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Reviews Categories | Receive Pre-amps | Industrial Communication Engineers, Ltd. Bandpass and Wideband Help


Reviews Summary for Industrial Communication Engineers, Ltd. Bandpass and Wideband
Reviews: 3 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $48 to 54
Description: Receive only Preamplifiers, for the lower ham bands, and wide band preamplifiers for general receive applications.
Product is in production.
More info: http://
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K5UJ Rating: 5/5 Jul 20, 2010 12:17 Send this review to a friend
Excellent value  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I set up small receive loop antennas for 160 and 80 m. made with coaxial cable and air variable capacitors. The loops are concentric on a cross support made with PVC pipe and mounted on a Glen Martin four leg mount in my back yard ( http://www.glenmartin.com/industrial/pg17.htm ). The coaxial cable loop is a common design. The mount also holds a Hamstick dipole for 40 m., also for receiving. The signal levels from the loops were disappointingly low. I had hoped I could get by without any preamp, but it became obvious one would be needed. The loop worked well enough to give me hope that it would be an important tool in improving the S/N ratio for receiving on the low bands and/or serve as a good noise pickup antenna for nulling with my MFJ noice cancelling box which phase shifts and nulls unwanted noise ( http://www.mfjenterprises.com/Product.php?productid=MFJ-1025 ).

I looked at two commercially made receive preamps, one made and sold by ICE and the other made and sold by DX Engineering. The DX Engineering product was more than twice as much as the ICE preamp, but the specifications provided by ICE made it seem like a satisfactory performer for $54, so I ordered one ( http://www.iceradioproducts.com/reconly.html ). Another factor in my selection was that I had purchased an ICE product before, the 240 v. line surge supressor, and had been impressed with its price in terms of its quality of construction.

The product was described adequately in an earlier review so I won't go into that. I had planned to mount mine out at the antenna, but it looked so good I hated to put it outside and get it grunged up. Also, it is not weatherproof. ICE recommends placing it under a rain shield. It would not be too hard to mount it with U bolts so the feedline jacks are facing down and the switch and pot are facing up under some cover but you would have to work out a way to get about 15 v. DC to it. Since my rx antenna coax line (some old 9913 I had) was only about 50 feet long, I put the preamp in the shack where it powered quite well off a 15 v. linear wall wart.

ICE is easy to deal with provided you communicate with them via email. As was mentioned earlier, you have to be patient and wait a few weeks but they will come through with your order if you give them time.

I read through the folded paper instruction sheet and wired up the preamp to the feedlines, and DC supply and turned it on. I run its output into the noise antenna jack on my MFJ noice cancelling box which has a rx antenna relay in it so I can pot up and down the main tx antenna on rx, ditto for the rx loops, or combine them or use one as a phase null signal source. With the antennas feeding a Collins 75A3 rx with a 20 pF tap on the plate of the last IF tube just ahead of the detector I could observe the passband on an oscilloscope.

The 130B made an immediate difference in signal level with the specified boost of 18-20 dB. As I only use it on 160 to 40 m. I do not know how much noise the preamp itself contributes because the low bands are so noisy as it is, that the 130B does not add any noticeable noise. Now, my small rx antennas provide a signal strength that is almost the same as my transmit antenna, typically a center fed dipole 130 feet long and 50 feet high. But with the pot on the preamp, the signal can be varied so as to achieve the S/N ratio sweet spot. If you are looking for a single relatively inexpensive rx preamp for your low band rx antennas, this is a great buy short of building your own.

73

Rob
K5UJ
 
N4GG Rating: 3/5 Jun 14, 2010 15:20 Send this review to a friend
Poor DNR  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
In building up a fairly complex remote receiver network to feed four rigs for field day - I had the opportunity to put an ICE 130 on the bench against a DXE RPA1. Independent of the gain setting of the ICE 130, its 1 dB compression point was 18 dB worse than the DXE. Not good. This preamp may be useful if you are not dealing with strong signals (like BCB TX nearby) or are in a single transmitter environment. If you need good dynamic range - this is not the preamp for you.
 
N6NKN Rating: 5/5 May 24, 2007 21:18 Send this review to a friend
Worth The Wait  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Recently ordered and received ICE's Model 124B and 130B preamplifiers. The 124B is a bandpass preamplifier covering 3.5 to 4 Mhz. The 130B is a wideband preamplifier covering .1 to 30 Mhz. Both come in identical chassis with a power LED, a bypass switch and a gain/attenuation potentiometer. Input and output are by RCA jacks, and a ground terminal and a DC power jack, requiring 12 to 15 volts are on the rear of the 4" x 4" x 1" chassis. Both perform as expected giving approximately 20db of gain or complete attenuation. I'm using the 80M preamp with my shortened beverage , and its totally variable gain/attenuation has proven to be very helpful when trying to pull out the weak ones. I'm using it as the receive antenna on the receive only input of my Icom Pro III. I'm using the wideband preamp on the 40M band, and also for SWLing. It also performs as specified.

My only caution is to be patient when ordering from the factory. My preamps took approximately 6 weeks to arrive. But they appear to be very well designed and perform as advertised. IMHO its hard to find a good vendor for receive preamps, so for me the wait was worth it.

I have placed another order with ICE. This time I will be more patient.

If you are looking for good quality receive preamplifiers and other similiar products of value to hams, I suggest you give Industrial Communications Engineers a try. I'm glad I did.

Rick N6NKN
 


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