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Reviews Categories | Specialized Amateur Communication Products | Sherwood Engineering SE-3 Synchronous Detector Help

Reviews Summary for Sherwood Engineering SE-3 Synchronous Detector
Sherwood Engineering SE-3 Synchronous Detector Reviews: 8 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $549.00
Description: High-Fidelity Phase-Locked AM Product Detector

Eliminates Selective-Fade Distortion and Garbling on Shortwave and Broadcast reception. Able to Receive One Sideband at a Time to Minimize Interference
Product is in production.
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JV257 Rating: 5/5 Jul 28, 2014 21:43 Send this review to a friend
Brilliantly Engineered  Time owned: more than 12 months
I tried an experiment with Radio Australia recently - I tuned in the 31 metre service on my modified Icom R-71 and listened through the SE-3.

The overnight country show is simulcast on ABC local radio in the AM band on 666khz. We also recently received the same ABC network on digital audio (DAB) - comparing all three programs the SW programme thru the SE 3 was the most pleasing to listen to!

I can see the tower for the AM transmitter from my qth. But the transmitter is prone to over modulation - only slightly but enough to bother my ears anyway.

Don't get me started on the a poor quality of the digital audio stream....

The quality and fidelity of the SW programme audio is testament to a very well engineered piece of gear.
SWL377 Rating: 5/5 Jan 8, 2013 10:25 Send this review to a friend
I am very impressed, blown away.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My only prior synch detector rcvr was a Sony ICF 2010 which gives a lot of bang for the buck. With the Sony rcvr, synch detection opened up a new world for me in cleaning up selective fading distortion on AM SWBC sigs. I was pretty impressed with the Sony and would have remained happy had I not subsequently experienced what the Sherwood SE 3 can do. A friend GAVE me an early model SE 3 when I purchased a Collins R-391 from him. I am BLOWN AWAY by how well this box works. It locks on and holds a carrier far better than the Sony did. SSB sounds great too. Today an SE 3 costs $700 which is way overpriced in my cheapskate opinion, but if you are seeking perfection in SWL AM BC DX reception with a older receiver, it's just the ticket. The only drawback is that it wont synch on AM sigs that are very very weak, but it doesnt take much carrier to get a lock. I was comparing the R 391 performance on SSB using its BFO and comparing it to the prodcut detector in the SE 3. Very much better with the SE 3. SSB audio was so clean, it almost sounded like AM. Sherwood has some demo audio files on its website and they do not exaggerate the effectiveness of this well designed device. It really is that good. I have a quarrel with the current pricing but not the performance. I am not xenophobic, but I am proud of US engineering talent. It's so cool that Mr. Sherwood beat all the EE brainpower at Sony in designing a high performance synch detector. Had Sony hired him as a consultant on the ICF 2010 detector design they would have had a spectacular product instead of a merely good one.
KD5VC Rating: 5/5 Oct 11, 2011 12:47 Send this review to a friend
Great Tool  Time owned: more than 12 months
Rob has upgraded the earlier synch detector to the SE-3 Mk IV. This version has a short time constant lock for quickly following Amateur AM nets. If you have listened to these you find that most of the gear is vintage and the stations tend to drift a bit. With the short time constant the SE-3 MK IV can jump from one frequency to another very quickly. This is not ideal for shortwave listening as the frequency doesn't change by a KHz or more in short time frames on broadcast stations. Not a problem, just turn the Amateur switch off and it works just like the Mk III. I use mine with an R-390A, an SP-600 JX21, HROs and an IC-R9000. Pulling out the 455 KHz IF is not a problem on most receivers. Rob uses a buffer/converter/filter board set in the R9000 to convert the last IF signal (10.7 MHz) for use in the SE-3.

Selective fading means that at times the carrier level on the AM signal is lower than the sideband level, this happens quite often and provides a very high distortion audio signal. The SE-3 eliminates that problem. In addition it can be unlocked and used as a stable product detector for SSB/CW. If I had to give up the SE-3, a lot of nice old radios would go too.

The input is high impedence, so a small capacitor can be used to pull a sample of the IF signal from those radios that do not provide the IF on the back panel. Rob makes a simple switch to allow you to switch to multiple signals into the SE-3. You set the internal gain control to the lowest IF signal level, the other signals include a variable resistor to allow reducing their output to match the lowest level signal into the SE-3. If you have a receiver with a 455 KHz IF, the SE-3 can keep it useful for a long time to come.

The basic devices include the NE-604 and NE-602. The IF signal is post AGC, so the 80+ db dynamic range of the 602 does not affect the capability of the receiver. Rob adds a nice audio amplifier with high cut/bass boost separately selectable from the front panel. The cost is up in the range of a used R-390A, but this device is well worth the investment. By the way, you can also upgrade a Mk III to a Mk IV to add the Amateur AM Net separate time constant.

Very early Rob built a version that was synch detector only, leaving out the product detector system.
KB9IV Rating: 5/5 Jan 7, 2008 16:53 Send this review to a friend
Something Special  Time owned: more than 12 months
The 2nd one I've owned. Sounds and Works Fantastic on a Collins R390A, NRD535D.

Can't wait for the upcommig version......Thanks Bob.

73 Bill KB8IV
REMOVED_EHAM_JUSTICE Rating: 5/5 Oct 11, 2006 20:27 Send this review to a friend
Simply Amazing!  Time owned: more than 12 months
When I was a teenager in 1984 I bought a copy of the WRTH and kept rereading the article about using a Drake R7 with this new product called the SE-3 Synchronous Detector. I was using a multiband portable then and really loved this SWL hobby, and couldn't help wishing I had this ultimate setup.
Fast forward 15 years to 1999 when I actually had some real money to spend. I was able to find an R7 with a full rack of voice filters, and just had to get an SE-3 to hear if it really was what I hoped for.
Yes, it was.
If you listen to music on shortwave and get frustrated by the distortion from selective fading, where one sideband drops out of synch for even a fraction of a second, you'll love what this unit will do. Listening to news reports with selective fading can be annoying as well, and the improvement from the SE-3 will be very welcome.
DXing is greatly improved, as the speech heard from a weak signal becomes noticably clearer, and the SE-3 will hold a lock on it as long as the transmitter is still on the air (or until the sun wreaks havoc on the ionosphere).
I've never used the internal sych detector on any Drake radio, any JRC or the AR7030, so I can't compare it to those, but I have used the Sony ICF-7600GR, Grundig Satellit 700 and AR3030. Comparing the SE-3 to the synchs on portables probably isn't fair, so I won't. I will say that the AR3030, which is a great receiver all by itself, would benefit enormously from the SE-3, as its own synch detector is practically useless.
Sherwood's website has a list of receivers which can be used with it, most with either a modification and/or external converter box. The Kenwood R-5000 and the Icom R70/71 would be perfect candidates for this synch detector, as would any JRC receiver. As one reviewer earlier wrote, they can modify other radios as well. Aside from a really good antenna setup and excellent IF filters, the SE-3 would be the best thing you can do to improve your SWL and DXing.
EI6IZ Rating: 5/5 Aug 11, 2006 15:15 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought one of these units based on various reviews I had read on line. The Audio sample on the sherwood engineering site is a nice example of what this unit can do with a reasonable signal.
For me the interest lies with tropical band BC dxing with some mediumave (AM) BC Dxing. Reviews elsewhere lead me to believe that this unit would be a big help with this type of dxing too.
I am not disappointed with the results, this thing seems to be able to stay locked even the merest hint of a carrier. I also have an AOR AR 7030 in my shack but the SE-3 Sync detector is in a different league altogether.

On nice signals it produces wonderful sounding audio reproduction. On terrible signals it still locks and stays locked and the results are far better than the ECSS method I have been using to extract useable audio from weak tropical band stations

I am using the SE-3 with a Racal RA 3702. This set has a 1.4 Mhz IF and Sherwood engineering had to build a down-converter to shift this to the 455 Khz IF frequency that the sync detector is designed to use. This took a while since this was an IF frequency that Sherwood engineering had never built for before but the end results are nothing short of superb
KD9AUR Rating: 5/5 Dec 31, 2004 18:31 Send this review to a friend
Must have accessory  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I initially bought one of these units for an Icom R75. The performance has been outstanding not only as a synchronous detector, but as an audio enhancer. The site at has, as the previous review states, audio samples of the SE-3 in action as well as interface information. Very simple to operate; amazing results. Any AM signal you can hear it will lock on.

I like this product so much I am voting with my wallet and buying another one for use with a Drake R8A.
K7FD Rating: 5/5 Sep 15, 2004 19:58 Send this review to a friend
Sherwood Engr SE-3...very nice!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Results with the SE-3 have been excellent. Mine is interfaced to a Ten Tec RX-340, primarily used to receive AM transmissions. The Sherwood Engineering website gives an indepth product description, including 'before/after' audio clips and a technical overview.

There is a bit of technique to put it 'in gear' but once you master a few simple steps, you'll find yourself listening to hi-fidelty AM shortwave broadcasts. After tuning in a station in the receiver's AM mode, a toggle is thrown on the SE-3 to activate and lock in with a high-level synchronous detection scheme. The circuitry in the SE-3 does this much better than the stock Ten Tec RX-340 S.A.M. mode and the improvement in solid reception is easily heard.

Rob at Sherwood Engineering was very helpful answering my initial questions regarding the SE-3. The workmanship is of highest quality...& shipment packaging was almost unbelievably good.

73 John K7FD

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