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"We 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 14)

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

The discontinued Ten-Tec RX-350 DSP HF Receiver (N9EWO Photo) (Review Now Restored)

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)
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) ?

The 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)

Last 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 information 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 "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 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.
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.
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

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)
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)
"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

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