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Author Topic: Project 7000  (Read 1296 times)

Offline Josh

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Project 7000
« on: June 20, 2019, 2332 UTC »

I've been wanting one of these bad boys for ages.
 25 to 2000mHz in all modes, decent scanning, was a workhorse for int agencies and military all over the world for some time, nothing did what this thing could for the dollar when it was in production. Some still consider it better than a lot of the current stand alone v/uhf rx available today. The NSA bought these and its brother the R71 by the pallet, as did a lot of the rest of the three letter gangs. If you have each of these, you have NSA twins. One of the east coast radio vendors who sold those same pallets of R71/R7000 to our fed overlords even offered a upconverter mod option to enable the R7000 to cover vlf to 2GHz. I read somewhere the dynamic range wasn't very good on hf with these mods.

https://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/scanners/r7000.html

I've been keeping an eye on one a friend has had for decades, and after decades of use it has the dread iCom display failure as noted by so many R71 owners where the bypass caps in the display circuit dry out and the display goes along with it. This is a non trivial repair so I wasn't looking forward to doing it on my friends rig after purchase. He wants a bit more for it than I want to spend right now but I'm certain I'll end up with it eventually as it's still a good deal.


So the other day I saw an ad at qth for an Icom IC-R7000. It showed illuminated display such as vfo and mode in the included pic, but no rx was listed as the issue. It looked like new in the pic. Seller wanted $75 for it, shipping to be discussed.

I don't really have the money to spare, and considering how long I've been eyeing my friends R7000 that I know for certain works but needs display caps replaced this was a risky deal in numerous ways compared to my friends, but I emailed him to ask what the symptoms were and for shipping to my locale.

He replied that he had checked the internal battery and it was good, and that "it worked a week or two ago and now no rx". He had spent something around $32 to ship a similar item close to me recently and he offered it to me for $100 shipped to my door.

Impulse took over and I sent the money. He also said I was 1st of 3 HAMs who were on the waiting list if a deal failed. I figure looking as good as it did, I might be able to flip it for a tidy sum if repair was out of my league and/or pocketbook.

So some days go by and he informs me he sent it double boxed via USPS, who said it'd be here this Friday, it was here by 0857 local time this am (Thurs) as he paid for 3 day delivery.

Had some car repair work to distract me from the all important radio unboxing/postmortem and finally got around to opening the boxes.

Indeed it looks like new, no cig or smoke smell, all controls operated smoothly, no dings or scratches. Got an ac cord, plugged the ac cord into the wall and into the radio and held my breath as I pressed the power switch.

Everything lighted up as expected, modes changed, could hear the mixer relay switch for 1gHz operation, vfo worked fine, and noted the smeter level changed slightly as I went from mode to mode. Display is bright like when an iCom has good display caps, and dimmer switch works. Squelch worked too per rx signal indicator light.

I don't recall if the remote control internal option is required for that indicator to light, but it does when the remote switch is pressed. Turned squelch full counterclockwise and audio full clockwise, not a peep from the internal speaker. Then I turned the audio way down for the next test as everything so far indicated control panel if not rf life of at least a minimal sort.

Plugged in a set of phones fully preparing myself for there to be nothing, turned up the volume, and the glorious rush of an audio amp ensued! Elation and despair as I got a very nice R7000 by way of theft as it were; for whatever reason, the internal speaker isn't functioning at all and that seems to be its only malfunction noted so far.

So, have to open the case and see why the internal speaker isn't firing, I never use internal speakers save for testing but they're very important as that piece of test gear.

Anyway, Project 7000 entails a cheap RTL sdr to do the panadaptor display when desired, and the R7000 to fulfill spectrum surveillance duties, especially of the mil air variety.

There are a number of worthy mods to do to a R7000, some of them from the SETI guys and others who use these things as radio telescopes. Wonder if it will hear the hydrogen line on a discone.

http://www.setileague.org/hardware/receiver.htm
http://www.thornett.net/Rosliston_Archive_2009-11/Modifying_ICOM_R7000_for_use_in_radio_astronomy_incl_AGC_Off_-excellent_article-_accessed_180811.pdf

Also, anything this old will need a full alignment to come close to or exceed the rx specs as stated in the manual so there's that to do also.

I know this thing's an antique and sdr rigs are so much more capable. I have a RSP2 that covers more spectrum than the R7000 does and offers wider spectrum display than that capable of an R7000 IF output, but that sdr mandates the use of a pc, and there's no gratifying tuning knob.

Knobs are nice to have.





more later


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Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Project 7000
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2019, 1157 UTC »
Enjoy your R-7000. I have one that I picked up used years ago... no idea how long ago, 20+years?
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
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Offline Josh

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Re: Project 7000
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2019, 1704 UTC »
Thank you sir, and you as well! The scanner used right now for mil air and everything else v/uhf does a good enough job but it doesn't offer ssb capability and is likely not as sensitive. So while the scanner can alert to the presence of stronger sigs it can't be used to examine them in more detail, where the R7000 will help.
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Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Project 7000
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2019, 1814 UTC »
I find my R-7000 may be a hair more sensitive than the SDRs, but just barely. And that may be purely imaginary. But it is a solid performer. Mine came with the remote option but I am not sure I have ever used it, except perhaps once when I first got it  ;D

The service manual is worth having, as you may want to make sure it is aligned. I have not run into the display issue on mine.  My R71A does slightly suffer from it, with increased noise levels depending on the dimmer switch setting. Maybe I will change the caps one day Maybe not.

One bit of good news, the R-7000 does NOT suffer from the infamous Icom trimmer cap fiasco as with the R71A, 735, etc.
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
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netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 900 ft horizontal loop / 500 ft northeast beverage / 58 ft T2FD / 120 ft T2FD/ 300 ft south beverage / 43m / 20m / 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop / Discone in a tree

Offline Josh

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Re: Project 7000
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2019, 2334 UTC »
Excellent news on the lack of MuRata plastic trimmer caps that self corrode, I wondered about that but none of the repair faqs on the 7000 mention them.
It also doesn't have the "dead battery = deleted operating system" syndrome like the 71 and other Icoms of the era.

Was looking it over to pop the covers and see what options are present if any, and to look into speaker issue, this thing looks like it just came out of the box for the first time.
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Offline WA4FHY

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Re: Project 7000
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2019, 1905 UTC »
Ah, yes, a fine piece of equipment. Mine is sitting on my desk, across from my good ol' R-70
FYI, Josh, Chris, and probably others: Here's links to manuals for the R-7000:

Owners manual: https://www.icom.co.jp/world/support/download/manual/disp_down.php?SWT=&ID=20010101083&GNR=Receiver&TYPE=Base%20Station&PDNM=IC-R7000&INQWORDSWT=No&INQWORD=

Service manual: http://www.radiomanual.info/schemi/ICOM_RX/IC-R7000_serv.pdf

Enjoy!
SDR-IQ / IC-R70 / IC-735 / FT-817ND, 5 band vertical & 4 position antenna switch
Near Music City, TN

Offline Josh

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Re: Project 7000
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2019, 1800 UTC »
Thank you sir!

Here's a vid on some fairly common issues (caps as always) the r7000 seem to suffer;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuBCpY0H_OQ
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