****** 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
viewing all pages on this website.
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 (also try clicking for a
second time if "unable to find the web page" appears).
MAIN PAGE - LINKS TO ALL REVIEWS ******
Dave's Favorite Links / Archives *****
N9EWO's HF Receivers Previously Owned *****
Dave's Miscellaneous "Tidbit" Radio Stuff *****
ANY donation amount is very much appreciated to help keep "Dave's Radio Receiver Page"
here on the internet and updated. Please
see the "Main Page" for more information. Even
a $ 1. or $
2. US Dollar CASH donation sent via postal mail directly to me is very
much appreciated. To those fantastic readers
who have made monetary and sample donations…. a very big “Thank You” Dave N9EWO
**** April 2019 Reader "Fund Drive" ****
just realized that my "2019 Fund Drive" went a month short this year
(usually do it for 3 months and only did 2, January and February). So
we are reactivating the "Fund Drive" for the month of April 2019. We
need help to cover at least a good part of the planned Tecsun PL-880 test sample cost (update review) along with usual funding for me to just be here.
So if you appreciate “Dave’s
Radio Receiver Page”, please consider a small donation. Does not have
to be much (even a $ 1. or $ 2. US Dollar CASH donation sent via postal
mail directly to me is greatly appreciated). See the green block on the main page on how to do this
(PayPal is fine for monetary donations too). If you are in need my USA
mailing address, please just ask me - send me a email…that is no
problem at all (I don’t openly display this). My amateur radio address
on QRZ is valid as well.
Yes, working decent "Solid State" receivers / transceivers or other related
radio equipment of value (as "pre-paid" donations) are also greatly welcomed. Please send me a email on what you have to offer.
To those fantastic 6 readers who made monetary donations with the first 2019 "Fund Drive"…. a very big “Thank You” ! We
need to stress once again that this is extremely important for me to
keep this web site here and active. I hope that we still provide
totally unbiased equipment information for the radio listening hobby
that you do not see elsewhere. Dave N9EWO
|** Web Page Donations between March 30 and May 01, 2019 **|
| * TOTAL "US DOLLAR" DONATION AMOUNT as of APRIL 25, 2019 : $ 20.00|
* DIRECT SAMPLE DONATIONS as of APRIL 25, 2019 : NONE
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 :
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 TESTING with FIRMWARE 1.34 (April 19, 2019)
|I must say 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
recovery slightly. Only downside while zipping through mediumwave and shortwave
MEMORY CHANNELS or VFO, we hear a disconcerting “pop” sometimes when we
land on a active strong channel ,(this is quite annoying after awhile to our ears).
- I even detect a slight added Bass kick with broadcast stations that
have it (most noticed on the FM Broadcast band) with our Minimus 77
speaker. Yes we do indeed set the “Bass” tone setting up to
maximum (+ 15) on AM/FM and SSB modes for our much preferred classic Realistic Minimus 77
two-way “hi-fi” speaker that we use with our IC-R8600.
After extensive testing, 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.
If other IC-R8600 owners have additional
comments to pass along with the new firmware 1.34, please let me know.
I do hope that we still provide a useful source of “hard-hitting”
accurate information for the radio listener (our near zero budget these
days not withstanding). (Updated : Apr 25)
Icom released v1.34 firmware for the IC-R8600 receiver on Apr 19, 2019
- Our "Updated-Expanded" AOR AR-DV1 Review Is Now Available : This
took much longer than planned for a number of reasons. For one testing of the the
v1812A firmware bugs (perhaps not important for many), Butel's ARC
DV1 software bugs we discovered are now fixed (updated to Version 1.3 Build 001), and just general testing with the
latest second sample. The "off frequency" issue was not present with
sample # 2. This took MANY hours / weeks to compile, so please consider a small donation for my time and work ...."Thank You ". Will update this as required. UPDATES : Updated the firmware bug text near the bottom on the page (rewrite and new information).
New v1903A AR-DV1 Firmware on April 10, 2019 :
Reader experiences with
v1903A, lets hear from owners who have installed this (and your
comments) and will post here. Thank You. But I don't see the reverse
LCD display setting being useful, so do not plan to test v1903A. NOTE : AOR no longer has the desirable firmware v1805A available for
download. If you are in need of it, old firmware versions are archived on the AOR AR-DV1 "Yahoo Groups" (files section, free subscription required). (Updated : Apr 16)
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
- 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).
UPDATES (as of Apr 19) :
- Added a few screenshots of the software in the review (are not huge due to our limited bandwidth / space).
- New 1.31 verson of SDRuno
and version 3.03 of the API/HW driver, came out on Apr 09, 2019 (not
tested). Please note that API/HW version 3.03 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 3.03 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.
- Restest the Tecsun PL-880 ? :
Have been in contact with a number of our great readers of late and
have told me that the SSB audio distortion issues with the Tecsun PL-880 have
been cleared up. We of course tested a earlier production sample of the model (SSB
audio distortion was unacceptable with both 2013 samples). So will put that
on the list to review next. However as it goes now that depends on
reader donations (or a outright donation of a latest production test
(email on top on this page, thanks) : For any owner who has a current
production sample and zero audio distortion in SSB modes : "What is
Your Firmware Version" and when and where did you purchase it. To access firmware version: With radio turned off, press
and hold the “AM BW” button, the display will show all icons. Next
press and hold the “AM BW” again and will display a four digit
"firmware" number. (Updated : Apr 15)
Restest of the Tecsun PL-880 ? : Have the audio SSB distortion issues truly been cleared up ?
Will totally depend on reader donations or a donated "postpaid" test sample. (N9EWO Photo)
- Icom IC-9100 Discontinued ("Last Call") - Icom has discontinued the IC-9100
HF/VHF/UHF Amateur transceiver. As this text was added most USA Icom Amateur dealers had
remaining stock. As it always goes, NOW is the time to acquire a sample
always wanted a brand new one (but were dragging your
feet). We are not aware of a "equal" replacement model on the horizon from Icom. Speaking of Icom, most USA dealers received the first shipment of the new IC-9700 VHF/UHF SDR Transceiver (first week of April). (Apr 03)
- 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
- Uniden SDS100 Failures : We
see more and more Uniden SDS100’s failure reports around the interet.Is
this heat stress failures as it’s cold solder joints are most of the
repairs so far ? As most already know the SDS100’s normally operates on
side". So for the larger required battery with it's very hungry current
requirement. Sorry, we have no plans (or funds) to test the SDS100 or
SDS200. So as it always goes, "Caveat Emptor" (Buyer Beware). (Mar
NEW SDS200 Base / Mobile I/Q Scanner.
Became available for sale in the USA early February 2019 at around $ 700. USD (Universal Radio Photo)
- 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
- Yaesu FT-DX1200 Discontinued ("Last Call") - Yaesu has discontinued the popular FT-DX1200
HF Amateur transceiver due to part
availability issue(s). As this text was updated a few USA dealers had
remaining stock. As it always goes, NOW is the time to acquire a sample
always wanted a brand new one (but were dragging your
feet).(Updated : Mar 12)
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
- Operates well enough all around
with plenty of decent undistorted receive audio.
"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
- 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
- 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. (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 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)
- 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)
"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
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
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
- "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
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
- 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 : Apr 19)
- 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