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Reviews Categories | Transmitters: Commercial/Military/Marine adaptable to ham use | Motorola Micom-X(F) Help

Reviews Summary for Motorola Micom-X(F)
Motorola Micom-X(F) Reviews: 2 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $3500
Description: Motorola HF SSB radiotelephone, 150 watts
Product is not in production.
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KE4SKY Rating: 5/5 Aug 20, 2002 08:13 Send this review to a friend
Intuitive, Simple, Rugged  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Our RACES unit has several of the older Micom-X, 2-18 MHz versions which were donated by the local power company when they upgraded to a newer version.

Ours have the digital selective calling boards and LSB option and have given good service in the year or so we have had them.

I'd gladly grab as many more of these as I could get. Ditto the great assistance from the folks at the "Golden Bat" - they sent us manuals as well.

Ours don't have the antenna coupler, but both fixed base installs are using NI4L fan dipoles cut to our working frequencies and I couldn't ask for any more in a simple to use, reliable HF.

73 de KE4SKY
Virginia RACES State Training Officer
AC5XP Rating: 5/5 Feb 7, 2002 17:29 Send this review to a friend
Excellent, sturdy HF radio, ideal for mobile applications  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Motorola Micom-X(F) is a synthesized HF SSB radio, covering a frequency range from 1.6 MHz to 30 MHz in 100 Hz steps.
The ?F? version differs from the standard Micom-X in the fact that it has the ability for
selective FSK tone calling and receiving with automatic response. Actually the predecessor of ALU (Automatic Link Establishment).
The Micom-X radio is the predecessor of the Micom2 radio from Mobat, the latter being a joint-venture between Motorola and Bartal, based in Israel. In January 2001, Mobat was acquired by Tadiran in Israel. Even in the early days, the Micom-X was always produced in Israel, by a Motorola subsidiary. All my Micom-X radios actually had a sticker ?produced in Israel? on them, so strictly spoken it is not a US-made HF radio.
Modulation methods available on the Micom-X are USB, LSB, AME and USB / LSB with rest-carrier. RF output power is 150 watts peak and average, from an all solid-state power amplifier. Supply voltage is 13.8V DC, at almost 30 amps peak.
The radio has 120 user-programmable, non-volatile memories and also allows programming of split-frequency operation, probably to facilitate maritime users. The user can lock-out access to channel programming (and direct-frequency entry) by means of a physical key-lock on the front of the radio.
Today, the Micom-X(F) is not produced any more (production stopped around 1996 I think) but from time to time these radios are offered in used condition from the well-known surplus sources.
There are several versions, as these radios were manufactured as far back as the late seventies. The earlier models differ substantially from the late models, both in terms of design, construction and performance. Somewhere down the road Motorola completely redesigned the insides of the Micom-X radio.
The earlier models are not great in terms of receiver performance. In the evening hours one can clearly hear IM products from 6 and 9 MHz broadcast breaking through in the higher bands. Also, the earlier models needed a separate crystal filter for the LSB mode (as LSB was optional) meaning often the LSB mode won?t be installed when you find the older model. My older Micom-X radio that I once had actually did have this installed, but the response from the LSB filter was substantially different from the USB filter (which one can check by tuning zero-beat into an AM broadcast station). The newer version does not have this problem, USB and LSB sound identical.
From a construction standpoint, the PWB boards on the old model were somewhat messy. From the outside, old- and new models look identical.
The new model has all these issues fixed. Only one filter is needed for LSB and USB, the improved synthesizer and LO generation takes care of sideband change using a single filter, under microprocessor control. The newer filter also has a much better roll-off in the skirts, and a much better out-of-band suppression. The receiver IMD products are completely gone in the new model. All circuit boards are SMT without all the mess from the old model. Even the RF filter board for the PA is SMT, with solid-state switching for both the decade filters as well as the T-R switch. The old version used relays for this.
The message I?m trying to give off here is: If you find one of these babies, make sure it is the later version.
The radio has a large backlit LCD showing frequency, tone-channel, memory channel, forward & reverse power and selected mode.
Noise blanker is optional, but usually installed. The radio has a nice working voice-activated squelch. The receiver sounds very good, also because of the large integrated loudspeaker in the front.
As said, the radio?s tuning resolution is 100 Hz. There is a clarifier on the front panel, which allows tuning within the 100 Hz steps but only in the receiver mode. I do not like clarifiers, RITs or whatever they are called. They should not be necessary if radios have accurate enough frequency synthesis (as the Micom-X indeed has) so it is a good thing that the clarifier can be switched fully OFF on this radio.
All internal frequencies are derived from a single crystal source in a temperature-controlled oven. This also means it takes a minute or so before the radio is dead on frequency after a cold start. But after that one minute, it stays there.
The construction of the radio is sturdy. It has a steel, treated chassis on which the different glass-epoxy boards are mounted. Most boards are in their own tin can. The case is from thick sheet metal. Front panel is of a strong poly-carbonate type. The radio is heavy for it?s size, due to the use of steel metal throughout. No aluminum is used in this one.
The Micom-X is mentioned in Janes? Military Communications, but in a flyaway suitcase configuration, and a version having a remote control head using a H-250 telemike. Especially the latter one looks real cool, but I am sure that from the inside they are all the same radios.
When I got my late-model Micom-X, there was no manual with it. So I called Motorola. I found friendly people there, who quickly directed me to the right representative for the Micom product line. When I explained that I was looking for the service manual for the Micom-X, I was told one would be mailed to me immediately. When I brought up the issue about money, the representative did not want to hear about it. Two days later the complete manual was on my desk, by FedEx, free of charge! In all my years dealing with vendors I have NEVER been treated better, (no, not even by Ten-Tec) so a special word of gratitude toward Motorola is appropriate here.
How does the radio behave on the air? Quite well, actually. Frequency is through direct-entry, or by operating the UP/DOWN buttons. Step size can be configured for any digit (meaning 100 Hz, 1 kHz and so on) a feature that is actually not mentioned in the manual, I found this by accident. Easiest is to step through a bands in 1 kHz steps and to go to 100 Hz resolution once a station is found. Band switching is best done by direct frequency entry.
The mode that offers SSB with rest-carrier is actually a nice thing, it allows for exactly the right carrier level to adjust my antenna tuner (about 5 watt rest-carrier). Often I then leave it in that mode. So far, I have never had a complaint about ?Your rig has a problem with the carrier suppression?.
Receiver sensitivity is excellent, all the way into the 10 meter band, and the noise-blanker works efficient. And those great, heavy Motorola ?clam-shell? mikes, I love ?em!

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