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Reviews For: ICOM IC-R75

Category: Receivers: General Coverage

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Review Summary For : ICOM IC-R75
Reviews: 87MSRP: 570.
Desktop Communications Receiver
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KI4SIQ Rating: 2007-04-10
Good Radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I like this radio and have enjoyed listening to it. The internal speaker could be improved as well as the automatic gain control. I would like to see a ground lug on this radio. My VFO encoder failed after about 6 months from purchase. ICOM was prompt to fix the radio, but it is annoying to have to send a radio back. I suspect that the encoder failed from a static discharge dissipating from my finger (I noticed the shock). The Gnd wire connected to the antenna spring terminal had worked itself loose. I wonder if it would have failed if the chassis had been grounded at the time?

I now ground the radio through the coax antenna connector.

So I give it a 4 out of 5 for the speaker, AGC, and lack of a ground lug. That said...I don't know of any radios that I would rate as a 5. There are better radios...but they cost a lot more.
KE5LDO Rating: 2007-01-08
Excellent Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
After getting rid of the Eton 1-XM, I purchased the Icom. What a difference! Small learning curve, and with the PAR End Fed SWL antenna E-W at 20 feet, I am able to truly DX gain. If you want the sleep function to not wake you up, you can turn it off in the menus. It really performs.
It has many features i have not even explored yet.
You will not be diappointed in the performance.
KL1X Rating: 2006-10-17
Nice unit Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have two and they perform well in a lot of variable environments - here in Shanghai we have a lot of big Bcst stations on MW but the R75 copes pretty well unless you add a few Volts by selecting preamp 2. Talking of which, one oddity is that between 30 and 76Khz Preamp 1 acts as an 6 dB attenuator - above this range it doesnt. Its still pretty hot down at the LF end and pretty stable holding within 0.1Hz at around 137Khz over a 24hr period without the high stab xtal. Other small grumble is (I) would like a variable output adjust on the Rec output line - Nice unit. Glad I have them.
NL7W Rating: 2006-01-10
Great Radio w/ Outboard Audio Amp & Speaker Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've been very pleased with this radio.

I'm using the "recorder jack" fixed low-level audio output to drive a Bogen Classic Series 20-watt public address amplifier, which in turn, drives a JBL Pro III bookshelf speaker with a high quality 5.25 inch driver. The final audio results are just amazing -- making all monitoring quite enjoyable.

The optional DSP board is worth the money and increases the listening enjoyment of SSB and other weak signal modes.

AM band reception is geaat with the stock filters and my better outboard audio chain.


MIKEAMIC Rating: 2006-01-10
R75 = Great Choice Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Despite some of the problems and limitations of the R75, you can't beat the price performance ratio of this radio. It's an understatement to say that you get a lot of radio for the money.

Great customer service from ICOM to boot.
SOONTOBEHAM Rating: 2005-08-07
So far, so good Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I just purchased a new R-75, and am quite impressed overall.

The ability to control the radio using a computer was one of the features that attracted me, although finding a software package that suits me was a bit of a trial. I finally settled on Ham Radio Deluxe (can be found at as my primary program, and tk75 (found at for manipulating the memories. Both are OK, but tk75 is a beta product, and seems less stable than HRD. They both work well and are FREE for personal use. I was less than impressed by several commercial products I tried, and found that the free ones were better overall.

I have only a couple of MINOR gripes.
1. On my unit, the AF gain control does nothing for about the first 30 degrees of rotation, then the audio sort of "jumps" on. This is an annoyance, not a show stopper, though.
2. I have run in to the dreaded front end overload problem. I live less than a mile from a 50kw MW broadcast station - needless to say, I hear some interference below 2MHz or so. The good news is that it is a lot less severe than I thought it would be. That says a lot for the quality of the radio's front end.
3. The noise blanker seems to generate pulse noise under certain conditions when there is no pulse noise for it to cancel. The problem is easily remediable by simply turning off the noise blanker.
4. I really would like more than 8 characters available to name the memories...
5. The front panel is a little crowded, and I find myself bumping the tuning knob sometimes when I go to press one of the buttons. Yeah, I know, it sort of goes along with the compact size of the radio (which is quite OK with me!), but I have a bad case of Fat Finger Syndrome, so I find myself pushing on the "Lock" button a lot.
6. The audio could be better, but in general, it works OK for me.
7. I'm not exactly crazy about the RF Gain/Squelch being one control, but it seems to work OK.

Again, I want to stress that these are MINOR gripes. My overall impression of the R-75 is quite favorable - it's the best general coverage receiver I've ever owned.

I expect to post here again after I've had more time to become more familiar with the R-75. See you then!
CLEBOT Rating: 2005-04-19
Get 'Em while you can! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Wanted to paste this posting from the Elmers page regarding the discontinuation of the R75 from Universal Radio:
"Availability Note:
Icom has discontinued the R75. No replacement is currently planned. Universal Radio obtained a quantity of this model before it was discontinued. We are pleased to be able continue to offer this excellent radio."

Better get 'em while you can...just make sure you save one for me!
KB1FZA Rating: 2005-04-05
Pretty good but not perfect Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I always found the negative reviews to be the most useful so here are some negative
points about R75:

- Synch-AM - not working - poor design on ICOM's part. The S-AM is a major sale point for R75, yet ICOM never bothered to design it well or fix it afterwards. It can be fixed by somewhat complex and difficult to install mod (PCB with components, lift a pin on a SMD IC, soldering to SMD IC pins etc)
- AGC too fast - again poor design by ICOM, can be fixed with a capacitor, but requires soldering to a SMD IC pin.
- pwer-off clock display- it surprised me that they did not include such simple yet useful feature in this radio. The radio has a clock but it doesn’t display the clock when the radio is off. This big display can be utilized even with the radio off to show UTC in your shack.
- the external power supply doesn’t have on/off switch (wall-wart), otherwise I like the fact that the power supply is external

- sleep timer - in two words - a joke! - Too bad nobody was thinking when designing the sleep timer. It *BEEPS* to let you know that is powering down the radio but there is no way to cancel the process in the last moment. What is the point of the warning beeps then? to wake you so you can sleep better knowing the radio is off? Furthermore the sleep timer, once engaged does not restart if you interact with the radio (Yeasu's APO is a perfect solution - turns off the radio after the radio is idle for certain time). No such luxury
here - If you start the sleep timer on R75 the only way to stop it is again to go to the menu. If you hear the "warning" beeps its too late. And then - to engage/disengage the timer you have to perform *multiple* menu actions!!!
- DSP - the dsp is marginal (comparing it to the DSP in my FT-100D or K2). The noise reduction is nothing spectacular. The Auto notch filter works ok.
- voice synthesizer - once installed, you can not turn it off completely - it will always announce the mode - AM, CW etc, but does not indicate the certain types - S-AM, CW REV. It is kind of annoying.
- no display indication about the state of the twin PBT
- 100 memory channels and only 1 pair of memories for scan range is not enough for me. If an HT can have few hundred memories why desktop receiver receiver is limited only to 100? You can’t group the channels in banks!
- audio volume knob - not smooth action in the beginning of the scale- you cant adjust the volume for a very low level - it jumps from extremely low to too loud for my taste when using headphones
- the alphanumeric input is not very easy.
- lack of adjustment tuning dial revolution (encoder steps) vs. tuning steps, especially in AM when you use 10kHz steps. You have to be very gentle with the dial. The friction control of the main dial is a solution but not the best one.
- lack of a Quick Memory Bank (or second VFO). Sometimes I would like to jump to another frequency and then go back without storing the first one in the memory. It can be done by temporary tuning one of the memory channels but its not optimal.
- the user manual is so-so. Could be much better. Schematics are not included (I guess my expectations were too great for ICOM to handle, i admit: I was spoiled by another mfr.)
Most of the above flaws are just poor design within the hardware capabilities of the radio and firmware so the excuse "its not a $3000 radio" doesn’t fly.
Aside of all of the above negative issues (which are reminder for me why I like another brand) there are also some very good things:
- optional filters
- optional tcxo
- twin pbt
- large and bright display - I love it
- nicely placed controls
- easy to operate
- very sensitive and selective
- multiple filter presets per mode - normal, wide and narrow, stored per mode
-large number of filter configurations (escpecially if you install optional filters)
-easy access to the main menu and the filter menu
- FM and lower VHF band (6 meter) as well as access to local utility frequencies
The small speaker is not an issue - this is a comm receiver and and I don’t think ICOM expected the tiny speaker to be the only way of listening to the radio. Its there just for backup.

In other words, if you need high-end bedside shortwave radio or second set of ears in the shack - I think the R75 is the most cost-effective solution.
A used R75 in good condition costs as much as new Sangean Super ATS 909 and offers much, much more.
I don’t think $3000 shortwave receiver will provide you with the 6 times the listening experience if you are into SWL or utility monitoring
WA6IPD Rating: 2004-12-05
A great receiver for the money Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I have always used a bedside radio and the IC-75 does a good job. I used a crystal set in the early 40s until just after the war when the Hallicrafters S-38 came out. I likely enjoyed the S-38 the most of any receiver. One problem with the Icom that no one has touched on is the SLEEP TIMER. It would seem the engineers don’t have a clue as to what a sleep timer is used for. With the Icom it takes four operations to activate it and just before it the receiver goes to sleep it gives several loud beeps. A sleep timer should be a one button activated timer that silently turns the receiver off after one has fallen to sleep. The Sony 2010 is the example of a good design.
WB8UHZ Rating: 2004-12-03
excellent Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Excellent says it all! Get one! I have several
rigs including the R8 and R8A which are great, but you will not be upset with the R75, for the money .. nice rig!