Icom IC-R75 Mini Review

Ok, I’m late to the show.  Really, really, really late to the show as this receiver has been out of production for a while.  I know.

While some of these aren’t my photos they are indeed photos from the eBay auction of the Icom IC-R75 receiver I bought so hopefully that’s okay.

I can give you specs and point you to all the features that you can easily look up yourself but I’m just going to focus on how I like the receiver.   Most of my reviews are subjective and basically boil down to “I like it” or “I don’t like it”.   I let others handle the super technical reviews.

While I am an electronics tech I’m mostly just a hobbyist, a user, and I know what I like, what makes sense, and what doesn’t work for me.  I’d be willing to bet that most people who are thinking about buying an R-75 don’t want to know how fast the electrons flow through the perfect waveform but rather the common sense nuts and bolts operation of the receiver.

Ok lets get on with it.  I’m going through a stage of testing and playing with table top shortwave receivers.  I also own a brand new Alinco DX-R8T and a Yaesu FRG-7 vintage receiver.  In addition to those I own virtually every popular portable shortwave radio there is.  So, I’ve been around the block a few times.

The Icom R-75 has been in production from 1999 to 2016 but was out of production for a short time within that span.

Also this particular R-75 has been modified and contains the UT-106 DSP module  which adds an automatic notch filter and Noise Reduction.  Also my R-75 has the Kiwa Sync Mod which allows the Phase Lock Loop (PLL) to really hold on to fading stations.  So my experience may differ from someone who has a stock one.  Also during the production run there were variations such as the sync circuit was removed following unavailability of this chip required for sync.  You can easily google up all the changes.  Kiwa mod below.

I bought mine from an eBay seller named bigapple59.  If you are an eBay shortwave radio stalker I guarantee you’ve seen his store and offerings.  And your first impression was probably the same as mine.  “THIS GUY’S RADIOS ARE TOO DARN EXPENSIVE”.  Yep, you pay a premium but when you are buying gear that is from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, etc you can better believe you will get a unit that has been tested and works.  The seller, Randy, told me if he gets a radio in that doesn’t cut the mustard that he has a tech that repairs and aligns the equipment for him.

So, if you want a bench tested old radio that WORKS and doesn’t NEED WORK and is well packaged and Randy stands behind his gear.  If you have a problem he’ll help you.  The forums and Facebook groups pretty much all back up what I’m saying.

If you are a bad assed tech with test equipment you can buy anything off eBay and just fix it yourself.  I have the skills but lack some of the equipment and mostly the TIME. I’ll gladly pay a few extra dollars.  It’s worth it.

So how’s it work.  Easily as GOOD OR BETTER than my brand new Alinco DX-R8T.  First of the bandwidth settings are much better than the Alinco.  The only other bandwidth setting on the Alinco is just not wide enough.

The Kiwa sync detector and filters WORKS!  Also there are two preamplifier settings, a notch filter, noise blanker, attenuator, noise reduction and TBT settings.  You can really hone in on weak stations.  Way more control over the ability to snag a signal than on my Alinco or FRG-7.

I should point out that I am in Eastern North Carolina and the station I was playing around with in the video above is in Saudi Arabia.  Also I’m using a simple wire dipole antenna with a $12 Nooelec 9:1 balun with cheap RG-6 coax in the rain.

So…..is it perfect?  No.  Can you buy better receivers?  Sure.  Is it way more than awesome at a great price point especially considering you can probably get one at a Ham Fest for a lot less money than I paid?  Absolutely.

This is a fun little receiver that offers a lot of advanced settings and of course if I plug a regular shortwave radio into the same antenna I’m not going to have near the control that I have with this R-75.  You sure don’t always need that but it sure is nice when its there.

Lastly, someone tacked on a BNC antenna connector that seems to work with ANT 1.  I find that pretty handy as my loop antenna amps have BNC connectors and anytime you can NOT use an adapter on some quality coax cable that is a plus, in my opinion.

Happy SWL-ing.



One thought on “Icom IC-R75 Mini Review

  1. Rick Robinson

    I’ve done business both as a seller and buyer with Randy for years. He is hands down the most honest seller on eBay I’ve found in 20 years and a real gentleman to boot. You may pay top dollar for Randy’s offerings but rest assured you are getting top shelf gear from a top shelf seller. Ya’ done good John. 73, Rick W4DST


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