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Reviews For: Icom IC-RX7 Wideband Receiver

Category: Receivers: Scanners

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Review Summary For : Icom IC-RX7 Wideband Receiver
Reviews: 7MSRP: 300.00
Wideband Receiver 150khz to 1300mhz
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
K4FH Rating: 2010-09-06
Nice Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought this radio for listening at a race in Atlanta but I also wanted something I could use outside of race scanning. This does the job nicely

In the spring I bought a Radio Shack Pro-164 for a race. It worked well for the race but it was lacking features as an amateur I would want. It also had limitations since it was designed for VHF/UHF scanning only. It had trunk support but I have no need for that. I did notice that when using the radio with an external antenna the front-end became overloaded and the rig became unusable. I sold it and bought an IC-RX7-05 for the race before Labor Day 2010.

A) Memory vs VFO.

I have not yet figured out how to really go from VFO to Memory mode without pressing SCAN. The manual talks about Memory Mode but there is no button to switch. If you want to go to MM from VFO you have to press Scan then hold and then you can select whatever memories you want.

B) Memory

The way memory is organized is great for scanning but seems a bit odd for me as a ham. There is category->group->name->channels(1-6). What confuses me about channels is that you can't name them but a name can have up to 6 channels. During scanning you have no clue what channel was selected. You can go into VFO mode and see the frequency. I found this so confusing that I contact ICOM requesting recommendations on how I should store memories. They responded quickly and I was able to use their suggestions before the race.

C) Overload

Hooking up the RX7 to an external antenna worked well at home. Just like it would with my IC-2100. What I experienced at the race perplexed me. I was not sure if it was PRN's equipment or mine.

PRN broadcasts their feed on 454mHz. I guess they do this because mots scanners do not support WFM so listening to a local FM channel is not possible. With the Pro-164 I had 454 programmed and listened to it mostly while occasionally I would listen to the drivers. I experienced some problems on the RX7.

On frequencies in the 450-470 range I was hearing what appeared to be PRN or another broadcast feed. I programmed the FRS/GMRS channels and I even heard it on those frequencies. On a few of the driver's frequencies I heard it was well. The made listening to those frequencies a real pain and somewhat unusable. For the driver frequencies I modified the memory contents to turn on the attenuator. This seemed to solve many of those issues. I did not take a small stubby antenna with me but had I did I would have tried it!

Again, I'm not sure why the radio showed that behavior as if there was a local frequency overloading it. I did not have that problem with the Pro-164 in the spring.

I would add one suggestion. It would be nice if you could program volume as an attribute of the channel. The driver frequencies required a higher volume setting than the PRN frequency. The result was that I was constantly fiddling with the volume controls as I changed memory channels.

If anyone can comment to me directly on the issues I experienced then I would appreciate it.
TURBO68 Rating: 2010-05-20
Excellent Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I been using the Icom-RX7 for a few months stock antenna is not very good using a Watson-881 Super Gainer reception is excellent the only thing i dont like is the volume is a bit on the low side compare to the R3,R20.
W8AQ Rating: 2010-02-01
Better Scanner than Receiver Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I purchased a used RX7 on eBay a week ago. It was relatively new and in good shape. As seems to be the case with this radio, the price was phenomenal. I bought it because I still enjoy the SWL world, even though it's not a popular hobby anymore. But I picked up the RX7 to have a small, portable but still decent quality receiver for SWL when I travel.

The limitations of the short rubber duck are apparent so I wasn't expecting much. Interestingly, it probably did a better job with the duck than I thought it would. I'm going to try a Miracle Whip with it as soon as I get a connector rigged up with the SMA antenna connector. And since the Whip is a very good SWL antenna (better than QRP ham antenna with the current condx), I'm fairly optimistic of the results.

As far as a portable scanner, the RX7 really shines. I have spent pretty limited amounts of time with the scanning hobby but found it intuitive and very easy to at least get the basics up and running. I quickly found a number of interesting calls in most every band.

Audio was clean and high quality, if a bit low from the speaker. Headphones or earbuds gave me all the audio level I could ask for though and a very clean sound.

In short, I'd give it a 3.5-4 as a wideband receiver and a 4.5-5 as a handheld scanner.
Hence, the overall rating of 4.

I'd recommend buying one and am happy I grabbed this one. It's going to be fun!
OE3SGU Rating: 2009-10-07
nice Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I own mine since last fall. The scanner is pretty fast and very easy to operate, performance on HF is good too and the battery lasts forever. For convenient programming the optional software is a must. I like the stylish and slim design, another proof that radios can be 'nice' and satisfy the XYL's too
PAULGBLUNDELL Rating: 2009-06-18
Great radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Icom RX7 review – Paul Blundell

This is my review of the Icom RX7 wideband handheld receiver which is Icom’s latest handheld receiver to hit the market.
When I first started reading about it a few months ago I was interested to read that Icom had finally fixed some of the issues that had bugged me with previous radios I had owned from them such as the R5, R20 and R1500 which were all good radios but lacked some of the basic features I felt a wideband receiver should have such as a decent scan / search speed, easy bank linking for scanning and searching, simple memory bank / channel management and an easy to understand user interface.

My reason for buying the RX7 was twofold, first I was looking for a good handheld radio that had a proper VFO, decent scan / search speed and was small in size; the second reason was that I just love new toys and after a less then happy time with the Yaesu VR500 I was hoping the RX7 would be a radio I would be happy with.

This review is not “technical” but simply some comments and other things I have noticed about it and how it works for me, I am not trying to sell it to you or tell you not to buy one but simply share what I have found and like / dislike about it.

The first thing you notice about the RX7 when you see it is that it is white on the front and grey on the back and sides, this makes it stand out from other scanners that are normally black or grey, the size of it is fairly small given it has a good size display and a full keypad, as it is so slim it can slip in to a pocket easily.

Using the radio in VFO mode has shown it to work very well, frequencies can be typed from the keypad or changed via the top VFO knob, things like turning steps, mode and other options are set from a menu which helps keep the keypad and display simple to use and understand, please take note that this radio is like most things these days and menu driven with many different options and levels depending what you are trying to do, even for somebody like me who works in IT technical support and has had a number of radios over years it took me some time to get used to this way of doing things, the manual explains it fairly well but the best way to learn is to play around with the radio and try new things.

The single biggest change from other Icom radios and most scanners in general is the way the memory is set out, think of it like the way the Uniden 396T/996T is done, add some extra steps / options and that is about the level this is at. Instead of banks you have Category’s Groups and Channels. Here is a quick rundown on how I have mine programmed which will help make it easier to understand.
First you have a Category (000 services in my case) which you setup, then you make a Group (TAS Fire) and inside this you add the frequencies (79.0375MHz as an example) with an alpha tag, CTCSS tone, Mode, Turning step, ATT, stop beep and VSC settings if you want.
Here is how I have mine setup:




As you can see above every category must have at least 1 group under it but you can have up to 26 categories each with 100 groups and each group can have 100 channels so that gives you lots of choices as far as how to have your memories setup. Using my setup above I can scan all the categories, 1 category or a mix, I can even just scan the TAS FIRE group if I want to, for somebody like me who likes to listen to everything but also at times narrow down to a single group of users this setup works well.
The only issue I have found is that as you had to add the frequencies to the right category / group as you program them it slows down the process a bit but I think it is well worth it for the flexibility you get from having it setup like this.

After programming a couple of hundred frequencies in and scanning them for a few hours I can report I have found no issues with lock up or overload even from my location which is close to the West Launceston radio towers, line of sight to Mt Barrow and close to the CBD; I am planning on testing it at Freeland’s lookout soon which will see how it performs in a “dirty” RF location. The scan speed seems to be in excess of 50 channels per second which is a great improvement on previous Icom radios.

Searching of frequency ranges is well supported, Icom have programmed some common one’s for you but you can also edit your own and link these which has always been something I have had issues with on Icom radios, it is good to see this has now been fixed and works really well, the search speed seems to be around 50 steps a second for 25KHz steps in the UHF band which is also very nice.
Earlier today I did some testing of the search auto write which is a feature I have used quite a bit in the past on Uniden radios and I can report this also works well which is a first for me to get working on an Icom radio.

Battery life is good from the 1100mAh battery and as I purchased the optional battery case for 3 AA cells this has improved it even more.

Overall I am very happy with the RX7 and it is a very nice radio which Icom have made more like a normal “scanner” but also with the VFO and other “advanced” features.
I am very pleased with this radio and if you don’t need trunking or APCO25 digital then this is the radio to get.

Here are some good / bad points I have found with it:
+ Fast scan / search speed.
+ Very nice clear audio from both the speaker / ear phones even if it is a little quiet at times.
+ Good physical size and fits well in a pocket.
+ Memory / search linking that works.
+ Well designed memory layout if hard to understand at first.
+ It seems quite sensitive and does not overload / have many birdies like some other radios I have used.
+ Major fun factor and many options to play around with.

- Delay is set on a radio wide basis not per channel which is a pain.
- The CTCSS tone decode feature is painful to setup and VERY slow to decode the correct tone.
- The keypad does not have a backlight like the display so night time use is hard until you learn all the keys by touch.
- Voice squelch seems to work well but does cut off the first bit of each over while it checks if the signal is voice and it should pass it to the speaker.
K7WCE Rating: 2009-05-12
Power Package! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Design and functionality outweigh the few "cons" of this receiver. I've sold my r5 to upgrade to the rx7. The memory management is wonderful, and I'm not sure I've mastered everything yet... The scan speed 100 ch/sec is very nice. It feels good in the hand and accessing functions is intuitive. Sensitivity is good.

Icom; hope you listen.
That said, the display is a bit difficult to view in low light. Lighted keys would be an improvement. A more powerful AM bar antenna would be nice. Why the small rechargeable battery? Should have used 4 aaaa batteries/rechargable; the aa pack is a bit bulky. AND as the instigators of DStar, why isn't DStar listening provided?

These are minor "cons" and again I state that the overall design of the radio outweighs them. I use it primarily for air and vhf/uhf ham and public services and bug sniffing. I don't miss my r5 (much)...

ROBWIN12000 Rating: 2009-02-18
Excellent Receiver Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Here's a review a lot of people have been waiting for . Icom's IC-RX7 . First thing is the sensitivy of this wideband receiver is very good . I have bought the Yeasu VR-120 wideband receiver and the Icom IC-RX7 is a lot better . The main problem with the Yeasu VR-120 receiver is on the shortwave bands , if you are 25 miles away from FM stations, all you can hear is overlapping FM stations with the shortwave stations . The Icom IC-RX7 does not suffer from this at all . To use this receiver , you will need to study the owner manual to get the hang of using this receiver as it is a little complicated . The Yeasu VR-120 is a lot easier to use . The Icom IC-RX7 has different banks to go to different bands like Fire Department , Police ,Ships , Railroad System's , Ham Radio , Etc Etc . This receiver has RF gain , Squelch , Attenuator , CTCSS AND DTSC Decode , and Voice Squelch . This is a very good radio for the price . All that is missing is BFO for CW and SSB . If you buy this receiver you won't be dissapointed .