|Dave's N9EWO HF ShortWave Receiver "Master List"|
Here is my "Master List"
of SHORTWAVE HF Receivers personally owned since 1977. Note
: Number giver in " ( # ) " after the model, indicate
how many samples actually owned.
Please note: I no longer own most of these (like 99% of this list), and questions to these receivers I may not be able answer. Here for the general information only and nothing more. NO....none of this below is "For Sale" as a few have come to think for some reason.
This list includes portables as well as table top sets. Yes, my fingers have passed over many sets over the years. As you can tell by scanning down the list, I'm not a "Valve" (Tube) lover , and have not owned any..sorry. List is "Hard Hitting" to cover bugs, so sorry for being a bit more on the sour side here.
* DRAKE SSR-1 (with GILFER
My first "Real" SW Receiver in 1977. Analog display, a bit before the hit of "Digital Readout" sets (at least at a good price). I added a e-tek "Gilfer" GAR-7 frequency counter to it (which blew out LED displays and display driver IC's like popcorn). This gave me a LED display for KHz's. The SSR-1 was not actually made by Drake, manufactured in Japan by the Seiwa Corporation. No SO-239 antenna connector external antenna , just 2 rear mounted "binding posts". A well made set but had a serious issue with birdies and very limited dynamic range. Later versions had a battery trap door on top, also appears have been at least 2 different versions of the PC boards/circuit with the SSR-1 ?? Of course lots of great memories with this one as anyones first short wave receiver will bring (at least back in the day when there were many SW broadcasters around).
* PANASONIC RF-2800
My first SW portable (1978), and a set with LED digital display on board to boot. A big beast, and was very drifty, so never used it all that much. SSB mode was near useless. But was great to have a solid idea where you are tuned to. Remember this was in 1978. These sets aging issue is with the L-O-N-G "PC board mounted" band selector switch. Will just plain wear out and repair near impossible these days.
* YAESU FRG-7000 (with Gilfer Mods)
My second "Table Top" receiver, with the tighter Gilfer filter installed. I actually regretted changing the Yaesu filter as the audio really suffered. Was a time trying to keep all of the lamps operating in this set. There were many, and burned bright. Was not a real easy job to replace as you had to take the entire front bezel off to get to the soldered in lamps. The on board clock was very accurate, would not loose a "second" in months. A pre-selector radio (that is a preselector needed to be adjusted). I tuned in stations like the "Voice Of Chile" and "Radio Gabon" (both in English) on this set. A bit of the synthesizer noise would bleed into the audio chain, but a switch was easily pushed to turn off the LED's (noise would totally go away).
* KENWOOD R-1000 (3)
Have had 3 samples of the R-1000 over the years. The first one "brand new" was around late 1980 or so and has to go down for the worse case of the frequency display being off. Even after adjusting it to match up in the lower end of a 1 MHz band, by the time you got to the other end, it might have been off my 4 or 5 kHz (was improperly aligned at the factory). This was unacceptable to me and left my shack fairly quickly. It did have pretty good audio however, except for a REAL SLOW AGC (it was a early sample). In later 2008-early 2009 we had much better luck with 2 used "later 1982" made samples. Frequency display was on (AM mode) and the AGC was much better. Great audio with the 12 kHz + filter. In my view the R-1000 was Kenwood's best general coverage they made (even without the memories..etc). Note that the digital display quality varied on this and the R-2000 even out of the factory brand new (uneven lit display). See my full R-1000 review here.
* YAESU FRG-7 (2 Samples, one with Gilfer Mods)
This receiver was very well made. I don't think Yaesu will again make a receiver like this one again. This was one solid radio. Worked good too however it could have been a bit more sensitive. A set of good batteries, provided you kept the lamps off, would last a long time. Another preselector radio, analog readout. Really GOOD samples are getting hard to find. Fair to Poor samples are very common even these days. The sample with the Gilfer filter change had poor audio quality (narrower IF filter) to me.
* SONY ICR-4800 (Sony's first micro set)
A radio's size that equaled the performance...."Tiny"...It was neat having a radio this size, but images and whistles were all over the place. Very limited SW receive coverage (did not even cover the 41 meter band). Single conversion and no FM broadcast. Was not cheap for the day either (about $ 100.00). But a few good memories anyway.
* JAPAN RADIO CO. NRD-515 (With NCM-515 KeyPad Controller)
This was the first JRC radio that I owned, as is the case with allot of people. It's die-cast front panel made it look and feel like a "real" radio. Worked very good for SSB and RTTY signals. Audio quality using AM Mode for MW or SW Broadcast signals, well FORGET IT !!! It was sort like trying to listen to a radio with about 5 blankets thrown over the top of it (gee, maybe that's why Larry Magne used the term "Woolly" ?). And this was in the 6 Khz filter bandwidth. I can remember I tried to clean things up a bit by removing a couple of capacitors that were in the input to the audio amplifier stage. This did help slightly, however it also gave me allot of hiss. So that did not work. If you used manual ECSS with Broadcast Signals, this worked with good results. I can also remember the sample I had, the tuning knob seized up most of the time (BRAND NEW), that it would get so tight that you could no longer turn it unless you gave it a good flip the other way. Turns out that some samples indeed suffered from this so not alone. This was in the very early days of optical encoders, and JRC had to "roll" their own. This JRC was not modular construction and a good part of the RF/IF sections of the radio were on a single PC board. I did not get it with the Memory Unit, but did purchase it with the NCM-515 Keypad. At least the LED display is more robost vs. the NRD-525 and NRD-535 receivers (which have a nasty habit of failure with age).
* ICOM IC-R70
A very well made set. A bit weird to operate, say going from one Mhz band to another. When it came out, was the only general coverage tabletop receiver from Japan that had a IF notch filter. Did not suffer from the excessive distortion in the audio that the IC-R71 had, but a very high background hiss level in the audio made me sell this one. Again it was a weird to use.
* ICOM IC-R71 (TRIPLE ARF !)
The ICOM IC-R71 must go down as the "WORST" receiver for audio quality I have ever owned ! The battery backed RAM operation software was another big problem for me with this set. When the Lithium Battery Dies, so does the set, and NO it will NOT come back to life with a battery change, it needs to go back to ICOM and get reprogrammed (well not anymore you can't) !. Pretty stupid idea here, ICOM was not too smart when this set was on the drawing board !!
* SONY CRF-1
Drooling in the 1980 WRTH again. Was shown on the same Sony ad with the ICF-2001. The Sony CRF-1 has a metal bottom and a painted plastic top. This was a weird receiver to say the least. Performance was good, however in my view the ICF-2010 (ICF-2001D) beats it out easy. It goes down for the biggest "pain in the rump" as far as ease of operation I have ever used on a SW receiver , portable or tabletop. Every 100 khz you had to pull the knob out to slide over to the next 100 kHz segment (then push it back in). Only so-so dynamic range, good sensitivity but the CRF-1's real downside is it had a very noisy synthesizer. Another set that required a pre-selector to be tuned, and was pretty sharp. It did have a preselector bypass switch, but did not work well when out of line. These can be had in the used market once in awhile for excessive prices, but beware as the 4 weird panel (dial) lamps burned out fast and the volume control were known to fail more than not. WARNING : Synthesizer failure is very common with the CRF-1 and the main "Sony Custom IC" that fails can no longer be had (see my web page here for a bit more info). The analog power supply went into the empty battery cavity (yes it's a normal analog supply being used here, not a switching type). For some "strange" reason, there was some enjoyment with the CRF-1 (audio quality with it's 12 KHz Wide AM filter ??), but it sure was NOT for ease of use.
* JAPAN RADIO CO. NRD-525 (2)
Owned a couple of these. Actually have had the chance to use about 4 samples of this set over the years. I noticed a pretty good swing in the audio quality area between all 4 sets used. The overall audio distortion in the AM mode varied. My feeling that this was due to alignment at the factory, too much IF gain ?? Yes, cutting back the RF Gain control did help somewhat, BUT not totally . The INTERNAL "IF Gain" trimmer pot I feel may have been up too high ?? However it's something I never checked out for sure. The "AUX" filter opening (about 12 kHz or so) on a Stock 525 when on the right "In the Clear" signal using this bandwidth...the radio sounded very nice. But as many already know, using any other Narrower filter, the NRD-525's very excessive "hiss" problem will drive you out of the room. WARNING : NRD-525's florescent displays are subject to ever dimming brightness (and in time guaranteed total failure). These have not aged well over the years. Sorry, there are no repair parts available anymore either. This bug equally (and just as common) occurs with the cousin JRC JST-135 HF Transceiver as well. So "caveat emptor"!
* KENWOOD R-11 (TOSHIBA RF-P11)
Little analog portable bandspread set. Made for Kenwood by Toshiba. Batteries would last forever. The only real gremlin that I can remember was the radio had a bad "Bandswitch Bleed" problem. If I was in the 41 meter band, I could still hear the 49 Meter loud and clear. This set actually had a REAL old style S-Meter on it. Also had a record jack on it !! If it was not for that bandswitch bleed problem...I would still have this one.
* SANGEAN ATS-803 (was not the "A" version)
This was one of the early versions of this set. The units display would always revert back to the clock. So could not have the frequency displayed all of the time. Tuning knob had a cheap feel to it, felt like it was going to fall off. But for the biggest bang for the buck..it was usable. Audio was only so-so even with the bass and treble controls.
* SONY ICF-2010 (4)
Before I had a AOR AR7030, this was my best receiver in the Sync Detector dept. But it's sync detector is still no slouch. I like the one button memory presets. Tuning knob was a bit slow with this set (no 5 kHz step, 1 kHz only in Fast) for SW broadcasting. But is the BEST SW receiver that Sony has ever made in my view (and that is including ALL CRF models too) ! Purchase a plastic tilt stand from Universal Radio in Ohio and the set will be much easier to use along with being able to see the display eaiser. Excellent sensitivity, well chosen IF filtering for broadcast listening (SSB is too wide however), and very easy to use. But the real plus to the ICF-2010 is the excellent sync detector. The front end FET's can be damaged from static when connected to a external antenna, even with the later versions. (Was sold as the ICF-2001D outside North America)
* SONY ICF-SW1 (2)
A real digital pocket SW radio. Eats batteries, but was a fun radio to play with. 5 khz steps only and AM mode. These sets have a trait of drifting off frequency after aging and capacitor failures (in the audio section) are VERY common as well. But no clam shell to have to worry about failing.
* SANGEAN MS-101A
Used it around the house for general use. SW had poor sensitivity. A set of batteries last about 6 months. Single conversion set, so di-da's all over the place. It served me well for many years anyway.
* MAGNAVOX D-2935
This set reminded me of the Panasonic RF-2800, about the same size. However this set was very stable, and had a keypad. The biggest drawback of this set: The keypad was of the membrane type. Due to the narrow IF filter used (it was a later model), the audio quality was quite poor. Age has not been good for this receiver , the membrane cracks / adhesive drys out and pieces fall off.
* SONY ICF-PRO80
As Larry Magne said about this "Brick" hand held set.."If you like Puzzles...you will love this set"...and he is 100% correct here, is a royal pain to use. But for it's day, was the only set in this package with SSB reception, even if that part of the radio was only fair it did work fine. Would have greatly benefited with a real tuning knob. The PRO-80 was indeed about the size of a real brick. Very high current requirement too and also suffered from audio capacitor failures as did with the ICF-SW1 and just about ALL Sony receivers after the ICF-2010 (ICF-2001D).
* SONY ICF-SW20
Interesting analog pocket set, but was as hissy as a mad snake. No SW coverage below the 49 meter band (below 5.9 MHz). Dual conversion (455 kHz and 10.7 MHz). Just too limited SW coverage.
* JAPAN RADIO CO.NRD-535D (2)
The 535 to me was the best that JRC had made so far (well until I grabbed a NRD-545 anyway). However, after purchasing a AOR AR7030 this NRD went out of my Shack pronto. The JRC trait of poor audio continued in the 535 but no "hiss" as was in the 525. But I did a side by side test, same antenna, and as much of the same settings as I could. I was understanding the audio on a weak signal on the AR7030, where as I could not make out 1 word on the JRC NRD-535. Sync Detector and Notch Filter were useless on the "NRD" as well. Well could go on, a generally very well made receiver, but poor audio made me part with it. Another gremlin with both samples was the buzz from the microprocessor and or display that irked into the receiver. This issue was never cured in it's lifetime while on the market. WARNING : NRD-535's florescent displays are subject to ever dimming brightness (and in time guaranteed total failure). For some reason these have not aged well. Sorry, there are no repair parts available either. These have failed at a faster rate than the NRD-525's displays for some reason (total failures a much more common issue with the NRD-535's). So again "Caveat Emptor" !
* ICOM IC-R9000 (2)
This gem covers the entire spectrum, well at least the part we would be listening to. At a little over 44 lbs (20 kg) you do not want to carry one very far, the size with the weight of this beast makes it hard to handle. The paint chips very easily (after owning 2 of these, I know this first hand with the cabinet. As the reports have said over the years, this radio does indeed run VERY H-O-T. One cause is the power supply transistor, and bridge rectifier mounted on the rear heat sink. But other area's on the bottom receiver boards create lots of heat too. I have used an external power supply to power the radio (only as a test) and it makes a difference in the heat. Has a super "Notch" filter, very deep and sharp. Very easy to use. The AM mode audio is OK, however distortion is in there making it a bit ruff to listen to hour after hour. Distortion on SSB signals is almost nada (much better).The "line" output is low in level, I used to use a mic mixer to boost this up.
NOTE : The R-9000 can suffer from the nasty "VCO" issues that plagued most Icom sets in this era. VCO capacitors (and perhaps even more) will have to be replaced out. Yes, it affects SW bands as well !! Very expensive to repair (if it can at all). Of course the other bug-a-boo is the CRT (if you don't have a later LCD version). By now any sample that has been used, as can be figured due to age/heat stress....it's going to be prone for some kind of failure issue(s).
* SONY ICF-SW77 (Newer Version)
Great set for the person who has a hard time keeping track of SW broadcasting schedules. Works great in this area. Sync circuit is not so good when compared to the older ICF-2010 (ICF-2001D outside North America). Lots of distortion, sync actually degrades audio on many signals. Tuning Knob is actually a disc that you "push on" to tune, gets old very quickly for the band scanner. But for the person who just wants to push a button and be there..this set would "fill the bill" real well. Line out is a bit too weak for a tape recorder. The front panel is all sprayed painted plastic....could show wear real fast, even the buttons have sprayed paint on them !!! Also can suffer from those nasty capacitor failures that plagues so many Sony sets from that era. Ugh !! Was a real Sony dud in general in my view !!!
* SONY ICF-SW7600G
Another Sony set with a fairly "poor" sync circuit and only one bandwidth filter. But was OK. No tuning knob which was severe drawback to me.
* DRAKE R-4245 (It's a R-7A and RV-75 Vfo in a Tan Cabinet)
I'm not sure why this receiver became so highly rated ?? It's nothing more than a R-7A with a RV-75 VFO unit , oh yes in a pretty tacky looking tan cabinet. Very good dynamic range, sensitivity, and the synthesized VFO made the receiver stable after a 15 min or so warm up. Was far from being "commercial". Would never handle the daily demand of a heavy commercial user. The audio quality, when comparing to today's receivers, was very poor. Excessive distortion in AM reception mode. My ears could not take much over 30 min's of listening to SW AM broadcasting stations. SSB was much better. Ran hot.
* SONY ICF-SW100 (2, early version and one near final production)
About as small as you can get. If you need it super small , SSB and sync detection too, this is the ONLY set that will cut it. Be aware that problems happen with early samples with ribbon cables that connect the half's. If you don't see the little cut out in the hinge area it's a early one. Don't expect any good audio out of this radio either, but with a nickel sized speaker that can be expected. But the audio I feel is really comprised by the too narrow IF filter (has only one audio bandwidth filter). The early sample we tested had a very hissy trait (MUCH worse than the SW1). However with the later one , this hiss issue was cleared up. WARNING : On the used market, one should be careful as the battery cover (clip) can break (crack) after years of use and parts can no longer be purchased. A very common problem !
* AOR AR7030 (8 Total , 6 Plus / 2 Standard)
A communications receiver with about the best AM audio that you will find, but also has the worst ergonomics that you can think of too. I still like this set very much, but with the many parts quality problems, I have a sour taste in my mouth even to this day. 4 of the 8 (6 if you count the 2 sour ones out of the box brand new I received) samples that I have owned have failed either in some way ,say 6 to 8 months-light use. I guess if you are handy and maybe don't mind fixing the set as you take it out of the box "Brand New", I guess this may not matter ?? Again this is a great receiver, but just understand the fact that the receiver does not have a good track record for using certain parts that could fail. New, was a very expensive for what you got as well at $ 1500. US for a plus version. Be sure and check out the review if you have not been there already. The main filter capacitor in the included 15 volt power supply is prone to failure, but is easily replaced for ones handy enough. N9EWO's Review on the AOR AR7030.
* KENWOOD R-2000 (2)
Was a good, very easy to use tabletop receiver. Had weird sensitivity curves. SSB step not fine enough (50 hz). Some US dealers offered modifications for this. Poor dynamic range. Audio while OK, had above average distortion. I find the R-1000 to sound much better and a tad better dynamic range. The ATT switch tends to get dirty (just like with the R-1000).
* JAPAN RADIO CO. NRD-93 (With NDH-93 Scanning Unit)
The champ of all JRC receivers. Quality of construction in this set was outstanding. High quality parts used, for example the volume / RF gain controls etc, were top drawer. No consumer grade controls used here. Audio was better (still not the greatest) then any other JRC set I have ever used , up until the NRD-545. But still not up to the AR7030. Good news is that the 93 has excellent ECSS, and when used , AM mode signals sound very good. I tried a Sherwood SE-3 with this set..but distortion was present (Yep, tried different "IF" levels too). But when compared to modern day sets...the 93 is "Long in the Tooth", as it was on the drawing board in the early 80's. Sensitivity being only good not outstanding. To me, internally the construction and parts used (except for the above average variable controls) in it's circuits and glass epoxy pc boards are about the same say to a NRD-545. The front panel construction is way above average. Made a weird "whine" sound that came from the switching power supply section after it warmed up for awhile, this would drive me nuts in short order. This is the main reason I did not keep this one. The more current NRD-301A suffers from this same problem. See my page on the NRD-93
* JAPAN RADIO CO. NRD-545 DSP Receiver (2)
A very well made JRC set. The audio is MUCH more crisp than the NRD-535 or NRD-93 ever were .The way you select the IF bandwidth filtering is excellent. However the audio suffers from 2 very weird DSP sounds on broadcast signals (SW or MW). Be sure and see my page devoted to this set . I generally still love the NRD-545 even with it's quirks. It's still the best HF receiver JRC ever made in my view. This JRC can also suffer from 2 common failures. #1 : The 4 VCO capacitors can get weird and cause total muting of the receiver. #2 : The florescent tube back lights for the LCD are starting to fail in some samples. Someone handy enough, "Lumitex" makes LED Backlight products that SHOULD should be able to replace that (not tested) ?? So not as in a bad situation as the NRD-525 / NRD-535 / JST-135 now common display failures where here you are totally out of luck.
* WATKINS JOHNSON HF-1000A DSP Receiver / WJ8711A (3)
As is with the JRC NRD-545 above this is a IF DSP set. DSP not only works in the IF filtering area, but also in detection/AGC/Noise Blanker. Triple conversion as with the NRD-545 as well. This set can kick butt as far as pulling out the signal out of the muck (we have yet to find an equal). However it suffers from it's own gremlins. It does not suffer from the "Burps" and "Ticks" that plague the NRD-545. It MUST be used with good coax feed line and remote antenna, as it creates it's own "buzzie-buzzies" that can irk back into the received signal if this is not done (still a bit above 20 Mhz but is not serious). Another minor gremlin is that SSB reception can have clipping problems on strong signals (not always) and is controllable.
Outside cabinet construction and controls feel (and the weight) like a cheap low end American car.
See the page devoted to this receiver. One of the BEST SW / HF RECEIVER'S EVER made in my view !!!
WARNING : The DS1643-100+ "Real Time Clock" RAM's are no longer available. It
is REQUIRED for operation of the receiver and the internal battery in
the DS1643 does die in about 10 to 15 years after it's activated. Of
course early versions used a coin type lithium cell in a holder and
this is not valid here. As
it goes these days, watch out for "counterfeit" manufactured DS1643's
(or ones that have been already activated....that is are USED) !! We
are unaware of any workaround for this serious issue. Very sadly this
will proboly mean the total demise of these excellent receivers that
use the DS1643 in time (unless some workaround information or product
is made available) ??
UPDATE : I had a chance to test the WJ8711A side by side with a Icom IC-R9500 and even the SDR Icom IC-7300 the WJ still won with super weak signals. Not by a major difference mind you , but when you count the hairs right down to audio recovery (hearing the spoken word), the elder WJ-8711A still came out on top.
* SANGEAN ATS-909/RADIO SHACK DX-398 Portable
Works pretty good using it with a external outdoor antenna. The whip sensitivity on SW lacks big time however. Nice "fine" DIGITAL tuning steps of 40 Hz, with OK SSB (at portable standards). But still not fine enough for real serious work. Tuning Knob and keypad both have very good feel. Line out jack provided, NOTE: This is a stereo jack (manual is wrong) and if you do not use a stereo plug into this "Line Jack", it will short out the middle ring connection on this 1/8" stereo phone jack and speaker will distort. So a bit of warning on that one (you seen this info here FIRST !!). As most have said the "flip stand" is a joke and will indeed break (have already seen this one personally). Don't use it, purchase one of the after market stands from Universal Radio in Ohio. FM broadcast really rocks on this set, great sensitivity and selectivity. Slurps batteries up fast !!! The narrow "Wide" bandwidth" filter does not help this sets fair to poor audio. The "Narrow" bandwidth filter is too wide for real SSB signals.
* YAESU VR-5000 Wide-Band Receiver (2)
OK, this is a wide band "all frequency - all mode - in one box receiver" and I understand that. It's a very low price for such a set. So with that in mind it works and is fun. Has nasty poor dynamic range with any real antenna. Overloading can be PROPERLY controlled on HF with a EXTERNAL VARIABLE ATTENUATOR. A super neat spectrum display that works OK provided it has not launched into overload. Phase noise is also in the nasty poor area too, so manual ECSS is out of the question. Not a set for performance or for ease of use , but with the proper VARIABLE attenuator is most usable on HF (external outdoor antenna). NOTE : Early versions suffered from total lockups and the included unregulated AC wall power supply is garbage. See my page on the VR-5000, for more info. NOTE : LCD displays can suffer (more so with earlier to mid production samples) from missing lines / digits with age .
* LOWE HF-250 (with all options, Non E version)
This receiver is ALMOST the cleanest sounding shortwave set I have EVER had my hands on (with the sync mode in use). It's sync handles fading distortion extremely well too. The downside with the HF-250's audio is it suffers from a level of low frequency "rumble" that totally ruins the gains. This was more noticeable with the Sync on but also exists in the virgin AM mode as well. The HF-250 also had a real quirky microprocessor (a known issue that happens to all of them) that would lock the entire receiver up once in awhile when pushing buttons. This was a "bloody" pain in the rump when it happened. Also a chore to even switch modes. One has to push a mode button, push 2 more to toggle around the loop to the mode you want and then punch the mode button AGAIN. Tuning steps were also not good for any bandscanning. It was too slow unless you press and continue to HOLD a fast button. The remote control was also weird to use. Good.....but not so good after all. The AOR AR7030 is a much better (and actually a much more software stable) receiver.
* JAPAN RADIO CO. NRD-345 (Later Production Sample)
A JRC receiver that has 2 VFO's and a tilt bail with table protection pads. Of course both lacking in ALL other JRC HF receivers ever made. Solid construction with a steel cabinet. Excellent RF performance, super easy of use , nice LCD display and even a real s-meter. Suffers from the typical JRC trait of poor audio with AM signals even in wide bandwidth (muffled), SSB has very good audio with no distortion or hiss at all. In my view here with SSB signals it's way better over the AOR AR7030. Also very good manual ECSS. Sync detection however is a major joke (just like with early Icom IC-R75's). Includes a regulated floor wart that is a bit under rated for current (the USA 117VAC one at least is). A nice little receiver from JRC, but not so much for listening to broadcast stations. See my page on the NRD-345 here.
* PERSEUS "Direct Sampling" HF Receiver
This is a PC connected (Microsoft XP , Vista or above) "Black Box - Direct Conversion" 100% DSP receiver. It requires a computer with some real horsepower to work right and a USB 2.0 or above port. Computer should at least use a 1.5 Ghz processor and 512 MB of memory and that's really at the "min." bottom and it will not work 100% right this way. I would say at least a Intel Pentium DUAL CORE processor in the 3 Ghz area and at least 1 GB of memory (or better). Once that is done THEN sit down for some very good performance. Of course there are NO IF stages in this type of receiver. Better than MOST (but not all) "hybrid" DSP IF receivers. The spectrum scope is the BEST I have ever used. The IC-R9000 and YES even the current IC-R9500 look like total GARBAGE when compared to the Perseus's EXCELLENT scope !! You can even record a chunk of the spectrum in "real time" for later playback. Better have a HUGE hard drive however. Has excellent sync detection and on board DRM mode too, and endless number of QUALITY bandwidths with nice wide ones too (that I like and require in a HF receiver).
However one of its MAJOR bugs is its (other than the high cost) is the very weak signal sensitivity and noise floor. It's not quite what it could have been and for deep down extremely weak DX signals, which still makes the WJ8711A the "king of HF receivers" to my ears !! Also can suffer from self-generated gremlins which is its REAL drawback !! We found this one to be very sour after awhile !! I have a full review on another page.
* DEGEN DE1121 (4)
The Degen DE1121 is the only PORTABLE receiver on the planet that can give on board "MP3 recordings" in the SW band that actually works properly. Receiver section works good too including dual bandwidths, and has SSB mode to boot. It's MAJOR down side is that it is NOT easy to use and takes time and lots of patience to learn the strange menu layout. and general operation. It can lock up once in awhile too.The usual Degen "Quality Control" warning has to be stressed, it's highly variable (more like DOWNRIGHT POOR) . Full review here.
* DEGEN DE1123 (2)
The ill-conceived Degen DE1123 DSP Radio-MP3 Player-Wav Recorder. A great idea for the pocket but it comes up way short in a number of area's. Downright lousy receiver on SW. See review here.
* DEGEN DE1125
Updated version of the DE1123 above. Well not much of any improvement (some parts are worse). Another one that is almost worthless on SW. More lousy Degen quality control too. See mini-review here (bottom of page).
* GRUNDIG G6
Another Degen made set. Nice "near pocket set" that has SSB too with 20 hz fine tuning steps (but only fair performance in SSB mode). Nice tuning wheel. Sensitivity can vary greatly from sample to sample (even more poor Degen quality control) . Many have failed in use as well (as mine did). Memory operation is weird and doesn't operate properly. Suffers from the dreaded stick cabinet syndrome. See full review here
* UNIWAVE DI-WAVE 100 (Very Rare)
"Di-Wave 100" DRM Receiver from UniWave (made by NewStar). Our sample came from the first pre-production run of 300 (or less ?) samples. Works great for dedicated DRM use, but is a real pain for any general SW listening. Performance on "analog" SW is good , however excessive audio distortion is a real problem in this mode. Rumor has it that this project was discontinued just before any real production samples were made? My full review here.
* ETON E1
The closest portable EVER to the Sony ICF-2010 in our view (if not a close dead heat). Designed by R.L. Drake, rumored to have used Tecsun Chinese parts and made in India, but gives for some fantastic performance. 3 metal cased IF filters. Excellent sync detector and PBT. The generally sour quality control that killed this one for us (spurious signals). You should use this receiver with a good REGULATED 9 VOLT power supply at the proper current (not the "over voltage" garbage wall-wart supply that come with it). Can suffer from the sticky case trait (due to it's "rubberized" painted cabinet). See my review for more details.
* DEGEN DE1126 / DE1127 (2)
While no where near perfect , the pocket size Degen DE1126 "Radio-MP3 Player-Wav Recorder" is a improvement over the DE1123 and DE1125 models (as listed above). At least better off air record and at least so-so usable on SW now (still has AGC issues). MW stinks, but FM is near excellent . MP3 player has shuffle mode that works well. Microprocessor gremlins with weak off air recordings get mixed in. We experienced a weird excessive current draw issue. This is totally curable with a menu item toggle (see my web page). Shorter (and super thin) antenna on the DE1127 reduces the FM sensitivity vs. the DE1126. See the full review for details (bottom of this page). Same typical POOR Degen quality overall (variable performance......some work better than others....many were DOA new out of the box).
* GRUNDIG G2 Reporter (a.k.a. : DEGEN DE1128) (2)
OK, this is ANOTHER Degen designed and made "Radio-MP3 Player-Wav Recorder" set. Based on the DE1123, DE1125 and DE1126/1127 sets but larger. Has a line input and external Micro-SD card slot. Uses the same BC-5L lithium ion battery. Here we have 2 speakers which gives for great stereo effect and punchy audio . SW receiver performance is OK along with the AGC issues pretty much fixed (but is still no stellar performer, and only with a bit of thin wire clipped to whip). Digital Recording and Playback suffered from dropouts on both units which is a real "deal killer" for me. But no more digital noises mixed in off air recordings (now is clean). FM performance is fantastic , MW is downright lousy !! See the entire review here. There are reports with later samples that the MP3 dropout/skipping issue was cleared up (perhaps hardware changes ??), but we were never able to verify this.
* GRUNDIG Satellit 800 (a.k.a. : Tecsun HAM2000)
The BIG and famous GRUNDIG Satellit 800. Designed by R.L. Drake in the USA and built by Tecsun in China. Basically an improved version of the later production Drake SW8's. Beefier audio amplifier (along with separate Bass and Treble controls) and speaker. But even with those audio improvements, lacks any real bass response when compared to any old larger "German made" Grundig set. Also improved over the SW8's, added an internal small MW loopstick antenna (fair) , a nice LARGER LCD using a much desired GREEN LED backlight color (however it is a bit dim) and a real and fairly accurate real ANALOG S-Meter. Excellent Sync detector. Sensitivity could have been a bit better using the attached whip (pars MUCH better with any external outdoor antenna). Overall we love this receiver. We feel it's one of the BEST featured and performing Chinese SW portables that will ever be made...well so far anyway (even with it's bug-a-boo failure problems over it's years in production) ?? Would have liked to have seen a super wide bandwidth filter, but using the Sync Detection and SLIGHTLY off tuning gives for better clarity on AM mode MW/SW signals. Best used on external power as it's a battery PIG , up to 650 ma at 9 volts with the backlight and SW band with the Sync on (and with some decent audio level) !! NOTE : The included "transformer type" AC adapter creates hum with headphones (it's not regulated) and runs the set over voltage. So we have a cure (see web page here for details). We prefer this set MUCH more over the eton e1 as the Sat 800 has MUCH cleaner audio (no spurious garage in the audio and much less listening fatigue).
* DEGEN DE1128H (Improved version of the DEGEN DE1128 / GRUNDIG G2 Reporter)
Very similar to the Grundig G2 Reporter / DEGEN 1128 as listed above (ARF !!) however with a number of MAJOR improvements. First the DEGEN DE1128H has a much more beefy audio amplifier with an added micro subwoofer in the battery compartment. So this increases the bass response and sound quality greatly (+ the case is about twice as thick). Improved and removable tilt stand. SW receiver performance is still a general disappointment , but OK for the stronger stations (with a bit of wire added to it's whip). FM still excellent, MW is still pretty lousy !! See the mini review here (bottom of page) . The dropout issue with MP3 files has been totally cleared up of course. This was was never sold as as a eton / Grundig product and for anyone living outside Asia needed to purchase direct from China (usually via ebay). Uses the usual BC-5L lithium ion battery.
* TECSUN PL-380 (2)
One of those lone DSP chip based "near pocket" sized sets. Early and very late samples are fine. But the middle production units suffered from excessive audio hiss in one channel. But we find the PL380 to be one of the best implemented Silicon Labs si4734 sets around. Very sensitive , low noise and 5 MW / SW bandwidths available. See my review here (bottom of page). Can switch the backlight on full time. No external antenna jack however. Runs on 3 standard AA batteries (none of that weird lithium battery stuff here). Direct Keyboard entry. The 2 speed tuning takes getting getting used to, and even after that moving around with the tuning wheel is a bit difficult. Thank goodness for the excellent ETM mode. But a winner overall provided you can find one without the hiss issue.
* ICOM IC-7300
An amateur transceiver, but is probably the best Icom HF set (receiver or transceiver) we have EVER had our hands on. Read all about it on my IC-7300 review page here. A REAL "Software Defined Receiver" (SDR) with direct RF sampling , so has no traditional Mixer or IF stages. Super clean audio quality (zero hiss as well), fantastic spectrum scope too (for up to a 1 MHz view of the spectrum), plus high res "LED backlit" LCD. Operation in receive use is cool and quiet (fan never comes on in receive only use, unlike the old IC-7600 model as we tested here)
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Above is my "Master List"
of SHORTWAVE HF Receivers personally owned since 1977, in order as
Please note: I no longer own most of these (like 99% of this list), and questions to these receivers I may not be able answer. Here for the general information only and nothing more. None of this is "For Sale" as a few have come to think for some reason.
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