10kHz width the most. I can definitely hear the
difference, and to me it is not subtle. 1.32 has a clarity and punch
that is sharper than 1.33 to my ears. Also, I noticed that it
makes a difference when the sync detector is in use. On sharp fades, on
LSB or USB sync the audio on 1.33 seems to blast a bit. On 1.32,
fading is smoother with less audio "blasting." The blasting isn't
anything annoying enough; it's just that it IS noticeable on 1.33, not
UPDATES : (as of Jul 31, 2018)
- After more time using it, the CS-R8600's (IC-R8600's programing software from Icom) "print function"
is near useless in our view as as it can't print entire channel information
on one page and wastes paper to total unreasonable limits ! We used
screen shots of the GUI "pre-print" screen (landscape) and just printed those .jpeg's (even if this was a
chore to make happen).
- "BUG REPORTS" have now been moved over to the BOTTOM of the review page.
Will continue to update these as required on the review page, but only
to cover samples with the new 1.32 / 1.33 firmware now (Last entry Jun 01).
- Version 1.01 "USB I/Q Package" for HDSDR
was released on May 31st. Now supports the Windows 10 Version 1803
(April 2018). Note : We have not tested the I/Q feature of the IC-R8600
(nor do we use Windows 10).
- Eric Cottrell reports that the Icom has released the IC-R8600 I/Q OUTPUT REFERENCE GUIDE.
- Simon Brown's “SDR Console” program for use with the Icom IC-R8600 I/Q output. Remember that “SDR Console” does NOT require a EXTIO.
- "Icom IC-7300" N9EWO Information : "Line Audio Output" : Added comments with our IC-7300 review in regards to the now tested "Line Output" at pin 12 of the 13 pin rear connector,
plus updated "Voice Synthesizer" information at this output (as well as
the built in SD card recorder).....yes it can indeed "voice stamp"
recordings...excellent. My apologies that I missed this important
feature in the original report (it's not set ON at default). See my
review for more information on this topic. (Updated : Jul 20, 2018)
Icom released new 1.10 firmware on Sep 14 : USA 16 version linked here.
Changes in v1.10 firmware
- Remote control operation with RS-R30I.
- Automatic backlighting is improved.
- Some restrictions of program scan edge settings are eliminated.
- Skip function is improved.
- Duplex check function during the memory scan is added.
- Duplex scan function is added.
- Memory group and group link settings are connected.
- Channel UP/DOWN is available across channel groups in the Memory mode.
- Bluetooth® SCO Link can be automatically disconnected when there is no audio.
- Volume of a Bluetooth® headset and the IC-R30 can be separately set.
- Battery condition information is added.
- The record file management system is improved.
UPDATE : Carl S. reports to us directly that his AR-DV10 sample
has these shortcomings : Flickering display, extremely low audio, low
sensitivity and yes the dreaded drift issue. Has not enjoyed 1 good
monitoring session with it. Strong "Caveat Emptor" .
AOR released 1808D firmware for the AR-AV10. Appears that some kind of a "AFC" and manual frequency offset features were added ? Also a I / Q output. Could this be it's “last gasp” to fix it’s now well known and MAJOR issues ? Most important if any of them can REALLY
be fixed in firmware ? Well...NO they sure can't and as reported with the 1808D firmware. I have been asked a number of
times now...but sorry, we have no plans (or budget) to test the
AR-DV10 (ARF !) . (Updated : Oct 07)
- New "Icom IC-7610" HF Transceiver Issues ! : User reports with the Icom IC-7610's
two internal ADC Heat Sinks
that are or get loose or completely fall off with some samples. Even
a bigger nasty is that some samples are experiencing LCD
burn in issues (which is not a problem with the IC-7300 or IC-R8600).
See the link and "You Tube" videos below for more information.
The IC-7300 has one of these same ADC heat sinks. With the IC-7300 it
lays on the TOP, whereas with the IC-7610's are on the BOTTOM (upside
down). I do not believe the
IC-R8600 receiver has a heat sink on it's ADC. Icom added "I / Q" output on August 24th with the firmware version 1.2 update. (Updated : Aug 27)
- Whistler's NEW TRX-100 and TRX-200 Scanners : Whistler has announced that they are in development of the TRX-100 (handheld) and TRX-200 (desktop/Mobile) scanners
which will feature an I/Q demodulator and A2DP Bluetooth Transceiver.
With the addition of the I/Q demodulator, the TRX-100 and TRX-200 are
to finally deal with weak signal conditions and Linear Simulcast
Modulations (LSM), an issue that has plagued scanners up to now. Like
the TRX-1 and TRX-2 will also include DMR and NXDN at no additional
cost. The TRX-100 and TRX-200 are scheduled to begin shipping in later 2019. (Updated : Jan 15, 2018)
- AOR AR-DV1 Review :
Our "AOR AR-DV1" review is available here . Information
in our review that has NOT been covered anywhere else (up to now)
including the frequency display being off and totally unacceptable
audio quality for ANY "AM Mode" broadcast listening. (Updated : Jan 14, 2018)
- Icom IC-7610 "Fan Operates in just Receive Only Use !" : The Icom IC-7610 "Direct Sampling" SDR HF Transceiver's receiver section draws around "3+ amps" of current just as with the
elder IC-7600 model did (via information as indicated
in the brochure). We of course had a gut feeling that the fan
would operate in just RECEIVE ONLY use ?
- "Universal Radio" has Moved to a New Location as of Monday October 16th, 2017.
Radio has moved its operations to a more efficient location here in the
Columbus, Ohio area where we can continue to serve our loyal customers.
This will be the fourth location change since Universal was founded in
1942. We look forward to many more years of serving the amateur and
short wave communities which Universal Radio has done for 75 years. The
new location is a 30-minute drive from the old Americana
Universal Radio Inc.
651 Lakeview Plaza Blvd. Suite B
Worthington, OH 43085
To Main Page