Wednesday, 3 June 2020

READY TO SELL?

AOR AR-3000A

Way back in the 90's I was a naughty boy and spent a fortune on a receiver. It was almost £1000 and that's when £1000 was a mighty chunk of household income. Let's just say that my wife was not pleased!

But I didn't care. I'd been working my socks off  in order to save enough money and was doing loads of overtime. I already had a good handheld scanner, but I wanted this beautiful Base Station called the AOR AR-3000A.


PHOTOS ARE PROPERTY OF TOM MCQUIGGAN


When I bought it, I set the receiver up in the kitchen area at the back of the house and attached it to an AOR Discone for coverage above 30MHz and I used a long wire for HF listening.

The AR-3000A was a very wideband receiver which covered 100KHz to over 2GHz with no gaps whatsoever. It had all the modes I wanted : LSB, USB, CW, NFM, WFM and AM. The front panel is tilted upwards at an angle to aid viewing whilst operating from a desktop position. This gave the unit its unique appearance that set it apart from the crowd.

All the controls fall easily to hand, with the squelch and volume being on rotaries to the left side and the main VFO tuning knob was over on the bottom corner - perfect for a right-handed person.

The control-buttons always seemed a little odd to me in that they seemed a little loose and wobbly from day one, but the fact is, the radio is now 30 years old and they operate the same now as when the radio left the factory, so you can't complain at that!


PHOTOS ARE PROPERTY OF TOM MCQUIGGAN


Each button has two functions, controlled by a "2nd F" button (like a shift-key) and although the legends above the keys aren't exactly easy to read, you very quickly get to know what each button does with barely a glance.

The frequency can be input using the Dial or by simply inputting it directly using the ten number buttons and the enter-key. Alternatively, you can flick through the 400 available memories which are stored in 4 banks of 100. The same goes for searching between any two frequencies.

The LCD screen is admittedly on the small size and even when you switch on the illumination, it's not an easy read, but it is what it is. The scanning speed is around 50 steps per second - slow by modern standards I guess, but perfectly adequate for what I do.

Performance wise, the AR-3000A was pretty amazing in its day, incorporating 15 band Pass filters. Using the supplied telescopic antenna or a Discone, the signals are easily pulled in at 25MHz and above. On the Shortwave and Longwave frequencies, sensitivity is also pretty good, but if you attach an outdoor antenna or wire, you have to open up the case and switch off the internal pre-amp or the receiver will get overloaded.


PHOTOS ARE PROPERTY OF TOM MCQUIGGAN


On the back of the radio you have a BNC connector for your antenna, a 12V proprietary connector, a 3.5mm external speaker socket, a DIN socket for recording audio and an RS-232 socket for computer control. The software that was available in the 90's was fairly good - I'll have to see if I can find a copy to see if it will run on modern 64bit machines. The audio quality of the AR-3000A is nice and rich, but depending on the surface you place the radio, it can sometimes sound a little muted due to the speaker being on the underside of the cabinet. Placing the unit on a hard surface always gives the best result.

The manual was specifically written for each country, discussing frequencies pertinent to that region of the world and I always felt that this was one of the better produced manuals to come out of Japan. It must surely have been due to the use of a decent translator.

The content made it very easy to get to grips with the unit and plenty of examples were included. Shame today's manuals are as well written.

As you can see from the photos, my AR-3000A is in fabulous condition and because it doesn't get much use these days, I had been thinking of selling it, but after plugging it in and having a play around, I've decided no, I'm not selling it. It's a bit of an icon and worth far more to me than the cash I'd get for it on eBay. I have a real fondness for this old girl. Having said that, I watched one sell for £280 yesterday and it wasn't as nice as mine! 😀


AR3000A coverage:100 kHz to 2036 MHz
Receiver Modes:AM, NFM, WFM, USB, LSB, CW
Receiver circuitry:Triple (USB/LSB/CW/AM/NFM) & quadruple (WFM) conversion superheterodyne
Memory channels:400 (4 banks of 100)
Scan rate:50 channels/second
Search rate:50 steps/second
Receiver selectivity:2.4 kHz/-6dB, 4.5 kHz/-60db (USB/LSB/CW)
12 kHz/-6dB, 25 kHz/-70dB (AM/NFM)
180 kHz/-6dB, 800 kHz/-50dB (WFM)
Antenna connector:50 ohm BNC
Audio output:1.2 watts at 4 ohm load 10% distortion
0.7 Watts at 8 ohm load 10% distortion
Power Requirements:13.8 volts DC, approx. 500mA
Display:Liquid crystal

UPDATE : 
I saw an AR3000A on sale on eBay complete with a CD full of software, frequencies, etc, so I messaged the seller and asked if I could buy a copy of the CD. To my amazement, he agreed to send me a copy completely free of charge!! What a nice guy! Typical though, of the great HAM spirit.

Many thanks Brian Stephenson (GM0IPV) for your generosity and help!




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