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Old 14-01-2018, 08:02   #1
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IC-R30 Communications Receiver (Handheld)

At the recent Toronto Boat Show I was talking to the Icom rep and he mentioned that Icom is soon to release the R30 handheld receiver. We are looking at getting a SSB receiver (not Transceiver) for a trip south. It will be more expensive than a Sony ($500 vs $150 cdn) but it was indicated to me that for our use it may be a better choice.

Has anyone with more experience than I have in ham radio any news or comments on this receiver?
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Old 14-01-2018, 09:36   #2
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Re: IC-R30 Communications Receiver (Handheld)

Steve, what is your intended use? I just glanced at the R-30 preliminary specs, and it looks like a nice handheld radio with lots of powerful features. But, I doubt that you will be using many of these features. One advantage *may* be more precise and stable tuning, which is useful if you plan to receive WFAX (and decode with a computer connected via an audio cable). Most inexpensive receivers (and I believe the Sonys) require manual fine-tuning of the WFAX signal in order to decode properly. A radio such as this Icom can be tuned digitally to the correct frequency and will not drift.

This radio also has a USB port, and if that port can be used as a "virtual soundcard" and "virtual serial port" as do some of Icom's newer radios, that is a very nice feature for WFAX reception. But I can't tell if the USB port has this capability.

So again, what is your intended use?
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Old 14-01-2018, 13:10   #3
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Re: IC-R30 Communications Receiver (Handheld)

Paul

Thank You for the reply

I was looking to receive weather broadcasts (Wfax) and to listen to CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp) radio. I am understanding from the Icom rep that tuning would be easier than on a $150 Sony
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Old 14-01-2018, 14:11   #4
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Re: IC-R30 Communications Receiver (Handheld)

I wish the R-30 were actually available, and with published specs. At a minimum, the finer digital tuning steps would be a nice feature, but I don't know if that alone would make it worthwhile for you -- plenty of people get by with manual tuning and the WFAX decoding software does provide you with tuning indicators. How soon do you need this?

How do you plan to decode the WFAX signals? There are PC apps for Windows and other operating systems that use an audio input (mic / aux jack or USB), there are apps for (I think) Apple and Android that use a the smartphone microphone placed next to the receiver speaker. OpenCPN has a WFAX plugin that uses an electrical input. Have you made any decisions on this yet?

You might consider getting a USB-based SDR (Software Defined Radio) such as the "Funcube Dongle Pro", or the "SDR Play". These cost around $120 or a bit more, and plug directly into a PC. You can use OpenCPN or other WFAX app to decode the signals, and use your computer speakers to listen to broadcast signals. If you go this route, make sure to get an SDR that covers the HF bands (such as the ones I mentioned above). Many cheap SDRs are designed for only VHF frequencies.

If you get the SDR, you can buy a decent $100 receiver as a backup. You may have philosophical issues with depending on a computer for your radio reception -- I can understand that.

And there may be other good options for you. I hope we hear some other advice from the Cruisers Forum members.
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Old 14-01-2018, 18:13   #5
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Re: IC-R30 Communications Receiver (Handheld)

I am not expecting to need SSB reception until fall 2018.

The idea of using a computer as part of the receiver ad never occurred to me.
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Old 14-01-2018, 23:42   #6
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Re: IC-R30 Communications Receiver (Handheld)

Here's a Facebook post I made showing three different WFAX programs running simultaneously, being fed by the USB output of my Icom IC-7200 ham radio. I've also done this using the Funcube SDR receiver (instead of the ham radio). I like the USB connection because you generally have fewer problems with audio hum and noise (compared to using an audio jack connection between the radio and the computer).

The post: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater
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Old 15-01-2018, 00:37   #7
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Re: IC-R30 Communications Receiver (Handheld)

My thoughts...
The new Icom may be excellent but will probably be $$$$

The Sony SW7600GR may be a very good technically but is a beast to tune on SSB.

My choice for your needs would be the Tecsun 880....

You can tune SSB directly ( on the radio display ) to .01kHz...... you only need .10 kHz for Wefax...

I own and have used all of these 'consumer' radios for fax ( Sony 7600, 7600GR, Sangean 909, Tecsun 660, 680, 880 )... if using the same antenna I get much the same results with all of them but the 880 is by far the easiest to use... Anonco on Ebay are good to deal with....
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Old 15-01-2018, 00:40   #8
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Re: IC-R30 Communications Receiver (Handheld)

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Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
Paul

Thank You for the reply

I was looking to receive weather broadcasts (Wfax) and to listen to CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp) radio. I am understanding from the Icom rep that tuning would be easier than on a $150 Sony
Bang for your buck, a Degen 1103 will do that for about $90.
Just add laptop /tablet to decode the wfax images.
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Old 15-01-2018, 05:32   #9
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Re: IC-R30 Communications Receiver (Handheld)

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Bang for your buck, a Degen 1103 will do that for about $90.
Just add laptop /tablet to decode the wfax images.
Degen DE-1103 like sister Katio KA-1103 is a good radio, but runs off 8VDC which means an inverter and a wall wart.

I've recently switched to the Tecsun PL-880 which is much more convenient and works as well or better. The PL-660 should be the same and is cheaper.
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Old 15-01-2018, 05:45   #10
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Re: IC-R30 Communications Receiver (Handheld)

As Dave said, there are several inexpensive options for HF receivers; at the suggested $500 price of the to be released Icom RC-30 I'd look at my favorite small rig, the Yaesu FT-817. It's a full featured QRP rig with a GREAT 'DC-Daylight' receiver that runs on internal batteries. I actually worked Salt Lake City from Hawaii on one at 2.5 watts (phone and cw) years ago; great rig and sells for about $700 discounted new and under $500 used in great shape; worth a look.
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Old 15-01-2018, 06:02   #11
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Re: IC-R30 Communications Receiver (Handheld)

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Originally Posted by Auspicious View Post
Degen DE-1103 like sister Katio KA-1103 is a good radio, but runs off 8VDC which means an inverter and a wall wart.

I've recently switched to the Tecsun PL-880 which is much more convenient and works as well or better. The PL-660 should be the same and is cheaper.
I use a dc buck converter which supplies the Degen with 8v, no inverter need plus no noise detectable & costs about a beer. Also feeds a UV5R radio. Some can be a bit RF noisy though.
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Old 15-01-2018, 11:48   #12
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Re: IC-R30 Communications Receiver (Handheld)

My Kaito 1103 ran well off the internal AA batteries. (I am using the past-tense because those batteries leaked and ruined the radio when I had stored it without removing the batteries for a couple of years.) This and similar clone radios do need some manual fine-tuning, which as I mentioned isn't particularly difficult.

They do require a good audio connection to a computer, and it can be difficult to get a hum-free connection when you've got different grounds, power supplies, battery chargers, other devices also connected to the computer, etc. It can be made to work, and many people do, but I have become a big fan of USB "virtual audio card" interfaces between a radio and computer. When you can arrange this it works really well. The tiny SDR receivers I mentioned give you this, plus stable and precise tuning, for not much more $$$ than the Kaito / Degen / etc. receivers.

Of course the SDR approach has its technical and philosophical drawbacks as well...
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Old 15-01-2018, 13:01   #13
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Re: IC-R30 Communications Receiver (Handheld)

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The tiny SDR receivers I mentioned give you this, plus stable and precise tuning, for not much more $$$ than the Kaito / Degen / etc. receivers.

Of course the SDR approach has its technical and philosophical drawbacks as well...
I have a fun cube dongle which is fun and excellent Still wouldn't be without a standalone/ham of some description for offshore though, then still a good chance you can cobble together something to produce an image with a smart phone / tablet / laptop if things break.

The RTLs are also fun but can't receive down to Wfax frequencies without spending more cash on an upconverter. Still worth it even just as a spectrum analyser to try and track down all that nasty noise.
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