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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | AOR AR3030 Help

Reviews Summary for AOR AR3030
AOR AR3030 Reviews: 10 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: General Coverage Receiver
Product is in production.
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OE5BFM Rating: 5/5 Mar 11, 2019 17:49 Send this review to a friend
A little Shortwave Genius  Time owned: more than 12 months
My device had all 3 Collins (6 KHz AM, 2.5 KHz SSB and 500 Hz CW) inside.
I have compared the AOR 3030 with my NRD-535DG at weak tropical band signals, the AOR lacked the signal processing options of the NRD, but otherwise he was on par with even better audio.

Negative for me was the bad large-signal immunity, at 20m wire with UnUn the small AOR jumped from the station table. With a Preselector (MFJ-1020C) calm came back. But with 10m or less wire length there was no need for a preselector.

The buttons are easy to use, they have a nubby surface and a defined pressure point. The small VFO button I was initially very skeptical, but it is viscose-braked and can and can therefore be used relatively well. But of course no comparison to the haptics of a NRD-VFO knob.

The device is remarkably built lightweight, a stronger push of a button moves the whole RX.
Incidentally, the speaker grill on the front is just a sound hole, the speaker in the unit radiates downwards. Contrary to expectations, I was still quite satisfied with the audio of my unmodified AOR-3030.

I have only one criticism, at strong CW signals, with the AGC at fast and with the narrow 500 Hz Filter, the beginning of a signal has a peculiarly "popcorn" sound. The AGC does not seem to be fast enough. But with the AGC switched to slow CW sounds ok.
Otherwise this is a surprisingly good sounding AM and SSB receiver, easy to use and with the filtering of the famous mechanical Collins. :-)
BEAM Rating: 4/5 Nov 24, 2012 18:14 Send this review to a friend
A good old receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I agree that the AOR 3030 is a great receiver, but I have to point out that its ergonomics is bad:
- The tuning knob is small and a bit hard to rotate, and just a few minutes of use are enough to get tired.
- The metal bracket is too short, and if you use the AR3030 on the desk the display and buttons are difficult to see and use.
- The sound from the internal speaker is sufficient, but could be improvable.

Nowadays with a lot less money you can buy an SDR receiver (SDR Softrock Ensemble II for example) that combines a similar quality of listening with a much better ergonomics.
If you are a BCL a Kenwood R2000 can be a good alternative, very cheap and high quality internal audio.
If you are a SWL then I would recommend an Icom R75, same price (on the used market), similar quality but much better ergonomics.

Sono d'accordo sul fatto l'AOR 3030 sia un ottimo ricevitore, ma devo evidenziare che la sua ergonomia è pessima:
- La manopola di sintonia è piccola e troppo dura, e bastano pochi minuti di uso intenso per stancarsi.
- Il rialzo in metallo è troppo corto, usando il ricevitore sulla scrivania il display è poco leggibile e l'uso dei tasti difficoltoso.
- Il suono dell'altoparlante interno è sufficiente, ma poteva essere migliore.

Al giorno d'oggi con molti meno soldi si può acquistare un ricevitore SDR (Softrock Ensemble II per esempio) che unisce una qualità di ascolto simile con una ergonomia molto migliore.
Se si è BCL un Kenwood R2000 può essere una valida alternativa, molto economica e con un ottimo altoparlante interno.
Se si è SWL allora consiglierei un Icom R75, stesso prezzo (nel mercato dell'usato), qualità di ricezione simile ma ergonomia molto migliore.
REMOVED_EHAM_JUSTICE Rating: 5/5 Jun 28, 2010 16:57 Send this review to a friend
Great Raw Performance-Revisited  Time owned: more than 12 months
Update: I recently had a chance to purchase another sample of the AR3030, and have read accounts from other owners about this receiver. There are a few things which I'd like to point out comparing the two samples I used.
First of all, it seems that the VFOs' readout in my first sample were ever so slightly off, not enough to show on the display (which tunes 5 hz but reads to the nearest 10 hz) but enough to cause the synchronous detector to distort the audio. The second sample I have is also off frequency, but because it is 30 hz off it shows on the display. By off tuning below the desired frequency by 30 hz, the synch locks on to the signal, and though it is not sideband selectable, it does make a huge difference on cleaning up selective fading on very weak signals, and holds the lock very well. I had read a report that being off frequency a slight amount distorts the audio quality greatly, and this is very much true.
The other thing about the AR3030 which really bothered me was the stiffness of the tuning knob. The second sample is a completely different beast. This second unit moves smoothly and is a joy to use. Ironically, this second sample was purchased from a seller in England (I am in the US) and another AR3030 owner in the UK that I have heard from also does not have an issue with a difficult tuning knob. Another user report in the US, however, experienced the same tuning difficulty that I previously encountered with my original "distributed in North America" unit. Maybe this is just a coincidence, but certainly something which I can't help but notice.
One last thing I'd like to comment on is the stock narrow filter. My first sample had the upgraded Collins 2.5 SSB filter which was excellent. This second sample has the Murata filter, but I can honestly say that I find no difference in use between the two. A report I had read stated that the Murata was a terrific performer, and I agree with that completely. There really was no point in offering an upgrade of the AM Narrow/SSB filter when these receivers were produced.
With the shortcomings of my original AR3030 corrected in a different unit, I must now give this receiver a rating of 5 out of 5.

Original Review: The 3030 is a hell of a receiver, but the way it handles has to be taken into account and, though I'd give it a 5 for its reception ability, the ergonomics knock off a point for me. Really, it does matter.

The unit that I owned had the Collins SSB filter in addition to the standard Collins AM filter, plus the CW filter. The audio is superb, especially in SSB. The manual doesn't tell you but you can use the 6 kHz filter for AM or SSB. Either one produced great audio, but with the wide filter it doesn't have the same rock-solid hold on the signal (it quivers just enough to be annoying). Listening to weak stations with the narrow Collins in SSB on the 3030 made speech much more easily understood than most other receivers I've used, and music reproduction was rich and clean sounding from bass up to treble tones. My Kenwood HS-4 phones, which have frequency cutoffs to reduce low rumble and static crashes, never sounded so good.

Universal Radio's website states that a 4 kHz filter was an option for the 3030. I also found a reference on Collins' own website about a 4 kHz mechanical filter intended for the 3030, but through contact with AOR I was told that it was never an option for this receiver. I was disappointed at first because an intermediate filter is always good to have with such a big gap in bandwidth filters. When I got hold of the 3030 I realized that I wasn't missing anything. It wasn't often when the wide Collins couldn't kill off adjacent channels. The narrow filter was great, too, though I never intentionally put it to a hardcore DXing test like I should have. The standard narrow ceramic filter is said to be excellent as well.

This rig is very sensitive in SSB. AM-Synch less so, and AM even less although still pretty good. The 3030's synch doesn't help much (its not sideband selectable, BTW), and with the SSB audio being so good and the rig being so sensitive and stable, I have to wonder why they even bothered with it except as a marketing tool (there weren't many receivers with synchronous detection being offered at the release of the 3030).

With so much going for it, the 3030 would seem like a perfect receiver. There are issues, however, which I just can't ignore.

If all I did was punch in a frequency and listen to that station all night there'd be no problem. Its when I wanted to tune around and do some DXing that the quirks came out and annoyed the hell out of me.

First of all, there's no noise blanker or notch filter. The NB you can live without if you have a good antenna setup to reduce interference, but a notch would have been much more useful here than the near worthless synch.

Changing from AM to either USB or LSB means you have to go through a carousel. You have to pass through AM-Synch, CW, FM and FAX on the journey, using two buttons that send you in either direction. Depending on which mode you're in, if you hit the button that immediately puts you on FAX and you're wearing headphones, you will get a piercing howl in your ears that is very unpleasant. Its also time consuming to go to the most used modes with this setup. Seperate buttons would have been welcome.

Speaking of the buttons...

There's nothing wrong with them per se (though they are a bit small which may be a problem for big-fingered DXers), but because the cabinet is so light I found the radio moving across the table rather easily unless I rested my fingers on the top and used my thumb for button pushing. The AR3030 won't be confused with the R390A on the shelf, that's for sure.

The tuning knob is quite small, and very stiff IMO. Bandscanning became a chore with this thing. The finger dimple is shallow, though enough to get the knob going if you place your fingers on top to hold down the radio so that it doesn't slide on you. The other even smaller knobs are also tight and as the evening passes become less enjoyable to use.

The readout only has one decimal point placed after the MHz digit, so for example a broadcast from Radio Australia may be read as on 15.51500 MHz. The 3030 can tune in 5 herz steps though it reads to 10 herz. You have to get used to ignoring the last two digits when tuning a frequency except for zero-beating.

I used the AOR wall-wart that was originally supplied with this receiver. The hum was grating, so much so that I decided to use the 3030 only with AA batteries (it takes 8). No hum, the audio is clean (and stunning) this way, but the stability in SSB is now gone. More good news is that you can turn off the LCD display if you're parked at a station and save battery life. The "Weak Battery" warning comes on after 25 minutes with a fresh set (usually that's when the set's stability goes downhill) but depending on the volume you listen with the power will last for a couple of hours.

Sorry, the AR3030 is really not perfect. The flaws are almost exclusively in handling, that is true. However, if a radio's operation gets in the way of the user then it'll get used less and less. That's what happened to me, so I ended up selling it. Do I miss its great receiving ability? Of course I do, but not enough to make me want to get another 3030.

If I had to compare it to another rig, I'd have to say its on par with the Kenwood R-5000, which is also still an awesome receiver. The R5K has its own quirks (key bounce and loose board hum if you're unlucky, replacing the wide filter even if you are lucky), but I find it much more enjoyable to use and every bit as good rx-wise.

The AR3030 does rock, just not smoothly
G4MJA Rating: 5/5 May 8, 2008 15:55 Send this review to a friend
Great RX!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Other contributors have covered the pro's & con's of this radio & all have made valid points so I'm not going to get into the technical details. Over my 30yr period in amateur radio I have owned many receivers & the AOR 3030, which I had for 3yrs, beat the pants off all of them!The signal handling, sensitivity, filtering, stability & ease of use were all excellent. I wish I had never sold this radio, I did so to make way for a much more expensive receiver which fell way short of the benchmark that the 3030 had set. I would buy another in a heartbeat.
STEVEG3POR Rating: 5/5 Oct 15, 2006 01:23 Send this review to a friend
The best receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
WOW! I have had over many years all the receivers that you can imagine and by pure chance I came upon the AOR 3030, Mind blowing! Stations around the world I have never heard before romping in at 5.9+++ on all bands, very low noise level, superb audio, and you do not need all the fancy ariels, just 66 feet of wire and no ATU to pull in everything. I have fitted a DSP and now the Rolls Royce of receivers. 110 percent rig, If you get the chance of one,BUY IT.
NL6001SWL Rating: 5/5 Jun 12, 2005 15:32 Send this review to a friend
Some receiver  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This little receiver blows away high-priced semi professional receivers easily...Bought a used one after reading the reviews here, because i was curious why everyone gave this receiver the maximum score. Well, now i know.. it's really one of the best receivers i've owned, and it even beats my NRD-535 loaded with all options.
SSB is very good, ECSS is amazing, filters and AGC-timing very well choosen, very low-noise and rock-stable, audio very good even without an external speaker.
For anyone into serious HF-listening: do yourselves a favour and buy one, you'll never regret it! No need for extra filters, mods or accessoires.
I've owned quite a few receivers, Icom R75+DSP / R70, Lowe HF225, NRD-535G, FRG7700, just to name a few, but this one surely beats them all.
Of course, the tuning knob is small compared to the one on my JRC...Right, it lacks a NR-circuit, yes the other knobs are small too, but it still deserves a big 5 out of 5 for me.
Like other reviewers mentioned: This is the best kept secret at AOR...get one while you can.
VR2XMQ Rating: 5/5 May 5, 2004 05:11 Send this review to a friend
Superb Radio on a par with the best JRC's  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
There has been alot of raving and fuss about the AR-7030 and the AR-7030+, but in my own humble opinion the AR-3030 has been one of the best kept secrets from the AOR stables without the much higher price tag of the AR-7030's to boot. Unfortunately discontinued, one should seek out one in prestine comestic and working condition and without further ado, snap it up!

This is without doubt one of the best receivers in my now 20+ arsenal of table top communications receiver collection and is probably one of my favourites. Sensitivity and selectivity are up there with the big boy professional grade receivers. Adding one of the new external DSP filters only makes an extremely good receiver even better.

This baby uses a Direct Digital Synthesizer (DDS) and has a "Collins" 6KHz mechanical filter fitted as standard to provide the highest level of AM selectivity. The noise floor is extremely quiet and sometimes one wonder if there is something wrong? High frequency stability is accomplished by way of a standard installation into the package of a Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator (TCXO) with accuracy of 5 parts per million from -10 to +50 deg. C. Image rejection 70db!

the frequency range tunable is over the range 30KHz to 30MHz with 29.9999MHz being the upper limit of tuning. The tuning is accomplished in 5Hz steps (display resolution is to 10Hz). It has provisions for AM, Sync. AM, USB, LSB, CW, FAX & FM. mode display is via a set of led's on the front panel and other operating data and frequency are displayed on a backlit LCD.

Although 5Hz tuning steps are available, other KHz steps are also availble by way of pushing a KHz button and change of MHz is done the same way by way of MHz button.

A seperate BFO which can be switched in independently in USB, LSB, FAX & CW allows greater flexibility resulting in a manual form of pass band tuning (PBT).

A silky smmoth rotary spinner knob with finger tip indent is provided for the VFO. Frequencies may be keyed in directly by way of the front panel alpha-numeric keypad and there ar two VFO for you to shuttle between. There are 100 memories provided for and these can be toggled to VFO mode.

A very large S meter and front firing speaker are provided provided which produces amazing clear audio quality.

On the rear there are provision for antennas, VHF converter connections, RS-232 computer contol and ancillary connections. A tilt bail is provided so that the front of the receiver can be tilted up for better viewing and operation. A dream machine to operate and one of the best of the best.

Do not pass up a chance to own one! If you have one, need I say more, enjoy!

7N4NJN Rating: 5/5 Jun 27, 2003 12:48 Send this review to a friend
Very Good  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this nice rig at auction 520 GBP and I surprised it's design, what a cute rig it is.and again I say WOW as sound is so good to enjoy the music from distance. human interface is perfect.crisp sound give me the joy to listen to the news detail. and it is very very quiet rig. noise level is low. so tuning is fun. I recomend you this rig. this give me the joy of the radio again.
STEVE Rating: 5/5 Feb 10, 2002 18:09 Send this review to a friend
good kit  Time owned: more than 12 months
I love the ar3030 i have owned 3 of these they all worked well,dead easy to work real good on ssb& bril on fm.A bit on the rare side now if you see a good one snap it up quick,only bad thing is they cost a good few quid 2nd user in the uk.
You can get comp control & vhf converter they work well,check AOR web site for more details.
G4CGF Rating: 5/5 Jan 30, 2002 12:42 Send this review to a friend
A vastly underated little receiver!  Time owned: more than 12 months
One of the best small receivers I have had the pleasure of owning and operating. Small enough to carry on trips and holidays, etc.

It covers all modes with three stock filters fitted. A separate Collins 7 segment 500Hz filter can be fitted for CW. Don't bother fitting a Collins SSB filter as the Ceramic one is very good!

Stability is very good with the standard fitted Temperature Controlled Crystal Oscillator (TCXO), and the DDS tuning is clean.

I've owned this great little RX for two years plus, and for its size and price it hard to beat! It may not have the "Bells and Whistles" of its big brother, the '7030, but its a lot easier to operate!

Although it will run off internally fitted batteries, it draws a hefty current and the batteries do not last very long. A separate power connector is useful to connect to an external DC source. Indoors the receiver runs off a mains PSU.

I use my '3030 with a AOR LA320 active antenna when away from home. At home I use a longwire and a Lowe PR150 preselector, and also a Wellbrook AR1530 loop antenna.

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