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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
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W0DKM Rating: 2003-10-12
This Icom is very Good Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought as a portable rig to take to work, ect.. I have had a limited amount of receive only radios. The last one was a Kenwood R-2000, The one I had had poor signal to noise performance. I read the reviews on Eham, waited for the price drop, $449.00 with DSP. Now It the best receiver I own. The R-75 pulls in signals my TS-870S, Or FT-920 can't hear. Whats that about???? Same antenna used???? The DSP is about the same as the one in my IC-746 I use for 2 meter work. I mean POOR. My Icom had to much noise for HF work, and the DSP made it worse. Well the same for the DSP in the R-75. What I Use on the Radios is a ClearSpeech Noise Filter. The Filters are not cheap, but they work so well to filter out noise, they seem to boost the SSB voice. I like the stock filtering in the R-75, and the AM and S-AM works great too on mine. Lastly the R-75 looks very good and tough, the button lay out is very good. Lately the R-75 is the first thing I turn on it the shack. VERY NICE RADIO, ICOM!!!
N2DY Rating: 2003-09-12
What a Bargain! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I saw that some of the big dealers lowered the price on the R-75 to $449 with the free DSP unit, and so I picked one up. I am very impressed with the capabilities of this radio at that price. I own a Drake R-8B, an Icom R-8500 and a ton of amateur HF transceivers including the Icom 756 ProII, 756 Pro, 746 Pro, 746, a couple of Kenwood TS-2000s, Yaesu FT-1000MP and a bunch more. The point is that I recognize a good receiver when I hear one, and this is a very good receiver.

This radio has surprised me with its ability to pick out weak signals. I was listening last night to a large number of European Longwave broadcast stations. I was using my 80 meter skyloop. I figured that if the R-75 was picking them up that well, I would switch over to the Drake which excels down in that frequency range. Honestly, the Drake did not hear them any better, except for the fact that the Drake's noise blanker was able to remove more local manmade noise.

On the shortwave and higher HF bands, the R-75 receives as well as almost anything else.

What don't I like? Like most Icom's, the noise blanker is not very useful. I wish Icom would copy Drake's or Kenwood's noise blanker design. As other reviewers have said, the AM Synchronous tuning is fairly useless. I did find it helpful in a couple of situations, but just barely. Other than that, I have no complaints.

I give this radio a 5 based on the performance to price ratio. It's no Drake R-8B, but then again it costs 1/3 the price. If you are looking for a very good HF tabletop receiver, the R-75 will fit the bill at a bargain price.
KC2BAE Rating: 2003-08-14
Great radio! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I got this radio recently, after doing LOTS of research (including the reviews on this site). I just had to post a review that can hopefully help someone else. I was actually trying to decide between the R75, AOR7030+ and the Drake R8B. Yes, I wanted to save some money too... so I got the Icom.
I just have to say, that IMHO, this radio rocks!
I've only been an SWL for about 12 Yrs. or so, and I haven't had a lot of radios to compare this one to, but I can tell you: I've owned an AOR3000A, Ten Tec RX320, Yaesu FRG-100B (with some mods), Sangean ATS-909, (also Yaesu VR-500 and Icom R1) and this radio blows them all away. Especially the AOR, RX320 and FRG-100B!
What I listen to mostly are Pirates, NDBs, NAVTEX, Utilities and Military comms. I have been pleasantly surprised by this radio. I believe that it's really helped my log some Pirates that I would have never been able to hear. I installed the free optional DSP and it only improved things. The noise blanker works really well on household noise, etc. OK the AM sync is practically worthless, as everyone else has stated, but if that feature isn't high on your list, then I would highly reccomend it. It can really help dig signals out of the noise. I Just ordered the optional 250Hz CW filter to help with the DXing of NDBs. I think this is a real quality rig.

73 and gd DX,


OLDSEAROCK Rating: 2003-08-04
New RCVR under $1000? This is a bargain. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I researched and researched before ordering this radio. Would I have liked an AOR 7030+ or a Drake R8B? You bet! But, they're three times the price.

The R75 I bought new with the ICOM UT-106 Digital Signal Processing (DSP) module, installed, shipping included for $509.

The radio performs flawlessly. The tuning knob is weighted, this radio just screams quality. Sensitivity is excellent and with just a 40' wire I pick up all sorts of signals from around the world.

The only 'con' is the muddy, front-firing Icom speaker but that was remidied with the RCA X33AV from Radio Shack.

I'm very impressed with the performance of this radio for the price.
K9XK Rating: 2003-07-10
Excellent Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
This is much better than the FRG-100 I had as my last tabletop receiver, at least in terms of receiver performance. Audio quality is so-so but I appreciate a front-firing speaker versus perhaps a lightly larger top-firing speaker. I think some people get fooled a bit because they are used to a top-firing speaker, which does not expose as much higher frequency audio to a person sitting in front of the radio, so they call the front-fring speaker "tinny" when they first hear it. In any case, you can always get an external speaker, but some of th beauty of this radio is the fact that it is so self-contained.

All Icom needed to do is put a carry handle on it instead of being so cheap.

I had the FL-223 narrow filter in mine and generally found it a bit too narrow in SSB mode, despite its specs.

The twin PBT is nice but it would be good if there was a visual indicator of its setting. I can't knock the rig too much for that though because most don't have that feature at all.

This may seem like a nothing point, but the display backlighting is gradually and continuously variable from "off" to "supernova" range. That is a nice feature if you run it in a variety of lighting condx.

The controls are very intuitive, and even if you lose the manual (and you don't want to go to Icom's site, where they *ALL* are), you should be able to easily use all major features.

The preamps work extremely well.
AB7JK Rating: 2003-05-22
Ultimately Dissatisfying Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I owned this rig for seven months, tried my best to like it but decided to sell it. Other reviews talk bout the sensitivity, selectivity, dynamic range as being outstanding which is true enough. To me the audio quality of the rig is inferior in all modes. SW program listening in AM is dull and muddy - even in SSB AM broadcasts lack crispness and liveliness even using the widest stock filters.
By comparison I purchased an IC718 after selling the R75 and it is so much more pleasant to listen to. AM is enjoyable with higher highs and SW broadcasts on single sideband especially with the 6khz wide filter sound excellent! Why should this be? It may be somewhat a matter of personal taste but I don't think so and no one should have to modify an expensive rig to make it sound better. The R75 was an overal disappointment.
BLR Rating: 2003-03-14
best value for money in Europe Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've had the receiver for about a month now using it extensively and decided to add my thoughts.
I should say right from the start that for its price the R75 is a winner. I haven't compared it side by side to any other tabletop receivers, but for about 800-900 Euro you cannot get anything that comes even close to the performance of R75. In other words you get a lot of technology for the buck in a well built and relatively easy to use receiver.
Where to begin, the sensitivity on SW is excellent. I don't do much MW DXing so there is no need to mod the unit to increase the sensitivity below 1.5MHz. The preamps are seldom needed with properly installed antenna but can be very usefull when working with short inefficient antennae or magnetic loops for instance.
Selectivity with the stock filters is good but optional filters are on my shoping list .
Dynamic range is also very good IMO. The receiver is often advertised to have over 100dB dynamic range I haven't measured this but I am still to see it overloading.
There are plenty of other goodies to enjoy such as twin passband tunning, noise blanker (this one turns to be quite efficient for eliminating static electricity clicks also) and with the UT106 installed-noise reduction and auto notch.
The last two deserve a bit more attention. They come with the optional UT-106 DSB board. If you want to realize the full potential of the R75, this one is highly recommended. The noise reduction works. This is my first DSP unit so again nothing to compare but it seems effective enough when set between 2 and 4 depending on the band condition. You loose some high frequency content of the audio but the overal gain of signal to noise well worth. A note on the audio in this respect. When I first listened to the R75s audio on headphones I find it a bit too harsh and fatiguing after a while (I used several good pairs of phones) but after installing the DSP board the things are perfect since the DSP NR cuts off the treble a bit. The audio from the speaker is good for such a small speaker. If you gonna listen to the speaker a lot however, an external one may be worth the investment.
The auto notch (AN) is the other filter offered by the UT-106 board. It can be very usefull when listening to BC stations in SSB mode for instance eliminating the beat tones which can be otherwize very tiring to listen to.
Bad things? Yes sure As we all know there is no such thing as an ideal receiver. To me the one major drawback of this radio is its AM performance as a general. As mentioned by many here the Syncro detector does very little to help reduce fading and in the majority of the cases it is difficult to detect any difference between AM and S-AM mode. The S-AM mode does not allow the user to select sideband as well. Even my portable can do this. I know that mods exist to fix the Syncronous detector. Perhaps ICOM should offer these mods themselves or rather redesign the whole S-AM board. It is really a shame since the SSB is fantastic(and I use SSB for most of my BC listening), but on AM there are times where my portable Sony receiver performs better.
That's why I will give it a rating of 4.
In conclusion if you are a utility listener this one is hard to beat. For broadcast listeners only, high end portables, such as Sony SW 77 and 2010 can offer better performance than the R75
K5WB Rating: 2003-02-16
good Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
good receiver. twin pbt excellent feature with one exception. on my reciever the pbt knobs move the effective passband higher in frequency with a counter clockwise rotation and lower in frequency with a clockwise rotation. has anyone else observed this? I have confirmed this action and have not yet opened the set up to see if reversing the voltage and ground on the control pots on the vrb board is worth the effort. would like to hear from anyone who has noticed this and any comments.
KB0RDL Rating: 2003-01-19
Good radio but one design problem Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I bought my R75 in April 2002 and was pleased with it. When I got the UT-105 digital unit installed I liked it a whole lot more. My next enchancement was an aftermarket digitally enhanced speaker which improved marginal stations 200-300%, but it was not an ICOM product.

My complaint is the power supply jack on the back of the R75, otherwise I would give the radio a 4 or 5. Mine apparently came loose or became disconnected on the 3rd or 4th time I inserted a jack into it. It was a little loose the first time I put the jack in, for that matter. When I checked to see if I had blown a fuse I immediately saw the design problem. The plastic housing around the jack has groves on the top and sides to slide into a slot in the back panel of the radio but the slot or hole is too big for it to slide into, so it just sits loose and unsupported where it could be easily jerked loose or otherwise damaged.

I'm still under warranty and I'm going to send my radio in for repairs. We'll see what they say.
K2KOH Rating: 2002-12-02
Good value for the money Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I just got everything set up, and I'm running my R75 on a seventy foot home made dipole. The receiver is QUIET and literally digs the weak ones out. For $549, including the DSP board, you just can't go wrong.
One thing that nobody seems to have touched on, and I thought was a nice touch from Icom, was the little ham radio terms manual. A nice afterthought for newcomers to the SWL hobby, who when they listen to SSB will more than like come upon amateur radio operators first. Kudos to Icom!