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HF/MW/LW Equipment - For general and technical discussion of all receivers which cover the HF bands. For HF tranceiver discussion please use the Amateur Radio Equipment forum above.

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Old 09-23-2011, 8:12 PM
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Default Icom R75 Vs Alinco DX R8

Anybody have an opinion which radio is better the R75 or the "New" DX R8? Im in the market for a new receiver and stuck between the two. The only thing that appears to be a negative for the DX-R8 is that it requires a power supply to operate. Is this equipped with the radio or is it an added expense?
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Old 09-23-2011, 8:27 PM
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Nope it's an added expense. However the power requirements are so modest you may already have a supply that you can use. The Universal website says 2 things - needs 12v at 1 amp, then it mentions 12v at 3 amp 'for home operation'. Neither is all that excessive.

I haven't seen a point by point comparison - yet - between the R8 and R75. Dave's radio page hasn't done it yet (he used to be associated with Passport to World Band Radio) and as far as I know, no club has published such a comparison. It would be a very worthwhile project (a bit expensive, to be sure - I wish I had that kind of money...)

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Old 09-23-2011, 10:15 PM
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My opinion on these two, in a quick side-by-side, by no means scientific, is here http://forums.radioreference.com/1601058-post7.html

T!
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Old 09-24-2011, 9:40 AM
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I am in the same boat, been going back and forth between the R75 and DX-R8.

I don't care for the external power supply either. would prefer a wall wart like the R75, but what I do like is the memory management, being able to manage the memories thru software. This would help me by being more organized and productive DXing.

What I am looking for in my shack, is one good desktop receiver, one portable, and 2, possibly 3 SDR's, and that's as deep as I want to go.
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:19 AM
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Interestingly while there isn't any third party software for the R8 (yet), there are a few for the R75, and some I'm sure does memory management. Check out the following;

Receiver Software Applications - The RadioReference Wiki

Amateur Radio Transceiver Control - The RadioReference Wiki

IC-R75 - The RadioReference Wiki

To me the lack of an internal power supply for the R8 wouldn't be an issue. Too often power supplies leak noise into the receiver due to poor internal shielding - and the R8 could be powered from another source for a DXpedition. Certainly more flexible that way

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Old 09-24-2011, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ka3jjz View Post
Interestingly while there isn't any third party software for the R8 (yet), there are a few for the R75, and some I'm sure does memory management. Check out the following;
While they might not do receiver control, tune the radio, or handle the memories programs like HDSDR, SpectraVue, PowerSDR, etc should work with the R8 to use the line level in and display and demodulate the SDR spectrum just fine. The software would have to be used as if the R8 were a generic audio I/Q source.

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Old 09-24-2011, 12:02 PM
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True but electricman specifically mentioned memory management which is what I was addressing

Best regards..Mike
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Old 09-24-2011, 2:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ka3jjz View Post
True but electricman specifically mentioned memory management which is what I was addressing

Best regards..Mike
Ooops, I missed that part.

T!
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Old 11-17-2011, 4:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electricman View Post
I am in the same boat, been going back and forth between the R75 and DX-R8.
I ordered a new Icom R75 from HRO. I have had it now for a week, I find it easy to operate, and really pulls in the weak signals like nothing I have had before. The audio is very loud and clear using a CLRdsp and Motorola speaker. In hindsight I wish I would have started with this Receiver years ago.

Shack is under construction, here is a pic of current setup:

Current 11/17/2011 picture by E-ManRR - Photobucket
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Old 11-17-2011, 5:19 PM
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They are fine little radios, I have 13 of them and they run 24/7. Never had a problem with any of them. Knock on wood.
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Old 11-28-2011, 12:44 PM
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I wouldn't discount the RX-8 so quickly. Having an IQ output puts this radio in a different class. This opens up a whole new dimension for versatility and new functions for the radio receiver. When used with Software Defined Radio software you get such features as a spectrum display, plug and play digital decoding, better signal filtering and noise reduction. When used with good SDR software radios such as the R8 and DJ-X11 can sound and perform at the level of far more expensive radios. Also when used with the proper radio cable you have the ability to control the radio and program memories via the computer.

There is a cloning utility available on the Alinco website. There is also a SDR program that directly supports the RX-8 called KG-SDR. This is also available on the Alinco website.

The cloning and SDR program from Alinco are fairly basic. However, as mentioned above you can use some of the more powerful 3rd party SDR programs as IQ decoders. These programs will not tune the radio but will give you the spectrum display and signal processing. Check out PowerSDR with its automatic tracking notch filters.

I don't own the R8, but I do own it's little brother the DJ-X11. I can tell you that using the the DJ-X11 with SDR software converts it into an amazingly good little radio.

So, even though the R8 may not compare favorably to the R75 as a standalone SW receiver, the IQ output should allow the R8 to perform at a much higher level than the R75.
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Old 11-29-2011, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KS4JU View Post
I wouldn't discount the RX-8 so quickly. Having an IQ output puts this radio in a different class. This opens up a whole new dimension for versatility and new functions for the radio receiver. When used with Software Defined Radio software you get such features as a spectrum display, plug and play digital decoding, better signal filtering and noise reduction. When used with good SDR software radios such as the R8 and DJ-X11 can sound and perform at the level of far more expensive radios. Also when used with the proper radio cable you have the ability to control the radio and program memories via the computer.
<<snip>>
So, even though the R8 may not compare favorably to the R75 as a standalone SW receiver, the IQ output should allow the R8 to perform at a much higher level than the R75.
Let me start with the fact I am not picking on the Alinco, at its price point ($100 less than the R75) it is very hard to beat. But, some points about the I/Q output of the Alinco and performance values.

The I/Q output of the Alinco DX-R8 is one of the reasons I looked at that specific radio. But the problem is that if you consider these features to be a plus then also the radios become kind of schizophrenic. If I want a radio that is connected to a computer I can have a sound card based SDR for a good bit less money than the DX-R8 and a DDC SDR for the same price range, but since the DX-R8 is a standalone radio I had hoped it would compare well to other tabletops on the market. I am going to talk to the R75 specifically, but I am not hooked on that radio, there are just lots of measured values to be found for it

With the DX-R8 you can have either the I/Q output or the normal output, but not both at the same time.

What Alinco has done with these radios is to include the features of a sound card SDR with the I/Q output. But, the bandwidth of the I/Q output is only 24 kHz, so it is far less capable than say the $70 SoftRock Ensemble II. In fact, one could add the SoftRock to any radio by tapping the IF and have greater capability than the DX-R8 without any limitations on the original radio.

Also, as far as these radios being in a different class…not necessarily so. Yes, you get digital decoding, yes you get a very, very, narrow banded spectrum display (at the cost of not being able to hear radio audio, so you cannot really use it as a tuning panadapter), but no you do not get “better” signal filtering (depending on how you define better).

Because the DX-R8 becomes a sound card based SDR (you must pump the radio I/Q data into a sound card for processing) it has the same performance limitations of a typical sound card SDR. The exact performance is going to be determined by your specific sound card, but some typical and best case values are pretty easy to baseline. A typical DDC SDR can have 90 to 100 dB of ultimate filter rejection, exceptional ones can have nearly 110 dB. But a sound card based SDR is limited by the channel phase tracking errors of the sound card itself. Since most audio applications don’t care so much about a degree of phase error the sound cards tend to not have very good phase tracking compared to the ADC in a DDC SDR. This will impact filter performance. It is not unlikely that these phase tracking errors in combination with sound card SNR issues will reduce filter performance by 20 dB or even more. This results in 70 to 90 dB (depending on your sound card) of ultimate rejection from the I/Q of the Alinco, and the R75 is measured at 80 dB, right in the middle of that range. These same sound card factors will impact dynamic range, in many examples pushing the SDR/sound card systemic dynamic range below that of the R75 (or similar radios).

On the very plus side is the completely adjustable nature of the SDR filtering. While the sound card SDR may only perform as well (filter performance) as a radio like the R75 the fact is you might have two or three filters in the R75, but you can adjust the filters of the SDR over a very wide range and get the same performance. It is kind of like having a nearly unlimited number of filters to choose from on the SDR, and each of them just as good as the two or three you can have in the R75.

T!
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:45 AM
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Token

Have you ever looked into what soundcard is the best match for using with SDR.

Ohioscan
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Old 02-09-2012, 9:26 AM
   
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Default Wobbling tuning knob

I cannot compare those two receivers but has some experience with Alinco.

I own with DX-R8 about one week and the need of external powers supply is not the worst side of the device. It works with any PS that provides 1 A or more of 12-14 V but my exemplar had a tuning knob defect. There is video of the problem:
Alinco DX-RT8 tuning knob wobbling - YouTube.

What I don't like:
=============
1) No real time clock on a display
2) 'Narrow' filter is too narrow for both AM and SSB and even voice is too muffled in this mode. Actually, 'narrow' mode may be used for CW signals only
3) No fast tuning option and manual scanning in SSB mode is too slow
4) I use an 80 ft long wire with 9:1 balun, antenna, 20 ft above the ground in Northern Florida rural area and the receiver is too noisy in this environment. I can hear USA amateurs only on 80 and 40 meter bands and the sound is far from perfection. AM broadcast stations are in abundance, though, but you may listen them fine with much cheaper radio. My $50 Tecsun-PL210 with a whip antenna performs better in the case.

In short, my expectation about DX-R8 were much above those I've got.
Now I think about R75, though it is not an SDR, unfortunately.
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:06 PM
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I own 2 of the Alinco DX-R8 & 2 Icom-R75 dont have any problems with either using wellbrook active loops
now i am not an expert when it comes to specs but i do have lots of receivers to compare if u havent got a decent antenna u are not going to get any where regardless what radio u have..

Regards Lino..
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:47 AM
   
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Recently I have purchased a Sangean ATS-909X that is twice cheaper than Alinco DX-R8 and must say its reception of ham SSB stations is much better than Alinco's in the same location and by using the same antenna (see my previous message).

The very first day on a whip antenna I've heard a MM station located on a small boat near Georgetown, Bahamas (~550 miles from me) but I couldn't get this station with DX-R8 . May be this is because Sangean has a DSP unit or may be I have a defective exemplar.

I cannot say Alinco DX-R8 is the best receiver under $500, at least what I've bought from Universal Radio.
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:09 AM
   
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I have purchased IC-R75 and now can definitely state that it is much better than Alinco DX-R8.
A triple conversion and DSP make much difference between those receivers.
Also R75 is more convenient to operate not to say about manufacturing quality like wobbling tuning knob - a problem whole Alinco DX-R8 batch is affected.
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Old 05-30-2012, 3:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenFX View Post
I have purchased IC-R75 and now can definitely state that it is much better than Alinco DX-R8.
Don't forget that when you add in the 500khz cw filter, the R75 now costs about twice as much - $869. A $420 difference will buy you a LOT of antenna. Or maybe a 2nd Alinco!

Quote:
A triple conversion and DSP make much difference between those receivers.
No doubt, the R75 has better specs - especially in 3rd order dynamic range. But the Alinco isn't meant to be a contesting rig. R75 dsp - most laugh at it these days. It's all relative though depending on which thread or review you are in.

Quote:
Also R75 is more convenient to operate not to say about manufacturing quality like wobbling tuning knob - a problem whole Alinco DX-R8 batch is affected.
Mine didn't wobble much, but clicked when rotated. Pulled the knob, and found two thin shims that didn't get compressed, but pushed back into the faceplate. Checked that the encoder shaft nut was snug. Discarded the shims and the wobble isn't that bad really. Be careful when reinstalling the knob, since it is a d-shaped shaft. If I feel like it gets too bad, I'll make my own shim out of a small wrap or two of plumber's teflon thread tape. It is huge and easy to wack - I wonder if yours got damaged in shipping?

The encoder is very smooth, although I too wish that the tuning steps for the KNOB were adjustable. As it is, one uses the up/down buttons (selectable step rate), memory, or mhz/khz for coarse tuning or fast band scans. I'm getting used to it, and the leisurely spin through the band has me listening to more stuff that I used to just zoom by.

The BIG plus for me was that it only draws 525 - 570ma (depending on backlighting), unlike my R75 which pulls about 900 ma. For a backyard solar enthusiast, cutting your current draw nearly in half is HUGE. I was really happy about the low current draw.

Sure, it has it's quirks, but I think it is a great value when you consider the REAL cost of filtering up the R75. By now, they are so far apart, it is almost an unfair comparison between the two in regards to cost/performance. I am very happy with the Alinco, although the slow knob tuning might drive some to distraction.

Quite frankly, I think a better comparison might be using an Icom 718 transceiver as a comparison to the Alinco DXR8 in the receiver department. Here too, one has to add in the cw filter to the cost for equivalent function, and the fact that the 718 doesn't have FM (10 meter repeaters etc) and a selectable agc - which on ssb most people dislike for being too fast. (I did the agc jumper mod that worked beautifully for that.)

Last edited by hertzian; 05-30-2012 at 3:35 AM.. Reason: typos
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Old 06-01-2012, 3:20 AM
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I spent more quality time with my new DX-R8....

Quote:
...2) 'Narrow' filter is too narrow for both AM and SSB and even voice is too muffled in this mode. Actually, 'narrow' mode may be used for CW signals only
Correct. Derived from an amateur transceiver, the narrow mode in AM is 2.4khz, and for SSB, it is only 1khz. Too narrow for either - but narrow mode is not really meant to be used on AM or SSB in this rig.

Normally, in cw mode, the standard in the Alinco is 1khz. Nice. Narrow in cw mode get you down to 500hz audio filtering. Perhaps not as nice as a crystal filter, but it does the job for non-contesting situations in cw.

If you need narrow filtering in AM mode, your best bet is to use ECSSB mode. That is, when listening to a broadcast station, switch to either USB or LSB and zero beat - easy to do with the slow tuning knob. Make sure you aren't in a narrow mode here. Start out with your IF shift centered, and tweak if needed after zero beating. Works really well, and I actually prefer doing ECSSB rather than sync detection - which was removed from current R75's. Adjust your agc for fast or slow depending on conditions.

Quote:
3) No fast tuning option and manual scanning in SSB mode is too slow
Yep - the fast-tune option is done with the arrow keys. Select your desired step, and hold either up or down (make sure that Key-Repeat is active in the menu). Fine tune with knob. I'm a vfo-guy myself, so this is taking a little getting used to. Alinco is kind of forcing me to use the features I paid for.

Scanning on this receiver is pretty comprehensive, although I don't use it for HF much. With the squelch open, you want it slow. If you actually use the squelch, the scan goes pretty fast. Not much use for me on HF, but I could see someone with some great antennas or propagation using it for utility / beacon scanning etc if they are aware of how HF scanning can be a compromise at times. It seems apparent that perhaps GRE had a hand in this - the scanning ability of the R8T/E is the best I've seen - even though I don't use it. Programmable stops, delays, timeouts, priority etc. Kind of wish they had thrown in the VHF airband with all that cool scanning features.

Quote:
4) I use an 80 ft long wire with 9:1 balun, antenna, 20 ft above the ground in Northern Florida rural area and the receiver is too noisy in this environment. I can hear USA amateurs only on 80 and 40 meter bands and the sound is far from perfection.
Just make sure that you don't have the preamp on - especially on the low bands. Since the preamp toggles along with the rf-attenuator, this might be something you can miss, although +10 on the display signifies the preamp is on. When I first got my R75, I was blowing my ears out running both preamps thinking "man, this radio is hot!". As years went on, I found that I don't use preamps much at all.

Quote:
AM broadcast stations are in abundance, though, but you may listen them fine with much cheaper radio. My $50 Tecsun-PL210 with a whip antenna performs better in the case.
Ah, maybe you are getting desensed from a nearby broadcast station - not uncommon and this isn't a contesting radio. Perhaps a <1500 khz filter would help in your location. I have the PAR BCST-HPF filter, but luckily I don't need it in my current location.

Don't get me wrong - I love my R75. But if one can put up with the non-adjustable knob step rate (cmon Alinco - do a firmware option for that please!), and some ergonomic things like small buttons for a radio that makes extensive use of them, I think the Alinco DX-R8 makes a fine receiver for the class it is in.

Last edited by hertzian; 06-01-2012 at 4:13 AM.. Reason: typos
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Old 06-02-2012, 4:37 PM
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Default Actual filters in Alinco DX-R8

Taking a tip from another thread when it was first released, I saw mention of being able to use Collins mechanical filters if you want:

http://forums.radioreference.com/hf-...-receiver.html

I pulled the bottom off mine and found some Murata ceramic filters:

SSB - CFJ455K-5 nominal 2.4khz bw
CW - CFJ-455K-8 1 khz bw
AM - W55G-W 9khz bw

The board makes it obvious that you can replace these with Collins mechanical filters (and a solder jumper - see the supplied schematic).

Obviously, this isn't at all like having an R75's stackable crystal filters, but is more like the Icom 718, Yaesu 857/897 series of transceivers.
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