Tag Archives: Dave Zantow (N9EWO)

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.

eBay: Bargain basement prices on the Degen DE1103 DSP version

UPDATE–Caveat emptor:

I can no longer link to this deal. Several readers have noted the seller has no history nor feedback.

Additionally, Joe notes that “The same seller is offering the Tecsun PL-660 for $39.99 and the Tecsun PL-360 for $17.47, among other extraordinarily low-priced items.”

Thanks guys–I’m sorry, but that’s just too good to be true. I’ve removed the eBay links below.

To be clear: eBay provides a money back guarantee for buyers in instances like this, but it would be an extra hassle, for sure. I just feel these prices are too good to be true.

Here’s the original post:

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

“I see the sour DSP version of the DE1103 are down to rock bottom prices up on eBay.”

Click here to view on eBay.

Any potential buyers should note: while this DE1103 looks identical to the excellent DE1103/KA1103 receiver produced through 2014, the DE1103 DSP model leaves much to be desired. Check out my review from 2015.

Still, for $22.56 US shipped, it would make for a great FM radio if nothing else.

Swiss Army Knife radios: Dave plugs the discontinued Kaito KA1121

On the topic of “Swiss Army Knife” shortwave portables, many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who adds:

Since the KA1121 was referenced in a comment on your blog today, [my review is] now located at: http://webpages.charter.net/n9ewo2/de1121.html

Sadly the set is no longer manufactured either as the Kaito KA1121 or the Degen DE1121 (the actual manufacture version) and has not been in sometime.

Near impossible to find one on the used market properly working now. But I must say it’s STILL as close as one can come to from a Swiss army knife portable SW radio even today, so be it a bit weird to operate and understand.

Makes decent off air 128 kbps recordings and in actual MP3 format. Dual conversion, excellent selectivity, 2 bandwidth filters and fairly decent SSB. Dynamic range not too shabby either. Alpha tags on memories that are PC programmable via a formatted text file.

Caveats are a very poor reliability record (2 of my test samples over the years have gone to radio heaven / parts), the strange MP3 unit battery (this likes to totally fail, especially if abused) and oh we can’t forget the sticky cabinet syndrome and that has hit all of them by now.

In our case we carefully removed this goo with 91% isopropyl alcohol and little elbow grease. We still have 2 in active use at our QTH and “still” love them bugs and all.

73 and many thanks
Dave Zantow N9EWO

Thank you, Dave!  Yes, the ‘1121 is also a choice radio for many Shortwave Archive contributors. Indeed, one of our contributors has snagged fantastic DX off of her DE1121. Click here to browse her recordings.

I created an eBay search for the DE1121/KA1121 some time ago, thinking I would snag one if it popped up. Turns out, you’re right about scarcity, Dave–at the moment, there are only two units, both of which are missing the MP3 bit. Of course, as with anything else on eBay, new units could pop up at any time.

Click here to search eBay for the Kaito KA1121 and Degen DE1121.

Video: Icom IC-R8600 sync detector in action

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who shares the following:

For your listening pleasure. Here is the best video yet showing the Icom IC-R8600’s Sync Detector in use.

Sounds like Icom “finally” got the Sync Detector performance right with the R8600. Appears to greatly reduce fading distortion, where as with the expensive IC-R9500 it does not help much with fading distortion (if at all).

Click here to view on YouTube.

Good news indeed !!

I agree, Dave. This is most promising indeed!

I look forward to checking out the IC-R8600 at the Dayton Hamvention this year.

More RadioShack store closing details including dates

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

Here is a very interesting PDF legal document (via Prime Clerk) that not only has the “COMPLETE” RadioShack store list that are closing by early April (Tranche One and Two) but with important dates given.

Click here to download Docket 98-2 (PDF).

(more info: https://cases.primeclerk.com/generalwireless/Home-DocketInfo)

Yes, sadly the store I worked in for over 8 years is closing by (before) April 6th when this store will become Sprint only. Being in a Mall , its funny it was not closed in the first bankruptcy ?? It’s been in that spot since late 1981.

Many thanks, Dave. As I mentioned in this previous post, poor RadioShack is all but dead for us hobbyists and Makers–one last chance to grab some closeout deals before the retail outlets become Sprint stores.