AOR AR-DV10 Review

I was intending to write a full review of the AOR DV10 receiver but its performance is so bad I would class it not fit for purpose. Here’s why….

When Yaesu say they have been working together with AOR to produce a receiver, you at least expect it to work as per the specification and advertisements, alas it does not. Yaesu claim:-

“YAESU is proud to announce that AOR, a leading radio manufacturer in the professional / government sector, and YAESU has been working together to develop a new SDR handheld receiver, AR-DV10, and AOR has decided to distribute the new SDR handheld receiver in the North America through YAESU distribution channels.”

Lets get one thing straight, the DV10 is not fit for consumer / hobby use, let alone professional or goverment use!

Although VHF performance seems ok, but not great, UHF DMR performance is dismal, the Uniden BCD436HP way out performs it as shown in my video and I was struggling to understand how the AOR DV10 was so bad, then I found it, at UHF the DV10 is 3kHz off frequency, now bearing in mind some channels, in particular NXDN are offset by 3.125kHz that brings into perspective how bad the AR-DV10 is, 3kHz off frequency makes it useless!

The latest firmware is a broken mess, some of the remote commands cause the radio to lock so solid the battery has to be pulled, the AR-DV10 sometimes hangs when a recording to the SD card finishes, it feels like some DIY prototype that never quite got finished.

The DMR bandwidth is set wrong, its too wide, it should be FM6 not FM15, maybe it was left deliberately wide to try and cater for ridiculous frequency error.

Conclusion, its not finished, not fit for purpose and should be removed from sale until things are fixed.

Since publishing my findings on the DV10 performance many others have found the exact same problems, whilst reviewing the HF performance of the DV10 we have found the unit drifts 300Hz on the Shannon Volmet frequency of 5505kHz, the DV10 has to be tuned to 5504.7kHz, this drift equates to 54.5ppm which is more than 10 times the specification value of 5ppm.

We have asked both AOR and Yaesu for a proper technical statement regarding the issues.

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AOR DV10 Firmware 1810A – 3 Months On – Same Problems

AOR finally released firmware 1810A for the AR DV10, after waiting almost 3 months for this update its a similar shambolic mess as the previous firmware. 1 or 2 relatively useless features have been added but more importantly the major issues of frequency accuracy, frequency drift, random lockups, memory corruption all still exist.

From an inital test of DV10 Firmware 1810A we found:-

  • Its still off frequency, its not possible to adjust it on frequency on all bands.
  • Set it at UHF and its out on HF, at 100kHz its 1300PPM off.
  • It still drifts.
  • It still suffers memory corruption, lockups and freezes.
  • It still has the problem where randomly the 2.6kHz SSB filter produces garbled audio.
  • The automode filter is still locked at 15kHz, not optimum for DMR, NXDN, DSTAR or NFM.

An initial frequency dift measurement at 452MHz, ambient temperature over a 2 hour period gave a drift of +1360Hz to -640Hz, 2kHz total, this is only at ambient temperature though not from -10 to +50C.

DV10 Firmware 1810A seems to have had very little work done on it, considering it has taken almost 3 months to appear it would seem AOR have given up.

Rather than correcting the serious problems, they have been playing around adding mostly pointless “features”.

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AOR DV10 Firmware 1808D – Only If you visit Tokyo!

As if its not bad enough that AOR released the mess of the AR-DV10 for sale to the general public, they decided they would only release their latest 1808D firmware to people that visited their booth at the Tokyo Ham Fair, thanks AOR!

Once again it shows what a disgraceful company AOR really is. Some information found around the internet seems to show it has some features to try and reduce or adjust the frequency error and drift problems although translated comments still mention the DV10 freezing.

We can’t comment further without trying the firmware, if they ever bother to release it.

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AOR DV10 Signal Image Problems Airband Images in 164MHz Region

Whilst using the DV10 we noticed it kept stopping on multiple signals in the 164MHz to 180MHz region that appeared to be AM modulated, when switching the radio to AM we found it was images from the aircraft band, most likely all the images appear at the airband frequency plus the IF signal of 47.25MHz which explains why they appear higher up at VHF, they may also appear at the original frequency minus the IF. Here is a short video demonstrating the problem:-

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AOR DV10 Firmware 1807A Partial Crash No Audio or Digital Decode

Whist using the AR-DV10 yesterday with firmware 1807A it had some sort of partial crash that stopped all digital modes decoding in AUT1 automode and no audio could be heard from the radio when switched to FM or AM mode, AUT1 automode FM audio still worked though, the DV10 had to be rebooted for it to start working again.

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AOR DV10 No Use for SSB/CW on 70cm Due to Frequency Error and Drift

Trying to listen for 70cm beacons on the AOR DV10 proved impossible due to the frequency error and drift, trying to listen to the GB3UHF beacon on 432.430 MHz we heard nothing until we tuned the radio up 1.2kHz, with this level of frequency error it makes the AR-DV10 totally useless for CW/SSB on any of the amateur bands.

This video shows the comparison of the AOR DV1 vs the DV10

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AOR DV10 Firmware 1807A Bugs Faults & Frequency Drift

Tests results on AOR DV10 firmware 1807A, some small improvements but a long way to go.

  1. Frequency drift – Initial test on the frequency drift shows some improvement but further testing is continuing, as the radio warms up from ambient, at 459MHz it ended up 1500Hz off frequency when hot. Cooling the radio, couldn’t get anywhere near the spec limit of -10 degrees C but at around 0-5 degress C the radio drifted the other direction around -1400Hz, this would equate to around +/- 3ppm which although may be in spec is pretty dismal for a modern radio. It would also make it unsuitable for search and rescue use as you be in between cospas channels that are only spaced 3kHz apart.
  2. Testing at HF shows a much bigger ppm drift, when cold the radio was almost 400Hz off frequency, 72ppm off which is way outside the spec.
  3. No noticeable improvement could be found with DMR decoding, the DV10 still has no option to select a 6kHz filter in automode AUT1 or in modes like DMR, the option to user select the IFBW for all modes would be an easy way to improve performance.By having the automode AUT1 fixed at 15kHz its impossible to search using 6.25kHz steps as the radio will stop on the wrong frequency, it is also impossible to monitor a DMR channel spaced 3.125kHz away from a NXDN signal which is common in here.
  4. Remote control memory related commands still lock the radio solid, tried writing 10 memories using MX command, even with 5 second delay between each command radio ends up locked requiring battery removeal, seems to corrupt the radio, sometimes need full reset afterwards.It seems any command related to writing the DV10 internal memory, memory commands, search bank commands, set a search pass frequency (PW command) cause the radio to lock solid and cause corruption.
  5. 2.6kHz SSB filter still seems to randomly not work and produced a garbled mess, no improvement in SSB audio could be found, just the filter problem still.

 

 

 

 

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AOR AR-DV10 No Use as a 406 MHz COSPAS SARSAT Receiver

A French company called PRO-SIC who is also AOR France and F5HPE offer a 180 Euro “Upgrade” for the AOR AR-DV10 to receive COSPAS SARSAT data on 406 MHz.

Even if the DV10 met its +/- 5ppm spec it could be as much as 2kHz off frequency which is no use when the COSPAS frequency allocations are spaced 3kHz apart, there is a good chance you would be on the wrong channel or drifting half way between channels.

SARSAT beacons use a +/- 0.2ppm TCXO, AOR spec the DV10 at +/- 5ppm, fail to meet their spec and then sell it as a device capable of use for search and rescue!

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AOR Admit 15kHz Filter on AR-DV10 to Mitigate Frequency Error / Drift

A post has appeared on Radio Reference indicating that AOR have deliberately used a 15000Hz (15kHz) filter in the AOR AR-DV10 to counter the radios terrible frequency error and drift.

The issue with this is that 15kHz is far too wide for narrow digital modes like DMR, NXDN 4800 and DSTAR resulting in a much higher Bit Error Rate and poor decoding performance. It also means its not possible to search in 6.25kHz steps or lower in automode AUT1.

It highlights the total incompetence of AOR, they have designed a piece of hardware so flawed that they are having to use more than twice the required bandwidth to capture a signal.

This doesn’t explain the 54ppm error at HF though.

The post claims to be a response from AOR or an AOR dealer and reads as below:-

———————————-
Here is the reply from our engineer:

The AR-DV10 brochure states +/-5ppm frequency stability. In clear that means that if you are receiving a signal at 450MHz, it might drift by +/- 2250Hz.
At 140MHz it’s approx +/-1000Hz.

After turning on the AR-DV10, internal temperature is rapidly increasing , that would make the frequency drift.

+/-2250Hz is no problem for decoding of digital modes, since the filter bandwidth is 15000Hz.

In comparison, the AR-DV1 is 2.5ppm, AR5001D is 0.1ppm.
———————————-

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DV10 Manager Causes AOR DV10 To Freeze Requiring Battery Removal

A full example of how memory and search bank functions of DV10 Manager do not work and cause the DV10 to freeze such that the power and battery need to be removed for the radio to re-boot.

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Quick Video Showing How AOR Recommended Software Locks the AR-DV10

AORs recommended software (DV10 Manager) causes the radio to lock solid, requiring battery removal.

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