Category Archives: New Products

Elad FDM-DUO: now available in camouflage!

The Elad FDM-DUO (Photo: Dennis Walter)

Many thanks to Dennis Walter who shares the photo above from the 2017 Ham Radio Friedrichshafen convention.

I’ve always thought the FDM-DUO was a cool transceiver, but I must admit it looks even better in camouflage.

I did warn our buddy Clint (Oxford Shortwave) that he should stick with his stock black FDM-DUO. You see, he takes his FDM-DUO to the field…literally. Can you imagine how he’d feel losing his top-notch camouflaged DX rig in the rough? 🙂

Follow Dave Zantow for Icom IC-R8600 updates and evaluation

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who writes

Have a few IC-R8600 “first observations” posted on the test sample we now have here.

It looks much better in person than in the photos (very nice).

It is also a bit smaller than the IC-7300.

http://webpages.charter.net/n9ewo2/news.html

Thanks, Dave!

I’ll follow Dave’s updates for sure as he’s a thorough and top-notch reviewer.

To give you an idea of what Dave’s evaluated so far, check out some of his initial impressions:

A few “first” IC-R8600 observations (latest 1.10 firmware) :

  • General size is slightly smaller than the IC-7300 SDR HF Transceiver.
  • With the IC-R8600 having a near 2 AMP current draw, does make for very warm operation after a few hours on (that is over double current requirement of what the IC-7300 uses in receive.) It does NOT make use of any cooling fans…whew good news here ! The receiver requires an external power supply, and I REQUIRE my regulated linear power supplies NOT to run HOT with any continuous operation (I would never use a noisy switching supply with it , but that’s my choice). I say the minimum size to use is the Astron RS-12A. While this may seem overkill, we tried a smaller RS-7A and after being on for 2 hours it’s lone pass transistor was too hot to touch which is totally unacceptable to N9EWO’s standards. The RS-12A has 2 pass transistors and a larger heatsink (and thankfully still no fan to create room noise). We have NOT tested a RS-12A with the IC-R8600 to verify this, but should be the one to try (I say don’t go with a lower current model) ???
  • S-AM modes (AM Synchronous Detector) sadly works the same as in the IC-R9500. In other words, it does NOT help with AM mode fading distortion (adjacent interference help only). So another Icom receiver with very poor “Sync” performance. We can HOPE for improvement on this with later firmware update, but I would not hold my breath ?? Yeah, one can use manual ECSS (zero beat in SSB modes) which does excellent, but SSB modes have limited top bandwidth of 3.6 KHz as all Icom’s do.
  • It’s top mounted Internal speaker is surprisingly good for it’s size. Tone control has much larger “Bass” range over the IC-7300 (excellent). Super clean audio as with the IC-7300. Connected to a classic Realistic “Minimius 77” 2 way speaker sounds stunning.
  • Tuning knob is of a “clicky” type (detents) out of the box. Good news , there is to way select a “smooth” feeling knob by moving the 3 position slider adjustment on the bottom of the knob (it’s not so easy to do however). So it goes from left to right : smooth loose – smooth tight – clicky. It has some rotational play in the “clicky” mode (but so does the IC-R9500’s knob in “clicky ” mode), but overall it feels good and this knob scheme was well done.
  • FMBC reception has a strange ACG pumping trait. Of course on the FMW mode the AGC and decay rate are not adjustable.
  • Uses no (or fewer) relays with it’s front end filters at least on SW. The “click and clack” when tuning around with the IC-7300 in the SWBC bands does not exist with the IC-R8600 (uses didoes ??). When we can locate a schematic will tell the whole story here (NOTE : No schematics are included with the set).

I’m really curious to see how the IC-R8600 stacks up to the IC-7300 on the HF bands. Looking forward to your updates, Dave!

Check Dave’s radio page regularly for updates.

Icom IC-R8600 pricing and availability

The new Icom IC-8600 at the 2017 Hamvention

At the 2017 Hamvention, I spent a little time checking out Icom’s latest wideband communications receiver: the IC-R8600. Check out the photos above and below.

The IC-8600 Back Panel

I spoke with Icom North America at Hamvention–the representative told me the MSRP of the IC-R8600 would be about $2,999 US, but that retail pricing would be lower.

Universal Radio now has the IC-R8600 in stock with a retail price of $2599 US. HRO has the IC-R8600 in stock as well and selling for the same price.

No doubt, at this price point, the ‘8600 is not ideally placed to compete with other receivers and SDRs. I do, however, believe this product will do well with government sales. No doubt, it should deliver benchmark performance (at least one would expect benchmark). Icom has offered to send me an IC-R8600 on loan for a review–it is tempting to see how it might stack up against some of my SDR arsenal.

I’m very curious Post readers: assuming benchmark performance, how many of you would purchase the IC-R8600 at $2,599 US? Please comment!

The Digitech AR-1780: a new SSB shortwave portable

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Cap Tux, who writes:

This radio seems to have recently been released in Oz, no idea of its performance on SSB et al. but seems to do everything the C.Crane Skywave does. Heavy on batteries though at 4 x AA and nearly twice as heavy with similar dimensions to the Skywave, not major if it performs well and has good battery life.

Apparently the AR-1780 uses the SiLabs DSP chipset going by comments on Radio Reference. Also has RDS, Temp, the keypad layout looks similar to a Eton G3.

Taken from Jaycar’s website site:

This is a very compact world band radio, covering the most popular frequencies. It features rapid digital tuning, 1000 memory presets, and an easy to read display. Single Sideband Modulation (SSB) is used to listen in on 27MHz CB radio, short wave amateur radio and morse code. The large internal speaker provides clear audio, and you can connect your favourite set of headphones for personal listening. Powerful enough to receive what you want, and compact enough to take wherever you want.

Features:
– FM/MW/SW/LW/AIR Bands
– Single Side Band (SSB)
– Telescopic Antenna
– 3.5mm socket for external antenna
– Selectable Bandwidth: 1 – 6kHz

Specifications:
Radio Bands:
FM 87.5 – 108MHz
MW 522 – 1620kHz / 520 – 1710 kHz
SW 1711 – 29,999kHz
LW 150 – 450kHz
AIR 118 – 137kHz
Batteries: 4 x AA (not included)
Weight: 253g (Excluding Batteries)
Dimensions: 150(W) x 95(H) x 30(D)mm

Many thanks for the tip, Cap!

This looks like a full-featured portable. As mentioned, it certainly resembles the Grundig G3 in many respects.

If the AR-1780 performs well, it’ll be a very welcome addition to the Australia and New Zealand markets.

Please contact me if you’ve purchased the AR-1780 and would like to write a guest post/review. I’m very curious how well this portable stacks up against other portables especially in terms of overall sensitivity/selectivity and noise floor.

A new Heathkit: The Precision RF Meter – HM-1002

Heathkit recently sent the following link to their “Insiders” email list:

Dear Heathkit Insider

We have opened advance orders for our newest product, the HM-1002 Heathkit® Precision RF Meter™, for our most loyal customers and fans. This is the first amateur radio accessory and the first test equipment kit Heathkit has produced in over 30 years.

We believe the Heathkit® Precision RF Meter™ is a landmark achievement in RF meters, in both technical features and price/performance. It is most suitable for amateur radio operators and for customers who use RF test equipment.

Its patent-pending design offers features not available in other power/SWR meters: Transmit frequency display, ERP display, efficiency measurement, many forms of peak power monitoring, smart alerting, both SWR and Return Loss, user-selected units (e.g. watts or dBm), autoranging for both power and frequency, QRP and QRO, superior ergonomics, and more. It’s about five times more accurate than our previous power/SWR meters, at an affordable price and exceptional quality. And it’s a Heathkit.®

This early make-to-order offering gives our most loyal customers a first-in-line position when this kit ships, probably at about the end of the summer. To thank you for your loyalty and trust, Heathkit will waive and pay standard-rate shipping on initial pre-sales orders to anywhere in the world we ship. Limit is two units per customer at this time.

If you’re the kind of builder who doesn’t want to be last in line for the best new equipment or the latest Heathkit®, this is for you. Please see our product web page for more information. Be sure to read all the pre-order details, including how to complete your order. We welcome your pre-order.

Sincerely,

the Heathkit Team

Pre-order pricing for the HM-1002 is $575.00 US.