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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Radio Shack DX-300 Help


Reviews Summary for Radio Shack DX-300
Radio Shack DX-300 Reviews: 15 Average rating: 3.2/5 MSRP: $$399.99 (in 1980)
Description: The DX-300 is a DC to 29.999 MHz general-coverage short wave radio.
Product is in production.
More info: http://
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KE8AOL Rating: 3/5 Dec 15, 2017 12:38 Send this review to a friend
Not all bad  Time owned: more than 12 months
The DX-300 is really best rated from one star to five stars; if you paid $200, it's a one-star radio. If it's given to you along with a case of beer and a bag of pretzels, it's a five star radio.

This radio may have been insipred by a Yaesu, but I doubt that Radio Shack was trying to pull that off. It was not made by Sanyo, as someone speculated. General Radio Research of Japan made this unit. The Wadley Loop design was probably all wrong for the average 1980s Radio Shack customer.

VK5GI's assertive suggestion to 'READ THE INSTRUCTIONS' is correct. If you do not fully understand tuning this Wadley Loop receiver, you will likely fail. I have made QRP contacts with this receiver.
________________________________

The Achilles heels in this radio include:

* Hitachi 3SK45 FETs (no diode shunt protection). These are famous for failing from static damage. If you have a DX-300 with an S meter that rarely goes above S3 or so, look at Q201. Replace them with 3SK48, 3N201 or similar. Absolutely always disconnect the antenna from this radio when not in use.

* The preselector planetary ball reduction drive can go bad and replacement is fairly impossible. This has the potential to render the radio unuseable.

* The tuning is synthesized, yes. But the mechanisms that get you there are mechanical and can require physical realignment, especially the scrolling preselector dial. It's something that can be done simply with your fingers, but requires going into the radio. Alternately, you can just ignore the preselector mis-calibration and tune by ear.

* Drift is a real problem for those who did not grow up with vacuum tubes or those irritable types who get migraines from things like ticking clocks or Starbucks being out of whipped cream. If you have the opportunity to get a more stable receiver, do so. Otherwise, follow this grueling procedure: lift hand...adjust knob...put hand back down...repeat as necessary. It's a $25-$50 radio.

* Filtering. A real CW audio filter is a must with this unit.

*40 year-old electrolytic capacitors. I replaced mine with Rubycon caps and it was well worth the bother. Re-cap kits with replacement transistors are available on ebay for under $30.

*Harmonics and QRN. Harmonics on this radio are mostly from having the preselector mistuned, but things like a raging weekend CW contest can make things messy elsewhere.

*The speaker is pretty much a fugitive from a 1970s Kmart portable radio. An external speaker or headphones really helps.

*To some, the Wadley Loop tuning. If you're unfamiliar with this, think of it as driving a stick shift in traffic. It requires effort. Going from 160 meters to 10 meters requires a real desire to do so; the mHz ring knob must be twisted several times to make the journey. Same goes for going from (for example) 28.000 mHz to 28.999 mHz, the spinner knob must be cranked around a lot.
_______________________________

Achilles, minus the heels:

If you see one of these in good condition for under $50 and no green smoke bilges out when you plug it in, I would say it's a fair deal.

I do not recommend this as a primary shack receiver unless you have no other options.

This radio might be a smart choice for a VHF ham on a limited budget who wants to try out DX QRP CW on HF. It even has a built-in CW practice oscillator and key jack!

Broadcast band AM reception has fairly decent selectivity making it a contender for AM DXing.
____________________________

If you are looking at one, CHECK THE PRESELECTOR KNOB to make sure that the scrolling dial works smoothly. If it is balky or herky-jerky, you are looking at a $25 radio, tops. Figure on recapping the radio and replacing the 3SK45 in the front end. If you are buying on ebay, I recommend a seller with a return policy of at least 14 days (there are too many potential problems to buy a pig in a poke).

The owner's manual and service manual are to be found online, just search Google for 'DX-300 manual'.
____________________________

We all loved to poke fun at Radio Shack. They did sell some goofy stuff. This radio isn't a Yaesu and RS didn't market it as one. It isn't quite garbage, either. If one drops in your lap, at least give it a try.

Jack
KE8AOL
qrz@dr.com
 
VK5GI Rating: 5/5 Sep 23, 2017 20:19 Send this review to a friend
READ THE F. MANUAL  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Ok, so this is a rig that is coming up for forty years old, with quirky tuning and minimalist controls. Do NOT expect a Collins or Racal listening experience. Now, having said all that and assuming that YOU HAVE READ THE MANUAL, this rig should serve you well.
I have very limited space (retirement village) and I use my trapped verticle dipole through an atu to drive the dx-300. It works just fine, and as bought it as a junker I'm really very happy with it. I thought I might have to dismantle the thing but
HAVING READ THE MANUAL, I didn't have to do a thing to it.
If one comes up, do not dismiss this rig as just junk. It
certainly isn't, and can usually be bought these days at a very
reasonable price. BUT YOU NEED TO READ THE MANUAL....GOT IT? Ok, go for it.
 
N8EKT Rating: 3/5 Jul 5, 2017 19:27 Send this review to a friend
Drifts  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had one of these decades ago and it was fine for am or ssb if you stayed by the radio to touch up the vfo every once in awhile

But I found it drifted too much for rtty
 
KC5PIE Rating: 3/5 Oct 7, 2011 19:09 Send this review to a friend
Not too bad... BUT!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After reading some of the reviews about the DX-300, that I purchased at the last Belton Ham Expo, one thing that I have noticed about the receiver is that it LOVES a good antenna. If you simply hook a long-wire to the coax connector's center conductor on the back, YES, it will have the sensitivity of a hockey puck.. On the other hand... There is a terminal strip with 2 grounds and 1 antenna connection. I tied the two grounds together and grounded them to an 8 ft stick of re-bar driven into the ground. The antenna connection was connected to a 100 ft+ random wire @ 12-50 ft. Needless to say, the reception was "on par" with some better rigs. The flaw with this rig is its' dependency on a good "earth ground". With that done, it performed great on 160m, 80m, 40m, and 20m, all the way to 30m.
I paid 30 bucks for this "test rig" and could not be happier with it! It DOES need a great antenna to perform, but don't all rigs need that? ;-)
 
KG4GYL Rating: 1/5 Dec 7, 2009 08:03 Send this review to a friend
Yes it works BUT...not well.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I though the Hallicrafters SW-120 was a great radio but back then I didn't know any better. This radio makes the SW-120 "dog' of a receiver look like a "top -of-the line" Collins!
This is an attractive radio yet I would be very
disappointed to have paid $300+ for this radio back in the day. It will work but not well and drifts like a sailboat in a perfect storm. Intermod all over the place and the S-meter goes dead after only a short period of use. Do you think the average "Joe" could even find the AM broadcast band much less tune in Radio Bulgaria?
You can buy a better radio at a flea market for $50. I think RS got a sweetheart deal on these radios because the appearance is the only thing SWEET about it. Find a used DX-200: that's a better radio.
 
ERIEDXER Rating: 2/5 Oct 28, 2009 12:37 Send this review to a friend
It's not for the serious listener  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
By comparison to what it was trying to copy (Yaesu FRG-7000) it didn't even come close. It's cheaply made and all the controls feel cheap. (I beleive it was manufactured by Sanyo which should say it all.) It is OK for an under $100 rig (the most I would ever pay for one) first timer SWL to have a little fun listening to AM shortwave broadcast, but you can't really push it beyond that or it annoys you. Once you move up to something (virtually anything) above it you will sell your Realistic DX300.
 
N1GKE Rating: 4/5 Sep 24, 2008 05:03 Send this review to a friend
DX-300 as tool  Time owned: more than 12 months
After many years involved with all type of electronic equipment, I find this receiver to be just fine as a tool. Like any piece of equipment, you really should have a good understanding of the internal workings.

With a proper antenna and grounding system this unit is still used quite often for many listening pleasures, from the VLF band through the ten meter amateur radio band.

Yes, it does take a little getting used to, like any equipment, but once mastered it works just fine.

I have left this unit on for days at a time when listening for aero weather stations, for NASA tracking planes and ships during shuttle launches and returns.

I am looking now for the next two upline models, the DX-302 and the DX-394.

The only thing this receiver needs is a savy listener, but it is also a great rig for new comers as well.

My favorite tag line of course, "Find solutions, not fault."
 
N3KRV Rating: 1/5 Feb 1, 2008 02:34 Send this review to a friend
it was an o.k. radio I liked the styling  Time owned: more than 12 months
I Bought the DX-300 at a radio shack as is person took it in for repairs and never picked it up, I get teh radio home and hooked it up and I was NEVER able to pick up anything on it and acording to the repaire tag it had several parts replaced and an alignment done and was working perfectly
at the time I lived 3 miles form WTOP 1500 AM and under the right conditions you could pick up the station on your tv set LOL well this DX-300 couldn't pick it up, I took the radio back and they sent it in for repairs it came back they said it was working fine, but not for me I never was able to get the radio to recieve anything at all, after I moved I put it back in the shop for the last time and this time there was something wrong with the tuning dial unit and the parts wern't available anymore since the radio was over 12 years old, so I gave it away, if you do happen to find this radio on ebay or at a yard sale beware unless you can actually hook the radio up and hear it working properly and it's REAL cheap dont' get it.
 
K9EUI Rating: 0/5 Dec 9, 2007 18:15 Send this review to a friend
A real loser  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have owned a lot of receivers in my life and this is one of the sorriest. I don't see how others can rate it as high as they do (unless all they listen to is the AM BC band). The main problem is drift. The receiver is a copy of the Yaesu FRG-7. The upside is the digital readout. The drift problem is due to the cheap pocket transistor radio type tuning capacitor they used. Had they use a standard metal plate one it would have prevented that problem. I tuned in WWV 10 MHz, zero beat it, and in an hour it drifted so far the station could not be heard, and it was still drifting.
 
MATSRAM Rating: 5/5 Jul 29, 2007 15:00 Send this review to a friend
not easy to use  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
First of all, please accept my apologies for my poor English, I am not a native speaker.
I bought my DX-300 for 40EUR (50USD) on ebay and I got a receiver never used in its original packaging.
This included DC-cable and 1A-fuse, whip antenna, cable cones, and rubber feet.
Like most of the other contributors, I could not afford this receiver back in 1979 when I was a student. Today, you find many unused DX-300s, this seems due to that Tandy sold it to a mass market but consumers were unable to cope whith its demanding operation, were disappointed and stored it away. My DX-300 is 8A9 (August 1979), it has improved SSB-reception introduced in spring of 1979.
Still AM-reception does not provide satisfactory audio while SSB does. One should try an external speaker.
Experimenting whith antennas is a lot of fun. I connected my rig to my roof tube and got lots of stations: Quito, Havanna, Cairo, Damascus and Pyoengyang/North Korea(in German!)Besides these propaganda stations I could receive VOLMET from Shanwick, Ireland and airline traffic across North Atlantic (Santa Maria, in USB). While the receiver is sensitive, so is its operation. You constantly have to readjust Preselect, MHz, kHz and RF-gain, but this is true for any Waddley-Loop-Receiver.
Remember that there is just a handfull of marks beeing made from 1970 to 1985 and only the DX-300/2 and Yaesu FRG-7000 have digital freq readout.
Now something really useful (do not refer to the sevice manual, it won`t help you):
When I was looking for a manual, by chance I got in contact with a gentleman who turned out to be a former Tandy-Service-Technician. He gave me the following advice:
IF THE MHZ-PORTION DETUNES THE KHZ-PORTION, YOU SHOULD CLEAN SW-7 USING PRESSURIZED AIR. SW-7 IS POSITONED ON THE END OF THE MHZ VARIABLE CAPACITOR IN THE CENTER OF THE RIG. YOU CANNOT AND MUST NOT DIASSEMBLE IT; JUST CLEAN IT FROM OUTSIDE REPEATEDLEY. THIS SEEMS TO BE A COMMON PROBLEM; I FIXED IT ON MY DX AND IT WORKED VERY SATISFACTORY.
Another possible cause is incorrect setting of VR201, this is balance of fist mix, it should be regulated with utmost care.

73 from Germany
Matthias
 
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