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Author Topic: Good rig for newcomer?  (Read 9323 times)
W4TRJ
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Posts: 19




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« on: January 18, 2014, 08:52:58 PM »

I have a friend who wants to get a shortwave rig -- to hear shortwave stuff but also to pick up ham bands.

I feel fairly certain they are moving towards becoming a ham and this is just a preliminary step.

I'm up on ham rigs, but not on swl stuff.

What would be a good radio for not a pile of dough that will take an external antenna? Used is ok, I think, but welcome new radio suggestions also.

thanks --

DC
W4TRJ
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W4TRJ
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Posts: 19




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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2014, 08:57:03 PM »

And an additional question -- do the new little radios with an extending self-contained antenna really work? The antenna, I mean.

I'm thinking this person will want to put up some kind of wire, or at least hang a wire off the 2nd floor window or something.
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N8TI
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Posts: 115




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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2014, 09:18:53 AM »

Over the years I have had various transistorized portable short wave radios. None of them worked as well as the older, plug in type radios, either hollow state or solid state. I would recommend that the newcomer buy a tabletop SW radio and hook a long wire antenna to it even if he has to lay the antenna on the floor or hang it about the room or out the window. Otherwise, he will be disappointed. I always am when I try to listen to the portables with their whip antennas. They just don't work except for the loudest stations, eg. Radio Havana or the American Christian SW stations.
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ZL2MC
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Posts: 11




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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2014, 11:36:46 AM »

I tend to disagree. I bought a Degen 1103 about 6 years ago and have always been impressed by it's HF performance from the telescopic antenna. Stable SSB, good sensitivity, good audio, digital readout to 1kHz, a bit quirky ergonomics but you get used to that. It's more modern successors such as the Tecsun PL600 and 660 seem to get good reviews too. Read them here....http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/9935

What is more surprising are the bad reviews that the "Grundig" replacements attract.
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W1JKA
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Posts: 1763




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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2014, 03:36:36 PM »

Keep an eye open for a good used Yaesu FRG-7700.
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WA4053SWL
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Posts: 170


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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2014, 07:26:46 PM »

Over the years I have had various transistorized portable short wave radios. None of them worked as well as the older, plug in type radios, either hollow state or solid state. I would recommend that the newcomer buy a tabletop SW radio and hook a long wire antenna to it even if he has to lay the antenna on the floor or hang it about the room or out the window. Otherwise, he will be disappointed. I always am when I try to listen to the portables with their whip antennas. They just don't work except for the loudest stations, eg. Radio Havana or the American Christian SW stations.
I agree, the telescopic antenna are of commitment, and capture many internal noises.
I have had several SW portable radios, for example: Sony ICF 2010 (still have), Degen 1103 (quite good sensitivity), Panasonic RF-2200 (very bad to listen SSB), Transoceanic 7000, Sony Earth 5100, Sangean 909, Grundig Satellit 2100 (by far the better radio, sensitivity and selectivity, but does not have a built BFO), Sony 7600, and another that I forget. All are extremely limited by the telescopic antenna, but the Grundig Satellit is an incredible Shortwave, shame that does not have a OFV to listen HAM, there is an external adapter that never tried, but for me the most serious sensitive portable radio, and incredibly well built, It is like the Collins R-390A but portable Grin
Forget to mention that I also had the Grundig Satellit 208, this radio I meant when I said it was the most sensible to me, but follows closely the Satellit 2100.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 07:31:30 PM by WA4053SWL » Logged
KD7RDZI2
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Posts: 73




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« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2014, 03:49:13 PM »

The portable Tecsun PL660 is really impressive otherwise ,for about the same price, in the case you have a stereo line-in (not a mono  mic!) soundcard, I would reccommend a "Built SoftRock RX Ensemble II HF Receiver" available at fivedash.com and use SDRSharp as a software.
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KJ6ZOL
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Posts: 387




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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2014, 03:09:24 PM »

I have a Degen 1102, bought new, and it came with a small plug-in external antenna. The whip is useless, but the wire antenna supplied with the radio GREATLY improves the performance. I think that if he doesn't want a Tecsun PL660, his best choice is to find an older mains powered (120vAC) SW radio and set up a long wire. Of course, he could simply take the tests first, and then get a HF transceiver. I've only listened to hams in earnest since I got my ticket. I used to listen to just BC SW, but there's not much of that anymore, so I passed the tests. Many listening-only old SW radios were meant to get Cold War era broadcasts, and thus have no BFO, a MUST to hear hams.
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RENTON481
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Posts: 67




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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2014, 09:06:07 AM »

Decent digital portable SW radios will work well off just the whip antenna if you are in a location with high signal strengths (i.e. parts of the Eastern U.S.). Otherwise, get a radio with an external antenna jack and just use an external antenna for SW.  

I have a Realistic DX-390 (Sangean 818), and here at my QTH in the NW I always use an external antenna, but when I took it back east to Louisiana the external antenna caused it to overload on the 20 meter ham band, and also some of the SW broadcast bands -- and I was getting tons of SW and ham signals just off the whip. So -- from my view of it -- a lot of it depends on your location.

As for digital portables with antenna jacks, the Sangean ATS-909 / DX-398, some of the Tecsuns, some of the older 'classic' digital portables like the Sangean ATS-803 / DX-440, Sangean 818 / DX-390, Sony 2010, Grundig YB-400, etc. -- they have external antenna jacks and you can do well with 15-30 ft. of antenna wire.
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