- "AOR USA" NEW Location / N9EWO's AR-DV1 Review :
Please make note that AOR USA has
moved to a new location (still in the greater Los Angeles, California
area). So all correspondence and repairs for USA customers should now be directed to
(phone number has not changed) :
AOR U.S.A., INC
426 West Taft Avenue
Orange, CA 92865-4296
Telephone ： (310) 787-8615
*** AOR AR-DV1 REVIEW UPDATES *** (as of July 19) :
- "N" indication at power up notes.
- New important information with a SD card audio
recorder trait that we discovered (light blue block in review text).
- Added my crude schematic of a easy to make VARIABLE HF antenna
attenuator for those who have basic electronic build skills. Just a
small amount of external attenuation will cure HF overload completely
(that occurs during peak night time listening when connected to a decent
- Update (additions) made to
our "AR-DV1 Wish List" (light green block in review text).
- Link updates / additions.
- Added photo and text on home built riser stand (see near bottom of review page)
- Fixed a number of typos including tuning "step" information
New v1903A AR-DV1 Firmware on April 10, 2019 : Works well enough in our extensive testing (no real bugs noted). I don't see the reverse
LCD display settings being useful for most owners (if at all). By the way, If you are in need of old firmware versions those are archived on the AOR AR-DV1 "Yahoo Groups" (files section, free subscription required).
(Updated : Jul 19)
AR-DV1 Firmware v1903A Apr 10, 2019
- LCD display can now be mirrored and
flipped, for special vehicle applications. (F + 7, down arrow until
"LCD DIRECTION", turn mail dial for selection, + ENT)
- Addition of following commands:
LU: Set or read LCD direction. 0 = normal, 1 = mirror, 2 = vertical + mirror, 3 = 180 degrees
TS: Set or read slot number for T-TC mode (0 = Auto, 1 to 4)
(Following commands require time
for read and write therefore only send one at a time and wait for
complete reponse, to avoid data overflow.)
MYSRCHBK: Output search bank backup file content
MYSRCHGRP: Output search group backup file content
MYMEMCH: Output memory channel backup file content
MYMEMBK: Output memory bank backup file content
MYSCANGRP: Output scan group backup file content
MYSYSTEM: Output all receiver settings backup file content
MZ: Write backup file info
- Restored Reviews : "AOR AR-mini" and "ICOM IC-RX7" : Back by popular demand (after a number of reader requests) we have now restored and cleaned up our classic "AOR AR-mini " and "ICOM IC-RX7" pocket WideBand receiver reviews.
The AOR AR-mini did come back onto the marketplace for a limited time after being discontinued for awhile. But both
of these pocket sets are now discontinued and will have to hunt on the
used market it you desire one. The ICOM IC-R6
(not tested) remains on the market for those who desire a nice SMALL
Pocket Wideband receiver. A pity that none of these 3 pocket models
offered P25 decoding nor SSB modes. (Updated : Jul 16)
- "RTL-SDR.Com" Metal Case Review : 100% full metal aftermarket case for the SDRplay RSP1 or RSP1A SDR receivers. Our review is located on the bottom of the SDRplay review page. Defintely worth the $ 25. USD cost even with the added grounding bother. These can be purchased via Amazon or on ebay. UPDATE : We added important review comments in regards to the heatsink foam. (Updated : Jun 24)
Definitely worth the $ 25. USD cost even with the added grounding bother. (N9EWO Photo)
- "The Return of the eton E1 ?" : For anyone who has peeked in the new Universal Radio 2019A catalog, on page 4 there is a full page entry to what is to be called the new "Elite Satellit" at $ 399.95 USD. This is of course the return of the old E1 with just a
new name. Seems there will be some improvements such as NO MORE "sticky
cabinet paint" and they are to also stabilize the LCD to hopefully clear that
major bug up as well. Other than to include a case with a handle, don't
look for ANY performance / feature changes. Yes it will still be using that goofy
PAL antenna connector.
Appears it will
be manufactured in China (NOT INDIA) by Tecsun themselves which is excellent news. With the E1 it was
using Chinese Tecsun parts but poorly manufactured in India (with poor
quality control to boot). We still feel that the old Satellit 800
was a better receiver overall. For one the audio was not loaded with
spurious junk that plagued the E1. See the Passport E1 Whitepaper (that
I helped write) and my e1 review here.
But it is still a worthy performer and good to see a nice (and only)
higher end HF portable back on the market. Now we have to see it it
really comes to market (fall~winter 2019 ?) or just a passing "burp" ?
Time wail tell ? See our full "Satellit
800" review here.
(Updated : Jul 11)
UPDATE : Universal Radio in the USA is now taking "pre-production" orders for $ 349.99 + shipping for 4th quarter 2019 delivery. Feature list here gives the possibility
of HD radio being included (instead of XM on the old e1). Please note
that Universal Radio will not ship orders outside the USA or Canada.
Eton E1 to return as the "Elite Satellit" with it's major flaws fixed.
- 5W RF power output in compact design and light weight :W 2.44” x H 3.94” x D 1.28”/ 9.95oz (282g)
- RF Power : 5W / 2.5W / 1W / 0.3W
- 700mW of Speaker audio power
- Real Dual Band Operation (V+V, U+U, V+U, U+V) , two independent receivers
- Simultaneous C4FM digital monitoring for both the A and B bands (C4FM/C4FM standby).
- High-resolution 320 x 240 dot matrix full color TFT LCD display (Touch Screen)
- C4FM digital with Automatic Mode Select (AMS)
- Built-in Bluetooth unit (stock)
- Wide-range RX coverage with continuous reception from 0.5MHz – 999.99MHz (A Band)/ 108MHz – 580MHz (B Band)
- Built-in high-sensitivity 66 channel GPS receiver
- 1200/ 9600bps APRS Data modem
- 2200mAh High-Capacity Li-ion Battery Pack (SBR-14LI) as stock
- Voice Recording Function for the received and transmitting voice (micro SD card slot)
- Simultaneous AM/FM broadcast Reception while monitoring two frequency channels
- "Icom IC-R8600" N9EWO
Information : Our "version
11.7" ICOM IC-R8600 "Wide Band" Receiver Review (click here).
Includes testing of the SP-39AD Power
Supply / External Speaker and added mode information including NXDN
stuff (also 1.34 firmware updates). PDF version (link) for our improved
spectrum scope adjustments restored (near bottom of it's page). (Updated : Jun 03)
Icom released new IC-R8600 "1.34 firmware" on April 19, 2019 : USA
02 version linked here.
Changes in v1.34 firmware
•The MAC Address item is added in the Set mode.
•The File Split function that can record the received audio, depending on the squelch open or closed status, is improved.
•The Noise Reduction function is improved.
•Fixed an issue where the RX audio level may change when the bass level is increased.
We have tested the latest v1.34 firmware, some major
performance changes we noted (see light blue block below) :
IMPORTANT UPDATE :
After additional testing 1.34 firmware audio distortion is NOT as good
as 1.32. We say stay with 1.32 if you want the lowest audio distortion.
If the AGC Audio Swamping bothers you and desire better NR performance
(noise reduction) then use the new 1.34. Many may never
hear this distortion depending on the external speaker used ! Remember we
use 2 way speakers with our IC-R8600 (see review text) !
|N9EWO IC-R8600 TESTING with FIRMWARE 1.34 (April 19, 2019)
|It’s improved in a number of area’s. Some of the fixes were undocumented in the 1.34 update notes.
- First the NR (noise reduction) has been improved. Going above
#2 setting sounds no more like“R2D2”. NR is now a useful feature
whereas before it was a utter disappointment. It now operates similar
to the IC-7300’s NR performance.
- The “AGC swamping bug“(that I call it) issue when tuning across
super strong signals or strong static bursts has now been fixed with
1.34. Excellent news here and appears to have also improved weak signal
Only downside is while zipping through mediumwave and shortwave MEMORY
CHANNELS or VFO, we now hear a disconcerting “pop” sometimes when we
land on a active strong channel ,(this is quite annoying after awhile
to our ears, it may not bother YOU).
- I detect a slight added Bass kick with broadcast stations that
have it (most noticed on the FM Broadcast band) with our classic
Realistic Minimus 77 speaker. Yes we do indeed set the “Bass” tone
setting up to maximum (+ 15) on AM/FM and SSB modes.
- After extensive testing, HF audio distortion while slightly
better than 1.33, was still the best with 1.32. So if you want the
lowest audio distortion on the HF bands..we say go with 1.32 even with the AGC swamping still present.
Icom IC-R8600 "Wish List" : Here again is my firmware improvement list that we would like to see added (as doubtful any of this will ever happen) :
- Provide a "second" VFO.
- Make the RC-28 (Remote Encoder Knob)
operate with the IC-R8600 totally 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 receiver.
- Allow 1 Hz tuning steps with the tuning
knob (now this is only accessible with direct keyboard entry or
computer / CI-V control). The IC-7300 HF transceiver can tune 1 Hz
steps with the tuning knob.
Incorporate a REAL "Properly Operating" Synchronous Detector (instead
of the less optimum "Synchrophase" type currently used). Or at least improve the current one with fading distortion.
- 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 v1.34 firmware for the IC-R8600 receiver on Apr 19, 2019
We found it to be a mixed bag, see light blue block above. (N9EWO
- Our "Updated" SDRplay RSP1A Review Is Now Available : With
the help of reader donations we were able acquire a late production
test sample of the SDRplay RSP1A. This is test sample number two (first
one was only borrowed for short time). SDRuno program is a winner (we tested the older 1.22 version).
*** SDRplay RSP1A UPDATES *** (as of Jul 10) :
- Added a few screenshots of the software in the review (are not huge due to our limited bandwidth / space).
- New 1.32 verson of SDRuno
and version 3.04 of the API/HW driver, came out on Jul 09, 2019 (not
tested). Please note that API/HW version 3.04 can only be used with
SDRuno (not with other SDR programs such as HDSDR or SoDiRa). Good news
is that the older 2.13 and 3.04 can coexist on the same computer.
- New Preview 31 of SoDiRa was released on April 16th. New features : SpyServer added, Wavefile browser added, Recorder + Player improved.
- 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 2018 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).
Internal photos added and can be found near the bottom of it's review
page (our thanks to Mike P. for sending those) (Updated : Mar 29)
DAR-101 "Stand Alone" MP3 Digital Audio Recorder.
Click on photo for
latest updated review. (N9EWO
- 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
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
Appears that "ScannerMaster" is no
longer a USA AOR Dealer. Did the AR-DV10 fiasco have a play in this
Will probably never know the answer to this. FYI : The AR-DV1 has NOT
been discontinued by AOR. (N9EWO
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
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
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)
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
- Very resonable price.
- Operates well enough all around
with plenty of decent undistorted receive audio.
"Yahoo Groups" have reported a number of receive failures (not just one or two), the 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
- Many may not prefer the electronic volume control, but works well. (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
- 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).
- 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. UPDATE :
With our 2 test samples (both marked with firmware v1.2). One sample
had the Random (R) selection while the earlier sample did NOT. So this
feature appears to have been added with later samples only. (Updated :
The TIVDIO V-115 (and it's relabeled
variants) MP3 player does indeed have a "Shuffle Mode". (N9EWO Photo)
- 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 to, 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 the AM mode is just too muffled for our ears), Enjoy.
(Updated : Mar 12)
- "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.
We would very much like to see Icom adding a user select toggle in the
menus to increase the Bass audio responce. As it stands right now it's
communications audio quality (Bass response cut off). The IC-R8600 is
far more pleasant to listen to MW/SW broadcasts. (Updated : May 01,
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
- 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" .
1808D firmware for the AR-DV10. Some kind of a "AFC" and manual frequency offset features were
added (that did nothing to fix the drift issues). Also added I / Q output. The drifting issues cannot be fixed in firmware as much as they tried 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
!). (Updated : May 12, 2019)
- 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, 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
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
Lakeview Plaza Blvd. Suite B