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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Radio Shack DX-302 Help


Reviews Summary for Radio Shack DX-302
Radio Shack DX-302 Reviews: 14 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $400
Description: Table-top general coverage receiver .15-30Mhz AM, USB, LSB
Product is in production.
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WA7DUY Rating: 3/5 Oct 6, 2012 19:57 Send this review to a friend
Nice audio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had this radio for about 5 years now. It is not the best but did better than I thought it would. It was an ebay purchased "in good condition" or so the seller claimed. The seller failed to mention that it had the common cracked nylon mhz gear. As others have stated, the gear is a common race car gear sold at many hobby shops.

I also have a Yaesu FRG7700 and the audio from the DX302 is far better than the Yaesu.

It is a nice radio for casual AM shortwave broadcast listening.

It is a larger radio from the 80's so is not very good for portable use but does have a carry handle on one end.
 
OK1RP Rating: 4/5 Feb 26, 2012 11:30 Send this review to a friend
Solid for its ages  Time owned: more than 12 months
First need to be mentioned it is not 150kHz - 30MHz as it is stated in the description but even starts from 10kHz which is unique in general coverage receivers!

Most was written already so just few point from my point of view:

1. Need to be warmed-up for 20-30mins to have usable stability on bands.

2. Little bit tricky to set right the preselector and frequency adjustement for max sensitivity and selectivity.

3. Missing narrow filter for CW reception.

In general not so bad for so old concept and still very helpful for LFers!

73 - Petr, OK1RP
 
WY3X Rating: 5/5 Jul 7, 2011 19:57 Send this review to a friend
One of the most "fun" radios I've ever owned!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my first DX-302 from Radio Shack. It was stolen out of my wife's car, so if you see one with NOT FOR SALE and a Myrtle Beach address engraved on the back panel, it's mine, and I'll pay you top dollar to get it back!

I've had a couple of others over the years, but that first one was oodles of fun! I was able to snoop on 1.7xxMHz cordless phones (don't make those anymore) up to 2 miles away! And our local drive-in theater used AM to send the sound to the cars in the parking lot, but on my car radio it was always fuzzy sounding. So yep- I put the DX-302 in the car, and messing with the selectivity and filter controls got reasonably decent audio from it! Some of my best shortwave DX was received on a DX-302.

The one I have now had a broken gear in the MHz dial gear train, and I was able to find a replacement gear at a local hobby (radio control car/plane) shop. The OEM gear was plastic (nylon?), but the replacement is aluminum, so it'll never crack again! It's actually a race car gear, but it was exactly the right size and number of teeth!

If you have one of these, you know how much fun it is to operate! FIVE thumbs up!
 
N4UE Rating: 4/5 Jul 26, 2010 16:41 Send this review to a friend
I like mine!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I wish I could give this radio a 4.5, but......
I had wanted one of these since I have had such great results with the Allied/Realistic AX and SX-190 receivers. The AX and SX are a GRE product, NOT Trio/Kenwood as stated by some. This radio kinda surprised me with it's size, being about as large as my Icom 761......
This is yet another radio made for RS by GRE. The '302 uses a "Wadley Loop" similar to the Yaesu FRG-7, more about this in a minute.

Several of the reviews of this radio expressed disappointment with 'drift'. Maybe I just got lucky, but mine is pretty darn stable.

There are a bunch of 'mods' available on "mods.dk". I might play around with some since the radio could probably stand an alignment any considering it's age and how many times it's been shipped! The radio appears sensitive enough, even when listening up on 27.185 MHz. However, I'll bet it's got some dried up caps in her.

Here's the reason I didn't give it a '5'.... When I got the radio, turning the larger (silver) of the tuning knobs (this selects the MHz range), the control felt 'wrong', it took almost a full revolution to get the bands to change and even then, it felt like there was a detent involved. The more I played with it, the worse it got. Knowing nothing about this radio (this was the first one I ever touched), I decided to take a look inside.
Lo and behold, there was a split plastic gear in the drive train.
(if you want to know a simple way to fix gears like this contact me off line).
Now, it works perfectly. HOWEVER, like the FRG-7, a small adjustment of this MHz knob does affect the performance. The FRG-7 does the same thing while tweaking it's MHz knob, trying to get the loop to lock and the red LED to go out.
This, combined with the preselector, make it a fun radio to play with but probably not a good choice for a youngster or someone used to 'car radio tuning'. ha ha

Have fun
ron
N4UE
 
KB1ONC Rating: 5/5 Jul 26, 2008 17:46 Send this review to a friend
Best of both worlds  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought this receiver to be able to tune with the knob and have digital readout to know exactly what frequency I was tuning. Great rig for learning to twiddle knobs! This was the rig that kept me motivated to earn my ticket and upgrade to General. I agree with previous reviewers that the DX 302 can drift a bit until it warm, but that's a minor inconvenience. I used the original whip and a ceiling loop of stereo speaker wire, and of course a ground wire to an outside water faucet, with excellent results. Very nice audio through the speaker or phones. I also briefly ran a cord to a stereo equalizer and external speaker for a little bit of ersatz DSP.

Recently sold the DX 302. I miss it already, but it has another good home and I got enough to purchase an MFJ morse code tutor. If you're looking for a receiver that combines analog tuning with digital readout you can't go wrong with the DX 302.

Pete W1SLP
 
G0SLQ Rating: 4/5 May 11, 2008 02:29 Send this review to a friend
The one that started it all!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This was my first "real" receiver. By real I mean with a digital readout to know exactly where I was.

An easy radio to use with supplied whip or wire antenna etc. Once the set was warmed up and it stopped drifting a little (hi hi) it was quite a pleasant receiver. Listening on one of these I learned my trade as a SWL'er - and listened to all ham bands and many utilities - a good apprenticeship.

I now have transceiver and various receivers/scanners but this is the one I remember fondly.

73
G0SLQ
 
CAPNROB97 Rating: 4/5 Feb 15, 2007 18:08 Send this review to a friend
Nice radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought a DX-302 off eBay recently, and it is running off a 10 ft indoor wire antenna and grounded, and this radio is pulling in a lot of signals!

I must have gotten lucky, even though this one has the 'stale cig smoke' smell, it is easy to tune, stays on frequency (after warm-up), and is a real pleasure to use.

I have drifted in and out of the shortwave hobby over the years (sold an Icom IC-R75 a few years ago and regret it now).

If you enjoy turning various knobs and flipping swtches to dial in a good signal, you might enjoy this radio, I do!
 
KNJ2GH Rating: 4/5 Dec 22, 2005 17:53 Send this review to a friend
Under rated and under appreciated!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Okay, this radio is not an Icom, or a Collins. After you get over that bit of news, the rest is gravy. I picked mine up on eBay for $85.00! This radio is great for what it is (which is why I would give it a 4.5 if I could). I use mine for monitoring the Ute bands.

Yes, it drifts, but it's rock solid after 15 minutes of warm up. Think of this radio like an old tube rig. The key to get the best out of it is to get it properly aligned. I think this where most of the animosity arises from. Most of the sets out there are out of alignment. With alignment it's plenty sensitive. And yes, it does overload and has a high noise floor. The answer is to adjust the attenuator and RF controls. Once you sort out the controls, the minuses become plusses. Again, think of it like a tube radio with digital readout and you'll do fine.

I don't have any real complaints except that it eats batteries!
 
VO1MDS Rating: 5/5 Apr 5, 2004 04:27 Send this review to a friend
NICE!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I BOUGHT THIS RADIO ONLY 3 DAYS AGO FOR A $100.00 CDN.I ALSO HAVE THE DX-300 THAT DONT WORK,COMES ON BUT WILL NOT TUNE ANY STATIONS,ANYWAY THE DX-302 IS ALSO A VERY FINE PIECE OF SHORTWABE EQUIPMENT,I REALLY LIKE THE BFO PITCH,AS WELL AS THE IF SWITCHING,THE AUDIO FROM THE SPEAKER IS A LITTLE HARD TO GET USE TO,THIS RADIO I BOUGHT FOR $100.00 WAS ONLY USED 2 TIMES BY A 68 YEAR OLD MAN,HE ONLY USED THE RADIO TWICE AND PACKED IT UP FOR THE PAST 15 YEARS,YES I STILL HAVE THE BOX,WRAPPING,SYROFOAM,AND THE 30 FT ANTENNA HOOKWIRE,AND TELESCOPIC WHIP,NEVER OUT OF THE PAKAGEING,THIS RADIO IS IN MINT,I MEAN ((MINT)).
WHAT A NICE RADIO,I PERFER THIS OVER A DX-394 THAT I ALSO HAVE.THE DX-394 DONT MEASURE UP AT ALL TO THIS FINE SHORTWAVE,THIS IS THE TYPE RADIO YOU CAN SIT DOWN IN FRONT OF FOR HOURS ON END,BELEAVE IT,I HAVE. 73 RADIONUT53
JUST ONE NOTE,I THINK I WELL USE A GRAFIC EQ TO HELP WITH THE AUDIO.
 
N5NSL Rating: 4/5 Aug 17, 2003 20:36 Send this review to a friend
Good general coverage radio, but needs to be understood.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I decided to reacquaint myself with some of these old radios and wound up buying two DX-300 and two DX-302 radios from some various sellers on ebay. They came to me appropriately dirty and out of adjustment from their 25-year-or-so adventures in the world. After a teardown, part-by-part cleaning, some quick repainting here and there, and some realignment I now have four nearly as-new machines. I wrote a review for the the DX-300 about four weeks before this review, so some of my commentary below will have some reference to the DX-300, which was replaced in late 1979 by the '302. (The DX-300 originally came to be in mid-1978 and was gracing Radio Shacks everywhere by September to October of 1978.)


About these radios in 2003:

I didn't mention this in the '300 review, but at the risk of being wordy and obvious it should be mentioned that the DX-302 has been out of production since mid-1982. It was being discontinued after the Christmas 1982 season after a four year production run. (The DX-300 ran from September 1978 to September 1979.) Many of the radios are in a variety of conditions ranging from nearly new to badly damaged. Increasingly however, these radios that have survived are being reconditioned by their owners (like me). Problems occurring on these quarter-century-old machines are minimal from my experience. Often the radios works very well and are well-made. But those minimal problems include "scratchy" AF gain controls (which often get "worked out" with use), the usual minor dings in the case, embedded minor tarnishing of external connectors, sometimes copper-oxidation in the battery compartment from leaking batteries, particulate contamination (cigaratte tar and dust) on the face, controls, and interior of the radio, "stiffness" in turning some of the knobs due to evaporation or dessication of the lubricants in the various shafts (fixed with small amounts of graphite or WD-40 atomized to mist with a compressed air can), and sometimes minor points of rust on the top of the transformer case inside the radio and the six case screws on the back of the radio. The realignment adjustments are typically minor, a testament to the good quality and physical/chemical stability of the electronic components in the radio.


The Good:

This radio tunes well, receives well, and is adequately sensitive for general-coverage receiving. The radio is more optimized for CW and SSB work than AM broadcast reception and as such has a "sharper" and narrower frequency envelope in the audio than shortwave sets intended primarily for AM-mode shortwave broadcasts. (The DX-300 has better audio but much poorer CW performance due its the wider AF bandwidth.) Also the audio has a lot of "punch" when the radio's selectivity switch is set to "narrow" which makes CW reception particularly clear. The radio can receive AM-mode (with or without an automatic noise limiter (ANL) circuit), USB, or LSB/CW. USB is quieter than LSB on both the 300 and 302, giving morse-code and CW-mode RTTY or other FSK-type modulation cleaner audio. Also it has a true BFO control, which further improves SSB reception and helps CW audio frequency setting. (The DX-300 had a fine-tune knob here which offset the frequency slightly, but didn't work as well as a BFO due to the detuning nature of the "fine tune" function.) The radio also has an external speaker for external audio and a "tape" jack for line-level audio output. The radio also runs on 120VAC from the permanently connected A/C power cord, 12VDC through a detachable coaxial power connector, or eight "C" cells mounted inside a typical battery bay on the back of the radio. The radio can connect to an antenna via both a 75-ohm PL-259 connector or two 300 ohm tap screws. The 300 ohm connector through a 300-75 balun typically is slightly more sensitive than using the radio's 75 ohm connector on all DX-300/302 models. The radio displays its frequency on five LED displays permanently set to two (left) digits for MHz, one fixed decimal point, and three (right) digits for kHz. On the DX-302 (like all Wadley-loop radios including the DX-300 and Yaesu FRG-7) the MHz and kHz settings are tuned separately. The outer silver ring on the center of the radio's face tunes the MHz indicator (and first local oscillator) while the black main knob tunes the kHz settings (the kHz setting overlaps such that the kHz setting extends below and above the MHz setting by about 200kHz, but the overlap settings will not be shown on the kHz display, which only illuminates between 000 and 999 kHz (and blanks otherwise). The display updates very quickly, with the rightmost digits becoming irregularly illuminated "8"s to the slow human eye if the kHz knob is spun quickly. The radio also has a separate RF preselector in six overlapping bands, which acts as a RF notch filter for the first local oscillator. The DX-302 uses different preselector electronics from the DX-300, and the RF preselector has a much sharper and deeper "notch" than the DX-300. If the preselector is not tuned to the same frequency as the main tuning, the signal will on that frequency will be sharply attentuated. This helps, but does not eliminate images, however, and with skillful use, aids in tuning and "peaking up" a signal. The MHz tuning, like on all Wadley-loop designs, affects the sensitivity of the kHz tuning, and must be slightly adjusted to "peak up" the signal according to both the Preselector and kHz setting. The radio also has an RF attenuator switch whch may be set to either no, 20dB, or 40dB attenuation. (Attenuation, however, has a sharper affect on the DX-302 than on the DX-300 due to the better RF isolation in the '302).
When on internal battery power, the preselector and signal meter illuminating lights can be toggled on and off with a front-panel switch, but when powered from 12VDC or 120VAC are illuminated continuously when the radio is on. The signal meter also can be used to read battery voltage if batteries are installed (and will read no voltage if there are no batteries installed). The internal batteries are not used when on 12VDC or 120VAC, but are electronically switched in if 12VDC and 120VAC are disconnected. If the radio is powered on, on AC power or 12VDC power, and the 120VAC or 12VDC power is disconnected, the radio will silently and instantly switch to internal batteries until 120VAC or 12VDC is reapplied. If on 120VAC and 12VDC are both applied, the radio will use both in parallel, but not supply any current to the 12VDC source.


The interesting:

The DX-302 follows from the DX-300 in that it's a Wadley loop design which requires four controls (MHz, kHz, preselector band, and preselector setting) to tune to a frequency. And if you're not on AM, include BFO also. The '302 is decidedly a design improvement to the '300 in that it receives narrow signals with more clarity than the DX-300 and when one tunes to an indicated frequency, you're actually on that frequency. Also the radio has no internal ferrite bar like the DX-300, meaning that it has less trouble with imaging from local broadcast AM, but cannot receive signals without an external antenna unless that signal is extremely strong. (The DX-300 can receive local AM, even DX broadcast AM, without an external antenna). As I mentioned in the "Good" paragraph above, the audio has a lot of "punch", which is good until a strong signal comes blasting through if the volume (AF gain) is turned up, in which you may feel some pain in your eardrums. There's a reason it's called "punch", and the '302 delivers here. Use the audio with some regard for it's narrow band, high efficiency, and high dynamic range. Although the DX-302 is a descendent of the DX-300, externally looks nearly identical, and internally it is very similar, it is clearly a different machine. Improvements include a ceramic filter for audio and the movement of critical RF components away from the AC power rectifier circuitry. This decreases sensitivity to spurious noise and RF from the 120VAC line. (The DX-300 had a lot of it's critical tuned circuitry next to the AC power transformer and power rectification circuitry, which made it more sensitive to RF (both signals and interference) when used without an antenna.)
Also, not mentioned in my DX-300 review but true of all DX-300 and DX-302 radios is that the MHz digits seem brighter than the kHz digits. This is true--the kHz digits are slightly dimmer. This was the way the radio has always been, even when new, and varies from noticeable to barely noticeable depending on the individual radio. The MHz digits are completely mechanically switched by a cog and 14 brushes while the kHz digits are switched electronically by a frequency counter IC. The decimal point is simply connected through a resistor to the power supply. The radio tunes all the way to DC, and will resolve vibrations from it's own chassis at 0.000 kHz. Without an antenna in an RF-deprived environment at high AF and RF gain, it will pick up it's own LED display at 3 kHz (but will receive the world at 3 kHz if an antenna is connected or it is in a place where RF at 3 kHz is ambient). When tuning the MHz dial, the audio will mute and the MHz digits of the display will blank at periodic points in the rotation when "between" MHz bands. Also one curious point about the DX-302 (and the DX-200 and DX-300 as well) is that all were made by the same Japanese company and are philosophically all transistor radios with some digital elements in a case design which is very appropriate for an electron tube-based design. As such, the DX-300 and DX-302 have the philosophical engineering mindset of the tube, transistor, and early digital eras embodied in them. The actual case content is mostly air and the I found the top venting in normal household temperature ranges was not necessary, let in dust, and increased the temperature variablity (and reduced thermal stability) in the radio. Also, it is an "analog" rig with some digital appearing features, and in that has the advantage of being able to continuously tune over a range in a way digital rigs cannot. (Digital-synthesized designed treat each frequency as discrete, and while they are often very accurate and stable, they "thump" or mute/unmute as they "jump" from frequency to frequency during linear tuning. The DX-302 tunes with a smooth linearity and allows the listener to resolve signals by variable tuning in a way which cannot be cleanly done, or done as well, with a digital frequency-synthesized rig.


The Bad:

The DX-302 is actually a pretty good radio, but nowhere near the functional quality of the PLL and frequency-synthesized radios which followed it in subsequent years. The reason Wadley loop designs were used was due to the inheirent frequency stability in the way the "loop" fed back and made the tuned circuit self-stabilizing. But the radio has a tendency to drift before warm up by up to two or three kHz, but remains stable once warmed up. (However, when the radio drifts, the frequency indicator continues to accurately show the radio's frequency). Also the Wadley loop design as applied in the 302 the preselector may act as the radio's tuner in cases of extremely strong signals and it is possible to offset the main tuning and preselector in such a way as to receive two signals (example WWV at 10.000 MHz and a local station at 1.52 MHz), which will come out of the speaker together.


Conclusion:

The DX-302 is not the best radio in the world, but is actually pretty good. While of course inferior to digital synthesized rigs in frequency stability , it does allow accurate tuning, even if the tuning is more a complicated matter due to the Wadley-loop design. The audio is great for CW and SSB and resolves voice signals well, but is not the best for music. In sum, this is a pretty good radio for those who learn to do the Wadley-loop.
 
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