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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Radio Shack DX-200 Help

Reviews Summary for Radio Shack DX-200
Radio Shack DX-200 Reviews: 13 Average rating: 2.5/5 MSRP: $199.95
Description: Solid state receiver with AM/CW/SSB coverage from .15 to 30 mhz
Product is in production.
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W0IW Rating: 0/5 Jan 19, 2014 18:53 Send this review to a friend
fun radio not for serious hamming   Time owned: more than 12 months
Got this radio for Christmas and truly was my joy of joys as a child.

Unfournately the truth about this radio is it drifts like a Bambo raft in a hurricane. I mean set it on wwv and listen for awhile then it would be off tuned
And I was struggling with it to stay on freq!

Its a hands on radio which makes you retune constantly...

I Used it as a novice on cw with its mute features
and bfo for cw...

It was a lot of fun for a 14 year old broke kid without any resources really trying to be a ham but really it was a handful to use for sure and any serious ham should find another radio to use as a receiver ,,,!!!

Joe leto
DAVESDRUMS Rating: 4/5 Sep 15, 2013 19:21 Send this review to a friend
An old friend.  Time owned: more than 12 months
had one back in 1991. Loved it and spent years chasing down QSL's from obscure low power SW broadcasters. this little radio (with great long-wire antenna) allowed me to finally catch Icelandic national radio! Took 3 months to finally catch this one! only managed to copy about 33 words of the program - but enough to confirm reception which resulted in my prized QSL!

there are many nice mods avail for it as well! use batteries, not ac adapter! and 'please' ground the thing! i recently got another for $29.00 of of 'flea-bay' to replace my poor lightning struck original dx440! no it's not a $5000 japan radio on quality - but a serious performer for the price... and then some!
W4ARZ Rating: 3/5 Mar 21, 2013 10:02 Send this review to a friend
Casual Listener  Time owned: more than 12 months
Its been a while since anyone posted here.The way I see it the DX-200 was built as an inexpensive general coverage receiver to fill the need of the beginner who could not afford the higher priced gear. I don't understand why hams here insist on comparing these entry level models with their $2K plus equipment. It's all in how you enjoy the hobby of radio. You wanna talk about drift ? I can name you at least 10 major brands beginning with Atlas and ending with Yaesu that all suffer from drift but people still boughtthem new and still buy them on ebay...and here on eham. Fortunately the technology exists "today" where we can fix that problem in most any radio. Personally I enjoy and appreciate every single radio made because it is a part of our radio history. I restore, modify and operate these gems from the 1920's to present date. The simple but functional DX-200 aligned and serviced properly is a joy for casual AM/SW/CW/SSB listening. But you have to know how to operate a vintage radio. Comparing it to a modern digital model is pointless. One who really enjoys the art and hobby of radio can apprecite the DX-200 as well as the Drakes, the Swans, the Heathkits and the Hallicrafters and more. The DX-200 performs well IF you feed it with a GOOD antenna. I use a carolina windom 160 and it plays great. Audio is good and you can upgrade it's speaker cheaply if you want better sound. Communicaions radios of that era were not hi fi unless you spent $$$ for an SP-600 etc. The DX-200 bfo works well. For the price and what it is I think the receiver is a good addition to my collection. Again its all about how much you enjoy the different levels of older equipment.
WF3H Rating: 1/5 Oct 24, 2010 16:10 Send this review to a friend
There are better radios  Time owned: more than 12 months
Had one of these back in the 80's. Not stable enough to use at all. SEVERE backlash during tuning, drifted like hell. It was sensitive and listened well, but was pretty unusable due to the backlash during tuning and the drifting.
N0UJR Rating: 0/5 Oct 15, 2010 21:07 Send this review to a friend
Very poor  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had one of these for years, and recently gave it away to a new ham. It looks great, but is a very poor performer. All about cosmetics but very little quality in terms of circuitry design. Poor sensitivity, poor selectivity, poor audio.
KG4YMC Rating: 4/5 Jul 24, 2010 09:35 Send this review to a friend
dx440  Time owned: more than 12 months
I don't have a dx 200, but if you can still find one of the sangean or radio shack dx440 it is still a good radio. I got mine for 100 new,got me into listening to amateur radio and did a great job on dx. I usually just hooked a wire to the internal antenna. Oh the 440 was a sangean that had a plastic cover over where the tape recorder plug was. Think they had a bigger model the 880? that had the cassette recorder , still works ok on fm still use as standby radio for hurricane season . One I should have kept was eico space ranger tube set ,but thats a different story . 3 kg4ymc
26JLH Rating: 3/5 Jul 23, 2010 18:32 Send this review to a friend
vintage radio..  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
i got this one off flea,dident it drift, it got on my tits.then i added a heat sink to power transitor on psu ic201.monitored cw station for 30 mins,and it did not change pitch hardly atall.
this radio was new in the box it just never got used i wonder why...get my
K0PD Rating: 4/5 Dec 7, 2009 08:32 Send this review to a friend
Not a Bad Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My only comment i can truly say about this radio and yes i own one is it's not as bad as others here are claiming.Is it as good as todays modern SW radios or even the higher priced radios of it's era,well the answer is obvious NO!!But it's still not a bad radio nor a very good radio but does a decent job for what it was built to do which was give those interested in SW radio a inexpensive radio to get started with and move up from there.So if your interested in SW and want a cheap entrance into it and can find one of these at a reasonable price go for it.
KG4GYL Rating: 4/5 Dec 7, 2009 07:33 Send this review to a friend
works well but not for a novice listener  Time owned: more than 12 months
After learning to use the crystal calibrator and correctly connecting a 50 ohm connector to the 300 ohm screw terminals and possibly using a preamp antenna ( be careful not to overdrive front end) you will be surprised how well this radio works. That means it's not a digital pushbutton radio and it requires some experience and patience to use. Sure it drifts and there's some intermod yet it does work better than the higher priced DX-300 series and I just like a big radio that you can sit on a desk. Yeah, I'm ole skool LOL
N5NSL Rating: 3/5 Jul 11, 2003 04:18 Send this review to a friend
OK for casual use  Time owned: more than 12 months
I remember looking on these radios and the venerable DX-300 when I was a kid back around 1981-1982. For the early '80s it was a good general coverage receiver with AM and SSB/CW. About five years ago, I saw one on at a flea market and picked one up and cleaned it just to see the old radio again. The radio has four screw terminals in the back (Gnd, Stand-by, Lo-Z, and Hi-Z) and a 1/8" mono jack for an external speaker (or output to an equalizer). It's an OK radio for casual listening, but not anywhere close for serious SWL or weak signal work. As with any radio, it has its good and bad points.

Good points:
One arguably good point are that it's a capacitor-tuned calibrator-equipped rig which covers variable tuning better than my synthesized DX-440 (which is in it's own right an excellent radio). Also with a large random wire and using it's built-in antenna trimmer, it can resolve signals the DX-440 simply can't resolve or resolve as clearly with the same antenna. Also, it's BFO is easy to set (but you'll need that ease--read on). And the analog signal strength meter is good at what it does. While not itself graduated or calibrated into minor graduations, the meter serves its purpose very well and immediately responds to changes in signal conditions. The DX-200 also seems to handle moderately weak signals and extremely strong signals well without dropping out or overloading (even when RF Gain is set as high as possible, overloads are rare).

Interesting points:
The radio has two different Vernier dials on rotating cylinders driven by two equal-sized dials on it's face. The upper dial and Vernier cylinder covers main tuning across five overlapping bands. The lower dial and Vernier cylinder cover fine tuning over a range of a few megahertz and is marked in twelve graduated ranges ranging from 10 to 80 meters. The upper dial tuning mark (a red line printed onto the clear window in front of the Vernier cylinder) can slide about 3 mm in either direction to assist in calibrating the the upper and lower dials with respect to the various meter bands. The lower Vernier's tuning mark is fixed onto the window in front of its Vernier cylinder and cannot be adjusted.
Also, both cylinders are illuminated by their own respective very long-life light bulbs in the center of each cylinder. Together, they both make a pretty nice night light.
Also, the DX-200 has vents on the back and top of the case, but never needs to be vented due to the very large case relative to the internals. As the case is mostly air, it is nearly impossible to overheat the radio unless the ambient air outside the radio is in the mid-130s F or so. I covered the vents in the case to keep dust out and reduce temperature variability inside the case, with a minor improvement to the radio's stability.
Audio quality through the built-in speaker is fair to good, with a 1/4" mono jack for a headset. It using an external speaker, it's possible current leakage from AC power or insufficient DC filtering from the rectified AC could introduce a 60Hz "hum" in the final amplifier a'la the one we used to know and love when using amplifiers and phonographs.

Bad points:
It has no bandspread controls--bandwidth seems set around 8 kHz and no notch filtering for CW use, making an external audio notch filter (or at least an equalizer) nearly necessary. No passband tuning either. Also, the radio drifts very frequently with thermal changes in the radio and mechanical elasticity/plasticity in the (very) mechanical tuner. Also, due to the complex nature of the two tuning knobs and the sliding tuning mark, and the internal and unintentionally variable resistence of the band switch, it is nearly impossible to determine the radio's frequency in more accuracy than +/- 15 kHz.
Also, the tuning knobs themselves are basically cheap plastic parts and the spinners on each knob are subject to squeaking when turned or breaking off if pressure is sufficient. Also, AC power is the only way to power the DX-200 unmodified.

It's not a good radio for more intense SWL work, but is OK for the casual SW surfer. About $40.00 or $50.00 is about the right price for one.

--Ed N5NSL
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