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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 08-08-2017, 5:06 PM
   
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I am new to the digital scanning world; so far on the R8600
I have been able to hear P25 on only one frequency. Would
appreciate some help on how to set up radio to hear more
Thanks

Bill
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 08-09-2017, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by razorswl View Post
I am new to the digital scanning world; so far on the R8600
I have been able to hear P25 on only one frequency. Would
appreciate some help on how to set up radio to hear more
Thanks

Bill
Hello,

You need to use the RRDB to find frequencies you want to monitor, or just tune around.

73 Eric
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Old 08-09-2017, 11:00 AM
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Hello,

I got a chance to tune around on HF and above with the R8600 last night. I barely scratched the surface of it's capabilities. So far I like the user interface. I was able to figure most things out without looking at the manual.

I connected my Wellbrook loop for HF and a Discone for VHF. I have not tried the RCA jack (Ant3) yet. The Wellbrook loop produces a very hot output on MW due to several nearby radio stations. The receiver showed the Red OVF (Overflow) indicator when tuning the MW band. The OVF turned off when I tuned outside the MW band. 10dB of attenuation solved the problem. It appears there is separate filters for SW, MW, and LW as the OVF indicator went out. I did not notice any overload problem in the 2 to 3 MHz range. I did not notice any image problems as I tuned around.

Antenna selection is frequency sensitive. Ant1 is only used above HF, but I found if I switched to Ant2 on MW and tuned up above a certain frequency, it would switch back to Ant1. I had to switch again to Ant2. There are several HF ranges that I had to set to Ant2 to cover HF. There maybe other settings that are frequency sensitive.

One thing that surprised me about the FSK mode is support for 850 shift. Anything above 425 is missing from decoders Icom put in their other radios, mainly Ham transceivers. The "fatal" flaw is only 45 and 50 baud are supported. There is no 74 baud support.

DMR is missing. I liked the popup display of information when I tuned in P25. There is also a screen that will display a history. I noticed the mode will flash if it is set to a digital mode and the signal being received is in another mode.

Tone search is divided into CTCSS and DCS. It appears to be a sequential scan.

The front and rear USB can be setup to output different things, like AF on one and 12KHz IF on the other. It would be interesting to see if both could be connected to the same computer and used at the same time.

73 Eric
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Old 08-10-2017, 5:58 PM
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Hello,

I installed the Icom USB driver and plugged a USB cable to the receiver's rear USB port. Two COM (serial) ports and USB Audio got configured. I do not think the USB speaker device does anything. I setup the USB Microphone for 48K audio and used the sound input of HDSDR. It seemed to work using a non-IQ soundcard mode. I need to do some more testing. The lower numbered COM port is the CI-V port and the higher numbered COM port is the FSK Decode/D-Star output. I tried using Hamlib with the R8600 setup as a IC-7300, but I got a protocol error when trying to read the frequency. However, looking at the debug showed the right data coming back. I may try it as an other radio later.

One interesting (but not very useful) feature is decoding basic encryption of NXDN and some other digital formats. I was able to test it out with my Kenwood UHF NXDN radio, and it works. This is only useful for authorized users who want to monitor their system and know the key. Advanced encryption like DES or AES is not supported.

73 Eric
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Old 08-12-2017, 2:08 PM
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Hello,

I am still going through and trying out features. Some features, like the USB IQ, are not totally released yet.

The 12KHz IF output works great. No problems working with HDSDR, Dream, or the DRM software. I like not having to use a separate USB Sound Card. Both the back and front USB can be connected at the same time. I did a crazy test of running two instances of HDSDR, one connected to each USB Audio (Screenshot below).

There is no detector output. I tried turning off the de-emphasis on AF audio, but DSDplus still gave me errors.

Recording uses WAV format with a 16KHz sample rate.

I had a fair decode of the DDH RTTY Wx station. The signal stength was poor. I think the default value for Filter 1 is too wide for 850 shift, so I reduced it down to 1KHz.

I briefly looked at the USB descriptors for the IQ USB port. It looks like there are endpoints for serial control, audio, and IQ data.

I did a port scan on the Ethernet port and found Ports 23 (telnet) and 1111 open. When I connected to the telnet port, I got a welcome message and a command prompt. The commands I found so far are exit and ver. The ver command prints "Ver." and exit closes the connection. No idea what Port 1111 is used for.

73 Eric
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Old 08-14-2017, 2:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob550 View Post
You just download the hi-res image, print it out, and tape to the bathroom wall.
Im having a hard time justifying this possible purchase. I like to monitor but for me not as fun as it was back in the 80s 90s back in NYC. Now in rural Texas not as active here been okay with just a scanner, but Im sure can find something. Recently became a Ham and enjoying that with the limited time I have. I think i will first setup a proper monitoring antennas then reward myself with a 8600.
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Old 08-14-2017, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osros View Post
Im having a hard time justifying this possible purchase. I like to monitor but for me not as fun as it was back in the 80s 90s back in NYC. Now in rural Texas not as active here been okay with just a scanner, but Im sure can find something. Recently became a Ham and enjoying that with the limited time I have. I think i will first setup a proper monitoring antennas then reward myself with a 8600.
Hello,

I doubt anyplace would be as intense as NYC or LA. I had problems receiving VHF/UHF during Manhattan visits years ago due to intermod.

You get similar receive performance with your Icom IC-7300 on HF. The R8600 extends it up into VHF and above. It would be an upgrade from the AR5000A+3. I have a AR5000 with a Avcom Spectrum monitor on the IF Output. The initial setup showed me the usefulness of spectrum display for searching. I have also used the SDRplay as a spectrum display. I really like having the spectrum display built-in with frequency labels and tune capability on the R8600. I am planning to try the 10.7 MHz output of the R8600.

I like to search around the RF spectrum, so the R8600 fits my needs. I am able to receive up to 60 miles away with just a discone on the roof of a two story building.

I was listening to a NXDN IDAS (Type D) trunked system up in Goffstown, NH on the 8600 and noticed it does not display talkgroup/id information like it does for conventional NXDN. Type D trunking uses a different slow data channel for information than conventional. I am going to check voice transmissions on a Type C trunked system to see if the talkgroup/id information is displayed.

73 Eric
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Old 08-14-2017, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricCottrell View Post
You get similar receive performance with your Icom IC-7300 on HF. The R8600 extends it up into VHF and above. It would be an upgrade from the AR5000A+3. I have a AR5000 with a Avcom Spectrum monitor on the IF Output. The initial setup showed me the usefulness of spectrum display for searching. I have also used the SDRplay as a spectrum display. I really like having the spectrum display built-in with frequency labels and tune capability on the R8600. I am planning to try the 10.7 MHz output of the R8600.
I think the spec on the IF width of the -8600 is +/- 5 MHz, for 10 MHz total width, however I find it very flat and usable to almost 20 MHz total width. So I take the 10.7 MHz IF out of the -8600 and feed it into my WinRadio G31DDC, G33DDC, and use the full band display on either of them, or my NetSDR in 35 MHz wide realtime mode. In all 3 of these cases it allows me to tune with the -8600 and see about 20 MHz of total spectrum. Fantastic for searching out transient and unlisted signals.

The advantage of the WinRadios in this application is that the WinRadio will demod whatever signal you click on, while the NetSDR in 35 MHz mode will not demod.

T!
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Old 08-14-2017, 3:40 PM
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Hello,

I suspect that the 10.7 MHz Output is generated using the baseband IQ stream and an up-converter since the receiver uses direct sampling. The +/- 5 MHz is likely the guaranteed bandwidth due to possible falloff when you get close to bandpass filter edges.

This may give a clue as to the USB IQ sample rate and bandwidth.

73 Eric
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Old 08-14-2017, 10:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricCottrell View Post
Hello,

I suspect that the 10.7 MHz Output is generated using the baseband IQ stream and an up-converter since the receiver uses direct sampling. The +/- 5 MHz is likely the guaranteed bandwidth due to possible falloff when you get close to bandpass filter edges.


This may give a clue as to the USB IQ sample rate and bandwidth.

I honestly had never tried to use the 10.7 MHz IF on HF since anything I was going to put on the IF would natively do HF. So I had never considered it. I had only done VHF / UHF with an SDR on the IF of the 8600. And I had never done any measurements, just eyeballed the responses. So I had to grab the trusty 8640B and see what the results were.

As a side note, on HF I found the S meter to be very close to calibrated, typically within 1 dB of correct from -10 dBm to below -100 dBm. And it passed on the correct level to the 10.7 MHz IF. If a tuned signal at 20000 kHz was -60 dBm at the R8600 antenna input it was about -60 dBm at the 10.7 MHz IF, +/- 1 dB or less. I was suitably pleased.

On HF I did my measurements around 15000 kHz, I only did them near the center of the HF portion of the radio. Maybe latter I will run test from one end of the sub 30 MHz band to the other.

I used a 15000 kHz signal at -60 dBm as the starting point, and left the R8600 tuned to 15000 kHz the whole time, adjusting the sig gen output to find the band flatness and response. I found the 3 dB bandwidth to be just about 8.7 MHz wide, but it was asymmetrical.

With a -60 dBm signal from the sig gen and the R8600 tuned to 15000 kHz the IF was 3 dB down, at -63 dBm, at 12320 kHz and at 21035 kHz So tuned to 15000 kHz the IF signal was down 3 dB at -2.68 MHz and again at +6.035 MHz.

But that was at the -3 dB points, how about the -10 dB points? On the low side the -10 dB point was at 11110 kHz, and on the high side at 22630 kHz. About 11.52 MHz of width at the -10 dB points and still asymmetrical.

Then I ran the whole thing again at 155.0 MHz out of the sig gen. The R8600 S meter was not quite as accurate, about 1.5 to 2 dB off, but the IF output was still pretty much on the money. A -60 dBm signal at 155.000 MHz out of the sig gen still yielded -60 dBm at 10.7 MHz, even though the R8600 S meter showed -61.8 dBm.

On the high side the -3 dB point was at 161.275 MHz, and the -10 dB point was at 162.5 MHz. On the low side the -3dB point was at 148.55 MHz, and the -10 dB point was at 147.35 MHz. So the 3 dB bandwidth of the IF with the R8600 tuned to 155.0 MHz is about 12.725 MHz, and the 10 dB bandwidth is about 15.15 MHz.

Although wider, notice how much faster the VHF/UHF IF bandwidth fell off.

I don't know about the HF IF, but I bet the VHF/UHF 10.7 MHz IF is not related to the IQ stream at all. That spectrum has to be down converted so the direct sampling (on HF) AD can handle it, I suspect the same down conversion is providing the IF on VHF/UHF.

T!
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Old 08-14-2017, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricCottrell View Post
Hello,

I doubt anyplace would be as intense as NYC or LA. I had problems receiving VHF/UHF during Manhattan visits years ago due to intermod.

You get similar receive performance with your Icom IC-7300 on HF. The R8600 extends it up into VHF and above. It would be an upgrade from the AR5000A+3. I have a AR5000 with a Avcom Spectrum monitor on the IF Output. The initial setup showed me the usefulness of spectrum display for searching. I have also used the SDRplay as a spectrum display. I really like having the spectrum display built-in with frequency labels and tune capability on the R8600. I am planning to try the 10.7 MHz output of the R8600.

I like to search around the RF spectrum, so the R8600 fits my needs. I am able to receive up to 60 miles away with just a discone on the roof of a two story building.

I was listening to a NXDN IDAS (Type D) trunked system up in Goffstown, NH on the 8600 and noticed it does not display talkgroup/id information like it does for conventional NXDN. Type D trunking uses a different slow data channel for information than conventional. I am going to check voice transmissions on a Type C trunked system to see if the talkgroup/id information is displayed.

73 Eric
Hello Eric : did you look at post 16 in this thread , that is a type D system .
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Old 08-14-2017, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by n2pqq View Post
Hello Eric : did you look at post 16 in this thread , that is a type D system .
That's a Type C (centralized -- has a control channel) system.

Mike
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Old 08-15-2017, 3:02 AM
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Enjoy the 8600. If you look at the RRDB for LA County, we have tons of DMR that has been logged, and lots more waiting to be discovered. Also, Phase 2 is increasing in this area. If the 8600 had DMR and phase 2, I might be tempted, but I still think my KFI situation (50 KW on 640 KHz with antenna 1.5 miles away and +4 dBm on my Perseus and ELAD would overload the 8600. Happens to an IC-7300 I have borrowed unless I use some attenuation.
8600 sounds like nice radio, but think I will wait this one out. Am enjoying this thread, however.
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Old 08-15-2017, 4:59 PM
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Eric,

Do you have and use any SDR in your listening? Initially I was on the waiting list at HRO for one of the 8600s, but decided that it would basically be overkill for me as I pretty much stick to HF listening. So I cancelled my reservation and picked up a JRC NRD-535D instead. Right now, for my ventures out of the HF world, I'll use on of my SDRplays. Just looking to see if you had any comparison to offer.

--
Mike
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