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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Icom IC-R9500 Help


Reviews Summary for Icom IC-R9500
Icom IC-R9500 Reviews: 6 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $13,200.00
Description: Communication Receiver
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.icomamerica.com/products/receivers/r9500/default.asp
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N1JMS Rating: 5/5 Mar 3, 2009 19:25 Send this review to a friend
One of a Kind  Time owned: more than 12 months
I couldn't believe that I would spend this much $$$ on "just a receiver", but I did. I've been in radio since I was 5 years old. I made a living in the business for over thirty years. In all of my years I've never experienced a single unit that performed in lab quality manner across this broad of frequencies and modes. Top-notch in every area from HF SSB to APCO 25. My only disappointment is that Icom doesn't cooperate with third party providers of software for simple downloads of data like most other manufactures.
 
KF7Z Rating: 5/5 Dec 24, 2008 11:37 Send this review to a friend
A Great Receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
Without reservation, I like everything about the R9500. It's by the far the most expensive radio ever for me, and my first commerical-quality receiver since last leaving amateur radio in mid-1970's. So, I can't compare it with the current top-of-the-line contester-class amateur gear.

I purchased the R9500 primarily for VHF and UHF receive capability, where it performs superbly. For that, the built in spectrum display scanner is a fantastic tool. I'm not a ham radio contester, so many contester priorities mean nothing to me. There's an amazing amount of capability built into this radio. It takes a while to learn all of the capabilities, and I learn something new every time I open the manual.

Since acquiring the R9500, I now own an Elecraft E3, which is my only other current-generation radio. The Elecraft is a great transceiver, with a great receiver, but I always go first to the Icom, since my usual intent is just to listen.

While these days it seems one speaks critically of the E3 only at significant personal risk of wrath from the Elecraft fan club, and while Sherwood Engineering rates the Elecraft E3 higher in a couple of parameters, I cannot find a single aspect of subjective receiver performance in which in the R9500 doesn't well outperform the E3. Of course, this is as it should be considering the Icom is 6 or 7 times as costly. Even just within the HF ham bands, the Icom is easier to use (both in terms of effort and efficiency), plus it sounds, feels, and looks better. But again this is at a huge price premium, and I would never say that the Elecraft E3 is not a fantastic bargain.

The R9500 audio quality is superb, even with the built in speaker. Because the R9500 audio is so pleasing, I'm no longer satisfied with less. In order to make the Elecraft comparably acceptable, I now feed the Elecraft audio output through a Presonus EQ3B parametric equalizer driving a Fostex 6301B amplified monitor speaker.

About the only downside I can think of is that this is large radio by today's standards, and designed for rack mounting as are most all commercial monitor receivers. Itís perhaps a little out of place on a table top, but it certainly isn't large by the standard of commercial receivers, especially considering that there is more performance and capability in the package than in any other I have seen. At the same time, that size provides sufficient front panel space for the logical layout and for easy operation of controls.

I purchased my unblocked R9500 in Canada (from Com-West Sales in Vancouver), not so much for the unblocked feature, but because it was the only place I could find a dealer willing to discount the price, which was further helped by a slightly favorable exchange rate. This ended up saving me more than $1,500 off U.S. dealer list price. Bringing the radio back across the border was a non-event. After researching customs duties, the dealer and I were pretty sure no duty was applicable. On return from Vancouver, the customs inspector asked the reason for our visit to Canada. I said, "To pick up a short-wave radio from a dealer in Vancouver," and he waved us through.

No regrets at all from this owner, and no hesitation to recommend this receiver to anyone able to justify the high price tag.
 
K6JPA Rating: 5/5 Jul 27, 2007 22:58 Send this review to a friend
Very Pleased!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First off, my observations here are based upon just a few hours of enjoying this receiver. It just arrived the other day and I have not fully had the chance to run it through all of it's paces yet. Fortunately, the menu items are similar enough to my 7800's to cover the basic operational functions, and get it up and running.

This receiver is an interesting departure from Icom's current amateur equipment line. it has a totally unique feel, and was definately designed for commercial application. Although nice overall cosmetically, I would like to have seen machined knobs in place of the plastic used. A minor disappointment, as the controls are silky-smooth, as those of the 7800. Also, the stack design of the feet leaves a little to be desired, as there is no way to elevate the screen without propping something under the front feet. I realize these are minor details, of personal preference, but thought I'd pass them along.

The case finish of the receiver is not smooth like the 7800. It feels as though it is a powder-coat finish. The front "blue" detail items, such as the rack handles seen in the photos are metal, and the rear cord protector unit is molded plastic. The receiver has a very utilitarian feel to it overall.

I installed a P25 decoding UT-122 into it this afternoon, which required removing the rear protector, top cover, and heat shield. Not too difficult to do, but about 20 screws needed to be removed to get to the circuit board. No big deal, but I will move the clock battery to the rear of the receiver once the warranty is over, as it sits near the UT-122 unit (against the face of the receiver) and I don't want to open it up every couple of years if I don't need to. Incidentally, there were a couple of handle screws missing from the sealed packaging. I called Icom and they were quite apologetic about it.

The casting/machining work inside the receiver is beautiful. Obviously, the covers function as huge heat sinks for the circuit boards. Someone at Icom spent some serious time laying out this design. I also appreciate the overall weight this adds to the receiver, as I wonder if some of my computerized receivers from other makers are going to blow off the table top when I sneeze at times.

The manual seems to be well written. I've only found one or two grammatical errors, and it does a nice job of explaining the receiver's functions.

Now as far as function, the receiver seems to surpass the abilities of my 7800 when pulling weak signals in the HF region. Incidentally, my 7800 is the later version, with current firmware and the added roofing filter. This is by no means a scientific test, as I'm simply A/B switching between the two, but the R9500 gets the narrow edge in what limited listening I've been able to do to date. The noise floor of the R9500 is amazing. It is unlike any other receiver I've used.

Anyway, the above observations are just my humble opinions. I will add once I have had more time to run it through it's paces.

Now...if only Icom would come out with a matching external speaker, instead of the outdated SP-20...
 
K7ERQ Rating: 5/5 Apr 15, 2007 20:11 Send this review to a friend
Exceptional  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The R9500 is designed as a stand alone receiver. It is simply outstanding. If I want a top of the line HF receiver, I can use the receiver in my IC7800. BUT, IF I want to listen to everything else above 54MHZ, the R9500 is IT! I use mine from 54 Mhz to 3300Mhz. The leader, flat out! ICOM thanks for making this available. I wished my IC7800 looked like the R9500, now wouldnt that make a pair!
 
ZS6YI Rating: 5/5 Apr 1, 2007 12:16 Send this review to a friend
Point of info  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The two IC 7800's I own only have two roofing filters i.e. 15 KHz and 6 KHz. The IC-R9500 has 4. It's the 3 KHz filter that really exhibits a marked difference. I realize that the latest IC 7800 has the 3 KHz filter installed. As a result of my comparisons with the IC-R9500 I shall be installing the 3 KHz roofing filters into the IC 7800's in due course. That aside. After comparing both radios using the same antenna, tuned to the same frequency and switching the antenna between the two radios I find it's very difficult to decide which receiver is the better one of the two. They both perform fantastically. One can probably get involved in a huge debate, bring out the test instruments etc. but practically speaking other than the improvement the 3 KHz filter makes there is really very little difference in performance between the two. The IC 7800 has one feature that I miss on the IC-R9500 and that is the Dual Watch feature. It's a pity the IC-R9500 does not have this particular feature as it makes listening to cross band QSO's quite difficult. The peak marker function works well on the IC-R9500 but I would have preferred an arrangement similar to the IC 7800 where one can turn the sub receiver's VFO knob onto the signal shown on the scope then press the change button to immediately go to that frequency. So bottom line. I shall not be using the IC-R9500 receiver in conjunction with the IC 7800 transmitter as the IC 7800's receiver has certain features that I often use which the IC-R9500 does not have.
73 De Gary ZS6YI
 
KK7TV Rating: 5/5 Mar 31, 2007 18:43 Send this review to a friend
Point of info for Last review  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The IC7800 has at the very least the same RX as the IC9500, infact it is better in the ham bands (IC7800 ) due to the spacing used in the HPF section. The other 2 roofing filters in the 9500 are very wide and used for fm and Wefax.
The IP3 in the 7800 in the 6M band is 4 times better then the spec they give for the 9500. I don't think they share the same PLL and DDS scheme in the first mixer. So the 9500 is a good RX the 7800 is a great rx.

Randy
KK7TV
 


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