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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
GORDO Rating: 2002-10-21
Great fun digging signals out of the noise! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Others have commented on the "quirky" RF gain and Squelch control arrangement -- and they're probably right! That said, the broad spectrum of control that the R75 gives you makes it great fun to use. Phil's Cookbook in the ICOM R75 Yahoo group is an essential addition to the R75's daily operation. Using some his tricks will get the most out of a very capable receiver. This rig, especially when ICOM is offering the free DSP, is one of the best values you'll find in a general purpose communications receiver. Don't forget rule 1 for any receiver: string a good, matched, antenna for best results.
WP4LDG Rating: 2002-09-28
best value tabletop reciver Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I strongly recomend the R-75 not only for his price but for his performance.The WRTH rating it "The Best value table-top receiver of 2000".As any other receiver the stock R75 has some not too important flaws. While most people
just write this receiver off, many of us known that
the Sync-AM and AM AGC flaws can be fixed for under
$10 (or Kiwa will modify the unit for $35). People
will research how to build their own loops but not
even consider that receiver modifications exist. The R-75 strong points on SW and MW as being
sensitivity, selectivity, front-end, pre-amps, PBT,DSP,one step tunning steps
and ECSS. Lets take a closer look.

There is only a few [pro] receivers more sensitive on MW than the R75 after the removing or bypassed of the MW attenuator[$5.00 cost]]the R75 has a
sensitivity of 0.07 uV (MDS with pre-amps off).
Selectivity on the stock R75 is excellent due to
triple conversion design: crystal followed by ceramic
filter. Optional SSB voice
filters are available for the R75 with a shape factor
of 1:1.6 and 90 dB of ultimate rejection, at a cost
under $100. The R75's front end employs preselection
and is followed by a balanced dual JFET mixer. The R75 sports dual
pre-amps, dual PBTs, and is excellent at ECSS due to
its nice synthesizer (-142 dBc phase noise @ 10 kHz
offset) and fine (1 Hz) tuning steps.

I consider the the AOR 7030+ ,R8B,JRC NRD-545 to be excellents DX receivers;
however, IMO the R75 is every bit as capable. I'm a hard-core SW and MW DXer an had a R8B but was disappointed with
its performance compare with the mod R-75. I did a side by side with my modified R-75 and after
many months of side-by-side comparison I sold off my

I am sure you're thinking "why would anyone dump their
R8B for an R75? Remember that this was a modified
unit (these mods take a basic solder skill not money) and in my
opinion weak signal SW and MW performance was better on the
ICOM thanks to his better sensitivity and the DSP feature. The R75 is smaller, mobile mountable, has a
sharp & bright display, has quality knobs & buttons &
tuning dial, has twin-PBTs, has dual pre-amps, has
extended coverage, stores memories in EEPROM
(non-volatile), has complete RS232 control (PBT,
volume, etc), has DSP noise reduction, has a DSP
automatic notch filter, has optional crystal filters
slots, and has 1 Hz tuning steps... all at under half
the cost.
Passport states that the R8B "gets everything right"
but the reality is that the unit has numerous flaws
like any other receivers[there is not a perfect receiver] flaws which many owners
seem reluctant to admit muchless fix. The Passport
White Papers and MW DXing clubs' literature do not
simply sweep these deficiencies under the rug. Receivers tend to
be judged soley on their 'stock' performance but many
of us are not running stock R75 units.

They are DXers who feel they must purchase an
expensive desktop unit to get performance. This IMO is
just not true The R75's AM section is easily fixable[cost less than $10.00].This don,t compare with adding 1 Hz tuning steps (IMO essential for good
ECSS),DSP,two pre-amps,60 mgz coverage (etc etc etc) to other receivers that cost double. Do a review for yourself
and let the chips fall where they may.

Even for hard-core DXing there is a point of
diminishing returns... if a carrier is too buried in
the noise floor even an $8000 receiver will be
hard-pressed to recover any audio. Getting a better
antenna,and a receiver with a oustanding sensitivity,a DSP,Twin PBT, and a working sync det [after the easy and cheapy sync mod],is the way to go.

. Because ninety-percent of a radio is the
ANTENNA! For the price of a new R8B a MW DXer would
IMO be better served purchasing (for the same $1,379)
an R75 & ICOM DSP module, a K9AY loop, a Quantum
Phaser, a Quantum Loop, membership to IRCA and NRC, a
decent speaker, headphones, an equalizer, and doing
all the mods mentioned above. I am not knocking other receivers

Acquire a R75, make the comparison,
and report the results... they may surprise you. . The
R75 is one of the most popular unit of this modern era of digital display radios[was introduced in february/99].Those of us that are using the stock and modified units wouldn't
trade them for anything. Thank you.
G4SGI Rating: 2002-07-28
Great for SSB utility work Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I am not worried by the poor synchronous AM performance with this radio because I also have an AR-7030 which can't be beaten for BC operation in my opinion. I use my R-75 for utility listening.

I got this radio because I wanted to compare analogue only designs with an AF DSP design. I was not dissappointed by this feature which transforms SSB utility listening as the tiring background noise can largely be eliminated with the minimum of distortion. I found the auto notch feature less useful as the change in passband characteristic bothered me but it is still worthwhile on occasion. I strongly recommend getting the DSP option.

This radio has a very good RF performance as far as I can tell, as it compares very favourably with the AR-7030, however, you need to feed the audio to an external system or speaker to get good reproduction.

I like the ability to annotate memory channels but would prefer more than 8 characters and to be able to see the comment and frequency at the same time. I also liked the feel of the keypad and the excellent ergonomics which make this radio very simple to use.
KB1IKE Rating: 2002-06-24
V. Good unit Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Excelent receiver with the following exceptions:

Sync AM only fair.

Instruction manual lousy, R71A manual was superb.

Combined R.R. gain and squelch control are a collosal pain

Only one accessory filter addition ias possible in each of the IF frequencies. Two each would be much appreciated.

You have to learn how to use it, the lousy manual is not much help.

Having made all these criticisimsfound all these faults, it is still an excelent ham/SWL receiver and I am not sorry I bought it reccomend it with outhesitation.

N1RSR Rating: 2002-05-07
Killer clock radio replacement.and then some! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.

I have to agree for the most part with
the other reviews on this rig, so I'll try
to avoid making the board sound like a broken

The speaker, although bemoaned by others
that have used the rig, in my opinion, is
one of the better parts of the radio, it
is not an audiophile device, but it is loud
and clear, I only have to turn up the volume
ever so slightly, and I can hear the rig
around the house. It is much better than the
typical crappy stock radio speaker. Right now
I am using the rig for RX on local AM stations
during the morning and listening to HF stuff with
it after work, in all modes. The radio has
a solid feel to it. I'd heartily reccomend
this thing even to someone who is only an AM
radio nut; it'll allow you to throw the old
junker with the scratchy tuning knobs out
the window. :)

My only -nits- are lack of an extra step
in the attenuator, 20 db is a bit much but I am
used to it with the 706mkIIs I own. The other
thing I would have liked to see is icom throwing
in the carrying handle for free. :) And how
about an R75-deluxe thats loaded with filters,
txco, etc, for like $700? Also would be nifty
if the display was switchable to a green backlight
instead of just orange. Also a better
explanation is needed in the manual of the
MUTE jack. It says it attenuates and mutes the
audio, but it doesn't say anything about
disconnecting the antenna- if the antenna was
isolated from the RX during transmit, you could
easily- use this as a "true dual" companion for
any other HF rig; and it would approach or
outclass some of the rigs that pruport to have
sub VFO capability. If anyone has more
information on the "mute" feature please drop me
an email,or post here about it, as the manual is
fairly ambiguous.

Of course these are NITS and none of them would
stop me from giving this box a continious string
of 5s, I haven't seen a standalone RX like this
in quite some time.

If you have $540 or so thats just burning
a hole in your pocket, and you're into
.5-60 mhz listening, this radio is a sure
fire bet for the money. I'm sure itll be
on in the shack for many mornings and nights
to come.


N8YV Rating: 2002-04-24
SUPERB! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This is my third R75 owned in as many years. I use this receiver in conjunction with my IC-718 transceiver in a separate T/R arrangement. The two units complement each other very well, both cosmetically and in operational ease.

With a simple $3 mini-phone plug interconnect cable, I have linked the two units together using the C-IV proprietary data bus. This allows the controls of either rig to operate the other, when selecting mode, band, frequency and tuning.

An external RF relay, switched by the 718's send jack, is used to protect the R75's front end from direct RF from the 718's transmitter finals. The send jack also provides muting to the R75 via the latter unit's mute jack.

The superior performance of the R75, together with its excellent NB and twin PBT features, allows me to operate under withering QRM/QRN conditions at my location. Separate transmitters and receivers have historically been superior to transceivers. With the receiver free from the design trade-offs and encumbrances of a transmit section within its cabinet, the R75 revisits this traditional tenet.

I have equipped my R75 with a UT-106 DSP, ICOM 1.9 KHz and INRAD 2.1 KHz I-F filters, and a UT-102 voice synthesis component.

Now, if ICOM would only build a "T75" transmitter, complete with internal RF relay as a companion to the R75, they'd really have something!!

K2CZR Rating: 2002-03-05
Best Value Going! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Great little rig - right out of the box! Looking forward to the DSP unit which should be here in week or so. Receiver is outstanding on all bands. The filtering is excellent but you will need to adjust AM filters a bit otherwise the incoming signals are 15kc wide and can be difficult to home in on. The Twin PBT is another plus and comes in handy on the crowded nights. This receiver is plain old fun and offers remarkable features at an excellent value. I have a Radio Shack/RCA speaker the Pro X33AV #40-5000, which makes for a great combo. Pick up Radio Shacks SW antenna kit #278-758 but don't use the wire that comes with the kit. Pick up part #278-1329 14 gauge copper, 75 ft. and use this as the antenna, and your off and running. Most nights I just listen in and surf the bands and this is one great little board! '73 K2CZR
KG5FTK Rating: 2002-02-11
Excellent receiver Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
This receiver does very well. I use it with my 718. The 718 is the transmitter and I receive with the R75. Excellent results. I like separate xmit and receive. There are no transmitters made anymore so I use a transceiver but thank God there are still receivers. The R75 seems to have very wide dynamic range and the stock filters are much better than I expected. For the current price (520 with free dsp included) this receiver is a steal. If you want just an HF receiver don't waste your money on something like the dc to light big buck models, they will not beat this receiver on HF.
W3JY Rating: 2002-01-05
FB RX for my Shack Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I like the R75. Period.

I use ot for SWL and as a secondary receiver for my IC-706MkIIg. It is controlled by my laptop and connected to the 706 with a 1/8" cable. (This allows both rigs to be controlled without an Icom level converter.) My R-75 has the DSP module and the 350Hz CW/RTTY filter.

As an Amateur receiver it is fine. Same sensitivity and selectivity as I get from the 706, which is adequate for my purposes--and tons better than my old FT-101EE!

The R75 works in "tranceive" mode, so the frequency/mode can be controlled by the 706 and vice-versa. However, I often use the R75 to monitor various digital QSOs and use the 706 for CW or NTS work.

As a SWL rig, I like the R75. The speaker is not the best for SWBC, and a larger one is on my agenda. However, the synchronous AM works FB--I don't know why the others complain about it! There are two "modes" for AMS, one "automatic" the other "manual". It may be they are leaving it in "automatic" and it isn't kicking in. However, it makes weak, fading SWBC into a stable, pleasant-to-listen-to signal. I leave the AMS mode on always...

Another little-known feature of interest to digital mode fans is the flexibility of the IF filters. With 9.5MHz and 455KHz available, it is possible to assign ANY FILTER in ANY COMBINATION to ANY MODE! Other Icoms--like my 706--predetermine which filters work on which mode. This makes the R75 perfect for digital commo as my 350Hz filter works just fine on USB. When operating in "tranceive" mode, I transmit as usual with my 706 (wire up the MUTE function first!)

All-in-all, I find it a fine receiver and a welcome addition to my shack. Much better for my purposes than the other rigs I've seen.

BARTDXR5000 Rating: 2001-10-24
Great receiver with options Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have owned an Icom IC-R75 for about a month. I purchased this receiver with
the UT-106 DSP unit installed. As time has passed, I have added several
The receiver worked very well with the stock filters but there is a noticeable
difference in performance with the added optional filters. In order to help
anyone who is considering this receiver, I will give my opinion on the
following options in which I have purchased. I don't use my R75 with my
computer. I'm sure the remote computer control would be at the top of the list
of options for some of you who like to marry your computer with your radio. I
have a fairly old computer system and I'm sure would be more interested in this
option if I had a better system.

1) UT-106 DSP UNIT
This option was already installed when I purchased the R75.
I can tell you that this option works very well in the elimination of
background static. I read where someone referred to the background noise as
white noise. I know how effective this feature works by simply turning the DSP
filter off. My DSP unit stays on all the time. It can be notched from 1 to 15
and I usually leave it on 4. It works very well. This is a very effective
option and it would be my first choice.

2) FL-257: 3.3 kHz/-6 dB (SSB wide)
This filter is priced around $160.00. You could buy a fairly nice portable for
the price you pay for this filter but I consider it a must on this receiver if
you like program listening. You will not like the AM or AMS mode on the R75.
But by using the ECSS technique on the R75 with this 3.3 filter in the 455kHz
IF you realize that you don't need AM or AMS. This filter works very well in
giving a wide bandwidth in SSB. It truly makes SSB sound as good or better than
I was considering the Kiwa modification for AM and AMS before I purchased this
filter. I also enjoy using FM from 30 to 60 MHz and it wouldn't be a worthy
trade off to have the Kiwa modification performed on the 450 kHz board (AM, AMS
and FM) because it also effects the FM performance. I know it's a matter of
personal taste but I like the audio quality of the R75 in the upper and lower
SSB as good as any receiver I've owned. No, I don't miss the single SSB
synchronous detection that I used on my SW8 and SW2. Using the ECSS technique
on the R-75 in coordination with DSP noise reduction and the FL-257 provides a
very quiet background and a signal that stands out crisp, clear and stable.

3)FL-223: 1.9 kHz/-6 dB (SSB Narrow)
I do a lot of program listening with the R75. I purchased this filter to
provide a narrow SSB filter for tough signals in crowded bands. This filter
also works very well for utility listening or CW. In the few instances that
I've been forced to use such a narrow bandwidth, this filter performs very
well. This narrow bandwidth filter may be on the top of your option list if you
do a lot of utility and CW listening. It's an option that's not a must for
program listening but a very nice option to add to your arsenal for tough
signals in crowded bands.

I also have added the UT-102 voice synthesizer and the MB-23 carrying handle.
The voice synthesizer isn't something I really needed as I have very good
eyesight. It's nice when you are to lazy to turn your head and you want to hear
the frequency, mode, S-meter level and current time. There are times after a
long day at work when I use this feature. Yes, I'm lazy. The MB-23 carrying
handle is useful if you plan on moving your receiver for portable operation. In
my opinion, it looks good also. I purchased this option because I plan on some
limited portable use in the future. I don't see the need in purchasing an
external speaker because I am satisfied with the R75's speaker. I also prefer a
nice set of headphones.
I hope this might help someone on this newsgroup that is considering the R75.
I strongly recommend this receiver for program or utility listening. This is
the first ICOM I've owned and I am very impressed with the performance.
Email me if you have any further questions or comments.
Thanks, Bart