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Author Topic: Portable SW receiver?  (Read 27932 times)
JUJUJULIA
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« on: January 06, 2013, 04:29:37 PM »

Hello all,

I'd like to start listening to SW radio, and thanks to the moratorium of not being able to post right away, I missed the table top radios I was keen on that were up for auction on eBay!  Now I've changed my mind and I'm leaning towards a portable model.  It doesn't have to be tiny (in fact, I believe the tiny models must be junk).  After reading reviews (mostly yours, and also some on Amazon, RadioReference.com etc) I think the Tecsun PL-660 sounds like it gives the most bang for the bucks. ($110 new on Amazon, shipping included). There are also a few used models on eBay, such as the Grundig S350 and a couple of Sonys that received good reviews. Do any of you have some advice based on your personal experience with portable SW receivers?

Thanks in advance.
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JUJUJULIA
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2013, 06:57:39 PM »

How does the Tecsun PL-660 compare to the Sony ICF 2010, besides the latter costing two or three times more?  Please reply if you know!
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KJ6ZOL
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2013, 07:37:36 PM »

The 660 should have a tunable SSB, the 2010 doesn't, all the 2010 has is a button. The 2010 was pretty advanced for 1990, but it's a power hog and it's not nearly as advanced as today's models. A lot of people have fond memories of the 2010 and are willing to pay through the nose to relive their childhoods. I owned one briefly and wasn't that impressed. The Tecsun 660 is probably your best best. If you want to listen to hams, you'll need SSB. If you can find a Degen 1102 cheap, grab it. And I mean CHEAP, I wouldn't pay more than $30. The 1102 was available over Ebay as the Chinese domestic version, which is what I've got, then as a "Kaito" for twice the price from Universal Radio! But I'd recommend buying new, and for new radios you're basically limited to the Tecsun 660 if you want SSB (psst...you do).
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VE7SHM
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 08:31:12 AM »

I bought the Sangean ATS-909X a year after they came out seemed like a nice enough portable .Then a friend of mine let me try a Tecsun 660 well now the Sangean sit waiting to go on Ebay some day and the 660 live in my motor-home...
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KQ6EA
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2013, 09:04:26 PM »

I had a Sony 2010, and was somewhat disappointed with it, despite all the rave reviews it gets.

Face it, it's older technology than we have now, and while it was an "OK" receiver, newer ones work better.

I now have both the Tecsun PL-660, and a Grundig G3, and the Tecsun seems to be a bit more sensitive.

They both tune SSB acceptably well, and have tons of features.

If I was forced to pick between the two of them, I'd probably go with the Tecsun.

73, Jim
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W3TTT
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« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2013, 01:44:32 PM »

I have a Grundig G5.  Not quite a Yachtboy, but still very nice.  Has CW-SSB and a fine tuning -  three revolutions of the main tuning knob per kHz!  Cost about $59 very reasonable. 
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AD6KA
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« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2013, 05:09:35 PM »

Quote
Do any of you have some advice based on your
personal experience with portable SW receivers?

YUP! My advice:
If you are even the least bit serious about SWL,
skip the portables and get a desktop receiver.

Portables are for when you're traveling and you've
finished the books you brought and are bored s***less.

Even an old used Kenwood R-600 or R-1000
is much better than the much praised
SONY ICF-SW7600GR, which I happen to own.
It's easily overloaded and a pain to tune.

Good used desktops can occasionally be found in ham radio
and radio oriented classifieds. Check RadioReference.com too.
Check thrift shops and pawn shops too.

Skip the portables, save your money, and buy a REAL radio.
You will be SO glad you did!
73, Ken  AD6KA/5R8GQ




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KB8VIV
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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2013, 01:03:55 PM »

I just started a thread on this thing, it's tiny...sounds like it may be worth looking into..still kind of new though.
http://www.commradio.com/

kb8viv
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VA1CQ
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2013, 10:53:47 AM »

I've enjoyed using the Grundig Satellit 750 portable. I believe they had quality control problems in the beginning so buying a new model is wisest. It may not be the best, but I've had lots of fun especially after I connected an outdoor wire antenna.

As others have said, if you are serious, the desktop SWL receivers are best. I have some good radios too. But the value of the 750 to me is to sit back in my living room EZ chair and just have a simple portable to use.

There is a good Yahoo support group for this radio here:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Satellit-750/messages?o=1&yguid=208933572
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KE7TMA
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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2013, 08:53:57 PM »

SSB is not really useful for a SW receiver, most SW broadcast material is AM.  SSB can be nice for a more advanced user, for fighting QRM or listening to the tiny percentage of SW broadcasts that are in that mode.

My advice is to think about what you want from a radio, and how your budget dovetails with this.  A cheap radio (but not crappy) is probably the place to start, as it will allow you to hear what you wish, and if your interest wanes you will not be taking a big loss.

If you are serious about listening, the sky is really the limit as far as your expense goes.  Perhaps finding a local listener with a variety of equipment, and a willingness to let you play with the radios, is the best shot in this case.

Personally I think that a cheap used ham radio is probably the best value, if you are serious, because the filtering and other features are generally better than SW only radios.
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KE5JDJ
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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2013, 06:11:16 AM »

I have the Tecsun PL 660 and really like it for the monetary expenditure made. 

I did have a problem that the tuner shaft froze up....so...I had to disassemble it and lubricate.  Now it works fine, just as new.  Remember they are not built like tanks they are portable units. 

I actually used a couple of drops of Remoil spray on mine and let it run down into the tuner. 

I like the idea of a used ham radio or big fixed radio....but the Tecsun is what I have on my nightstand.
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Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
-William Pitt, British prime-minister (1759-1806)
JUJUJULIA
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2013, 06:20:31 PM »

In the end I did buy a Tecsun PL 660 off of Ebay. It had been only used a couple of times, and still had the plastic covering over the display.  However, the reception was awful. Could barely make out the time signal, and couldn't hear any stations (even with the wire antenna going out the window and up around the roof). I sent it back. I'll never know if that particular radio was a lemon or if that's all you can expect from that model, here in my area (San Jose CA).  I even tried in the middle of the night.
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KQ6EA
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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2013, 09:42:22 PM »

I think you may have had a bad radio.

Here in Long Beach, I can hear WWV and CHU just fine, along with a lot of SWBC, and hams.

The quality control on these radios can be problematic, but when you get a good one, they're very good little sets.

Jim
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RENTON481
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« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2013, 04:34:10 AM »

I've read rave reviews about the Tecsun products, but I've also read that sometimes there are quality control issues.

If you can get one for a decent price, a Sangean 909 would be a good radio.  Good AM and FM performance, and for SW and Ham listening it's a very good receiver.  Has real USB and LSB, which helps for ham band monitoring.  Weaknesses are that it's a battery hog (not sure if the new 909's are any better with batteries than the older 909 models); and it's a bit deaf off the whip, to tune the SW bands you need to attach a wire -- even a short one will do.

The memory pages take a bit of getting used to, but are very helpful once you get the hang of using them.  You can even label memory pages for different bands or mode, or -- on MW and FM -- for actual stations.
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VE3LNY
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« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2013, 08:36:26 PM »

I have used both the Tecsun PL600 and PL660 and both are quite sensitive. The eBay one must be a bummer. You were wise to send it back. IMHO both models are as good as any of the portables in their class.
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