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Shortwave receiver ?

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#1
I live in an apt with no means to setup an external antenna. Is it worth it for me to pick up a professional table top such as R75 using an RF Systems EMF antenna? OR could I take it down a notch and go for one of the Eton/Grundig Satellit portables using long wire / home brew loops?

The only thing I have going is that I'm at the top of my building and I face the ocean.

I guess my question is- With no external antenna is it worth it to spend the extra few hundred bucks on the Icom? Do you think I'd pick up the same signals with a Grundig Satellit?
 
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#2
The basic rule in radio is to have the best antenna you can install (whether external, or internal). A crappy antenna will make any receiver (regardless of cost) have reduced "ears". Active antenna systems may bring in more signals but raise your noise floor as well. The better receivers do have a better set of filters installed. The best thing to do is meet up with someone who has the radios you are considering and try it at your place. It cost nothing and gives you a reality check for your location. There are also loads of articles out there for "stealth" or restricted antenna construction.
 

ka3jjz

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#3
Another factor to consider is what you are trying to hear. Most portables are fine for hearing the stronger HF broadcast stations, but tend to fall short if you're digging out weaker stations or trying to listen in a crowded band (say, 6 mhz at night...). Trying to hear utility stations (such as military) would quickly frustrate you if you were trying to get something that was weak or interfered with (most stronger stations would likely be no problem).

Basically most portables are fine for getting started - and there are some very good ones out there - but eventually, if you really want to start digging, a dedicated desktop is the way to go. (The Eton E1 is a portatop - a marriage between a portable and a desktop - and as long as you get one that works correctly, it's a winner - but that's the exception to the rule...). I would also not rule out getting a second hand ham rig, as most of the modern machines these days have a general coverage receiver built in - and you get the incentive to get your license to boot...

Look in our wiki and you will find an article for receiver reviews. There are numerous places on the net - and in hard copy - to find reviews. Certainly trying a receiver at another location is an option, but go into doing that informed. We also have an article on HF antennas, some of which can be installed indoors. There's even 2 or 3 Yahoo groups (likely more) devoted to the subject of antennas. The Shortwave SWL antennas group even has several attic mounted suggestions - so if that's available to you, with a little work, you could be good to go

73 Mike
 
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Zaratsu

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#4
<quote>
As mentioned above an Eaton E1 or E1XM is a darn good radio without breaking the bank, just expect the antanna to be the critical component and be prepared to spend a few hundred extra on that. On the other hand, a used R75 is very nice too, but it stays where it is generally and wont be able to go with you on traveling like the Eaton.
</quote>
Are you nuts??? A hundred for an antenna?? What are you using - a gold plated slinky? Heck, a PAR EF-SWL is a heckuva lot cheaper then that. I know a few folks that have put that up in their attic, and it seems to work well. It should also work well in a crawlspace, if it's long enough. The Mar 2006 edition of MT had an article for a 'FlexTenna' which I even see reported in NASWA from time to time. In addition, the FlexTenna would probably work somewhat better than the Slinky on that Sony portable. There's lots of other options - the HF antenna wiki has a few options - and as mentioned earlier, the Shortwave SWL antenna yahoo group has a few more. Learning how to solder properly and build antennas is an inexpensive, and worthwhile, skill to get. <ka3jjz>

<quote>
Oh nuts! I forgot, I just bought a mint copy of "Shortwave Listener's Guide for APartment/COndo Dwellers" by Edward Noll W3FQJ from MFJ publishing for $4 from a used book store this past weekend. (along with a mint copy of the 1992 Passport to WBR). Lots of good tips in here, but I havent done much than skim it yet. Looks like it will help me quite a bit tho.
</quote>

Ed's books are usually quite interesting - that's a definite keeper. 73 Mike

[edit] Dan - I apologize - I edited this post when I wanted to quote from it. My bad (Mike)
 
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#5
Thanks guys. I'm still doing some research. There's a chance I'll spring for the Icom with the intentions of hooking it up to a real antenna in the future. For now I can just sling the EMF antenna around my place and see what I can pick up. ... But the Grundig 750 is coming out in a few months and might have potential. Damnit!
 
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#6
I'm pretty sure I have a sickness... I scoured ebay ,contemplated back and forth - found a pretty good auction, an Icom R75 never been used - $450. Well, I jumped on it right away despite my original argument that I still wont have a high power antenna for it. I'll make the best of my long wire rigs when it arrives.
 
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#7
redchord11 said:
I'm pretty sure I have a sickness... I scoured ebay ,contemplated back and forth - found a pretty good auction, an Icom R75 never been used - $450. Well, I jumped on it right away despite my original argument that I still wont have a high power antenna for it. I'll make the best of my long wire rigs when it arrives.
You made a good choice! I suffer from the same sickness as you do don't worry :D. The good thing about buying a good rig instead of a cheap one is the increased sensitivity that usually accompanies the package! In other words, a random long wire more then likely will yield decent results!

Hope you enjoy your new toy! Might also want to check out the wiki and look at utility monitoring (digital modes on hf) since from what I hear is where the R75 shines!
 
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#8
Originally Posted by redchord11
I'm pretty sure I have a sickness... I scoured ebay ,contemplated back and forth - found a pretty good auction, an Icom R75 never been used - $450. Well, I jumped on it right away despite my original argument that I still wont have a high power antenna for it. I'll make the best of my long wire rigs when it arrives.



I used 2 Slinkys@ into a dipole balun for listening . Put it on the ceiliing with cup hooks and run the coax to th R-75 or just use zip cord into the other antenna connection. You will hear a lot more than you think, especially if you can run it above the window facing the ocean or on the outside.
 

Zaratsu

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#9
redchord11 said:
I'm pretty sure I have a sickness... I scoured ebay ,contemplated back and forth - found a pretty good auction, an Icom R75 never been used - $450. Well, I jumped on it right away despite my original argument that I still wont have a high power antenna for it. I'll make the best of my long wire rigs when it arrives.

Congrats on the Icom. That thing will blow away the Sat 750 whenever it comes out. The sat 750 will no doubt be a nice user friendly radio with the good sensitivity that comes with most decent modern radios, but it is a nostalgia unit, not a serious reciever. I almost bought one for $350 before buying my Sony, but I figured that if I didnt care much for SWL, then at least I would have something that could pick up Savage and C2C when the locals interrupt for hockey night or something.:cool:
 

ka3jjz

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#10
Actually the Sat 750 may have a place in the market; currently there are no low-mid priced tabletops being produced, and while I agree it's a very basic receiver (having seen an engineering mockup at the Winterfest), it may be a very good intro radio - somewhat better than the low-mid end portables, but perhaps not quite as good as an AOR7030 or NRD.

Such an entry would be a welcome addition, assuming it performs well. The lack of sync detection or DSP would not be a deterrent if Eton is trying to get an intro radio out there that doesn't intimidate a newcomer. It's an interesting marriage in design between 2 models from different manufacturers - the 6800W from Sony, and the RF2200 from Panasonic (in fact, Skip Arey of MT and Dr.Kim Andrew Elliott (late of the VoA and an old friend of mine), both of whom were with me at the forum, remarked as much...). It's a wonder to me neither of those companies are screaming 'patent infringment' or some such :.>>

73 Mike
 

Zaratsu

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#11
ka3jjz said:
Actually the Sat 750 may have a place in the market; currently there are no low-mid priced tabletops being produced, and while I agree it's a very basic receiver (having seen an engineering mockup at the Winterfest), it may be a very good intro radio - somewhat better than the low-mid end portables, but perhaps not quite as good as an AOR7030 or NRD.

Such an entry would be a welcome addition, assuming it performs well. The lack of sync detection or DSP would not be a deterrent if Eton is trying to get an intro radio out there that doesn't intimidate a newcomer. It's an interesting marriage in design between 2 models from different manufacturers - the 6800W from Sony, and the RF2200 from Panasonic (in fact, Skip Arey of MT and Dr.Kim Andrew Elliott (late of the VoA and an old friend of mine), both of whom were with me at the forum, remarked as much...). It's a wonder to me neither of those companies are screaming 'patent infringment' or some such :.>>

73 Mike
Oh I agree. Where the small portables are probably "too fiddly" and the E1 is "too much" the 750 should fit in well as it will be easy to listen to and tune. This type of radio has been missing from the market and people have been buying used radios with the properties that the 750 should have, now they can get the comfort of a new radio. I may have to get one myself if I cant talk myself into an E1.
 
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#13
"I live in an apt with no means to setup an external antenna. Is it worth it for me to pick up a professional table top such as R75 [...] or could I take it down a notch and go for one of the Eton/Grundig Satellit portables using long wire / home brew loops?"

I used an IC-R75 in my apartment, where likewise I couldn't set-up outdoor antennas. With inexpensive externals (mounted indoors) I easily received sideband utility stations from Canada and Europe. On a regular basis and I live in the United States. The IC-R75 is an incredibly sensitive receiver; I don't think a Grundig Satellit could even come close to matching it.

The trick I found is to only use the Hi-z antenna connections on the IC-R75, when setting-up an external indoor antenna. There were two indoor antennas I would use on the IC-R75; each gave stunning results when attached to the Hi-z terminals: (1.) a brass Slinky antenna and (2.) the "Ultimate AM Antenna". Either one can be purchased for less than $40.00.

So for your indoor situation, if you're deciding between an IC-R75 vs. a Grundig or an Eton, definitely use the IC-R75. There's actually a world of difference in sensitivity of reception.
 
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ka3jjz

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#14
And to add to this - The R75 will work just fine with a loop design, of which we have a couple in our wiki. The Carpet Loop is a great first time builder project, and you can make the loop element as big (or small) as you desire. There are a few active loops out there as well.

73 Mike
 

ka3jjz

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#16
Yeah, Passport reported on this recently. It's interesting - before they discontinued the R71A they removed the passband function, then put it back. That's not to say that the R75 is being discontinued - it's highly doubtful - it's just odd.

It's not much of a loss anyway. The vast majority of R75 owners I have spoken with say the sync detector doesn't do much in this receiver anyway. That's one of the reasons Kiwa came up with some fixes, which I understand does make quite a difference.

73 Mike
 
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#17
Synchronous Detection: I have the Sony 7600GR which has this feature, and I have to say while it works well, it wouldn't be a must-have for me in the future. Sure it keeps AM broadcast stations in tune, but it doesn't seem to work on sideband stations (can someone confirm it's supposed to do this on sideband?)

Even on AM broadcast, I'd trade this feature for better sensitivity.
 

HF

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#18
r75

hello. I have an R75 connected to a 102" ss whip antenna mounted under the eaves (actually, there is about 10 feet on side of house without eaves, so its monuted to the wood where the eaves would be). added 2 102" radial made from wire, and I get excellent signals from all bands. 80/40 are especially good if you can believe it. heard a guy from Spain last night on 80 metres.

maybe try this antenna and mount it to your balcony railing if you have a balcony. since you are on the top floor, it should be a stealthy antenna.

Jason
 

ka3jjz

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#19
eorange said:
Synchronous Detection: I have the Sony 7600GR which has this feature, and I have to say while it works well, it wouldn't be a must-have for me in the future. Sure it keeps AM broadcast stations in tune, but it doesn't seem to work on sideband stations (can someone confirm it's supposed to do this on sideband?)

Even on AM broadcast, I'd trade this feature for better sensitivity.
It would be a rather questionable tradeoff, frankly. You can almost always improve the sensitivity of a radio fairly easily - better antenna, ect. - but it's much harder to do something like sync detection and improve overall selectivity, which in and of itself, is a far better feat. At one point - maybe it's still around - there was an outboard unit from Sherwood engineering that, when properly wired, would put sync detection on a receiver, but the wiring is not trivial.

As for the 7600 sync detector - there are actually a couple of variants on a theme. One is a DSB based detector, the other is more properly thought of as a 'selectable sideband' detector. A little homework with Passport, as well as EHam and a few other sources, is suggested to see if indeed the 7600's is a DSB (AM) detector, which it sounds like it is....

73 Mike
 

ka3jjz

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#20
A very quick follow up - reviews on EHam suggest that the 7600 can use sync in sideband selectable mode. What this basically means is that if you have a signal that is being interfered with splatter and other junk on one sideband, you should be able to use sync to listen in on the opposite sideband with much clearer audio. I would check in with a 7600 Yahoo group (yep, I'm willing to bet there is one...) for others with the same radio, as well as doing some legwork...

[edit] Yep, here it is courtesy of RadioIntel...

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/7600GR/

Anyway, I'm sure some folks here are wondering what the heck is sync detection - this article, linked from our wiki, is a bit technical but is nevertheless good reading on the subject..

http://www.radio-electronics.com/info/receivers/synchdet/sync_det.php

I'm pretty certain that the R75's detector was a DSB type (often written as 'SAM' for 'Synchronous AM'), but hey, I've been wrong before ;) .

73 Mike
 
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