About to pull the trigger on a new receiver...

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hfxChris

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Long story short, my trusty Kenwood R-1000 packed it in. A funeral was held the other day. I was unsurprisingly the only one in attendance.

So after quite a bit of homework and wrestling with my wallet I decided this time to buy new - the Kenwood was an adopted, second hand unit. I really do prefer the desktop style, never was a fan of the smaller portable units, and I need knobs and buttons to fiddle with, so an SDR is out the window. Also if anyone cares I've just been using a random length of wire up in the attic with good results, but I will be looking for better options (looking into loops) in the future.

It seems to me really the only ones for sale now (at least at the popular radio shops in Canada) that don't cost an arm, leg and your first born are the Satellit 750 and the Alinco DX-R8T for about $200-ish more. The Icom R-75 is out of my price range.

My wallet says get the Grundig. My heart says get the Alinco. I'm mostly into HF aero, and a bit of SW broadcast. It seems from reading reviews that the earlier 750s had a lot of issues which may or may not be mostly corrected by now. Also to me the 750 looks cheap. Seems the DX-R8T is the 'better receiver' and its flaws seem few. Also totally realize I will need a power supply for the Alinco, so there's a few more dollars.

And so I am on the verge of pulling the trigger on the Alinco. Anyone care to pull me back from the edge and tell me the 750 will be all the radio I need, and I won't be regretting it in 2-4 years? Or maybe just push me over the edge and say "man up and spend the money you'll love it"
 

trap5858

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Have you looked at the reviews on E-Ham for the various receivers? There is a wealth of knowledge there from end users just like on here. I use an Icom r-20 for my HF listening. Like all radios today, a moderately steep learning curve but overall, quite a handy little radio.
 

hfxChris

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Oh yes, all I've been doing is reading eham reviews, for sure it's a terrific reference. Was just wondering if anyone had any last minute comments before I go deeper into debt :)
 

n0nhp

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From an old "knob twister", you are doing yourself a large disservice by not considering an SDR. Mainly by keeping yourself in the last century as far as the radio hobby is concerned.
Being able to look at and record large swaths of the RF spectrum has made the hobby so much more fun than just blindly tuning and praying.

Have fun with whatever you get.
Bruce
 

hfxChris

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Forgot to mention the Alinco can also be connected to a computer and used as an SDR, however reviews are lukewarm on the available Alinco software. Third party software may be able to get more out of it however...
 

E-Man

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I would take a look at the RFSpace SDR-IQ:

RFspace SDR-IQ Software Defined Receiver, RF Space sdriq

RFSPACE SDR-IQ Software Defined Receiver and Spectrum Analyzer Product Reviews

I really like mine, there is 3 software programs that work with it SpectraVue, SDR Console, and HDSDR. SpectraVue and SDR Console work right out the gate (if memory serves) HDSDR I needed help with Installation.

SpectraVue™ Software

Software Defined Radio

HDSDR Homepage

I like HDSDR the best, however I have not spent much time with the new version of SpectraVue that I recently upgraded to.

In receive comparisons with my R75, the R75 has always been more sensitive, some weak signals are received with the R75 that I am unable to with the SDR-IQ. However, I recently updated the firmware a couple days ago, and the SDR-IQ seems more sensitive than before, but I have not done enough testing yet to confirm. But still there is really no comparison, being able to see signals on a waterfall compared to spinning the knob.

I think both a traditional radio and a SDR compliment each other, I have seen the SDR-IQ sell on Ebay for under $400.00 and think it is a safe buy, as I doubt many folks would open it up and monkey with it. Used R75's and DXR8's have also seen selling for decent prices.

There has been a rumor of a DXR9, but I have not heard anything recently.

The 2013 Dayton Hamvention | The SWLing Post

Your computer should also be a deciding factor, having 2 monitors is a plus as it allows full screen SDR view, and multitasking.

Let us know what you decide on.
 

SCPD

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You do NOT want the 750. It doesn't have true USB/LSB and it is definitely not in the league of the Alinco or ICOM R75. The SDR-IQ is a nice option too but SDRs are not for everyone. If you're not computer-friendly then you might get easily frustrated.

The ICOM R20 is a decent receiver but you do NOT want it for use as a SW receiver. While it has true USB/LSB support it would not make a fun "search" rig. The R20 would be better at storing memory channels and recalling them for SW Broadcast listening.
 

bob550

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My feeling is that when you're choosing between the Alinco and the Grundig, with an approximate $200 price spread, you'll spend the money once, but enjoy the radio for many years. Once you've got the Alinco, you'll quickly forget the extra money you spent. So, go with your heart.
 

hfxChris

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Wish I could but that seller doesn't ship north of the border. The cheapest R75 right now on Ebay Canada is going for $834. Everything gets more expensive up here..

The Alinco can be used as an IQ SDR, and will apparently work well with software like HDSDR. I may be getting the "best of both worlds" - the benefits of an SDR and being able to visually analyze chunks of spectrum, and still have some knobs to spin at the same time. I'm going to spend some time reading up on peoples experiences with that Alinco and third party SDR software packages.

Thanks everyone :)
 

SCPD

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The Alinco R8 would make a fine receiver. It has a free SDR package to download (KG-SDR) and you can likely use it with HDSDR and other freeware software packages.

As with any shortwave radio though, it's your antenna that really completes the system. So don't skimp on that either. :)
 

mule1075

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I would like to thank the OP and everyone else in this thread gave me some insight on some ideas.I have dabbled in SW and HF for awhile now and since I have recently turned 40 want to expand my listening to more than just the scanner.Thanks again everyone.

Sent from my Z750C using Tapatalk
 

dg_w

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Try the Alinco before you buy, I have had two , both had a "cheap" feel for the price, the tuning knob "will" have play in it, there are some videos on utube. As mentioned, don't buy it for the SDR side, its not that great, the Alinco software is also very poor. The menu keys are very close tighter, and the tuning steps are not that great ..... That said I have tried it twice! When in "SDR IQ" mode, you cannot control the Rx manually. There is now Omni rig support and a working .dll you can use with HDSDR.

You wont go wrong with the SAT 750 for the price, I have never had issues with tuning LSB/USB, but understand the issue, not an issue for HF Aero and Broadcast ... Maybe the Tescun Model of the 750 is different on that option

The Funcube Pro+ is a great little SDR if you are thinking of SDR route, plug and play, but needs the PC

How much are the Com Radio SR1 going for these days ? They also look quite nice

Let us know how you get on
 
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ridgescan

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My feeling is that when you're choosing between the Alinco and the Grundig, with an approximate $200 price spread, you'll spend the money once, but enjoy the radio for many years. Once you've got the Alinco, you'll quickly forget the extra money you spent. So, go with your heart.
+1

As with any shortwave radio though, it's your antenna that really completes the system. So don't skimp on that either. :)
+1, can never be stressed enough.

I would like to thank the OP and everyone else in this thread gave me some insight on some ideas.I have dabbled in SW and HF for awhile now and since I have recently turned 40 want to expand my listening to more than just the scanner.Thanks again everyone.

Sent from my Z750C using Tapatalk
It's a pretty fun side of the hobby, mule, especially the more into it you get. Can't hurt-come join in!
 

Token

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Wish I could but that seller doesn't ship north of the border. The cheapest R75 right now on Ebay Canada is going for $834. Everything gets more expensive up here..

The Alinco can be used as an IQ SDR, and will apparently work well with software like HDSDR. I may be getting the "best of both worlds" - the benefits of an SDR and being able to visually analyze chunks of spectrum, and still have some knobs to spin at the same time. I'm going to spend some time reading up on peoples experiences with that Alinco and third party SDR software packages.

Remember that when you use the Alinco as an SDR you cannot use it as a regular radio. So no listening to audio from the radio while in that mode.


The Alinco is extremely limited in regards to the majority of the features that typically define a hobby SDR.

One of the really distinctive SDR features that is difficult to convey just how useful it is, is the waterfall or spectrum displays they bring to the game. This allows a whole new dimension to searching for new or unknown signals. It also allows instant visual cueing as to the mode and frequency relationship of signals. Unfortunately the Alinco only allows 20 or 24 kHz of maximum bandwidth (going from memory, so might be missing the exact number, but it is about that width). This is only enough bandwidth to show a very few signals simultaneously, typically 6 or less if they are tightly packed, one if they have more normal spacing. Compare this to even the cheapest sound card SDR (well under $100 US), whose exact bandwidth is dependant on your soundcard but is typically 96 to 192 kHz of width.

This radio really is a traditional radio with a very limited SDR capability added, almost seemingly as an afterthought. While it is an OK radio (I was not impressed with it when I tried it, instead opting for another R-75), I would not really weigh the SDR feature heavily in the decision making process. If you want SDR get an SDR, and by the way they are WELL worth it, my traditional radios are relegated to backup service or monitoring one frequency just for record purposes, SDR is my primary monitoring tool today.

T!
 

hfxChris

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Well. After I added in the price of the Alinco, plus a power supply, shipping fees and taxes, I'm way up over $600 and at this price my wallet really does become the deciding factor. So I decided to give dedicated SDRs a closer look and I think that's the way I'm going to go for now, and someday if I start to miss spinning dials and pushing buttons, I'll see what's available at that time.
I realize this isn't the SDR forum, but I'm considering the Afedri SDR-Net.
 

nanZor

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Try the Alinco before you buy, I have had two , both had a "cheap" feel for the price, the tuning knob "will" have play in it, there are some videos on utube.
Just a side note - a wobbly knob is easily fixed. On each side of the vfo shaft between it and the knob are two thin metallic shims with adhesive. About the same size and thickness of those found in anti-theft rf-id tags.

When the knob is placed on at the factory, the fit is so tight, that it may push one or both of those shims down near the chassis. Mine also had a slight click due to this.

The fix: Pull the knob. Remove both shims, and this time, just place one shim over the END of the vfo shaft so that a bit of it folds down onto each side of the shaft. Press enough so that the underside adhesive holds. Push knob back on. Done.
 

majoco

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IMHO the Grundig is near the top of the "domestic consumer" market, a lot of knobs and switches and it looks the part. The Alinco is the ''quiet achiever" at the lower end of the "quality" market where we SWLers want to be. You can't see the top of this market up in the clouds, it's far too expensive, only the gummint spends your tax dollars up there......

I wouldn't mind one myself, but the coverage and SDR abilities would just be duplicating some of my other radios. Mind you, you can't have too many radios, hmmm.......:)
 

dg_w

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Re alinco wobble knob

I tried all sorts on both my alinco r8s to resolve the wobbly vfo issue, pulling off the knob and playing with shims had no resolve, it's a lateral play issue from the factory, it will work,fine, but it just feels cheap compared to a lot of receivers, it's like it's got rubber seals or something, alinco told me that the play up to 2mm is acceptable ? Other than that once I got used to the menu system and poor tuning steps it's not all bad, but for the money the grundig will give comparative results for a lot less out lay, as mentioned, do not consider the alinco formats sdr capability, Many second hand transceivers will also out class it as a receiver.? So worth looking the as well In my opinion, sdr wise the Funcube pro plus will out perform the alinco, plus give you VHF etc, for a fraction of the cost, though of course it will need the PC as well! For pure hf the CCW sdr + wil also give great results again for half the cost of the alinco.
 
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