Icom r-20 help

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AnneMacCat

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Nov 9, 2004
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My husband bought a very nice ICOM R-20 the beginning of the week. He is having one big problem, understanding the manual!! That thing is so confusing and can be hard to follow. I know it is a completely different scanner than the ever so simple Radio Shack, or the sometimes it can be a little complicated until you get the hang of it Uniden. I know ICOM is a totally different type of scanning experience, I do understand this and so does my husband. Could SOMEONE out there please assist my husband in getting started with this?? Once he learns the basics of this great advanced scanner he will be able to have it up and running in no time at all.
He has helped so many people in the past with setting up their scanners, to get them going, and so have I. We both have very many years of experience in the scanner world which is why we are so stumped as to why we are having such difficulties with this. I do realize we may be experiencing a mind set when it comes to a completely different scanner type, as I did when it came to learning to program my Uniden BCD 396T after programming my Radio Shack 96 and many others. It is a completely different style of programing between the two different types.
Is there someone out there who can kindly provide him with assistance to the dilemma?? Someone in Canada would be nice, someone in Calgary would be excellent. If so, he can call you so you don't run up a long distance bill as it would be no charge for us (Vonage).
He is driving me NUTS with this problem!! I beg you, whoever you may be, PLEASE!!!! respond to this and help us!! The main reason he bought this is to listen to shortwave and military air, which we both like listening to, that is, when we can pick something up. As it is going, we both got quite good at picking up TV and radio stations. That was easy to do.
Oh yea, he has even tried this online manual someone has created.
He saw some great videos too.
It's got to be something quite simple he just isn't getting.
I'm begging you, pleading with you!
Send me a PM, anything, so I can get him going in the right direction. I just got me a new computer too (the tax man left us a nice refund, all gone now!) and I want to play with that, not with his new scanner!!!
Sorry this is so long, I'm desperate.
 

Essexscan

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Oct 14, 2008
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Start with the RR R-20 Wiki There's lots of info there for a new R-20 owner
IC-R20 - The RadioReference Wiki


It is a different animal from a regular scanner. It's alot like a portable R7100 Receiver. It may take some time to get used to but it can pickup traffic other scanner only wish to
 

Kennrth

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Jul 24, 2006
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Location
Bay Shore Long Island NY
Hi AnneMacCat,
You guys are ahead of the curve. Butels’s ARC-20 software program will not be out until June. For now your stuck poking and pecking to get those frequencies in there LoL. Be calm – The manual is not the worst I’ve seen believe me. Keep in mind the memory is simple bank channel type programming. No trunking, no digital or dynamic memory allocation. Be specific about a problem and help will come. It is a good hand held general coverage receiver not meant to be a specialists in scanning. This radio claim to fame is it’s incredible front end and image rejection compared to other wideband handhelds. Maybe you accidentally changed some of the functions of the controls by accident?
 

maplebear

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Jan 19, 2005
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We did a search from 2 mhz to 24 mhz and did not hear anything.
We can hear local tv ,radio stations and 162.400 just fine.
We have checked out RR wiki and cannot get anything between those frequencies .
We must have the settings wrong.
Can someone please help us set up for this ? or figure out what we did wrong?
 

Essexscan

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Are you trying to scan in AM mode between 2mhz and 24mhz? If So you may not have the am antenna setting on internal bar and you're using the ext antenna for am which isn't good for long range

push and hold the (8) key until the menu shows, use the right vfo knob on top to scroll down to the AM antenna setting then press the (8) key again, use the right knob again and switch to BAR then push the dual watch button (top left) Try your scan again and see if its better
 

maplebear

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We tried this and it is stopping on some of the freqs but all we are hearing is static.
What is the RF gain setting suppose to be set at?
 

Essexscan

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should be at max unless you want to filter out weak signals, also make sure the attenuator is off ( no ATT in the lower left corner when in single freq mode or no little a next to the v in dual watch mode) its the bottom left key just above the ICOM label push and hold for a second that may get you going
 

AnneMacCat

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Nov 9, 2004
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Get this! He went up to the 4th floor of the building to one of the vacant apartments to see what he'd get. He got very faint voices coming over the ICOM. He came back down and just outside our door he is picking up some Hispanic station. He comes back in here and nothing. We look around the room. There are two laptops, one wireless. There are 6 different scanners, two wireless phones, a bunch of security cameras for the building, the router and stuff for the computers, a satellite receiver and an HD tv. That's a lot of stuff. So, we turn everything off. He finds a station from Cuba right off the bat (we're in Western Canada). Cool! I then turn my computer in (wireless). Doesn't mess with the ICOM a bit. I then turn the tv on. WoW!! All kinds of noise and none of it good!! It's our life that is bothering the ICOM, not our programming it or how we were adjusting it!! Now to get an antenna that will do the trick.
Thank you to those who tried to help us. You gave us some helpful advice. We learned from all this, and we are still learning. This is not like any thing we've ever used and I have great respect for what it can do.
 

joneil2000

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Mar 23, 2010
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A few days late here, but I've been testing out the new ARC20 software from Butel for the R20, and I love it. Ditto for the IC-R5 software.

I'm a bit dense on programming by hand these scanners, and while I love my R5, I think the programming is a complete PITA. Even the Icom software is a complete PITA. But I almost think there should be a sticky or warning or whatever with every R5 or R20 sold to the effect "buy the Butel software right away." I would almost recommend that over a better antenna first too. :)

Anyhow, if you are still looking for help, but the software, buy a cable, and buy a sub to RR, and it's a totally different scanner after that.
 

DaveIN

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It's sad that the programming system has to be this way. It was adopted early on from the R-1 on and hasn't improved much in the latest models. The receivers on these radios are great, too bad Icom couldn't take another look at the ergonomics.
 

AnneMacCat

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Nov 9, 2004
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j But I almost think there should be a sticky or warning or whatever with every R5 or R20 sold to the effect "buy the Butel software right away." I would almost recommend that over a better antenna first too.[/QUOTE said:
I agree with you 100% on that!! Since the first post made, we have learned a lot about the R20. We made a simple copper loop antenna which makes a huge difference. My husband is on the waiting list to get the new Butel software. He is also going to purchase the other software out there. He also found he was doing everything right, it was the tv interfering with the reception among other things.
Thank you all for all your advise.
 

Mustafa

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Feb 10, 2010
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Abbotsford,BC
Are you trying to scan in AM mode between 2mhz and 24mhz? If So you may not have the am antenna setting on internal bar and you're using the ext antenna for am which isn't good for long range

push and hold the (8) key until the menu shows, use the right vfo knob on top to scroll down to the AM antenna setting then press the (8) key again, use the right knob again and switch to BAR then push the dual watch button (top left) Try your scan again and see if its better
This is incorrect, the internal bar antenna is only used for medium wave frequencies ( 550Khz to 1600Khz) for Shortwave bands up to 30Mhz you should be using the Ext antenna connection, you can use an active antenna or a random length of wire (preferably outside and away from electrical interference), personally I use a Garex longwire antenna LONG WIRE which works really well with the R20.
 
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