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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Palstar R30 Help

Reviews Summary for Palstar R30
Palstar R30 Reviews: 43 Average rating: 4.2/5 MSRP: $749. USD
Description: LW/MW/SW Shortwave Receiver
Product is in production.
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MW0ZZD Rating: 2/5 Mar 4, 2012 02:32 Send this review to a friend
Poor construction  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Do not try to fit batteries.I removed the cover to access the battery compatment and on re-assembly the case screws would not line up.
Secondly,the speaker connection parted company:too short and tiny connector.
While it worked,it was fine but expensive,very poor manual with pretty pictures.
N0SP Rating: 5/5 Jan 18, 2011 21:24 Send this review to a friend
11 Years and wouldn't want another.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Well, as the author of the very first review posted here now ELEVEN(!) years ago (hard to believe) I have to say I'm still very very satisfied. Some friends bought them,(all happy) my original unit is still working wonderfully at my brother's home in California, and my more recent (3 months) purchase with the new front panel style did not disappoint in the least. I use mine three days a week for 160 meter AM schedules as well as shortwave and on-the-road amateur listening. I travel constantly in my work and this unit is SO light that it goes un-noticed in my suitcase and yet performs like an HQ-180. What's particular amazing is the abuse my 2001 unit put up with all these years. I fly private jets all over the world and have carried this radio all over the hemisphere countless times and it was no worse for the wear. I've been on the beaches of Belize with a gel cell and a 10 foot wire, had bamboo mast with a dipole in Barbados, and early morning DXing from the rooftop of the Hotel Excelsior in Naples, Italy listening to my friends on 75 meters, and never with more than 30 or 40 feet of wire and had no problems. It is sensitive, quiet, and has WONDERFUL audio. Everything about my 2001 review still stands. In that review I really rung it out with by-the-numbers specifics which I'll avoid here. But that review is still posted for those interested.
The one dramatic improvement I made was purchasing the Sherwood SE-3 sync detector. It is connected to my R30 and makes AM listening a completely distortion-free experience. It is SO much nicer to listen without the frequent fading. When I first bought the radio I enjoyed it's strong signal handling ability since I lived near some powerful AM stations down in the Denver metro area, I now live way out in the sticks with no neighbors and I can count on the R30 to be perfect every time. Even up on the top of the HF spectrum it's very sensitive.
I did have one problem with my R30 years ago. One day I accidently knocked it off of a bookshelf. The radio did a perfect 180 and landed on a hardwood floor square on it's top with a "smack" that sounded like a firecracker. I turned it on... nothing. I didn't have time to mess with it so I called Palstar and they had me send it in. A few weeks later it was returned to me, no charge, with a note saying that a wire had come loose near the power plug. It was years out of warranty, they didn't even charge shipping. I've been very happy with Palstar in general. I have owned several of their tuners and the ZM30 antenna analyzer. All great products and the support has been perfect. I've never had a problem with the tuners or analyzer but when I had questions they were always there to answer them.
Most unusual is that they're still made in America. Previous review complained about "birdies"... never heard a single one in either of my R30s.
If you want some nuts & bolts about performance go to my first review, I'll save a repeat here.
They're expensive, but when you first turn one on you'll immediately notice the strong 5 watt low-distortion audio amp and won't want much to do with the hiss-boxes anymore. 73,
N5JRN Rating: 1/5 Jan 16, 2011 15:56 Send this review to a friend
A *BIG* mistake  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This radio ended up being one of the worst rip-offs I have ever had the misfortune of purchasing.

It is a mystery to me how it can be so highly rated. My best guess is that Palstar has quality control issues, which they are in denial about. If you get a plum radio, perhaps it can be quite good. (But why would anyone want to take their chances? There's other options out there.)

Or maybe it's that most people only listen to shortwave in noisy urban environments, which mask most of the birdie problems that plagued my R30A. I was not aware of the problems my set had until I took it into a remote area when camping.

All went fine on my first backwoods listening session, until I chanced to listen to Radio Australia late in the night on the 22m band. “That’s odd,” I thought to myself. “It sounds like I’m picking up my roommate’s computer, yet I’m at least twenty miles from the nearest PC.”

Not having any way to back up my suspicion that there might be something wrong with the R30A (it was the only shortwave receiver I had with me at the time), I made a note to investigate the matter further when I got home.

What I found is that my R30A had horrible birdie issues. Only a few of them were strong, but most of them had a warbling character to them which makes for a most annoying background noise unless one is listening to a strong signal. The signals are audible even with no antenna connected to the R30A. Even more damningly, they are audible on my Lowe HF-150, and when I turn the Palstar off, the birdies vanish from the Lowe as well.

On my second camping trip, I take both the R30A and the HF-150 along. The unpleasant truth soon becomes apparent as I listen to the Voice of Russia on 13775 kHz, which happens to be one of the places where the R30A has a weak but definite birdie. At first, it’s a strong signal and perfectly listenable, but it starts fading out. At that point, a most annoying high-pitched warble starts becoming all-too-apparent.

I switch to the HF-150 and tune to the same frequency. A weak signal with some static hiss in the background, but it’s completely listenable now that the annoying warble is gone.

On the quality control issues, the set I received made no sound when I first turned it on. Opening it up revealed that the speaker had never been connected. It was a simple matter of plugging in the speaker connector to the proper location to fix this problem, but it does point out that Palstar has QC issues -- even the most basic power-on test would have uncovered this problem.

What's even worse is the awful customer support I got from Palstar. Basically, they were unbelievably rude to me, refused to believe anything was wrong with the set, and refused to refund my money because by this point it had been in my possession for over a month.

I probably should have threatened legal action against them, but I had just started a new job and didn't have time to play that sort of game. I sold the set on eBay at a significant loss.

Buying a Palstar product was a mistake I will NEVER make again!
ROGERT Rating: 4/5 Dec 23, 2010 06:21 Send this review to a friend
To be fair ... its now fixed  Time owned: more than 12 months
See review 16 sept 2009

After a year or so of exploring this set I was at despair to get rid of its internal signal generation putting sigs all over the bands and over ones I wanted, together with low sensitivity.

Finally decided it must be the first mixer balance so took to this and with aerial shorted tuned it for a signal null (lowest noise) then put on the aerial and on a weak signal very carefully tweaked it for best response within the null area. No instruments, just by ear.

Ok so that fixed it! Now it's the most sensitive set I have below 2 mhz and works a treat on all other bands. the internals are now so low as to be of no consequence and it performs like the other reviews say it does! REAL WELL....

Now I am pleased with it.
LEATHER Rating: 4/5 Sep 29, 2009 13:06 Send this review to a friend
Very Satisfied  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've had my R30 A for about 3 months and I'm happy with it. At first I found it a little awkward to use because it had no keypad for direct frequency entry and no predefined bands. But once you get used to it, it's like operating a radio used to be. What it does, it does superbly well.

Mechanically, it's built like a tank. It's rugged. The audio is very good. MW reception is exceptional. The frequency stability makes it a joy to use for SSB reception.

I bought it to replace my old Radio Shack DX 394. The contrast beteen the two is astounding. Sure, the DX 394 has all the convenience features and is maybe a better looking rig, but the R30 A can pull signals out of the mud where there isn't a sound of one on the other radio.

I plan to give the new radio its first big test on Novemebr 14, this year. That's the day of the annual Radio St Helena Broadcast. I'm planning to load it up with fresh batteries and head out to a remote conservation area far away from the city and man made noise. I'll run about 100 ft of wire through the trees for an antenna. Even if I don't succeed in catching Radio St Helena, it will still be an opportunity the try out the radio's DX performance.

I bought the R30 A as a retirement gift to myself, thinking it would be the last radio I ever need to buy. I think I will be happy with this radio for the rest of my days.
AUSSIE Rating: 5/5 Sep 11, 2009 13:13 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I picked my Palstar-R30A hf receiver 11/9/09 and i notice its a stable receiver sound that comes out from the internal speaker is nice & clear i will be using a Wellbrook ALA1530 Active Loop Antenna also be picking up an Icom-R75 in a few weeks.

Regards Lino.
W4JAH Rating: 5/5 Jul 25, 2009 01:53 Send this review to a friend
A best buy and great value  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After reading all the reviews and not wanting to tie up a transceiver for a bed side radio I orderd my new R30A. I have owned a lot of drake sw recievers and they were all nice. I still have a Sony 2010 and it is great, but this little guy is really sweet. Great sound and picks up the world. Nice job Paul and his crew. I will save up and get another one for a different location.
N2DY Rating: 5/5 Oct 28, 2008 13:04 Send this review to a friend
Particularly good on Medium Wave  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have many receivers and Amateur rigs and the Palstar is up there with the best of them as far as sensitivity and selectivity go. As others have noted, it is very basic without a lot of bells and whistles. The radio is particularly good on medium wave. It is close to my Drake R-8B in that regard, although the Drake has some additional bells and whistles that make it a little easier to pull out the weak ones. Of course, the Drake cost more than twice as much. I like the fact that I can put some batteries in the R30 and take it into the field. That makes it about the best portable you can use for medium wave dxing. The R30 works quite well everywhere else in its receive range with good LW and SW coverage. The sensitivity on mine seems to drop off a tad at the high end near 10 meters, taking it from excellent to just very good in that range. Overall it is a very unique and cool receiver. I plan to keep mine for a long time.
10538RADIO Rating: 5/5 Oct 27, 2008 15:00 Send this review to a friend
Great radio. Super performer  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently purchased a new Palstar R30A receiver. Having owned many great receivers through the years, I have to say this is probably the best all around receiver that I have used. It is simple to use, does not have a bunch of bells and whistles that most of us don't really use anyhow. I have compared this radio to my Grundig Satellit 800 and my Eton E1. Simply put this radio can just hear things that the others can't. The audio is excellent through the built in speaker and even better through an external speaker. (I purchased the Palstar SP30 speaker )Having no sync detector doesnt seem to be a problem for this radio either. All in all it is a great receiver that is simple to use and it can run on batteries as well. I highly recomend the Palstar R30A and dealing with Paul and his staff is a pleasure as they really care about their products and their customers.
TUBESAREKING Rating: 5/5 Sep 9, 2008 12:28 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've had my new Palstar R30A for one week now - and after using it for a cople hours each night, I'm impressed.

As everyone knows, the Palstar is a minimalist receiver. No bells and whistles. No flashing clocks begging to be reset. No features going largely unused. Just the basics, but with outstanding engineering, design, construction and filters - Collins mechanical filters.

The R30A is a restyle of the R30CC made necessary by the display manufacturer for the R30CC discontinuing the old display. The R30A incorporates a different display, a larger case [still compact] and a near flush tuning knob.

I like the new tuning knob arrangement - it is very DXpedition friendly - makes it easier to pack the Palstar without the encoder getting damaged. I'm sure some folks will not like the new arrangement - especially for ECSS when you are tuning really, really slowly.

The up/down buttons are now 100 KHz steps, rather than 500 KHz. Primarily, I'm a MW DXer [a MW DXer who is also a ham and a SWL, but MW broadcast band DX is my passion] and this change is good news to me, as it allows me to zip around the 530 to 1700 KHz band really quickly. The same would hold true to others who have a favourite band. The pleasant surprise is that by holding say the up button down, I can roam from 100 KHz to 30 MHz amazingly fast. Some of the Palstar's biggests proponents are MW and tropical band DXers, so this change makes good sense.

The bigger buttons are nice. the tuning knob dimple works very well too.

Construction quality is first rate - and one is reminded of this every time you change batteries. This receiver is built to be repaired not tossed when it gets old. It is now 7 screws to change batteries, rather than 5, but each screw threads into a captive nut, so you don't have to worry about wearing out screw holes - another very thoughtfull touch.

Sensitivity is the equal of my Drake R8. Selectivity is tighter bandwidth for bandwidth as one would expect - mechanical filters do have an edge over LC filters in that regard. Sound is clearer with much less hiss and better readability of extremely weak signals. The audio has a real punch.

A good external speaker is a must - I use a Centrios 7 [modern Minimus 7] speaker with most of my receivers - including my R30A. The Palstar has a lot more audio whallop than the Drake R8.

I suspect many people interested in the Palstar will already have an outstanding "battle mode" receiver - Drake R8 family, Icom R71A, Icom R75. I still like my R8 and R71A for these reasons. It is helpful to have a noise blanker, RF gain pot and switchable AGC "off", passband tuning, notch etc. These are useful tools and most serious DXers will use them. But, serious DXers also need tight filters and sound that makes an ID come through the noise. The Palstar is the ideal compliment to the battle mode receiver.

Highly, highly recommended!

Phil VY2PR

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