Icom R8500 help needed

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zguy1243

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Being a long time owner of many Icom R8500 receivers I have to say it is the best VHF/UHF airband receiver I have ever found even compared to many military commercial radios. I have had a problem with all the Icom R8500 that I have always overlooked due to the stellar performance in every other aspect of the radio. The issue is associated with scanning AM mode frequencies in a memory scan. The radio is picky about stopping on some frequencies in a scan regardless of how strong the signal is on the S meter. As I sit here and type I am listening to Atlanta App/Dep control on 121.000 MHz. The R8500 hears the signal s-7 or better sitting on the channel in manual mode. When I load this channel into a scan bank the radio will not stop scanning to stop on the frequency when activity is present. The issue is not signal stength, oddly enough depending on the transmitter the radio will stop in a scan on signal that are so week you cannot make out voice at all in AM mode. This is one of the great things about the R8500 when it works right, you can scan distant weak frequencies and the receiver is sensitive and selective enough to to be triggered by them in a scan. I notice certain transmitters always are problems for the R8500 to detect in a scan, anything from a E-3 AWACS backend will not stop the radio from scanning memory channels. I have tried both AM 12 Khz and 6Khz settings with the same results. This phenomenon is just associated with the R8500, all my other radios dependably stop on all AM mode signals in scan without fail. I have called Icom two times about this and I never get a return phone call back. Would love to get some attention from Icom and try to find a fix.

Thanks,

Jody
 

woody_46

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It sounds like a squelch issue. I also notice you have AGC fast on, it is not needed for anything above 30 Mhz .

Try setting your squelch with AGC fast off on a VHF frequency that isn't transmitting. Set it just at the point that static will not break the squelch. Mine will lock on signals below S1.

Hope that helps.
 

woody_46

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Oh... I also notice you have the noise blanker on. I just enter the fequencies and the correct mode (AM or FM). Then I set the squelch as mentioned above. I keep it simple.
 

nanZor

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Nice RX!

I'd be tempted to see if there is some sort of timing issue when scanning confusing the cpu etc. Perhaps try programming your freqs in numerical order (typical general speedup tip if you can live with numerical freq ordering), or perhaps programming your picky frequencies twice right next to each other and see if it stops.

Just off the top of my head even to see if there is just a difference at all doing this..
 

zguy1243

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Im here.

Squelch, NB, AGC, Filters. None of theses are the issue. I will make a better video to explain things better. I don't think I was clear enough. I talked with Icom today and they are just now starting to understand what I have tried to explain. Will post up another Youtube video soon. Thanks all that have commented....
 

woody_46

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I hope you find your answer. That said I have tried comparing with a Pro 2045. Obviously the scanner is quicker but neither skip frequencies. I do have an early model R 8500. I have nothing externally connected either.

Another thing you can try is to put the AFC on to see how close it locks onto the frequency you entered. I'm out of ideas.
 

zguy1243

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Icom did get back to me today. They cannot duplicate the problem. I am for sure it is associated only with certain transmitters. I have tied the behavior to the AWACS back end radios and a couple app/dep controllers. There must be a similarity between the radios they are using such as bandwidth or something in-particular with their modulation. I am thinking of taking a screen shot of the offending transmitters with the SDR-IQ and compare them to non offending transmitters.....
 

woody_46

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Interesting, a regular scanner has no isssues with it though. So I'm not experiencing it either since there are no transmitters of that type in my area.
 

zguy1243

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Just got off the phone with Fred out at Icom. They have replicated the problem in their lab. This is great news. They have two test R8500's and have found one radio exhibits the behavior and one does not. They tell me they will checking both radios over and finding the difference in the two that is causing the problem. I will keep everyone posted on the outcome. Thanks for all the replies so far...
 

woody_46

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Wow! They are really taking time to look into it! That's awesome. Just for the record my serial is 1870 so it's an early production run.
 

zguy1243

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Thanks Woody for the serial information. Yeah I was amazed to hear how much time they have put into the testing. They have setup their own transmitters and antennas and setup multiple receivers on the local ATC freqs. I am really impressed with Icom. I have 3 R8500's here that all exhibit the issue. I will ask Icom tomorrow what the serial number is on the unit that does not have the behavior....
 

woody_46

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That is real good customer service. That's all I can say.

BTW mine is an unblocked Canadian version, but shouldn't really matter anyways.

All 3 of yours have issues? No wonder you posted about it.
 
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zguy1243

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Yeah all 3 of them do it. I have had 10 or 12 different R8500's over the years and since i noticed this issue I think I have noted the last 5 radios doing it. It seems to be really rare. I find a aircraft even once in a while that just will trip the R8500 up.
 

zguy1243

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Why is your Video Private and Why post it ?????????? Do you work for the FBI,Home Land Security or the CIA ??????? Or are you Just Paranoid ???????

Did not intend to make it private. I make certain videos public and other private and I accidentally made them all private. I will fix it for you. I am none of the above that you ask about, I just don't post certain stuff up on the internet for everyone to see. Certain things I only share with my trusted friends on Youtube. We would not want to help the bad guys by providing them communication intelligence in HD on youtube. Not to get too far off topic but I think more folks should be a little more careful with what we share with the world. Fair?
 

woody_46

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Zguy I notice a link to Signal Intelligence. Do you work there or own it? Reason I ask is that I used to use Scanstar, my R8500 and an Optotrakker at one point. I believe the software was sold to another company though. I remember Sam if it's the right company.
 

zguy1243

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Zguy I notice a link to Signal Intelligence. Do you work there or own it? Reason I ask is that I used to use Scanstar, my R8500 and an Optotrakker at one point. I believe the software was sold to another company though. I remember Sam if it's the right company.
No I Just bought that domain name for personal hobby site. I do not run any kind of a company under that name. I do know what you are talking about though. I have not heard much from that company in a while.
 

mancow

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Could they be using AME and the lack of actual carrier is causing your radio to "think" that no signal is present if there isn't enough overall signal presence?
 
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