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Wideband Receiver
Features Explained

Return to Wideband Feature Chart

Wideband Receiver Features Explained 

The following features are found on select wideband radios and are compared on our model comparison chart.

A bandscope is a feature that permits the radio to display a visual picture of a small portion of the radio spectrum immediately above and below the tuned frequency. This graphic representation (with the frequency on X axis, and signal bar graph on the Y axis), allows the user to "see" signal activity on nearby frequencies. The bandwidth of this spectrum display varies by radio model.

Radios with a large number of memories usually have these memories partitioned into banks. This allows the user to organize the memories into logical categories such as military, aviation, police, marine, etc.

Minimum Frequency
This number represents the lowest frequency the radio may be tuned. Most radios will not tune with full specified sensitivity at the extreme low end of the tuning range.

Maximum Frequency
This number represents the highest frequency the radio may be tuned to.

A numeric keypad allows you to directly key in the frequency you wish to listen to. This is a quick and efficient way of getting to the precise desired frequency.

Tune Knob
A tune knob, or tuning knob, facilitates traditional manual tuning up or down the dial. This may also be referred to as a VFO (Variable Frequency Oscillator) knob.

Some wideband receivers have a built-in recording capability, either as standard or as an option. In most case the recording capacity is limited to under 30 seconds. (The Icom R20 is an exception).

Record Jack
A record Jack, or tape recorder output jack provides a constant "line level" output to easily connect an external tape recorder. Not to be confused with the higher output, adjustable earphone or headphone jack.

Antenna Jack
An external antenna jack allows you to connect an external antenna to a wideband receiver. Portable wideband receivers commonly use a BNC or SMA connector. Tabletop wide band radios typically use SO-239 and/or N jacks.

Wide Narrow
Some radios allow you to select Wide or Narrow bandwidth. The selection of of the Wide position will yield the fullest audio fidelity and is especially desirable for music. The Narrow position would be selected to reduce interference from another nearby station or signal on the band. The Narrow position will often reduce or eliminate this interference, but the audio fidelity will degrade somewhat. WIdeband receivers often have wide FM (for FM broadcast stations) and narrow FM for public service and ham FM communications.

Clock Format
Some radios feature a built in digital clock. The clock may be in 12 or 24 hour format (or 12/24 hour user selectable). Some models feature a dual time feature allowing the user to keep one clock set on "local time" and one clock set on the international "UTC" time. UTC time (previously called GMT - Greenwich Mean Time) is the time standard used by international shortwave stations to avoid the confusion of many time zones.

S.S.B. Single Sideband
SSB or single sideband is a form of voice transmission widely used by ham radio operators, marine and international aeronautical concerns. A limited number of regular shortwave broadcast stations also transmit in SSB mode. To hear these signals intelligibly you will to set your radio to the SSB mode and then slowly adjust the main tuning knob, fine tuning knob or BFO knob (depending on model). Most S.S.B. can be found below 30 MHz.

Sync Detect
Sync Detect or Synchronous Detection is a valuable features that can substantially reduce the effects of selective fading, yielding a more stable and readable signal.

Memories, or station presets, allow you to store your favorite radio frequencies for quick retrieval. Standard memories simply store the radio frequencies. Alphanumeric memories store the radio frequency plus a "tag" or "label" to help you remember the name or callsign of your stored station.

Some wideband receivers had the ability to demodulate broadcast TV video signals. For receivers sold in North America this would have been the NTSC video. In all cases (except the Icom R3), the user had to connect this decoded video to an external composite video monitor (sold separately). With this arrangement, users could tune most commercial TV stations, amateur SSTV fast-scan transmissions, and various other video transmissions (depending on location). Since most other parts of the world use different TV transmission standards (such as PAL), the video function of American version wideband receivers would not function in these areas. And furthermore, please note that the NTSC format was abandoned in the USA in favor of HDTV. So receivers that were formerly able to view NTSC broadcast television (like R3) are no longer able to do so.

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