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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | AOR AR-7030 Help


Reviews Summary for AOR AR-7030
AOR  AR-7030 Reviews: 20 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $1,799.95 (7030+)
Description: A Menu-driven Radio which can also be Computer-Controlled
Product is not in production.
More info: http://www.aoruk.com/Default.htm
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VE6VQ Rating: 5/5 May 17, 2012 19:41 Send this review to a friend
Great Rx, if you can find one  Time owned: more than 12 months
When I first read an article about the (then new) AR7030 in 1997 or so, I knew I'd have to get one. What I remember was the article said that this radio was a "game changer" in terms of providing 2-3 times the performance for its price.
A couple of years later, I bought an early version of the AR7030. I was very happy with it at the time, even though I couldn't really put it through its paces because of my urban location. The operating procedures were indeed obscure and British fashion as other reviewers have pointed out, but I didn't have any problems getting used to them once I'd used the set for a while.
I have to say that a large part of my positive feelings for this set have to do with the attention to customer service provided by AOR UK. In the mid-2000's, I was visiting family in the UK and I decided to take my early-model AR7030 and send it to them for an update to the AR7030+ model. Not only did they take care of that very quickly and promptly, they provided me with a lot of assistance in recovering the VAT I paid for this upgrade, and this was certainly above and beyond the call of duty.
I also am especially fond of how easy it is to interface this radio to a computer. As others have pointed out, there is a bit of a limitation insofar as the serial interface to the radio only runs at 1200 baud, but there isn't too much that needs to be done really fast when controlling such a radio.
I was disappointed to hear that AOR had stopped production of this radio a couple of years ago, and that's why they are so hard to get: Anyone who has one is even more likely to hang on to it. However, AOR and Richard Thorpe (the AR7030 designer) have been working for some time on the successor, the AR7070. I can't wait to see how that turns out. Since the AR7030 is now unobtainium, I feel that I need to buy a few spares to keep this radio running, although I haven't had any problems with anything on it. I use it every day, and the problems I've run into are a weird firmware bug and a flimsy speaker jack: After the radio has been running for a day or so, the volume seems to die down or mute completely. I was initially worried that the volume control was failing or something, but then I realized that it's not an analog potentiometer but some kind of digital encoder (optical or otherwise), and sure enough, if I commanded the volume up and then down via the computer interface, the volume control problem goes away, so I'm assuming it's a software problem. I used to leave a speaker connected to the set all the time, but I found that when I disconnected it, the internal speaker would not come back on, presumably because the spring inside wasn't reconnecting it. AOR UK replaced the jack for me when they did the "Plus" upgrade, and gave me a couple of spare speaker jacks, but I haven't had to use them yet.
I've owned quite a few high-end receivers, and I've read most of the external reviews of the AR7030, and for the most part, I agree with them. At one point, I had a Drake R-7A and an extremely rare Collins HF-2050 and I found myself still using the AR7030 most of the time. Now that we are in the SDR era, things are changing, and it's getting to the point where how comfortable using your receiver is up to you and your software, but I use the AOR every day, and I understand why many government/military agencies bought them in large numbers.
 
M0SVA Rating: 5/5 Jul 6, 2008 14:17 Send this review to a friend
Unsurpassed Analogue RX Quality.Better Dyn.Range than IC-7800?!  Time owned: more than 12 months
It took me some time to compromise with the idea of spending more money for a mere receiver than for a capable transceiver as the FT-897D !

But as with all good things in life, the higher price is easily forgotten by the long term joy of operating such a quality radio.

And at the back of my mind, there was always the worry, that the AOR UK guys in Derby may cease production of the 7030 sooner or later. This would put an end to my wisful thinking of getting this gem straight from them !

Over the past year and a half, my AOR AR-7030+ has proved to be a top quality radio, combining top analogue technology design by J. Thorpe available in the late 1990s with excellent service and support by R. Hillier at AOR UK.

Although I have both IF and AF DSP equipped transceivers, this radio has the kind of settled receiver that you can monitor an HF frequency for hours without all this "frying eggs" noise you can hear with other much more expensive radios and at the same bandwidth and mode.

Usually tests such as by QST or Sherwood Engineering don't pay such close attention to such factors as how settled a radio SOUNDS. The parameters these tests cover are (and have to be measurable), however how quiet the background noise of a radio, for all realistic situations is of h-u-g-e importance for some of us who spend hours and hours with the radio on while we happen to be doing other stuff.

But even in the absolute measurable world of Labs, this late 1990's radio, ranks 7th from the top of all times examined by Sherwood Engineering to the present day !

The few, much newer radios above it,(but for the legendary but unfortunately very elderly and indeed of limited capabilities Drake R-4C/CF-600/6) had to use digital signal processing to manage to achieve somehow better performance than the superb analogue AR-7030.

And still, it took them many years to digitally get now where the 7030 had got since the mid 90's !

And to this day (July '08)the 7030, still BEATS very expensive and advanced radios such as the Yaesu FT-1000 MP, Ten-Tec Omni VII, or believe it or not the hugely expensive and posh Icom IC-7800!
(Please refer to: http://www.sherweng.com/table.html)

Now, have you perhaps started reconsidering the amount of money that is worth paying for this radio, to get performance even better for example than the IC-7800! :o)

Recently I had AORUK install a new NB7030, Noise blanker etc option. Shop around for this NB7030 circuit, you can find it at various interesting prices in the market! ;o)

The AORUK technical team provided top class communication, service and support.

All -including a thorough check-up- was done free of charge as my radio was still under their meaningful warranty! They even replaced the front and rear panels for free because some of the writing on the panels had gone faint. The new panels and writing is of different, enduring hard use design, GREAT!

And how well packed it came back!

E-X-C-E-L-L-E-N-T communications over the phone by AORUK, I was thrilled by the readiness of R. Hillier to spend a-g-e-s on the phone to answer and discuss any question I could come up with!

Of course, if I was on the phone with AORUK, probably you'd get a busy tone! But persevere and you'll get well, very well served! (Being polite and not stressed, I suppose, helps ANY communication, hi-hi)

Well done R. Hillier and your excellent technical staff, bravo!

Would shop again ANY TIME from these honest and knowledgeable gentlemen!
(Take a look for ohter stuff they sell at their URL http://www.aoruk.com/index.htm)

Various antenna connectivity options at the back, from ladder-line to a telescopic whip!!

Personally, I have found the whip setting of the antenna switch as the most advantageous for coax fed antennae for very WEAK signal copying on modes such as SSB or CW, not though for Strong signals, where the appropriate switch setting works better of course. (Imagine this availability of antennae connections with any other radio in the Sherwood engineering list, it's simply not there!)

Play with the attenuation or preamplification settings and the IF gain and you get the optimum Signal to Noise Ratio resulting into the MOST SETTLED receiver I have used over the past 30 years.

I will use the 7030 more often than any of my Ten Tec OMNI VI or IC-7400, or FT-897D or Kenwood TS-830S or Kneisner and Doering KWZ-30 radio simply because I don't get the listening fatigue I will get with the rest of the pack(however the stellar audio of the KWZ-30 is unbeatable for a good AM SW broadcast station!!).

With the fantastic remote control, I can enter any frequency between 0 .00 kHz and 32.00 MHz, and this unconventional range of frequencies is an extremely serious VALUE FOR MONEY range of frequencies.
Most radios don't cover VLF.

You'd have to pay top to get a good dedicated VLF receiver and then still you wouldn't have top quality LF, MF or HF.

Pause for a moment and ponder how great a design from a radio-engineering point of view has to be to achieve such good performance over such a difficult and challenging range of frequencies.

Once I called Icom to ask if they could extend the sensitivity of my LF coverage of my IC-7400 (IC-746 Pro in the USA).
Their advice was that since the radio was not designed for LF, VLF, any such modification would compromise higher frequencies reception quality. Honest and simple their reply was, and I do honour them immensely.
However the 7030, can shine both in VLF and LF and HF, even up to 32 MHz!

And all this is achieved by a tiny-small team, in Derby..now...imagine if they had the resources of Kenwood or Icom or TenTec...

Change frequency, tune up or down, set tuning step, Mode, turn volume UP or Down, access your hundreds of memories, or enter various menus,etc. etc. by simply pressing a logical key sequence on the Remote Control. To be able to control this radio with a Remote control is AGAIN, one more rare and serious advantage.

Think of a noisy computer (or other device), as noisy as my PC, hi-hi.

Then think of how beautiful it would be if you could have the radio away from the noisy computer, but somehow to be able to have access to both the PC and the radio from your desk.

To my knowledge, the AOR AR-7030 is the only radio, you can do this with, as it is the only one you can have close to the antenna connector somewhere close to your window and away from the noise generating computer and have access to all the radio functions by means of the Rem. Control while still being at your computer desk.
And in the mean time, the 7030, seems to be pretty WELL shielded one way or another!

Weak signals (e.g. some HF beacons now with ZERO sunspots) that I can barely but consistently receive on the 7030, are usually simply not audible with my other radios, not because my other radios are not as sensitive as the 7030; it's a matter of which radio is more settled and produces less "white noise". How's that for DX!?

Wake up to your favourite DX frequency or record that special transmission at that special time by using the timers built in the radio.

Connect it to any stereo system and marvel at the quality of demodulation of this advanced radio.

I see lately some 7030s sold for really good prices on eBay.

If you can't afford the happiness of your brand new 7030, I would whole-heartedly recommend buying this advanced radio even second hand, but to be on the safe side:

Ask the seller for the serial number.

Contact AOR UK to make sure this is not a stolen radio. (Yes, things happen some times!)

Then if it is a genuine radio, get it and send it to R. Hillier @ AORUK to give it a check-up and upgrade to latest spec for a modest fee.

You won't be disappointed..just remember the Sherwood engineering findings !

I had a look at the rest of the reviews to get an idea of what has been covered or not before writing this.

Yes, menus do exist.

And perhaps one will need to press a few buttons (all the buttons on my radio work just fine, by the way) to reach a specific menu.

But I have found that the clever Remote control can bypass the need to access quite a few of them!
Also it is a matter of getting used to using the radio.
Different operators, prefer different ways, it's perfectly respected.

But let's consider one other option; design an expensive chassis, with lots of buttons and lots of switches therefore on the body of the radio, and again, just imagine, how big the radio would suddenly have to become to accommodate such a population of buttons, big enough to keep some of us happy. Think of the cost this would incur always.

And now think that rather than adopting the philosophy of a physically big box to accommodate all these buttons and switches, someone like J.Thorpe et al. come up with the superb idea to keep the expensive part of the radio chassis design low, by putting all this population of buttons not on the radio but on a far more economical and sensible remote control! (check how cheap it is to buy a rem control from AORUK).

And imagine now, upping the price not for putting more buttons in the "wrong" place (on the radio in this case)
but for investing on radio engineering Research & Development to come up with a radio with SHEER performance, so good, that it can beat such a star of a radio as the IC-7800, the top of the top of ICOM..

Now what would one's priority be?
Buttons and knobs that are indeed ergonomical on the body of the radio.
Sheer top-radio-performance and the buttons on a remote control.
The choice is yours.
Mine (of course) is top-radio-performance for very little money compared to similar technology and performance of other competitive radios.

And let's not forget, to achieve such top quality performance with analogue circuits rather than DSP is not an easy or at all cheap route to take. Which is also reflected in the price.

Also, yes the tuning wheel is not as lovely or "rubberized" as some other radios. Though, my new version of the AR7030, has given me a very positive feeling when I tune up or down the band, especially when there I use the FAST button.
It's I suppose a matter of getting used to the radio, something only expected with any radio!

My wish list?

If only it was feasible to have a choice of roofing filters (Yes, I can understand this would require a different and even more costly perhaps design.)

An appropriate frequency IF output that would facilitate RX of DRM.

A handle and rubber supports on the side of the radio, to support movability.

Overall, I am grateful to have experienced such a superb high performance receiver.
My thanks to the whole of the AORUK team for this little treasure.

For a description:
http://www.aoruk.com/pdf/ar7030_leaflet.pdf





 
IZ1LBO Rating: 5/5 Apr 30, 2008 14:30 Send this review to a friend
Simply the best!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have one 7030 "Normal" edition since 1997 with SSB 2.5 and AM 4 KHZ Collins filters. Well, 11 years without a problem, 293 DXCC confirmed entities in 6 years as SWL (all SSB) and a lot of utility and BC stations in my logs, all with this fantastic radio.
I had or I have also IC R71E, IC R75, JRC 535D, Kenwood R5000, Lowe HF 150, AOR 5000A +3, Yaesu FRG 100, many transceivers but this receiver is better by far. In a ferocius pileup with other radios you can listen noise and interferencies, with 7030 you can listen noise, interferencies AND THE DX STATION. This is the difference!
 
EI6IZ Rating: 5/5 Apr 2, 2007 12:47 Send this review to a friend
Running 24/7 since 1997  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought one of these fine receivers ten years ago. Over the years I have added a couple of extra filters. This is a snap to do with the built in calibration system.

This receiver is always left powered on and is mostly used for broadcast band (MW / Tropical & Shortwave) Dxing. Performance is outstanding and the Ergonomics are fine once you get used to it.
 
JOEANALSSANDRINI Rating: 5/5 Apr 1, 2007 19:54 Send this review to a friend
Three Years and Running!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I check the reviews here from time-to-time and I am VERY surprised at those owners who complain about the construction quality and/or receiving quality of this radio.

My unit arrived on March 15, 2004, and is in use EVERY DAY for four-to-twelve hours (except when I'm on vacation). This radio is built like a tank. All controls are first-class and I have never had even a whisper or hint of any trouble in my over three years of ownership.

I even opened up my set and, if one can follow instructions, it is quite easy to open and shut the cabinet. Frankly, I just don't know why there is all the fuss about this!

Reception quality is better and quieter than any radio I have ever seen or owned. (I had the optional 2.4 kHz crystal filter installed for SSB and ECSS tuning and it is worth every penny.)

I do HIGHLY recommend using this receiver with Jan Arkesteijn's RxWINGS computer-control program (see my earlier review below) as this eliminates one of the legitimate complaints I've seen here - that of the radio not being able to be tuned in discrete frequency steps (going, for example, 1000.00 kHz, 1010.00. 1020.02); this can be annoying but it does not happen when tuning with RxWINGS. (This program also allows scanning - just like a portable! - and it even keeps the sync circuit locked on even when tuning stations, if you wish. It is an amazing program, both in its capabilities in enhancing the use and enjoyment of the AR7030 - I have barely even mentioned this program's capabilities - and the fact that it is free!))

RxWINGS also eliminates the need for operating the set via tree-menu commands, though, as most have noted, this is indeed not difficult.

I also find the comment about lack of response from AOR UK to be amazing. I'm not doubting the writer but this runs completely contrary to my own experience. Richard Hillier has spent a great deal of time answering my questions and concerns via both e-mail and telephone calls. He is patient, forthright, thorough, and enthusiastic and this is both before and well-after the sale.

This is the best shortwave radio I have ever owned or experienced and, in my opinion, it is destined to become a highly sought-after classic.

I do not hesitate to recommend the AOR AR7030 Plus receiver to anyone.
 
VE7TEB Rating: 5/5 Dec 13, 2006 21:06 Send this review to a friend
Very Good  Time owned: more than 12 months
I don't normally submit reviews,but the last two on this radio beg for a response.
This is a quality receiver with a slight learning curve.Aren't they all?
Both the 7030 & the 7030+ provide the ability for the user to easily modify almost every operating parameter & the results are consistantly excellent .
The NB7030 option meets expectations for both the notch & NB functions & the extra memories are an advantage.
Do yourself a favor & read all of the reviews on this site,check Passport,Radio Intel,both RNL reveiws, the Yahoo user group & everything else you can find on AR 7030s.
It's a unique piece & while the R8B & 545 are also very good,there is nothing BETTER, short of the professional receivers.
 
NL6001SWL Rating: 2/5 Oct 7, 2006 03:56 Send this review to a friend
Never again!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I owned one for about a month or 3, for shure receiving capabilities are very good but the rest just stinks..
First of all there was a lot of key-bounce, although it seems to get better after i upgraded the CPU, but it still happened quite a lot and that's for shure irritating. The spin-wheel is annoying after using it a bit longer, the buttons are and so is the main dial.
I don't like the menu, for every setting you have to rotate the spin-wheel and press several buttons. It's not complicated, but very annoying because the controls are feeling cheap. Especially here the key-bounce is frustrating..
The explanation of the designer for choosing this interface was to keep the costs as low as possible, but hey! why is this reciever still a 1000+ one? I owned quite a few receivers from JRC , Yaesu, Lowe and Icom, they never felt cheap and the only real advantage i can find of the AOR is the sync wich is indeed better than in my other receivers, and maybe the sound of the built-in speaker. Once connected to my NVA-319 it sounds exactly the same as my NRD-535, so no real advantages here too. In fact, my Icom R75 has the better sound of this 3 here, and that's not a receiver known for its perfect sound!
The jackets on the back-side are again really cheap, if you connect an external speaker just keep it connected, after disconnecting the chances are quite big that you don't have sound at all until you put the mini-jack in and out a few times...crazy.
The tuning-steps almost never allow you to end on a rounded frequency while tuning up or down in AM, to get an exact reading of e.g. 7.000.00 you'll have to switch to SSB mode, tune it exactly for the last few Hz, and change back to AM again. Again my R75 and my 535 are much better in this...
Let me stop the negative story now, i'm shure a lot of owners are perfectly happy with their 7030, but i traded mine for another Icom receiver and i'm still feeling lucky every day.
Please, take my advice, read all the technical bulletins on the AOR-site before deciding to buy one, otherwise you "might" end up disappointed..
Receiving capabilities are very good, and for shure AOR UK is offering a lot of service in any respect, but no 7030 for me again..
 
KT6LN Rating: 3/5 Jan 27, 2006 12:08 Send this review to a friend
Close but no cigar!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Ok, it is the best I listened to so far in terms of sync-AM, but ...

Most everything else needs help.

First, UPNB option is a waste of money. NB is totally useless. Notch is cool to watch as it locks but it cannot remove more than one tone at a time. There are more capable DSP add-ons these days for less money.

Then, there are still mechanical problems it seems. My spin-wheel has already started acting up. Buttons are loose also. As such, they give you the feeling as if they are going to fall off their holes on the face plate. Even asking the customers not to tighten the screws as a precaution to prevent stripping of the holes is a shame to start with. I have been using very many radios and I have never had any problems on any of them. I have not opened and will not open 7030's case unless it is absolutely necessary (well, that may be coming soon to replace the spin-wheel, ouch!). I use the remote control as much as possible now.

Menu system is ok. It does not take long to get used to it for the majority of the functions but there are those functions that really need separate buttons, such as dial-lock.

The main problem with the menu system is not that it is difficult to comprehend but it requires to many button presses and/or spin-wheel turns which accentuates the mechanical problems.

Firmware has its quirks too. For instance, from it's remote control, press 0-1-Mem, it recalls memory location 099. But if you press 1-Mem, or 0-0-1-Mem, it recalls 001 (go figure). I don't understand why remote cannot turn the radio on and off either. This could reduce the wear and tear on power button. I don't see the use of "fast" button as it is not a sticky function so you need to keep pressing it. This should have been replaced with the lock functionality IMHO.

The main knob is polished metal. It is somewhat slippery and as such it is not easy to use. I am wondering if anyone has attempted to change this or was able to put a wide rubber band around it to fix this.

In terms of the radio performance, I have an overall luke warm feeling. Here is my assessment in terms of modes despite the published radio specs:

LSB/USB : lacks sensitivity (R5000 is the best on this) which can be remedied with the internal preamp albeit with reduced dynamic range. I have a Kiwa preamp which is better.

Background his is excessive (every other radio I own now is quieter).

AM : mellow audio but not the clearest and in even moderate fades, the whoosh-whoosh noise reminds me and is worse than my NRD525 that I owned sometime ago. I can't stand it.

Sync-AM : here this radio shines though it takes a while to lock on to most faint and fading signals but once it locks, it stays there even if i remove the input signal; it also clears up the AM audio problems as well, and it is a joy to listen to.

CW : better than average in this respect. I am not a morse code person so I reduced the BFO pitch to 0 and use it as in DSB mode. My JRC radios allowed this also and I used to use this as a good replacement to sync-AM, even if my 535D had the ECSS mode.

DATA/FM : I did not try these modes.


A few other comments :

I commend Shortwave Shop for their excellent service. I certainly was impatient as I wanted to get my hands on the radio ASAP. I kept calling them and they were patient with me as much as I was impatient. They shipped on friday UK time and it was at my doorstep before 9:30am monday morning (by FedEx on USA side). They were not any less expensive than Universal Radio, however. But their price did include the super fast shipping and apparently the customs duties as well.

I cannot, however, say the same thing for AOR-UK. They are NOT responsive at all. I asked a question on memory recall issue I mentioned above with no response whatsoever. Who knows if I have a real problem what I would do, I would probably call Bob at Shortwave Shop.

If anyone would like to make any comments please check my callsign (KT6LN) on qrz.com and send emails directly. Please do not bash me for my subjective opinions, yours certainly may differ from mine and I respect that.

I hope this helps one way or another for whoever would like to purchase this radio.

Ismail, KT6LN
 
K1EO Rating: 5/5 Nov 12, 2005 14:09 Send this review to a friend
Capable Receiver  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have used this radio with beverages in Maine for the past summer. I have owned many transceivers with general coverage, mostly icom, such as the proII. This receiver easily compairs to the proII on the general receive capacity, but improves the fidelity and intellegability of shortwave station dramatically. It is significantly more enjoyable to listen to the top speaker on this radio, than the proII. It also does a very respectable job on the ham bands. I found the ssb with narrow filters to have terrific fidelity, and able to control thunderstorm noise easily. Able to receive AM broadcast for 400 miles or better during the day, using the preamplifier. Sincronious AM lock is fantastic, almost never coming unlocked from a Broadcast station during deep fades. I do use dipoles or loops cut for the frequencies I listen to. The rig is able to handle overload conditions from local stations easily. I am also impressed with the robust construction; cabinet is heavy, and the boards are rugged. The size of the rig is great as well. I could consider this rig portable, at 9" by 9" by 4". I have replaced one of the digital sensors for the volume control. Found this part from Digi-key, and replace with great success. I am not an electronics master. Almost anybody could fix it. I purchased the radio from Universal Radio in Ohio,from their used classified adds. They are nice people, accurate in their description. It was shipped in good packaging and quickly. I have used the radio for a cw receiver as well. Found the bfo offset of plus 6 (+6) on the screen to be closest to the correct offset for my ears. I do have the plus version. Haven't used the 400 memories yet. I have found that the push buttons to jog through the menu system can switch from the one I want to three selections deeper. I am not sure if this is unique to my radio, or maybe the nature of the radio. Takes a little getting use to how to touch the "key". I can't say it's a real problem, as receive sensitivity, or overload from strong close signals makes a bad receiver useless. This rig is great that way. I find the screen gives enough information to keep me ammused, without every conceivable button having to be at a fingers reach. This maybe the height of practical shortwave receiver design, as the bands are slowly loosing their good programs, and the market for a receiver in this price range is probably small and not very profitable. I am glad AOR went to the trouble of making this terrific receiver. I found the British web site for AOR very helpful; I could down load the operators manual for the plain 7030 and the 7030 plus as a separate smaller file. Thanks Guys. If someone has the inclination to spend this kind of money on a receiver, you won't be disappointed.

Enjoy, Whit
 
FENU-RADIO Rating: 4/5 Jul 9, 2005 03:00 Send this review to a friend
Good Receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Very good and sensitive Receiver! Super audio! Only the IP3+ is not that which the technical data write.
More in german: www.fenu-radio.ch
 
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