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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: 14 Average rating: 2.6/5 MSRP: $199.95
Description: Solid state receiver with AM/CW/SSB coverage from .15 to 30 mhz
Product is in production.
More info: http://
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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
W0ANT Rating: 1/5 Jan 13, 2003 14:40 Send this review to a friend
Not for serious listening  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got my dx 200 for Christmas back in 1983.. I was very excited to have my first real new radio.. I used it with a old Viking challenger.. and 1 crystal freq 40m 7.133mhz..

This radio was fun to play with despite all the tuning you needed just to bring it on freq.. However the radio actually was a real pain in the butt..

1. The Dx-200 drifted constantly
which for weak signals really stunk.. I am surprised I got as many stations worked with it as I did on 40m cw...

2. It took to long to get to your band tune the top drum fine tune the bottom drum then use the bfo on ssb/cw..
Whew by the time your done tuning the signals were gone or already talking to another cw station..

3. On AM I would tune to a strong short-wave station.. Like VOA.. and listen for as long as the rcvr didnít drift too much then i would be constantly in from of the radio retuning again...

4. The term set it and leave it didnít ever apply to the dx-200

So Why did I even bother to give it a 2
1 my mom bought it.. God bless her..
2 It was my first real radio.. Even with its short falls.

5. I have thought about getting a 2nd 1.. and another Viking challenger.. However It would be to show people what a hard time I had with the dx-200 and that old tube rig.. Not because Its a great engineering feat..

6. Buy this radio if you like to sit and babysit stuff. Dont buy it to actually turn it on and listen to anything other than broadcast band or the strongest shortwave station on the bands...
If your not in front of it it wont make you very happy!

Regards Joe Leto
Des Moines, Iowa
VE7BGP Rating: 2/5 Nov 10, 2002 12:38 Send this review to a friend
Use it to Demo Drift  Time owned: more than 12 months
When I teach the section on Receivers for the classes. I use my old DX-200 to demo drift, images and how to use the marker generator to get the dial readout reasonable accurate. The DX-200 also has poor selectivity for SSB/CW receiving. The only good point I can find is the receiver has good sensitivity but with no RF. Preselector tuned rf stage you have terrible broadcast images in the 20 meter band. It's like an old S-38 Hallicrafters series the images make the dial seem more full of stations then there auctually are on the air. I use my DX-200 very little since I bought my much better DX-390 almost 10 years ago and great little DX-398 3 years ago. You have good audio and good reception of AM shortwave Broadcast Stations that is what I used it for when I bought my DX-200 20 years ago about the same time as I bought my IC-730 that lacked general coverage RX. Unless you can pick up this one cheap at a hamfest Get yourself the way better Sangean DX series that Radio Shack recently discontinued (bad move). They just carry the Grundig line now.
73 Gerry
JAMES_BENEDICT_EX_N8FVJ Rating: 4/5 Nov 1, 2001 09:39 Send this review to a friend
Cheap and effective!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The Radio Shack DX-200 is a cost effective solution to good shortwave reception performance. The receiver is an older model with an analog frequency readout. The use of analog type tuning eliminates noisy digital synthesizers so common with inexpensive shortwave receivers. The controls on the front panel includes Antenna trim, AGC fast/slow, BFO pitch with USB/LSB indication, Bandswitch (5 bands), RF gain, AF gain, Mode switch with SSB/CW-Standby-AM-AM/ANL, 500khz calibrator, Main tuning and Bandspread tuning. The front panel includes a headphone jack. The bands as displayed on the upper drum type dial have LED indicators. Both drum type dials have an adjustable red colored line to align the frequency readout. Using the 500khz frequency calibrator assists in the frequency alignment. The radio is very sensitive and drift on AM stations is not an issue. The reception of amateur SSB is rated 'fair' in that I hear a little audio distortion. The radio is equipped with a product detector. Frequency readout resolution is not the best, but defined enough to find shortwave broadcast stations. The tuning has a 'cheap feedback feeling' as the strings and plastic pulleys feel 'springy'. The antenna input is a 'twin lead' type that requires a TV type coax adapter for coaxial cable. I simply used 10 feet of wire on one antenna terminal for reception. The automatic noise limiter is effective on most band noise and does not add much distrotion to the audio. ANL does not perform in CW or SSB. The best feature is the cost which ranges from 50-70 US dollars. The radio is superior to the new handheld and portable type receivers for sale for under $80 (year 2001). I rate the receiver a '4' as the performance is good for the cost. I have not performed a 'lab' type test on this receiver. A Kenwood R-2000 or Yaesu FRG-7 will outperform this radio at 3-4 times the cost. I find the radio meets my needs for shortwave broadcast reception.
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