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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | ICOM IC-R71E Help


Reviews Summary for ICOM IC-R71E
ICOM IC-R71E Reviews: 26 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $680-1280
Description: A classic communications receiver produced from1984-1996.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.rigpix.com/icom/icr71e.htm
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VK2NZA Rating: 5/5 Dec 18, 2014 18:20 Send this review to a friend
One of the great classic receivers.  Time owned: more than 12 months
i've been procrastinating about getting around to reviewing the Icom R71A for too long so here it is!
I purchased ny R71A from Andrews Communications in Sydney Australia in 1982. This was my first solid state digital readout receiver, adding it to my 1970 purchase of a Radio Shack DX-150, an ex Australian Army Racal hermetically sealed receiver and a Zenth Trans-Oceanic 3000.
It was fitted with the optional Dc input and an optional 6khz wide AM filter. Later I added the FL-44a SSB filter.
From day 1 this receiver shone IMHO!
It is of very solid construction and feels and looks like Quality.
It has outstanding sensitivity, excellent selectivity Ie PBT with the original FL 30 and FL70 standard filters.
The controversy surrounding the R71A's supposedly muddy AM is IMHO rather overblown, could it be better- Yes is it that bad - not really, I use the R71A with varios Icom/kenwood and NRD speakers, they all improve the sound to very acceptable listening! One great improvement has been the BHI AF DSP module which improves any receiver IMHO.
As other reviewers have stated the SSB is brilliant on this receiver, great intelligibility and clarity and compares favorably with any of the tranceivers/receivers now in my shack. These include a JRC-735, Icom IC-765, Kenwood R5000, Icom 7410, IC 7200, IC 718, Yaseu FT-1000MP field.
There is something very appealing about these older analog receivers, I do believe that the latest offerings in DSP can sound pretty good against the earlier DSP units, ie the IC-7410 another superlative receiver in a tranceiver.
I purchased an Kenwood R-5000 in the late 80's after reading the critisims of the R71A's AM sound, this was purely to satisfy my curiosity!
I added an YK88 am filter and a YK88SN ssb filter
Comparing the two receivers I found them quite different radios, whilst I found the R-5000 a good receiver, possibly slightly better AM sound but I kept returning to thr R71A, it has its own quirky ergonomics but the ability to dig out weak signals ,its SSB clarity and filter shapes for selectivity won me . I later sold the R-5000.
Compared to the JRC 535, on a par performance wise but a different feel to operation. The JRC is laid out very well and ergonomically very easy to use compared to the R71A however I do prefer the Icom for SSB operation.
After 32 years of ownership what are the problems?
I have operated the receiver on 12VDC most of the time, (Living in a remote Australian location we use standalone solar power systems and have 1100 A/H of 48vdc battery storage) Running on DC the unit much cooler than using the internal power supply.
I have installed the PIEX Ram replacement board, The original battery was still working 29 years after initial purchase however it seemed prudent to replace it at this time.
recently the receiver went dead below 7mhz, I have yet to investigate but suspect a capacitor, I have a capacitor replacement kit from VE3PVS and when time is available will look into it.
I still turn to this receiver for my general listening around both the shortwave and amateur bands, its like an old friend! It still holds its own against later offerings I have tried and owes me nothing.
If you have the opportunity to try, or purchase one of these, do so, there is a reason why R-71A's are still in demand by decerning SWL'ers and Amateurs.
All the best for 2015 friends!
 
CRANKORGAN Rating: 5/5 Mar 12, 2012 06:46 Send this review to a friend
Audio Fix  Time owned: more than 12 months
I spent over a month running different tests on the R71a audio section. I posted the results in the R71a forum. I found the schematics have different values than an actual radio. I will cut to the chase. Even though you turn the TONE control off it is still on! The circuit on the old units used a .1uf and a 10K pot. That causes really dull audio. Then Icom started using .01uf and the same 10K pot. Still the TONE circuit is still making the audio muddy. The fix is simple! Look at J6 on the Main Board. Count six pins up from the front of the radio. You will find a pin that goes to C73.(Tone control cap) It is a .01uf or .1uf depending on the age of the radio. Remove the connector and push in the dart that holds that pin in the connector. (black wire) Then replace the connector. You could also put the pin back in the connector and push it back down while the radio is playing. As soon as the pin hits the connector you will hear the audio get muddy even if you have the tone control off. (To the right) If you sell the radio just put the pin back in!!
 
HIFIMAN Rating: 5/5 Feb 17, 2012 12:17 Send this review to a friend
Better than expected.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Doing SWL I have owned many receivers and transcievers over the years. Well I picked up an IC-R71A. I am very pleased with the SSB and AM modes and the receive quality of this receiver. I was worried after reading some opinions about the AM quality but to my surprise it sounds great. This receiver is a a hot receiver and with the RF Gain, PBT and Notch I am able to get nice warm, almost noise free reception. Also the battery was just replaced so I dont have to worry about that for a while. For 300.00 I dont think I could have done better.
 
STEVEQ Rating: 5/5 Jan 13, 2012 07:36 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
An Icom R71A found it way into my shack a while back, after being away from radio for many years, the shack grew from the good old tube rigs, Drakes and Collins, including the great R390A into the solid state rigs starting with a RACAL, then a Kenwood now an Icom R71A.

The first time I turned it on, signals popped out of the rig and the sensitivity is outstanding.. now remember I have the mil spec rigs in mind having worked the R390A way back when in Naval Intelligence ... sure the Collins is great but that Icom is also a great little rig .... still getting used to the small knobs etc .... sorry I am an old tube type, turn the dials guy .... won't repeat all the good tech stuff people have said rather saying this is a great rig, maybe a little flaw here and there but NO Big Deal ... grab one in good condition, you will like it
 
HFCRUSR Rating: 5/5 May 18, 2011 12:46 Send this review to a friend
awesome-even on am  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have an r71a. I keep hearing about folks not liking the AM quality. I beg to differ. At least on mine, the AM quality is outstanding. If you have a noise situation or an inferior SWL antenna, sure your AM signal will be lousy. If you look at my videos here
http://www.youtube.com/user/globalswgetter?feature=mhsn
you see that they are ALL on AM-and with preamp off. All about propogation and antenna..oh and speaker too. The 71A sounds fidelically beautiful, bass and all on a good external speaker. I use a Boston center channel here.
 
PA0PGA Rating: 5/5 Oct 26, 2009 14:52 Send this review to a friend
A great receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
Own the R71E for two years now and use it daily, mostly for SSB on 80. Bought it second-hand with a burned-out transformer and some man-made issues for 150 Euro, and fixed it.
When correctly aligned, it is an amazing receiver, very sensitive and a low noise floor, ideal for fishing out the little signals from under the big QRM at times. It has the CW filter and the AM filter and FM module.
Altough there were some minor issues with the powersupply and there is some digital hash here and there in the AM and LW band, it is still the most used receiver overhere.
I use it beside the computer in my living room to listen on the bands while searching the net.
It can hold its own against every other receiver I own and more (R390A, IC756, FRG-7700).
I really love the little bugger.
 
PY4VFO Rating: 5/5 Nov 4, 2008 16:32 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Excellent with the modifications, IK2RND (Roberto Nardo) EPROM/RAMBOARD, and KIWA audio mods.
My receiver, is with all the modifications, including, P.B.T/Noch filter in AM, etc...
For me is a great old radio.

http://swloggins.blogspot.com/
 
SWL64 Rating: 5/5 Oct 12, 2008 06:03 Send this review to a friend
5/5  Time owned: more than 12 months
Own my IC-R71E more than a year now,and from the beginning of,my opinion :this is THE receiver i want to keep in my house,it really is an amazing good one!!With the stockfiltering the quality in AM(broadcast)is bad indeed,tuning 1 kHz up/down helps a little.My one has a wide-filter build in and i'm satisfied with it,no audioproblem at all in AM(i can listen for hours!)Owned a lot HF-receivers :Lowe HF350/HF225,Icom R72,Yaesu FRG7700,Kenwood R5000,but the IC-R71E is the best of all,i never sell it anymore.
Built as a rock,nice great S-meter,real laboraty quality!!
 
DK9DE Rating: 3/5 Oct 10, 2008 09:35 Send this review to a friend
AM receiption with R-71  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I fully agree with the comments from KB3GJL about the Icom R71 receiver. I like the receiver using it for SSB mode. I had and still own many other receivers and can say, the AM receiption is the worst of all receivers I know. The shape factor of the cheap AM filter is simply too bad. A strong broadcast station (S9 +60 on the S-meter) splatters more than +-50Kc of the carrier.
The modulation of the strong BC-station is even audible on other stations below or above. Any other receivers like R75, FRG100 or AOR 7030 perform much better in the AM mode than the R71. This receiver is not the right choice for a serious BC listener.
 
WI0H Rating: 2/5 Aug 11, 2008 09:05 Send this review to a friend
A Tale of Two Radios  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Icom R-71 (My version is the A model) is the first radio I've ever encountered that suffers from multiple personality disorder. On one side you have the SSB and utility radio that performs quite admirably. On the other side though, you have its AM performance, which is so mediocre it's laughable.

If you plan on spending all your time on the the ham bands, listening to SSB, or monitoring RTTY and wefax, this radio is your dream come true. If you EVER plan on listening to something broadcast in AM though, don't bother. Quite frankly, this radio sucks when it comes to AM. The filters are either too wide or too narrow, the gain control is useless, and the audio is atrocious. Imagine listening to your stereo with three layers of down pillows duct taped to your head. THAT atrocious. Keep in mind that this is after the radio was professionally modified for improved audio quality as well. Yuck! The good news is that the rig is stable enough to tune in AM broadcasts with either upper or lower sideband engaged, which measurably improves the audio.

So there you have it, two radios in one. Dazzle your friends with its clean SSB reception, then send them all out of the room by tuning in the BBC. I guarantee the radio will hear it, even if you can't. Icom should be proud an embarrassed of this radio at the same time. There are so many better alternatives out there of similar vintage(JRC NRD-525, Kenwood R-5000, Drake R8, etc.), I don't know why this would be anyone's 1st choice for a receiver.
 
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