Just ordered Com Radio CR-1

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Tim Bucknall
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Just ordered Com Radio CR-1

Post by Tim Bucknall » 27 Apr 2016 11:22

Just ordered Com Radio CR-1 for mobile use to replace my dead Alinco and other bits of kit that are suffering as a result of being dragged up mountains for a decade

http://www.commradio.com/
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ ... /2001.html
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ ... /2002.html
http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/11091

why that one?
well i'm glad you asked me that Brian,
Its a battery powered standalone SDR for mobile/portable use
it covers OIRT/ Japan FM, Band II & Satcom and has a 25khz FM filter! (as well as the normal 15khz,200khz etc)

sounds almost too good to be true, I shall of course be testing it to buggery
reports to follow

front panel is supposedly the size of a dollar bill!
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pe1etr
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Re: Just ordered Com Radio CR-1

Post by pe1etr » 27 Apr 2016 11:36

Tim Bucknall wrote:Just ordered Com Radio CR-1 for mobile use to replace my dead Alinco and other bits of kit that are suffering as a result of being dragged up mountains for a decade

http://www.commradio.com/
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ ... /2001.html
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ ... /2002.html
http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/11091

why that one?
well i'm glad you asked me that Brian,
Its a battery powered standalone SDR for mobile/portable use
it covers OIRT/ Japan FM, Band II & Satcom and has a 25khz FM filter! (as well as the normal 15khz,200khz etc)

sounds almost too good to be true, I shall of course be testing it to kingdom come
reports to follow

front panel is supposedly the size of a dollar bill!
CR1 is the older model it doesn't have the USB IQ output.
The CR1a is the later model. (2014)
NB
VHF/UHF IS AT REDUCED SENSITIVITY.

I saw a cr1a at the Blackpool ham rally. It is tiny.

Peter
PS I use mobile data for internet so didn't click on your links

Tim Bucknall
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Re: Just ordered Com Radio CR-1

Post by Tim Bucknall » 27 Apr 2016 12:25

couldn't afford the new one in time for my wales trip
so got the old version 2nd hand

given the active aerial I plan to hook it to in Aberdaron I will prob be able to work round it

as long as reduced sens. is coupled with reduced sproginess.. we'll see
cross your dipoles for me!
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pe1etr
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Re: Just ordered Com Radio CR-1

Post by pe1etr » 27 Apr 2016 12:39

Tim Bucknall wrote:couldn't afford the new one in time for my wales trip
so got the old version 2nd hand

given the active aerial I plan to hook it to in Aberdaron I will prob be able to work round it

as long as reduced sens. is coupled with reduced sproginess.. we'll see
cross your dipoles for me!
OK Tim.
Dipoles are crossed.

Does it include the battery?

The new version is dropping in price at Lynchies (MLS) I have been monitoring the stituation.

Peter

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Re: Just ordered Com Radio CR-1

Post by Tim Bucknall » 29 Apr 2016 13:56

good news it doesn't suck!

this must be the worst conditions ever for testing a RX but it passed the "Radio Maria 245.2" test

bad bit out of the way first - the "SBFM mode" (wfm) is awful! not just wide as a barn door but the audio has horrible high pitched tones and self generated qrm and sounds like a 8 bit greeting card
its only of use for catching a news bulletin or weather report.
its not going to be a major handicap as i always assumed wfm would be useless

the rest of it is brilliant, great audio quality on all other modes

ssb mode is brilliant, stable/frequency coherent throughout , (can't say that of any handheld i've ever owned)
ECSS reception is so good you could forget you were in ssb mode- at this price level that kind of rock solid stability is excellent imo


yes gain is reduced compared to a good handy but the upside of that is that you can couple it to silly aerials without overload
i plugged a "one of all" active TV/FM ant with variable gain in and got Belmont & Oxford on the window ledge

bear in mind that conditions are awfull, HF is blown out ,and its raining so heavily that blaenplwyf is absent on Band 2

i use Manchester ATIS 128.175 as a test signal and it was no problem indoors,
like every other high end rx i own comm radio missed an opportunity on airband by not having an AM bandwidth wider than 15khz (if you park on an airband frequency you would ideally want to hear both offsets +/- 8.33khz without having to retune so 17khz is the minimum needed) but not a single high end manufacturer seems to have realised this so anyone into airband would actually be better off with one of those cheap rx's with stupidly wide b/w


i like the ergonomics, less strain on the tuning finger than with handys, rechargable battery pack cuts down the number of cables in the car
its about 8 hours for a full charge for about 8 hours usage without headphones
(the alinco had a chargable battery pack but the charging cradle was a piece of S**T)

the morse decoder screen is really nifty, no more need to take a morse primer out with me

FM is only specified above 25mhz but you can use it below for dodgy pirate transmissions from trawlers & Taxis by tuning up to 25, selecting fm then tuning down from 25mhz

OIRT can be tuned in 5khz with 25khz b/w which should produce good results
despite the awful condx i hooked it up to a sharman skyscan mobile antenna on the car in the drive and confirmed the usefulness of the 25khz filter on satcom 240-260mhz

its pretty intuitive,i only had to consult the manual once
hf, VHF & UHF ant inputs are BNC but theres a socket for Long wire and a screw terminal for earth

I've been using a telescopic whip with knuckle joint that i bought for the Pira P175, would like a much longer one if anyone knows of a place?

a second hand Cr1/1a represents good value for Satcom & hilltopping/dxpeditioning imo

I'm going to keddleston hall tommorow so will compile my 1st bandscan on the new rx

i'm sure i've forgotten something that i'll only remember after i post this

edit: not many target signals on UHF here but it picked up the trunked truckers on 441.6625 no idea where they are but its not local and they have lancashire accents, nice to have 471-512 in ssb mode in case of supadupa uber tropo to africa from aberdaron- hey we can dream!
the IC7000 stops at 470mhz
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pe1etr
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Re: Just ordered Com Radio CR-1

Post by pe1etr » 29 Apr 2016 14:10

Tim Bucknall wrote:good news it doesn't suck!

this must be the worst conditions ever for testing a RX but it passed the "Radio Maria 245.2" test

bad bit out of the way first - the "SBFM mode" (wfm) is awful! not just wide as a barn door but the audio has horrible high pitched tones and self generated qrm and sounds like a 8 bit greeting card
its only of use for catching a news bulletin or weather report.
its not going to be a major handicap as i always assumed wfm would be useless

the rest of it is brilliant, great audio quality on all other modes

ssb mode is brilliant, stable/frequency coherent throughout , (can't say that of any handheld i've ever owned)
ECSS reception is so good you could forget you were in ssb mode- at this price level that kind of rock solid stability is excellent imo


yes gain is reduced compared to a good handy but the upside of that is that you can couple it to silly aerials without overload
i plugged a "one of all" active TV/FM ant with variable gain in and got Belmont & Oxford on the window ledge

bear in mind that conditions are awfull, HF is blown out ,and its raining so heavily that blaenplwyf is absent on Band 2

i use Manchester ATIS 128.175 as a test signal and it was no problem indoors,
like every other high end rx i own comm radio missed an opportunity on airband by not having an AM bandwidth wider than 15khz (if you park on an airband frequency you would ideally want to hear both offsets +/- 8.33khz without having to retune so 17khz is the minimum needed) but not a single high end manufacturer seems to have realised this so anyone into airband would actually be better off with one of those cheap rx's with stupidly wide b/w


i like the ergonomics, less strain on the tuning finger than with handys, rechargable battery pack cuts down the number of cables in the car
its about 8 hours for a full charge for about 8 hours usage without headphones
(the alinco had a chargable battery pack but the charging cradle was a piece of S**T)

the morse decoder screen is really nifty, no more need to take a morse primer out with me

FM is only specified above 25mhz but you can use it below for dodgy pirate transmissions from trawlers & Taxis by tuning up to 25, selecting fm then tuning down from 25mhz

OIRT can be tuned in 5khz with 25khz b/w which should produce good results
despite the awful condx i hooked it up to a sharman skyscan mobile antenna on the car in the drive and confirmed the usefulness of the 25khz filter on satcom 240-260mhz

its pretty intuitive,i only had to consult the manual once
hf, VHF & UHF ant inputs are BNC but theres a socket for Long wire and a screw terminal for earth

I've been using a telescopic whip with knuckle joint that i bought for the Pira P175, would like a much longer one if anyone knows of a place?

a second hand Cr1/1a represents good value for Satcom & hilltopping/dxpeditioning imo

I'm going to keddleston hall tommorow so will compile my 1st bandscan on the new rx

i'm sure i've forgotten something that i'll only remember after i post this

edit: not many target signals on UHF here but it picked up the trunked truckers on 441.6625 no idea where they are but its not local and they have lancashire accents, nice to have 471-512 in ssb mode in case of supadupa uber tropo to africa from aberdaron- hey we can dream!
the IC7000 stops at 470mhz
Thanks for the overview Tim.
I'll probably go for one before I head off again.
Hopefully Lynch will keep dropping the price
;)

Tim Bucknall
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Re: Just ordered Com Radio CR-1

Post by Tim Bucknall » 30 Apr 2016 19:12

nice one!

things i've discovered since yesterday:
preset saves freq and mode but not B/w - not a major flaw


i did a bandscan at Kedleston- (bandscan no 4033) mostly in the rain
http://www.fmlist.org/fi_bsall.php?omid=4033
ant was a sharman skyscan magnetic ant on the car roof

highlights: Clyro 90.2, Black hill 95.8, Swingate 94.4, London pirate 91.6, RTE 89.6
i didn't finish above 102 mhz as i felt unwell but i'm pleased with how the rx performed

kedleston is clearly a good spot
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Re: Just ordered Com Radio CR-1

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 30 Apr 2016 20:38

Sounds good. Our old friend Mr Clyro eh? I just don't get those low power Welsh relays here.

Tim Bucknall
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Re: Just ordered Com Radio CR-1

Post by Tim Bucknall » 04 May 2016 18:08

its quite mind boggling, I guess kedleston isn't too far from alport heights where u had clyro before

I took the CR1 to a local rf hell to see how it copes with silly signals
some 4g breakthrough nothing significant,
rather than overload the CR1 shows its distress by exhibiting a raised noise floor and static-y crackles

very impressed, especially if the price gets below £400 for a new one

HF is totally blown out and trashed .. as bad as I've ever seen it, so no chance to test 10meters yet
so far all the morse signals I've had have been too weak to activate the morse decoder but it will be a useful tool if condx ever improve
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Re: Just ordered Com Radio CR-1

Post by Tim Bucknall » 05 Feb 2017 15:47

the tunings buggered (rotary encoder)
naturally its just after the waranty has expired...

wonder if this is why the model has been discontinued, shame as the "built for hilltopping" idea was neat
i liked the Satcom/mil air coverage and the 25k fm filter was neat

the vhf lack of gain problem only applied to fm mode and could be worked around, the overload resistance was good and the freq coherence was great at that price point
..but none of that matters if you can't tune the F***er!

when the tuning was still good i filled the presets so i'm using them to tune around until i get a new mobile rig

so the point of this post is to say, cross this rig off the "list" of dx machines.

depending on whether anyone buys my guitars and other stuff i'm selling i'm looking at the following possibilities for mobile work
Burkhard Reuter RDR Pocket- to be released march
Icom IC R30 handy - release date unknown
Expert Electronics MB1
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Re: Just ordered Com Radio CR-1

Post by pe1etr » 05 Feb 2017 16:40

They also discontinued the CR1a recently too

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Re: Just ordered Com Radio CR-1

Post by Tim Bucknall » 21 Feb 2017 09:42

Thanks to Julian for this pic
CR-1.JPG
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Re: Just ordered Com Radio CR-1

Post by Julian Hardstone » 23 Feb 2017 00:46

The original contacting encoder is visible on the right-hand edge of the picture. I replaced it with an optical rotary encoder from Bourns, shown in test. These will outlast the radio or its operator ;) They are rated for turning at up to 300 RPM if you like to tune fast! Bourns specify a lifetime of 10 million revolutions. Though larger they can be made to fit in the original position. The resistance to turning is the same as the original control so spin tuning is still not possible.

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Re: Just ordered Com Radio CR-1

Post by Tim Bucknall » 02 Dec 2017 13:26

With the optical encoder replaced (thanks J!) I now have a nifty little portable to take the place of the handhelds nobody makes anymore!

Between the awful weather , my parents surgeries and my health problems this has been my worst year for hilltopping in ages so I haven't done the trials I wanted .

But the encoder was the only serious issue. I change my previous "don't buy" advice to "buy if you can replace the encoder". In the absence of a key lock . Julian hit on putting an improvised plug in the audio out socket on the back panel to disable the speaker in transit.

With a whip it can hear SATCOM traffic on the windowsill
I've not yet got 100% decode from the Morse code reader. I used the new Lincolnshire 10m beacon as test signal.
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