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Author Topic: Receiver Question  (Read 13091 times)

Offline jazzjester

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Receiver Question
« on: August 26, 2013, 0327 UTC »
Hello to the group. I have been in the radio broadcast business on a part time basis for 30 years and a radio lover all my life. Long enough to know that commercial (and largely community radio as well) has gone steadily downhill especially since deregulation. There may be a few exceptions and it is those exceptions that radio nuts like myself are willing to go to great lengths to hear. 

Recently I picked up a Sony ICF 2010 which immediately rekindled my desire to get into other options of hearing cool stuff on the airwaves. A desire that was short lived a number of years back after purchasing a DX 392 and having no luck with it. After stumbling on this sight and playing with the Sony at the shack I own at the 6000' level of Sequoia National Forest I am now in the throes of this great obsession and addiction. After purchasing the ICF 2010

I immediately put up a random wire of around 120'. It was a crude start and I love the radio but now see it's shortcomings, particularly the front end overload and the idea of the static discharge screwing up the unit scares me. After researching the many mods (and realizing I ain't no tech) I have come to the conclusion that I am maybe better served to buy a good desktop receiver than to ship this off to mod heaven and wallet hell. I have available to me either a Kenwood R1000 for 200 clams or a Icom R75 for 400.00 both in excellent working order. Which one is the better buy and which will serve my purpose of AM Dxing the broadcast band and tuning in the great Pirate stuff I see is going on from 6920 to about 6950??? I will also be listening to the ham cats and anything else I can find. Will it behoove me to spring for a MFJ 956 tuner or would I need one with these units? I will mainly be using a random wire but buying a pre-made sloper or something may be in the cards as well. Repeat; I am no tech.... but I do have a few acres to play on. Sorry for the long-winded introduction and thanks!!

Offline skeezix

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Re: Receiver Question
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2013, 0347 UTC »
Hi jazzjester-

I've owned a ICF-2010 since March 1988. I blew the front-end FETs around 1989. Sent it to Sony, they fixed it, and threw in some extra replacements (which I've lost since then). I can't remember if they added the protection diodes. Since getting it back, have never blown the FETs as I only use the whip or an antenna connected to the whip. The thing works just as well today as the day I got it. I will never, ever give it up.

In later models of the unit, they put some protection diodes in there to the ext antenna jack, but don't know when nor how to identify a unit with them in it. Be paranoid and hook an antenna to the whip and you'll be fine (as the whip does have the protection diodes).

As far as overload... that surprised me. I'm currently in a major metropolitan area with an 5kW AM pest about 5-10 miles away. The 2010 handles that one gracefully.  I've never put 120' wire on the radio. At most, I'll put a 25' wire onto the whip. While the extra 25' wire brings up the signal, it also brings up the noise. Its a wash on whether its worth it.

Got a pile of other radios, but as far as portables go, it remains my favorite. And nearly 25 1/2 years later, its still going strong. Tonight, recorded Undercover Radio on 6925 kHz USB with a relay of a show from KIPM on the 2010. The only way I'll be separated from my 2010 is by death, and I'm looking for a way to take it with me.

I'd say keep that one and get a second desktop radio. The 2010 is still a portable with its inherent limitations, but still top notch.

Out of curiosity, how big is your lot? Got 500'+ in any direction? If so, take a look at a Beverage on the ground (BOG) antenna. My lot isn't big enough, but a friend has a 3 acre lot and he's got nearly 500' north to south, so some day we're going to lay out an antenna and see how things work. A while back, put out a 2200' BOG on a country road. LOTS of signals on AM (with my 2010) and took forever to roll that wire back up.

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Offline jazzjester

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Re: Receiver Question
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2013, 0428 UTC »
Hi jazzjester-

In later models of the unit, they put some protection diodes in there to the ext antenna jack, but don't know when nor how to identify a unit with them in it. Be paranoid and hook an antenna to the whip and you'll be fine (as the whip does have the protection diodes).

The only way I'll be separated from my 2010 is by death, and I'm looking for a way to take it with me.

Got 500'+ in any direction? If so, take a look at a Beverage on the ground (BOG) antenna. A while back, put out a 2200' BOG on a country road. LOTS of signals on AM (with my 2010) and took forever to roll that wire back up.


Hey Skeezix,

Great stuff man. Thanks! No intention of losing the Sony it's definitely a keeper. My unit is mid 80s judging by the serial number. The Kenwood or ICOM would be second receivers. I do have enough space to do a BOG NE to SW and probably N to S. However I have a power line and breaker box that comes into the cabin to contend with either way. I'll also be going around a number of trees so a perfectly straight line may be tough. We are in the forest to be sure. Lotta granite where I'm at as well. I'll make this my next experiment but with 500'. About 1/3 mile up the road we have mucho communication towers to contend with, probably 20 towers and 80 dishes minimum. Perfect physical spot to DX but way too much RF to pick up anything (yeah I tried...) CHP, Sheriff, Cal Fire etc. Currently none used for AM, FM or TV broadcast. Fortunately they are far enough away they don't effect me at the shack but gives you an idea of how highly coveted the mountain we are on is for communication. Should be great for dx and broadcast.....

Offline jazzjester

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Re: Receiver Question
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2013, 1824 UTC »
Question remains what to buy; Kenwood R1000 for 200 clams or a Icom R75 for 400.00 both in excellent working order. I know which is the better unit but is it too much for casual DX?

Offline BDM

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Re: Receiver Question
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2013, 2006 UTC »
Going by specs, the R75 is better in the wide and narrow dynamic blocking range. And of course a little more feature rich. I've never had an R75 but have owned a few R-1000 years ago and loved them at the time. I had a chance to play with an R75 a few years back for a month (borrowed) and really liked it also. Personally if you can swing it, I'd go the R75 route. Easier for PC control, better receiver with more features. I'm guessing parts are easier to get also. I think in the long run you'd be better served by the R75. Just MHO.
Radios -- Perseus SDR // SDRPlay RSPdx // Icom IC-7300 // Tecsun PL-660 // Panasonic RF-5000A --Antennas-- Pixel Pro 1B loop - 82' fan-dipole at 40' - tuned MW/BCB 40" loop and 100' receive only dipole
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Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Receiver Question
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2013, 2024 UTC »
I had an R1000 many years ago (when it was new), and an R71A (but not the R75). In fact the R71A replaced the R1000. No contest, the R71A was superior. I suspect an R75 would also be superior. IIRC, the R75 has "only" 3 IF stages vs the 4 in the R71A (I doubt matters that much) but also has the DSP module (which IIRC there are some mods to make it work better).

No contest, even at the higher price I'd choose the R75 over the R1000.
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Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Receiver Question
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2013, 2337 UTC »
I'm a Drake man, but I've heard nothing but good things about the R-75 since it hit the market about a decade ago. At 400 bucks that's a no-brainer, IMHO.

Offline Jolly Roger

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Re: Receiver Question
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2013, 0029 UTC »
I had a R1000 years ago, loved it. It's a very highly regarded receiver. I'd reccommend it.
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Offline jazzjester

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Re: Receiver Question
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2013, 0402 UTC »
Appreciate the input. Thanks to all. Leaning in the direction of the R-75. Got the bug bad. May just see if this Hammer will cut me a deal on both.... Skeezix I tried 25' of speaker wire and clipped onto the Sony ICF 2010 with an alligator clip. To my great joy I was able to listen to Red Mercury Labs tonight. Amazed the heck out of me given my weeknight post is on the San Joaquin Valley floor right at sea level! Sure wish I was in the hills tonight.... and the sound was better on the Sony. Thanks again. I'll keep reading the great posts. Could be a tuner is next.... then on to antenna fun!

jazzjester

Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Receiver Question
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2013, 0512 UTC »
Stay out of the hills until those fires die down.

Offline moof

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Re: Receiver Question
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2013, 0401 UTC »
R75 no doubt. But like pigmeat says, if you can get a drake r8 for $400, well I had one and listened to pirates in the early 90s with a 20 foot chunk of wire hung around the ceiling of a first floor apartment. That's the only piece of equipment I sold I wish I had back.

Offline BoomboxDX

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Re: Receiver Question
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2013, 0955 UTC »
You could also go down to your local Fry's, get a couple diodes, wire them back to back on a couple pieces of wire, and just clip them between your antenna and a ground.  Then you can still use your Sony too.

No opening up of the radio necessary.....

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Offline jazzjester

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Re: Receiver Question
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2013, 1137 UTC »
Appreciate all the input. I'm afraid I'm a hopeless case. The guy selling  the equipment is obviously a Ham operator and has been doing it for many moons. The Sony ICF I bought from him was in near mint shape so I know the quality of the stuff he has. I called him last night after seeing he had an MFJ Deluxe Versa Tuner II, Model MFJ-969 for sale as well and to pick his brain. So...uhhhh I'm buying the ICOM R75, The Kenwood R 1000 and the MFJ Deluxe Versa Tuner II, Model MFJ-969 for 550.00. Picking them up today. I'm sunk. The better half's gonna freak. 

Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Receiver Question
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2013, 1308 UTC »
Sounds good. Just because a radio is older, like the Kenwood, it doesn't mean it's a bad receiver. My favorite receiver for general listening is a Drake R-4B that is probably close to 50 years old.

My advice on wife handling, hide 'em in your garage/spare closet and bring them in piece by piece over a month or so. Women aren't the only ones who can play the "This old thing? Why I've had it for years." game.

Offline jazzjester

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Re: Receiver Question
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2013, 0107 UTC »
Sounds good. Just because a radio is older, like the Kenwood, it doesn't mean it's a bad receiver. My favorite receiver for general listening is a Drake R-4B that is probably close to 50 years old.

My advice on wife handling, hide 'em in your garage/spare closet and bring them in piece by piece over a month or so. Women aren't the only ones who can play the "This old thing? Why I've had it for years." game.

With what I've read about the Kenwood it will be a great backup at the very least. Picked it all up today and can't wait to get it to the mountaintop. After perusing the manual over a cigar this afternoon it looks like there will be some hours spent getting past the learning curve on the Icom. In regards to the other half  if you have some advise on how to sneak a couple of Wellbrook ALA's by her.......