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Old 12-10-2014, 11:17 PM
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Default The dream of the Icom R9000 is it still worth it?

I been monitoring on and off since the 90's and for along time those early years I lusted over the Icom R9000 receiver. I wanted one so bad but a new unit back then was way out of a young mans price range.

Now that I'm older and can swing some major purchases I see R9000s here and there on ebay or other places used of course and for still a nice chuck of change but doable as long as the wife don't find out. But also in the back of my mind I'm wondering is it even worth getting a 15-20 year old tech radio. I can certainly use that money to pay for a new radio for sure, but somehow I don't seem to be as excited over anything else. I still love to have a R9000 that is in good working order that seem to be rare but pop up sometimes I dont look forward to having to replace all the capacitors but will cross that bridge if I get there.

So what you all think R9000 still worth it? still a contender? Or just another old radio that may get little to no use with todays tech and SDRs.

Oh and BTW the R9500 price WTF!

Thanks
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Old 12-11-2014, 12:06 AM
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If it's been cared for and not abused, I'd certainly think it's still a contender. The frequency coverage can be duplicated by an SDR receiver for a fraction of the price, but that's only a small fraction of the pleasure of owning a real receiver.

With an IF output and video output, it lends itself to DSP applications, data decoding, and complex modulation modes. I say go for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by osros View Post
Oh and BTW the R9500 price WTF!
Yeah, $13,500 is a bit steep for the typical hobbyist, but that's probably not the target audience. Thing is, conventional receive coverage beyond 2 GHz is probably close to useless, and that's a lot of what you're paying for.

Last edited by zz0468; 12-11-2014 at 12:12 AM..
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Old 12-11-2014, 12:18 AM
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I would look at a newer SDR-based receiver (real standalone receiver - not just a tuner stick) since it will have better performance, more features, and be lower cost.
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Old 12-12-2014, 2:48 AM
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I have a R8500wTVR7100and ARD25, R2500wP25, AR5000wARD25, AR8600wP25 for the money it took for the R9000. I would think long and hard about something that old these days and the lack of parts.

Go R9500 if you can afford it or the R2500, R8500wARD300

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Old 12-12-2014, 3:43 AM
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Old 12-12-2014, 5:09 AM
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I tried to duplicate the R9000 coverage back in the 1990's by buying an R7100 (before they were cell blocked) and an R72. As it turned out, the R72's specs were just not that great, but the R7100 was everything it set out to be. I still have both. I'd gladly sell the R72, but I won't part with the R7100.

The sex appeal to the R9000 back in the day was the display. Now that I have an IC-7600 HF transceiver, the R9000's display looks very old school.
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Old 12-12-2014, 4:09 PM
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Thanks All,

I know I wont get as much out of the R9000 as a new unit with similar specs but it was just that thing that was out of reach before that I now can obtain if in good working order if I wanted.

I need to consider what I need really or what I like to have just for the sake of having. I guess the R9000 would be more of a collectible radio for me, sure can use it and enjoy it but I must admit I would still go to my A5000A & SDRs for any serious work.

I love all the buttons and dials of a real table top receiver and they are fading away. I would like to add another unit something HF only or wideband in a real tabletop, R8500, R75, R7100 Im keeping my eye on as well.

For now I do need a good SDR for real work so far its Elad FDM-S2 or Airspy in fact I can get both for what I was gonna spend on the R9000 and have plenty left over.
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Old 12-12-2014, 9:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W9BU View Post
I tried to duplicate the R9000 coverage back in the 1990's by buying an R7100 (before they were cell blocked) and an R72. As it turned out, the R72's specs were just not that great, but the R7100 was everything it set out to be. I still have both. I'd gladly sell the R72, but I won't part with the R7100.

The sex appeal to the R9000 back in the day was the display. Now that I have an IC-7600 HF transceiver, the R9000's display looks very old school.
The R7100 were not just cell blocked the entire 800-900MHz was missing. And believe it or not there is a way to fix that gapping hole. The best combo I had was the R7100A and the R71A not sure why the R72A was not as good.


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Old 12-12-2014, 10:20 PM
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I wouldn't touch one with a 10ft barge pole. Well, maybe I would if I saw a good example for $750

They may have been cutting edge when they were released back in the early '90s, but the kind of money being asked for them today (>$2500 in some cases) is ridiculous IMHO.

I suppose, if you were handy with a soldering iron and had access to half decent test equipment, you might be able to keep it running, but I think you would be pulling the covers off on a regular basis to replace those drying out aging electrolytic capacitors and other components.

Personally, if I had that much disposable income burning a hole in my pocket, I'd be waiting to see what the new AOR DV receiver is like.
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Old 12-14-2014, 11:50 AM
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FWIW, I owned a R9000 for several years. Like you, I always thought of it as THE communications receiver. Certainly, it was visually impressive, but I was never impressed with its actual performance and eventually sold it as a cash cow. IMHO, I'm sure it's even less capable these days, given the advances in the radio art.

If it were me, I'd be looking at some newer rigs... perhaps something typically used by the feds or the military that's rated for DC to daylight.
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Old 12-14-2014, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chief21 View Post
If it were me, I'd be looking at some newer rigs... perhaps something typically used by the feds or the military that's rated for DC to daylight.
Sometimes the Watkins-Johnson vhf/uhf receivers show up on eBay for a reasonable price.
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Old 12-14-2014, 6:48 PM
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The R9000 still ranks fairly well on Rob Sherwood's site and much better than the R-8500 and AOR 5000. I can't think of any hobby type SDR receiver with the same frequency range that would touch it in performance.
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Old 12-14-2014, 7:26 PM
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I own an R9500, and I can tell you that I don't think they are worth the price. The R9000 used to be the gold standard for receivers, but I can definitively state that the Winradio product lines that include the Excalibur Pro and Excelsior are the best receivers I've ever worked with - period.

I'm actually very disappointed with Icom and the R9500 because I think it is a fantastic platform and it appears that they just don't feel like rolling out any new functionality to the unit. Last firmware update was many many years ago.

Edit:

When it comes to overall receiver performance - I think that the AOR AR5000MK3 is the best receiver I've ever used. It has a pretty steep learning curve, but once you get the hang of it you will find it outperforms anything you'll ever use..
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Old 12-14-2014, 7:47 PM
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Im too really disappointed about Icom not releasing any new uprade for the R9500 like they did for many other product like the 7800. I would really like the waterfall spectrum display. But comparing the R9500 and the AR5000a its like comparing apple and orange. And yes i used to own a AR5000a.

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Old 12-14-2014, 10:32 PM
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AOR AR5000MK3? That right?

Certainly alot of different viewpoints on the R9000. Thanks all once new shack is ready I think it be best I focus on good antenna setup and radio upgrades that will bring me up and running again with a good HF unit and some good SDR units. I'll let the collectible radios alone for a bit. I do got an eye on a JRD-545 tho

I honesty have not put my AR5000A through its paces yet kinda went on a monitoring pause shortly after I got it, love to get back to it.
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Old 12-15-2014, 11:00 AM
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Hello,

I been looking around for another receiver and considered the Icom R9000 as well. It is helpful to research the receivers on the internet. Some receivers have features added, and bugs fixed in later hardware/firmware versions. I have seen people offer receivers with early hardware/firmware for more money than other offers with the later hardware/firmware.

I was reading some comment about most of the receivers mentioned on the thread on the N9EWO website. His emphasis is on HF monitoring. He thinks the Icom IC-76000 is as good and slightly better than the Icom 9500 on HF.
ICOM IC-R9500 DSP Wide Band Receiver N9EWO
ICOM IC-7600 DSP HF Transceiver - N9EWO Review

Other comments he made on the Icom IC-9000:
This gem covers the entire spectrum, well at least the part we would be listening to. At a little over 44 lbs (20 kg) you do not want to carry one very far,the size with the weight of this beast makes it hard to handle. The paint chips very easily (after owning 2 of these, I know this first hand with the cabinet. As the reports have said over the years, this radio does indeed run VERY H-O-T. One cause is the power supply transistor, and bridge rectifier mounted on the rear heat sink. But other area's on the bottom receiver boards create lots of heat too. I have used an external power supply to power the radio (only as a test) and it makes a difference in the heat. Has a super "Notch" filter, very deep and sharp. Very easy to use. The AM mode audio is OK, however distortion is in there making it a bit ruff to listen to hour after hour. Distortion on SSB signals is almost nil (ALOT better).The "line" output is low in level, I used to use a mic mixer to boost this up.

NOTE : The R-9000 can suffer from the nasty "VCO" issues that plauged most Icom sets in this era. VCO capacitors (and perhaps even more) will have to be replaced out. Yes, it affects SW bands as well !! Very expensive to repair. Of course the other bug-a-boo is the CRT (if you don't have a later LCD version). By now any sample that has been used, as can be figured due to age/heat stress....it's going to be a high failure issue.
Dave's N9EWO ShortWave Receiver Master List


I wanted a National HRO-500 back in the 1970s. Technology marches on. The older premium radios can suffer from aging components to unobtainable custom parts. The newer LED Backlight LCD displays are better than CRT. Newer DSP chips are faster and more capable.

I also have a old AOR5000, which is not rated very high in the Sherwood Engineering tests. I like it. I mostly monitor VHF/UHF with it, but will use it for LW/HF. I also have a R2500, mainly for the dual receivers, but found it is deaf on LW. My current toy is the ELAD FDM-S2 SDR, which works great on HF and FM Broadcast.

73 Eric
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Old 01-08-2015, 1:12 PM
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I too never failed to grab the IC-781 and R9000 brochures at the hamfest as a kid, but I have to agree - rather than dropping $2000 on an R9000 i'd rather spend $1000 on a good SDR and another $1000 on a couple lesser vintage rigs.

Some day when I win the lotto I'll set up that full IC-751A/271/471/1271/R71/R7000 stack, and it will be gorgeous. I saw one full pile like that, with accessories, for like $2500 on eBay. Seems like more fun to me.
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Old 01-08-2015, 2:25 PM
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Personally, I would not buy technology that old, especially with the concerns expressed above. However, there is another way you can approach the matter, if you view the purchase as a rental. Sometimes it is worth owning something you have wanted for a long time just to reinvigorate your enthusiasm for a hobby. If you can get a good R9000 for a reasonable price, it might be worth owning. Then you can resell the unit later after you have enjoyed using it.

Last year I bought a New Old Stock item (music related) that was released in 1996. At a cost of only $700, the price was worth it because I knew that some day I could easily resell it for $500 or more, and I paid less than the release cost of the item, even though it was in a factory sealed box.
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Old 08-03-2015, 3:20 PM
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You have to think of the R9000 as a classic car (lets say a 1968 427 Corvette).
It is big, sounds great and is fun to play with. Looks great and it still very fast and fun to drive.
It has a classic look that is still interesting (look at that spectrum scope on the Amber CRT!).

However, if you want to drive across the country there are many more modern cars that are cheaper, more efficient and even faster.

The AOS AR5000M3 is another good one, fantastic performance, but with tiny/overloaded buttons and a tiny VFO knob.

If you are just looking to receive and then slice and dice the signal the SDR radios (and usb dongles) are they way to go. If you want to spin the knobs there is still fun to be had in the old, classic radios.
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Old 08-06-2015, 4:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkf435 View Post
The R7100 were not just cell blocked the entire 800-900MHz was missing. And believe it or not there is a way to fix that gapping hole. The best combo I had was the R7100A and the R71A not sure why the R72A was not as good.


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The fix for 800 on the 7100 took about 15 minutes to do. Very simple.
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