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Author Topic: Entry level short wave radio  (Read 2348 times)
KB1VEJ
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Posts: 25




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« on: April 21, 2015, 05:58:56 AM »

I am looking for some advice on an entry level short wave radio. I ideally would like to also be able to listen to the SSB activity on the amateur bands as well. Any advice or caution on brands/models would be appreciated!

Thanks,
Nate
KB1VEJ
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AUSSIE
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Posts: 41




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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2015, 07:05:53 AM »

Hi Nate do you wanna portable or a desktop receiver whats your budget.

Regards Lino.
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K0OD
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Posts: 2672




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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2015, 09:07:57 AM »

Far, far more info needed. Yes, base or portable.

As a ham, are you considering "entry level short wave radios" that also transmit? For example, I still have my 1979 vintage Kenwood TS-430 transceiver that is very nice just as a SW receiver. It performs well even on the AM BCB and down to 150 KHz. Radios like that are available for peanuts. Small but certainly not portable. 12 V  required. [mines not for sale]

There are tons of elderly hams looking to clean house.    
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WW7KE
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Posts: 187




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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2015, 09:23:49 AM »

I am looking for some advice on an entry level short wave radio. I ideally would like to also be able to listen to the SSB activity on the amateur bands as well. Any advice or caution on brands/models would be appreciated!

Thanks,
Nate
KB1VEJ

If you're going to listen to SSB, I don't recommend the Grundig Satellit 750.  I have one.  It's good for broadcast listening, and is stable enough for digital modes (PSK31, RTTY, etc.).  But it has only 1 kHz tuning steps, woefully inadequate for SSB or CW, even when moving the BFO control around.

I don't know of any other consumer-grade portable receiver that would really be good for ham use.

If you're looking for a home receiver, I'd just get a used ham rig, 1980s-vintage or later, preferably with synthesized/digital tuning.
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KD2DQE
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Posts: 8




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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2015, 03:15:35 PM »

I bought a Tecsun PL880 last week. Inexpensive and easy to use. I bought it to listen to different ham bands to see if I want to peruse upgrading my license to General. It's a blast to use. I've heard and recorded call signs from 16 states and 9 countries in less than a week. Mostly on 40m and 80m. On FM I can listen to Havana Cuba and Beijing China among others. It has usb, lsb, am and fm.

I put about 150' of wire in a square around my attic then dropped it down inside a wall to my second floor office. Works a lot better than the clip on wire that came with the unit.

After less than a week listening I'm ready to start studying for my General. There's so much more to do on hf than my local repeaters.
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K0OD
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2015, 05:21:51 PM »

It has usb, lsb, am and fm.

After less than a week listening I'm ready to start studying for my General. There's so much more to do on hf than my local repeaters.

You forgot CW.

The earliest PL-880s from late 2013 had AGC problems with firmware 8819.  Within 2 or 3 months Tecsun brought out firmware 8820 which was a bit better. Has 8820 been replaced with a newer/better version?   
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KD2DQE
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2015, 08:02:50 PM »

It works great for CW. I've been on 40m and 80m in the area a Technician can use but everyone is way too fast for me to copy. I need to do a lot more studying. Cheesy You can narrow the signals down from 4.0 to 1.2 on cw and ssb and from 9.0 to 2.3 in FM to cut down on background noise.
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K0OD
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2015, 08:32:15 PM »

It works great for CW. I've been on 40m and 80m in the area a Technician can use but everyone is way too fast for me to copy. I need to do a lot more studying. Cheesy You can narrow the signals down from 4.0 to 1.2 on cw and ssb and from 9.0 to 2.3 in FM to cut down on background noise.

William, do you know the firmware version of your new PL-880?

If you're seeking out distant DX, listen to the lower part of 40 CW, 7.000-7.025 especially during weekend contests. Most stations will be going 20 to 35 wpm, but they'll send "CQ test" and their call over and over. After awhile you should be able to pick out some juicy DX calls. Early evening is good for hearing Europe on 40.
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KB1VEJ
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« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2015, 05:42:22 AM »

I would like to get a portable unit for now and $250.00 US would be the high end of the budget. For now I am budget limited otherwise I would go with a rig like the FT-817.

Thanks for the advice!

Nate
KB1VEJ
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KD2DQE
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« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2015, 08:13:20 AM »

I have the 8820 firmware. I bought the radio from Amazon, Kaito Electronics, and I think I paid $159.00.
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AK7V
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Posts: 263




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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2015, 08:52:23 AM »

Tecsun PL-660
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K0OD
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Posts: 2672




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« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2015, 12:11:32 PM »

I have the 8820 firmware. I bought the radio from Amazon, Kaito Electronics, and I think I paid $159.00.

Thanks. The PL880 firmware was certainly controversial when the radio came out and that may have contributed to the shutting down of Yahoo's PL880 and 660 groups last summer amid lots of bickering and off topic posting. I would have expected new firmware by now but perhaps the 880 has reached its limits. The 660 has its fans, especially those not interested in CW. 
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