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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | ICOM IC-R75 Help


Reviews Summary for ICOM IC-R75
ICOM IC-R75 Reviews: 88 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $570.
Description: Desktop Communications Receiver
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.icomamerica.com/receivers/tabletop/#IC-R75
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W8RMV Rating: 5/5 Sep 8, 2018 04:10 Send this review to a friend
A Keeper!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Iíll never sell mine
Iíve had my R75 for about 10 years. Bought it new from Universal Radio. It is hard to find a better overall GC receiver (GCR). It has many features not found on other GCRís. I have compared it to my other receivers & Ham radio transceivers and it holds its own. Canít figure out why a few dislike it so? And why they would sell a radio they say is so bad to someone else? I could see giving it away, but not selling. Or why they would keep something they despise for so long & then write a bad review?
My R75 has the DSP unit & a 3.3kHz filter added. The rig is very stable & no TCXO. This unit never runs hot. Another mystery to me? Some later Icomís came with a Switcher power supply that reportedly made some RFI/EMI. This was easily remedied by using a linear supply. Add a small external speaker or an active speaker using the REC jack & the radio really shines. The PBT works very well when using the narrow filter settings.
I see the avg is running about 4.4 & I believe 4.5 is correct. Look at a few youtube videos comparing the R75 to other GCRís and youíll see it does a respectable job against the very best.
73 W8RMV
 
WC4R Rating: 5/5 Aug 25, 2018 23:44 Send this review to a friend
Great 2nd receiver  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought this used 6+ months ago replacing the DX-394. I worthy upgrade. Up against my old HQ-180, TS-590SG, FT-991A, & Flex 5000A; it does not measure up to the ham rigs but serves very well as a 2nd receiver. I installed the narrow filter which was a needed update. VLF, MW, HF all perform very well. User interface is easy and convenient. An external speaker is a must as is with all my radios. Internal speakers are handy but never sound good. The DSP and NB are quite effective. The power supply voltage runs a bit high so I added a voltage regulator to drop it to 12vdc; a simple mod. The twin PBT is great. It is not fully functional if the optional filter is not installed. On AM, it may seem it doesn't work but it does. The stock filter is wide enough that some will not notice the subtle change. Just carefully read the manual to understand the design. It is not up to the $1000+ radio nor should be. For the $300-$400 price range, it is a good value and a '5' for what is supposed to be. Sorry to see Icom discontinue it.
 
WC4R Rating: 5/5 Aug 25, 2018 16:25 Send this review to a friend
Great 2nd receiver  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought this 6 months ago replacing the DX-394. I worthy upgrade. Up against my old HQ-180, TS-590SG, FT-991A, & Flex 5000A. It does not measure up to the ham rigs but serves very well as a 2nd receiver. I installed the narrow filter which was a smart update. VLF, MW, HF all perform very well. User interface is easy and convenient. An external speaker is a must as is with all my radios. Internal speakers are handy but never sound good. The DSP and NB are quite effective. It is not up to the $1000+ radio nor should be. For the $300-$450 price range, it is a good value and a '5' for what is supposed to be. Sorry to see Icom discontinue it.
 
KB1QYH Rating: 1/5 Aug 25, 2018 01:28 Send this review to a friend
Couldn't wait to get rid of this junker!  Time owned: more than 12 months
What can I say?! I like the look of the radio, as well as the VFO knob, but that's about all. Everything about it is terrible- It's rather deaf, especially on Longwave- (like most Icom's btw) but it's very poor across the spectrum. It has one of the worst sounding speakers I've EVER heard in a radio- (except for the Icom 2200- that takes the cake!) It runs hot due to the high voltage of the power supply they give you with it. The "Twin-PBT" is absolutely useless. The interface is not intuitive. I bought this in 2006 before I became a licensed ham, and I sold it in 2014. It's horrible. I would instead buy a used LOWE HF-150. If you're a ham, I would buy a Kenwood TS-590SG. I own both radios, and they work great! Stay away from this clunker from Icom!
 
N0TLD Rating: 4/5 May 3, 2018 22:12 Send this review to a friend
Good, not great  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my R75 for about 15 years, and early on I performed numerous modifications to improve audio, the synch detection, adding filters, etc..

I'm not sure where 'deaf as a stone' comes from, if not a broken radio. I've never had any issue with insensitivity on the R75 with any antenna I've hooked up.

Sure, the front firing little speaker is not great, and Icom seems to be known for pedestrian audio at best in most of its receivers. But a good external speaker or headphones take care of that pretty easily, especially after modifying the R75 for better audio response.

It tunes quite precisely, and with a few added filters it is a serious DX machine, SSB to AM and HF to MW and even some VHF. I've used it with MW loop antennas, most homemade, and have consistently been able to pull fainter DX signals out of the muck, regardless of which antenna I use.

It's a good receiver. Not a GREAT receiver but definitely good, better than some, not as good as others. Certainly it is not deaf as a rock.

Still, it should not have required all the modifications to sound great, and perform better. It should have been manufactured better, but as it is, I enjoy it and it is a DX workhorse for me.
 
VK2JEM Rating: 5/5 Jul 25, 2017 18:04 Send this review to a friend
Cant live with it, cant live without it  Time owned: more than 12 months
I try, really i try!

I try to love this radio, but i cant. I find it charmless to use and audio harsh though built in speaker and just acceptable though external speaker.

I try to get rid of it, but its the radio I reach for when im doing serious DX or ute/ham work. With its DSP, twin PBT high quality filters and top performance this is my DX king. IF the signal is weak or noisy with lots of QRM/QRN I fire up the R75. Its especially excellent on SSB, and data modes. Really shines there but its not one I choose for just wandering up the band causally.

Yep i give it 5 stars because it performs excellent, had it over 15 years and never missed a beat and if its possible to hear it, this is the one to bring it in.

But its not something to love
 
K9GLS Rating: 1/5 Jul 18, 2017 03:53 Send this review to a friend
Not sure what all the hype is about  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I'm not sure what all the 5 reviews are about. It does pull in SSB rather well IF there is absolutely no noise around. Turn the breaker off to the house and you may have a chance. Noisy power supply, crappy speaker. For the money I expected a LOT more. Now that it's out of production I see some of the craziest prices in my life. I sold mine for $350 and thought I was ripping the buyer off. It's not a good radio if I have to buy a power supply for it (oh and they don't make the DC cable anymore) hook up an external speaker and turn the power off to the neighborhood. Over hyped junk. My $10 Vite VT-111 sounds better. I certainly listen to it longer than I could take the R-75.
 
KB1QYH Rating: 0/5 Dec 18, 2016 07:16 Send this review to a friend
Like Lipstick on a pig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This radio looks nice. It's the last tabletop general coverage receiver that will probably ever be made. The VFO knob is great, and it covers 6 meters as well. Those are the only good things about this radio. RUN, don't walk away from this radio. Absolutely the worst sounding radio I've ever owned. I've owned $50 shortwave radios that sound better than this. Limited filter options. Did I mention the speaker is AWFUL? Be aware that the power supply has issues as well. The voltage is set to high on it. This is why the radio gets so hot. Life expectancy is minimal on this radio. If you really want to buy it, and keep it for a long time make sure you replace the power supply with something that has a 13 volt output. I sold this radio for less than half what I paid for it new in 2006, and it was the best decision I've ever made in my entire life. I'm so happy not to own this anymore. I took the money and put it towards an Icom IC-7200, which is stellar in comparison to this radio. And you get transmit capability as well! Save yourself the hassles and stay away from the R-75 at all costs.
 
KI7AQJ Rating: 4/5 Nov 24, 2016 09:35 Send this review to a friend
Good for the price, I suppose  Time owned: more than 12 months
Selectivity out of the box is mediocre at best, and the audio is worse. You need to start dumping money for filters, and an external speaker, and the DSP board, and you know what, I am going back and knocking it back to 3 stars. I have never been overly excited by most of what Icom makes. The Icom stuff I like is so overpriced it's ridiculous. The feel, fit and finish are okay-ish, but on the cheap side. Narrowing the filter (installing a narrower filter) helps. Narrowing it with the setting on the radio turns the audible signal into a muffled muddy mess. Even my EQ, compressor/expander, and preamp into a home brew speaker consisting of some nice Cerwin Vega speakers was not as stellar as with other receivers, and transceivers. You buy it, and it needs help, so you start pouring money into it and it still needs help. I just fixed up an old 1980s Kenwood 100 watt transceiver. It's problem was in the audio output amp, so I just altered it to put out a line level balanced XLR output and the sound is stellar. It's okay, and that is how I rated it. I suppose if you want good or great, spend more money, or something. Budget Icom products are budget Icom products. I have NEVER been a huge Icom fan. Everyone is ooohing and ahhing at the latest Icom with the color waterfall display, & panadapter display, and I just spent $400 on rebuilding an 3 old Dell Latitude laptops with a solid state drives, and as much RAM as the CPUSs can handle. Dell quoted me $3000 for one and I have 3 for half the $3K price, and they give me my waterfall displays, panadapter, FL Digi, etc. They even work with the antiquated 1980s Kenwood, newer Kenwood stuff, Tentec, Japan Radio Corp, Drake, and my Yeasu XCVRs. Icom has always been a bit disappointing to me. They are like Cordoba classical guitars. Until you break the $4000 mark, they are just kinda um, MEH! It's a radio, or it's a guitar, but neither one makes me want to own it or set a goal to do so. Even at the $489-$539 price I still just want to hold out for something better. I have fixed these and played with them, and that's how I feel about them. Their owners seem to like them, and pay me to fix them, so I'll put the 4th star back for them. It's good, but not great. The audio on most of this stuff needs my help anyway. The selectivity lets this one down.
 
KD8OPI Rating: 5/5 May 24, 2016 21:18 Send this review to a friend
Its great, but now its gone...  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Waiter, can I have a bottle of wine with my crow?

Half a year ago, I wrote a review of the Comradio CR1A, and compared it to the ICOM R-75. In that review I explained why I felt the CR1A was superior based upon band coverage and filtering options. I did not make a direct comparison with the R-75; because I did not own one.

Then, a few months ago I read that the R-75 was going out of production. Realizing that there was never going to be another table-top, analog (3x conversion super het) communications receiver built again for the general public; I took a chance. I got one of the last few new R-75's from HRO in March 2016, the day after ICOM officially discontinued it.

Upon opening the box and laying hands on it, it was like finding a long lost friend you never knew you had.

Lets break it down:

1) Performance

Sensitivity: In a word, outstanding. Hooked up to an appropriate antenna, it pulls harder than a locomotive. With an S9 31' vertical and 32 ground radials, on a random afternoon, I think I lost count after 50 copy-able AM broadcast stations. See my video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlieF-jnFlY

Selectivity: Its OK; not outstanding. The problem is that the R75 has wide filters on AM and SW that are just slightly wider than what you'd want. On AM, its pretty good due to 10 khz spacing, but you can get some slop from close strong stations. On SW, 5 khz spacing between some AM broadcasters is tough to take. You can push it to narrow, but you lose a ton of fidelity. SSB filtering is fine; CW or digi modes are not. The 500 hz filter is available from a few places on Ebay if you need it.

Controls: we have to break this down:

1) Gain/squelch: Outstanding. You have to go into the menus to set up the gain on AM to a weird mix of gain/squelch, but one you dial it in, you're gonna love it. Ironically, what I want to see in a radio like this is a way to DECREASE the gain so the AGC stops pumping constantly (see my CR1A review, a real flaw with that rig). The ability to decrease gain allows the operator to eliminate noise BEFORE hitting NR.

2) The twin passbands: are almost useless on AM because of the width of the filters, but on SSB work fantastically.

3) Noise reduction/ works very well in my opinion. This gets knocked, mostly because I don't think most people know what they're doing. I have BHI and West Mountain Radio DSP speakers, and depending on the the situation, the R-75 noise reduction works better about 6/10 times. I think what most people do is jack up their gain to max (or even set their pre-amp to high - not realizing they are amplifying noise and signal when the do that), hear a buzz, and and then hit NR and believe that magic will happen. It doesn't work like that. NR needs to be used in combination with APPROPRIATE gain or even attenuation to weaken everything but the signal you want, then run it through NR. See my video above, go to 13:14. I pull a signal on 1150 khz that has tone of noise bleeding in from 1160 khz, after reducing gain, attenuating, adding NR, then increasing the volume of the cleaned signal, its sounds peachy.

Pre-amp/attenuation/notch : all work very well. You need to get in there and use them when appropriate. Hint, if you're pre-amping a signal with a lot of noise then hitting NR, you are doing it wrong.

Antennas: Did I mention two antenna jacks? You can select between a standard PL-259 or unbalanced (ladder line) antennas. on the fly. Awesome.

Memories, clock, sleep settings, keypad: They all work well.

2) Ergonomics. Its hard to put into words the ease you have using this radio. Beautiful VFO knob, smaller control knobs, a few simple menus, its great. No quarrels at all. It has a little kick stand thing on the front to elevate the panel.

3) Audio. I have no idea why the front firing speaker in this rig gets a lot of poor-mouthing. I think its pretty good, see the vieo above for a demo. I have an external speaker hooked up - but its more for the DSP/NR in the speaker than for sound.

4) Complaints/I wish list: General FM coverage. Yes, I know its an HF rig, but it does touch VHF going to 60mhz. I wish they could have found a way to put general FM coverage into the rig. Also, it would have been nice if they could have found a way to put a $2 ferrite rod antenna in the thing, but its case is steel, so maybe thats just a pipe dream. This radio at one time had synchronous sideband detection, but it sucked, and they pulled it a long time ago. The ONE ADVANTAGE of finding a used R-75 with the crappy synchronous detector is that you can send it to Kiwa Electronics and have them put in their module that apparently makes it rock solid. Kiwa can also add filters and audio mods.

In summary, the R75 is the last woolly mammoth. Its the last T-rex. Its the last Ivory Billed woodpecker. Its one of those things that were great but are now becoming extinct. HRO doesnt have any more. But, if you're lucky, maybe you can find one in stock somewhere or grab a nice one off of E-bay. Its worth it.


 
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