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HF/MW/LW General Discussion - General discussion on monitoring the HF (High Frequency), MW (Medium Wave), and LW (Long Wave) spectrum (0.5 - 30 MHz)

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Old 10-06-2009, 7:39 PM
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Question What is the difference between a reciever and its transciever look alike?

I hope the topic wasn't too confusing, let me explain. Ive noticed many receivers that I am in the market for have an identical model that is a transceiver. In some cases, the transceiver version is cheaper and easier to come by. Example, the Icom R75 and the Icom IC-718. Or the Kenwood R5000 and TS-440S. Is their an advantage over the receive only versions? My list of comparisons could go on forever!
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Old 10-06-2009, 8:07 PM
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A receiver is just that, a receiver. It will only receive signals.

A tranceiver is a combination transmitter and receiver and will handle two way communication. Most often these are designed for the amateur radio market.

In general, there is more of a market for amateur radio equipment than for short wave listening equipment. This makes the receivers harder to find and at times more expensive. It is quite easy to find a selection of amateur transceivers on the used market, while finding a SW receiver isn't always that easy. That can often make the transceiver less expensive as well.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n5ims View Post
A receiver is just that, a receiver. It will only receive signals.

A tranceiver is a combination transmitter and receiver and will handle two way communication. Most often these are designed for the amateur radio market.

In general, there is more of a market for amateur radio equipment than for short wave listening equipment. This makes the receivers harder to find and at times more expensive. It is quite easy to find a selection of amateur transceivers on the used market, while finding a SW receiver isn't always that easy. That can often make the transceiver less expensive as well.
lol, Im well aware of the obvious difference between the receiver and transceiver... My question is more along the lines of which one is a better performer for HF listening, such as in the case of the Kenwood R5000 or the Kenwood TS-440S. Is the TS-440S the exact same radio as the R5000, but with a transmit function?
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Old 10-07-2009, 4:06 AM
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In short, no.

With today's technology, there's almost no difference. The older the radio, the chances are that their *could* be a difference, but not as likely.

In the past, the true high-end consumer or professional "receivers" had better filtering elements in the circuitry. Back when I purchased my first Drake R-8 back in 1994, it was considered "Top of the Line" because it had several "receive-only" features. (This was before DSP.)

So, in short, the newer HF transceivers (amateur) that you see today are very, very good receivers as well. A good example is the Icom R75 and IC-718. They look to be the same technology - they use the same components. So either would make an effective SWL radio.

My case in point: I purchased an Icom IC-7000 as my main SWL radio last year (early 2008.) It was rated to have an excellent receive unit with very high-end features that most traditional SW radios could only dream about. For me, it was a no-brainer - as I'm a HAM as well. Transceiver that covers HF thru 70cm. Excellent receiver with DSP. No special filters to buy, etc. For $1200 it was a steal.

One fact to remember: the radios you mentioned are very good. And most HF transceivers in the last 15 years are still very good receivers. Some of those do not employ DSP at all (or at least not in the same way as they do now.)

To answer your question about the Kenwood radios - you would need to compare their respective dates of manufacturer -- and their obvious features. If they are of the same year, then yes, most likely they are of the same circuitry. Again, it just depends on what extra features Kenwood employed with the R5000 (e.g. filters, etc.)

In a technical frame of mind, the pure receivers are much easier to modify. This is why some love pure receivers - not a lot of extra circutry to get in the way.

Some other obvious key differences: built-in antenna tuners (on xcvrs), power consumption differences, number of antenna jacks, DC power connectivity, antenna connector types, hi-Z antenna connector, physical size/weight (portability), etc.

~~

Side note: Depending on your personal hearing preferences, some people prefer the older HF receivers and transceivers. DSP technology is a love/hate relationship. Listening to say a Kenwood R5000 and my Icom IC-7000 would be very obvious. To me, DSP has a way of making the sound somewhat tinny and artificial sounding. The non-DSP receivers tend to be more warm or softer in terms of the audio. The audio generally has more bass and sounds more natural. I can't help but wonder if this is because the speaker quality has dropped or if it's really the non-DSP electronics.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by nickcarr; 10-07-2009 at 4:18 AM..
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Old 10-07-2009, 5:01 AM
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Have to mine the specs.

Generally speaking now, they are just missing the power amplifier and modulation stages.

Other nits, the receivers have general coverage enabled....in the past you used to have to modify radios to receive continuously. Again, current transceivers generally have general coverage receive now anyway.

Sometimes they have wider optional AM receive filters in the receiver only models and possibly synchronous AM modules that aren't generally in the 'ham' versions.

It all 'depends' and really you have to mine the spec sheets and poke around reviews.

You can get a better bargain often with older ham transceivers vs a dedicated receiver. Just watch for a good wide enough AM filter for decent fidelity if you are an SWL more than a DXer. That's the biggest audio quality difference with a strong signal...having a wide enough passband to hear the full audio range of the broadcast...when the broadcast station actually passes a nice wide signal.

If it's in the budget at all, you cannot go wrong with an SDR receiver. They are simply incredible. Yes, they require a computer to run them, but they are stunning and I'm forever ruined now that I use them.
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Old 01-06-2018, 7:44 PM
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Just to add my two cents, since I own both the IC-R75, and the IC-718, the R75 is a better receiver, especially if you have the DSP option, or have a later R75 that came with the DSP, stock. The noise reduction works much better on the R75, so much so, that I paired my R75 with my 718, using a MFJ-1708 RF sensing T/R switch, to swap the antenna between the two depending on if I was transmitting or receiving.

Your mileage may vary, but it worked for me. I've moved on to an IC-7300, which has a much better receiver than either of the older rigs.
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Old 01-06-2018, 8:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N9PBD View Post
Just to add my two cents, since I own both the IC-R75, and the IC-718, the R75 is a better receiver, especially if you have the DSP option, or have a later R75 that came with the DSP, stock. The noise reduction works much better on the R75, so much so, that I paired my R75 with my 718, using a MFJ-1708 RF sensing T/R switch, to swap the antenna between the two depending on if I was transmitting or receiving.
I just noticed the thread you replied to is about eight years old. However, just wanted to mention for others. The current generation of ICOM's IC-718 transceiver comes standard with the same UT-106 Digital Signal Processing (DSP) module that is in your IC-R75. I've never been overly impressed with Icom's digital signal processing module, even in the IC-R75.
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Old 01-06-2018, 9:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iMONITOR View Post
I just noticed the thread you replied to is about eight years old. However, just wanted to mention for others. The current generation of ICOM's IC-718 transceiver comes standard with the same UT-106 Digital Signal Processing (DSP) module that is in your IC-R75. I've never been overly impressed with Icom's digital signal processing module, even in the IC-R75.
Jeeze, I hate it when that happens. Thanks for pointing that out. I'm not sure how it bubbled to the top of my list, seriously. Although, now that we're talking about it, you're right, the older Icom DSP technology doesn't hold a candle to my IC-7300. Another thing that I always scratch my head about is why do they continue to put noise blankers on the receivers? I come across very few instances where NB serves any purpose. I used it on my old IC-R70 back in the 1980's when the Russian Woodpecker OTH radar was busy splattering up the spectrum, but other than occasional ignition noise?
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Old 01-07-2018, 5:15 AM
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I have read on ham forums that the R75 and other dedicated receivers may have some differences in circuitry from their transceiver relatives -- mainly on MW. I think on SW receive they're the same.
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Old 01-07-2018, 9:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by APSN556 View Post
I hope the topic wasn't too confusing, let me explain. Ive noticed many receivers that I am in the market for have an identical model that is a transceiver. In some cases, the transceiver version is cheaper and easier to come by. Example, the Icom R75 and the Icom IC-718. Or the Kenwood R5000 and TS-440S. Is their an advantage over the receive only versions? My list of comparisons could go on forever!
I don't think there is a simple answer to this, and you would have to assess on a case-by-case basis. Just because they (the dedicated RX and the TRX) look similar, or even have similar performance specifications, do not make them identical. It is often less expensive to reuse parts (when possible) across multiple radios; knobs, speakers, displays, etc. And then there is the whole brand recognition thing, along with "matching" radio lines. So that radios that are designed around the same time, and by the same teams, may look very similar, even identical.

Today the R-75 is no longer made, while the IC-718 still is. So the -75 is harder to find, and if you can find it it is often more expensive. But when the -75 was in production you could find them both just as easy, and the RX was the less expensive of the two. While the cost delta at sales points was fairly small, typically $150 or less between them, the list price, from Icom, for these radios was much further apart.

As I said, just because the dedicated RX and the transceiver look nearly identical does not mean they are. I have often heard it said that the IC-718 and the R-75 are the same receivers, with a transmitter section added to the -718. But are they really? The answer is no, not the same, but they are similar.

At the most basic level the R-75 is a triple conversion receiver, and the IC-718 is a double conversion receiver. This is a rather large difference in receiver design. The R-75 has at least one filter, in its second IF, that the IC-718 simply cannot have. The two receivers do not cover the same frequency range, the R-75 goes up to 60 MHz, the IC-718 has half the coverage, stopping at 30 MHz. This is a pretty significant difference in receiver design. There is a difference in the way the band pass filters and high / low pass filters are configured, although the basic design at this point is very similar.

Looking at the schematics you can see that some circuits are common to both radios. However that is not unusual since they came out of the same engineering house. Engineers are creatures of habit, if something works and you have used it before in a specific application you will at least consider it in the next similar application.

So yes, some circuits are common, even a lot of them. But, the specific layouts, even with similar circuits, are very often different, this can often mean different performance even for the same circuit.

The physical layout of the receiver sections of both are very different. Although the physical size of the two radios are very similar there is a lot more functionality in the same enclosure on the IC-718. There are 3 circuit boards in the -718 that the -75 does not have at all and the filter unit of the -718 has both transmit and receive filters, where the -75 only has receive filters and they are all on the Main board. None of the 4 main boards of these two radios look even remotely similar between the two, although a couple of the smaller boards are similar.

The Icom IC-718 and the Icom R-75 were designed by the same company. Their receivers were designed to do the same basic tasks. They were designed fairly close to each other in time (and so in technology). They were designed with similar price points. They can't help but be pretty similar, but that does not make them identical.

And so, as I said before, you must consider each in a case-by-case basis. And that can be tough. In general if you are looking just for RX there is no advantage to getting the transceiver. But sometimes there is no disadvantage either. Taking the example of the Icom R-75 and the IC-718 specifically, I have used both side-by-side. I found the R-75 to be the better of the two. It was more selective, it was a bit quieter, and it was a bit more versatile. But unless you can set them next to each other you probably will not notice any differences. And the R-75 is not made any longer. When both were in production I would have taken the R-75 if I had no specific need / want for a transmitter. In fact, I did, twice, select the R-75 after the IC-718 was introduced.

T!

Last edited by Token; 01-07-2018 at 9:33 AM..
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Old 01-07-2018, 11:42 AM
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Lifespan of the hardware is an important consideration when looking at older receivers. No matter how good the Icom R-71a was in its day, they are all old now and starting to show physical deterioration. Lights burn out, the DC-DC converter is famous for dying of old age, and the capacitors eventually dry out and need replacing. It is not a minor repair.
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Old 01-07-2018, 12:12 PM
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When I bought my beloved R75 back in 2008 the guy at HRO was trying to talk me into the 718. I kept telling him I was not a ham, but he kept insisting that I would be one day-still am not. Glad I insisted upon the R75! Thanks Token for your post. I was clear on those differences as well.
As far as I know, the R75 to 718 is the only RX/TX mating I have seen. What are other matings? And does the R71a actually have a mate? This thread has me curious. BTW NF2G, I still run my R71a daily here since 2009 when I got it and it even still has the original volatile memory battery in it. Boy am I ever riding the good luck wave here
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Old 01-07-2018, 1:00 PM
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^^^^^One famous 'mating', if you could call it that, would be the Yaesu line back in the late 70's, when the FRG-7 was produced roughly the same time as the FT-101, which it resembles slightly.

I think circuitry wise, they are very different, though. Still: they were cool radios.
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Old 01-07-2018, 2:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ridgescan View Post
As far as I know, the R75 to 718 is the only RX/TX mating I have seen. What are other matings? And does the R71a actually have a mate? This thread has me curious.
Depending on what you call a "mating" there have been many. Many makers set a "style" for a given line of radios, and continue that style across multiple radios made over a period of time.

The R70 / R71, for example, were very similar to the Icom IC-740 transceiver. There were several Icom transceivers made in that time period with similar lines. When you set them next to each other on a desk there was no doubt they came from the same source. Often buttons in the same area of the panels, same size, shape, color, etc.

So visually similar receivers to ham band transceivers and transmitters have been fairly common in the past, if the vendor made both receivers and transceivers around the same time. Anytime a maker produced both receivers and transceivers there was tendency to use similar techniques / designs / layouts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boombox View Post
^^^^^One famous 'mating', if you could call it that, would be the Yaesu line back in the late 70's, when the FRG-7 was produced roughly the same time as the FT-101, which it resembles slightly.

I think circuitry wise, they are very different, though. Still: they were cool radios.
I would not say, other than basic size and colors, the FRG-7 looks much like the FT-101 at all, however similarity is in the eyes of the beholder. For sure the designs were nothing similar. But a receiver that was more similar to the FT-101, visually and electrically, was the Yaesu FR-101.

The Heathkit SB-100/101/102 transceivers looked identical to, and the receivers were very technically similar to, the SB310, 201, 301, etc receivers.

Going a bit further back, to when separate receivers and transmitters were the norm, finding ham receivers (and their matching ham transmitter) with near identical general coverage listeners receivers was much more common. For example the listener oriented Heathkit SB310 looked identical to, and was electronically essentially identical to, the ham band only SB-301. The Hammarlund listener oriented HQ-180 looked identical to the ham band only HQ-170.

T!
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Old 01-07-2018, 3:57 PM
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Looking at radios available today, the Icom 7300 transceiver came out last year and was a huge success for Icom with great features and performance well beyond its price range. Later in the year they released the R8600 receiver, which looks and works similar to the 7300 transceiver.

After they were both thoroughly tested and compared, the R8600 receiver comes in several notches higher in performance. Except for the fact the R8600 has receive capabilities to 3GHz, its also one of the unusual cases where a receiver costs twice as much as its otherwise similar equipped transceiver.
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Old 01-07-2018, 6:55 PM
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Wanted to get a new R-75 but upon going to order one found out they had been discontinued. So, looked at the Alinco DX-R8T receiver. Noticed however that for just a few bucks more could get the DX-SR8T transceiver. Really didn't want or need a transceiver but for the little bit more what the heck. Anyway, talk about a close mate, the RX specs between the receiver and transceiver look identical although the transceiver lacks the IQ output found on the receiver. Have had the DX-SR8T for over a year now and it has become my go to SWL receiver... and not just SW but also LW and AM. Oh, even had it on the air a couple of times.
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Old 01-08-2018, 9:54 AM
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Most members of the early Icom line bear a strong family resemblance to each other. Even my IC-730 is obviously a cousin to the R-71a and R-7000, although the sizes are quite different.
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