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

Reviews Summary for ICOM IC-R71E
ICOM IC-R71E Reviews: 29 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $680-1280
Description: A classic communications receiver produced from1984-1996.
Product is in production.
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IS4173 Rating: 5/5 May 31, 2019 18:25 Send this review to a friend
superior an SSB receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
Of the receivers I ever owned, the model I propably loved the best. Mine was equipped with the IF filters Icom FL-44A and Murata CFJ-455K. There was also a 3 kHz ceramic MuRata, gone defective, the type of the filter I no more recall.

I own this very receiver for 30 years by now. The only receiver model, the very unit I ever wanted to buy back after having selled it.

The AM audio quality is rather poor, as original. But for SSB-reception, the IC-R71E is an excellent machine. Them passband shift and notch work just dazzlingly. With my modified IC-R71E, in early '90s, I won gold, silver and bronze, in the Finnish DXing championships - thanks to my Icom. No other DXer in Finland ever did.

Starting in the '70s, I owned tens of communications receivers, and I just love my IC-R71E, over any other. Even though I own the EKD-515. Extremely reliable a receiver, after having resolved the memory back-up battery issue.

Them passband and notch on the early IC-R71E units, just beat about everything I ever experienced. Using SSB mode, with the IC-R71E passband one even can separate 3 different radio stations from each other, on the same frequency. Equally impressive P.B.T. and notch, I only experienced on certain Drake receivers. As I recall it, the P.B.T. on latter IC-R71E's was not the same as originally, due to patent rights issues.

Not quite as sensitive as, for example, them JRC NRD models I experienced. But comes it to rejecting splatters, and digging up a signal from the mess, on SSB mode the IC-R71E is just superior.

73, Ilkka Suni
ZS2OE Rating: 5/5 Mar 1, 2019 13:17 Send this review to a friend
Rock solid, impressive radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I nearly passed up the opportunity but in the end landed this great radio for less than 90 USD ! It belonged to an older amateur who sold off all his gear and it clearly lead an easy life. Not a mark on it and no mods at all.
Of course I couldn't leave it that way and right away replaced the original regulator with an LM350 linear version. I didn't like the mentions of 18V through a failed pass transistor into the works and for a little effort I have a quieter and safer supply. I may yet outboard the PSU altogether. Also did the AM mod suggested by crankorgan which made a difference.
I have yet to replace the original RAM battery, hoping that goes without event.
I have always liked Icom gear and owned the IC-730 and 735 radios. This radio easily outperforms the 730 on receive and is at least as good as the 735.
More than impressed with the filters and find there's little I can't get around with the PBT and Notch. I added the FL-32 filter for CW which I happened to have from my IC-730 days.
Had the radio for about a month but so far I can say it's probably the best receiver I've ever owned.
VK2JEM Rating: 5/5 Jul 25, 2017 17:46 Send this review to a friend
The standard to measure others by  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought this on a whim because the price was good.
It needed the caps replaced as many rigs this age do.

I plonked it on the desk and connected a random wire to it. Next to it are an icom R75, Drake R8, kenwood R1000, and icom IC735, so it had to perform to earn its spot.

Well it quickly became my go-to receiver. Easily as sensitive as the others and just good to use. OK it lacks all the bandwidths and DSP of the later radios but the NB and PBT and notch work really well for defeating unwanted signals and noise.

IF theres a signal to be heard this will get it. the R75 or R8 might clean it up better or make the audio a little more pleasant but they are more fiddly to use.

I dont know what it is but if im just turning on one rig it will be this one. Its the one i turn on first and turn off last.
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
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.
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