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*** NEWS PAGE CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING SECTIONS BELOW ***
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"Thank You" for your continuing support. Dave N9EWO


****  PLANNED UPCOMING REVIEWS  ****
(subject to change)
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*****  WEB PAGE UPDATES / ADDITIONS  *****

- UPDATED : Sangean ATS-909X2 page. Firmware change log updated (hardware / firmware change to reflect the new LCD). Information as received direct from Sangean America. (Oct 12).

- REVIEWS : Tecsun PL-330 and DigiTech AR1780 SSB FM Stereo / LW / MW / SW DSP Receivers. Our Tecsun PL-330 and DigiTech AR1780 portable reviews are now available. Our thanks to Dean B. who made these reviews possible. These are 2 very nice portable sets. A very pleasant surprise from Tecsun with a Sync Detector (and SSB modes) that actually works properly with near ZERO clipping distortion and decent lock. So be it that the widest bandwidth is still a bit too narrow. Appears (watch this video) that the PL-330's sync LOCK performance varies from sample to sample (our test sample worked excellent, 3305 firmware)? Enjoy and as usual these reviews take many weeks of hard work ! UPDATE : Made correction as to the AR1780 having Amateur band presets in SSB modes (Tecsun PL-330 has this and the Digitech AR1780 does NOT !). Have added the CCrane Skywave review on the bottom of this page for easier access (is also located on the Misc. page). See the NEW Tecsun PL-320 variant information in the news section (below). (Updated : Nov 24)



- UPDATED : Sony CRF-1 review. Our Sony CRF-1 review has been completely updated. Additional text / tips and new photos. (Aug 29)

- NEW "Japan Radio Co. / Icom " pages :
Three new JRC receiver pages (one Icom) to fill in missing models. These are NOT review pages (well not at this time). Perhaps for future reviews / information at a later date ? We have provided links for additional information / manuals etc on these receivers. Even that I have owned all FOUR of these models, its near impossible for me to write any reviews being was quite awhile ago (decades). Anyway enjoy what I have on these pages. (Updated : Nov 12, added Icom IC-R70 page)


- UPDATED : Tecsun PL-880 / Tecsun PL-660 / Tecsun PL-680 Review Text. Review text reformatted (PRO and CON now in a list). We also made updates to the PL-660's availability including a new photo and more importantly Sync performance issues with more current production (this was awhile back). All three of these receivers are still for sale today. But as it goes with Tecsun's products, they have not so hot quality control. So "Caveat Emptor"  (Buyer Beware) is still strongly valid ! (Updated : Jul 09)

- REVIEW : ATS-25 / ATS25 - LW / MW / SW / FM DSP Receiver. Our ATS-25 receiver review includes the FREE 4.0  Bernard Binns firmware and PAID 4.11 testing which is STILL not available as we type this. This will be the final update (our involvement with the project is now completed). (Aug 15)

 - REVIEW : ICOM IC-R71 Tabletop HF Receiver. Located on the bottom of our IC-R75 information / review page, we have added a ICOM IC-R71A mini review and links. (Mar 26)

- REVIEW : Burkhard - Reuter RDR55E Tabletop SDR HF Receiver. Reuter RDR55E Tabletop SDR HF Receiver guest review is now available. Our thanks to Dean Bianco. (Mar 19)

- REVIEW : TenTec RX-320 / RX-321 Reviews.  Ten Tec (Globe Wireless) RX-320 / RX-321 reviews now available. With the RX-321 test sample , this has to be one of the best sounding HF receivers we have EVER tested. Outrageously low audio distortion. Be sure and see the Sherwood distortion lab numbers on the bottom of the review page as well. The overall RF performance with the professional RX-321 is greatly improved over the consumer RX-320 model. (Updated Mar 19)

  REVIEW : Icom IC-7300 Ver 10.6 (Updated).
- Added N9EWO comments with the Windows IC-7300 Memory Manager Program (Free Lite Version) with test sample 2 (using Windows 7).
- Added a IC-7300 vs. IC-R8600 SWL comparison list (near the bottom).
-"TIP" in regards to it's well known tight microphone connector and a internal photo of the tested SM-6 desk microphone.
- New information on the new ST-4003W "ICOM Time Adjustment Software".
- Updated "When the Rose is Not a Rose" (Sour Audio Quality for Broadcast Listening).
- Added the LCD "white line(s)" syndrome that MANY old and new samples are now suffering from (also see the news section below for more information on this).
- Added new text : "So Are You Are Having Limited SSB RF Output ?" (important discovery by Wayne W1QC, plus my additional finding here).
- Added new text in regards to USB cable use (if inserted when powered ON can cause internal port damage to transceiver.) (Updated : Jan 12)

- REVIEWS "Task Chairs" (Mid Back) (updated) : "BodyBilt" J752 ESD / Global T9F695506 / Eurotech 4x4LE-LM59802A / Lemberi AB-EOC01. Sadly it is already time to replace the Chinese cheapie Lemberi chair as tested in the report (only lasted 14 months and that is pushing it). The gas lift failed VERY early on and the already uncomfortable chair has now become dangerous to sit in anymore (health and stability issues). We were considering to replacing it with the with the OFM 119-VAM-AA , but sadly it has been discontinued ! So now we might try another sample of the Global #T9F695506 (with the first test sample the backrest tension adjustment was defective) in time ? NOTE : It's base is made out of wood material.


We would like to try another sample of the 24/7 Chinese made Global T9F695506.
It had excellent back support and was generally very comfortable for the money (about $ 250. USD shipped).
 (first sample had a defective back tension adjustment and did not try another one at that time.)
Can be adjusted to the Dave required sharp L backrest configuration (as shown).
Has alligator feel black vinyl that appears to be of good quality.
 (as noted with the defective test sample in late 2020) ?
UPDATE : Reader indicates why the back tension adjustment MAY have been OK ?
 See updated chair review page for information.


The Global Industrial "Interion" T9F506795 APPEARS to be another decent mid-back
 lower cost Chinese chair to consider if you can do without with seat and backrest rocking.
Does not use a wood base which is a good thing (most lower cost chairs use wood chip bases) !
Is supposed to be REAL leather. What it REALLY is , who knows (is it the dreaded bonded leather) ?
Tilt of the backrest in the photos is disconcerting (can it be adjusted to a sharp L  / not tilted back so much ?) ?
Please see the updated chair review page for more information.
 (PLEASE NOTE : We have NOT tested this chair).



The Zuri "Draper" LOOKS to be a acceptable High Back shack chair in our research.
 SOFT real leather seat (vinyl back), metal base (arm height is not adjustable).
Available in various colors including the most attractive orange as shown above.
More pricey than the two Chinese task type chairs above (but any high back style will be of course).
Has the desired solid L type design. It's not one of those a fixed reclined types which KILLS the lower back !
  (PLEASE NOTE : We have NOT tested this chair).

We did endless WEEKS of task chair research in late of 2020 and again in early 2022 and came up with nearly NOTHING that was to our desires and requirements. If any reader has ANY suggestions, please let us know (email address as the top of this page). Criteria is NO mesh or cloth / fabric coverings (must be vinyl or
Polyurethane), NO bonded leather. Also NO task chair where the arms attach to the back (and yes arms are a requirement). Price point $ 300. to  $ 500. area USD ?

The two chairs we made comments to earlier (additional information) : The Office Master EV44 ESD task chair appears to be a very nice chair for radio room uses. However it does NOT have or an option for chair tilt or backrest tension. The MUCH more expensive Cramer RPM Fusion series does offer these options with what they call " 6 or 7 way" models. This allows the chair (seat and back together) to tilt forward and back and to rock when seat angle is unlocked. Also includes a tension control with these 2 Cramer models.
HUGE downside here is this makes these chairs awfully expensive at around (or above) $ 900. USD with the arm option (price has drastically increased over 2022). Important features I put as a must have with any office chair. The Global Industrial "Interion" T9F506795 chair above has backrest tension adjustment feature for around $ 250. so be it a Chinese made model. The USA made Chair Master EV44 and more so with the Cramer RPM (properly configured) are WAY outside my budget range. But are still something to consider for those who can afford it and desire an above average quality "radio room " chair ! (Updated Nov 15 , We are still in need of a replacement chair at HQ. Please contact me if you can help with a donated test sample for full review of any of the above or other. Email address at the top of this page. Very much appreciated).

- "Radio's That Never Were" - (updated)
  Added new entry and photo : KWZ-50. (Updated Dec 17,2021)

- REVIEW : "Icom IC-R8600" Ver 15.2 (Updated). We took another hard look at the IC-R8600's so-called "Synchronous Detector" and have did a reversal view with it's performance. Is about near equal to the lousy IC-R9500 Sync (our review on the IC-R9500 here) !
At first we felt it was improved, but after a few years of ownership the final word is it's NOT to our ears. Also corrected the round EIAJ DC plug information. This was wrong in previous versions of the review but has now been corrected. March 2021 service manual addendum (changes and 2nd production run for the USA 02 cell blocked version). Also added USB port connection warning. (Updated May 29, added another LCD failure report and text / link)

- REVIEW : Kenwood R-5000 HF Receiver.(Sep 01, 2021)

- ADDED Selected Sherwood Engineering lab numbers and reports (PDF files). Posted with permission by Rob Sherwood (NC0B) (Updated Mar 02 : Ten Tec RX-320 and RX-340 added)

- REVIEW : LOWE HF-250 HF Receiver (updated) Added REQUIRED electrolytic capacitor replacement section (in yellow block at the bottom of the review page). Actually this important information is valid for ALL Lowe receivers ever manufactured (HF- 225, HF-235 etc.). Bean counters making use of unrated voltage capacitors ! So if you own a Lowe set and have never replaced these capacitors....DO IT NOW ! (Updated Sep 10, 2022)

- REVIEW : JRC NRD-630 HF Receiver (updated) Updated the JRC NRD-630 review text.  Minor text corrections made. Better quality main and internal PC Board photos. Added Sherwood Enginerring NRD-630 lab numbers (PDF). While it might be a extremely well made premium HF receiver, the overall performance and audio quality were a fast downhill silde in our hands on testing! Looking at Sherwood Engineering NRD-630 lab numbers (click here), it's IP3 Dynamic Range at 2 Khz spacing comes in at only 70db. That is a very sad showing for a excessively pricey modern premium receiver if you ask me ! (Updated Aug 10, 2021)

*****  NEWS ITEMS and LINKS   *****

- NEW Tecsun PL-320 DSP portable receiver.  Feature whacked version of the PL-330. Lacks SSB / Sync mode operation. Gray (painted ?) case has rounded corners that also includes a rear kick stand (lacking on the PL-330). Major change is the use of a USB Type C charger / DC input (not USB micro).  Sadly it uses the same dreaded BL-5C lithium ion battery pack. Of course the price is a bit less than the PL-330 (see N9EWO PL-330 review here). (Nov 24)


Tecsun's NEW PL-320 DSP Portable Receiver.
Feature whacked variant of the PL-330 (no SSB / Sync).

- NEW "CC SKYWAVE SSB 2". CCrane has updated the CC SKYWAVE SSB model with these marked improvements :

- 1/8 inch external SW antenna jack (plastic type).
- Charging jack now USB MICRO type (was USB Mini).
- Improved charging circuit (whatever that means).
- Higher quality speaker with slightly powerful audio amplifier.
- Longer feet on the bottom of the radio for better stability.
- 500 hz bandwidth SSB setting (Tecsun PL-330 and Digitech AR1780 / XHDATA D-808 variant models already have this)
- SW Wire Adapter included (low to high impedance transformer inside ?).

Here is the owners manual (PDF format).
Same $170. USD price (was $ 200. at release announcement and appears will be the price after first production run that has bugs). At least they did not get stupid and make use of a lithium ion battery (still uses the MUCH more desirable 2 AA batteries for operation). WARNING : It APPEARS that the recommended AC Adapter CCrane is selling here is of a SWITCHING type ? If true will be useless for operation, only good for charging the batteries. Scheduled to be available in December 2022. Todderbert You Tube review - comparison here (some differences).  (Updated Nov 29)



- ATS-25 max. OK now we see a new version of the ATS-25 DSP receiver marked as the "ATS25 max". This ebay listing shows selling it with the much improved Binns version 4.12 firmware installed. Sorry we have not tested this variant and who knows what version one ACTUALLY ends up with ? We were unable to load 4.12 in the now gone test sample. For folks in the USA R & L Electronics in Ohio is selling a ATS25 with this "max" marking. However it appears that R & L "max" samples have firmware 5.2a, and if true this would be a step backward from 4.12 and no Sync detection. See my review information here why 4.11 or 4.12 is more advanced than 5.2a. (Oct 01)


This ebay listing shows new version "ATS25 max"
with the much improved Binns version 4.12 firmware installed.
What it REALLY comes with is another story ?

- Yaesu FTM-200D / FTM-300D Issues.
Discovered these 2 "You Tube" video's that expose serious issues with the Yaesu FTM-200D and FTM-300D Fusion transceivers (both are made in China). Also reports that the FTM-200D's noisy fan operates FULL time it is on (even in just receive use). Just another strong reason to stay away. The FTM-300D appears to have a fan thermostat (so it cycles, but unknown if the fan operates at all in receive ONLY use) ? We have not tested either model (anyone throw some insight on this ?). Caveat Emptor ! (Updated Nov 04)



Thinking of purchasing a Yaesu FTM-200D or FTM-300D Fusion Transceiver ?
Best to watch the "You Tube" Video's above before ! (Yaesu Photos)

- NEW Yaesu FT-710 HF - 50 MHz Transceiver / Internal Tuner Issues ! : See details on the Yaesu USA web site.  USA Yaesu dealers started to receive the first shipment of the new FT-710 on September 22, 2022. Cabinet size is the same as the FT-991A and a bit smaller than the FT-DX10.


  The FT-710 is clearly a competing radio to the Icom IC-7300 (Yaesu Photo)
which is good news for all. Was FCC OET cleared on Sep 02, 2022.
Yes, this is Yaesu's FIRST TRUE direct sampling SDR transceiver. (see notes below).
FT-710 Color Brochure PDF (click here)
FT-710 Owners Manual PDF (click here)

The new Yaesu FT-710 receiver architecture IS a 14 bit Direct Sampling SDR with a FPGA (no hardware IF's or mixers). So is this is a first for Yaesu ! Note that some of the operation buttons are located on the TOP of the cabinet and appear are of the "soft plastic-rubber" type that Yaesu still makes use of. AM bandwidths are FIXED at 6 and 9 kHz only (just as it is with other Yaesu transceivers including the FT-991A). The Icom IC-7300 offers totally variable bandwidths in the AM mode up to 10 KHz.  NOTE : The "full size" SD card slot is located on left side of the front plastic bezel (it's not located on the front panel).

As expected is in the near price point as the Icom IC-7300 (FT-710 at $ 50. more at release) so in direct competition. FT-710 Color Brochure PDF (click here). Yaesu's new FT-710 is indeed a true direct sampling SDR like the Icom IC-7300. It has a bit different configuration. The FT-DX10 and FT-DX101's are Super Het / Hybrids ! Comparing the block diagrams and specifications easily shows that.

Nice that it has a external monitor output (DVI connector). The RECEIVE audio quality is given in the features as a highpoint (comes with a external speaker). IF this is true it will be a HUGE plus over the Icom IC-7300’s extremely flat and “brain straining” receive audio quality for broadcast listening !

We are ALWAYS concerned IF fan operation happens AT ALL in receive ONLY use ! Comment from Rob Sherwood NC0B : "......the cooling fan runs all the time (on slow?) even in RX mode only which is annoying. I presume the fan can speed up if running high duty cycle modes.". Well sadly it's like all other Yaesu HF Transceivers and the fan does indeed run in a cycle even if ONLY used in RECEIVE mode (or in the case of the FT-450D runs all the time the set is on) ! See this bookmarked You Tube video review (it is in Spanish, switch on CC and then use auto translate to English). So that is a MAJOR drawback in our view. From viewing the on line owners manual, the FT-710 draws about DOUBLE the current in receive than the Icom IC-7300 (so is going to operate a bit warmer).


OTHER FT-710 LINKS
- Rob Sherwood's (NC0B) FT-710 Lab Numbers and Test Report (click here). (updated Oct 15). Comes in at # 4 on Rob's list.
- Disassembly of a FT-710 "You Tube Video" (In Japanese but one select CC on and use the auto translate function then select English in subtitles/CC in settings)

Malfunctioning FT-710 Internal Antenna Tuners  ?? : We have now received a report that a FT-710 sample has suffered from internal antenna tuner matching issues. Additionally Rob Sherwood reports to us that he noticed with the FT-DX10 and IC-710 internal antenna tuners, where once a match has been made and if you tell the tuner to run again it starts from scratch. A video confirms this bug. If a match has already been determined the tune check should quit almost immediately. It doesn't.

Yaesu has had a nasty history with internal antenna tuners over the years (bad PC board grounding). Intermittent and serious drop outs with internal antenna operation with the FT-991 / FT-991A and FT-DX101 transceivers that leads to PA final failures. See the PDF and You Tube videos below.

https://www.qsl.net/vu2msy/homebrew/FT-991A-Tuner-Issue-how-to-fix.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHqtnYtiiSc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSTgZmBJvoI

It's a easily fixed issue provided one catches it early (when its lacking the PC board grounding, i.e: weird SWR). Otherwise if left operating with weird operation can mess up the relay contacts in the tuner after awhile (then the tuner board has to be replaced) also
could lead to final failures ? Yes you would think Yaesu would address the bad INTERMITTENT grounding issues with the internal antenna tuners on the problem HF rigs over the last 8 YEARS ! It's a widespread issue and should just not be period ! (Updated Nov 15)

- CCrane Item # CWTPLP, Model: SR0509U. This rare super quiet 5 V Mini-USB regulated linear transformer type AC adapter is now back in stock. Get them while you can. See the bottom on this page for more information. (Sep 02)



- METAL CASE UPGRADE FOR THE SDRPLAY RSP1A : LAST CALL . The metal case upgrade for the SDRPlay RSP1 / RSP1A is available once again . As we cover in our RSP1 / RSP1A review (see bottom of our main review for comments), this is a most worthy purchase even at the slightly increased $ 35. price. It also reduces the size so is a bit more compact. Still includes the zippered hard carrying case. As I update this still available via ebay (China Direct). Sorry via Amazon (USA) NOW SOLD OUT ?. RTL-SDR.com informs that this will be the last batch of these (no fooling this time). So if you always wanted a metal case for your RSP1A, buy NOW before stocks run out ! (Updated : Sep 28)

 
LAST CALL : The excellent metal case upgrade for the SDRPlay RSP1 / RSP1A
 are available once again via ebay (for a limited time while they last !). (N9EWO Photos)


- Two NEW Eton Portable Receiver's

- NEW "Eton Elite Satellit"


NEW "Eton Elite Satellit" portable. It is NOT a re-release of the e1 (totally different innards) !
Many US eton dealers stopped (or never started) selling it days after it's Aug 15, 2022 release. (eton photo).
 
Find a nice used  [Drake designed, mfg by Tecsun] Grundig Satellit 800 instead (see our Sat 800 review here)

Uses si473x DSP receiver / filtering in it's architecture. Bandwidth filtering as : AM : 1, 1.8, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 6 kHz / SSB/CW : 0.5, 1, 1.2, 2.2, 3, 4 kHz. Backlight colors are : Blue, Green and Amber. Quick Manual and Spec Sheet are available for download on the manufactures web site. One can bet it includes a nasty and noisy switching power supply ?  The MW122A / LLA2000R MIGHT be a good linear regulated power supply candidate (with the cable kit, not tested , but I guess why bother with this at all as you can see below) ? (Updated Oct 04)

The "Eton Elite Satellit" - What a Disappointing Overpriced Disaster !

User reports have indicated that the ONLY issue they fixed with updated version 1.0.5 firmware was with the lockup issue on HD radio reception. The rest continues to be the same disaster (below) as we type this ! PLEASE NOTE : We have NOT tested a sample ourselves. Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware) !

"Passport To World Band Radio" is a reference on the posted online owners manual. This publication and web site have both been gone since 2009 and of course the address is defunct. The WRTH info given is also outdated (which has changed once again for the 2023 edition with the new publisher).

Selected comments via "the SWLing post" / Noel Ramos, W1NCR :
I must say so far I am not at all impressed. Here are the issues that bother me right out of the box:
- It mutes while tuning across the bands, including when using SSB.
- The telescopic antenna is loose. It will not hold its position when the radio is at an angle on its tilt stand.
- The lower left menus don’t line up with the hardware pushbuttons. Looks like unfinished firmware! Oh, and there are a few misspelled words in the menu system “Lossss”.
- I don’t find the audio to be all that great. My Satellit 700 is so much better.
- I’ve experienced two lockups which using the FM band…wouldn’t switch bands or power off. I had to pull the plug.
 
(Noel also reported hearing MW signals in the 40 meter band and FM / HD radio lockups. Appears there is no proper front end filtering ? Additional note : "It is DSP based. I opened it up; it’s does have a small ferrite loop (unlike what was believed) and everything is on two small PCBs. Most of the cabinet is empty. To be honest, the ats-909×2 is miles ahead of this one. Such a disappointment". Wow...and we felt the ATS-909X2 was a disappointment. Noel's internal photos can be seen here ("where's the beef !" comes to mind).

UPDATES (Nov 23)

- From my own research on October 06, we noticed that HRO has dropped the price down to $ 549.99 until ??? (whoopee....!)

HRO has what I call a "Black Eye Friday" special at $ 499.99 USD until November 30, 2022.

-
Dan Robinson's "You Tube" Page  
- Amazon Reviews #1
- Amazon Reviews #2

- You Tube Video : "Etón Elite Satellit HD is Junk! Mutes while manual tuning via knob....".

- You Tube Videos
(from Nick - dieselten01) : "New Eton Elite Satellit Radio August 2022"
                                                                         "Eton Elite Satellit on whip vs Tecsun 501x"

Reported Bugs :
- Unacceptable tuning muting (chuffing)
- Very limited dynamic range.
- No and or proper front end filtering !
- (via Nick's video above) HAS the dreaded AGC clipping distortion bug on SSB. Even the Tecsun PL-330 does MUCH better with near zero SSB clipping and good dynamic range.
- No REAL AGC adjustments.
- PBT tuning is ONLY a Fine Tune / RIT (even in SSB and Sync modes).
- Limited Bandwidths AM / Sync modes.
- Appears bandwidths are about double to what they are shown at (but as most know I near require nice WIDE IF filters available on a SW receiver, so that part I like). Microprocessor noises abound using internal / whip antenna's. PBT is nothing more than a fine tune control.
- Low quality whip antenna.
 
With so many bugs and limited hardware it has, it is highly doubtful that Eton be able to fix the radios MANY ills to EVER warrant it's steep price ?

- NEW "Eton Elite Executive HD". This new eton model replaces the Eton Elite Executive. It adds HD (digital) listening to the FM broadcast band. More colorful display. Also features 10 hz tuning in SSB / CW modes. Good news is it USES 4 AA BATTERIES (thank goodness it's not a Lithium-ion type).

UPDATES (Oct 04) : The new "Eton Elite Executive HD" ($ 249.99 tentative) is now listed for December 2022 release (subject to change and pre-orders are NOT being accepted yet). We can hope for a decent radio here unlike the DISASTER Eton Elite Satellit model. Being it should still be be manufactured by Tecsun / Degen is more promising ?


NEW "Eton Elite Executive HD" MW/SW/FM/AIR portable.
(click on photo for larger view) (Universal Radio Photo)

- Introducing SDRconnect - SDRplay Hamvention 2022 demo (you tube video here) We can hope this improves SDRUNO's generally difficult installation process and unstable operation for some. (Updated : Nov 25)

From "Jon Hudson" SDRplay (via Groups.io) :

“SDRconnect” is the new name for the multiplatform version of SDRuno (up till now we called it SDRuno V2)

At Dayton, we are demonstrating the completely rewritten Core DSP engine for Spectrum and Waterfall displays – with the prototype software running on a Mac M1 computer.  We are also showing networking capability by remotely accessing an RSP based in the UK. This is still an early stage demo, and the software team have a lot to do to complete the graphical user interface.

Work is underway on the new graphical user interface which:
• Retains the style and popular features of SDRuno
• Offers a more consistent and intuitive layout
• Addresses fixes and improvements suggested by users ever since SDRuno was first adopted.

SDRplay plans to release the first version of SDRconnect before the end of 2022 (or January 2023 ?) SDRplay is promising that SDRconnect will fully support the older obsolete RSP2 and RSP2pro products, although the original RSP1 (phased out in 2017) will not be supported by SDRconnect.(SDRuno V1.42 will continue to be available for RSP1 users).

The new graphical user interface will bring a lot of advantages based on what users have been asking for - like more consistency in the way panels and menus are organised making it more intuitive and easy to use, and the ability to lock panels together.


Introducing SDRconnect Software - Hamvention demo (you tube video)
N9EWO full "RSP1A" review is still available here.


- MFJ-1026 Deluxe Noise Canceling Signal Enhancer . I have received a couple of emails (again) of late asking me if I have ever used the MFJ-1026 ? Yes I have and is still a hobby saving device I use when local interference plagues listening on the SW bands. Thank goodness it's never for any extended period for me and these days power line interference is the issue. I will direct you to the "Monitoring Times" article I wrote back in April 2007 (click here, in PDF format). For anyone who is going to use it with a transceiver you need to add another relay in the AUX antenna input. Don't trust it the way it comes for ANY transceiver use (and that silly RF protection light bulb). Please see this useful "You Tube" video here. This information is also (and has been) provided over on my links page.

The AUX antenna pre-amp feature in the 1026 model is a near REQUIREMENT (I will say don't bother with the lesser MFJ-1025 model). We tried a Timewave ANC4 years ago and it was not usable at my location due to the lack of the AUX antenna preamp. There are the lesser Chinese devices, but these have MUCH fewer parts so don't expect the same performance (not tested) ? (Apr 12) 



MFJ-1026 Deluxe Noise Canceling Signal Enhancer (my MT review here)
Even if a bit pricey these days, is still a most worthy accessory in the
HF listening shack.
This is NOT a plug and play device.
A second and proper AUX noise antenna is REQUIRED !
(N9EWO Photo)


- Reuter RDR52 - Digital Standalone Receiver - "The first Contact"...Fenu Radio "You Tube Video" of the new Reuter standalone RDR52 HF SDR / DSP receiver. At least there is a physical volume control on the RDR52. Our thanks to Dean Bianco for the information. (Jan 31)



- CountyComm GP-7 SSB : Video on the CountyComm GP-7 SSB portable. I can not see any differences over the OEM Tecsun PL-368 including using the same BL-5C battery (aside from the stainless steel antenna) . Price : $ 98.95 USD. CountyComm is also offering a extended run time operation kit (extra battery and EXTERNAL fast charger for $ 15. USD) which is a very nice touch. Our GP-5 SSB review is still available here. I see the GP-7 SSB suffers from the same VERY annoying tuning muting / chuffing as with the GP-5 SSB model, also SSB audio clipping and lousy Sync performance.. The Tecsun PL-330 makes more sense in this price point having a real external SW antenna jack and much better SSB (no audio clipping) and decent sync performance. so if you don't need that TV remote size and those undesirable side thumb wheel controls. See our Tecsun PL-330 review here. (Updated : Nov 28)


The CountyComm GP-7 SSB. Price : $ 98.95 USD.
A Tecsun PL-368 in a gray cabinet plus an added stainless steel whip antenna.
Improvements over the elder GP-5 SSB model (as shown above) include keyboard entry
and bandwidth adjustment  / sync functions. (N9EWO Photo)


- ICOM IC-R8600 / IC-7300 / IC-9700 :  Bad LCD displays "White Lines(s)" Syndrome.

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 IC-R8600, IC-7300 and IC-9700 samples. White lines just start to appear (and do not go away). From viewing all of the user report failures this is NOT happening with just one or 2 samples (it’s MANY more than that). It seems it does NOT matter when the radio was manufactured, but seems that more current production tend to have this bug pop up more ?
 
With some it has been 3 lines that have appeared. I have to wonder IF abusing the LCD (say touching it too hard) or using those stylus pens (or even worse trying to use screen protectors) could be a factor in this LCD failure occurring ? Someone on Radio Reference forums made this comment : "These LCD modules were outsourced (RayStar) from someone who didn't use quality adhesive on the flex cable that connects to the contacts on the LCD substrate and thus, the "lines". One thing for sure, if this is the cause, it WILL get worse over time as that glue breaks down."

Also reported that IF out of warranty ICOM is NOT covering the replacement LCD or labor charges (which is about $ 250.~300 USD including the return shipping fee). This has now become apparent that this is much greater issue happening than first thought. Icom most likely to deny that there is not a problem at all here ? The forums and other internet sources says different. Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware), but there is not been (or never has been) a radio that does not have some QC bug-a-boo's. (Updated : Sep 12)



- ICOM FIRMWARE (Updated Nov 12, 2021)

- 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
- HF RFI Generator - "Electronic Defrost Timer"

- What happens when an Uniden SDS100 battery fails
- Uniden SDS-100 and SDS-200  Entire receiver on "one chip" disaster ?
- Uniden SDS200 - LCD Failures (again)

- Uniden SDS100 - J401 Bad Connection To PC Board

*****  MALAHIT - MALACHITE NEWS and LINKS  *****

- New "DeepSDR 101".  With the Russian Malachite / Malahit now off the market probably for good (for obvious reasons), it’s either many of the Chinese clones or something else ? I guess the Malahit Chinese clones are better over the first days. But I have NOT tested any of these to find out (donations ?)

So good to see this new pocket standalone SDR with a different architecture called DeepSDR 101. Much more limited frequency coverage over the Russian Malachite. However I’m NOT a fan of one encoder that does all. At least provide a separate volume control. Nice front facing speaker. Also good to see the use of a BNC antenna connector instead of the less robost SMA type. Very attractive price it is. We have not tested a DeepSDR 101. See important comments below ! (Updated : Sep 02)

eBay ad (around $ 100. USD shipped from China to USA) : https://www.ebay.com/itm/175374184628
Youtube channel with a few videos from Leon Huang : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMdgwN92DGQqMrSLKmRgUTg
Deep Elect Manufacturer website. Includes pictures and manuals : https://deepelec.com/2022/08/04/deepsdr-101-product-release/



"DEEPSDR 101" is DEEP in Issues !
Craig Menning N7TQM tests out a DEEPSDR 101. He does not recommend it to anyone ! So appears is just ANOTHER Chinese disaster SDR ? Thanks Craig for letting us know ! Will update / add to this information as required. Dave N9EWO (Updated Sep 05)

Dave,

When a product description starts with "This product is neither an instrument nor a professional radio", it probably means something.


Issues :
1) A strong antenna overloads the radio badly. A preselector might help the HF mands, but AM/LW would still be a problem.
2) The spectrum display is full of image products, more noticeable on strong signals. Using the display to assist tuning is a challenge.
3) Occasionally, tuning 'misses' a station. The frequency display is right, but the spectrum display indicates not on the signal. Tuning off one step and back resolves the issue.
4) Lacks an input attenuator.
5) No FM narrow mode. It makes this useless for the 2M band as well as the VHF low band.
6) Changing the width of the spectrum display is interesting. The wider two widths appear to be before IF filtering, while the narrow seems to be after the IF filtering. 
7) Does not cover the 162 MHz weather band. While known when I ordered the radio, it is disappointing. Lacking FM narrow makes this a moot point.
8) This radio could be used as a spectrum display for  another radio, via an IF output, but the images limit its usefulness.
9) When changing stations in the AM band, while using the supplied whip antenna, lots of digital noises can be heard for the following few seconds. These eventually do stop.

There are other anomalies, but they are minor compared to the above.

Positive points :
1) FM broadcast band seems good. Sensitivity is average, selectivity is good. Audio quality from the tiny speaker, while not hifi, is good.
2) Aircraft band works.
3) Shipping from China was fast. Ordered Aug 22, arrived on Sep 02 (North Western Wisconsin).

Further testing reveals that this radio really needs some sort of preselector and attenuator to limit signals into the radio. If just using the supplied whip, you don't pick up much signal, but you also don't see any overload issues. A better antenna is just too much for the radio to handle.

All in all, this radio shows the potential of some technologies. A Taylor mixer has some interesting broadband capabilities. As implemented here, it can be used from 100 kHz to 149 MHz. When presented with a proper signal, it can be reasonably sensitive. Using an M4 processor to do all the DSP work and the display management is also impressive. The display is quite responsive and its content is presented in a way to show lots of useful information.

I hope the supplier can come out with a firmware update to add the narrow band FM mode and possibly increase the top end to 163 MHz. On the other hand, releasing the source code as an open source project, might allow someone else to make some enhancements. 

With some front end signal handling, this could be a much more interesting radio.

My antenna is a 150-200 foot wire in my backyard. (About 80 paces long.) It overloads most radios in the AM band during the day. For VHF/UHF I have a discone in the attic.  Even the discone presents too much signal to avoid overload issues.

- Malahit DSP1 Firmware download link here) : Please Note : The DSP1 version is discontinued, no longer available.

Firmware 1.10d (what we call Rev2) Dated Nov 17, 2021.
- fixed the error indicating the firmware version. The version is now indicated on the splash screen in the lower right corner
- added display noise reduction function to HARD menu (EMI Reduction)
- WTF replaced with WF
- changed encoder control - now, being in the menu, the frequency encoder is used for control
- added 9kHz step in SSB
- added the ability to select colors in the Visual menu
- excluded Sleeptime parameter for backlight control
- no delay when switching between menus
- small bugs fixed
- Nov 17, 2021 lower receiving frequency reduced to 10 kHz

We have installed 1.10d (what we call Rev2) in our DSP1 test sample and the review includes updated testing notes. (Updated Jul 11)

(Please Note : The DSP1 version is discontinued, no longer available new)

Information on the Chinese Malachite / Malahit SDR's - "Caveat Emptor"
 See N9EWO Russian Malahit / Malachite - review page here


NOTE : Original posted information page is still available via
 
"The Way Back Machine - Internet Archives" ....CLICK HERE

*****  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.
Hefty 900ma Output. CCrane Item # CWTPLP, Model: SR-0509U (subject to availability).
Right photo shows 4 - 0.01 disc-ceramic capacitors added to
 reduce rectifier hum with indoor antennas on MW and HF.


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) and other receiver that use Micro USB , 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.

UPDATE (Sep 01, 2022) : GOOD NEWS ! This adapter has now come back in stock ! Available once again as we typed this entry. Get them while you can.

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.

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