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Author Topic: Recommendation for a used/new receiver under $200  (Read 17082 times)
N1USD
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Posts: 8




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« on: March 18, 2014, 11:30:11 AM »

I was wondering what people would recommend for a SW radio for around $200 or less. I currently have a Realistic DX302 and a Sangean 803A.

Been away from SWL for some years now and am starting to listen again, but unsure if I will stay with it, my hobbies tend to go in spurts.

I have been browsing Ebay, looking at Grundigs, Tecsun's, Yeasu's (I like the looks of the FRG 7 but want a digital readout)

Looking for something with digital readout, direct entry is not that important but nice, and able to pull weak signals. I have a multi band dipole in my attic running roughly NE-SW
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KE7TMA
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Posts: 472




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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2014, 04:24:43 PM »

I was wondering what people would recommend for a SW radio for around $200 or less. I currently have a Realistic DX302 and a Sangean 803A.

Been away from SWL for some years now and am starting to listen again, but unsure if I will stay with it, my hobbies tend to go in spurts.

I have been browsing Ebay, looking at Grundigs, Tecsun's, Yeasu's (I like the looks of the FRG 7 but want a digital readout)

Looking for something with digital readout, direct entry is not that important but nice, and able to pull weak signals. I have a multi band dipole in my attic running roughly NE-SW

Your 803A already has SSB and a digital readout.  I can understand your desire for a new radio - which of us doesn't want something or other - but what does it lack that you feel you want?

If you are having trouble with weak signals, you may want to either consider different antenna alternatives or a preamp.  I'm not sure a new radio will help much, especially if you are looking in the sub-$200 range.
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KD8IIC
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Posts: 161




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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2014, 10:38:00 PM »

 A Halli S-120 is a fun 60's tube rig for not much. Universal takes SW for trade-ins. Plus they are checked out so you aren't buying junk.They will also ship. The question is somewhat akin to asking my preference in shoes, there's so many to choose from, all for different purposes, so take your pick. 73
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N1USD
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Posts: 8




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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2014, 12:55:18 AM »

Thank you guys!
   It is 3:45 am and I can't sleep, but not due to thinking about the radio, I had a glass of Pepsi with caffeine after 5 pm and that always wakes me up, darn it is heck getting old!

Anyhow, summer is coming so it will not be high season for SW (as I remember) and as you say I have the 803A and the DX302 both with SSB, in fact I picked up Gander on USB at 10.052 on both last night with a good signal.  I guess it is mostly wanting a new toy and also the thought that a new/used radio will pickup signals with no work, probably doesn't happen.
  That being said, the big thing about the 803A is the weight with a full load of batteries if I were going to use it in the hammock but in reality that won't happen much.

I will check Universal on their trades to see if they would take my extra Realistics, I have 2 160's, 2 200's and Transoceanic laying around somewhere. The DX-75 tube and the old Zenith 600 Trans I will try on Craigs list for now.  I was loooking at the Tecsun 660 or 880 they would be a nice portable camping rig, my son had batteries explode in our small Radio Shack radio and has been asking for another one of that type.

on the "portatop" I have to remember what Mister Spock in Star Trek said "sometimes having is not so pleasing as wanting, it is not logical but it is true"
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WW7KE
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Posts: 83




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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2014, 10:15:41 AM »

A Halli S-120 is a fun 60's tube rig for not much. Universal takes SW for trade-ins. Plus they are checked out so you aren't buying junk.They will also ship. The question is somewhat akin to asking my preference in shoes, there's so many to choose from, all for different purposes, so take your pick. 73

But don't bother with its solid-state successor, the S-120A.  It was my first store-bought receiver back in 1969, was the last of the S-38/S-120 "beginners" product line, and it redefines the term "POS."  It was sensitive enough, even on 20 meters and above, but easily overloaded (my local FM station was all over the dial), no selectivity whatsoever, and a very small bandspread control that was just a shade better than worthless.  For the $60 I paid for it back then, I could have gotten a much better used receiver.  I traded it in for a Hammarlund HQ-145 two years later.
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KG6AF
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Posts: 367




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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2014, 10:38:42 AM »

A Halli S-120 is a fun 60's tube rig for not much. Universal takes SW for trade-ins. Plus they are checked out so you aren't buying junk.They will also ship. The question is somewhat akin to asking my preference in shoes, there's so many to choose from, all for different purposes, so take your pick. 73

Oh, please, please don't buy a Hallicrafters S-120, unless your goal is to convince yourself that SWL isn't the hobby for you.
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KC6RCM
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Posts: 18




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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2014, 11:47:15 AM »

The Sangean ATS-909X has received mostly good reviews, although it's $249.95.  It looks to be a good value, for what it offers.  Good luck searching.

-Doug
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WW7KE
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Posts: 83




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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2014, 02:19:14 PM »

But don't bother with its solid-state successor, the S-120A.  It was my first store-bought receiver back in 1969, was the last of the S-38/S-120 "beginners" product line, and it redefines the term "POS." 

Correction:  The S-125 was the last of that product line, made between 1970 and 1973, when Northrop-owned Hallicrafters got out of the ham radio business and became its Defense Systems Division (full disclosure:  I worked there, 1978-89).  It was the same receiver as the S-120A with some trim differences.  Per some websites I read, both receivers were actually manufactured by Panasonic in Japan.
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KD7RDZI2
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Posts: 73




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« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2014, 12:04:01 PM »

The Tecsun PL660 is in my opinion the best portable, with excellent SSB and AM (with synch too). The "Built version" of the Softrock Ensemble II receiver is a solid performer with SDRSharp software in case you don't mind using a computer.
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N1USD
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Posts: 8




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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2014, 12:11:54 PM »

has anyone compared the Tecsun 660 to the 880?
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RENTON481
Member

Posts: 72




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« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2014, 03:47:22 PM »

I was wondering what people would recommend for a SW radio for around $200 or less. I currently have a Realistic DX302 and a Sangean 803A.

Been away from SWL for some years now and am starting to listen again, but unsure if I will stay with it, my hobbies tend to go in spurts.

I have been browsing Ebay, looking at Grundigs, Tecsun's, Yeasu's (I like the looks of the FRG 7 but want a digital readout)

Looking for something with digital readout, direct entry is not that important but nice, and able to pull weak signals. I have a multi band dipole in my attic running roughly NE-SW

Like KE7TMA said, what is wrong with your ATS803A? I have a DX 440 (the Radio Shack 803A) and for SWL it's an excellent radio -- excellent sound, long battery life, good sensitivity, great selectivity for SWL.

If you just want something newer and more portable, with decent performance, the Radio Shack "World Synthesised PLL Receiver" (a Radio Shack badged Sangean ATS505) may give you a bit more sensitivity for SWL, and it is smaller, newer, and more portable than the 803A -- about $80 at Radio Shack.
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N1USD
Member

Posts: 8




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« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2014, 03:58:13 PM »

Renton
  That may be it, radios are like potato chips to me, I guess I was just wanting something else.  Although a nice light portable that is as good as my 803A would be good....
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KE7TMA
Member

Posts: 472




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« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2014, 07:59:10 PM »

Thank you guys!
   It is 3:45 am and I can't sleep, but not due to thinking about the radio, I had a glass of Pepsi with caffeine after 5 pm and that always wakes me up, darn it is heck getting old!

Anyhow, summer is coming so it will not be high season for SW (as I remember) and as you say I have the 803A and the DX302 both with SSB, in fact I picked up Gander on USB at 10.052 on both last night with a good signal.  I guess it is mostly wanting a new toy and also the thought that a new/used radio will pickup signals with no work, probably doesn't happen.
  That being said, the big thing about the 803A is the weight with a full load of batteries if I were going to use it in the hammock but in reality that won't happen much.

I will check Universal on their trades to see if they would take my extra Realistics, I have 2 160's, 2 200's and Transoceanic laying around somewhere. The DX-75 tube and the old Zenith 600 Trans I will try on Craigs list for now.  I was loooking at the Tecsun 660 or 880 they would be a nice portable camping rig, my son had batteries explode in our small Radio Shack radio and has been asking for another one of that type.

on the "portatop" I have to remember what Mister Spock in Star Trek said "sometimes having is not so pleasing as wanting, it is not logical but it is true"

Those Transoceanics are getting pricey and rare, and people are starting to buy them as investments now.  Maybe it wouldn't hurt to hang on to that one?  I know I would!
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N4UE
Member

Posts: 299




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« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2014, 08:48:42 AM »

Yeah, DON'T get a S120!! That was first non-homebrew radio. If you look up POS in the dictionary, you'll see it's picture.
Even though I collect radios, I have been offered several for free and said 'NO THANKS!!".

ron
N4UE
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KB9VGE
Member

Posts: 24




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« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2014, 09:57:51 AM »

You should be able to find a used TenTex rx-320 for $200.
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