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R6 R6 replacement, longevity?

MrThompson

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#1
In a radio renaissance I've been through a few handhelds for public service monitoring in the last six weeks. Just about everything in Tulare County is analog with the exception of prisons and utilities. I had a small issue with the first R30 and ordered a R6 to play with along with the replacement unit. HOKEY SMOKES Bullwinkle! The R6 pulls in VHF and UHF signals that only my AR8000s receive. So here's my ranking of the radios:

R6 - Smoking fast, hears everything and catches the most action.

R30 - Smoking fast, hears almost everything and catches most of the action (sampled two).

BR330T - Still pretty peppy, hears less than the above but still catches most of the action (sampled all three of our units).

BC125AT - Pretty peppy, hears less than the above but still catches a lot of the action. The Wife loves the simplicity. Keeper! :)

BCD436HP - Strong signals only, requires an antenna with gain and misses a lot of the action (sampled four units).

SDS100 - Strong signals only, requires an antenna with gain and misses a lot of the action when it's awake and a whole bunch when it fails to wake if there is little RF traffic. Pathetic for analog. Returned the only sample.

Honorable Mentions:

AR8000 - Hears everything, not to peppy so it misses some of the action (sampled two).

VR-500 - Hears just about everything, pokey so it misses a fair amount (sampled two).

Antennas used: Stock ducks, Austin Condors, Comet HT-55, Comet SMA & BNC-24, Comet CH-32 & SMA-501, Maldol MH-511 and telescopic whips.

I haven't had regular access to my "shack" for the last year due to recovery from a motorcycle accident and it's likely that it will be another year. Due to our location I can cover five counties with a handheld radio. When things are hopping it takes at least three radios to keep up with just Tulare County. So here's the question, does anyone have any idea, rumors or speculation on a replacement for the R6 as it's getting a little long in the tooth? Obviously we have enough radios to make things work by overlapping recievers. Being stuck in a chair with limited space on either side I am tempted to buy a couple more R6s, red and blue are just a shade over $172. Thoughts?
 
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AA6IO

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Cerritos, CA (LA County)
#2
I've used all the above radios except VR-5000 and agree with your ranking of radios for analog air, VHF, and UHF monitoring. The R-30 is a great radio, but the R-6 still picks up more. My recommendation: Buy a couple of more R6s.
 

kruser

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St. Louis County, MO
#3
Bummer about the motorcycle accident. Those are never a fun thing but glad you lived through it!
Hopefully you can return to your shack soon.

I've also used several of the models you listed and pretty much agree with your findings.
I've been using an R30 more than anything though just because it can do P25 Phase I.
I also use an Icom IC-R8600 which is also a fantastic receiver in a base station format. It's basically the base or mobile version of the R30 in my opinion.
 
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Central Mn
#6
Yep. Surprised the R6 is receiving better but with all the new stuff in the R30, probably had to sacrifice something. Am enjoying my R30. Beats my 436 in receive.
 

MrThompson

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#7
Thanks to all for your replies and confirmation.

Kruser - Thank you for the kind words. Life is good. I'll add that if you ride, gear up. If I had been on my road bike, protected by only styrofoam, lycra and hair I'd be a real mess. The only reason I still have a right knee (it's fine) is because of God's grace and the titanium knee plate in my leathers. Gear up and live to ride another day!

Both R30s have firmware version 1.10. The R30 is a real gem. If it did P25 Phase 2 I wouldn't have bothered with a 436HP.

Blue R6s are sold out. I ordered a red one for delivery on Friday. This weekend should be a good test to see just one more will do. I suspect that there will be a third.
 
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Oct 22, 2005
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#8
Thanks to all for your replies and confirmation.

Kruser - Thank you for the kind words. Life is good. I'll add that if you ride, gear up. If I had been on my road bike, protected by only styrofoam, lycra and hair I'd be a real mess. The only reason I still have a right knee (it's fine) is because of God's grace and the titanium knee plate in my leathers. Gear up and live to ride another day!

Both R30s have firmware version 1.10. The R30 is a real gem. If it did P25 Phase 2 I wouldn't have bothered with a 436HP.

Blue R6s are sold out. I ordered a red one for delivery on Friday. This weekend should be a good test to see just one more will do. I suspect that there will be a third.

The IC-R2 started out being fantastic little wideband receiver and they only improved it with the IC-R5 and IC-R6. Own all three and will be hanging on to them. Also have the IC-R30 which is is great too. Icom sure make some great receivers. Sucks about the blue IC-R6 no longer being available, was trying to justify also purchasing one of them, maybe I'll go for one of the red ones.

Anyone own an IC-R3? It wasn't on the market long, used to use mine to watch TV back in the day and still occasionally play around with it. The IC-R3 display was pretty cool for the time.

You can never own too many radios...
 

MrThompson

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#9
As of the 22nd Gigaparts had 20 red ones left in stock. I believe these are the last of the stock on the planet. Ya snooze ya loose!

UPS was here just before 9:30. The red radio performs like my grey one. I use warm white LED USB sticks with a diffuser to illuminate my radios at night. The metallic red finish reflects quite a bit more light. Not sure how I'm going to like this so I ordered another grey one. Fashion is not my gig but the red goes with my phones.

 

iMONITOR

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#10
Those little ICOM's are screaming demons!!! But if you think you might want/need digital you might also consider the Uniden BCD325P2. It's the same size as the BC125AT as I recall and performs very well! They can be purchased new for around $350.
 
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Cleveland, OH
#11
The R6 is fantastic. It seems as newer radios are released...their sensitivity gets worse. The R6 is just fine the way it is, no need for improvement.
 

MrThompson

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#12
Those little ICOM's are screaming demons!!! But if you think you might want/need digital you might also consider the Uniden BCD325P2. It's the same size as the BC125AT as I recall and performs very well! They can be purchased new for around $350.
The only digital I monitor is SCE, my least favourite entity, slightly behind Conress and the IRS. I seriously considered a 325P2. This is the wrong place to ask but is the analog substantially better than the 436HP?

Back on topic, from what I have read the R6 is often maligned for being difficult. I find it to be refreshing simple. The only caveat is don't hold a button down too long or you may find your local flame thrower AM powerhouse stored in the Sheriff's dispatch location. Admittedly there are still some motor function issues and partial numbness in my hands which probably contributed to this incident but this is precisely I didn't buy one for my wife. It's a lot harder too "oops" a Uniden. Carry a spreadsheet in your phone in case you have fumble fingers. ;)
 

iMONITOR

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#13
The only digital I monitor is SCE, my least favourite entity, slightly behind Conress and the IRS. I seriously considered a 325P2. This is the wrong place to ask but is the analog substantially better than the 436HP?

Back on topic, from what I have read the R6 is often maligned for being difficult. I find it to be refreshing simple. The only caveat is don't hold a button down too long or you may find your local flame thrower AM powerhouse stored in the Sheriff's dispatch location. Admittedly there are still some motor function issues and partial numbness in my hands which probably contributed to this incident but this is precisely I didn't buy one for my wife. It's a lot harder too "oops" a Uniden. Carry a spreadsheet in your phone in case you have fumble fingers. ;)
I meant to say in my previous post, I'm sorry to hear about your motorcycle accident. I've had a few over the years as did my son. None of ours were too serious. I don't know how old you are but I hope you heal up well and get back to full-function! Glad you survived! It's good that you have the radio hobby to keep you entertained and interrested in things. I was going bonkers staying in the house healing up from two open heart surgeries five years apart. I have numbness in my feet, peripheral nephropathy (nerve damage), might even be the same as what you have in your hands. I can control them but some days they feel like their being crushed in a vice, electrocuted, or totally numb with no feeling at all. I just turned 69 so I don't know what the future holds for me, but one thing I tell you...hang in there, keep on keeping on! I hope you have friends and family assiting you with your needs. Here's to a fast recovery. Maybe the second year will go by a little quicker.

It sounds like you found an awesome deal on the IC-R6! I did some searching on your behalf today and couldn't find anyone that could beat it.
 

Kevinbb

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#14
I've had the IC-R2 since 2001. Still works great but was thinking about replacing (or adding) to it with the R6. Does the R6 receive better than the R2 ? Will I gain anything or should I just keep the R2. (I have the Uniden SDS series scanners for my digital stuff)
 
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#15
I've had the IC-R2 since 2001. Still works great but was thinking about replacing (or adding) to it with the R6. Does the R6 receive better than the R2 ? Will I gain anything or should I just keep the R2. (I have the Uniden SDS series scanners for my digital stuff)

Don't know for certain but I think the R6 has the same triple conversion circuit as the R2 but includes some other enhancements.
 

MrThompson

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#16
I meant to say in my previous post, I'm sorry to hear about your motorcycle accident. I've had a few over the years as did my son. None of ours were too serious. I don't know how old you are but I hope you heal up well and get back to full-function! Glad you survived! It's good that you have the radio hobby to keep you entertained and interrested in things. I was going bonkers staying in the house healing up from two open heart surgeries five years apart. I have numbness in my feet, peripheral nephropathy (nerve damage), might even be the same as what you have in your hands. I can control them but some days they feel like their being crushed in a vice, electrocuted, or totally numb with no feeling at all. I just turned 69 so I don't know what the future holds for me, but one thing I tell you...hang in there, keep on keeping on! I hope you have friends and family assiting you with your needs. Here's to a fast recovery. Maybe the second year will go by a little quicker.

It sounds like you found an awesome deal on the IC-R6! I did some searching on your behalf today and couldn't find anyone that could beat it.
Thank you for the kind words. It sounds like you have been through the wringer. Having never spent a night in a hospital I can't imagine going through two open heart surgeries. Your description of your hands is spot on. I'm fortunate that my overall health is excellent however I have dystonia. The neck trauma from the accident has increased the dystonia which wreaks havoc on my upper spine and the use of arms and hands. Fortunately I am blessed with wonderful medical care and the ability to do all of the necessary physical therapy in my home. I'm on the downhill side of winning the battle.

If you haven't tried it look into turmeric. Making your own golden paste is much more potent than the over the counter pills. Turmeric has a lot of potassium so if you have any electrolyte issues or arrhythmia check with your cardiologist first. The other thing to research is LDN. Buyldn dot com sells it in liquid form so you can titrate your dose. Despite what you read 3mg per day seems to be the sweet spot. LDN is dirt cheap, over counter and FDA approved for peripheral neuropathy. It doesn't make much for Big Pharma so it doesn't get a lot of press.

I didn't want to turn this into a health post nor do I need sympathy so I hope this paragraph is my last public word on the subject. My intent when referring to my fumble fingers was to add color and depth to the situation. Obviously I'm not the only one here with issues. At this point I try to see the see the humor in the situation and don't curse my hands when they fumble, instead I thank the Lord that they still have some function. My mother was misdiagnosed with MS 52 years ago. Despite the best intentions of some truly gifted physicians virtually everything they did was to her detriment. Ten years ago it was obvious I had the same symptoms. It wasn't until my wife became functionally blind due to blephorspasms that we found out about oral splint treatment for dystonia. MS, Parkinson's, carpal tunnel and many neck and shoulder issues are caused by pressure on the trigeminal nerve due problems with jaw alignment. At this juncture there are only five doctors in the world that work with oral splints for neurological issues. The advancement with this treatment for many neurological disorders is like comparing a multi core i7 to a bunch of vacuum tubes, as much as I like thermionic valves. I hope this is helpful to someone and if you have any questions feel free to p.m. me. Any future posts regarding fumble fingers and my health are to be taken with humor and perhaps operational hints like carrying a pocketknife with a marlin spike to undo knots and putting rubber bands around your glasses & electoothbrush so you don't drop them. Health out and may the Lord's Shalom and healing be upon you.

Back on topic, receivers used to be about copying the signal. It seems like bells and whistles have taken precedence over RF performance. This one gets it better than any handheld for VHF-UHF I have used. It would be nice to have a squelch controlled backlight, SSB and a narrow AM filter for better selectivity, so what? The radio is a steal and it's long in the tooth. Buy one before they discontinue it or add a bunch of extra doodads, study the manual and enjoy.
 

N3CI

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#17
I bought an R6 recently and used while traveling for air band monitoring and for scanning the ham bands. I can only second the assessments above: great receiver, fast scanning, and super small. I had an R1 many years ago and was not impressed, but this R6 is a keeper.
 
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#18
I bought an R6 recently and used while traveling for air band monitoring and for scanning the ham bands. I can only second the assessments above: great receiver, fast scanning, and super small. I had an R1 many years ago and was not impressed, but this R6 is a keeper.
Agree, Icom packed incredible performance specs into the whole line of these little wideband receivers starting with the IC-R2 through the latest iteration with the IC-R6.
 

W2PDX

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#19
Wow, I really like the red R6. I've been thinking about pulling the trigger on one and this post may help :). I didn't realize that it doesn't come with a battery pack. What are you guys who have an R6 using to power it? It looks like rechargeable Eneloop NiMH would work with the Icom drop-in charger.
 
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