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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Sangean 803A/Radio Shack DX 440 Help

Reviews Summary for Sangean 803A/Radio Shack DX 440
Sangean 803A/Radio Shack DX 440 Reviews: 31 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $$180
Description: One of the best portables ever made!
Product is in production.
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N0SOY Rating: 5/5 Sep 20, 2012 20:10 Send this review to a friend
One of the best portables made  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had several shortwave recievers over the years. This is my favorite. The battery life is excellent, It is sensitive and controlable in the Shortwave bands and FM through headphones is nice. It has a good strong audio using the internal speaker. I like the seperate treble and bass controls. I hate tone controls. If anyone has one they do not want I will gladly give it home. Hint. Never use power supplies they will always introduce noise. Batteries are the only way to go.
KDMSKY59 Rating: 4/5 Feb 3, 2012 23:57 Send this review to a friend
Brings back memories  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have great memories of the 803A. I once worked a VK6 from the Nevada desert back in 1995 using a 30 meter Ramsey xmitter and the 803A as the receiver. We had a 20 minute ragchew. That was at the bottom of a sunspot cycle by the way. I recall computing the contact as 10,000 miles per watt. The radio worked well with once watt with no need for muting although I do recall I had to replace the fets in the rf amp one time. Seems to me ham radio was a lot more fun back then as was life. Very often less is more.
VE7BGP Rating: 5/5 Feb 3, 2012 16:45 Send this review to a friend
Mine Early ATS-803  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got my Sangean ATS-803 nearly 5 years ago with a bunch of other Items from an Inheritance. Mine is the Emerson labeled ATS-803 which had only 1 Bandwidth when I got it but was still a great little radio on MW or AM Broadcast band DXing and worked well in the International Meter Broadcast Bands. It also worked ok on the Ham Bands for CW and SSB when the bands were not crowded. Anyway I got reading away on the Internet and how someone from EEB Electronic Equipment Bank found out there was a simple mod to enable the Narrower bandwidth using the FM Mono Stereo Switch using the unused second 1/2 of the switch. 2 Filters were installed in even that early ATS-803 the narrow filter only active when scanning using the then new ATS Tuning Scan feature! Yes Indeed it is a simple mod to enable the Narrow Bandwidth feature missing from that radio. After comparing the DX-440 and ATS-803 schematics I found an extra 22k 1/4 watt resistor going from that FM Mono/Stereo switch Stereo contact to the base of Q206. I added that resistor on mine and I have enjoyed the 2 Bandwidth choices ever since I did the mod in 2008. I have written a more detailed article of this mod and posted it on the ATS-803 Yahoo Group and posted pictures of the mod. If you got the early ATS-803 Sangean radio try this mod I think you will also be pleased with the results of this simple but effective mod. I think this oldie is a better Radio the later DX-390 & 398 ATS-818 & 909 offerings Sangean put out and they are now Classic. Enjoy!
Gerry VE7BGP
OLDSWLSD Rating: 5/5 Nov 1, 2011 22:57 Send this review to a friend
Becomming a classic  Time owned: more than 12 months
Some people don't like the 440/803A but I suppose I'm more fond of them because a 440 was the first SW receiver I ever bought new. Like my fondness for the DX-160, what I considered my first "real" SW radio.

This is my second DX-440. I bought the first one new in 1991 and it served me well for many years and I did a few mods to it but they aren't fireproof.
The one I have now was from a seller on Ebay who does estate sales and knew nothing about it. For some reason it was listed in the collectable plate category so I got it for $30 with shipping.

The usual battery connector problem and a dirty encoder were the only problems and easily fixed. Not bad for a 20 year old radio. No carry strap or documentation but otherwise complete.

The only mod I've done on this one is the anti chuff and I may replace the FETs on the front end, it's a bit noisier than I remember the other one being.

The 440 has good sensitivity and the narrow IF filter cuts adjacent channel interference while the wide is very good for stronger signals. RF gain control works smoothly as does the BFO control. The separate bass and treble controls are also a big help with QRM and adjacent chan noise.

Considering it's vintage and original price range it's a very good unit. A decent SWL receiver with external antenna and a preselector helps a lot too. It's no match for a good modern receiver but it is very stable and reliable.

My only real complaint with the 803A/440 is the poor sensitivity in the 1600 to 1700KHz range. I've been more into MWDX lately than SWL. Probably due to the input filtering since it was built before the MW X-Band. Tweaking up the preamp on my homebrew loop overcame that problem though.

I'm giving it a 5 because of it's sensitivity, durability, clean sound, ease of use and making allowances for it's age.
VK4RU Rating: 5/5 May 16, 2011 18:17 Send this review to a friend
a ripsnorter!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
this is the hottest shortwave receiver i have ever owned! broadcast with the wide switch on is a delight! the direct entry keys work very well. I use it to listen to the airport weather beacons. The unit I have was bought at a hock shop at Cronulla yerars ago. The inside metal bits are a bit rusty, could have belonged to a yauchtie and the batteries had leaked requiring a lot of cleanup. Lives next to my bed. the clock is a bit chronic to set. Don't have an instruction book for it. Batteries seem to last forever.
N0SOY Rating: 5/5 Dec 5, 2009 16:25 Send this review to a friend
great radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned a dx-440 since 1991 and have used it extensively. I have not found a radio that feels as well made, is as sensitive and overall as useful as this one. I have tried several others and they are not in the same class. I wish that that Sangean still made them. I particularly like the separate bass and treble controls. I hate the combined tone controls that most have now.
K5TED Rating: 5/5 Oct 2, 2007 09:21 Send this review to a friend
Easy SDR/DRM conversion  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
add a $25 I5XWW DRM downconverter, which is a very easy installation, and you can use the blank panel on the left side to mount a phono jack, connect to your PC, run DReaM, and you are receiving the cutting edge digital HF broadcasters in quality that surpasses AM HD radio stateside. Using SDRadio, Rocky or other SDR coftware, you will have an impressive AM/SSB/CW performer.
M0WZM Rating: 5/5 Dec 19, 2006 12:27 Send this review to a friend
Solid RX  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have also owned a DX-440 which is obviously the same RX. If you need a solidly built and good performing RX look no futher. The bandwidth selection could maybe do with being a bit more selective on narrow but you can make up for that in any number of ways with external filters or software etc. depending on what you are trying to receive.
If you are lucky enough to pick one up for $100 or so on eBay you've got a bargain.

ps Use an external antenna of some sort!
SLIDERULEX Rating: 4/5 Jul 17, 2005 02:16 Send this review to a friend
Pretty solid performer  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I finally decided to bid on this radio on ebay, and I won for $45.00 which included the shipping.

I like its size and solid construction. It's relatively heavy (with all the batteries 6-D and 2-AA). It won't tip over easily and is stable even when the very long antenna is fully raised. I like the large tuning knob and though it has up-down tuning buttons too, I mostly use the knob with the nice finger hole making tuning easy. It comes with a convenient carry strap.

I give this radio a 4 because while it has good sensitivity, it isn't great sensitivity. It does have enough sensitivity, however, to pull in all the strong stations like the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Radio Japan, Radio Moscow, Radio Taiwan, WWCR, etc. It does have an easy to use and sensitive SSB function which allows the user to home in on SSB signals relatively easily. I like its large LCD and everything is easy to read. If you use headphones, you won't drain the batteries as fast as when you use the speaker, as headphones have 32 ohm impedance and the speaker has 8 ohm impedance. The headphones present a smaller load to the output circuitry. I bought this radio because I like how it looks and has a pretty solid reputation and performs well enough for the price I paid. And also because it's a radio that has undergone many modifications and is relatively easy to get at the parts so it lends itself to the experimenter.

Nice radio for the price and I can recommend it at $50.00 or less.
VE3VYZ Rating: 3/5 Jun 17, 2005 07:39 Send this review to a friend
Alright SW receiver, but some annoying points.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got a DX-440 off ebay for $30 USD. Not a bad deal.
Here are my thoughts:
The controls are mainly very responsive, and crisply stiff (a good thing), but the BFO and RF Gain knobs could be a little bigger. Also, the switches on the bottom (FM Mono-Stereo/AM Wide-Narrow, BFO In-out, Lock in-out) could be bigger. The tuning knob tends to make a scraping noise and wobble when you spin it, and it's very loose.
The screen is nice and big and easy to read. The treble/bass/balance control is rare on that type of SW receiver, so that's a good point. When the QRN is grating at my nerves, I turn the treble way down and it turns into more of a low grumble than high-pitched, annoying hiss.
A fine-tuning knob would be very nice. The AM Wide/Narrow control is useless: the audio is barely readable with Narrow engaged.
The signal strength meter doesn't do much. For perfectly copyable but weak stations the scale is at 0, but it shoots to full at any sign of a moderately-strong signal. It does give you a good general idea, however.
The speaker is big and is capabable of undistorted very high volume, but the audio isn't that great, it tends to be a little hissy and crackly, even on local broadcast FM stations.
A little annoying point here: The AC adapter port and the headphone port are situated so that it's hard to keep the headphones plugged in while the AC adapter is, too.
I'd prefer the bar on the back of the radio to tilt the face of the unit on a higher angle. I'm not too tall, and I sometimes have to lean over to see the display properly.
Sensitivity is average, leaning towards deficient. I hear those very weak stations, but then I tune them and they just sound like some whispering in the background.
SSB selectivity is good, however for various reasons, CW signals are often very annoyingly crossed.
Other than that the receiver is decent, and if you can get it for less than $40 USD, it's a good deal. Don't pay more than $50 for it, though, in that case buy something a little higher-quality.

73 Zack VE3VYZ
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