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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Grundig Satellit 800 Help


Reviews Summary for Grundig Satellit 800
Grundig Satellit 800 Reviews: 61 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $699.95
Description: The Grundig Satellit 800 Millennium gives you the ultimate in features, performance, convenience, and sound. It's incredibly powerful. Technologically sophisticated. Yet easy and intuitive to use. Whether you're an experienced shortwave listener or a newcomer to the world of international broadcasting, this is the radio to get. Your ordinary shortwave receiver doesn't have features like:

Synchronous detection to improve the purity of shortwave and AM reception. This helps clarify fading signals and reduce interference from adjacent frequencies.
AGC- Automatic Gain Control. The onboard microprocessor monitors signal strength, adjusting gain up or down to compensate for atmospheric and other conditions. It's like an onboard radio engineer. Choose either fast or slow AGC mode.
Excellent sensitivity and selectivity. The Satellit 800 Millennium receives stations most radios can't, including weak daytime shortwave signals.
Three built-in bandwidths for shortwave, using electronically switched IF filters: 6.0, 4.0 and 2.3 KHz.
You aren't limited to shortwave signals. The Satellit 800 Millennium is the ultimate portable AM/FM radio, too. Enjoy FM stereo with headphones. Listen to the VHF aircraft band from 118 to 137 MHz. Many of the same advanced features which enhance shortwave broadcasts do the same for AM reception, too. Listen to distant AM stations at night without fading. Pick out those weak stations on adjacent frequencies.

Enjoy legendary Grundig audio quality from the 4" built-in dynamic speaker. Adjust the sound with bass and treble controls - tailor it to your room or your taste.
Product is in production.
More info: http://
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IGOR Rating: 3/5 Aug 2, 2008 05:59 Send this review to a friend
Problem with tuning knob  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought this unit new at Radio Shack about 4 years ago. I paid somewhere between $400-500 US, if memory serves right.

PROS:

* Good sound. Very clean and neutral, and the tone knobs work well. Easily enough volume to fill a room, and the sound quality is as good if not better than the average boombox or mini stereo system.

* Good construction quality. Pots are smooth, everything feels solid. (See, however, my gripes about the tuning knob and silkscreening).

* Easy to use.

* Everything is BIG; no dinky knobs, buttons, or switches, no tiny text or display that you have to squint at to read.

* Tuning knob capable of fine steps.

* Lots of options for using external antennas (though I haven't, unfortunately, had the opportunity to try any).

* The AM Sync mode works well at isolating a signal from adjacent channel interference without degrading its clarity. It does this much better than the sync on the Sony 7600GR. Engaging this mode can also slightly improve clarity on some weaker signals.

* The narrow filters are useful for digging out weak signals that would otherwise be drowned out by noise or adjacent-channel interference.

* FM reception exceptionally good. It gets stations in clearly that come in poorly or not at all on other radios.

* Came with free headphones. Though they're cheap (the plastic outer layer of the earpads has started to wear off), they're perfectly usable and work well with the radio.

* Looks cool (appears to be modelled after the Grundig Satellit 650, which was produced in the mid-80's and has become a coveted collector's item).

CONS:

* Some weirdness with the tuning knob; sometimes the frequency goes in the *opposite* direction from the one you are turning in, and refuses to go in the direction you want it to.

* Local AM stations sometimes break through in the lower shortwave frequencies.

* The AGC could be more transparent; I sometimes hear a "pumping" effect when listening to programs on the shortwave bands.

* No auto scan feature. (Don't be fooled by the presence of a SCAN button; this only scans through the frequencies stored in memory.)

* Clock gets reset during power outages, which seems all the more silly since the frequencies in memory don't.

* Silkscreened lettering on the top of the unit has started to slightly wear off. I kept a CD player on top of the radio, cushioned by the radio's thick user manual, for a couple of years, and this is what must have rubbed some of the lettering off; still, I was surprised to discover this and would've expected the paint job to be more durable.


FEATURES I WISH IT HAD:

* A remote control. With everything except the volume and tone knobs (and maybe the light button) under microprocessor control, and with a huge display that can easily be read from across the room, this radio was begging to be remote controlled.

* A mid-range tone control would've been great for bringing out signals that are hard to make out.


CONCLUSIONS:

Though I love this radio for its sound, ergonomics, feature set, and the relatively low price it sold for, I am only giving it a 3 out of 5 due to the tuning knob problem, which is a major annoyance. At first I thought that maybe I had gotten a defective unit, but after asking around on the net, it appears that this problem is quite common (I'm surprised that no one has mentioned it in these reviews until now). I'm not sure if on my unit the problem only developed recently, or if it's been there all along but escaped my notice. If it's been there all along, I could kick myself for not noticing sooner, since I could've returned the radio or at least have gotten it examined under warranty.

It's been suggested to me that this is a problem with the radio's mechanical encoder (apparently, optical encoders are inherently more reliable than mechanical ones). This explanation seems reasonable, and I'll be sending the radio in to Drake to have it looked at and hopefully repaired. However, if the encoder has indeed gone bad, I'm not impressed, as the tuning knob has seen little use in the four years I've owned this radio.

Were it not for that, I would have given this radio a perfect score.
 
KB1ONC Rating: 5/5 Jul 26, 2008 17:32 Send this review to a friend
Old Faithful  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is my bedside radio. With the whip I can sometimes pull in WGBH from my home in Maine; 75+ miles away. But propagation has to be just right. I've also spent many happy hours cruising around the SWL, ute and ham bands with the whip. I really appreciate the ability to tune by direct entry or by using the dial, something neither my Degen 1102 or DX 302 could do. I've always used the wall wart without any problems. Absolutely not a "portable" receiver, but my Satellite 800 will always be a treasured rig.

Pete W1SLP
 
K9VC Rating: 5/5 Apr 2, 2007 13:25 Send this review to a friend
Excellent for what it is!  Time owned: more than 12 months
When you consider this is a consumer SW RX, and not some professional radio, it is very good. Now admittedly, they did have quality problems with the first batch, (so CAUTION: if you buy a used one!). It is much simpler to use than my ICOM R-75, (and the Grundig's SYNC detector does WORK!) The audio is very nice, and the display is LARGE and easy to read! Hears the aircraft band as well. This is a very nice radio to have around, to listen to! I've had mine since 2001.

 
G3UXB Rating: 5/5 Mar 2, 2007 19:42 Send this review to a friend
It's a classic  Time owned: more than 12 months
Well first of all I can't believe I have not left a review of this radio before, and second I was at qualms about leaving a 4 or 5 rating, decided on the latter, because you have to accept what this radio was intended for. we all know the build quality was dodgy at best they all required going back to Drake for an overhaul, I bought mine on eBay as excellent (yes right!) FM didn't work right , volume control dodgy, etc, etc But when I received it back from Drake it was another machine, the FM performance is not short of brilliant and the sync detector on AM SW is nearly as good as my Lowe HF-150. There is quite a bit of interference from the display electronics when you use the whip, I have been using a Palstar AA-30 preselector with the lowe HF-150 whip antenna plugged in the back and moved it away from the radio that solved that problem. I have put this radio away many times and then think I will sell it pull it out fire it up and can't make myself put it up for auction it is a big old lovely beast, pretty much like my '75 Cadillac Coupe Deville I used to own (had to sell that puppy). Anyway a great classic radio you either love or hate
 
KE5BGE Rating: 5/5 Jan 27, 2007 04:09 Send this review to a friend
Great Bang for the Buck  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased this Grundig 800 brand new from Universal back in December 2004 and it really opened up the shortwave freqencies for me and brought in a new world. I am very satisfied with the audio speaker and am kind of surprised by it's "big sound". In fact it's much better then the Sounds Sweet speaker I have attached to my Yaesu 920. The 800 has ease of operation with simplistic ergonomics. Nice big digital numbers on the display and a faily good analog S meter. I really like the many antenna connections in the back of the unit which gives you all the options that you would need for any kind of antenna you may wish to use. I have mine attached to a 140 foot longwire which gives exceptional worldwide coverage.
I'm just like the previous reviewer; I enjoy sitting out on the patio with this big receiver in the late afternoons and tuning in to the world while enjoying a few drinks and grilling some meat and watching the mockingbirds play in the backyard. It will definitely eat batteries like candies. So, I bought some 11500 Accupower NiMH rechargable batteries from Thompson which last 5 times longer then regular batteries. That cured the problem. I plan to enjoy this receiver for many years to come. Knowing that Universal Radio backs it gives me some piece of mind if anything were to break down. Its a great receiver in that price range and with it's receiving capabilities and portability it really is is a good deal for any SWL hobbiest.
 
WI0H Rating: 4/5 Dec 1, 2006 10:05 Send this review to a friend
Very Enjoyable Radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The Grun-Drake Satellit 800 is one of those quirky "little" radios that I don't know how I got along with for so long. No, it isn't perfect. It's big, it's heavy, the audio quality isn't what I would expect from a Grundig, and the quality control is somewhere south of abysmal. This radio is something that my R8 is not though, and that is fun! I would never consider taking my R8 outside and setting it up on the deck while I fire up the grill, but the 800 has made the trip many a time. It's kind of cool to sit outside with your friends while eating steak and listening to Radio Australia. Well, fun for me at least. :)

Let's not underestimate the performance of this rig either. For all practical purposes, this is a Drake SW-8 in a much bigger package. It has a decent selection of filters, an excellent synch detector, and is plenty sensitive. It's sideband performance is outstanding, and have listened to many programs on the AFRTS outlets with no listener fatigue whatsoever. best of all, it comes in a package ready to accept a wide range of antenna inputs that's battery operated. Yeah, I wouldn't mind seeing it all put back into the SW-8 package, but this will have to do for the time being.

A note on the quality control issue. I bought mine from Universal as a refurbed unit and I haven't had any issues. From what I understand, these rigs were sent to Drake to be tested before going to Universal where they are tested again before getting shipped out. That's a pretty good lemon filter in my mind. it certainly seemed to work for me at least.

So there it is: a nice performing radio in a package that's twice as big as it needs to be. Fun to operate, and lugging it around will get you into shape a lot faster and cheaper than a membership at the gym. A Trans-Oceanic for the digital age.
 
W8GND Rating: 2/5 Oct 21, 2006 08:14 Send this review to a friend
A not so good radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my 800 about 3 years ago as "refurbished." I hooked it up, and was immediately not impressed. The "glorious audio" that others talk about just isn't in the one I have. It isn't bad audio, but there is precious little bass.

However, that isn't my real problem. This radio has real problems above about 14 mhz. I can't put my finger on it. It's sort of like negative birdies up there -- places where you should be able to hear things, but you can't.

But, for $300 (the price I paid) one can't be too unhappy. It really impresses people.

I can't believe that this radio is related to the Drakes.

Finally, it makes a decent radio for listening to talk radio!

Jerry O'Dell W8GND
 
K4YHQ Rating: 4/5 Oct 9, 2006 18:42 Send this review to a friend
Serious QC Problems, Search for a Good One  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Let's start with the good:

(1)Superb sound -- I mean really good sound, it's a joy to listen to
(2)Sync works very well
(3)Much better than average sensitivity
(4)Great ergonomics, including a wonderful display

Now the bad:

(1) Quality control is abysmal. It's even worse than abysmal, I just can't think of a polite word that fits!
(2) It eats batteries like nothing else. The 800 will go through 4 alkaline D Cells in less than four hours.
(3) It's big, the size of a small duffle bag.

First the QC problems: you need to be ready for this if you're going to buy one. I bought my first 800 when I saw it on sale at West Marine (of all places). It went back to the store the next day when I found that I could hardly pull in even the strongest signals, no matter what antenna I hooked up. While still in the store, I tried another 800 right out of the box, and it was dead -- right out of the box, as they say. I took a third home that seemed to work, but after playing with it noticed that there was a bad hum on several bands. Back it went, and I took away the last 800 they had in the store. That's the fourth, by the way, but this one was a winner! The difference between it and the others was like night and day. This extreme "sample variation" may account for the wide difference of opinion regarding this radio.

I have the E1 too, and the 800 is just slightly less sensitive, and the E1 sync is a marvel, but the 800 is more fun to listen to because of its room filling sound. Between the two, if I have room in the car, I'll take the 800 camping, or where ever, instead of the E1.
 
GW4JPC Rating: 5/5 Aug 15, 2006 14:39 Send this review to a friend
Great receiver of its' type  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had read a little about this receiver and had been aware of the earlier Grundig models.When I saw one going on eBay I thought I would give it a try. After all you can never have too many receivers!
My first impression was 'what a lump for a portable',the Satellit 800 is certainly no fly-weight.The controls are correspondingly big, no tiny little buttons and knobs here. The display too is big and very easy to read giving frequency,BC band, mode, bandwidth and clock information.
Tuning is via up and down buttons or a tuning knob and there is the option of direct frequency entry via a key pad.The buttons don't have a very positive quality feel to them,but function well. I think that there may be long term reliability issues with these buttons, but there again my JRC NRD525 has a somewhat touchy key pad. The usb/lsb button on my 800 is very touchy. It seems to bounce so that it can take two or three attempts to select the desired sideband. Once selected,SSB quality is excellent even though the tuning steps are a chunky 100Hz, similar to my Sony ICF2001D.
AM quality is fine and the AM SYNC mode seems to work although not as obviously good as the ICF2001D. You hardly notice it working, but it seems to reduce the fading distortion by a worthwhile degree. It does not hunt and retune as the sync detector on the AOR AR7030 does.
The three available bandwidths of 6,4 and 2.2 kHz are adequate for casual listening. It would be interesting to hear this radio tweaked with some after market filters.
The FM broadcast band works well, sound quality through the built in speaker is good and very good through the supplied Grundig stereo headphones.Sound quality via the stereo speaker output on the rear of the radio is also very good.
Airband works, but there is very limited activity where I live so I can not comment on the 800's efficiency on this band.
The synthesizer tuning steps are audible at times on AM and SW and there are a few birdies and other spurious hash to be heared, but overall I find this a very pleasant radio to operate. It is not a top notch communications receiver, more of a jack of all trades but a master at none.If you need a genuine communications receiver then look else where. The overall sound quality, ergonomics and ease of operation make me rate this radio so highly. It is just a very nice tool for cruising around the bands and it plays music at decent quality too. What a fun radio.
 
KB2NAT Rating: 5/5 Sep 11, 2005 12:58 Send this review to a friend
Well worth the money!  Time owned: more than 12 months
With over three years use on the 800, I have had a chance to compare it with my Zenith Transoceanic, a Sangean 808, and a Yaesu Ft-897. The tone compares well with the Zenith 7000 and the filters, etc. work perfectly. There is no wobble with the tuner knob/shaft and the sensitivity is very good. The controls are easy to learn and it's fun to use. I would pay twice the money if the case were half-sized and metal. Nice features are the stereo audio output and the stereo line outputs. The unit is not quite as sensitive as the Yaesu, but not that far off, either. Nitpicking? Small chirps in the tuning which don't affect real-life receiving and the airband which I knew was only going to be average. It continues to be an excellent unit and well worth what I paid. My only suggestion is that you buy it from Universal, Grove, or a ham outlet that's reputable. You will not regret purchasing this receiver...especially if you throw a wire out the window and connect it to one of the antenna inputs.
 
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