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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Panasonic RF-4900 Help

Reviews Summary for Panasonic RF-4900
Panasonic RF-4900 Reviews: 24 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $$479
Description: General Coverage communications receiver.
Product is in production.
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VE4AKW Rating: 4/5 Oct 21, 2008 04:51 Send this review to a friend
Underated Nice Receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
Everyone has their views I suppose, but I found the Panasonic RF 2900 a joy to use and operate. It still is in use here even after acquiring more expensive equipment. The audio is superb for listening to long distance AM and Shortwave whereas I found receivers like the Yaesu FRG 7 very undynamic in audio and difficult for audio on shortwave. Indeed the FRG 7 is a bit more stable, but when I purchased mine, I used it with a homebrew one tube xtal transmitter on 40 meters and pretty well covered the US and Canada and a couple of DX countries on it using 5 watts with the Panasonic RF 2900. I found the drift on SSB and CW, more CW not much an issue. One can easily learn or copy CW without "touching up" the dial much. It is a cosmetically awful nice looking set that is hard to part with. The Bass and Treble controls tailor the audio nicely. The main dial pull out for slow and fine tuning is a good touch. And one doesn't have to find a hidden switch to tune in the 9 khz foreign broadcast stations if one is into AM DX'ing. The drum analog dial is still a nice touch for rough tuning and there is still something nice about a lighted and large analog S meter. It doesn't lock in on prescribed 10 khz, but I find it easier for some reason to tune CW on it compared to larger portables like it like the Realistic DX-390. Side by side, it is as sensitive as can be with newer rigs. Have to give it's credit for it's still a fine looking set, has good sensitivity, both analog and digital readouts on all bands, nice dynamic audio, appealing analog S meter, good tonal quality on CW and SSB, a great sturdy design for the desktop, and well worth picking up for a good price as a first set into the world of long distance "DX" radio for AM and Short Wave world band listening. It just has that feel one is really operating something except just punching in a frequency and that's it. 4 out of 5 here.
KC8VCL Rating: 5/5 Sep 27, 2004 05:22 Send this review to a friend
I'd never get rid of mine.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my RF4900 new shortly after they came out, and have relied on it for about 25 years as my primary HF receiver. I agree with other reviewers that it is great for am and swl listening and I also use mine for casual SSB listening (morning Waterway Net, USCG SAR, etc). In times of bad QRM or congestion, I run it through a Radio Shack DSP40 unit which provides very good sideband reception. I much prefer analog tuning, and the frequency counter is great for accurate tuning.
JOEBLOT Rating: 5/5 Jan 14, 2004 00:16 Send this review to a friend
Great General Purpose Receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had a DR49 (RF4900) about 25 plus years and still use it daily. It is a great general use shortwave receiver. I have used it in the Sudan, Zaire, Haiti, London, Warsaw, Budapest, Paris, Bonn, Frankfurt and now back in the US. Never a minutes trouble and it continues to work like a dream. Multi-voltage switch was nice to have overseas. I had to take it apart after the Sudan to remove all the haboob dust from inside it. Everything works perfectly. I have used all kinds of antennas during this time. Currently have a 6 foot wire running up a window and receive all the stations I normally listen to. Whatever SW receivers I have had over the years I still go back to the old RF-4900.

N7BUI Rating: 4/5 Jun 22, 2003 22:18 Send this review to a friend
I own two of them!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Ok, its not the best CW/SSB receiver, but for general coverage AM shortwave, its excellent! The impressive looks lets the XYL allow one of them inside the house instead of out in the hamshack. Good radio, but realize that this was made for the general public not hams. Dial backlash is a problem, but I have treated the dial gears with silicon grease to "fill in" the gaps. Works great!
RF-4900 Rating: 4/5 Jun 21, 2003 23:11 Send this review to a friend
Nice Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned the RF-4900 for 24 years, It is a great looking short-wave radio with all it knobs
and switches, It seems to pull in foriegn broadcast well, Depending on what you looking for
even with a simple antenna.
I like to listen to CB radio on the 4900.
When I bought this unit,I was looking for a desktop, And the radio had good reviews at the
KU4QD Rating: 4/5 Feb 12, 2003 12:31 Send this review to a friend
Decent receiver, excellent audio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I must say I am very surprised by the poor reviews some have given this receiver. I've found it to be quite sensitive, comparing favorably to my Ten Tec receiver in that respect. AM receive audio is truly outstanding through the big front-firing speaker. I listen to Kol Israel almost every evening and they sound like they are broadcasting from next door, something I was not accustomed to with other receivers and ham transceivers. The dual display (analog and digital) is a nice touch. I haven't noticed a significant front end overload problem as described by others. It is an analog radio, but once it warms up drift is minimal. This is no different than my NCG 7/21/50 (made by National/Panasonic) ham transceiver, and is true of any analog radio with a digital counter. I can certainly listen to an SSB signal on the ham bands without having to worry about fiddling with the tuning knob.

As a general coverage receiver for the ham bands it is lacking, mainly because the tuning is so course. A slower tuning rate would have been helpful for SSB/CW use. The narrow filter isn't all that narrow, and while it's great for AM SWLing on a crowded band, it isn't good enough for SSB/CW use on the more crowded bands, and picking out SSB stations from between the broadcasters on 40m at night is nearly impossible.

Yes, it's a big empty box, but it has a solid feel to it and nice, big, friendly knobs and switches. It runs on D cell batteries in addition to 110V AC and 12V DC, which is nice in case of a power failure.

Broadcast AM audio quality on MW is also excellent, and the radio seems to be sensitive there as well. FM audio quality is what you'd expect: fine for NPR news in the morning, but you're better off with a home stereo for much of anything else.

My overall impression is that this is a very decent and very pleasant sounding radio for the casual SWLer, and is certainly better than today's tiny radios with miniscule speakers or cheaply made Sangean/Radio Shack products. For a serious ham general coverage receiver it's barely suitable. As I bought it for shortwave listening I am quite happy with it. It is well worth the $140 I spent.
PAGAN Rating: 1/5 Jul 23, 2002 11:01 Send this review to a friend
Poor Receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
A very poor Receiver, my very older Trio Mod. 9R- 59DS is much better then this one ! I have a 5/8 Lamda CB Antenna on both reseiver, a lot of stations i cant hear on the RF-4900, but very good on the Trio ! SSB/LSB is very strange, it works not quite correct, to my mind. Same people here say ist : a very big box, with a lot of air. The switches are very susceptible to dust. Is a better FM-Radio. Put the finger away from this.
RADIONUT53 Rating: 5/5 Mar 2, 2002 20:48 Send this review to a friend
what a radio!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
i dont know whats wrong with them other guys,
but this is one major find.i bought the panasonic
rf-4900 for $200.00 and if i had to again i most
certainly would!.i did trade this lovely radio for
radioshack dx-394,did i ever make a mistake,i did manage to recapture my baby!,i owned this radio for over 14 months,and would never sell or trade this radio for nothing,this rig can bring signals in out no where,my dx-394 could not even do that,
try the medium wave band for signals after dark,use your panasonic rf-4900,along with another so called excellent radio,and see which radio heres the most dx.
i would suggest this little gem to anybody,even my worst enemy! radionut53!!
K6HAM Rating: 2/5 Feb 23, 2002 22:57 Send this review to a friend
Save your money  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased my RF-4900 in 1986. It looks impressive being reminiscent of earlier receivers but with a digital readout. I tried to like it and I did respect the Panasonic name. After a short time I discovered, like ealier reviews stated, it was a giant empty box that didn't perform like it looked (and those handles and cheap knobs!). The narrow filter was not good and rejection was poor. I've owned lots of equipment and this is one piece I should not have bought. I sold it to a major ham outlet about 6 years ago and they offered me $200 and I don't know why. Buy an Icom R-71A with PBT. It will cost more but what a difference!
KB8DNS Rating: 4/5 Feb 23, 2002 19:49 Send this review to a friend
Analog receiver with a digital display  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Owned one of these about 10 years ago and I enjoyed the radio when I had it. I liked the analog features of the radio and it seemed very good on receive quality but suffered from overload from adjacent frequencies. BFO worked well on the utes and HAM bands. A big radio and I could not understand the D cells for portable!? maybe for the cottage. When I sold it I did make some money and I put the money towards a Kenwood TS440 The Panasonic is a good receiver but not in the league of todays synthesized rigs.
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