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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. "Pay-Pal" accepted. 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

*** DONATIONS *** DONATIONS *** (time to beg a bit) : As many of you already know we moved this web page to QSL.NET back in early April of this year (2020). Of course this was a HUGE improvement vs. when on the Angelfire that we were forced to move back to when the Charter host went away (no more stinky pop-ups or other nastiness here on QSL.NET). This took many hours of my time and sweat to recode this entire page "again" along with adding content / corrections which we always constantly do.

The QSL.NET host we are on now would like to receive (more like near requires) a $ contribution once in awhile and I still REQUIRE a little something for my time to write and to maintain this entire page (and yes also provides motivation for me to continue). We have NOT been able to make any donations to QSL.NET yet. We MUST start do that as soon as possible, so how about a bit of support of a few US Dollars $ ? Does not have to be much (ALL donations are appreciated even if only one or two US dollars sent direct to me via postal mail). Paypal is possible and this way does not have to be in US Dollars of course. We also base what I review on YOUR kind support, so with no $ donations to purchase test samples (or donations of decent test receiver/amateur transceiver samples or related accessories) , no new reviews ! For donation details please see the MAIN PAGE. THANK YOU for being a loyal reader to "Dave's Radio Receiver Page". We also must thank Scott Neader KA9FOX and the QSL.NET crew greatly for allowing us to be here with our limited resources/funds. (Updated : Aug 08)


Sorry, but it's time to beg a bit. We need reader donations to continue to be here !
 Have an extra $ 1. or $ 2. USD ?  Please see the main page for details. THANK YOU for your continuing support !
 

PLANNED UPCOMING REVIEWS (subject to change) :
- Review of 3 "classic" Flash Audio Recorders (all being used for "off air radio" use)  Edirol-Roland R-1 / Sony PCM-D50 / TASCAM DR-40.
- "Guest Review" of the FlexRadio 6400M HF Transceiver being used as a SWL receiver (now in process, mid-late September time frame ?).
- Our review of the HanRongDa HRD-1032 "ultra cheap" MW/FM/SW" pocket portable (see Todderbert's "You Tube" video here). These gems sell for around $ 11. USD on Amazon (and elsewhere). Uses cellophane taped on contact buttons to the PC board (hey...what do you expect for $ 11.). Operate on 2 AA batteries (no weird lithium ion batteries here). Also sold under other names including Vite. Uses the AKC6951 receiver/DSP IC (same as used in the V115, our review here).


***** N9EWO NEWS ITEM LINKS (most current on TOP of list below) *****
(Have anything to contribute here ? Please contact me at the email address on the top of this page.)

- Icom releases the ID-52A/E Amateur Handheld Transceiver (Aug 07)
- Icom IC-705 receives "official" FCC OET clearance  (Aug 06)

  • Chinese Malachite (Malahit) SDR's : A very interesting FYI on the Chinese made pocket low cost SDR's based on the original Malahit Russian counterpart that you cannot really purchase anywhere (well at least easily in the USA you sure can't).

R6DCY/R6DAN/RX9CIM Original "Russian" Version
 (click on photo for larger view) (N9EWO photo edit)

We see 4 versions of these Chinese versions on ebay for sale as I type this (what we call CHINESE VERSION FOUR below appears to be no longer available ?). No 2 are the same.
200 MHz is the top coverage on all of these ? The auction listings loosely elude to some password to increase coverage (purchase a license key, comes with basic Chinese firmware) ?? They have no SD card support or built in recording. Have only basic features, not even any memories (BAND mode looks to allow for ONE preset memory for each band preset ?). But these do have NR (noise reduction). Please Note : The 5 SDR's below all use USB C type power connector and any cable is NOT included (it's NOT B type Mini or Micro). If any readers see any new versions lurking around or any other information with any of these, please let me know.
CHINESE VERSION ONE : This version is currently selling for around $ 160. via ebay. NOTE : A number of vendors are still selling this older version as I type this. Rev numbers that we see of this SDR include (as marked on the front panel): 2.1, 3.92 and 3.97 (3.99). Pictures you see in the ebay ads of THIS version show the use of internal shielding (but sadly they do NOT have these shields in actual production units !). Case is made out of fiberglass PC board material (our thanks to Brett N2DTS for the update on this). The thumbwheel encoders look to be a "not so hot" idea , but I guess work OK. Has a internal Lithium Ion battery, TINY internal speaker and micro small POWER slide switch. In any event it does indeed look very interesting even with it's ultra cheesy case and unfinished look.

You Tube Video (VERSION ONE) : Malahite DSP SDR Receiver: Clunky but Not Bad


Chinese version what we call VERSION ONE. (click on photo for larger view) (N9EWO photo edit)

CHINESE VERSION TWO (NEW as of Late July 2020) :  These versions are selling for around $ 160. on ebay as we type this (so a few more $'s) . Thinner size (similar to VERSION FOUR BELOW), antenna jack on TOP and headphone jack now is on the LEFT side (that is a bit confusing as you study the NEW photos of this one). They show the size comparisons in the ebay link above of the old and new version (but is very confusing). My feeling is the thicker case versions might be more desirable if one does not plan to use it portable so much (as a home device is bit too thin for that) ? Rev on this one is marked as B.0.


NEW Chinese version (late July 2020) what we call VERSION TWO. (click on photo for larger view) (N9EWO photo edit)

CHINESE VERSION THREE : This approx. $ 100. version has NO case, NO knobs, NO speaker or battery (ebay example click here). It's 2 rotary encoders are closely spaced together (are not using thumb wheels on this version). It's SMA antenna connector comes out of the top vs. the other 2 that are on the left side. Admittedly this versions PC Board looks to have the most parts on it (viewing ebay photos), however it has no mounting holes.


Chinese VERSION THREE (click on photo for larger view) (N9EWO photo edit)

CHINESE VERSION FOUR (No longer sold ? See VERSION TWO above.) : This currently not available approx. $ 160. version has a large annoying green LED on the front. However the USB port is more properly located on the left side away from the thumbwheel controls as is the headphone jack. Again is unavailable as I type this and by viewing the internal pictures appears to have less parts than the OLD "VERSION ONE" I link above (click here to see expired ebay listing) ? Entire case here again is made out of PC Board material.

You Tube Video (VERSION FOUR) : MALACHITE SDR RECEIVER


Chinese VERSION FOUR that appears to be no longer sold (click on photo for larger view) (N9EWO photo edit)

CHINESE VERSION FIVE (New as of Aug 01, 2020) : Price around $ 150. as we type this entry, ebay link here (Aug 01). Appears to be a variant of the VERSION 3 board but in a case with knobs AND a subwoofer speaker with bottom rubber feet to boot. However has battery does not come with it (perhaps the larger speaker and subwoofer made it impossible to squeeze that into the cabinet ?), and the bottom speakers are totally unprotected.  One picture shows the tuning knob to be bigger than the volume one, while another photo shows both being the same size (go figure). Rev is marked as A.0.


Chinese VERSION FIVE APPEARS to be the most desirable LOOKING one out of the bunch at this time. Rotary knob encoders with the tuning knob being larger (maybe?). Has a larger speaker with an additional subwoofer. However does NOT include any internal battery. The one picture in operation shows it with the Russian firmware installed ? (click on photo for larger view) (N9EWO photo edit)
 
POSSIBLE N9EWO REVIEW ? : IF I'm able to obtain one of these as a reader donation I will do a expanded review. Any donated test sample must be sent "postpaid" to my USA mailing address (my QRZ mailing address is valid) OR enough donated funds to outright purchase which we are extremely far away from at this time. Would prefer the above marked VERSION FIVE so we can check out the subwoofer speaker but any other version would be fine. Please see the main page for more information on donations to me. We also welcome reader "guest reviews" with any of these. Sorry, I no longer write receiver reviews with loaner units as I now require proper compensation for my hard work and time to compile and write these reports. Thank You for your support and understanding (funds are even more limited these days for me). (Updated : Aug 08)
N2DTS report on eham Jul 17/18, 2020 / ver 3.97 (what I mark as the VERSION ONE above)
- Audio is very good.
- Control is a little erratic but not bad (touch screen).
- Designed for a whip antenna, too much gain on a full size antenna, preamp off, rf gain to 0 and its ok.
- Filters are good, adjustable, but really strong off frequency stuff tears it up somewhat.
- Has a built in speaker, not loud.
- Has a built in battery, seems to last a long time, its been running 3 hours and still shows a full charge.
- Goes up to 200 MHz.
- cw, am, fm narrow, fm wide, lsb, usb modes.
- $150.00, one without a battery is $100.00.
- Has a usb (c) port, may work with some software or be able to be updated in the future.
".....I had to dial in a 10db attenuator before the antenna input to avoid overload on 40 meters, then it worked great. RF gain at 0, and a 5 to 10 db attenuator makes it work ok on a full size antenna. It does not have the same software as the actual Russian radios, it operates a bit differently and has some things missing. Push and hold the volume knob to bring up the modes, no CW mode but lsb and usb can have the filters to anything you want. Pushing the freq knob cycles through built in speaker, headphone jack or both. The speaker is not very good, but it IS there. You can not change the bandwidth displayed on the waterfall/panadaptor and there are no filter display, or amplitude or frequency markings on it. The touch screen is a bit erratic, but overall the radio works OK with good audio....."


N2DTS "Malachite SDR Chinese Clone" report on eham Jul 17, 2020 / ver 3.97 (N2DTS Photo, click for larger view)

UPDATES (Aug 03) :

- Information via Russian forums (via Google Translator) about these Chinese Machite's. They mention these Chinese-made devices. Appear that these ALL come with the limited test firmware (but is most usable).

Seems that George RX9CIM sees no problem in other people building the HARDWARE. He confirmed he sells the licenses to activate the firmware and open all features. As we made comment to above with these Chinese versions and you go to the item listings on eBay and the vendor makes comment the need of an activation license : " Frequency range: 50KHz to 200MHz, can up to 2GHz after purchase registration code from the officia ! For more please go to the officia site !" (guess that means the Russian developers ?). Appears some have contacted the Chinese sellers about the activation and reported that they replied the codes would be provided with no additional information details ($ 55. ?). Here are the schematics of the Russian version (PDF Format).
 
Also see here CQ HAM RU :
Also here on VK.COM :
ON FACEBOOK : (Someone here made a comment that the cost of a license key was $ 55. USD ?)

Key items from the Russian forum :

The receiver was developed with the participation of: RX9CIM (idea, dsp, general circuit), R6DAN (gui and control), R6DCY (clarification of the circuit, wiring, design, additional board which adds additional HF bandpass filters) and dadigor - Igor Naumenko.

Key features (virgin Russian text via translation):
1) the radio is built on the principle of SDR - the functionality is determined by the loaded software;
2) the frequency range is from 50 kHz to 49.999 MHz, from 50.001 MHz to 249.999 MHz, from 400 MHz to 2 GHz;
3) all types of analog modulations: AM, SSB, NFM, WFM;
4) great functionality: variable filter width, adaptive noise suppressor, threshold noise suppressor, Noise Blanker, AGC, equalizer;
5) applied a cheap but functional chip msi001;
6) a powerful stm32h743 processor with a clock frequency of 480 MHz was applied;
7) the presence of a 3.5 inch IPS display with a touchscreen;
8) the presence of a built-in UHF;
9) controls - 2 encoders with buttons and a touchscreen, power button;
10) power from the built-in battery and USB, charging from USB. The capacity of the built-in battery is not less than 1500mA / h.
11) consumption - 300mA when listening to headphones;
12) reception on the built-in telescopic or external antenna. For improved HF reception on a telescopic antenna, an additional board with a source follower, filters and attenuator up to 30dB has been developed.

The frequencies and characteristics of the filters:
- Low-pass filter 500kHz
- 500kHz-1500kHz
- 1500kHz-4500kHz
- High-pass filter 4500kHz.
The board involves installation in a standard receiver design.

13) USB connection to a computer with the ability to transfer CAT, IQ and audio.
14) 160 kHz span with scalability;
15) sensitivity - 0.2-0.3 μV;
16) the dynamic clogging range is about 85dB, due to the characteristics of the msi001 chip used.
17) the aluminum case is applied;
18) there is a backlight control;
19) antenna socket type SMA;
20) receiver dimensions 120x88x39mm;
 
Appears that in the Chinese versions, without activation with license key/fee, there will only be test firmware, which is quite a receiver for itself, but it can’t do much and has a lot of differences from firmware that requires activation. (NOTE : Keep in mind this list was posted by the Russian developers, so appears to be a bit biased ? As we made comment to above there are different REV's of the Chinese VERSION ONE floating around. What that means as far as operation changes/differences go is unknown. Dave N9EWO) :

- the frequency range is limited
- there is no stereo FM reception
- there is no frequency error correction
- there is no usb connections
- a stick or hole in the middle of the spectrum
- there is no support for the shield with IP
- there is no normal gain control msi001, which will cause problems when working on large antennas
- the interface is inconvenient
- the brake interface is low FPS and a long reaction to the controls
- there is no normal choice of frequency tuning step
- there is no normal aru
- there is no frequency input function
- there is no function
- turn off the display to minimize interference
- high consumption in the off state - 10mA
- there are no visual settings for the spectrum and the waterfall - there were a lot of settings
- there are clicks during the adjustment
- there is no telegraph decoder
- the number of memory cells is less and there are not all settings are saved
- the interference from the display is much greater

- From RTL-SDR.COM : ".......this SDR runs on the MSI001 tuner chip, which is the same tuner chip used in the SDRplay line of units. However, unlike the SDRplay units which use a wideband MSi2500 ADC, the Malachite-DSP uses an audio chip as the RF ADC. This provides a 16-bit ADC, resulting in high dynamic range, but at the expense of the available bandwidth which is only 160 kHz. A STM32H743VIT6 with ARM Cortex A7 processor runs what appears to be custom DSP and GUI software. The software doesn't seem to support DRM, but AM, WFM, NFM, LSB, USB are all supported."

- Francesco IW1BFT from Italy reports to us with information on these Chinese SDR's. He used all battery operation with his test samples as noted below, but remember one MUST NOT use any switching type power supply OR connected to a computers USB port, otherwise one will get HF reception loaded with RF garbage and Spuri junk. See my possible solution to this issue below, but please note I have NOT tested this power supply with one of these Chinese SDR's as I type this as we have no test sample to do that with. (Note : VERSIONS listed below relate to my reference version numbers as above.) :

"In the past I purchased an RSX RS928 and was very satisfied with it, so I approached these receivers with curiosity. My friend and I took 2 of VERSION ONE, with case and battery and one VERSION THREE (PC Board only). The VERSION ONES were REV 3.97 (3.99 printed on PC Board). I must tell you that we were both very disappointed. Both models receive very badly, with a lot of digital noise and numerous spurii signals. VERSION THREE seems to be doing a bit better but in both cases they are valid only to receive the commercial FM . The VERSION ONE box is made of printed circuit board fiberglass plates soldered together. The front panel, if the screws are tightened, locks the knobs and there are NO shields on the board. The speaker, then, is bad. The price is absolutely not justified. Another friend owns the Russian model and says it's okay, I haven't tried it. I made the comparison with a Belka DSP, and there really are no words to describe the superiority of the Belka. I don't know if we were unlucky and we ended up with two bad samples (taken from 2 different ebay sellers, arrived in about 20 days) or if they are all like that, but I certainly do NOT recommend to buy these SDR's. An old sdrplay, first type (RSP1) is so much better."
  • A RARE "5 Volt" CLEAN LINEAR USB Power Supply (for 117 VAC 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 CLEAN current for operation with receivers that use a 5 pin MINI USB socket (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.


Possible downside is that the CCrane power supply has a MINI USB output cable and IF you need a MICRO USB for a receiver (like the Icom IC-R30 receiver) of course it will not work out of the box. Not to worry as we located a nifty but very rare 3-foot (1 meter) Mini to Micro USB converter cable that does the trick perfectly from YCSbasics also in California USA (Product ID: A5575Q Part Number: U2JH3-B). Having a length of cable and not some adapter right at the radio helps to relive stress off the receiver’s USB socket. Please Note : This patch cable was out of stock at the time this text was being typed (do your own internet searches for an alternative cable or adapter).


YCSbasics 1 Meter / 3 Foot USB Cable Adapter
USB 5 pin micro male to USB mini 5 pin female
(Product ID: A5575Q Part Number: U2JH3-B)


We cannot say if this power supply will work with the Malahit SDR receivers above properly (and more importantly cool enough) ? If the current draw is around 300ma as given in the ebay auction information.....then it will be no problem. We have to wonder what the current requirement will be when battery charging (figure on it being a bit more) ? The Malahit receivers above use a USB C type connector. You will need a USB MINI-B FEMALE to USB C MALE converter PLUG adapter with the CCrane supply above. Do your own internet searches (but here is a ebay one that should work / but untested by us). WARNING : I was advised that the previous converter cable adapter via ebay I HAD listed here turned out to be a "scam" Chinese vendor. L
ink now removed here of course, and DO NOT order as you will be out the $'s and the cable never being sent. My apologies on this ! UPDATE :  Here is the ONLY other proper converter CABLE we could find, this one is available on Amazon (was in stock at the time this entry was added, if no longer available then see the converter PLUG link above). (Updated : Aug 08)
  • Alinco DX-R8T and Yaesu FT-450D - Discontinued ! : Alinco has been forced to cease production on the Japanese made DX-R8T  HF "Communications Receiver" because of a parts issue. Of course a MAJOR blow for anyone looking for NEW “HF Only” tabletop. But as we all can understand with the decrease of SW broadcast stations in this day and age (+ SDR’s) why the desire went away a good many years ago for HF only coverage tabletop manufacturing. But was excellent to see Alinco hanging in there as long as they could. So the last "HF only" coverage desktop communications receiver has left the marketplace ! The "end of an era" ! A few NEW samples may still be had, but is not many. I know the DX-R8T used a couple of metal case 11 element murata ceramic filters that have not been manufactured in many years. UPDATE : Palstar MAY have a few remaining samples of the R30A left ? But who would pay $ 900. USD for that receiver is beyond me ? See my Palstar R30 review here (non A version tested).

Alinco DX-R8T has been discontinued ! "End of an Era"
The last HF only coverage tabletop "Communications Receiver" is now history.
(Universal Radio Photo)

Also Yaesu has been forced to discontinue the long running FT-450D HF transceiver due to parts availability issues. You can see my full review here (more as a SWL receiver). Works fine as amateur radio transceiver, but as a SWL set...forget it ! One MAJOR bug-a-boo is it's fan that operates full time even in dead cold receive mode (that is totally unacceptable in our view). Another is it somewhat annoying hissy audio and poky MAIN knob tuning steps. However unlike the Alinco DX-R8T there are a few new samples still to be had in the USA as this was being typed. (Updated : Aug 04)


LAST CALL : Yaesu's FT-450D has also been discontinued .
 See our SWL review here (or click on above photo).
(N9EWO photo)


Metal Case Upgrade for the SDRplay RSP1A (or original RSP1)
 is available once again via ebay for a very limited time.
(N9EWO Photo)
Jon Wienke's comments from the RR forum and his "You Tube Video" links. Uniden should be ashamed manufacturing TOTAL garbage like this !!

"One thing I'd like to point out: even though all of the non-repaired joints in the video were defective, they didn't LOOK defective, even under magnification, and they still connected electrically. The radio functioned correctly when I received it. It wasn't until I probed the joints with a fine-tip dental pick that they were shown to be bad. So I can understand why Uniden didn't catch the problem when they had the radio, but I can also understand why some people have having recurring issues involving the radio going to Uniden multiple times. I wasn't able to figure the problem out myself, until I got the microscope so I could see what i was doing, and thought of the dental pick test."

"You Tube" Video's
- Uniden SDS100 Cold Solder Joint Symptoms
- How To Find A Bad Solder Joint on the SDS100 J401 Connector (Cold Solder Joint Problem)
- SDS100 J104 Before Repair
- SDS100 J104 After Repair
             

"Uniden SDS-100 Cold Solder Joint" issue finally revealed by Jon Wienke (see the Radio Reference Forum link here).
Talk about just totally unacceptable BAD engineering / QC from Uniden ! (Universal Radio Photo)
  • JRC NRD-525 Important Serial Number Information (as now provided on the "Tips" page). If you are looking at a used Japan Radio Co. (JRC) NRD-525 Communication Receiver, here is very important serial number data to keep in mind. (sorry....the internal NRD-525 EPROM Firmware is not easily or is possible to be updated). Also added on this page is a GRE Tabletop Receiver list. (Updated : Jul 02)
     
    JRC NRD-525 "Serial Number" History
    - BR36471 (and above) SSB offset selection added.
    - BR36771 (and above) The tuning rate of the main tuning knob and the step increment of the UP and DOWN switches can be changed by hitting the RUN button.  Selects the desperately needed 2 tuning knob speeds between 10 Hz or 100 Hz steps. The UP / DOWN slewing buttons toggle between 20 kHz and 10 kHz. Early samples only have a single VERY POKY and extremely frustrating 10 Hz tuning knob step.
    - BR38301 (and above) The last important firmware update JRC did with the NRD-525.


If you are looking at a used Japan Radio Co. (JRC) NRD-525 Communication Receiver,
 here is very important serial number data to keep in mind (above). (Universal Radio Photo)


Added Review Page : Ameco TPA / MFJ-1020B Tunable Preamp - Active Antennas
  • "Icom IC-R8600" N9EWO Information / Finding Older Firmware Versions on Icom Japan web site : Our "version 12.4" ICOM IC-R8600 "Wide Band" Receiver Review (click here). Includes testing of the SP-39AD Power Supply / External Speaker and added mode information including NXDN stuff (also 1.34 firmware updates). PDF version (link) for our improved spectrum scope adjustments restored (near bottom of it's page). (Updated : Jun 12, 2020)
Icom released new IC-R8600 "1.34 firmware" on April 19, 2019 .
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 (see light blue block below) :
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) !

Finding the IC-R8600 1.32 Firmware on the Icom Support Web Site
 
Doing a IC-R8600 model search on the Icom Japan Support page (then Firmware), 1.32 no longer appears. However if you look at the latest 1.34 firmware page for the IC-R8600 in the upper right hand corner of this page you see “Download Old Version”.
Location has been changed to the older firmware files (and a bit confusing).

https://www.icomjapan.com/support/firmware_driver/1979/
 
Direct "Version 1.32" Firmware Downloads :


IC-R8600 Firmware 1.32 USA Version

IC-R8600 Firmware 1.32 non-USA Version
N9EWO IC-R8600 TESTING with FIRMWARE 1.34 (April 19, 2019)
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 is while zipping through mediumwave and shortwave MEMORY CHANNELS or VFO, we now hear a disconcerting “pop” sometimes when we land on a active strong channel ,(this is quite annoying after awhile to our ears, it may not bother YOU).IMPORTANT : The SYNC  (S-AM) MUST be ON in order for this bug to be detected !

 
 - I detect a slight added Bass kick with broadcast stations that have it (most noticed on the FM Broadcast band) with our classic Realistic Minimus 77 speaker. Yes we do indeed set the “Bass” tone setting up to maximum (+ 15) on AM/FM and SSB modes.
 
 - After extensive testing, HF 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 (but see note above on access to this older version). 

IMPORTANT NOTE : These observations were made using SW Broadcasts, S-AM (U or L) mode and 10 kHz (maximum) bandwidth with the "2 Way" Realistic Minimus 77 test speaker.

N9EWO's 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.
- Improve the "Synchrophase" (Sync) Detector fading distortion performance.
- 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 v1.34 firmware for the IC-R8600 receiver on Apr 19, 2019
We found it to be a mixed bag, see light blue block above. (N9EWO Photo)
  • LOWE HF-250 Review Available / NEW "LOWE HF Receivers" Groups.IO forum : Our Lowe HF-250 HF Receiver Review available here. This took some major work everyone, enjoy. Review was made possible in part with help from reader donations....."THANK YOU". John KC0G has started a NEW "LOWE HF Receiver" Groups.io forum. This supersedes the other "LOWE Receivers" Groups.io forum and the now 2 defunct Yahoo Groups ones (the first one of these I started back in June 2005). John has taken the TWO "Yahoo Groups" archive messages and condensed these into two HTML files. Also has now restored the extensive photo PDF archives. These are all readable once you are subscribed. This indeed took many hours of HARD work to accomplish (thanks John). (Updated : May 21)

The rare "Lowe HF-250 Communications Receiver" (with RC-250 IR remote control),
our full review is now available here. John KC0G has started a NEW "LOWE HF Receiver" Groups.io forum. (N9EWO Photos)
  • Updated AOR AR-7030 Page : Updated the AOR AR7030 page with what to look for in it's old age (new block added at the bottom of the page). Also updated to the larger font size we now normally use with new pages.(Updated : Apr 27)

AOR AR7030 page updated.
  • Updated Links Page : We have added new links and removed dead ones (but if you still see one please let me know). enjoy...(Apr 24)
One of the new links added (video) :
"Blondie In The Dough" Number 21 (October 1947) - Check out 23:53 into this video (from the old 1940’s Blondie movie series). Listen for the “What’s Shortwave daddy” ? (great answer). Dagwood and his pirate radio station (watch the entire 69 minute episode).


"Blondie In The Dough" Number 21 (October 1947)
  • "Sangean ATS-909X" Review Restored : Our Sangean ATS-909X review has been restored and can be seen here. NOTE : Test sample review was done with a earlier production unit (before the P-01 firmware and other hardware changes). So comparisons with a late sample may not be valid. If anyone wishes to DONATE a UNMODIFIED test sample with the P-01 firmware we will fully retest it. Downright poor near unacceptable broadcast audio MW and SW quality in our view. (Apr 23)

"Sangean ATS-909X" Review Restored (N9EWO Photo)

"Radio's That Never Were"
Page devoted to Receivers and Amateur Transceivers that never made it to the marketplace.

  The decent "AFEDRI SDR NET" Software Defined receiver.
Rev. 3.0 tested (located on the bottom of the SDRPlay RSP1A Review Page)
(N9EWO Photo)


 The new (REV 1.0) "LAN-IQ SDR" is a STANDALONE version of the AFEDRI SDR NET. Features a LCD Touch Screen and only available in the full 30 khz to 1700 Mhz version. A mechanical encoder "tuning knob" option is available.The encoder option adds $ 15. USD to the cost and NO product warranty for the 1 normal year which is very strange. See this page for more information. Here is a excellent "Fenu Radio" video worth watching. Price is $ 339. USD plus shipping from Israel. Has no internal speaker or battery. Current requirement is a hefty 850 ma maximum. Click here for a "Fenu Radio" comparasion video between it the generally not available Russian Malahit DSP. We have not tested either one of these.


 J.C. Penney (Penncrest) "model number 1996" from the late 1960's ? (N9EWO Photo Edit)

- AOR AR-DV1 "USB Port Failures" : (Jeff Ashby via Radio Reference Fourms...updated Jul 04, 2020)

Just received another report of a NEW AR-DV1 with the USB fault. This one was bought in England, returned to the Dealer within a few days. It was as usual sent to AOR Japan for repair, and the Customer was made to pay over 100 for the repair!!!!!!!

UPDATED LIST
OF AR-DV1 SERIAL NUMBERS with USB FAULT - 25 June 2020
NOTE - ALL NEW AR-DV1 Receivers
09524287 (bought in England) ( Charged for repair)
09524317 (bought in France)
09524372 (Dealer (England) replaced re faulty 09524373)
09524373 (bought in England
09524391 (bought in Europe)
09524392 (bought in Australia - NOTE consecutive numbers) (Charged for repair)
09524458
09524470 (bought in England)
09524500 (bought in Finland)

I have been told about other DV1's with the fault, but the Serial Numbers were not recorded before being sent back.

It is very likely more of this bad batch have been sold, or are awaiting sale. As you can see this is a World wide matter. From the known Serial Numbers alone there are at least 180 plus DV1's in that batch.

IF you have purchased an AR-DV1 lately you really should test the USB port as soon as possible. Some Ports did not work on receipt, some failed after a couple of weeks or less. Some Dealers are saying it is not a Warranty issue (of course it is), so be aware when you return the Radio.

The best way to test the USB port is to download, install and run control software. There are free trials available.



  The AOR AR-DV1 has not been available in the USA since June-July of 2019.
 Is it discontinued (because of NOW massive 2020 reported USB port failure issues) ?
Our full AOR AR-DV1 review can be seen here. (N9EWO Photo)

Here is very interesting post AOR Japan released on March 4th, 2020 (pasted below) : Too bad as it appears the AR-DV10 will continue to be a non marketable radio product ? AOR just continues to flat out deny ANY of the AR-DV10's issues with excessive drifting and other bugs as reported "en masse" elsewhere from actual owners and personal friends (firmware updates not helping the cause) !

http://www.aorja.com/whatsnew/index.php
 
"2020.03.04 CAUTION REGARDING FAKE NEWS!"

"AOR Ltd. would like to raise your attention regarding an alarming increase of fake news regarding its products, circulating on radio related forums, social media groups such as on Facebook, and on fake AOR websites."

"The most recent fake news claims that a new AR-DV10 "MK2" version would be released this year. That is totally false. As a general rule and for the sake of common sense, we ask our dearest and honest customers never to trust rumours circulating on Internet. The only sources of information to be trusted regarding AOR products are www.aorja.com and the websites of our network of official AOR distributors as listed on http://www.aorja.com/aboutus/dealers.php ."

AOR may call “Dave’s Radio Receiver” page as one of the FAKE websites they make comment to. This is one of the main reasons why I started this web page in 1998 (archive page here) , was with the nasty AOR AR7030 issues (my review and comments here). The failure of the 2 front panel Bourns mechanical encoders in early samples which AOR UK flat out denied was never an issue (but in reality both failed in most of the early samples with only after mild use). They “finally” switched to Alps encoders with those 2 encoders after awhile. At least back in those days AOR UK was very responsive to customers questions and concerns (and fixing issues). From our own experiences of late AOR Ltd. (Japan) no longer replies to customer questions/concern emails much at all (if at all).

It also appears that Yaesu USA is no longer the distributor for the excessively drifty AR-DV10. Message as posted on AOR USA web page. But why anyone would purchase one of these dogs is beyond me ?

"NEWS UPDATE : 06-08-2020 (June 08, 2020) : We are happy to inform you that both variants of the AR-DV10 (blocked and unblocked) are now being distributed through AOR USA Inc. We are also accepting after support for all AR-DV10 that was purchased in the past within the United States."

MESSAGE TO AOR : AOR if you wish to DONATE a AR-DV10 sample for a extended review, I will give it a TOTALLY fair and honest report here. Just as I have done with the AOR AR-DV1 (review here) and with the ICOM IC-R30 (review here). Please contact me at my email address at the top of this webpage (I'm located in the USA) ! Sorry, I no longer write reviews with test samples on a "loaner" basis (I require proper compensation for my time / hard work doing reviews with radios I "normally" care not to actually own / purchase).

NEW WJ-8711A "Condor" SP-1348 Electrolytic Capacitor Chart

Updated Icom IC-7300 Review Now Available.
In our view the flat receive audio for broadcasting listening
 with the Icom IC-7300 creates "Brain Pain" after awhile.
(mind you it's still no where near as bad as the AOR AR-DV1 for broadcast RX audio)
*** SDRplay RSP1A UPDATES *** (as of July 31, 2020) :
- New 1.4 verson of SDRuno (release candidate 4) came out on July 31, 2020 . New (Beta) Version 3.07 of the API/HW is also included in this SDR Uno version 1.4 RC4 (Full 1.4 version out soon). The version 3.07 API/HW will NOT work with earlier versions of SDR UNO. IMPORTANT NOTE : You also CANNOT have 3.06 and 3.07 co-exist on the same PC (not tested).WARNING : As of this text being typed API/HW 3.07 does NOT work with other SDR programs. So HDSDR and SoDiRa etc. will no longer function. As indicated you are not able to have 2 versions of the API/HW driver loaded on a PC (cannot co-exist). We have tested the version 1.4 RC3 and must say it is much improved over the old 1.22 we were using. .
- New Preview 32 of SoDiRa was released on May 08, 2020.  Important Note : As covered above, SoDiRa no longer works with the new 3.07 API/Driver. We have contacted Bernd and says he is working on a fix to work with the new driver.

08.05.2020: Version 0.100.32
- SpyServer manager added
- DRM30 improved
- Limiter, Compander added
- Receiver tuning border and offset added
- Tuning window audio level and mute added
- Bug fixing

  Our "Updated" SDRplay RSP1A review is now available. (manufacture photo)

  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.

- Very resonable price.
- Operates well enough all around with plenty of decent undistorted receive audio.
- Fusion "Yahoo Groups" have reported a number of receive failures (not just one or two), the 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, but works well. (The FT3DR 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 FT3DR 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-3DR 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 FT3DR 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 FT3DR model and have no plans or budget to do so. To see FT-70DR eham reviews click here. (Updated : Mar 03, 2020)


The Yaesu FT-70DR "Fusion" Dual Band Handheld. (Universal Radio Photo)
Attractive price these days but in our view one should consider the FT3DR model instead (see text above).

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