- REVIEW : ICOM IC-R9500 (added PRO and CON list plus updated text)
ICOM's IC-R9500 Wide Band DSP Receiver.(N9EWO Photo)
- REVIEW : FLEX-6400M Tabletop SDR HF / 50
MHz Transceiver (Guest Review)
Dean Bianco's excellent review updated with important information (see yellow block on the bottom of the review page)
- REVIEW : Tecsun PL-600 (early production sample).
- Tecsun PL-600 Audio Distortion Modification links and information.
- Sangean ATS-803 / ATS-803A - Realistic DX-440 "Anti-Chuff" Modification
- REVIEW : Sangean HDR-16 AM/FM HD Portable (Guest Review)
- REVIEW : Grundig Satellit 750 / Tecsun S-2000 / Eton Elite 750 Receiver
- JRC NRD-525 Important Serial Number Information
- REVIEW : Ameco TPA / MFJ-1020B Tunable Preamp - Active Antennas
- REVIEW : WJ-8711A "Condor" SP-1348 Electrolytic Capacitor Chart
- REVIEW : Sangean ATS-909X - "Downright Poor Audio Quality on MW/SW"
- REVIEW : ICOM IC-7300 "When the Rose is Not a Rose" (Sour Audio Quality for Broadcast Listening)
- REVIEW : AOR AR-DV1 - Massive USB Port Failures (with later production)
(IMPORTANT UPDATE, see Yellow Block in USB Failure section near bottom of page: Oct 07, 2021)
- REVIEW : C.CRANE Skywave AM/FM/SW/AIR/WX Portable Pocket Radio
The C.Crane "Skywave" AM/FM/SW/AIR/WX
pocket portable receiver (see review here) (N9EWO Photo).
- REVIEW : AOR AR7030 - Added Old Age Check List / Audio Distortion Comparison
Chart / New links (on page bottom) (Updated : Oct 08, 2021)
- REVIEW : SDRplay RSP-1 / RSP-1A SDR Receiver
- Pete Gianakopoulos KE9OA R.I.P. (S.K.) :
Receiver guru and RF engineer Pete Gianakopoulos (amateur radio call
sign KE9OA) sadly passed away on August 12th, 2021 at age 70. He had developed and built a number of his
own HF receiver designs over the years and at one time had a web page that posted the schematics and other information. We had the pleasure to see and play with these receivers at the yearly local Madison / Milwaukee Wisconsin USA Radio gatherings over the years (see Tim Noonan's webpage here for additional details / contact on the GTG). Pete also designed the LA30 Loop antenna for Palstar.
He was a fantastic mentor over the years for me and will be greatly
missed. R.I.P. my friend. Our thanks to Dan Cotsirilos K9DTC for
passing along this information. (Oct 17)
|***** NEWS ITEMS and LINKS *****
- "LAST CALL" ICOM IC-R30 DISCONTINUED ! This information is direct from ICOM America
so is not just a rumor ! So if you ever wanted a "Brand New"
IC-R30 you will need to make that purchase very soon (including any
accessories / extra battery etc.) ! We are not aware of a replacement
model at this time. My extensive IC-R30 review is still available here. (Updated : Oct 15)
"LAST CALL" - The ICOM IC-R30 wideband hand held receiver has been discontinued.
Get them while you can (remaining dealer stocks). My full review can be seen here.
- Palstar R30A DISCONTINUED - R30B COMING SOON...? Would be fantastic to see a HF only tabletop
receiver back in the market place. Crossing our fingers that this new
proposed R30B comes to market ? Release date and other
information is unknown (stay tuned right here). (UPDATED Sep 12)
- IC-7300 / IC-9700 : Bad LCD displays with some current production samples ?
This was covered on one of the Icom IC-7300 Facebook User Groups and equally important these QRZ forum postings
(also see eham reviews). It appears that Icom has received at number of BAD batches of RayStar
LCD screens affecting some currently sold IC-7300 and IC-9700 samples ?
Actually this bug started to appear more a little under a year ago with
one batch and now a new round with LCD displays with white lines. From
viewing all of these user report failures this is NOT happening with
just one or 2 samples (it’s MANY more than that).
A nasty white thin line on the LCD is being reported with
a number of very CURRENT production samples out of the
box brand new. Some only being days old, while others take a month or 2 (or even longer) to
But as I read there are much older samples that have also suffered from this "White Line" issue(s) as well. I
So I have to wonder IF abusing (say touching the LCD too hard) or using
those stylus pens (or even worse) could be a factor in this LCD bug occurring ? (Updated : Oct 14)
Teaser news direct from Paul Hrivnak at Palstar on the new proposed R30B tabletop HF receiver :
- TFT touch screen display
- 100 Khz to 30 Mhz coverage
- AM Synchronous
- Internal Lithium Ion battery power supply
- 6 Pole Lattice crystal
filtering at 6 MHz
- Original Russian Malahit / Malachite DSP2 / New second version of the DSP1's 1.10c Firmware.
The DSP2 (version two)
of the the MALAHIT MALACHITE is available. It is
basically the same original version with an added huge sheild and some
other upgrades. Includes the normally optional front end board circuits
as stock (but is now all on one PC Board). It's still in a
all metal case but is is slightly larger.
Appears the original DSP1
(version 1) is
also still available. Provided you don't mind it's finicky operation,
in our view these marvels puts to SHAME ANY Tecsun or Sangean portable currently sold for performance
(with external outdoor antennas as we have not tested the add on
front end board with a whip antenna) ! Good news is the DSP1's
Syncronous Detector now works as it should (excellent) with the 1.10c
(what we call Rev2) firmware. See change log below.
An actual web site where you can
pre-order these much more easily along with more detailed information is entirely (and only) in Russian, Microsoft's
NEW "The Edge" browser does a decent translation (reported that English will be added soon ?). THE MALAHIT TEAM - Official Web Page
UPDATES (Please note that we have NOT tested a DSP2 version !) : (UPDATED Sep 17)
1. - Dead or Unstable Operation of Internal Clock : Via the Malachite/Malahit Facebook user group
: Report of a NEW Russian DSP2
version sample not being able to set the clock nor the LCD backlight
operating at all. Fix was to remove 2 surface mounted capacitors (C29 and C30) on X2 crystal. Another report direct to me by a DSP2 owner, in
this case the internal clock counts and the LCD LED backlight timers
function as normal, however the clock looses settings while being
powered on after being OFF about 12~24 hours (of course with a good
battery connected). UPDATE : Reported now fixed with new production (capacitors removed).
- Looking for the REQUIRED FLAT top 18650 (unprotected) Battery for your Malahit Receiver ? :
Seem to be in short supply these days ? If you live in the USA we see a
couple of LG made ones listed on the ONlY BATTERIES web site that APPEAR
to be in stock (as I type this) ? PLEASE NOTE : We are not recommeding
these per say, this is just for the information only and nothing more ! (Jul 19) 2. - Inaccurate Battery Readings : Also reported direct to me. Strange
battery voltage readings (with it's
built in voltmeter), they show very inaccurate "high". Could this
effect proper charging of the attached Lithium Ion battery ? Very
dangerous it might be ? UPDATE : Reported now fixed with firmware updates.
3. - Female internal SMA / U.FL-IPX connector - jumper cable issues :
I cover this topic in my DSP1 review as it is a issue here as well. All
of sudden one looses receive (goes DEAD). Caused by a too stiff and too
short internal antenna jumper cable that places heavy stress on the
U'FL / IPX female connector. With
the DSP2 version appears to be worse with it's even sharper bend of
that STIFF coax cable in a very tight spot (internal photo here). Please see my DSP1 review (near bottom of page) for additional information. UPDATE :
This issue has been reported to have been fixed in current production
(a longer and thinner cable now used as we recommended in our DSP1 review)
|N9EWO "DSP2" NOTES / UPDATES :
Contact with early DSP2 owners exhibited the issues as listed above.
Good news is now after hearing from other (later) owners the bugs have apparently been cleared up ?
Updated firmware has cleared up the inaccurate battery readings / charging. Production
samples are NOW shipping with those 2 capacitors removed to clear up
clock bugs. Also reduced display noise.
Also the antenna jumper cable is now longer and thinner to keep the
stress of the fragile male U.FL / IPX PC board connector (just as WE
recommended in our DSP1 review).
web page here for the latest firmware news and instructions / other information). Was being reported that the DSP2's are not always taking firmware updates on the
first try. Usually the second attempt did the trick.
currently installed is now displayed in the HARD MENU (starting with Test
Firmware 2.10 Aug 16, 2021). It was absent for awhile. With the current
DSP1 version firmware it is still not shown.
please keep in mind we have NOT tested a DSP2 version so WE have NOT
verified this information. Only limited reported information is
(UPDATED : Aug 28)
DSP2 Internal photo (click on photo for larger view)
(Fred Jones photo via Facebook, N9EWO Photo Edit)
- Malahit DSP1 Firmware 1.10c (Released July 26, 2021 download link here) :
1.10c (what we call Revision 2)
- improved graphical display of the spectrum
- improved optimization of algorithms, increased display speed, especially in WFM mode
- added the ability to determine the type of inclusion - one or three
clicks. If PD15 (pin 7 of the RESERVED field) is open, then turn on by
if this pin is shorted to a common wire, then turn on by three clicks
- the HARD menu has been improved
- changed battery indication - voltage is indicated over the picture
- added the ability to control user equipment using a discrete signal - PD14 (pin 8 of the RESERVED field)
- added a button for switching audio output in the HARD menu. It duplicates the audio output switch. Made by user request.
- added modes SAM-U and SAM-L
- added engineering settings to the HARD menu
- added automatic Notch filter in AM mode
- added saving of retro scale type
- changed the management of high-frequency filters at the input of the receiver
- fixed error during frequency tuning
- fixed bugs in automatic station search in FM mode
- added Pseudo Stereo function
- added "CCIR / JAPAN" Retroscale band selector to AUDIO menu
- respectively, added Retroscale for the Japanese VHF FM band 76.1 MHz
- 94.9 MHz and 6 presets for different regions of Japan, agreed with
- Fixed a bug when canceling the autosearch mode for stations and when
exiting the autosearch without saving the found one (refusing to save
the found). In previous versions, in these cases, all stations that
were on the scale before the start of the autosearch were erased and
the scale became empty. Now, in these cases, the original scale is
- the design of the regular end of autosearch has been changed, a
table-grid of frequencies for found stations has been added, messages
about the absence or the number of stations found have been added.
- autosearch is no longer dependent on the inclusion of the stereo mode
and the state of the activated outputs to the speaker and headphones,
it works in any combination of states, after the end of the search, the
original state of the stereo mode is restored.
- in some places of the editing menu, the retroscales of the CANCEL key
names are changed to EXIT, as they are closer in the meaning of the
action being performed.
- Added a limitation on the number of stations on Retroskale - 69 for
the CCIR band and 63 for JAPAN - as the maximum number with an interval
between neighboring stations from 300 kHz and above.
- fixed minor bugs of previous versions related to preserving the color
of the scales and saving the step type (50 kHz / NEXT) for each scale.
- reduced the speed of switching stations in the NEXT step mode.
- Update from 07/26/2021 - the operation of the synchronous AM detector has been fixed
(our thanks to Mark KD9NXV and Philip G7JUR for the heads up with news of the "second" 1.10c firmware update, what we call Rev2)
We have installed 1.10c (Rev2) in our DSP1 test sample and the review includes updated testing notes. (UPDATED Jul 29)
- "You Tube" video from the Russian Developers on the proposed exciting and
more powerful "self contained" DDC Version.
Improved dynamic range / front end filtering and spectrum scope span of
1.9 MHz (is 160 kHz in original version). Pre-assembled only (no kit
version will be available). Contains a 14 bit Analog Devices AD9649
ADC (Analog to Digital converter). It is unknown when this DDC version will become available and for what price it will be at ? (UPDATED Jul 11)
- ICOM FIRMWARE (selected model list) (UPDATED Jul 09)
- "[email protected]" forum (user group). Started on Dec 31, 2020. Public archives.
ICOM IC-R8600 - LCD Display Failure Issues have been reported (see bottom of N9EWO's IC-R8600 review page)
ICOM IC-7300 and IC-9700 - LCD Display Failure Issues,
(also please see this Facebook forum)
- JRC Receiver Display Failures
- "Knock off the knockoffs": A plea to cassette deck manufacturers (FAKE Chinese "JUNK" manufacturing)
- HF RFI Generator - "Electronic Defrost Timer"
- What happens when an Uniden SDS100 battery fails
- Uniden SDS200 - LCD Failures (again)
- Uniden SDS100 - J401 Bad Connection To PC Board
|***** RANTS AND REVELATIONS *****
A EXTREMELY RARE "5 Volt" CLEAN LINEAR USB Power Supply
(for USA 117 VAC input voltage)
Have covered this topic in the past with other radios that use a
USB socket for power. What to do about the excessive RF noise that ALL
switching AC adapters emit for use with a HF receiver ? CCrane in
California USA still has available an excellent , RARE and fairly
inexpensive ANALOG / LINEAR / REGULATED 5 V 900ma USB power supply that provides enough “cool” and TOTALLY CLEAN current for operation with receivers that use a 5 pin MINI USB socket (example : Tecsun PL-880). CCrane Item # CWTPLP, Model: SR0509U. Yes it has a good old power transformer and linear type regulator. If one is handy enough, can add four .01
disc ceramic capacitors across its internal 4 power rectifier diodes to
make it even cleaner (kills off diode hum for close indoor antennas,
see photo). We just soldered them across the top of each of the diodes.
But this is not a requirement of course AND DONE AT YOUR OWN RISK !!
Super RF quiet LINEAR 5 V AC Adapter with MINI USB connector (left). Sold by CCrane in the USA.
The downside is that the CCrane power
supply has a MINI USB output cable and you need a MICRO USB for the
Russian Malachite SDR (Chinese ones use a USB Type C) so of course it will not work out of the box. Not to worry
as there are simple adapters available on ebay and elsewhere. Example adapter here but a warning here that it will be a bit stressful on the receivers USB socket (so be very careful).
If one is electronic handy could just change out the DC output cable
for the proper one with a USB "Micro" plug (just dealing with the red
and black wires of course). The CCrane adapter above is screwed
together for easy access.
IMPORTANT - WARNING ! : With
the Russian Malahit / Malachite SDR operational current consumption approx. 300ma (as indicated in the
manual), normal operation with this CCrane AC adapter is no problem at
all. However when charging the
internal lithium ion battery, current jumps to around 850 ma PEAK (NOTE : RECEIVER OFF)
and makes this supply operate HOT and near it's maximum rating ! It would be a good idea to use a 2
AMP USB switching type adapter when charging the internal battery to rule out any
possible heat failure problems down the road of the linear power supplies regulator.