AOR UK Ltd.,
Belper, Derbyshire,England

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überarbeitet am 8.12.2007

AR7030 - a "Blackbox" with only few knobs

In early 1996, the UK branch of the Japanese manufacturer AOR presented the AR7030, some of the critics were enthousiastic, for others, the operating scheme with controlling a complex receiver from a few knobs with several programmable functions was too confusing...
This set was designed from a team around John Thorpe who has been the main designer of the shortwave receivers from the English manufacturer Lowe. Zu Jahresbeginn 1996 wurde mit dem AR7030 ein Empfänger vorgestellt. These sets also had a similar operating scheme from a few controls operating several functions each.
As a successor of these sets, the AR7030 is an ultimative microprocessor controlled semiprofessional shortwave set with above average performance.

Double conversion, ZF 45 MHz, 455 kHz

Digital frequency display 10 Hz

AM, AM-Sync, USB/LSB, CW/Data, FM-n

Sensitivity 5 MHz
AM 0,35 uV, SSB 0,2 uV

Selectivity-6/-60 dB
2,3/3,3 kHz, 5,5/9,1 kHz, 7/11,6 kHz

RF-Gain, four step Attenuator, AGC 3x, Pass Band Tuning, (Noise Blanker, Notch optional)

100 (optional 400) memories (optional alphanumeric), RS232 interface

The black metal cabinet with its dimensions of 24 x 9 x 22,5 cm and 2,2 kg of weight has no room for the power supply , so the AR7030 has an external 15V power supply, when operated from 12V DC from a car battery, the receiver cannot keep up with all specifications.
A 8cm diameter speaker is directed to the top of the set, it has separate bass and treble tone controls.

Next to the black metal main tuning knob on the right side of the front panel, You find the knobs for reception mode control and tuning speed in a semicircular arrangement.
Underneath the backlit green - yellow dot matrix LCD display, You find four pushbuttons and a rotatory control. Their function is dependant on the momentary reception mode - this fact can make the operation a bit tricky. According to the operation mode, the pushbuttons will switch the bandwidth filters and the rotary control will act as Passband Tuning Control, the pushbuttons will control the memory functions and the rotary control gives You choice of the memory slots, or the pushbuttons will activate AGC speed and Noise Blanker and the rotary control will activate the RF gain.
At the left hand of the front panel, You find the Volume control, the Main Menue pushbutton and the On/Off - switch that has to be pressed twice to power down the receiver. During operation, the signal strength is indicated via a LCD bargraph.

At the rear of the set, You find the switchable long wire and 50 Ohm antenna connectors at the heft, the connectors for external speaker, power supply, computer control, AF out and timer relais connectors. An infrared remote control can be used for direct frequency entry, for direct access to the different reception modes and for controlling the IF bandwidths and passband tuning, the infrared sensors are located at the front panel and on the rear.

The HF signal from the antenna is directed via a switchable attenuator and a high pass (>1,7 MHz) and low pass (<32 MHz) over an RF amplification stage to the first mixer, where the first intermediate frequency of 45 MHz is generated and mixed to the second IF of 455 kHz in second mixer. Then the signal has to pass one of six switchable IF filters. After amplification it will be forwarded to the product detector or narrow band FM demodulator.
The IF bandwith filters are measured and calibrated automatically when the set is switched on the first time, the calibration procedure can be initiated manually. With the original IF filters, the AR7030 comes with 2,2 / 5,5 / 7 and 10 MHz filters. For broadcast reception, it is strongly recommended to add a 3,5 - 4 MHz bandwidth filter, the auto-calibration system makes this task not too difficult.
SSB reception is no problem with minimal tuning steps of 2,7 Hertz (!), the automatic synchroneous detector will lock automatically on the station's carrier frequency, the frequency display will indicate differences of the transmitter frequency from the nominal. The Passband Tuning control allows to shift the bassband curve of the IF filter to higher and lower frequencies to avoid interference from neighbouring signals.
An audio notch fuction is available as an option or in the improved model, it will automatically detect a heterodyne hiss and will eliminate this from the audio.

In it's basic version, the AR7030 has 100 programmable memories, in the AR7030-plus - version, You will find 400 memories with a possibility of alphanumeric memory identification. When You cross a channel stored in a memory, Your AR7030 will display a station's name, when it has programmed to this frequency before. There is an optional computer control software running from Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 available from AOR.

In European shortwave reception conditions with very high signal levels and crowded shortwave broadcast bands, the AR7030 is a very reliable receiver not susceptible to intermodulation / crossmodulation problems.
If You can get used to the operation philosophy by John Thorpe, this receiver will do an excellent job for pleasent listening to international broadcasters and DXing, there is a possibility to have the set modified for DRM signal reception. It has been slightly cheaper then Drake's R-8A/B or the NRD-535/545, there is a significant difference to operating these sets, where You will find one knob for each function.

further reading:
d: Ein erster Eindruck: AOR AR-7030, weltweit hören 8/96 (tte)
d: Schräges Design - der AOR AR7030, kurier 9/96 & Erweiterungen für den AOR AR7030 kurier 6/98
d: AOR AR 7030 - eine Klasse für sich, Harald Kuhl, Radio hören 9 / 96
d: Vergleich AOR AR7030 / Kneisner + Doering KWZ-30, kurier 13/98 (vs. KWZ-30)
e: real radio R.Netherlands

© Martin Bösch 25.7.1999