Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Chosing a good SW Radio  (Read 1180 times)
DEFCON365
Member

Posts: 3




Ignore
« on: May 20, 2003, 12:47:28 PM »

I am a newbie obviously, and my question is regarding  good advise from some of the experts here on choosing a good radio.

I have read thru Passports reviews, and others. My dillema is what to buy. All these darn reviews confuse me more than help me...

I currently own a DX-375 with a clip on wire antenna. I am seriously considering a Satelitt 800, as I want something that can really pull in weak signals. Perhaps any modern digital SW would be an improvement Wink

My question is, is there a compact portable that can match the level of reception that the Grundig Satelitt 800 can pull in ? Perhaps the Sony SW77 Huh Or maybe even a Sony 7600 w/ an active loop antenna Huh

I also heard that a Satelitt 900 is coming out soon, maybe I should hold off.... Not that Grundig is the end all be all, but certainly has lots of positive reviews... I realize tabletop recvs. are even better, but I would prefer a portable.

I live in an apartment so only an indoor antenna will suffice.

Any advise would be very greatly appreciated !!!
Logged
KC0ODY
Member

Posts: 78




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2003, 12:02:47 PM »

I've heard only good things about the Sangean ATS-909. The Satellit 800 is another highly recommended radio, but this sucker is HUGE compared to the ATS-909. It's also a lot more expensive.

I'm considering buying an ATS-909 for my son's upcoming graduation. I noticed that Communications Electronics seems to have the lowest price going on the ATS-909, around $210 (their website is at www.usascan.com). I've done some homework regarding prices and this is the cheapest I've yet found. Average going price at most retailers is between $249-$279.

The ATS-909 has a jack for an external antenna.
I recommend making a wire antenna out of speaker or hookup wire. Make it as long as you can. Loop it around the floorboards or ceiling. Maybe you could also dangle it out the window if you could do so unobtrusively, without the building management noticing.

Have fun! 73 de Jackie
Logged
W5ALT
Member

Posts: 5




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2003, 03:39:30 PM »

Get the Sangean ATS-909, it will run circles around anything Grundig has to offer. I've used several portables of different brands and the 909 is the best performer.

I'd also be concerned about Grundig, since they recently filed for bankruptcy.
Logged
DEFCON365
Member

Posts: 3




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2003, 12:10:56 AM »

I appreciate the advise... I have kinda of ruled out the Satellit 800 due to it's size. And I have recv. alot of recommedations for the 909.

The only thing makes me somewhat weary is there is no Sync detection on it. And for $200 + dollars thats alot of money. For all I know not having sync detection may not even matter on the 909. It could be that good of a radio.

Being young (20's) and not having the oppertunity to fiddle around with the radio's out there, I am at a disadvantage.

I will seriously consider the 909, I am also studying more on the Sony SW77 & 7600.... I must make a decision by month's end out of the three. I guess any of these would be a big improvement over the DX-375 I own Wink

I currently use a wire antenna hook up to my DX-375, but would an indoor active antenna pull in weaker signals better that a wire/whip hook up (passive) ?

I have heard mixed messages on this like Active is better, but may pull in interference. Passive is good but not as powerful as active. I am new to this and ignorant.... But active would make more sense to me since it provides amplification. I would also imagine that a decent active antenna would have controls to block interference too.

Choices & decisions suck...





Logged
W5ALT
Member

Posts: 5




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2003, 05:21:29 PM »

In my opinion, there is no clear cut answer as to whether a passive or active antenna is better. It all depends on your constraints and objectives. Most active antennas that I have seen do little to help with interference, though.

The problem is that an active antenna generally amplifies everything. That sounds good at first thought, but it also amplifies noise and may amplify signals to the point that you start to get overloading of the receiver and all the associated problems. If that happenes, then you'll probably be better off with out the active part of the antenna. Most modern receivers have plenty of gain so the amplification may or may not be needed. Most portables are optimized for small telescopic antennas, too, so upgrading the antenna may well just overload things. You have to try to find out, though.

On the other hand, if you can put your active antenna in a quieter location than your passive antenna, it may be an improvement. Again, it depends on your situation.

I would try using a passive antenna with a tuner to start out with. If you are hearing lots of signals, and have no problems with overloading, then you're probably OK. If you can't hear hardly anything, then either move the passive antenna to a better location or try an active  antenna. An active antenna won't help with signals it can't receive, so if you hear absolutely nothing on an equivalent passive antenna, the active version probably won't work any miracles.
Logged
DEFCON365
Member

Posts: 3




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2003, 02:42:07 AM »

I must thank
 the both of you again.

W5ALT, your insight on the antenna issue was exactly what I needed to hear. In simple terms, and made sense. Although I probably will by an active antenna to test or try out, just see what happens. Couldn't hurt, I am curious to see which fairs better in the woods when I go hiking.

I am starting to get interested in Ham communtications now after visiting this site.

Can Ham transmissions be received worldwide like SW broadcasts ?

How much power is used to transmit these communications? KW ?

Is the antenna an active antenna Wink ?

Seems really cool though. I know there are certain bands that Ham operates on, but is it possible to transmit on any SW band. I guess that would be a pirate broadcast at that point.

Logged
KC0ODY
Member

Posts: 78




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2003, 03:55:52 PM »

DEFCON asks:

"Can Ham transmissions be received worldwide like SW broadcasts?"

Sure, they can... although WHEN and WHERE depends on a whole bunch of factors, such as signal propagation, power output, your antenna (that's a *BIG* one), time of year, time of day, etc.

"How much power is used to transmit these communications? KW?"

There are restrictions on certain bands for how much power one can put out.  The peak envelope power an amateur station can use is 1.5 Kw, but not on every amateur band; 30 meters, for instance, has a PEP limit of 200 watts. Also, amateurs are supposed to use the least amount of power to maintain communications, so as not to splatter their signals on adjacent frequencies and cause interference.

Believe me, you can talk all over the world on just 100 watts. That's all I'm running. The single MOST important factor of your signal reach is your antenna; at least, the most important factor that is under your control! Some hams love to operate with 5 watts or less- they're called QRPers, and though it's more challenging to get your signal heard around the world with that power, when the propagation's good, you can practically talk all over the world on 1 watt and a wet noodle.

>Is the antenna an active antenna Wink ?

Hehe, well, once you get into amateur radio, one of the biggest issues that people talk about is antennas. They are at least 2/3 of the performance of your station. I have heard it said that it is better to spend twice or three times as much on your antenna system as on your transceiver. There are all kinds of amateur antennas, including commercially produced and homebrewed types... dipoles, verticals, beams and even random wire can be used for putting your signal out.

>Seems really cool though. I know there are certain bands that Ham operates on, but is it possible to transmit on any SW band. I guess that would be a pirate broadcast at that point.

The US amateur bands are those that are authorized for transmission (by US amateurs). Sometimes we share those band segments with shortwave stations, yes, but we are only authorized to operate within a certain part of the bands. Higher class amateur licenses have more bandwidth available to them, so it makes sense to attain the highest license class if you want the maximum bandwidth privileges available. You can consult the ARRL website for more info about band plans (the link's below).

I've only been in the hobby for about 6 months, and I've had a TON of fun so far. I'm still a shortwave listener, too. Most HF ham transceivers will do double-duty as a shortwave rig as well.

Here are a few more good sites to check if you want more info on amateur radio:

http://www.ac6v.com/ (GOOD site for everything radio related)

http://www.arrl.org (the main amateur radio organization in the US)

http://www.dxzone.com/ (tons more info)

These oughta keep you busy for awhile!

73 de Jackie, KC0ODY
p.s. I'm assuming you are in the US...?
Logged
K0RFD
Member

Posts: 1368




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2003, 01:08:30 PM »

You wrote:
I appreciate the advise... I have kinda of ruled out the Satellit 800 due to it's size. And I have recv. alot of recommedations for the 909.

The only thing makes me somewhat weary is there is no Sync detection on it. And for $200 + dollars thats alot of money. For all I know not having sync detection may not even matter on the 909. It could be that good of a radio.

-----------------------------------------------------

The issue of sync detector vs. no sync detector confuses more novice SWLs than any other feature in radio reviews.  People who have radios with sync detectors swear they can't live without them, people who don't have sync detectors swear they don't miss them.

A sync detector is designed to minimize "selective fading" in which one sideband of a distant AM signal arrives slightly out of phase with the other and partially cancels the signal.  Although it is not as neat, easy, and handy as a sync detector, you can also minimize selective fading with a radio that lets you listen only to one sideband or another (USB or LSB).

When reading reviews in Passport, RNL, and other places, remember that they cater to their readership, who are mostly listening to AM broadcast programming.  Of course RNL wants that to be as easy for you as possible.  That's what they do.  Passport caters to AM broadcast listeners also.  But it all depends on what YOU want to do with the SWL hobby.  If you want to listen to Hams and Utilities, you don't need a sync detector.  If you want to listen to AM Broadcast, a sync detector is nice to have, but not totally necessary as long as you can listen on one sideband or another.

As long as your radio is reasonably good and you know how to operate it well enough to get the most out of it, the antenna is the important thing.  No radio will hear everything there is to hear, but a radio that's plugged into a decent antenna will usually hear lots more.  Be aware, though, that some portables are easily overloaded by an antenna that hears TOO well, so you will have to compromise on an antenna that works well with YOUR radio.

Good luck, and welcome to a fun hobby.
Logged
N6AJR
Member

Posts: 9892




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2003, 12:20:44 AM »

For around $300 you can pick up a nice used ham radio like a Icom 730 or 720 or a yaesu FT-840 and such. These will be all solid state, not tubes to tune, and you can unplug the mike and use them as a good Ham band reciever, , most recieve from 1.8 to 30 MHZ all the way across and only TX in the ham bands.  

This way if or when you get your tech with code, or your general you are ready with a rig and not a now unusable recieve only radio.  Just my opinion, but that is what I would do.. 73 and good listening.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!