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To those fantastic readers who have made monetary and sample donations…. a very big “Thank You” 
Dave N9EWO

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



  More nasty household appliance RFI woes for HF reception.
This time it's a "Solid State" Refrigerator Defrost Timer.  We experienced this UET120 model by Supco.
  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)

The Yaesu FT-DX1200 HF transceiver to be discontinued soon. (Universal Radio Photo)


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)
- 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 current" bug 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).


Nice low cost Fusion handheld, but with it's battery wows / current consumption, in our view one is best to consider the more expensive FT-2DR even with it's older design CD-41 external charger option that suffers from a extremely high failure rate (very sensitive to ESD damage). Note : We have NOT tested the FT2DR model. To see FT-70DR eham reviews click here. (Updated : Jan 26)


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).

Sangean's DAR-101 "Stand Alone" MP3 Digital Audio Recorder. Click on photo for latest updated review. (N9EWO Photo)

The TIVDIO V-115 (and it's relabeled variants) MP3 player does indeed have a "Shuffle Mode".

The Discontinued Icom IC-R75 HF Receiver.
Can be easily found in the used market. Click here for our extensive review. (N9EWO Photo)


C.Crane "FM REFLECT" FM Broadcast PASSIVE Antenna
 Sadly it's no longer being manufactured (N9EWO Photo)


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 "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 receiver.

- 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 channels.
- 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 sounds 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 on 1.32."

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.
Version 1.30 "latest" firmware for the Icom IC-7300 (July 20, 2018)
Also see the 2 page manual for Ver. 1.30 firmware (PDF)

Changes in v1.30 firmware
- A SET MODE item is added to expand the transmission passband width for the SSB data mode up to "100 to 2900 Hz".
- A SET MODE item is added to make the USB SEND/USB Keying function active immediately after USB port connection. The Menu structure is changed accordingly.
- Other performance improvements and bug fixes.
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.


N9EWO's Review on the Icom IC-R30 is Available Here (version 2.6).
There are many user reports of excessive drift and other issues with the AR-DV10. "You Tube Video" can be seen here, also see AOR DV10 HF vs Kenwood TH-74e and AR-DV10 Frequency Error at 800MHz. Comparison video between the AR-DV1 and AR-DV10.  See our AR-DV1 review here, which has it's own major bugs which have yet to be fixed (and probably never will). AR-DV1 is also off frequency on HF.

It appears that the AM / FM Broadcast sections are using a one-chip radio IC in the AR-DV10 (like the IC used in the el-cheapo Chinese radios) ? It still uses super heterodyne circuits as indicated in the specification information, NO direct sampling is used that I can see (look at the block diagram in the brochure).

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)
- Icom 7610 Heat Sink, Loose or Detached ADC Heatsinks
- You Tube Video : IC-7610 Issues: LCD Burn In, 'Heatsink Gate' & Others (clearly shows the LCD "Burn in" issue at the end)
- You Tube Video : Icom 7610 Heat Sink Check


N9EWO's "AOR AR-DV1" review (Ver 3.5) is available here.
IMPORTANT UPDATE : Our concerns were found valid. Rob Sherwood NC0B reports to us that the IC-7610's internal fan does indeed cycle with JUST RECEIVE ONLY use !! So it's the same as with the IC-7600 fan operation and noise (our full IC-7600 review can be seen here). I for one will NOT be making a IC-7610 purchase now or in the future (it's off my possible purchase list permanently). But I'm sure for many (most) this trait will not be an issue at all. This is a VERY IMPORTANT factor and a total deal breaker for ME ! As we have already covered in our IC-7300's review, it's fan NEVER operates in just "Receive only" use. NO fan operation is REQUIRED with any "receiver" for our very sensitive ears to this kind of noise !!

For many IC-7600 owners, after awhile with the fan inhaling air nearly full time in a warm room, annoying viewable dust can settle in between the front lens and the actual LCD. Removing that is near impossible for most. One can find references to this issue on the IC-7600 "Groups IO" list. Now....IF the IC-7610 will have this same trait is unknown ?
(Updated : May 23, 2018)
"Universal 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 location." .

Universal Radio Inc.
651 Lakeview Plaza Blvd. Suite B
Worthington, OH 43085

www.universal-radio.com


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