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Author Topic: Best Portable SWL Receiver for SSB  (Read 37271 times)
KA2FIR
Member

Posts: 33




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« on: March 12, 2014, 01:22:24 PM »

Hi,

I currently use a baby monitor from when the kids were young to monitor my FT-920/950 from other parts of the house but it can be frustrating when the station QRT's and I have to go back into the shack and find a new active frequency. I thought about remote control with an iPad or smart phone but I think that's an expensive option. I have a portable but it doesn't do SSB so I'm wondering which Tecsun/Sangean/Grundig/etc SWL portable works best for SSB that doesn't drift and can tune as close to zero beat as possible? I would think the ones with selectable sideband are better and have better selectivity. So far I've looked at the PL-660 which the reviews says works well on SSB. Others I've looked at are the PL-880, ATS-909X.

Tnx,

Mike KA2FIR
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KE7TMA
Member

Posts: 471




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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2014, 11:12:18 PM »

Hi,

I currently use a baby monitor from when the kids were young to monitor my FT-920/950 from other parts of the house but it can be frustrating when the station QRT's and I have to go back into the shack and find a new active frequency. I thought about remote control with an iPad or smart phone but I think that's an expensive option. I have a portable but it doesn't do SSB so I'm wondering which Tecsun/Sangean/Grundig/etc SWL portable works best for SSB that doesn't drift and can tune as close to zero beat as possible? I would think the ones with selectable sideband are better and have better selectivity. So far I've looked at the PL-660 which the reviews says works well on SSB. Others I've looked at are the PL-880, ATS-909X.

Tnx,

Mike KA2FIR

It depends entirely on your budget.  I don't know of any shortwave radios with an OCXO so they will all drift a bit as they warm up at least.

If you're really dedicated you'll get the Kenwood TS-2000 and the D72A, and control and listen to your HF rig from your HT!  Pretty neat but you're looking at a couple thousand bucks there.
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N3HAM
Member

Posts: 27




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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2014, 10:02:00 AM »

For performance and price the Degen/Kaito1103 are a good bet, as long as you can adjust to it's quirky ergonomics which have been discussed in many forums. Or try a Grundig G5 if you can find one since they are out of production. The G5's circuitry is basically the same as the 1103 but with better ergonomics.
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K0OD
Member

Posts: 2557




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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2014, 11:06:53 AM »

I follow the Tecsun PL-880 Yahoo Group. That feature-laden portable looks promising but it is still a couple of updates away from satisfying hams. Current buyers are still getting the buggy 8820 firmware which is at least an improvement over the earliest 8819 firmware.
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KD7RDZI2
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Posts: 68




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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2014, 11:49:37 AM »

Tecsun PL-660 without any doubt!
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RENTON481
Member

Posts: 62




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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2014, 10:09:38 PM »

Hi,

I currently use a baby monitor from when the kids were young to monitor my FT-920/950 from other parts of the house but it can be frustrating when the station QRT's and I have to go back into the shack and find a new active frequency. I thought about remote control with an iPad or smart phone but I think that's an expensive option. I have a portable but it doesn't do SSB so I'm wondering which Tecsun/Sangean/Grundig/etc SWL portable works best for SSB that doesn't drift and can tune as close to zero beat as possible? I would think the ones with selectable sideband are better and have better selectivity. So far I've looked at the PL-660 which the reviews says works well on SSB. Others I've looked at are the PL-880, ATS-909X.

Tnx,

Mike KA2FIR

I have never used the newer ATS909X, but I have a DX398 (Radio Shack's version of the ATS909X's predecessor the ATS909), and it is an excellent SSB receiver -- independent USB / LSB, great sensitivity and selectivity, and have never noticed any drift on it. I think the 909X has a DSP chip added to it.
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K5TED
Member

Posts: 731




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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2014, 11:43:44 AM »

What is your budget? How about a good used FT-817ND or even the original FT-817? Battery life is not super great, but you could install an aftermarket higher capacity battery pack, and it will do all modes and general coverage. Much better receiver and functions than a typical portable.



 
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N4NYY
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Posts: 4776




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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2014, 06:39:04 PM »

Tecsun PL-660 without any doubt!

+1

Incredible radio for the money
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AA7LV
Member

Posts: 149




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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2014, 02:15:08 PM »

Eton E-1

(discontinued)
http://herculodge.typepad.com/herculodge/2010/05/say-goodbye-to-the-eton-e1.html

I had one "back in the day"

Used $200-$300

"SYNCHRONOUS AM DETECTOR"
« Last Edit: April 10, 2014, 02:20:07 PM by N6UZD » Logged

"I SPENT all my money on radios and antennas; the rest I just WASTED!"
K0OD
Member

Posts: 2557




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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2014, 04:22:06 PM »

Dismayed to learn that the 14-month old Commradio CR-1 (eham rating 3.7 out of 5) is being replaced by the CR-1a that now offers USB IQ output "for 3rd party developers."

There's no word on whether Commradio has fixed its encoder problems. Firmware hasn't been updated since August 2013! Who would buy a $600 radio like that? (answer: a tiny subset of SWLs who feel they need every radio that comes down the pike). 

--
I'm giving up on the PL-880 which should have been a great portable for hams. Improved firmware should have been rushed out by now. Tecsun and its distributors remain mum about the 880's oft reported shortcomings. I guess that's Chinese marketing for you! OTOH, reviews of the cheaper/older PL-660 are glowing.   
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ZENKI
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Posts: 938




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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2014, 07:15:23 PM »

Just buy a FT817 or  IC703!
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KE5JDJ
Member

Posts: 21




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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2014, 07:13:45 AM »

I'd weigh all of the choices against the Tecsun PL-660 delivered to your doorstep at about $100.  Mine works great, though I did have to lubricate the tuning shaft with some RemOil to keep it from galling/binding.  2nd on the list would be the PL-880...check on the Yahoo Group page for the latest updates, etc., and where to buy the latest...there have been some firmware upgrades lately.  I liked the Ft-817 and IC-703 ideas the best....but I keep coming back to that $100 thing if money is a concern.
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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)
CHRISTOFERO
Member

Posts: 23




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« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2014, 06:23:56 PM »

If you can use a computer wherever you are, I would look at getting an "rtlsdr" (RTL2832 + R820T is the search term to use on ebay) USB DVB-T SDR dongle (around $12) and any of the several fairly decent upconverters (the "ham-it-up" upconverter is pretty good) that are available. That combination makes a quite capable HF-VHF-UHF receiver, for around $65, and its also very small.

But you need a computer to use it.

Basically, that setup (which I'm listening to right now) can receive from DC to 1766 MHz.

You can use Linrad, SDR#, GQRX or Gnuradio.

It's surprisingly capable.
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WA7SGS
Member

Posts: 41




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« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2014, 11:34:07 AM »

The Sony ICF-2010 is renowned for being among the best if not the best portable SW receiver.  I used to own one and found it to be a decent enough rig for SSB reception.  It tunes in tenths increments unlike my DX-440.  Using the telescopic antenna is no substitute for a fine beam with rotor but it's as good as you'll get out of a portable radio.  Prices run between $150 to $300 for good 2010's and the more goodies the radio comes with, the higher the price.

Rick
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K4NYA
Member

Posts: 43




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« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2014, 06:49:04 AM »

I bought a Tecsun PL-600 from Universal Radio at Dayton last weekend.  Very happy with it so far.  Much more sensitive than my Grundig G6 and a sounds a lot better, too. 
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