Dave reviews the Icom IC-R30 Handheld Wide Band Receiver

The new Icom IC-R30 handheld wideband receiver at the 2018 Hamvention.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who notes that he has published his comprehensive review of the Icom IC-R30 handheld wideband receiver.

Click here to check out Dave’s review.

Based on Dave’s evaluation, it sounds like this is one of the better wideband radios, although like similar models, its utility in the HF and mediumwave bands is somewhat limited. He gives the R30 good marks for AGC and notes a lack of spurious emissions on MW. Unlike other wideband handhelds, he noted no mediumwave stations overloading the HF bands. With the unit connected to an external HF antenna however, intense overloading occurred on these bands.

As I tell anyone considering a wideband handheld, don’t buy it with the intention of logging weak signal DX on the HF bands–it’s just not a great receiver for this. It shines on those higher frequencies starting in the VHF band and moving up.

Thanks for sharing your review, Dave!

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15 thoughts on “Dave reviews the Icom IC-R30 Handheld Wide Band Receiver

  1. eckhard

    Very good WideBandReceiver with excellent sensitivity.
    In 2021 I would expect from such a modern digital receiver DRM and DAB+ reception as an update or upgrade possibility. Perhaps in next time 😉
    Its a pity that Icom don’t update C4FM and DMR decoding for this digital receiver.
    Also it would be very nice to have a bigger battery pack with more than 5000 mAh to get over the day.
    5 Stars in case of Reception of the named codecs.
    The link to Dave’s site changed https://www.qsl.net/n9ewo/icr30.html

  2. Charlie

    Yuck, SMA connector with limited number of mating cycles. What was Icom thinking. The BNC should be the defacto standard Besides I hate anything as flimsy as a SMA connector where you will be constantly connecting and changing antennas. What makes matters worst is the crap SMA to BNC connectors that produce intermittent connections. Yes, everyone of these adapters are “Chinese Junk”

  3. Croc

    I experience quite good weak signal shortwave DX using a rubber helical antenna in the right locations at the right times. The key is elevation. If you can go to the top of a good lookout, away from the normal city electro-magnetic interference, you would be surprised how the IC-R30 can perform. The ability to scan fast across the lower frequencies is a real advantage over portable shortwave receivers.

  4. Edward S Maikranz

    What is the big deal with DMR? The only DMR user I have in my area is a bus company. I dont feel I would miss much!

    1. David T Brailsford

      Bus drivers are actually some of the most interesting chatter follow on scanners if you haven’t listened to them, you never know what there going to come out with over the radio.

      1. John R Palmer

        I used to block out the local school bus channels from the public service system on my scanner thinking there would be nothing of interest to listen there. Was I wrong. Everyday’s a military operation getting all the students to school on time, with everything being coordinated by a single dispatcher who’s in contact with each bus driver. It’s also a regular soap opera what with student antics, students misbehaving, students fighting, students being sick, students leaving items on the bus etc.

    1. Samuel Rhine

      They have taken the regressive anti-innovative stance and are protesting it to push their own crummy Dstar and NXDN mode no one uses. Someone at Icom even made some blog post a while back saying how HAMs need to stop using DMR and are supposed to be on DStar. They can go procreate with themselves, this thing is junk anyways. Not a suitable replacement to the r20 which has better sensitivity and build. I will just keep using my RadioShack scanner and SDRplay for digital decoding thanks.

  5. Larry -N7LWB

    I received an Icom R30 from a friend who is unfamiliar with computer programming receivers. First impression: Keep the owner’s manual handy! Reception below 30MHZ was decent. The single side band worked great and is as narrow as the larger amateur gear for SWL’ing. It isn’t designed for the full wave antennas designed for HF, so I placed near a water pipe and received very well. I didn’t connect directly to the pipe, I had the antenna near it. For use in the digital communications, it’s the only receiver I’ve seen that displays the talk groups…even on DSTAR. DMR is lacking and seems Icom has no reason to put that in, so I think if they have more than a few complaining of it’s absence they might listen and put it in their later models.

  6. Bob

    None of these wideband communications receivers are any good with HF monitoring unless you tame the front end. However that results in a reduced ability to copy anything esoteric.

    The biggest problem with the R30 (and 8600) is the lack of DMR support.

  7. Ken WB9YCJ

    August 14, 2018,
    I am in Osaka den den town and able to buy one (unblocked) for 7400 Yen at Ueda
    musen. Japan only warranty and I may have to download english manual. Same as $700.00 usd. 3 days to decide. Perhaps won’t due to performance below 30 MHz.
    My contact info Qrz.com
    73, Ken, WB9YCJ
    p.s. not worried about warranty as Japanese elec seldom breaks in warranty.

  8. Edward

    Looks more like a smartphone. I wonder if they have a next gen version in the works that use commonly available replacement parts like the display/touchscreens used in phones?


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