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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Icom R-70 General Coverage receiver. Help

Reviews Summary for Icom R-70 General Coverage receiver.
Icom R-70 General Coverage receiver. Reviews: 17 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $750
Description: Compact, professional looking radio, blue flourescent display, 100hz readout.
Product is in production.
More info: http://
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NIGHTHAWK Rating: 5/5 Jan 1, 2007 10:29 Send this review to a friend
Great early-mid 80's rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently purchased this used R-70 off eBay for a fairly decent price considering it had the optional 250hz CW filter already installed. I have owned many Shortwave receivers over the past two years that I have been in the hobby: Realistic DX160,100,200,300, Kenwood R-1000, Grundig S350, Icom R71A. I currently have a Kenwood R-2000 alongside the R-70. I found this radio to be of good build quality unlike a few things on the later R71A. Even for a early-mid 1980's radio it could still hold its own against modern day radios with the exception of those several thousand dollar rigs, and all they have is just more features, but raw preformace is roughly the same.

Excellent sensitivity
Strong Front End
Excellent features such as: Passband tuning, notch filter, RIT, dual noise blankers, dual VFO's, three tuning steps, 10db preamp, Monitor, three stage AGC.

Cons: No wide/narrow switch, gets finicky around the edges of the mhz bands, no memories, no direct keypad freq. entry, audio leaves some to be desired.

Considering what I paid for the radio and the age the cons are not a big deal, I wasn't looking for a $1,000 rig. In all this radio is more sensitive than anything I have had before. A good buy if you find a clean one on eBay or any outlet.
W6QE Rating: 5/5 Oct 18, 2004 15:08 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned my R-70a for a long time. It's still cranking out good, clear and crisp audio. When I bought my IC-756Pro2, just out of curiosity, I hooked them both up to the same antenna via a coaxial switch. Flipping back and forth produced very little difference in the signal strength. Of course the Pro2 receiver has more versatility, but he signal strength measured was the same.
It's a great receiver and I'm pleased to have it in my all Icom shack.
K8WV Rating: 5/5 Sep 9, 2003 21:29 Send this review to a friend
Great "vintage" receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My transceiver is an Icom 740, an early 80's rig widely reputed to have an excellent receiver. It does. The R70 is said to be very similar to the receiver section of the Icom 751. I don't know about that, but the R70 is VERY impressive.

I run the R70 in a configuration which allows simultaneous receive with the 740, from the same antenna. Except for filter options, the R70 is almost indistinguishable form the 740. The 740 is a better receiver, but the difference is slight in actual operation.

I really don't have an informed opinion about the R70 as an SWL receiver. I have great fun with it for casual listening, and I'd bet it would hold its own for SWL DXing. But it's certainly on a par with anything in its current price class.

On eBay clean R70's have been recently selling for around $200. Mine was a bit less. This is an OUTSTANDING receiver at that price.

Ask pointed questions of the seller and buy a clean one. It's well worth the price. (There's something to be said for dual simultaneous receive, too.)
N7KKR Rating: 5/5 Feb 28, 2003 09:25 Send this review to a friend
Never wanted anything else.  Time owned: more than 12 months
OK, like the other gentlemen will say, there are better receivers out there, for a price. The IC-R71 and newer rigs have a bunch of memories, computer chip controls, etc. I got one new in '83 a had it with me on Adak Island. I would listen to some of the football scores on shortwave and then go to the Officer's Club and make my pronouncements as the AFRTS stuff was delayed. Got a lot of free drinks. The R70 is similar in controls to an old time tube job, but with PLL tuning and digital readout frequency screen. You can "play" with this one. I did have Kiwa put a combination 3.8/6 dual filter board in with steep skirts several years back. Great improvement in adjacent signal rejection. Kiwa also dropped in their audio upgrade which is comprised of fast decay capacitors. The audio is much more "crisp". Made a great receiver even better. I use the R70 for long haul BCB reception with a high quality loop. Bottom line, great basic receiver performance at a good used market price.
Regards, Kevin N7KKR
K6JJB Rating: 5/5 Feb 9, 2003 22:36 Send this review to a friend
Very Good 0.1-30MHz Receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I was given my R-70 in 1999 by the first owner after years of non-use. Because I was interested in 10M repeaters at the time, I found and installed one of the IC-EX257 FM units. Although the radio and FM unit worked, I was convinced that the R-70 was capable of much better performance than I was then getting. Since I had invested very little money up to that point, I decided to ship the radio with installed FM unit to ICOM in Bellview, Washington with a note asking them to troubleshoot the whole radio and fix everything. ICOM fixed and shipped the radio back in just 9 days. ICOM charged me $150, the performance since then has been very good and I consider the repair cost to be money well spent. I have not experienced any of the difficulties mentioned by the previous two reviewers. I recently installed a new International Radio (Inrad) #109 2.4 kHz bandpass filter for about $45 less than the ICOM FL-44A would have cost me new. The push through pins of the #109 fit perfectly. Selectivity and fidelity on SSB were both improved. I am going to keep my R-70!
K7NG Rating: 4/5 Dec 1, 2002 22:55 Send this review to a friend
Still hard to beat  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got an R-70 receiver new about a year after they were introduced (which would be about a year before the better-known R-71 showed up). To this day I think I have not come up against a better performer...on average. The receiver is wonderfully sensitive and it has excellent selectivity. I put the optional FL-44A SSB filter in mine and it should be compulsory for those who want to listen to SSB or data mode signals. Outstanding noise blanker.

OK, I like mine (I still have it). Does it have any less-than-excellent characteristics? My two bits' worth:
(a) I had a problem with AM BCB stations crossmodulating the front end when I was operating below 6 MHz. I made a four-section elliptic HP filter with cutoff at 1.7 MHz and reduced that.
(b) The VCO's that are part of the first LO gave (still do) me all kinds of grief. They apparently were made up of components that aged greatly and they eventually wouldn't lock in the third loop. I got a set of parts from Icom that were supposed to fix the problem, and did, for a few months. I have substituted some different components that have worked OK but I still found I had to realign the VCO coils periodically.
(c) Only two memories. This is less of a problem than you might think.

I have a radio-science project on my personal drawing board that will require multiple independent HF receivers and I intend to acquire several R-70's as the basic platforms. 'Nuff said.
73, K7NG
SIERRAHOTEL Rating: 3/5 Aug 17, 2002 01:09 Send this review to a friend
Performed well, but lots of problems!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I would have give the R-70 a score of "4", excpet for all the problems I had with mine.

I had an old Hammarlund HQ-145 that was in only fair shape when I bought it at a garage sale, and one day the power transformer died, and I sold it to someone who restored old boat anchors. I looked around, and tried out several different radios, and finaly settled on the R-70. About two months after I bought it, the R71A appeared, of course.

When I first got it, I was thrilled!! It was very stable, all the controls worked well, and I thought it looked really neat, too! Then one day, I was listening to hams on 20M, and I noticed they seemed to be drifting badly. It got worse and worse, and got to the point it was almost impossible to get anything intelligible for more than 30 seconds. One of the chrystal oscillators had died. After a trip to the service center, it came back way out of alignment. I sent it back, and it came back perfect that time.

A few months later, it suddenly lost any audio output. It went to Universal this time, and it was a bad solder joint. A few months later, it started having a problem with horrible distortion that got worse the longer it was turned on. A trip back to Icom fixed it, but now I was paranoid, with good reason. Less than a month after I got that problem fixed, I suddenly lost almost all sensitivity anywhere! I was fed up! I took the thing apart, and found what looked like four bad joints near where the antenna lead ties into the RF Amp. I hit them all,and it worked! It was better than ever, and for another couple of months, behaved itself. By this point, I was checking into other receivers, and just waiting for the R70 to die again. It did!! One day, USB just quit. I found yet another bad solder joint, and that was it, and I had pretty much had enough.

With the exception of the problems I had with solder joints, I really liked the R-70.

Good Points:

Nice tuning knob
Well constructed.
Good SSB audio.

Bad Points:

Bad quality control
Bad AM audio
Retuning necessary when changing modes.
Controls too small.
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