Phillip loves the Icom IC-R30, but frustrated with mono audio out

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Phillip Novak, who writes:

A question or perhaps comment on the Icom IC-R30 that I’m hoping SWLing Post readers might shed some light on.

I’m a very new and extremely pleased owner of one of these units for the past 2 weeks. Aside from receive capability, usability is a big deal for me and this thing has proven to be a joy! The menus, buttons and build quality just feel great and frankly, I’m pretty happy about having made the “investment”.

So, it was with great excitement that my wife and I have the week off at the cottage – more so for me, as I was looking to really break the R30 in while sitting on the lake shore.

And then …. I was extremely disappointed to find out that the r30 headphone jack is mono (just like the IC-R6 that I already owned). On top of that, the jack is slightly recessed into the body of the unit, which renders the mono-to-stereo split adapter useless! (I really thought they would have changed it!)

Someone, please enlighten me as to why Icom would choose a mono plug!

It’s funny you mention the recessed plug as I had the same issue with a portable recently–the audio out port was recessed to the point that only the provided cheap earphones would fit!

Perhaps SWLing Post readers and IC-R30 owners can provide you with a simple solution? Of course, you can always purchase or build a mono-to-stereo adapter or patch cord–one with a slim profile to fit in the IC-R30 audio port recess (that’s the tough part, of course). But perhaps there are even earphones that have this functionality built-in? I honestly don’t know. Any ideas, readers? Please comment.

And, Phillip, we’d welcome your review of the IC-R30!

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7 thoughts on “Phillip loves the Icom IC-R30, but frustrated with mono audio out

  1. Phillip

    Thanks for the thoughts everyone.

    Richard, I’m aware of the CI-V data input on the jack as i believe the IC-R6 is setup the same way (I’ve yet to program either unit this way). And yes, I really just prefer to have mono in both ears as opposed to just one and the recessed jack makes my current adapter useless.

    The earphone mode i believe simply sets the overall volume level down for headphone listening, but i just can’t seem to find the documentation on it right now. Also interesting to note, is that the jack is referred to as a “speaker-jack” specifically, no mention of using it for “headphones”…

    Nick, I have had thoughts of getting a Bluetooth set and the Icom unit shown in the advanced manual is tempting! The performance of Bluetooth on this unit is apparently quite good. It’s also worth adding that the internal speak has not let me down yet.

    Giuseppe, I have no doubt that there are far better units for SWling specifically. However, for any hobby where GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) can be an issue, the “best” unit is the one that you’ve got on you. Portability and just the simple aspect of this unit being fun to operate were my major factors in purchasing it. I have an SDR as well and while it too can be fun, i try to maximize time off my computer as much as possible, and the R30 hooked up to a random-wire beats screen-time in my opinion.

    I also find the SW reception… great! But of course this changes when i’m in the city as opposed to the country-side.

    In researching this unit, I was consistently reminded that this thing is a receiver, not a scanner, and this also affected my decision to buy it. I got into scanners as a kid, and while listening to the cops was exciting back then, I’m not really into it at this stage. I had a Uniden BCD436HP for a few weeks prior and just found the listening experience super depressing.

    What can i say, I’m more into riding the dial and seeing what i come across.

    Lou, the hands-free “low-profile” setup certainly appeals to me as well – the R30 does not look like a typical scanner-receiver and i’m all about the stealth when being out and about.

    Reply
  2. Richard Schreiber

    My comments are not based on any on-hand experience with the IC-R30.

    N9EWO’s comprehensive review states that the speaker/headset jack is a stereo type jack, but when using stereo headsets, only mono is produced because the middle contact of the plug is used for CI-V data. So the choices are to use mono headset or a BlueTooth headset. A stereo-to-mono adapter would give you sound in both left and right but it is still mono.

    N9EWO also mentions that the Earphone Mode setting should be “on”.

    There is very sparse info in the IC-R30 advanced manual except the diagram on p. 7-30.

    Reply
  3. Nick

    The R30 is great. I wouldnt try to compare it to a stand alone SW receiver, even a portable. This thing is small and it does so much more than SW. Try using bluetooth ear buds. I use a set with my R30 and they sound great.

    Reply
  4. Giuseppe

    I can’t answer the question, but I’d love to hear why Philip loves the IC-R30.

    I bought one, and sold it a month later. Quite simply, the SW sensitivity can be outdone by any SW receiver, and I don’t live in an area that has anything of much interest to listen to > 30 MHz, especially since everything around me is trunked.

    I wanted to like it, but could not justify the cost of it. Glad you’re able to enjoy it!

    Reply
    1. Lou

      I can’t speak for Phillip but the R30 runs circles around any offerings by Uniden or Whistler when it comes to military/civilian air. Yes, it doesn’t do trunking or decode DMR. I’m happy with the R30 and HF isn’t half bad for a handheld communications receiver.

      As far as audio out is concerned, I like to carry my R30 in a backpack and listen over Bluetooth. Using the control app on my iPhone along with a pair of Jabra earbuds lets me listen without anyone else being disturbed or unduly concerned.

      Big one for me is sitting at an airport boarding gate. No more weird looks while someone debates getting TSA involved. Airports can be filled with all kinds of great stuff to listen to and it definitely helps pass the time for long layovers.

      Reply
      1. Humberto

        Who wants to carry a large SWL radio. No unit does everything, but the features on this device are many and found on multiple devices not one device.

        Reply

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