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New User / Getting Started Forum The place for new users to discuss how to get started, and generally feel safe from the rest of the rabid technical community. If you just got your first scanner, this forum is for you.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 06-08-2009, 6:11 PM
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Default ICOM IC-R5 .....I'm LOST.

I always wanted to learn how to use a scanner/all purpose radio. I purchased an ICOM R5 and I'm totally lost. I can't even figure out how to get my local AM radio station on it. the only clear sound I'm getting is the Weather channel. Too complicated for me but I'd like to learn how to use this thing. The manual is written by someone who assumes you know a lot about radios to begin with. It's way out of my league. I live in Buffalo NY and was wondering if there are any classes I can take around here to learn this radio. Can someone please at least tell me how to find my local AM radio station? It's WBEN 0930kHz. Thanks and be gentle with me. I want to LEARN!
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Old 06-08-2009, 8:40 PM
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I'm sorry I can't help you, I am not at all familiar with the IC-R5 except from what I've read. It is a good little radio. Some of the small portables don't do well on the AM broadcast band unless they are close by. I have a small Ham H-T that gets my local AM stations fairly well but I am in a small locality. The fact that you get weather should be encouraging. Try out some of the local FM stations. Also, if you know where WBEN is located you could drive over close and see if you can hear it.

I suggest to you to find the wiki page on this site and look for articles on your unit. I suspect someone will answer you in time, this is a very good community on here and some very helpful people. My advice for the manual is to try to take it in small chunks and see if you can figure it out. I don't know why the Japanese companies can't get better translations for their manuals.

In any case, welcome to RR and be patient with your new radio. Soon you will be scanning like a pro.
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Last edited by gcgrotz; 06-08-2009 at 8:43 PM..
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Old 06-08-2009, 8:56 PM
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Thanks for the kind words. An internet friend of mine suggested this radio but he is an experienced radio operator and probably thought I knew more than I did about it. As far as living close to the radio station? My $5.00 ear bud radio picks it up fine and the station is less than 10 miles from the house. It's a so-called "blowtorch". I think the reason I can't get it is because I don't know how to operate this thing. It has multiple modes for other countries, multiple AM modes, FM modes, etc. If anyone knows where I can get some basic training in the Buffalo, NY area please let me know. Thanks
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:56 AM
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5. Receive mode selection
➥ Push [MODE•SCAN] several
times to select the desired receive
mode.
• FM, WFM and AM are available.


^^^^This is the first thing that came to my mind. I was hoping there was an "auto" mode where the radio chooses the correct mode, but it doesnt look like it. Try this instruction. AM mode will get your local AM stations and airbands, FM gets you VHF low and High and I think UHF...etc.
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deskaiser View Post
Can someone please at least tell me how to find my local AM radio station? It's WBEN 0930kHz. Thanks and be gentle with me. I want to LEARN!
You may already know this, but 0930 kHz is the same as 0.930 MHz and I think the radio displays in MHz.

While I'm not familiar with this particular radio, I would think that if you set the right frequency and you set it to the AM mode, you should hear your local station.

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Old 06-09-2009, 4:16 PM
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Thanks. I got the AM station but the recption is pretty poor. I have the rubber ant. on and I have to move the radio around to get it to tune in. Is this normal with these types of scanners? Thanks again,
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Old 06-09-2009, 4:39 PM
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You probably picked the wrong scanner to start out with. It is not very user friendly because of the fact it has so few buttons. One of the main things to learn on this scanner is how long you hold down the [V/M-S.MW] button. This gave me problems when I first received the scanner. Touching the [V/M-S.MW] quickly will toggle the radio between the VFO mode(like tuning a dial on a standard radio to change the frequency) and memory mode(this mode allows you to scan channels that you program into the memory). To dial up 930 AM touch the [V/M-S.MW] button quickly(less then 1 second) until just a frequency shows up on the display without a channel number on the right side of the display. Don't hold the [V/M-S.MW] down for 1 second or more or you will be in the memory write mode. When in VFO mode hold down the FUNC button on the side of the radio and at the same time rotate the knob on the top down to MHZ reading goes to 0(the number left of the decimal on the display). Without holding the the FUNC button turn the dial on top of the radio until the display shows 0.930. If the dial on the top of the radio just changes the volume while doing this then use the UP and DOWN slew buttons on the front left side of the receiver. The UP and DOWN slew buttons and the knob on top of the radio are interchangable by the user(page 49 in the manual).
I hope this will get you started. If you have any other questions feel free to ask.
Good Luck,
Jim
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Old 06-09-2009, 4:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deskaiser View Post
Thanks. I got the AM station but the recption is pretty poor. I have the rubber ant. on and I have to move the radio around to get it to tune in. Is this normal with these types of scanners? Thanks again,
Sorry for the last post as I see you got your frequency dialed in.
As far as reception you could try changing which antenna the receiver is using. Page 48 allows you to use either the internal ferrite bar or the duckie antenna on the top of the radio. If you are using the ferrite bar you will have to turn the radio in a certain direction like an old transistor radio.

Jim
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Old 06-09-2009, 5:03 PM
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I can't thank you guys enough. This is not a user friendly scanner but I like the size of it. It was suggested to me by an engineer I know who lives in another state. He's very experienced with radios so he might have felt I was also.

One more question: How do I dial in the local police scanner frequency? I live in the City of Buffalo NY. If you could talk me through this step by step that would be great. any help appreciated and YES, I will be contacting my local Ham radio club and get some tutoring. Thanks for the patience with the new guy. I'm a long way from my ham license but will be working towards that.

The national weather channel reception is exceptional with this radio.

Do you think the Scanners for Dummies book would help? Or Ham Radio for Dummies? The catalog I got with the radio has these books listed for sale.

Last edited by deskaiser; 06-09-2009 at 5:05 PM..
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Old 06-09-2009, 6:14 PM
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You are NOT a dummy! Radios like those are extremely hard to program by hand on the fly. It may not have been the best choice to start out with - but hang in there.

I have a similar radio, but unless you use it every day, it is extremely easy to forget the steps needed to do something beyond the basics. Having to drag the manual around with you as a pdf file or other cheat sheet is not uncommon - even for experienced users who understand every single bit of it.

Much of my similarly small radio's capabilities goes unused because I can't remember the menu system since I don't use it every day. So that's the key - if you use it every day it will come, but the initial learning curve might be quite a bit steep.

And this isn't due to any "old guy" syndrome with failing memory either.

So don't feel bad - it isn't you. What were we talking about again?
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Old 06-10-2009, 1:22 PM
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You can find frequencies for Buffalo on this page.

Erie County, New York (NY) Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

Dick
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Old 06-10-2009, 4:02 PM
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Thanks for all the info. I've been playing around with it and got the Buffalo police freq 460.475 . It really is a great little radio but the programing part seems overly complicated. I'm wondering if I can put the buffalo police, NY State police and erie county sheriffs so they all break in when there is a transmission? I may eventually buy the software. Do you think that would help?
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Old 06-10-2009, 7:18 PM
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The R-5 is a great little radio, but it is a little strange to configure. I notice you are from Buffalo, which is my home town.
...moved to Orlando about 20 years ago

This forum and site is an incredible resource for info, but after Googling around, I found someone else struggling with the radio and a response that may help:
Getting started with the ICOM IC_R5 - FixYa

I'm NOT affiliated with them in any way, but this guy makes some great spiral bound, laminated guides:
Nifty HF/VHF/UHF Bands Operating Guide

The other great thing is that you live in Buffalo! What a scanner friendly area compared to many other parts of the country.

As you know, Buffalo Police are on a single frequency. As I remember Niagara Falls and Niagara County Sheriff are also on a single (possibly 2 frequencies.) Buffalo and Niagara Police are in the UHF part of the band, while Niagara County Sheriff is in the VHF part of the band. Search around this site and the net for VHF/UHF frequencies and get used to where things are. If you have time and patience, knowing where different bands are in the whole spectrum will be a big help. AM broadcast is near the bottom, while aircraft, television, business and public service frequencies are further up.

On the radio...

Get used to the V/M and BAND keys. Remember:

V = short for VFO. Just know that this 'mode' allows you to tune up and down in frequency. Press the 'func' button while tuning with the top knob and you'll move much faster. Just like tuning up and down the AM/FM bands.

M = short for MEMORY mode. In memory mode, you're 'tuning' knob now moves up and down in memories that YOU store. As I remember, there were pre-programmed memories in my R-5. You can overwrite these memories, just like the pushbutton presets in your car radio.

BAND = this is where it really comes in handy to have a general guide of frequency ranges. You'll learn a lot about where to find things.

TS = short for 'tuning step'. When you go up and down in frequency, you move in steps, or chunks of frequency. The tuning step allows you to change the increment you move in frequency. Give it a try. Try setting TS to 5.0 and then to 12.5. Notice the difference. Again, knowing your bands will help here. Some bands use 5.0kHz steps, while others, like Buffalo and Niagara Police use 12.5.

Understand kHz and mHz. On your FM radio, WJYE is at 96.9mHz. mHz is to the left of the decimal point and kHz to the right. In this case, the frequency is 96(mHz) and 900(kHz). On AM radio, way down below, you haven't even reached 1mHz yet! In this case, WGR-AM is at 0mHz and 550kHz, or about half of 1mHz.

Living near the Great Lakes and Niagara River, you'll have a lot of fun with Marine frequencies. The Marine call channel is 156.800mHz. This site lists all of the other Marine frequencies.

When it comes to antennas, lower frequencies need longer antennas, while high frequencies use smaller ones. Since you are not transmitting, the specific size isn't critical, but it can make a big difference of just how well you hear something. Again, knowing frequency ranges in general is a big help here. For example, Buffalo Police at 460mHz, only need an antenna about 6" high. WGR-AM, would need about 425'. On the lower frequencies, we cheat a bit and wrap small diameter magnet wire around a small magnetic bar. Larger loop antennas work great for AM by wrapping hundreds of feet of wire into a loop. VHF and UHF antennas are sometimes small enough that they can stand on their own. There are 2 very simple formulas to calculate antenna size. I won't bog you down with them now, but they are all over the web.

And remember; nothing says you need to be methodical about it. Push buttons and combinations of buttons at will! You won't break anything. You will likely end up in a strange mode and then have to figure your way out. That's part of the fun and how you'll learn to operate your radio.

Lastly, try going into 'V' mode, so you can tune the Buffalo Police frequency.

* Press and hold the V/M key. [Notice that below V/M is 'MW' which means 'memory write'.] You should see 3 small numbers on the side flashing. Let go once they flash.

* Turn the 'tuning' knob to 001 with the numbers still flashing.

* Push V/M and hold for about a half second, or until the numbers stop flashing.

You now should have Buffalo Police programmed in 'memory' number 001.

Remember that tapping the V/M (not holding it in) will take you between 'memory' and 'vfo' (tuning) modes. Find a frequency you want to store using the Vfo (V/M) and 'write' them to a preset (Memory). Move quickly across bands using the band button.

I hope that helps a little. There is much more, but maybe the manual will start making sense. Don't give up. Keep pushing buttons!

As time goes on, you can translate a lot of the terminology to other scanners and receivers.

Enjoy the little R-5. It's a great receiver for the money.

Oh - after working with a lot of different programming software, I can't recommend the Icom software. It is probably better than programming by hand, but it's not great. That's only my opinion - especially since you are only working with single frequencies at a time (vs. trunking and digital).

Most other radios - especially todays scanners, I wouldn't think of programming without software.


...and, enjoy the beautiful Summer and Fall up there (until the snow comes) while we bake down here in Florida


PS: I wrote that from memory and didn't check it for grammar. It's all accurate, as I remember. It's probably as good as the manual at least
; )


Best,
Mark - KB2EGB

Last edited by mtitteri; 06-10-2009 at 7:23 PM..
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Old 06-11-2009, 7:47 PM
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Thanks for the info. I am trying to tune into a particular freq but I can't get the tuning step (TS) to go lower than 5. I need to tune into to freq 154.040 . The closest I can get is 154.037 or 154.050

Can you please point me to the manual page that explains how to dial this freq in? Thanks
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