R8600 Now that the IC-R8600 has been out for awhile, has it been tried and proven to be a good choice?

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iMONITOR

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I've been interested in the IC-R8600 since it was announced. However having learned my lesson more than once when jumping on the next great thing when it first comes out, I held off.

I've been reading through the numerous posts but I'm seeing a lot of new ones with any mention of newer firmware/features/bug fixes ETC. Are people overall satisfied or has the novelty just worn off some? I'm primarily interested in performance in the VHF/UHF bands and not so much HF as there's hardly anything good to monitor on HF these days. Other than being a SDR with a beautiful front control panel, does it outperform the high end SDR dongles available today? Considering this receiver fills a niche market is there anything new out or coming out that I should consider?

I've not seen many up for sale so either you guys feel it's a keeper, or you're hiding it from your wives in the closet? :geek:
 

dlwtrunked

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I've been interested in the IC-R8600 since it was announced. However having learned my lesson more than once when jumping on the next great thing when it first comes out, I held off.

I've been reading through the numerous posts but I'm seeing a lot of new ones with any mention of newer firmware/features/bug fixes ETC. Are people overall satisfied or has the novelty just worn off some? I'm primarily interested in performance in the VHF/UHF bands and not so much HF as there's hardly anything good to monitor on HF these days. Other than being a SDR with a beautiful front control panel, does it outperform the high end SDR dongles available today? Considering this receiver fills a niche market is there anything new out or coming out that I should consider?

I've not seen many up for sale so either you guys feel it's a keeper, or you're hiding it from your wives in the closet? :geek:
I have several AirSpy models (and SDRPlay) and an IC-R8600. I mostly use the AirSpy's particularly for the portability with the labtop. I would use the IC-R8600 more than I do, but I also have an IC-R9500. As I am sure you are aware, the R8600, like all ICOM receivers is not designed for trunked systems.

If you want to hunt for VHF/UHF signals and particularly if portable with a labtop, the high end usb SDR ($100-$200) are better using the waterfall display are generall with the right software like DSD+ etc. If you want to turn a dial or be PC independent or not interested in hunting for new "uunknown" stuff, an R8600 might be a better choice. If you want to do both, own both. Personally I would own both. To comment further would require knowing more what you are interested in doing.
 

vince48

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I have had my 8600 for close to a year now and really enjoy it. The scanning options are great. I don't use my 8600 with as a panadater any longer. I just use the built in scope to eliminate the PC and monitor noise.


Just wish it had DMR decode. That would make it a (for me) complete wideband receiver. It's a bit expensive, but it is a excellent performer
 

prcguy

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I believe the Icom R8600 is the highest performing HF/VHF/UHF receiver available to consumers today. When it first came out it was tested by Rob Sherwood and it ranked higher than any other receiver or transceiver ever tested in critical close spaced dynamic range specs, which is the "money shot" (can I say that??) for receiver specs. For HF performance it has been slightly outpaced by the new Yaesu FTDX-101D and an updated version of the Flex 6700, both top end HF transceivers.

I use mine for finding new signals and for receiving while transmitting (running full duplex) and it pulls that off better than any other receiver I've used.

I've been interested in the IC-R8600 since it was announced. However having learned my lesson more than once when jumping on the next great thing when it first comes out, I held off.

I've been reading through the numerous posts but I'm seeing a lot of new ones with any mention of newer firmware/features/bug fixes ETC. Are people overall satisfied or has the novelty just worn off some? I'm primarily interested in performance in the VHF/UHF bands and not so much HF as there's hardly anything good to monitor on HF these days. Other than being a SDR with a beautiful front control panel, does it outperform the high end SDR dongles available today? Considering this receiver fills a niche market is there anything new out or coming out that I should consider?

I've not seen many up for sale so either you guys feel it's a keeper, or you're hiding it from your wives in the closet? :geek:
 

dlwtrunked

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Not sure if outperforms an SDR, BUT if you look at the IC-R8600 on DX Engineering website HPSDR is prominently featured in one of the pictures. What's up with that?
It seems to be more of a software project attached to less popular SDR. I give it little chance of becoming popular. I have a HackRF 1, LimeSDRmini (not worth buying in my opinion because of software lacking), an USRP (which I need to try again to get it working), various AirSpy, and various SDRPlay. Mostly use the AirSpys (which seem to outperform my SDRPlays (but do recommend those for someone wanting one lesser cost SDR for HF through UHF as no current AirSpy model does both but separate ones do either well) and the HackRF 1 when certain software works best with it for analysis purposes. For dial turning I use an R9500 usually but if I did not have that, I would be using my R8600 for doing that. When looking at an SDR, always look at what software is available for it--is it well established software and does it do things you want to do. Generally sticking to AirSpy or SDRPlay is best if you are new to SDRs as software is free and mature for those. Other SDRs are really for someone needing specially needs.
 
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SigIntel8600

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I have owned the IC-8600 for six months now. I also mostly monitor VHF/UHF and the IC-8600 does what a you would expect from a 2 kilo buck receiver. The scope and display are fantastic for signal hunting. Non trunking is no big deal to me. I monitor my State 700 MHZ P25 Phase II system. The P25 audio is fantastic. Civilian and military AM air, railroads, Marine, FRS/GMRS, MURS, non encrypted Federal P25, NYPD and many of my local PD/FD/EMS analog and non encrypted P25 agencies. Bass and treble controls, pre-amp, NR, ATT. I also monitor HF utilities, Amateur SSB, CB, and SW BCB. 2 separate pass band tuning adjustments, NR and 3 user adjustable filter settings remind you of why you paid 2K for this receiver. The only ding is no DMR but I have another receiver for DMR. SDR console works fine with this receiver. I have upgraded the firmware with no issues and I also used the OEM programming software, expensive but no issues and upload and download are lightning fast. I have never had a lockup or any other bug requiring a power pull re-boot.
 

DeepBlue

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Part of the appeal of the IC-R8600 is that you have proper filters and band switching built in. A cheap SDR will need additional outboard filters per band to make it as sensitive but selective and you will need a computer to use it. There are some reasons certain gear is more expensive. Will a Hack RF go to 6GHz, yes, but if you look at the various reception curves, it's not a good deal for every band up to 6GHz. It is a development and lab tool you can also receive with and requires a computer hooked to it to be useful. I'm not knocking them, I seriously looked at buying one for Amateur Radio microwave gear but decided against it.

Yes, people buy the IC-R8600 and seldom if ever return them. I know a company that sells them and since they have been out only 2 I know of have been returned and those were because the purchaser was not interested in learning how to use them effectively. They simply bought too much tech for their needs.

I bought an AOR AR-DV1 as I was worried I would miss out on some digital formats. I have since sold it off and bought the little brother to the IC-8600, the R30. Love it. I do wish Icom would bring their screen technology into this decade, or the last one even.

My 2 cents.

S
 

wb4sqi

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I have been into SW listening since 1961. Got my ham license in 1970. In that 59 year span I have used a lot of equipment, some very expensive radios courtesy of the USAF and other amateur equipment. The R8600 ranks (in my opinion) as one of the best receivers I have ever encountered in my lifetime. I use it mainly for Hf listening. I can’t imagine using one of these for public service monitoring when there are other less expensive options. The spectrum monitor lets me visualize the band as I never thought possible. When I use a different receiver I miss seeing the spectrum display and feel like I need one all the time.

I don’t know your specific interests but I find plenty to listen to on HF. I subscribe to the Spectrum Monitor emagazine which is sort of a continuation of Monitoring Times only in electronic format. Lots of interesting monitoring articles from LW up to KU band satellites, something for every listening persuasion. The 8600 let’s me pursue my listening hobby in style and as close to perfection as I can afford. No regrets from me on this radio.
 

Token

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I have owned one of my 8600s since release day. I have never regretted or questioned purchasing them.

My opinion:

If you want a scanner then the 8600 is both overkill (in performance) and less capable than several nice units on the market. If it is a scanner you want I would recommend something else, maybe a 536HP or something. If you want a wideband monitor then the 8600 is a good fit. If you experiment or look at unusual signals the 8600 is a good fit. If you look at weak or odd mode signals then the 8600 is a good fit. And if you use it as a front end to downconvert other signals it is a good fit. If you want a VHF/UHF receiver that is also a killer HF receiver, then the 8600 is a good fit.

Raw performance, as near as I can tell the raw performance of the 8600 exceeds any VHF/UHF SDR I have used. That doesn't make it "better" or them "worse", just different. The 8600 is not a great SDR when attached to a computer. Don't get me wrong, the performance is excellent, but it seems to me that using the 8600 as an SDR with the waterfall on a screen is a little bit "clunky" compared to other SDRs designed to only be used with a computer. The way I like to use the 8600 and a computer combination is with another SDR, with a 10 MHz or wider bandwidth, on the IF of the 8600.

I use one of my 8600s on HF as much or more than on VHF/UHF. But they are both typically turned on for many hours every day. The P25 audio is really good, so one of them is setting on the local police tactical channel (which is P25 but not encrypted) when not actively doing something else.

T!
 
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