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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Radio Shack DX-160 Help

Reviews Summary for Radio Shack DX-160
Radio Shack DX-160 Reviews: 47 Average rating: 3.7/5 MSRP: $$160 (ca 1975)
Description: General coverage receiver, solid state, analog readout, single-conversion, AM - SSB, coverage 150Khz to 30 Mhz.
Product is in production.
More info: http://
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DXTUNER Rating: 5/5 Jan 22, 2011 17:35 Send this review to a friend
Super Hot SSB Receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The DX-160 is as good as single conversion can possibly get. Like the reviewer below mentioned, sideband reception on this rig is extremely impressive - sharp and clear. I turn my RF Gain way back to 12 or 1 o'clock, giving a silent noise floor, and utility signals (or Hams) still peg the S-meter to the wall. But a word of warning here, in order to catch sideband signals in the first place you need to have (or acquire) a feel for tuning this unit. Although its pure analog the selectivity is still razor sharp. Which is a good thing, but will prove challenging to those accustomed to dauntlessly tuning sideband on newer rigs.

The audio from the DX-160 is atrocious however, by far the worst I've ever heard in any table top radio. You can (a) simply get used to it, or (b) perform a simple modification such as putting an inductor in series to the speaker. There are more complicated modifications published too, should you have the patience for it.

Removing an easy-to-access resistor (R62) allows you to dx the MW broadcast band. With this resistor gone my DX-160 is up there with more famous MW dx'ing champions. No external antenna is needed here. I understand the earliest models didn't have this resistor at all. But, again, you'll definitely want to do something about the audio before you can enjoy anything on the broadcast band.

In summary the super hot reception keeps me coming back for more, in spite of any shortcomings in other areas. On sideband the DX-160 is among the sharpest I've ever come across. Factor in its bargain basement price and a 5-rating is not uncalled for.
N4UE Rating: 5/5 Dec 29, 2010 15:16 Send this review to a friend
MUCH better than expected!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
OK, here goes....

This radio is probably a '4.5', but I'm giving it a '5' because of all the crummy reviews, that this radio may not deserve.
Having had great luck with RS and the GRE family of radios, I had been looking for a DX-160/SP-150 combo for a LONG time, just to fill that void in my collection. Let me say that these radios are on eBay ALL the time. From 'basket case' to 'new in the box'.
I first thought about buying a junker then rebuilding it. Luckily, sanity pervailed and I bought a nice 'combo' for around $50. I sure didn't expect much for the price. ha ha

BOY, was I surprised. This radio has seen little use, judging by the condition of the controls and the dial string. The alignment was unmolested, the face and plastic face were perfect as were the knobs (after a wash). Yes, the cover of the radio had some rust, but a warm day here in Florida fixed that real quick.
Yes, there is a small drift until the radio warms up. However, I was VERY surprised just how good SSB sounds on this old girl. Very impressive.

Here's an example: as I type this (6 PM local) I have 10 MHz WWV tuned in. I also have it tuned in on my Icom 756PRO, same antenna. The DX-160 sounds just as good as the Icom. If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed it.
Yes, above 15 MHz, the sensitivity is down and because of the single conversion, there are inages all over.
However, considering the cost / fun ratio, it's one of the best old radios in my collection. YES, that does include several Collins, RMEs, Hallis and Hammerlunds, etc.

My recomendation is to to buy a 'nice' one with the speaker. Not much $ but a nice little radio.
The speaker is extremely well made and sounds great!

Unfortunately, 'newbe' SWLs have to have digital readout to 'find' stations. This would be a GREAT 'learning' tool......

N0UJR Rating: 0/5 Dec 26, 2010 13:28 Send this review to a friend
Pretty Piece of Junk  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I read quite a few 5/5 reviews on this here in eHam, and I like how it looks, so I purchased one on eBay. It was inoperative when I received it. I fixed the short in the speaker line and got a few signals on a couple of bands, after connecting it to a good outside dipole antenna, and a good quality speaker. I decided to try and bring it back to it's new, original working condition if possible, so I replaced all the electrolytic caps, reworked probably 70 or 80 bad solder connections, cleaned all switches and controls, cleaned all the dust from the boards, and did a complete alignment. I found that at best, it's a poor performer. Poor sensitivity, poor audio quality, etc. etc. It's a poster child for frequency drift, for one thing. Typical Radio Shack...all about looks, nothing about quality or good performance. Yes it was a relatively cheap receiver when new, but they could have made it a good receiver for not that much more money. I have to ask, why even bother to design and manufacture such a poor performing piece of equipment? What a waste of money all the way around. So why so many 5/5 ratings? I can only conclude that the high ratings must be from people that really don't know what a good receiver is... Mine is going in the dumpster.
OLDSWLSD Rating: 5/5 Dec 20, 2010 05:35 Send this review to a friend
A real Classic  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my first DX-160 with the SP-150 for $20 at a pawn shop in 1980 and have owned several over the years. I don't know how many hours I spent listening to the Beeb, Radio Moscow, Pyongyang and so many others during the Cold War.

One note, if you have or purchase one replacing all the electrolytics and the non ceramic caps on the tuning board with original ratings and a proper alignment really brings out the best in the 160.

Properly aligned they make a great starter receiver and I still use my (heavily modified) 160 almost daily.

The only real negatives I have about the stock units is the tinny audio, too-wide IF bandwidth and drifting. The very straightforward design makes mods easy to implement. A digital readout is nice too but remember the age of these units.

There will always be an unmodified DX-160 in my collection as well as a modified one for those long winter nights.
VE3ES Rating: 5/5 Oct 31, 2010 18:01 Send this review to a friend
Great vintage receiver!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Further to my comments back in 2008, one thing to consider with the DX-150A, DX-150B and DX-160, is that these are vintage radios now forty years old-ish and usually they still work great. No tubes! Not much to go wrong!!! The decade or so earlier similar radios from Hallicrafters for example are full of tubes and rarely still work. While I love the old Hallicrafters general coverage SW receivers, these old Realistic products are even better. And the company that produced them is still around and still making new products (GRE). They have a new line of scanners that they exhibit at the Dayton Hamvention each year and were also responsible for a plethora of other Radio Shack products.

Honestly, if you can find one of these radios, buy it. True, it isn't a top of the line receiver such as you'd find in a Yaesu FTDX-9000D or an ICOM whatever, but these are classic products that usually still work well and make an excellent addition in any ham shack!
KJ4DGE Rating: 4/5 Oct 22, 2010 05:48 Send this review to a friend
Nostalgia  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got started in SWL in the late 70's with one of these. Running in the car I listened to LW beacons with a box loop antenna. Great fun. I recently saw "Dawn of the Dead" circa 1979? One scene shows a DX-160 in 2 shots being used as a transmitter! cute. Its a good radio for casual listening and at the time was also great for LW running off the mains and on battery. Like older tube rigs, its the nostalgia that makes it fun to have in the shack. I am keeping mine.
AD5VM Rating: 5/5 Jun 21, 2009 20:16 Send this review to a friend
I Love it!!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Bought it used on ebay for about $50. Great shape. Works great, looks great. Much bigger than I pictured!!
A REAL radio! How great it must have been to be a ham in the 60's and 70's....
KJ4AXU Rating: 5/5 Jun 28, 2008 21:04 Send this review to a friend
Great Oldie!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Memories galore - like so many others this was my introduction to shortwave and ham radio. My cousin was a ham at the time (I was about 10 or 11) and he recommended it as a good way to hear SW and HAM,a nd he was right. The Variable BFO was cool, ship to shore was great, and of course SW was a blast. Parents got rid of mine when I went to college - hated that it was gone. Bought one on Ebay recently and again it got me thinking about SW and HAM. This time around I got my Tech, then General, then Extra. Still enjoy playing with the DX-160 even though there are better radios now - it is still amazing what it can pick up with a random long wire!
KA8NSG Rating: 4/5 Jun 26, 2008 04:58 Send this review to a friend
Good rig to start with  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got mine back in 1976. Spent hous listening to it. You name it SW broadcasts, Ham radio, CB, and AM broadcasts. Always used mine a back receiver when I got my ham license in 1981. Its been a good receiver for me. Sure mine has its downs too, and the its showing its age and use. It needs to be benched and reworked and recalibrated and such. Still have mine today and still use it much. Its not perfect no, but neither is my Heathkit HW 16! Someday I will get mine refurbished I hope and hope to upgrade with a more capable receiver, but I wont part with mine as I have too many memories with it. Ron, KA8NSG
SPIDER89119 Rating: 0/5 Jun 25, 2008 11:25 Send this review to a friend
a pretty piece of junk  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased this new when I was a kid. I remember being so excited to get it. I've had it for all these years, only occasionally pulling it out of the closet only to be reminded of what a dog it is. The only semi-positive thing I can say about it is that it was so-so for DXing the AM broadcast band. That's if I can remember correctly, since that band stopped working a week after I bought it! The radio got nothing on LW, and very little on SW. As far as Ham reception goes, what little I got was usually impossible to make out using the terrible SSB on this unit. Oh yeah, I could also listen to CBers, but they were nowhere near where they were supposed to be on the dial. I now have a Sony 7600GR, and that little portable is light years ahead of the DX-160 in performance! Next I am going to get rid of my DX-160 and get a Palstar R30cc.
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