CONVENTIONAL RECEIVERS

Above, a general view of my shack receiving equipments. Along with my Perseus SDR, the ICOM IC-R75  (bottom left) remains an important piece of my setup. For its price range (around $600 USD), it sure remain one of the best value on the market. I added two more filters in the optional filter slots. For my needs, I elected the 1,9 MHz narrow filter for the 9 MHz IF (FL-223) and the 3,3 MHz wide filter for the 455 KHz IF (FL-257). I have the Sync-AM R75 version. Of course, it is well known that this feature was almost non-working when the unit comes out of the box. The newer version of the R75 doesn't include this option anymore. Over the years, solutions have been found to make this mode to work properly. In the US, Kiwa Electronics offers a solution with their own  Sync-AM module for this receiver. I did send mine to have this mod performed. Now, it is working nicely and it sounds really good especially when listening to shortwave.  

A view of the Kiwa S-AM module installed inside my receiver. On the upper right, the audio mod is represented by the glued capacitor pile and next to it, the ECSS mod by the yellow trimmer. This photo was taken before adding optional filters.

While sending the unit to Kiwa, I took the opportunity to have other mods performed. Among ICOM HF products owners, it is also well known that a 1,8 MHz high-pass filter is part of the receiving section. For LF and MW listening, you better avoid this stage to get the maximum gain through your ears. The idea thus is to remove the attenuator circuit. Kiwa did the job for me. I didn't felt comfortable in doing micro-electronics work and I wouldn't take any chances to damage this delicate circuitry. Craig also offers an audio mod to improve clarity. This was done by changing a couple of capacitors for higher quality one. I also asked him a special favour. While dxing, I'm using the "ECSS" mode a lot. In the R75 Yahoo group, there's a simple mod to increase audio volume in SSB. He did that job for an extra $10.00 USD.

Attenuator removal mod shown in the middle by the standing  up inductor-resistor combo. Signals  bellow 1,8 MHz would rise for an additional +/- 3db after this work

Since I have this receiver, I'm getting very good results with DX including longwave and mediumwave even before the mods plus filter addition. Now, with those changes, it really performs well down to VLF. My next step has been an SDR (Software Define Receiver) and I went with the Italian made Microtelecom  PERSEUS (see Perseus page) . However, this excellent receiver should stay in my shack for a long time. If you wish to know more about this nice receiver or if you feel ready to perform some mods by yourself, see the ICOM R75 Yahoo group.

My portable Grunding receiver (actually a Tecsun DR-910). A gift from the Grunding/Eton stand at The Source annual convention in Toronto years ago when buying general electronics was part of my duties. I used this radio only a couple of times.

Normally used as a "kitchen" receiver for FM listening, the Realistic DX-392 (Sangean ATS-818CS) could be used as a back up receiver. I did that when my R75 was sent to Kiwa. With the Beverage and preamp connected at it, I did hear on mediumwave Croatia, France, Spain and a few North African countries. Even regular longwave as Radio France Inter and Europe 1 checked in. But disconnecting the external preamp, it was becoming almost silent. There is a wide/narrow filter switch which is useless as the selectivity remains almost unchanged. It has been a die-hard receiver with more than ten years of daily service but unfortunately, it stopped working in 2014. Faulty audio capacitors appears to be the the cause.

Adquired in 2014, my “not-so-conventional” Sangean WFR-28 portable Wi-Fi radio is a remarkable piece of equipment for its price with a great sound as a bonus. It links with the Vtuner Internet Radio database, it can also connect to your domestic network playing music from your computer, it has an FM stereo tuner with RDS plus a USB port which can be used to play MP3 files. Apps are available for smartphone or tablet for remote control. It can be fully portable by using 4 D rechargeable batteries along with its built-in charger. I simply love it!

Finally, my last 2015 acquisition, the Tecsun PL-600 portable multiband radio. To tell the truth, this small radio impresses me, especially considering its price tag at $59 USD! It came in a clean packaging that includes a nice pouch, external antenna, a spare whip antenna, AC adapter/charger and 4 AA NIMH rechargeable batteries. It covers LW, MW, SW and FM. It can tune 9 or 10 KHz steps for MW. Besides that, it can store up to 600 stations and has timer capability. A small drawback if there is, MW covers up to 1620 KHz, which correspond to the mediumwave upper limit of the 9 KHz scheme. In the Americas, stations in the x-band can be found up to 1700 Khz. In any case, I will make it my first choice as a travelling radio.

PAGE UPDATED IN APRIL 2015