Eric from Universal Radio discusses the Icom IC-R8600 Receiver

Eric, KC8XJ of Universal Radio discusses some fine points of the Icom IC-R8600 receiver. The IC-R8600 is a very wide band feature packed self contained SDR type receiver you don’t need a computer to operate. Please see our website for more details on this and any other Amateur Radio and Shortwave radio needs.

Whether deployed with two receivers on a single 19-inch rack, or on your desk at home, the IC-R8600 is an impressive upgrade to any serious SIGINT team, interference research team, or the avid shortwave or receiver enthusiasts. Covering 10 kHz to 3 GHz, this communication receiver enables you to hear and see a wide variety of signals on a 4.3-inch color display. Additionally, the R8600 decodes diverse digital communication signals, while the advanced FPGA processing technology provides clarity and accuracy of received signals. With the optional remote control software for a Windows® PC, received audio and spectrum scope data can be transferred through an IP network for monitoring from remote locations.

RX frequencies:

  10kHz – 3GHz
Decodes digital including P25, NXDN™, D-STAR
RX analog including USB, LSB, FSK, CW, AM, S-AM, FM & WFM


  2000 with 100 groups
100 scan skip channels
50 pairs scan edges


  Cellular frequencies blocked or unblocked

Receiver performance

The R8600 has 11 discrete RF bandpass filters in the HF bands and 13 bandpass filters in the VHF/UHF bands. To prevent overflow, only the intended signal is passed, while it rejects any out of range strong interference signals. The R8600 provides +30dBm IP3 and 105 dB dynamic range at 14.1MHz. IP3 performance is +10dBm at 144 MHz and 0dBm at 440MHz.

Software demodulation in FPGA processing

The R8600 utilizes FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) and DSP units for demodulation, decoding and most signal processing. Direct HF signals and intermediate frequency signals, which are converted from VHF/UHF signals, are digitized in a 14-bit A/D converter and transferred to the FPGA and DSP for optimal processing. The high-rate 122.88 MHz sampling frequency used for the A/D converter results in superior aliasing and image reception reduction.

Real-time spectrum scope

An industry first for desktop wideband receivers, the IC-R8600 has a high-resolution real-time spectrum scope with a waterfall screen. The display offers first class performance in resolution, maximum 30 frames per second fast sweep speed, ±2.5 MHz wide scope span (display range) and 110dB of dynamic range (at ±2.5 kHz span). The waterfall screen allows you to find weak signals by showing the spectrum change over time. Tap the spectrum scope or waterfall screen to select as the operating frequency. The peak search function finds several peak frequencies within the scope range, and helps you to select these.

The spectrum scope offers the simultaneous operations found in some of the more expensive rigs! This means you can use either the spectrum scope or the waterfall to quickly move to an intended signal while listening to the receiver audio. The ‘R8600’s touch screen introduces a “Magnify” function. When you first touch the scope screen around the intended signal, the touched part is magnified. A second touch of the scope screen changes the operating frequency and allows you to accurately tune.

Intuitive operation

To efficiently acquire intended signals, the IC-R8600 user interface provides quick and accurate operation. The large 4.3-inch color display, with touch screen function, is configured to collect operating information. By tapping indications and icons on the screen, the setting menu will pop up and parameters can easily be adjusted. Push either the DIAL A, B or C multi-function control knobs to display various functions such as, scan speed, RF gain, audio tone, display backlight and more.


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