N9EWO - Dave's Radio News - Shortwave Radio
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Are Back" : Due to a number of circumstances at HQ that surfaced in mid
October, we were forced to put "Dave's Radio Receiver Page" in a
minimum state for awhile. But "whew"
we have now returned back to normal, including the news page. However
reader donations are NOW more important than ever for us to stay here.
If you appreciate what I do (and the way that I do it) , a donation of
a few US dollars (even a "single" US dollar sent in a envelope) would
be fantasic. It doesn't have to be much to help us greatly. Please see the main page for details.
If you need my US mailing address, please just email me (just put
"mailing address" in subject line) . Paypal works too. THANK YOU ! (Nov
- 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the web page move back to angelfire, a few old / outdated pages were not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. (Updated : Nov 14)
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)
Tecsun PL-680 - QC Issues aplenty with test sample (N9EWO Photo)
- Digital "SD Card" Audio Recorders (for home use, non-portable): With our standalone "Sangean DAR-101" MP3 recorder
failing of late (it was never was that reliable to begin with), we
are investigating the latest "standalone" models for recording
radio "off air" uses. Here being more "grandeur"
and in a better package for HOME use (say like a cassette deck) ? The
only manufactures we have found in our research that are even worth considering
are from Tascam (Teac) and Denon (Marantz). Many of these of these models models require the user to dive into the menu's in order to adjust recording level (not so great here, near unacceptable to us). Just about all of these use an internal switching power supply
which of course is not a good thing around a HF receiver. Just how
noisy they might be with indoor (or even outdoor) antennas in use is not known.
2 models that do NOT require a trip into the menu's to adjust input level are the Tascam SD-20M ($ 300. USD) . It also uses an external power supply
(12 volts at 1 amp max), so one SHOULD be able to easily replace the
included switching wallwart with a better linear regulated supply ? The
Denon DN-300R ($ 200. USD)
is a even lower priced model however has limited VU meter range plus
only one row of LED's for both channels. Sadly this Denon model also uses an
internal switching power supply. Both of these can record in WAV and MP3 formats. We are looking for reader
input here with any
personal experiences with HF receiver "off air" use on these types of
digital SD card recorders
(email address above). We "thank you" in advance. We may review of
one of these down the road "with HF receiver use" depending on funding (reader donations to help offset the cost of a test sample a bit, please see the main page) ?
safest currently available "RF Quiet" memory recorder with use with or
around a SW / HF receiver could be the Tascam SD-20M model (not tested)
? It uses an EXTERNAL Power Supply (includes a switching 12 volt 1 Amp
wall wart). So COULD also be a candidate for a Jameco 170245 linear (regulated) transformer type power supply
(wall wart) , which last I knew were still a dead quiet power supply.
No menu "madness" either for adjustment of the recording level. There is the RC-10 wired type remote as a $ 40. option.
Price is reasonable at $ 300. US street. The rack mounting ears are
removable. Can also operate on 4 AA batteries (also used for backup in
case the main power fails). Click on photo above for more information. (amazon photo)
Updates : "Last Call" Tascam SS-R100 : In our research we learned that the Tascam SS-R100
has been discontinued (photo below). One of the few REAL USA dealers
that has any NEW stock left remaining (and at a decent price) is "B & H Photo" in NYC (close out price of $ 350. at the time this text was added, was $ 500.).
It does come with a nifty wired remote (15 foot cable) and has MP3 and
WAV recording to CF Cards, SD Cards or USB memory devices. The rack
ears are removable. WHILE THEY LAST !
Sangean DAR-101 : We have learned that the Sangean DAR-101 now includes a dreaded switching power supply. See updated comments added on it's review page. (Updated : Nov 01)
Call : The discontinued "Tascam SS-R100" Digital Solid State Audio
Recorder (not tested). A very limited number of new samples can still
be found at
some USA dealers , but not many. Click on photo above for more
via the Tascam web site. This model indeed has an internal switching
power supply which COULD be an issue around / with SW/HF receivers and
even more so when using indoor antennas ? Includes a 15 foot wired
remote. (tascam photo)
The new RSP1A
uses a 14 bit scheme (but not always), 0.5 PPM TXCO and added front end
filtering. However in our testing the RSP1A suffered from unacceptable "AM Mode" audio and DC Spike was nasty bad. See the review page for the details. By the way they both use the same ADC. IF we receive a "donated" test sample I will do a more detailed re-test. But as it stands right now...WE MUCH prefer the old original RSP1. (Updated : Oct 07)
- 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.
- "Last Call" - Icom IC-7200 Discontinued (for the last time?) :
Icom was able to bring back the popular IC-7200 DSP HF Transceiver for
almost 2 years (after it was discontinued for awhile). But sadly it has been discontinued again
(at least for the USA market) and this time it probably will not be
coming back. So as it goes, if you always wanted to new one, NOW is the
time. Some USA Icom dealers still have remaining stock as I type this. (Sep 18)
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 10.5 review for the updated information on all of these topics (added mode and NXDN information).
UPDATES : (As of Jul 31)
- 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)
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)
- Sony ICF-2010 AC Adapters : Added AC Adapter information / photos and important links to the ICF-2010 / ICF-2001D section of the Sony Page.
There were 3 different included AC Adapters over it's 18 year lifespan
on the market (version sold in the USA). We breakdown the details /
model numbers / current ratings and other information. (Jun 24)
- Sony CRF-1 “Repair of a Slipping VFO” : Sony CRF-1 issue that is repairable. See the near bottom of the Sony Page for the new information added. Appears that this repair is not for the faint of heart ? (Jun 05)
- 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 early 2019. (Updated : Nov 20)
Many replace the main 3 pot controls with
better quality ones (at around $ 10. to $ 15. for EACH control). In our
limited research near "drop in replacements" COULD be ? : PEC Brand (were Honeywell Clarostat RV4 Series), Both Linear Taper, 10 %, 2 Watt
. NOTE : We have not replaced these in our sample (at least not yet), nor have we acquired the parts to do so.
2 "Gain" Pots R9 and R20 : TWO RV4NAYSD251A (250 ohms)
1 "Phase" Pot R16 : ONE RV4NAYSD102A (1K ohms)
- 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 broadcast listening. (Updated : Jun 20)
- 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
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