Icom IC-R9500 Review

Its price tag is ludicrous. But the Icom IC-R9500 is truly a top-notch radio receiver. With the ability to pick up pretty much any frequency under the sun and a suite of extraordinary features to boot, it’s truly one of the best of the best.

Good

  • Unbeatable wideband coverage – The Icom IC-R9500 handles every frequency from 5 kHz to 3335 MHz. That means there are boundless possibilities for listening to FM, AM, UHF, VHF, airband, marine, emergency services, and pretty much any other band or transmission you may want to receive.
  • Extraordinary sensitivity and audio quality – With an exceptional noise blanker, a two-point manual notch filter, twin peak filter, and tons of other features, the Icom IC-R9500 delivers truly fantastic audio with minimal distortion.
  • High performance spectrum scope – The real-time spectrum scope makes it easy to hunt down signals on any band, and it moves with the receiving frequency, which is always displayed in the center of the screen.
  • Beautiful 7-inch display – The screen is bright, bold, and beautiful, and displays all the information you need to make connections worldwide, including the spectrum scope.
  • Massive connectivity options – Count ‘em up, and there are more than two dozen ports in the back of the IC-R9500 for antennas, speakers, mics, external computer displays, USB, LAN, and more.
  • Tons of memory channels – The Icom IC-R9500 has 10 VFO channels, which you can use to save operating frequencies, filter width, modes, and other parameters. It also has 1000 memory channels, 20 edge scan channels, 100 auto memory write channels, and 100 memory scan skip channels. You can group these into 10 memory banks for easier access.

Bad

  • Nearly unjustifiable price – The price of the IC-R9500 is truly eye-popping. Even the most dedicated hobbyist probably can’t justify buying a radio that costs five figures – and most people probably won’t be able to afford it, period. Given that there are other wide-band receivers on the market like Icom’s newer IC-R8600, it’s a bit hard to justify such a high price.
  • Loud, hot internal power supply – The internal power supply is loud and gets pretty hot, and some users have even reported it failing, which is not ideal in such an expensive receiver. Luckily, the IC-R9500 does support external power supplies, which we recommend to control the heat and noise.
  • Massive size and weight – The IC-R9500 tips the scales at over 44 lbs. It’s massive, which means shipping costs are usually high, and you’re not going to want to move it much after you set it up. For comparison, Icom’s comparable, 2017-released IC-R8600 weighs less than 10 lbs.

Bottom line

Yes, it costs about as much as a brand-new four-door sedan. But if you’re in the market for a truly luxurious, top-of-the-line receiver and will only accept the best, the Icom IC-R9500 won’t disappoint you. However, it’s a bit harder to recommend this receiver now that Icom has released the IC-R8600 – an updated wideband receiver that’s a decade newer, and does most of the same things as the IC-R9500 for a fraction of the price. Still, if price is no object, the Icom IC-R9500 will exceed even your loftiest expectations.

Product Specs

Frequency coverage
USA Version
France Version
(Unit: MHz)
0.005-3335.000000*
0.005 – 29.999999
50.200 – 51.200000
87.500 – 108.000000
144.000 – 146.000000
430.000 – 440.000000
1240.000 – 1300.000000
* Cellular bands are blocked in the U.S.A. version.
ModeUSB, LSB, CW, FSK, AM, FM, WFM, P25*
* Optional UT-122 required.
Number of memory channels1220 (1000 regular, 100 auto memory write channels, 100 memory scan skip and 20 scan edges)
Antenna connectorsSO-239 (50 for HF),
Phono [RCA] (500 for HF),
Type-N × 2
(50Ω, one each for 30 – 1149.99999 MHz, 1150 – 3335 MHz)
Temperature range0°C to +50°C; +32°F to +122°F
Frequency stabilityLess than ±0.05ppm (at 25°C) after warm up (5 minutes)
Temperature fluctuationLess than ±0.05ppm (0°C to +50°C)
Frequency resolution1Hz
Power supply requirement100V/120V/230V/240V AC
Power consumption
(Representative value)
Stand-by
Less than 100VA
Max. audio
Less than 100VA
Dimensions (W×H×D) (projections not included)424 × 149 × 340 mm;
1611/16 × 57/8 × 133/8 in
Weight20kg; 44.1lb (approx.)
Intermediate frequencies
HF
VHF/UHF
58.7 MHz (1st) /10.7 MHz (2nd)/48 kHz (3rd)
278.7 MHz or 778.7 MHz (1st) /
58.7 MHz (2nd)/10.7 MHz (3rd) /48 kHz (4th)
Sensitivity
3rd order IMD dynamic range109dB (typ.) at 14.1MHz, 100kHz separation, preamp OFF
Selectivity
(Representative value)
USB, LSB, FSK (BW= 2.4kHz)
CW (BW= 500Hz)
AM (BW= 6kHz)
FM (BW= 15kHz)
WFM
More than 2.4 kHz / -3dB
Less than 3.6 kHz / -60dB
More than 500 Hz / -3dB
Less than 700 Hz / -60dB
More than 6.0 kHz / -3dB
Less than 15.0 kHz / -60dB
More than 12.0 kHz / -3dB
Less than 25.0 kHz / -60dB
More than 180 kHz / -6dB
Spurious and
image rejection ratio
0.1 – 30.0 MHz
30.0 – 2500 MHz
2500 – 3000 MHz
More than 70dB
More than 50d
More than 40dB
AF output powerMore than 2.6W with an 8 load

Expert reviews

  • In a written review, Dave from QSL.net took a look at the Icom IC-R9500. He had lots of good things to say about it, praising things like the “excellent audio recovery and quality, “good push button tactile response,” and “superb ‘bullet proof’ dynamic range.” However, he did note a few drawbacks including the high price, hot power supply and loud fan, and the extremely large, bulky design of the receiver making it difficult or even dangerous to move around on your own. However, he called it a “very good to excellent performer overall.”
  • In another written review from Fenu-Radio, the reviewer said that the Icom IC-R9500 “…beats any other receiver as far as the ‘feel’ of it and the workmanship are concerned,” and praised the “absolute top class” reception quality of the receiver. Overall, they said it was “an outstanding receiver with an incredible number of functions and adjustments,” but that “some aspects leave something to be desired,” like the loud fan, and slightly disappointing performance below the 30kHz frequency.

User reviews

  • On DXEngineering, only one user has reviewed the Icom IC-R9500, and gave it a rating of 5 out of 5 stars. They said that this receiver is “excellent to use,” “not menu driven,” is “very sensitive… with a great spectrum scope. Overall, they said that it’s very expensive, but “well worth the money.”
  • On eHam.net, users have given the Icom IC-R9500 a rating of 5 out of 5 stars across a total of 8 reviews, with reviewers saying that it’s “the best receiver I have owned,” “a commercial-quality receiver,” and calling it “simply outstanding.” Overall, users loved the fit, finish, and build quality of the receiver, with a few noting its extremely large size and heavy weight. They also praised the “superb” audio provided by the sensitive receiver and large, loud built-in speaker. One user said that they have “no hesitation to recommend this receiver to anyone able to justify the high price tag.”

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