HFU HF Underground

Technical Topics => Equipment => Topic started by: acl12 on January 15, 2012, 0902 UTC

Title: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: acl12 on January 15, 2012, 0902 UTC
Hi. I need to buy a desktop radio for dxing and am about to buy the eton 750. My budget is small so cant afford anything beyond 300 pounds. My two concerns though are is would it take external aerials especially for an and fm Dxing and would it overspill as a result of poor image rejection. My eton g3 dumps mw stations in lw frequencies. Has anybody got any experience with this reciever or has any other recommendations. I would hate to buy the eton 750 and find it had bad image rejection like the g3. I want the radio primarily for Dx. Any advice would be great.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: ChrisSmolinski on January 15, 2012, 1505 UTC
At this price range, have you considered getting a used communications receiver? Icom IC-R75s typically sell for $400 or so on eBay, as an example.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: acl12 on January 15, 2012, 1609 UTC
Do these recievers cover longewave through to the entire shortwave and fm spectrums and can they also be used for regular radio listening ? The icon comes to just under 500 pounds on eBay but found a uniden bearcat 785 xlt base scanner for under 300 on amazon uk. Communications recievers could be the way to go.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: Beerus Maximus on January 16, 2012, 1740 UTC
An Icom R-75 is a very different beast from a scanner such as the Bearcat. An R-75 is only going receive "regular radio" on mediumwave. However it will only receive analog transmissions. It won't receive digital broadcasts. It will also not receive the FM broadcast band. It will receive in FM mode on HF. It will receive longwave.

I hope that answers your questions...
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: acl12 on January 16, 2012, 1912 UTC
Thanks. I didnt know there was an fm mode for hf. Guessing that must be 30 to 35. I will probably buy eton 750 after all, as it suits my needs for broadcast dxing and amateur shortwave.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: mondomusique on January 16, 2012, 2019 UTC
"I would hate to buy the eton 750 and find it had bad image rejection like the g3"

I've never used an Eton/Grundig 750, but I have read reviews that have been less than enthusiastic about that radio.  Have you checked the reviews on eham.net ? 

You can get a lot of radio for 300 pounds on the used market.  I would start reading reviews if I was you.  I echo what others have said here, that the Icom R-75 is an excellent radio for shortwave broadcast dx listening.  There are radios offered for sale on Eham.net classifieds and in the various Yahoo radio user groups.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: acl12 on January 16, 2012, 2045 UTC
Thanks, will checkout eham. The problem is many of these scanners don't cover the frequencies I'm after. Uniden bearcat is vhf and others like the alinco don't cover broadcast fm. I really like the idea of fm and shortwave dxing on one unit. The eton 750 definatly has mixed reviews
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: ChrisSmolinski on January 16, 2012, 2059 UTC
"All band" radios are almost always a compromise. What's your goal for FM listening? DX, or just casual listening? If casual listening, get a cheap FM radio and call it good. Then spend in the other 275 pounds on a decent HF radio. A used communications receiver is an order of magnitude better than any all band portable you're going to buy new. There's simply no comparison.

I echo what mondomusique said, and suggest spending some time looking at reviews, before you buy.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: acl12 on January 17, 2012, 0449 UTC
I live on the east coast of England and so my goal for fm was to Dx European stations during tropo lifts. If Dx can be done on a cheap fm reciever and it'd just q case of buying a an antenna then I will do as you suggest and spend the bulk of my money on an hf communications reciever. My last question then is can I fm Dx during tropos on a cheaper fm  reciever and will an hf communications reciever allow me to get all of medium wave and shortwave. Thanks for the advice.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: ChrisSmolinski on January 17, 2012, 1230 UTC
Back when I was doing a lot of FM DXing, I found that of all things, a used car radio worked best. It had really good sensitivity, and the selectivity wasn't bad either. Plus the analog tuning was handy when you wanted to tune slightly off frequency to get away from a strong station on an adjacent channel. Something to consider, anyway.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: acl12 on January 17, 2012, 1933 UTC
Does the icom r 75 come with everything needed, ie whip antennas and power supply. The cheapest used I can find is about 400 pounds so cannot afford any hidden costs. For example I noticed the alinco came without a power supply and they cost about 100 pounds.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: Lex on January 17, 2012, 2159 UTC
Universal Radio (http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/commrxvr/0175.html) tells you what comes with the Icom R75 they sell new.  They include the power supply.  They do not include an antenna and most tabletop receivers do not accommodate a typical telescoping whip.

However, whenever you buy a used radio there may be items missing, or the seller may include all the original items plus some extras.  So you'll need to read the ad or auction carefully and ask the seller for specific information.  For example, when I bought my Palstar R30C on ebay a few years ago, the seller included the 12 volt wall wart power supply (which I replaced with my own quieter floor muffin) and the excellent Palstar SP30 cube speaker.

If your budget is really tight right now, I'd recommend getting the most receiver you can for your money and don't worry about the antenna.  This is probably the opposite from most advice, which usually recommends the best antenna you can get, which may improve reception with an ordinary portable.  However, I tried that for awhile and found that most external antennas only overloaded my portables and tended to pick up powerful MW AM signals throughout the shortwave band.  That's when I decided to upgrade from my Sony ICF-2010 portable, which is otherwise an excellent radio.

For example, the Icom R75 - like the Palstar R30-series - includes a high impedance or "Hi-Z" antenna input.  All you need to use that antenna input is a bit of random wire, which you probably already have around your home.

That's all I used back in 2007 and 2008 with my Palstar.  Just some magnet wire strung along the ceiling during the week, and on weekends I'd toss some wire up a nearby tree, maybe 30 feet long total.  I can't leave outdoor antennas up permanently here because the maintenance crew will tear 'em down as soon as they see the wire.  That's why I use magnet wire - it's thin, nearly invisible, and so cheap I don't care if they tear it down and throw it away.

Basically, the Hi-Z input with some random wire behaves just like a portable radio with a telescoping whip.  It's as good, or as bad, as your local noise level.  To give you an idea of what to expect from a receiver like the R75 or R30 with random wire strung along the ceiling, use your portable indoors.  The tabletop with around 10 feet or so of random wire indoors will be slightly better than the portable.

Now take the portable outdoors and try to get at least 10 yards away from any building or power line.  That's about what you'll get with a tabletop and some random wire *outside*, although the tabletop may sound a little better because it offers better selectivity, rejection of spurious signals, and filters which can help minimize interference from adjacent stations.

Later, you can add a better antenna.  A couple of years ago I put together my own passive loop for indoor use, which is much quieter than a random wire antenna, at least below 10 MHz.  There are plenty of designs online for making your own loop inexpensively.  But if you're lucky and you live in an area without too much RFI, you might do just fine with the random wire antenna.

Does the icom r 75 come with everything needed, ie whip antennas and power supply. The cheapest used I can find is about 400 pounds so cannot afford any hidden costs. For example I noticed the alinco came without a power supply and they cost about 100 pounds.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: acl12 on January 18, 2012, 1530 UTC
Thanks for all the advice. Have found a used icom r 72 for 350 pounds which I plan to order this wkend. I couldn't find an r 25 so am hoping this will be as highly recommended
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: acl12 on January 18, 2012, 1534 UTC
Meant couldn't find a used r 75 not 25 .
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: Lex on January 18, 2012, 1735 UTC
Check the eham reviews (http://www.eham.net/reviews/products/8) for the Icom R72 before deciding on it or any other receiver.  My 1993 copy of Passport to World Band Radio gave the R72 3-1/2 stars, good but Passport didn't seem to like it as well as some other tabletops.  Eham reviews of the R72 are generally more favorable.

Not that expert and user reviews are always the final word.  My first tabletop - actually a portatop - receiver was the luggable Uniden Bearcat DX-1000, which generally gathered scornful reviews.  In actual practice for more than 10 years it was not bad at all.  It compared favorably with my Sony ICF-2010 and Philips/Magnavox D2935 portables, and was able to handle an outdoor random wire antenna without overloading.  It featured better filters and various features that generally made it handier than the portables, including a tuning dial with a very good feel for bandscanning (much better than the VFO on my Palstar).  The DX-1000 also offered FM mode for shortwave, which was occasionally useful.  I may have heard a North American pirate once in FM mode, but mostly used that option for the local MW AM radio relays, which operated in FM mode above 28 MHz (whoops, make that above 25 MHz - WBAP's local transmitter link is 25.910 MHz in FM).  I used it to snag one of my more interesting QSLs, a low power test by Radio Sweden in the late 1990s or early 2000s, before they switched to Sackville relays via Canada.

If you're in the UK, check around for deals on the discontinued Lowe receivers.  If I'm recalling correctly the HF-150 and HF-225 were very well regarded throughout the 1990s, and still earn good reviews among longtime owners and used radio buyers.  I'm still tempted by the HF-150, for it's unusually flexible AM sync detector compared with other receivers offering sync detection.

Also, the recently available Lowe R-350 is actually the US-made Palstar R30.  It's a very good receiver but pretty much a bare bones rig without the nifty features of the typical Icom, Kenwood or other tabletop.  If you don't mind giving up those features - including the computer control option - a good used Palstar R30 or Lowe equivalent may be a good buy.  However here in the US the Palstar's have held their value very well on the used market and aren't often available inexpensively.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: uhclem on January 18, 2012, 1755 UTC
I'll second all the recommendations for the RC75, for LW to 6m it's an excellent performer. For FM broadcast DX you might want to look at the GE SuperRadio III. We have a local FM station here with a 100 KW transmitter about 15 line-of-sight miles away from me, they also have a 10 W translator about 5 line-of-sight miles away, separated by 200 khz. My SuperRadio is the only receiver I have that is sensitive enough to give crystal clear audio from both xmitters using a stock omni antenna. The GE isn't fancy but it works and looks like it can be had for < $50.00 USD off ebay.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: acl12 on January 18, 2012, 1840 UTC
Will check out ge super for fm Dx. The lowe 150 had some negative reviews so was unsure whether to buy it. Had anybody tried yaesu 7700 ? Seems to have very good reviews.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: Jolly Roger on January 19, 2012, 1528 UTC
One SW rig to look for is the Kenwood R1000. I had one and loved it. Stupidly sold it. They are highly regarded and in fact have a near cult following. There are a few mods to improve it a bit more. I currently run a JRC NRD 525. Also a fantastic rig but a little more pricey then the Kenwood.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: ChrisSmolinski on January 19, 2012, 1604 UTC
I had an R-1000 as well, after my Radio Shack DX-300 and before my Icom R-71A. I remember it as a fairly good radio. Certainly better than the DX-300 (and not too much more money IIRC) but not nearly as good as the R71-A (which was a lot more money). I think EEB gave me $200 on the trade in towards the R-71A.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: Token on January 19, 2012, 2027 UTC
Will check out ge super for fm Dx. The lowe 150 had some negative reviews so was unsure whether to buy it. Had anybody tried yaesu 7700 ? Seems to have very good reviews.

I assume by "yaesu 7700" you mean the Yaesu FRG-7700 shortwave receiver?

This radio gets fairly good reviews, and I really like mine (have owned it since new in about 1981).  As a receiver it is really very good, low noise, good sensitivity, etc.  But keep in mind this is a fairly old receiver, and it does not have some of the features people take for granted today on modern radios.  The frequency readout is only to the closest kHz, most today are at least to the 100 Hz mark if not 10 Hz or even 1 Hz.  The radio is a VFO based unit with a frequency counter that reads the VFO, this means it is not synthesized and it does drift just the littlest amount.  The factory supplied filter selection is rather limited.

Now the above kind of sounds like I am tearing down the FRG-7700, but that is not correct.  It is, however, important to compare apples to apples, and not apples to oranges.  If you compare the FRG-7700 to a more modern desktop like the R-75 or a premium receiver like the NRD-525 the FRG-7700 comes up a little short.  But then so will any of the FRG-7700s competitors of the day, like the Kenwood R1000 or R2000, compare them to premium receivers of the same time period or with more modern receivers in the same category and you might find the old entry level stuff a little wanting.

If you can find an FRG-7700 (or its follow on, the FRG-8800) at a good price I would say yep, that might be a good entry rig.  But if the price is approaching a used Icom R-75 you would probably be better off going for the R-75.

T!
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: KB4YHO on January 19, 2012, 2128 UTC
Hard to beat the Satellit 800(Chicom box).....  I see them in the sub $300 on E**y. Other than the lack of a NB these big hollow boxes sniff out the signals. 
My take on all-mode portables I've owned: Grundig 750...NO, Satellit 650,700.....money but excellent, Sony 2010...everybody had one....Sangean 909/X...still needs work, BC DX-1000...has nice features poor rcv'r, Eton E1...Sticky but good, no AM internal aerial...audio could be better, Kenwood 1000/2000...stick with the 1000 if you can find one that works, Yaesu FRG 7700/8800...work decent... not a portable

The E1 and the 800 are of RL DRAKE's influence and still can be serviced by them dudes.

Ham for 30+ years so I've seen a few receivers.  When I purchased my first Satellit 800 I thought that my 650 would smoke it.  I was wrong only place where the 650 shines is MW and FM, but that big hollow chinese made Drake was so close it wasn't funny.  Read all the bad press on the 800 and there is alot, this all helped in driving the price down to around where used 2010 could be purchased.
I have 3 800's now and they all work identical and the serial numbers are far apart.
In conclusion don't over look this diamond in the mud.  If your really in need of one let me know and maybe I'll part with one.

KB4YHO
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: acl12 on January 20, 2012, 0502 UTC
Thanks for the review token. I'm still deciding so all advice helps. KB4YHO, thanks for your reply, in England the only communications recievers available used are the icom r 72, which I may well end up buying but just wanted to know what was so bad about eton 750 in your opinion. I can buy it for 250 pounds, would it not be a good entry communications reciever. I also came across a lowe hf 150 cheaply but in reviews people claimed it had poor image rejection and could not be used effectively on ssb. One person on eham said it was half a reciever, good for sw broadcast but not for hams.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: KB4YHO on January 20, 2012, 1544 UTC
Grundig 750 has/had general quality control issues.  I went through 3 of them until I had one that worked. OK for a beginner but at 250 pound...wow!!   Buy a Grundig 800 from the Yanks and have it shipped to the UK.  Seems to me you'd be pounds ahead.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: Andrew Yoder on February 01, 2012, 2002 UTC
I agree with Chris about car stereos. If you can find spec sheets on old analog models, you can search around and find one with really good sensitivity and image rejection. And they're cheap.

I hate to open up more possibilities, but I bought my Drake R8 for $400. Really good receiver. Also, in the US, amateur radio transceivers are often less expensive than the matching receiver model. For example (the same one I've been using for a few years, my apologies), the Kenwood R-5000 is often around $500 used, but the Kenwood TS-440 (essentially the same radio, but much heavier and with the ability to transmit 100 watts) is often $350-400.

Also, like Lex, I really like my Sony ICF-2010 (ICF-2001D in Europe). It's a step or two below the R8 & R5000, but I do like it. It also has FM & Aero band.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: ff on February 02, 2012, 0113 UTC
I concur with everything Token said about the Yaesu "FRoG"-7700.  I had one for over 10 years and only replaced it when the Drake R8 came out in the mid 90s.  It was such a decent performer for the amount invested that I never saw the need to replace it.  I heard one hell of a lot of weak signal pirates on it and bagged a lot of tropical band DX on it too.  The only thing I can add is that the front end did overload at times so the RF gain control was actually used, instead of being "full on and forgotten".  I gave my 7700 to a good friend who is still using it today.  Maybe we'll get together to celebrate its 30th birthday later this year.  It's early 80s technology, but if you can find one for the right price, well, you could do a whole lot worse...
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: Ranzabar on May 10, 2012, 0208 UTC
I'd keep checking at Martin Lynch to see what they get in used. If you are not in the money, and frankly, who is, you can try the Alinco DX-SR8 and see if you like it. I think the ARRL labs didn't find it to be so fantastic, with image rejection being on the not so great side, but for L300 (or about 450 on this side of the pond) it's probably pretty acceptable. The Icon R75 is quite a bit more expensive.
Title: Re: all round desktop dx radio
Post by: Lex on May 11, 2012, 0152 UTC
Besides conventional tabletops, my next choice would be the computer controlled Ten-Tec R320 or RX 320D.  While not an SDR it's a good value and looks like it'll run on any low end PC or laptop.  I tried one via a web tuner last year and it was excellent, far better than any Icom PCR-1000 or PCR-1500.  Excellent filters, AGC and none of the problems with intermod and images that plague the Icom PCR-1000/1500.