Torn and seek advice!

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corbintechboy

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I am looking into getting a new HF radio. I am really disappointed in the way the prices seen to go from low end to mid end and a huge jump to high end with not much in the middle.

I have narrowed down the 2 radios I am looking at. I will have around $600 US.

I am looking at the Icom R75 and the Winradio G303.

I have done a lot of reading about the R75 and most give a thumbs up, however, the other day I checked out some videos of it playing and the AGC sounded like crap! It sounded really fast with a lot of "pumping" that made it sound horrible!

The G303 really is hard to find much info about. Those whom have the radio praise it to no end. But I fear not being able to "hear" a radio before I pull the trigger.

Here is where I am torn, I have owned many radios and have been into the hobby for years. The best radio I have owned is the RX320D and I want to move on to better equipment. I found the 320 to be an great value but a little higher noise floor then I would like. The G303 seems well talked about as a radio that does not suffer from RFI from the computer (which is really nice and appealing).

The fear I have is getting the R75 and having to pour much money into it to make it a good radio. I live on a fixed income and this would not be a good thing to me.

I like listening to broadcasts and decoding utility (I have no problem using ECSS if need be).

Sorry to be long winded and thanks in advance for any help!
 

n0nhp

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The 303 is a heck of a radio, trouble is you pretty much tie up a computer as a receiver. Decoding digital can be a bit of a problem too with the 303 as it sends it "IF" to the sound card of the computer and uses the processor power of the computer and sound card to make the signal usable. You need either the Virtual sound card from WinRadio or a second sound card in the computer if you are going to run any third party decoders.
If you are just interested in what WinRadio has in their digital suite and DRM there are few radios at that price that can compare.
For listening and light data, the Icom is a very good radio. I have it's predecessor the R71 and still like it for ease of use and sound quality. I also have had the 303 for several years too. For a couple of years I was stationed at the receiving site for the United States Antarctic Program on Black Island Antarctica, I plugged the 303 into the same antenna multicouplers the Cubic receivers were using. With the constantly variable bandwidth and digital audio processing I was able to hear more than the operators listening to the commercial radios. At about 1/10th the cost!. Bad news for me while playing down there was that Polar Flutter just about kills a DRM signal.

As those of us who regularly play on the starchat IRC channel #wunclub tell most newcomers, you can make an average receiver into a very good receiver with a good antenna.

Good luck an happy listening to the noisy bands.

Bruce
 

ka3jjz

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What Bruce said about having a good antenna is a fact! Never discount the antenna - you must consider the radio - whatever radio you use- and the antenna as a system

Since you mentioned having a RX320 (and I'll start off here by saying that this is not a true SDR radio; you can make the argument that this is a software driven radio, since the audio section is a regular audio amp - I had a rather long discussion about this very topic with Skip Arey N2EI, Sheldon Harvey VE2SHW and several others over a Saturday breakfast recently...), if you want to stick with such radios, there's another possibility that is in your price range - the RFSpace SDR-IQ...

RFspace SDR-IQ Software Defined Receiver, RF Space sdriq

And here are 2 reviews - one more geared toward Satcom, but it gives a heckuva technical overview - the other are user comments from eHam...

http://www.uhf-satcom.com/sdr-iq/

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

This looks to be very interesting. If it's anything like the Perseus I played with at last year's Winterfest, you will have to wipe the drool off the keyboard periodically (hi)...there's even a Yahoo group devoted to it - and it appears to be a busy place.

As you do more research on this and other rxs, keep this wiki category handy. It has links to LOTS of receiver reviews...

Category:Receiver Reviews - The RadioReference Wiki

73 Mike
 
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corbintechboy

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If you have a relatively decent computer then you might want to consider the SDR-IQ.
After doing much research on the radios available in my price range, I have come to the conclusion that either the SDR-IQ or the Winradio would be the best bet.

I will post some notes here as to what I have found for those who might be doing research. Now I do live on a fixed income and this a big factor in my decision.

Icom R-75- Probably the most sensitive of the radios I have looked at (arguable vs the WR). The big problem with this radio is that the expense can rise out of control if one tries to have mods done to this radio to make it right. Voltage regulator issues can arise from the use of the stock power brick (adds another cost for an good after market replacement). Don't get me wrong, it does sound like one fine radio, the cost just may not be practical to me.

Winradio G303- The initial cost of this radio is a little steeper then the SDR-IQ. This does sound like a fine radio. The problem I have with this radio is the software. I have downloaded all the software programs to all the computer controlled radios I can afford and this software all though well laid out, comes across as something that may become a little tiring after awhile.The software issue may be small to some degree but I have to picture myself sitting in front of this thing for hours on end for years to come.

SDR-IQ- The software/use of this radio looks like something I have never used before! Sensitivity on this radio seems to be the bottom of the bunch, but many say that the number mean little and this little radio will really pull in weak signals if you can get the noise floor down. I like the idea of no power cable and the small size.

Now, one thing that makes me cautious is marrying any radio to a PC. This is not that bad of a deal but noise can be an issue and lots has changed here with my computer setup. I no longer have a dedicated computer station setup (my computer is now hooked to an 32 inch HD tv and have no idea how this will effect noise). One plus to the SDR-IQ is I believe my netbook will run the rig fine

Another concern I have with the SDR-IQ is the sensitivity. I have no doubt that this is a great radio, I just live in a place where a big antenna is not practical (The R75 would have been great with a random wire thrown out my second floor window).

Choices choices and still more research..LOL.. Getting it narrowed down though :D.
 

SCPD

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You can run the SDR-IQ on your netbook without any problems. A random wire antenna will work fine for a temporary solution.

The R75 won't be *that* much more sensitive. The SDR has software-based filters which can provide better filtering than the R75. In some situations, the R75 may win out, but in others, the SDR-IQ will win out.

Look at the all of the features of the SDR-IQ. You get a lot more for your money, imho. A used R75 would be comparable - but certainly not a new one.

PS. The SDR-IQ can do DRM with the proper software.
 

ab3a

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For those feeling squeamish about having a computer powered up to make your radio work, here's the deal: keep the antenna system isolated from the laptop/radio.

In other words, if you're using a random wire, make sure you have an RF transformer between the antenna connector on the radio and the antenna itself. This will effectively isolate the ground system from your computer and radio and make the feed line work as a feed line, not as part of the antenna system.

What you should NOT do is hook some length of wire to the antenna center pin and hope for the best. You will probably be disappointed with all the trash that you'll pick up from your computer, your switching power supplies and so on.
 

hawkeye32

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I just recently got a Icom R-71A and I am very new to this. I am very impressed with the radio, easy to use, and it has many options, for decoding equipment, printers etc. Just my 2 cents. I find this radio to be very great.
 
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