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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Lowe HF-150 Help


Reviews Summary for Lowe HF-150
Lowe HF-150 Reviews: 20 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $750.00
Description: Solid, Simple Little Receiver with Excellent Audio Quality
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.lowe-electronics.com/
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G7TOK Rating: 5/5 Oct 17, 2005 01:40 Send this review to a friend
Solid  Time owned: months
Simple operation.
Built like a tank.

But the real standout is the synchronous AM mode.
It is the finest available, no contest.
Forget your Drakes, Ten-Tecs, AORs, etc etc.
Nothing locks on like this receiver, and it hangs in there too.
Receiver performance is pleasing too, with tremendous receive audio.
The only thing missing is the ability to narrow the bandwidth for SSB etc.
 
K2JN Rating: 5/5 Oct 16, 2005 10:56 Send this review to a friend
Simple and sturdy gem!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought mine new over 10 years ago from the defunct Electronic Equipment Bank store in Virginia. I love the overall construction and simplistic operation. The only negative is that the original Lowe 12V power supply can be a bit noisy. Other users have found substitutes with better regulation. However, NICAD operation is quiet and almost a must if you want to preserve your memory settings.

I recently picked up the IF-150 computer interface as a clearance item from Lowe in the UK. The IF-150 software is fairly simple and is written for DOS. However, there are several vendors selling Windows-compatible control software that will operate the IF-150.

Overall, I love this radio and will probably own it until it falls apart.
 
7J1ALV Rating: 4/5 Oct 8, 2005 07:45 Send this review to a friend
Terriic audio!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought one of these on eBay that was advertised as having only been "lightly used" but a few days after receiving it the Volume ON/OFF switch broke and I later discovered that the rear External Speaker jack had had so much use that it no longer held a plug firmly. Although both of these faults suggest heavy use, they really shouldn't happen in a well-built set.

I also have an HF-225. Its audio seems to me to be every bit as good as the HF-150, certainly when hooked up to a good external speaker (I use an old Kenwood SP-930), and because it has more controls I find it easier to use. But it's bigger, doesn't have quite as impressive a case, and doesn't seem to do more than the HF-150 although it's easier to get it to do it.

So if you get a chance to pick up an HF-150 you should so. Sonically and electronically it's a marvel; the heavy-duty alloy case is a joy to behold, especially in these days of cheap and nasty lightweight plastic enclosures; and the audio is fantastic -- but watch out for worn switches and sockets.
 
2E0WPZ Rating: 5/5 Jul 5, 2003 21:37 Send this review to a friend
Top notch  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought second hand for 110 with keypad. Does this little gem have any competition ?? i think not. No bells and whistles but with my DSP unit in line the audio is about as good as it gets. Up against my Icom756 I would say that it is a quieter receive with just as good a selectivity. Charges up a set of 2,000 mAp hr batteries within the radio and(probably because of the lack of backlit display)last a long time between charges(which is done when the radio is turned off but still connected to the mains)To be able to walk out in the garden with just a length of wire and no power is superb.Getting back to the audio quality from such a small internal speaker"if they can do it then why not others" you just don`t need an external speaker with this rig. My Icom R75 beats it only through having TPBTuning. Come to think of it! doesn`t the MFJ 784B have a form of PBT?? put that with the 150 and I think it could easily become my favourite SWL rig.
 
N2SQV Rating: 5/5 Apr 25, 2003 13:35 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Audio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Going on eight years of use with this little radio. BEST audio I've ever heard on MW and SW (using a Blaupunkt 2-way speaker). Not much LW use in North America other than some beacons. Hears quite well with a long-wire antenna or with a 2.5M wire with the pre-amp on. Really like the optional keypad for direct frequency entry. AM-synchronous detector works beautifully. NO complaints with this receiver at all.
 
M0BTZ Rating: 5/5 Mar 9, 2003 10:17 Send this review to a friend
Nice HF Receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my HF-150 since it was new and it has performed very well indeed. The received audio quality is superb and this is something that Lowe obviously worked very hard on. The radio is house in a small aluminium case (you could say its built like a tank). I like the tuning, very nice and smooth but I found it to be a little stiff.
On the air, the radio performs very well although the wide band front end does not help matters with intermod etc. I only notice this at VLF where I can hear strong AM broadcasts breaking through. You will need a preselector or ATU to overcome this problem.
I sometimes use this radio together with a homemade qrp transmitter and it seems to perform well.
The audio is so good that I sometimes hook it up to my HiFi system to receive high quality shortwave broadcasts. This radio was responsible for me progressing from being an SWL to being a radio amateur. I think it will always be in my shack as it is a very usefull peice of equipment.

 
EMJAY Rating: 5/5 Nov 10, 2002 12:44 Send this review to a friend
This little jewel is now a bona fide classic  Time owned: 3 to 6 months

Beautifully designed/built little shortwave receiver. Has since become quite a classic. The housing is built like a tiny tank while the controls are very simple and elegant. The generous sized tuning wheel is also made of metal, feeling weighty and solid to the touch. Sounds great too, in all of it's modes. You can really see and hear where the money went on this little jewel. No frills, no fancy gadgets, just plain, simple audiophile quality. The version I have is a late version HF150 which looks like the Europa (all black casing and dark orange backlight). I actually bought it from Lowe themselves (the very last one in stock) although by the time this unit was actually built the set was being manufactured by SMC and sold back to Lowe for them to sell. Not quite sure what went on at Lowe to make them farm out manufacture and then discontinue this stunning little set, although the guy I spoke to there, Tony, said that although the radio picked up amazing reviews and was absolutely loved by the people who owned them they just didn't really sell enough of them to warrant the continued manufacture. He said that if they could have found a way to manufacture a dozen at a time to fulful the slow demand it may have been possible but this just wasn't viable. Very sad as this really is a product that harkens back to the glory days of British manufacturing. Simple, no-nonsense-design built to last for generations.

I also have a Drake SW8 which has also, sadly, been discontinued. Perhaps with the advent of Internet radio and Webcasting the days of shortwave listening may well begin to fade into nostalgic memory. If that is the case then it must be said that the HF150 and the SW8 were the pinnacle of affordable shortwave technology. If you see either of these sets at a reasonable second hand price then my advice to you is snaffle them up double quick. They are both classics and will provide hour upon hour of undiluted pleasure.
 
AOR7030 Rating: 5/5 May 2, 2002 21:06 Send this review to a friend
HF - 150 Europa Version  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I recently hunted down an HF-150 E (for Europa) version of the now famous Lowe radio. I found, what was quite possibly, the last "new-in-box" radio with a dealer on the Adriatic Coast of Italy and had it shipped to California. I also have a Drake SW8 (late version),an HF-250 E and a late version HF-150, with the PR-150 Preselctor and AP-150 Speaker/Signal Strength meter. Thus I was able to do some side-by-side comparisons with the 150-E. Bottom line, the 150-E doesn't just look good, it also sounds better than the other two Lowes! And that is saying a lot because the other two sound astounding. The built in preselection on the 150-E works very well indeed, without the annoyance of having to tune a separate unit like the PR-150 with the standard HF-150. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the Signal strenth meter to work with the 150-E. When I contacted Tony Mikol at Lowe in UK, he advised me to "cut the thin wire" to get an AGC feed, as in the case of earlier models of the 150. Apparently the two versions were produced from the same platform, but by two different lines. One would have thought that the 150-E which came later would have had this modification performed already. I lug the 150-E around the house. The deep orange LCD backlight combined with the all black matt finished tank-like aluminum body and solid controls make it a pleasure to use. My HF-150 too had the same color backlight installed, albeit later. My only grouse is that the tuning knob doesn't have the same feel as that on the HF-150. It doesn't feel sluggish and with a certain amount of resistance to being turned. I prefer the knob on the HF 150 to that on the 150-E. It tends to wander out of the displayed frequency by as much as 1 Khz. Apart from that, this beauty charges the 8 AA internal Ni-Cads very well when switched off and delivers superior quality for hour after hour of listening pleasure. The designer - John Thorpe, moved on to AOR to design the 7030. Since then Lowe has not come up with as outstanding a budget portable as the 150/150-E. The key pad is a must if you are to enjoy this little toy. When I asked Tony why Lowe wasn't as popular as it could have been in the USA, I learned that due to poor partner agreements with its US distibutors, the HF 150 was not adequately "pushed" by the local dealers. Too bad for us Lowe lovers. I use the Drake SW8 for listening to broadcast FM and the 150-E for SWL. I sometimes wonder when someone would put broadcast FM plus worldband performance into a Lowe 150 type/size/quality package. That will sure be a winner. Lowe are you listening??
 
HFAMATEUR Rating: 4/5 Dec 16, 2001 09:05 Send this review to a friend
Great Little SW Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Unusual little GC/SWL radio with very good performance and top-notch audio. 30 kHz to 30 MHz, AM/Sync/LSB/USB. Very effective synchronous detector which could sync to upper, lower or both sidebands at once. Very solid construction with a nice solid feeling metal tuning knob. Variable rate tuning. The controls take a little getting used to but are certainly adequate. No back-lighting, but it was available as a retro-fit option so some may have it. Internal AA ni-cad batteries can be recharged in the radio without removal. A built-in pre-amp can be switched-in for marginal antennas. Options included a keypad for direct frequency entry or recall of the memories, portability pack (plug-in telescopic whip/nicads/carrying strap), kit bag for radio and accessories, mobile mounting bracket, PC Control Software, mounting rack for radio and the matching accessory pre-selector and/or matching external speaker.

Note that at the time of writing, Universal Radio still have a few of the HF-150 options available (http://www.rffun.com/catalog/commrxvr/0150.html).

Cons: No FM reception and reportedly problematic if you live close to a broadcast transmitter site (curable by adding an external pre-selector).

Like another reviewer, I too favored the Grundig Satellit 700 over the HF-150 due to the Grundig having (excellent) FM and it being easier to carry.

I don't know why they discontinued this radio as even though it was designed some time ago, it's as good or better than any of the current offerings in its price-class.
 
W5XTC Rating: 4/5 Jul 12, 2000 15:35 Send this review to a friend
Best SW audio quality available  Time owned: more than 12 months
Discontinued but still available on the used market, the Lowe HF-150 is a small, simple, but remarkably solid HF receiver that puts out what may well be the clearest, least-distorted audio of any consumer grade receiver. An unusual product built by a small UK firm, the unit is housed in a blast-proof solid alloy casing, with a few simple, solid controls, and I suspect that people will be still using them a couple of decades from now. Simplicity is the keynote of the design, from which the strengths and weaknesses of the HF-150 both result. The strengths are ease of operation, reliability, good sync detection, and tremendous audio quality. The weaknesses are a lack of features, no internal antenna, minimal display, and poor front-end filtering which can overload the circuitry. And the LCD display is not backlit, which some folks don't care about but which bugged me till I sold mine. I sold to a very active radio amatuer who uses it mostly in SSB mode. I suspect the unit is perfect for that kind of application. For broadcast listening, I stuck with my Grundig Satellit 700.
 
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